Page images
PDF

of time, two days never passed without one, and often two or three were felt in the course of twenty-four hours. The following account of the effects experienced on this occasion, is narrated by Mrs. Graham, in her Journal of a residence in Chili, and convey a vivid idea of such an event: the authoress was at Quintero, about thirty miles from Valparaíso.“November 20th.—Yesterday after dinner, Glennie having fallen into a sound sleep in his arm-chair by the fire-side, Mr. Bennet and I, attracted by the fineness of the evening, took our seats to the veranda, overlooking the bay; and for the first time since my arrival in Chili, I saw it lighten; the lightning continued to play over the Andes until after dark, when a delightful and calm moonlight night followed a quiet and moderately warm day. We returned reluctantly to the house on account of the invalid, and were sitting quietly conversing, when at a quarter past ten, the house received a violent shock, with a noise like the explosion of a mine; and Mr. Bennet starting up ran out, exclaiming, ‘An earthquake, an earthquake; for God's sake, follow me!' I, feeling more for Glennie than anything, and fearing the night-air for him, sat still: he, looking at me to see what I would do, did the same; until the vibration still increasing, the chimneys fell, and I saw the walls of the house open. Mr. Bennet again cried from without, ‘For God's sake, come away from the house !” So we rose and went to the veranda, meaning of course to go by the steps; but the vibration increased with such violence, that hearing the fall of a wall behind us, we jumped down from the little platform to the ground, and were scarcely there, when the motion of the earth changed from a quick vibration to a rolling like that of a ship at sea, so that it was with difficulty that Mr. Bennet and I supported Glennie. The shock lasted three minutes; and by the time it was over, every body in and about the house had collected on the lawn, excepting two persons, one the wife of a mason, who was shut up in a small room which she could not open, and the other Carillo, who, in escaping from his room by the wall which fell, was buried in the ruins, but happily preserved by the lintel falling across him. “Never shall I forget the horrible sensation of that night! In all other convulsions of nature, we feel or fancy that some exertion may be made to avert or mitigate danger; but from an earthquake there is neither shelter nor escape. The mad “disquietude’ that agitates every heart, and looks out in every eye, are too awful to be described. Amid the noise of the destruction before and around us, I heard the lowings of the cattle all the night through; and I heard the screaming of the sea-fowl, which ceased not till morning. There was not a breath of air, yet the trees were so agitated that their topmost branches seemed on the point of touching the ground. I got a man to hold a light, and venture with me to the inner rooms to fetch medicine. A second and a third shock had by this time taken place, but so much less violent than the first, that we had reasonable hopes that the worst was over, and we proceeded through the ruined sitting-rooms to cross the court where the wall had fallen; and as we reached the top of the ruins, another smart shock seemed to roll them from under our feet: at length we reached the first door of the sleeping-apartments, and on entering, I saw the furniture displaced from the walls, but paid little attention to it; in the second, however, the displacing was more striking, and then it seemed to me that there was a regularity in the disposal of every thing; this was still more apparent in my own room, but it seemed in all to have been moved in the same direction. The night still continued serene, and though the moon went down early, the sky was light, and there was a faint aurora-australis. It was now twelve o'clock; the earth was still at unrest, and shocks accompanied by noises like the explosion of gunpowder, or rather like those accompanying the jets of fire from a volcano, returned

[ocr errors]

