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selves ? I think, perhaps, its most striking feature was the stillness and deadness and impassibility of this new world-ice and earth and water surrounded us; not a sound of any kind interrupted the silence; the sea did not break upon the shore; no bird or any living thing was visible; the midnight sun-by this time muffled in a transparent mist-shed an awful, mysterious lustre on glacier and mountain ; no atom of vegetation gave token of the earth's vitality; an universal numbness and dumbness seemed to pervade the solitude. I suppose in scarcely any other part of the world is this appearance of deadness so strikingly exhibited. On the stillest summer day in England there is always perceptible an undertone of life thrilling through the atmosphere; and though no breeze should stir a single leaf, yet, in default of motion, there is always a sense of growth; but here, not so much as a blade of grass was to be seen on the sides of the bald hills. Primeval rocks and eternal ice constitute the landscape.
This haven is almost the only one on the west coast where you are not liable to have the ice set in upon you at a moment's notice. The other harbours along the west coast are all liable to be beset by drift ice during the course of a single night, even though no vestige of it may have been in sight four and twenty hours before ; and many a good ship has been inextricably imprisoned in the very harbour to which she had fled for refuge. Glaciers are the principal characteristic of the scenery in
Spitzbergen. The bottom of every valley, in every part of the island, is occupied, and generally completely filled by them, enabling me in some measure to realise the look of England during the glacial period, when Snowdon was still being slowly lifted towards the clouds, and every valley in Wales was brimful of ice.
Dr Scoresby mentions several ice rivers, which actually measured forty or fifty miles in length, and nine or ten in breadth, while the precipice formed by their fall into the sea was sometimes upwards of four or five hundred feet high. Nothing is more dangerous than to approach these cliffs of ice. Every now and then huge masses detach themselves from the face of the crystal steep, and topple over into the water, and woe be to the unfortunate ship which might happen to be passing below! Scoresby himself actually witnessed a mass of ice -the size of a cathedral—thunder down into the sea from a height of four hundred feet. Frequently during our stay in Spitzbergen, we ourselves observed these ice avalanches ; and scarcely an hour passed without the solemn silence of the bay being disturbed by the thunderous boom resulting from similar catastrophes in valleys around.
No description can give an adequate idea of the intense rigour of the six months' winter in this part of the world. Stones crack with the noise of the thunder; in a crowded hut the breath of its occupants will fall in flakes of snow; wine and spirits turn to ice; the snow burns like caustic; if iron touches the flesh, it brings the skin away with it; the soles of your stockings may be burnt off your feet before you feel the slightest warmth from the fire; linen taken out of boiling water instantly stiffens to the consistency of a wooden board, and heated stones will not prevent the sheets of the bed from freezing. If these are the effects of the climate within an air-tight, firewarmed, crowded hut, what must they be among the dark, storm-lashed mountain-peaks outside ?
The sheep was obliged to bear ill-treatment from all other animals. Then it went to Jupiter, and entreated him to lessen its misery.
Jupiter seemed willing to do so, and said to the sheep, “ I see well, my gentle creature, that I have made thee a little too defenceless; now choose what thou wouldst have me do to remedy this fault. Shall I arm thy mouth with terrible teeth, and thy feet with claws ?"
“Oh no!” cried the sheep, “I will not have anything in common with savage wild beasts.”
Then,” continued Jupiter, “shall I put poison in thy mouth?”
“Ah!” said the sheep, “the poisonous snakes are so hated.”
“Well then, what shali I do? I will put horns on thy forehead, and make thy neck stronger.” “Not that either, good father ; I might easily
; get to be as fond of butting as the buck."
“And yet," said Jupiter, “thou must be able to do harm thyself, if thou wilt defend thyself from those who hurt thee."
“Must I indeed ? " sighed the sheep. “ Then leave me, good father, as I am ; for the power of being able to do harm awakes, I much fear, the desire to do it, and it is better to bear injustice than to do it.”
Jupiter blessed the pious sheep, and from that time forth it complained no more.
92.—THE HOLE IN THE SLEEVE.
quar-rel-some con-flag-ra-tion pow-der-ed
dis-a-gree-able ac-cus-tom-ed at-tent-ive des-pot-ic
per-ceive I had, related an old gentleman once to his nephew, a play-fellow and youthful friend called Albert. We were two wild, unmanageable boys; our clothes, even when new, became quickly soiled and torn. Then there was a whipping for us at home; but we did not change. One day we were sitting in a public garden, and amused ourselves by settling what we intended to be. I determined to be a Lieutenant-General, and Albert, an InspectorGeneral.
“ Neither of you two will ever do any good in the world,” said a very, very old man in handsome clothes and white-powdered wig, who had been standing behind our bench, and had heard our childish plans.
We were afraid, but Albert said, “And why not?"
The old man said, “You are the children of well-to-do, good people, I can see that by your clothes; but you are born to be beggars, or else you could never bear to have these holes in your sleeves." As he said this, he took hold of our elbows, and put his fingers into the holes we had worn in our sleeves. I was ashamed, and so was Albert.
If,” said the old gentleman, " there is no one at home to mend them for you, why do you not learn to sew yourselves? At the beginning, you could have repaired your coats with two stitches; but now it is too late, and you go like beggar boys. If you want to be Lieutenant-General and Inspector-General, you must begin at the very beginning. When once you have mended the holes in your sleeves, you beggar boys, you may begin to think of something else.”
We both felt ashamed to the bottom of our hearts; we went silently away, and dared not say anything insolent to the disagreeable old man. I, however, turned the elbow of my sleeve round, so that the hole went to the inside, and no one