Page images
PDF
EPUB

the miners have fixed upon the place Soumelpour, a large town built enwhere they intend to dig, they level tirely of earth, and covered with another, somewhat larger, in the same branches of cocoa trees. The river neighbourhood, and enclose it with a Goual runs within a mile of the town, wall about two feet high, only leaving in its way from the mountains toapertures from space to space, to wards the Ganges. All our fine diagive passage to the water. The place mond points or sparks, called natural being thus prepared, the people that sparks, are brought from this river, are to work meet all together, men, where they are collected as soon as women, and children, with the work- the great rains are over, which is master, his friends and relations. But about the end of December. before any thing is done, a supersti As soon in January as the water is tious ceremony is performed to ren grown clear, eight or ten thousand der their labours propitious. The persons, of all ages and both sexes, only passive personage in this cere come out of Soumelpour and the mony is a little household god which neighbouring villages. The most exthe master brings with him, and be- perienced among them search and fore which the people prostrate them. examine the sand of the river, going selves three times, while the brahman up from Soumelpour to the very says a certain prayer.

mountain whence it springs. Those This being ended, he marks the who are used to this business know forehead of every one with a kind of by the sand whether any diamonds glue, made of saffron and gum, and are likely to be found or not; and is careful that the spot is large enough judge it a favourable sign when they to hold seven or eight grains of rice, find a number of those stones which which he sticks upon it. Their bo, we call thunder stones at the bottom dies are then washed with the water of the river. When they have rea. which every one brings in his pot ; son to believe that the produce will after which they arrange themselves pay them for their labour, they proin order to partake of the repast ceed to take up the sand, first making which the workmaster has prepared a dam round the place with stones, for them. This is merely a plate of earth, and fascines, and then lading rice to each person, with the addition out the water. After this is done, of a quarter of a pound of butter they dig about two feet deep; and melted in a small copper pot with the sand thus procured is carried into some sugar:

a place walled round on the bank After the feast is finished, every

of the river, where it is washed and person proceeds to his business; the sifted in the same manner as at Coumen digging the earth in the place lour. first discovered, and the women and Magellan tells us, that the greatest children carrying it off into the other, diamond ever known in the world is or walled, enclosure.

When they

one belonging to the king of Portufind water they cease to dig; and the gal, which was found in Brasil, and water thus found washes the earth is still uncut. This gentleman was two or three times ; after which it is informed, from good authority, that let out at an aperture reserved for it was once of a large size, but that

When the earth has a piece was cleaved or broken by the been washed again, and well dried, ignorant countryman who chanced to they sift it in a kind of open sieve ; find the gem, and tried its hardness which operation is repeated before by a stroke of a large hammer upon they begin to look for diamonds.

This prodigious diamond Another mine which Tavernier weighs 1,680 carats ; * and although speaks of as famous for its diamonds, is the bed of the river Goual, near * A carat weighs four grains.

that purpose:

an anvil.

it is uncut, Romé de l'Isle says, it is called the Pitt, or Regent, weighs valued at 224 millions sterling. nearly 137 carats, and has been valu.

This appears to be an incredible ed at 208,333 guineas, although it did sum, and probably the valuation is not cost above half that sum. This erroneous : but even supposing that beautiful gem was found in the diato be the case, and that we employ mond mines at the foot of the Gaut the usual methods laid down for com- mountains, about twenty miles from puting the worth of these jewels, the Golconda. Another diamond belongsum will be immense ; as, in this ing to the same monarch, called the way, it will amount to at least 5,644,800 Sancy, was reckoned a very fine stone, pounds sterling!

though it weighs only 55 carats. The diamond which is next in va cost 25,000 guineas, but is said to be lue adorns the sceptre of the empe- worth a much larger sum. We rour of Russia, and is placed under must not omit to mention the diathe eagle at the top of it. This stone mond of the emperour of Germany, weighs 779 carats, and is worth, at which weighs 139 carats, and is valeast, 4,854,720 pounds sterling, al- lued at 109,520 guineas. It is of a though it hardly cost 135,417 gui- light citron colour. neas. A singular history is attached It is well known that the diamond to this diamond. It was formerly one is the hardest of all precious stones, of the eyes of a Malabarian idol, and only to be cut by the assistance named Scheringham. A French gre- of its own powder. We are informnadier, who had deserted from the ed, that to bring it to the degree of Indian service, contrived to become perfection which so much augments one of the priests of that idol, and, its price, they begin by rubbing sevewatching his opportunity, stole its ral against each other while rough, eye, and ran away to the English at after having previously glued them Trinchinapeuly, from whence he car to the ends of two wooden blocks, ried it to Madras. A ship captain thick enough to be held in the hand. bought it for twenty thousand rupees; The powder which is rubbed off the afterwards a Jew gave seventeen or stones in this operation is caught in eighteen thousand pounds for it; at a little box provided for that purpose, last, a Greek merchant, named Gre- and afterwards used to grind and pogory Suffras, offered it to sale at Am- lish the stones. From the extreme sterdam, in the year 1766, where it hardness of these stones it has been was bought by prince Orloff for his alleged, that rubbing them against sovereign, the empress of Russia. each other is the only way to reduce The figure and size of this diamond them to an impalpable powder ; but is preserved in the British Museum. this is not strictly the case, as the