every two minutes; and then, wearied out, I fell asleep; but a little before two, a loud explosion and a tremendous shock roused every one, and a horse and pig broke loose, and came to take refuge among us. At four o'clock, there was another violent shock, and the interval had been filled with a constant trembling, with now and then a sort of cross motion, the general direction of the undulation being North and South. Since that hour, though there has been a continued series of agitations, such as to spill water from a glass, and though the ground is still trembling under me, there has been nothing to alarm us.-At day-light, I went out of the tent to look at the earth; the dew was on the grass, and all looked beautiful as if the night's agitation had not taken place. Half past eight P. M. the evening is as fine as possible, the moon is up, and shines beautifully over the lake and the bay, the stars and the aurora-australis are also brilliant, and a soft southerly breeze has been blowing since daylight. “Thursday, November 21.—At half-past two, A. M. I was awoke by a severe shock; at ten minutes before three, a tremendous one, which made us feel anew that utter helplessness which is so appalling.—Five others in the course of the day of different degrees of severity, were all that were in any degree alarming, but slight ones occurred every twenty or thirty minutes. I learn, not one house in the port remains habitable, though many retain their forms. There is not a living creature to be seen in the streets, but the hills are covered with wretches driven from their homes, whose mutual fears keep up mutual distractions. The ships in the harbour are crowded with people; no provisions are to be had; the ovens are ruined, so that the bakers cannot work.We had the same prophecy of a greater shock; that it did not happen has been attributed to the interposition of our Lady of Quintero, who has a chapel at the old house, and her image has long been an object of peculiar veneration. All the women of the neighbourhood flocked thither on the first dreadful night, and with shrieks, cries, and endearing names, entreated her to come to their assistance: in the morning, when the priests were able to force the doors, obstructed by the sallen rubbish, they sound her prostrate, with her head off, and several fingers broken; she was soon restored, however, to her pristine state, dressed in clean clothes, and placed in the * of benediction before the door of her shattered ane, “Don Fausto reports from Quillota, that the 19th being a festival of St. Martin, the tutelary saint, the market-place was crowded with people, and booths, and bowers of roses and myrtles: under which all kinds of feasting, revelling, dancing, fiddling, masking, and every species of dissipation, or rather dissoluteness, was going on. The earthquake came !—and in an instant all was changed. Instead of the sounds of the viol and the song, there arose a cry of ‘misericordia,' and a beating of the breast, and a prostration of the body: the thorns were platted into crowns, which the sufferers pressed on their heads till the blood streamed down their faces, the roses being now trampled under foot. Some ran to their falling houses to snatch thence their children, forgotten in the moment of festivity, but dear in danger.—Among the rest came Don Duenas: he had been in his house with his wife and child; he could not save both at once; and while he was bearing her out, the roof sell, and his infant was crushed. His loss of property had been immense. —This man then, with this load of affliction, came to Fawkner (deputy governor) and told him he had ordered already four bullocks to be killed and distributed to the poor; and desired him to remember, that though his losses had been severe, he was still. comparatively, a rich man, and therefore able, as well as willing, to assist his neighbours and fellow-sufferers.” Having at length given a view of the most noted earthquakes that have occurred in different ages, and treated the subject at great length, we will now relieve the patience of our readers by bringing it to a close.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

THE above wood-cut is a representation of one of the most extraordinary scenes of natural magnificence in England. Whitaker, in his History of the Deanery of Craven, informs us that Dr. Pococke, the late Bishop of Meath, the celebrated traveller, “who had seen all that was great and striking in the rocks of Arabia and India, declared that he had never seen any thing comparable to this place.” It lies in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The country for many miles around the spot is singularly wild. In the hollow sormed by the meeting of two valleys, lies the village of Malham (pronounced Maum) forming part of the parish of Kirkby. The village is rural and sequestered, and, except that there is but little wood, presents an aspect of cultivation and sertility, forming a contrast with the savage desolation in the midst of which it is placed. In the uplands, to the north of the village, lies a sheet of water of about a mile in circumference, called Malham Tarn : its banks a bleak waste, but celebrated for its excellent perch and trout. Tarn means a small lake, and, according to Wordsworth, is mostly applied to such as are high up in the mountains.

At the further termination of the valley which stretches to the west of the village, is a noble natural monument, an immense unbroken barricade of limestone, stretching across the chasm, and rising into the air to the height of three hundred feet. The loftiness and long sweep of this prodigious rampart make it impressive beyond all description. It is known by the name of Malham Cove. But the scene to which our present notice refers lies about a mile east from this, at the extremity of the opposite valley. The proper source of the river Air, or Are, which flows in a line nearly parrallel to the more celebrated stream of the Wharf, from which it is divided by a mountanious range, till they both fall into the Humber, is Malham Tarn, already mentioned. The outlet or one of the outlets of this lake, after flowing tranquilly for a short distance, encounters the stupendous rocky pile of the Goredale; and here its waters used to be detained, without power to make their way either through or over the barrier. It appears to be just about a century ago since the obstacle was first overcome. In a very admirable plate of the cascade, engraved by J. Mason, from a drawing by T. Smith, and published in 1751; it is stated that “the water collected in a sudden thundershower about eighteen years ago, burst a passage through the rock (where it first appearstumbling through a kind of an arch) and rushed with such violence that it filled the valley below with vast pieces of broken rocks and stones for a quarter of a mile below." Gray, the poet, gives the following description of it. *As I advanced, the crags seemed to closein, but discovered a narrow entrance turning to the left between them: I followed my guide a few paces, and the hills opened again into no large space; and then, all further way is barred by a stream that, at the height of about fifty feet, gushes from a hole in the rock, and spreading in large sheets over its broken front, dashes from stop to steep, and then ripples away in a torrent down the valley; the rock on the lest rises perpendicular, with

[graphic]
[graphic]

stubbed yew-trees and shrubs staring from its side, to the height of at least three hundred feet; but these are not the thing: it is the rock on the right, under which you stand to see the fall, that forms the principal horror of the place. From its very base it begins to slope forward over you in one block or solid mass, without any crevice in its surface, and overshadows half the area below with its dreadful canopy.” The arch from which the water issues is 150 feet above the ground. The summit of the right hand rock is 240 feet from its base, which it overhangs by about 20 yards. It seems to incline at an angle of about 45 degrees. Above the visible top of this cliff, there are, according to Hurtley, three other rows of receding rocks, fronting a similar pile on the opposite side, between which if a line were drawn across, its height above the rivulet would

exceed 900 feet.—Penny Magazine.

[merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

A CONTEMPLATIVE VIEW OF THE HEAVENS. When the shades of night have spread a veil over the azure. lains, the firmament discovers to our view its magnificence. The sparkling gems with which it is

sown are so many SUNs, suspended in the immense space thereof, to give light and heat to the worlds which roll around them.

[graphic]

The HEAvexs as known to Thales and HIPPARchus were but little understood, compared with the discoveries of modern AstroNoMERs, especially since the invention of telescopes.

Crude and uncertain as were the opinions and prognostications of the ancients from their observances of

the celestial bodies, they had the sanction of many coin-,

cident circumstances to justify their conclusions as to the effects of certain appearances and combinations of the heavenly aspects, connected with the changes that successively occurred with terrestrial affairs. The uniformity of events with appearances atmong the constellations influenced the learned to conclude, that such coincidences must arise from the effects of certain conjunctions and positions of the PLANETs, and of the starry firmament, then visible to their observation; and therefore they named the signs, or divisions of the STARs, according to those incidental circumstances. How vague their calculations must have been will appear from the fact, that several new comets, planets, and thousands of fired stars, have since been discovered, of whose influences they could have no idea, as they were not aware of the existence of such bodies. The stars discernible in the signs of the zodiac by the help of telescopes are found to be so numerous as to alter the figure and structure of the whole, and to show how chimerical any hypothesis on that subject must have been—a long time, and even to this day, curious notions were, and still are, entertained among the vulgar relative to the influence of the Moon upon our GLoBE, its changes of weather, diseases of body and mind, and regulation of mundane affairs; and {on many of those notions have been exploded, much of error and superstition yet remain on this subject. The most sublime scene that the human eyes can survey, is most assuredly the “Canopy of Heaven,” in whose expanse millions of Suns from immeasurable distances shoot their twinkling splendours through the immensity of space, while the remotest of them proclaim that still beyond their spheres, “worlds on worlds” and “systems on systems” continue to multiply. What a field for CoNTEMPLA'tion is the azure space What a study for the AstroNoMER! What a theme for the PHILosopher' on which to descant, and through which to trace the paths of the orbs round the centre of the system. In viewing the stars by night, at any particular hour, we see only such as are above the horizon; and therefore, only observe half the firmament at once; and such as rise heliacally are not visible, on account of the superior splendour of the SUN, which obscures the sight by a refulgence which fills the optic organs with light. The flight of the EARTH in its annual orbit makes a small difference in time, with respect to the rising and setting of the fixed stars, but not in any material degree so as to require a particular correction. Their positions may be ascertained on a celestial globe, with a sufficient accuracy for all hours of the day, and may be pointed out in the sky, by noting their declination and right ascension, or by their azimuth and amplitude: for instance, the annexed plate. represents a correct view of the HEAVENs on the 29th of November, at half-past nine in the evening. - The method of using this map is, if looking to the North, stand with your back towards the south, and hold the map by the northern point, and you will have in view those stars which are termed below the pole:— If looking to the South,-turn your back towards the north, and hold the map by the southern point, or hold the map over-head in the direction north and south, and it will correspond with the HEAVEN's on the above day at that particular time. If the MAP be used for any following evening, the ob