The diamond of the Great Mogul jewellers are in the habit of pounding weighs 279 carats, and is said to be small pieces in steel mortars fitted worth 380,000 guineas. This dia- with a pestle exactly the size of the mond has a small flaw underneath interiour, so that none of the diamond near the bottom. Before this stone

can escape. A few blows with the was cut, Tavernier tells us it weigh hammer upon the head of the pestle ed 900 carats; consequently its loss completely powder the stone. in cutting must be considerable. Diamonds are more or less valuable

Another diamond, in the posses according to what is called their wa. sion of the king of Portugal, which ter. Those of the first water are in weighs 215 carats, is extremely fine, the greatest degree of purity and per. and worth at least 369,8001.

fection, while those of less brilliancy The famous diamond which be are said to be of the second or third longed to the late king of France, water; and thus they proceed till the

VOL. II.

[ocr errors]

stone becomes coloured; for there of a rose colour; others green, blue, are diamonds of all colours, though brown, black; and some are marked faintly tinted. Thus we have some with black spots.

FROM THE MONTHLY ANTHOLOGY AND BOSTON REVIEW.
Letter from an American Traveller in Europe to his Friends in this country.

Rome, January 30, 1805. Èurope, and you meet, on a footing SINCE I last wrote you, we extremely pleasant, gentlemen and have retraced our steps to this city, ladies of rank and character from aland are now as busy as the worst most every nation. ' Amidst a great weather will permit us in reviewing variety of characters which one would the most select and interesting parts expect to find in a place so mixed, of its antiquities and curiosities, or in there were two whose history altractvisiting those which escaped us be- ed my notice, and whose biographifore. Never, perhaps, at so short a cal sketches were to us extremely indistance, and under the same climate, teresting. was a difference so striking in the One is an old octogenarian gentlemanners and habits of cities, as that man, who is still known by a title, which exists between Naples and which he had, I presume, about fifty Rome.

years ago, Governour Ellis. This The former is the most busy, live- title he derived from having been à ly, crowded, gay, dissipated city in governour of Georgia, in the United the world. The latter resembles the States, under the royal government. still, grand, but interesting solemnity He served many years as a naval offiof some ancient but splendid abbey. cer under the grandfather of George Every thing in the former exhibits III. who, you will recollect, is now man as he is, a bustling, active, turned of sixty. He performed a thoughtless being, pursuing phan- circumnavigatory voyage before Cook, toms, seeking pleasure which he and that celebrated navigator served never can find, and driving away, by under him in an inferiour station. the hurry of the present, the thought His voyages will be found under the of the future. All the objects in the name of Ellis's Voyages round the Jatter recall man as he has been; his World, in Mavor's collection, and I former greatness; his present humi: dare say, that many of us, in reading lity ; his false grandeur ; his proud it, have supposed the man to have but vain esire of terrestrial immor- been buried for half a century past. taliiy; his luxury and his poverty ; For the last thirty years he has rehis power and weakness; the dura. tired to Naples to pass the residue of bility of Providence, and the perpe- his lift. Till within a few years he tual mutability of man. At Rome has passed his summers in journies every thing is still, quiet, solemn as to Russia and the north, and his winthe sepulchres of the kings and he- ters in the south, preserving by that roes which it encloses. The society means a perpetual summer, extremeat Naples is vastly more interesting, ly favourable to longevity. For the particularly for the English residents. last twenty years he has abstained Many English or American families, from animal food, but has supplied whose manners correspond to our the want of it by a very strong soup, own, and whose houses are seats of which, with a single glass of wine, general hospitality, make the time forms his constant diet. pass off very agreeably. Its climate He is extremely fond of society, attracts strangers from every part of and whenever there is a ball or con.

to amuse.

verzazione the governour generally she insisted that it should be contipasses an hour in it. He retains his nued during her illness; and in fact faculties fully, which are of a supe- after she was speechless, the night riour grade. He is an elegant classick of her death, she had a party who scholar, and his language in common took leave of her, and she died before conversation is a perfect model for an morning!!! To finish the scene, as accomplished man. He has a great it commenced, according to the fa. turn for poetry, which he repeats shion of great people in this country, with astonishing memory whenever her body was exposed in state, as it requested He did me the favour to is termed, for three days, and was lend me a satire on manners, which there visited by those friends whom he has just finished. He lived in the her living hospitality had contributed house with a Russian princess, whom I shall soon notice. She was no youth, I met several times in Naples a having nearly reached her ninetieth young German officer, whose history year. The gallant old gentleman was very interesting to me, not only wrote a few couplets in compliment as it was wonderful in itself, but to his youthful neighbour, at which as it proves that the Austrians did she, however, took offence, observing not yield the palm to the French in that she did not choose to be the sub- point of bravery. I have always beject of publick notice, even in com- lieved, that numbers, rather than plimentary canzonets. I heard the courage or conduct, achieved the vicold gentleman complain of this fails tories of France. This young officer ure of return for his gallantry. was of the first family in Germany.