servation must be made about four minutes earlier than

the preceding evening; thus, if on the 30th of November, instead of half-past nine, the observation must be made twenty-six minutes past nine; and on the first of Decem

ber, twenty-two minutes past nine, and so on for successive evenings. To gain a knowledge of the principal stars is by no means difficult. The great object is to get a startingpoint. This is amply furnished in the constellation called Ursa Major. The seven principal stars of this constellation are so conspicuously arranged, that, if once viewed, it is almost impossible to mistake them for any others. The form of these seven stars is that of a butcher's cleaver. The ancients compared this constellation to the form of a Bier, their carriage for the dead; which term was afterwards corrupted into Bear, and so it remains to this day. If we take the star marked b, in this constellation, and proceed to the star marked d, in the same, and continue on in nearly a straight line, the next bright star will be the Polar STAR, situated in the tail of the LITTLE BEAR. This star is the point on which the HEAvens appear to revolve, and apparently never shifts its situation. This constellation is called the Little Bear, from the seven principal stars taking the same form as those of the Great Bear, only in an inverted position. If we descend from the tail of the Great Bear directly south, we shall arrive at a star called Con CARoli, or Charles's Heart. This constellation was formed out of a cluster of stars by Charles Scarborough, in honour of CHARLEs I. If we take the head of the Great Bear, a little southward, we shall perceive three brfght stars forming an acute angle with the longest point-southward; the star marked a is called CAPELLA; this, with the star marked b, sorms the shoulders of the constellation AURICA. The southern star marked B, is in the constellation TAURUs. If we continue in the same direction southward, we shall perceive a cluster of stars forming the NAIADEs. A little on the lest is the constellation Orion. This constellation is, if possible, more conspicuous than the Great Bear; but, in consequence of its not being always above the horizon, it is not so convenient to take a starting point as that of the latter. Accordingly, from Orion to the Great Bear, in almost a straight line, midway, we shall see two bright stars in the constellation GEMINI : the star marked a is called CAston, and that marked B, Pollux. The STUDENT, by the above principle, may be led through the HEAve Ns in a very pleasing manner; and in the course of a few evenings he will gain a knowledge of all the principal stars; first making himself acquainted with the stars on the MAP, and then comparing them with those of the HEAvens.—[Guide to Knowledge.] SINGULAR EVENT. From Madame du Noyer's Letters.

The following story will appear to you incredible and fabulous, and perhaps I need not assure you that I had great difficulty in believing it: but as I had it from the lips of the individual who formed the subject of it, and as he was a visionary, I attributed it to the effects of a disturbed imagination. The event (at least as far as this person's mind was concerned) occurred in our day, and is attested by many in the city of Nismes. The tale is thus told. Mr. Graverol was alone in his study one day, . about two o'clock in the afternoon, when a stranger was ushered in. As soon as he was seated, a conversation started up between the two. The stranger addressed Mr. G. in elegant Latin, saying that he had heard his learning spoken highly of, and he had come from a distant country to converse with him on things which had embarrassed the ancient philosophers. After Mr. G. had replied suitably to the compliment offered to his ta: lents, some very abstruse subject was introduced, and handled in a scientific manner. The stranger did not confine himself to the Latin language, but he spoke Greek and some Eastern tongues, which Mr. G. also understood perfectly. The latter was astonished and delighted with his guest's profound information; and