This princess was as extraordinary He is one of the princes of the Licha character as the governour. She tenstein family. He commanded a like him had retired to milder skies regiment of cavalry in the Austrian to reinvigorate her decaying fabrick. service, and as he was of high rank, She was the most hospitable foreign. his regiment was a large one. It coner at Naples. Her house was one of sisted of eighteen hundred men. As the pleasantest resorts for all stran it suffered in engagernents, it was gers of character who visited the city. constantly recruited; so that in the Her ruling passion was gay society, course of that short war he lost out of and never did a woman exhibit the that regiment, whose complement truth of Pope's sentiment more truly was only eighteen hundred men, nine Hers was never stronger than in thousand seven hundred; I repeat it, death. For many weeks before her nine thousand seven hundred ; and death, it was known to herself and he and another officer are the only every one around her, that she would ones surviving in the regiment, who soon die ; but she expressed a strong first engaged in it this last war. The wish that she might survive the first prince has received many severe day of the new year, because she was wounds, and is now in Italy for his resolved to give a brilliant fête on that health. He is not, I think, more than day. She died, I believe, before ; but thirty years of age. I think these as she was in the habit of receiving three characters well worthy of no her friends on certain days, who tice. They certainly do not occur at amused themselves with cards, &c. every corner.

ANECDOTES. The following anecdotes respecting Scot- need not be afraid, it is not dressed

tish manners are extracted from Hall's with castor oil." Upon inquiring Travels in Scotland, a late work.

what he alluded to, he told me that a IT was, and still is a custom in gentleman and his lady, in the neighmany places in the Highlands, that bourhood, who sometimes, as is the whoever comes into a house after a

case in inland places, where there are person dies, and before such person

no resident doctors, when any of their is interred, as also after a child is tenants are sick, recommend an emeborn till it is baptized, must eat and tick, or the like, to them, and at their drink in the house before they leave

own expense afford the medicine. it. This being the custom, to save This gentleman, having an appeal to expenses, and because they think it the house of peers, about a large es. disrespectful to God to have an un tate, was at London ; and, as he gainbaptized child in the house, poor peo- ed the process, and was about to reple generally have their children as

turn to Scotland, he bought some soon baptized as possible. But it gallons of castor oil, to lie at his happened once to a poor man in this house, and be served out as occasion part of the country, that a river, as is should require. Upon his arrival in often the case, ran between his house Scotland, as it is natural, all the noand the clergyman's, so that neither bility and gentry, who were acquaintthe poor man could get to the clergy: ed with him, came to dine with him, man, nor the clergyman to the poor and congratulate him and the family man's, in order to have the child bap- on so many thousand pounds yearly tized. The river was swoln by the being added to their fortune. When gradual melting of the snow, and mostly all the genteel families for there was no bridge within twenty twenty miles round, had paid their miles. The poor man's cheese, his compliments to him in this manner, bread, &c. was nearly expended. He, and he and his lady found leisure to therefore, on the one side of the ri- hear the complaints of those sick peover, and the clergyman on the other, ple that applied to them, he found 'consulting what was to be done, that some castor oil might be useful agreed that the child should be

to a person that had come to consult brought to the river side ; that the them. Upon this, he rang the bell father, presenting the child, should for John, the servant, who appearing, take on the vows, as they term it, and and being desired to bring some cas. the minister with a scoop, or Dutch

tor oil, replied : “ It is all done." ładle, should throw over the water : “ Done!" replied the gentleman, “do which was done, though with difficul. not you know there is a keg of it lately, owing to the breadth of the river; ly come from London?” “ Yes, but if after which, the clergy man pronoun- it please you honour, i that one is ced the name ; prayed aloud, so as to done too." “ How can that be?" rebe heard by the parent and his atten- plied the gentleman, in a passion. dants on the other side ; after which

Why, sir, you have had such a cach went to their respective places round of company almost every day perfectly satisfied with this new mode since it came, and always sallad at taof baptism, and that, if the child died ble, that it is all gone." Don't

you in infancy, it would go to heaven.

know, it is castor oil I want, and that

the name is written in large letters on Being invited to dine with a gentle- the cask?" “ So it is,” replied the man near Auldern, when I was prai- servant, but as your honour knows, sing the sallad, which I found ex- it was for the CASTORS, and dressing tremely good, he said, smiling: “You the sallad : it is all gone."

66 O you

« PreviousContinue »