from fear some person should call on him and interrupt it, he proposed a walk, which was readily acceded to by the stranger. The day was delightsul, and you know there are some beautiful walks in the neighbourhood of Nismes. They left the house with the design of going through the gate called the Crown-gate, which leads to some gardens and a very fine avenue of noble trees; but as Mr. Graverol's house was a considerable distance from the place above-mentioned, they were obliged to cross several streets before they reached it. During the walk, Mr. G. was observed by many of his acquaintances, he being well known in the city, to use much gesture, and he was also noticed to be speaking at intervals: what added to the surprise was, that no person was seen accompanying him. Some of his friends sent to his wife, expressing their fear that he was deranged, describing the manner in which he was noticed to pass through the streets. She being greatly alarmed at intelligence so extraordinary, despatched several persons in search of him; but they could not find him, as he had gained the shady walks outside the city with his new acquaint; ance. After expatiating on the subjects of ancient and modern philosophy, and reasoning on the secrets of nature, they entered on the wide fields of magic and enchantment. The stranger argued with great ingenuity and power, but exceeded the bounds of probability; and Mr. G. cried out, “Stop, stop | Christianity forbids us proceeding to such lengths—we should not pass the prescribed boundaries.” He had no sooner said this (at least according to the narration spread abroad) than the stranger vanished. Mr. Graverol being at that moment at the extreme end of one of the avenues, which was terminated by some palisades, was compelled to return the

same way he went. . On turning round, and not perceiving his companion, he became greatly alarmed, and uttered a dreadsul shriek, which brought some men who were employed in pruning the trees, to him. When these people perceived how pale and frightened he was, they gave him some wine which they had in a flagon and used all the means they could devise to restore him to himself. As soon as he recovered his recollection, he inquired if they had noticed where the gentleman had gone with whom he had been walking. He was very much agitated when these good people informed him that no one was with him when he passed under the trees where they were at work; neither had a single individual been in his company since he came in their sight, and they had observed him some distance before he reached them. They added, moreover, that when he passed, it struck them as being somewhat singular that he should be so deeply engaged in apparent conversation, although he was alone. Mr. G. on learning this went immediately home, where he sound his house in disorder and alarm concerning the reports which had reached his wife. He then related his adventure. When the story was noised abroad, it was publicly asserted all over the city that the devil had visited Mr. Graverol. He was a very gentlemanlike man and an advocate, and related the circumstances to me as I have detailed them. When he concluded, he said, “This is accurately what happened: you now are acquainted with the facts as well as myself, and you may exercise your judgment respecting them as shall best seem fit. And all that I can add is, the stranger was a very learned and eloquent man, and reasoned like a philosopher.” [Cabinet of Curiosities.]

BIO GR A PHY.

The above cut is entitled to the notice of the curious reader for the veritable portrait which it furnishes of an English witch, at a period when the delusion of the craft was in its full height. It is faithfully copied from a rare print in the possession of William Beckford, Esq. late of Fonthill. The subject is Elizabeth Sawyer, who was executed for witchcraft in the year 1621. This was some few years before the time of Matthew Hopkins, the witch* of whom the reader will find a portrait in our ast. By way of pendent to this cut, we may quote Hutchinson's powerful argument on the trial of one Jane Wen§. who about this time was acquitted by a judge ho could not understand that the life of an English

o o AN ENGLISH WITCH.

woman, however mean, should be taken away by a set of barbarous tricks and experiments, the efficacy of which depended on popular credulity. Hutchison thus expostulates with some of the better class that were eager for the persecution:—“1. What single fact of sorcery did this Jane Wenham do? What charm did she use, or what act of witchcraft could you prove upon her ? Laws are against evil actions, that can be proved to be of the person's doing. What single fact that was against the statute could you fix upon her? I ask, 2. Did she so much as speak an imprudent word, or do an immoral action, that you could put into the narrative of her case? When she was denied a few turnips, she laid them down very submissively—when she was called witch and bitch, she only took the proper

[graphic]
[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »