Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, by Various

Adobe PDF icon
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, by Various - Full Text Free Book
File size: 0.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.


Vol. 20, No. 564] SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1832. [PRICE 2d.

* * * * *

[Illustration: BELVOIR CASTLE.]

Belvoir Castle, (or Bever, as it was formerly and is now sometimes
called,) in situation and aspect partly resembles "majestic Windsor."
It has a similar "princely brow," being placed upon an abrupt
elevation of a kind of natural cliff, forming the termination of a
peninsular hill, the basis of which is red grit stone, but now covered
with vegetable mould, well turfed by nature and art, and varied into
terraces of different elevation. It has been the seat of the noble
family of Manners for several generations; it claims the priority of
every other seat in the county wherein it is situate; and is one of
the most magnificent castellated structures in the kingdom.

This castle, in some topographical works, is described as being in
Lincolnshire. Camden says, "In the west part of Kesteven, on the edge
of Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, there stands Belvoir Castle, so
called (whatever was its ancient name) from the fine prospect on a
steep hill, which seems the work of art." Burton expressly says
that it "is certainly in Lincolnshire," and the authors of _Magna
Britannia_ are of the same opinion; but Mr. Nichols, whose authority
on subjects of local history, respecting Leicestershire, is generally
decisive and satisfactory, states that "the castle is at present in
every respect considered as being within this county with all the
lands of the extra-parochial part of Belvoir thereto belonging,
(including the site of the Priory,[1]) consisting in the whole of
about 600 acres of wood, meadow, and pasture land; upon which are now
no buildings but the castle, with its offices and the inn. It would be
a difficult matter, notwithstanding, to trace out with accuracy, the
precise boundary of the two counties in this neighbourhood."

[1] At Belvoir was formerly a priory of four black monks,
subordinate to the Abbey of St. Alban, in Hertfordshire, to which
it was annexed by its founder, Robert de Belvideir, or De Todenci,
in the time of William the Conqueror. It was dedicated to St.
Mary; and was valued, at the Dissolution, at L104 19s. 10d. per
annum. Dr. Stukely, in the year 1726, saw the coffin and bones of
the founder, who died in 1088, dug up in the Priory chapel, then
a stable and on a stone was inscribed in large letters, with lead
cast in them, ROBERT DE TODENE LE FVDEVR. Another coffin and
cover near it was likewise discovered with the following
inscription:--"The Vale of Bever, barren of wood, is large and
very plentiful of good corn and grass, and lieth in three shires,
Leicester, Lincoln, and much in Nottinghamshire."

That Belvoir has been the site of a castle since the Norman Conquest
appears well established. Leland says, "The Castle of Belvoir standeth
in the utter part of that way of Leicestershire, on the nape of an
high hill, steep up each way, partly by nature, partly by working of
men's hands, as it may evidently be perceived. Whether there were any
castle there before the Conquest or no I am not sure, but surely I
think no rather than ye. Toteneius was the first inhabiter after the
Conquest. Then it came to Albeneius, and from Albeney to Ros."

The Belvoir estate came into the Manners family, by the marriage of
Eleanor with Robert de Manners of Ethale, Northumberland. Eleanor was
the eldest sister of Edmund, Lord Ros, who resided at the manor-house
of Elsinges, in Enfield, Middlesex, where he died without issue in the
year 1508. His sisters became heiresses to the estates, and Belvoir
being part of the moiety of Eleanor, became the property of the
Manners family, who have continued to possess it to the present time.

As the possessors of this castle and lordship have been chiefly
persons of considerable eminence, and many of them numbered among the
great men of history, it may be as well to interweave a few notices
of them with a brief chronological account of the noble structure.
Robert, the first Norman lord, died in 1088, and was buried in the
chapter-house of the Priory, where Dr. Stukely discovered the stone
already named, to his memory. "By a general survey taken at the
death of Robert, it appears that he was in possession of fourscore
lordships: many of which, by uninterrupted succession, continue still
to be the property of the Duke of Rutland. In Lincolnshire his domains
were still more numerous. In Northamptonshire he had nine lordships;
one of which, Stoke, acquired the additional name of Albini, when it
came into the possession of his son." William de Albini, son of the
above, succeeded to these lordships; and, like his father, was a
celebrated warrior: according to Matthew Paris, he valourously
distinguished himself at the battle of Tinchebrai, in Normandy,
September 27, 1106; where Henry I. encountered Robert Curthose, his
brother. This lord obtained from Henry the grant of an annual fair at
Belvoir, to be continued for eight days. During the changeful reigns
of Stephen and Henry II., the castle fell into the hands of the
crown, and was granted to Ranulph de Gernons, Earl of Chester; but
repossession was obtained by de Albini, who died here about the year
1155. William de Albini, (alias Meschines and Britto,) the next
possessor of Belvoir, endowed the Priory hero with certain lands, and,
in 1165, certified to Henry II. that he then held of him thirty-two
knights' fees under the old feoffments, whereby he was enfeoffed
in the time of Henry I. William de Albini, the third of that name,
accompanied Richard I. during his crusading reign, into Normandy: he
was also one of the sureties for King John, in his treaty of peace
with Philip of France. He was too, engaged in the barons' wars in the
latter reign, and was taken prisoner by the king's party at Rochester
Castle; his own castle at Belvoir also falling into the royal hands.
He was likewise one of the twenty-five barons, whose signatures were
attached to Magna Charta and the charter of Forests at Runnemede. This
lord richly endowed the priory of Belvoir, and founded and endowed a
hospital at Wassebridge, between Stamford and Uffingham, where he was
buried in 1236. Isabel, of the house of Albini, now married to Robert
de Ros, or Roos, baron of Hamlake, and thus carried the estates into a
new family. The bounds of the lordship of Belvoir, at this time, are
described by a document printed in Nichols's History. This new lord
obtained a license from Henry III. to hold a weekly market and annual
fair at Belvoir. He died in 1285, and his body was buried at Kirkham,
his bowels before the high altar at Belvoir, and his heart at Croxton
Abbey; it being a practice of that age for the corporeal remains of
eminent persons to be thus distributed after death. The next owner,
William de Ros was, in 1304, allowed to impark 100 acres under
the name of _Bever_ Park, which was appropriated solely to the
preservation of game. He died in 1317: his eldest son, William de Ros,
took the title of Baron Ros, of Hamlake, Werke, Belvoir, and Trusbut;
was Lord High Admiral of England, and sat in parliament from 11 Edw.
II. to 16 Edw. III; he died in 1342. Sir William de Ros, knight, was
Lord High Treasurer to Henry IV.; he died at the Castle in 1414, and
bequeathed 400_l._ "for finding ten honest chaplains to pray for his
soul, and the souls of his father, mother, brethren, sisters, &c." for
eight years within his chapel at Belvoir castle. John and William Ros,
the next owners, were distinguished in the wars of France; the former
was slain at Anjou; the latter died in 1431, and was succeeded by his
son, Edmund, an infant, who, on coming of age, engaged in the civil
wars of York and Lancaster: he was attainted in 1641, and his noble
possessions parcelled out by Edward IV; the honour, castle, and
lordship of Belvoir, with the park and all its members, and the rent
called castle-guard, (then an appurtenance to Belvoir,) being granted
in 1647, to Hastings the court corruptionist.[2] The attainder was,
however, repealed, and Edmund, Lord Ros re-obtained possession of all
his estates in 1483: he died at Enfield, and the estates then passed
into the Manners family, as we have stated.

[2] "The Lord Ros took Henry the VIth's part against King Edward,
whereupon his lands were confiscated, and Belever Castle given in
keeping to Lord Hastings, who coming thither on a time to peruse
the ground, and to lie in the castle, was suddenly repelled by Mr.
Harrington, a man of power thereabouts, and friend to the Lord
Ros. Whereupon the Lord Hastings came thither another time with a
strong power, and upon a raging will spoiled the castle, defacing
the roofs, and taking the leads off them.--Then fell all the
castle to ruins, and the timber of the roofs uncovered, rotted
away, and the soil between the walls at the last grew full of
elders, and no habitation was there till that, of late days, the
Earl of Rutland hath made it fairer than ever it was."--_Leland_.

George, eldest son of the above-named Robert Manners, succeeded to his
father's estates, including Belvoir: in his will, a copy of which is
given by Mr. Nichols, dated Oct. 6, 1513, he is styled "Sir George
Manners, knight, Lord Ros." He was interred, with his lady, in a
chantry chapel, founded by his father-in-law, Sir Thomas Ledger, in
the chapel of St. George, at Windsor. His son, Thomas, Lord Ros,
succeeded him, and was created by Henry VIII. a knight, and afterwards
Earl of Rutland, a title which had never before been conferred on
any person but of the blood royal. This nobleman aided Henry in the
dissolution of the monasteries, and for his zeal received from the
monarch several manors and estates. He caused many of the ancient
monuments of the Albinis and the Rosses to be removed from the priory
churches of Belvoir and Croxton to that of Bottesford. He also
restored and in part rebuilt the castle, which had been in ruins since
Hastings's attack. The state of the castle at this period is thus
described by Leland:--"It is a straunge sighte to se be how many
steppes of stone the way goith up from the village to the castel.
In the castel be two faire gates; and the dungeon is a faire rounde
towere now turned to pleasure, as a place to walk yn, and to se al
the counterye aboute, and raylid about the round (wall,) and a garden
(plotte) in the midle. There is also a welle of grete depth in the
castelle, and the spring thereof is very good." Henry, the second Bard
of Rutland, succeeded his father in 1543; and in 1556 was appointed
captain-general of all the forces then going to France, and commander
of the fleet, by Philip and Mary. Edward, the third earl, eldest son
of the former, succeeded in 1563: Camden calls him "a profound lawyer,
and a man accomplished with all polite learning." John, a colonel of
foot in the Irish wars, became fourth earl in 1587, and was followed
by his son Roger, the fifth earl, who dying without issue, his brother
Francis was nominated his heir, and made the sixth earl. He married
two wives, by the first of whom he had only one child, named
Catherine, who married George Villiers, the first Duke of Buckingham.
Her issue, George, the second Duke of Buckingham, dying without an
heir, the title of Lord Ros of Hamlake again reverted to the Rutland
family. By a second marriage he had two sons, who, according to the
monument, were murdered by wicked practice and sorcery.[3] George
was created seventh earl in 1632; and was honoured with a visit from
Charles I. at Belvoir castle, in 1634. The eighth earl was John
Manners, who attaching himself to the Parliamentarians, the castle was
attacked by the royal army, and lost and won again and again by each
party, till the earl being "put to great streights for the maintenance
of his family," petitioned the house of peers for relief, and Lord
Viscount Campden having been the principal instrument in the ruin of
the "castle, lands, and woods about Belvoyre," parliament agreed that
1,500l a year be paid out of Lord Campden's estate, until 5,000l
be levied, to the earl of Rutland. In the civil wars the castle was
defended for the king by the rector of Ashwell, co. Rutland. In 1649,
the parliament ordered it to be demolished; satisfaction was, however,
made to the earl, whose son rebuilt the castle after the Restoration.
John, the ninth earl, succeeded his father in 1679. He preferred the
baronial retirement and rural quiet of Belvoir, to the busy court;
though he was created Marquess of Granby, in the county of Nottingham,
and Duke of Rutland. He died in 1710-11, and was succeeded by his son
John;[4] whose eldest son became the third Duke of Rutland, and was
the last of the family who resided at Haddon, Derbyshire. He died in
1779, and was succeeded by his grandson, Charles, Lord Ros, fourth
duke, who died lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1787, when his son John
Henry, the present and fifth duke succeeded to the titles and estates.

[3] As illustrative of the folly and superstition of the times,
it may be interesting to explain this. Joan Flower, and her two
daughters, who were servants at Belvoir Castle, having
been dismissed the family, in revenge, made use of all the
enchantments, spells, and charms, that were at that time supposed
to answer their malicious purposes. Henry, the eldest son, died
soon after their dismissal; but no suspicion of witchcraft arose
till five years after, when the three women, who are said to have
entered into a formal contract with the devil, were accused of
"murdering Henry Lord Ros by witchcraft, and torturing the Lord
Francis, his brother, and Lady Catharine, his sister." After
various examinations, before Francis Lord Willoughby, of Eresby,
and other magistrates, they were committed to Lincoln gaol. Joan
died at Ancaster, on her way thither, by wishing the bread and
butter she ate might choak her if guilty. The two daughters were
tried before Sir Henry Hobbert, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas,
and Sir Edward Bromley, one of the Barons of Exchequer, confessed
their guilt, and were executed at Lincoln, March 11, 1618-19.

[4] "The _great Marquess of Granby_" born in 1721, was the son of
this duke. During the rebellion he raised a regiment of foot. In
1758, being lieutenant-general, he was sent into Germany, and
eminently distinguished himself under Prince Ferdinand of
Brunswick. He died in 1770, and was buried with his ancestors at
Bottesford, where, a few years since, there was no monumental
record of his name!

It is now time to speak of the present magnificence of Belvoir. The
castle which surrounds a quadrangular court, occupies nearly the
summit of the hill, which is ascended by superb stone steps. On the
castle are mounted seven small pieces of cannon, which were presented
to the Duke of Rutland by George the Third; from these pieces 21
rounds were fired Nov. 5, 1808, in commemoration of the Gunpowder
Plot. The view from the terraces and towers comprehends the whole vale
of Belvoir, and the adjoining country as far as Lincoln, including
twenty-two of the Duke of Rutland's manors. On the southern slope
of the hill are enclosed terraces, on which there are several
flower-gardens, surrounded by extensive shrubberies. The
kitchen-gardens extend to eight acres. The park is of great extent,
and contains fine forest trees which form a woodland beneath the hill,
so extensive as to afford shelter for innumerable rooks. There are
likewise thriving plantations, containing some remarkably fine young

Belvoir Castle has one of the most superb _interiors_ in the kingdom:
its furniture and decorations are of the most costly description.
It also contains one of the most valuable collections of paintings,
whether considered for the variety of schools, or the judicious choice
of the works of each master. Among those who have contributed to
this invaluable assemblage, are Poussin, Carlo Dolci, Guido, Claude
Lorraine, Salvator Rosa, Murillo, Reubens, Teniers, and Reynolds.
The collection was principally formed by John, the third duke, and
Charles, his successor, who were munificent patrons of the arts. All
the modern pictures, of which there are a considerable number, were
collected by the former duke.

The last general repairs of Belvoir Castle are stated to have cost the
noble owner upwards of 60,000L. The structure has been more than once
extensively injured by fire. A conflagration there in October, 1816,
consumed a large portion of the ancient part of the castle, and
several of the pictures. Among them was Sir Joshua Reynolds's
_Nativity_, a composition of thirteen figures, and in dimensions 12
feet by 18. This noble picture was purchased by the late Duke of
Rutland for 1,200 guineas.

* * * * *


A hectic hue is on my feverish cheek,
And slowly throbs my pulse--but it will cease;
And cease, too, will the visions instinct,
Impalpable, and deep, that haunt my soul!
Death, who can dash the chalice from the lips
Of Pleasure's votary, and hush the lyre
While poetry is breathing on its strings;
Death, who can quench the spirit which portrays
Beauty's resemblance on the marble urn,
Will steep my feelings in oblivion's gloom,
Ere wintry winds disperse the sunny leaves
That cluster round the bosom of the rose.
But I have communed with enchanting shapes,
And felt the silver gush of many a song
Amid the air, until my spirit seem'd
Instinct with glorious draughts of paradise!
Mine eyes have scarcely closed their burning lids
For many a night; and I have watch'd the stars
That smiled upon me from the brow of heaven,
Like deep blue orbs familiar to my youth;
But now abstraction clouds me, and the fire--
Ambition's fire--it can be nothing less--
Deserts its lonely shrine; but I must give
The last bright touch to this bewitching form,
This pictured rainbow of my solitude!
I have invested her with loveliness
More pure than beings of the earth assume,
And Memory calls her beauteous image back
From the forgotten things of distant years,
Warm, eloquent, and holy, as the balm
Of flow'rs impearl'd with dew, which summer skies
Diffuse around--I mark the marble brow
Of polish'd symmetry, the eyes more blue
Than violets in their vernal bloom, the neck
Swanlike, and moulded with ethereal grace;
And feel their magic influence on my mind.
I will embody them, and give the stamp
Of fervid genius to their various charms,
Ere this last aspiration is extinct
In the unbroken slumbers of the tomb!
For I have had prophetic monitors
To warn me of my fate, and I must leave
All that is lovely in this lovely world.

It is a summer eve--the sunbeams tinge
The glassy bosom of the quiet lake;
The music of the birds enchants the air,
And Nature's verdant robe is gemm'd with flow'rs.
From which the breeze derives its liquid balm.
Oh! in my youth, this hour has been to me
Bright as the fairy arch upon the clouds
Of earthly grief and gloom, and even now
It gives the silent fountain of my heart
A renovated action, and recalls
The energies that long ago were mine.
My fancy wanders as I thus portray
The lineaments on which 'tis bliss to gaze:
How beautiful their prototype! to whom
I breath'd in youth the most impassion'd words,
And felt as if Elysium had disclosed
Its glory to my eye--around this brow,
Stainless as marble, cluster golden curls
Like sunbeams on the bosom of the cloud,
And o'er the radiant azure orbs beneath,
The snowy lids suspend their glossy fringe.
Upon such beauty shall my pencil stamp
Its immortality, and make it seem
More beautiful in Fancy's softest glow;
And, my beloved! when this warm hand that traced
Thy pictured charms is mouldering in the dust,
Thou wilt proclaim the painter's mastery,
And consecrate the canvass with a power
Which shall defy the wasting hand of Time!


* * * * *


In a vault under the Font of the Old Church of St. Dunstan in the
West, has lately been discovered the leaden coffin of a "Mr. Moody,"
(without a Christian name,) who "died in the year 1747, aged 70
years." After this interment of 85 years, the face was found not
decomposed, but perfect; the mouth extended--the teeth and eye-brows
unimpaired, and to the touch, the flesh solid (covered with a cloth)
and no appearance of worms; which puzzles the common opinion that such
insects prey upon the dead:

"And food for worms brave Percy!"

exclaimed Prince Henry over the expiring body of Hotspur.

This observation was made by a person who saw the remains on the
8th of August, 1832, an older object by twelve years, and without
teeth,--a gum-biter!


* * * * *


A summer morn, with all its golden light,
Gilded the snowy bosom of the cloud,
And robed the verdant earth with sunny hues.
The bees sang music to their passion-flow'rs,
The birds, with melody which seem'd to gush
From joyful hearts, entranced the crystal air;
But, spectre-like, the ancient castle frown'd
Over the deep, whose softly-rippling waves
Reflected its array of ruined towers.
In times of old, the gallant chiefs for whom
Its stately walls arose, the men who made
Their names a terror to the Saracen,
Adopted as their symbol in the field,
The rose--that flower of faction and of blood!
I saw it sculptured on the marble shield
Which graced the lofty gate, it was enroll'd
Among the records of departed days;
Over the hearth, upon the pictured crest
It met mine eye, and to my mind recall'd
The glorious deeds of England's chivalry.

The Rose--it appear'd on the portal proud,
Which the ivy robed in its mournful shroud;
As the sunshine gleam'd in the silent hall
I traced its image upon the wall.

Although the castle was old and grey,
And its summer of glory had pass'd away,
Though the roof had fall'n, and the walls sunk low,
The rose still smiled in the sunbeam's glow.

But, oh! that symbol of purest faith
Had cheer'd the heart in the hour of death,
And shone triumphant o'er the brave
As they crush'd the power of the sceptred slave.

It seem'd like a spell on the lips of all
Whom the trumpet call'd from their festive hall,
And the soldier to it upturn'd his eye
As he lay on the grassy turf to die.

But it gleams no more on land or sea,
A star to the feudal chivalry!
On the silent hearth, and the ivied tower,
Hath it found a last forsaken bower. G.R.C.

* * * * *


* * * * *



Much as has been said about gin-drinking in the present times, it
would appear from the following curious extract, that our forefathers
(of the last century,) were more addicted to that pernicious custom,
than we are even in the nineteenth century:--

"Several of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of
Middlesex, having, in pursuance of an order of a former Quarter
Session, made an inquiry into the houses and places where Geneva and
other such pernicious distilled liquors are sold by retail, about this
time made their report; by which it appears, to the great surprise and
concern of those who have the trade and welfare of the public truly
at heart, that there are in the limits of Westminster, Holborn, the
Tower, and Finsbury divisions (exclusive of London and Southwark)
7,044 houses and shops, where the said liquors are publicly sold by
retail, (which in several parishes, is computed to be, at least, every
sixth house,) besides what is privately sold in garrets, cellars,
back-rooms, and other private places.

"That of this number, no less than 2,105 are unlicensed; and that
Geneva is now sold, not only by distillers and Geneva shops, but by
above 80 other inferior trades; particularly chandlers, weavers,
tobacconists, shoemakers, carpenters, barbers, tailors, dyers,
labourers, &c. &c.; there being in the Hamlets of Bethnal Green,
upwards of 90 weavers who sell this liquor."

"_JANUARY 20TH_, 1736." G.K.

* * * * *



When Adam was nine hundred and thirty years old, he felt in himself
the word of the judge, "Thou shalt die." Then spoke Adam to the
weeping Eve: "Let my sons come before me, that I may see and may bless
them." They all came at their father's word, and stood before him,
many hundred in number, and prayed for his life. "Who among you," said
the old man, "will go to the holy mountain? Very likely he may
find pity for me, and bring to me the fruit of the tree of life."
Immediately, all his sons offered themselves; and Seth, the most
pious, was chosen by his father for the message. He besprinkled his
head with ashes, hastened, and delayed not, until he stood before
the gate of Paradise. Then prayed he, "Let my father find pity,
kind-hearted one, and send to him fruit from the tree of life."
Quickly there stood the glittering cherub, and instead of the tree of
life, he held a twig of three leaves in his hand. "Carry this to thy
father," said he, friendly, "his last consolation is here; for eternal
life dwells not on the earth." Swiftly hastened Seth, threw himself
down, and said, "No fruit of the tree of life bring I to thee,
my father, only this twig has the angel given me, to be thy last
consolation here." The dying man took the twig, and was glad. He
smelled on it the fragrance of Paradise, and then was his soul
elevated: "Children," said he, "eternal life dwells not for us on the
earth; you must follow after me; but on these leaves I breathe the
refreshing air of another world." Then his eyes failed; his spirit
fled hence.

Adam's children buried their father, and wept for him thirty days; but
Seth wept not. He planted the twig upon his father's grave, at the
head of the dead man, and named it the twig of the new life, of the
awakening up out of the sleep of death. The little twig grew up into a
high tree, and by it many of Adam's children strengthened themselves
with comfort of the other life. So it came to the following
generation. In the garden of David it blossomed fair, until his
infatuated son began to doubt on immortality; then withered the twig,
though its blossoms came among other nations. And as on a stem from
this tree, the restorer of immortality gave up his holy life; from it
the fragrance of the new life scattered itself around far among all
nations. W.G.C.

* * * * *


The laws made by Richard I. for the preservation of good order in his
fleet, when he was sailing to Palestine, were as follows:--He that
kills a man on board shall be tied to the body and thrown into the
sea. If he kills one on land he shall he buried with the same. If it
be proved that any one has drawn a knife to strike another, or has
drawn blood, he shall lose his hand. If he strike with his fist,
without effusion of blood, he shall be thrice plunged into the sea. If
a man insult another with opprobrious language, so often as he does
it, to give so many ounces of silver. A man convicted of theft, to
have his head shaved, and to be tarred and feathered on the head, and
to be left on the first land the ship shall come to. Richard appointed
officers to see these laws executed with rigour, _two of which
officers were bishops_. A.H.K.--T.

* * * * *




_Why may the atmosphere be termed a fourth kingdom of Nature?_

Because it extends its influence in an equal degree over the three
kingdoms, the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral, operates upon
each after a distinct manner, and appears rather to be independent,
and allied to all of them, than to be rightly included within any one.

_Why is a knowledge of the atmosphere important to the naturalist?_

Because it serves to throw much light on the history and functions
both of the animal and vegetable creation; for it is through this
great medium that heat, light, electricity, oxygen, and the great
springs of vital phenomena, are conveyed to all classes of organized
matter. It is by means of this wonderful agent, that we gain the
theory of respiration in all classes of creatures possessing animal
life; and that we become acquainted with the migrations of animals,
as well as many of their peculiar instincts and habits. It is the
atmosphere that enables us to account for the periodical changes in
the plumage of birds and the furs of animals, and the variety of
colours to be found amongst them. By means also of the elasticity of
the atmosphere, sounds and odours are transmitted to sensitive beings.
Atmospherical phenomena, it may be safely inferred, attracted the
observation of mankind in the earliest ages: we know that the
Egyptians and the Greeks wrote upon the subject; the Jews too, a
pastoral people, "could discern the face of the sky;" and even in our
day, shepherds may be ranked among the weather-wise. "This is a fine
morning, a soft day, or a cold evening," are modes of salutation with
us, as commonly as is the "Salem Alikem" (Peace be with you!) amongst
the inhabitants of the more serene countries of the East. Shenstone
says, though with nearly equal spleen and truth: "there is nothing
more universally commended than a fine day: the reason is, that people
can commend it without envy."

_Why do we call the atmosphere a fluid?_

Because it has a tendency to move in all directions, and consequently
rushes in and fills every space not previously occupied by a more
solid substance. Hence we find, that every cave, crevice, place, and
vessel, having communication with the atmosphere, if it be not filled
with something else, is filled with air; against which it is no
argument that we do not see it, as it is perfectly transparent, and
consequently invisible.

_Why do birds fly?_

Because of the inertia of the atmosphere, which gives effect to their
wings. Were it possible for a bird to live without respiration, and in
a space void of air, it would no longer have the power of flight. The
plumage of the wings being spread, and acting with a broad surface
on the atmosphere beneath them, is resisted by the inertia of the
atmosphere, so that the air forms a falcrum, as it were, on which the
bird rises, by the leverage of its wings.

_Why is air generally considered to be invisible?_

Because, though a coloured fluid, and naturally blue, its colour
acquires intensity only, or, in other words, becomes visible only,
from the depth of the transparent mass. According to rigid Newtonians,
air is transparent, or, rather, invisible; and the azure colour of the
atmosphere arises from the greater refrangibility of the blue rays of
light. Other philosophers imagine that the blue tint is inherent in
air; that is, that the particles of air have the property of producing
a blue colour, in their combination with light.

_Why are the most distant objects in a prospect of a blue tinge?_

Because their colours are always tinted by the deepening hues of the
interjacent atmosphere. Again, the blending of the atmospheric azure
with the colours of the solar rays, produces those compound and
sometimes remarkable tints, with which the sky and clouds are
emblazoned. Hence, the mountains appear blue, not because that is
their colour, but because it is the colour of the medium through which
they are seen.

_Why do the Heavens appear blue?_

Because of our looking at the dark vacuity beyond our atmosphere
through an illuminated medium. Were there no atmosphere, it is
universally admitted the appearance would be perfectly black, except
in the particular direction of the sun, or some other of the heavenly
bodies, and since the atmosphere is transparent, this blackness (if
such an expression may be used) must be seen through it, only somewhat
modified by the rays of light reflected by the atmosphere to the eye,
from the direction in which we look. For this reason, the clearer or
more transparent the atmosphere is, the darker is the appearance of
the heavens, there being then less light reflected by the atmosphere
to the eye. In the zenith, the appearance is always darker than nearer
the horizon; and from the tops of high mountains, the heavens in
the zenith appear nearly black.--_Mr. B. Hallowell, in the American
Journal of Science and Arts._

_Why does the heat of temperature of different parts of the earth

Because of the position of the place with respect to the equator, or
rather to the ecliptic, or, more strictly still, with respect to the
plane in which the earth revolves around the sun; for on this relation
depends the temperature of the place, so far as it is produced,
directly, by the influence of the sun. Maltebrun ascribes to it the
following influences: 1, the action of the sun upon the atmosphere: 2,
the interior temperature of the globe: 3, the elevation of the earth
above the level of the ocean: 4, the general inclination of the
surface, and its local exposure: 5, the position of its mountains
relatively to the cardinal points: 6, the neighbourhood of great seas,
and their relative situation: 7, the geological nature of the soil: 8,
the degree of cultivation, and of population, at which a country has
arrived: 9, the prevalent winds.

_Why are the strata of air upon all mountains of successive coldness?_

Because the air does not acquire immediately, by the passage of the
solar rays, a considerable degree of heat. Thus, with the elevation of
land, cold may be said to increase in very rapid progression. Winter
continues to reign on the Alps and the Pyrenees, while the flowers of
spring are covering the plains of northern France. This beneficent
appointment of Nature considerably increases the number of habitable
countries in the torrid zone. It is probable, that at the back of the
flat burning coasts of Guinea, there exist in the centre of Africa,
countries which enjoy a delightful temperature; as we see the vernal
valley of Quito, situate under the same latitude with the destructive
coasts of French Guyana, where the humid heat constantly cherishes the
seeds of disease. On the other hand, it is the continued elevation
of the ground, which, in the central parts of Asia, extends the cold
region to the 35th parallel of latitude, so that in ascending from
Bengal to Thibet, we imagine ourselves in a few days transported from
the equator to the pole.--_Maltebrun._

_Why does the destruction of forests sometimes prove beneficial to a

Because a freer circulation of air is thus procured--but carried too
far, it becomes a scourge which may desolate whole regions. We have
a sad example of this in the Cape de Verde islands, not to mention
others. It is the destruction of forests, and not a supposed cooling
of the globe, which has rendered the southern part of Iceland more
accessible to the dreadful cold which is too often produced by those
masses of floating ice which are intercepted and detained by its
northern coasts.--Ibid.

_Why do mountains influence climates?_

Because, although they cannot prevent the general motions of the
atmosphere from taking place, they may, by stopping them in part,
render particular winds more or less frequent throughout a certain
extent of country. Maltebrun observes, there cannot be a doubt that
the Alps contribute in securing to Italy its delightful and happy
climate, its perpetual spring, and its double harvests.

* * * * *



[We quote these interesting details from a paper on the Sargasso
Weed, or gulf weed, with which a certain part of the Atlantic
Ocean is generally covered, and amongst which Toad Fish are
found. The reason of the weed accumulating has given rise to much
difference of opinion, which is the main subject of the above
communication, by Mr. Benet, of Bulstrode-street, to the _Naval

[5] We are happy to perceive that the above journal rises
in interest and value as it proceeds; and merits all the
encouragement our notice of its first appearance may have induced
our readers to confer upon it.

[Illustration: Toad Fish]

The figure represents one of those fishes to which, on account of
their uncouth appearance, the name of Toad Fish has been popularly
given. Under this denomination there have been included many very
dissimilar kinds, extreme ugliness being held as alone sufficient for
the establishment of an undeniable claim to the title. The present
fish, and those nearly related to it, advance, however, peculiar
claims to the appellation. Their belly and side fins are borne upon
supports which project from the body in the semblance of limbs, their
similarity to which is increased by the jointed form they acquire at
the point of union of the fin with its support, and still farther
by the finger-like appearance of the rays of these fins, which are
unconnected by membrane at their tips. This curious structure imparts
to these fishes not only somewhat of the outward form of a quadruped,
but also a portion of its habits, and they are, accordingly, capable
of crawling like toads among the sea-weeds and rocks which they
usually inhabit; the side fins, which are placed farther back than
those of the belly, performing on each occasion the functions of
hinder feet. Nor is this mode of locomotion confined to the water
alone; it may, also, be exercised by them on land, for their
gill-openings are so small, that evaporation takes place but slowly
from within them, and thus the gills are kept moistened, and the
circulation of the blood is preserved, even out of the water, for two
or three days. So remarkable a deviation from the usual appearance and
habits of the class to which they belong, has naturally caused them to
be regarded as objects of curiosity; and it is recorded, that living
specimens have been successfully transported from the East to Holland,
where they have been sold at considerable prices.

The fishes of this genus, to which Commerson gave the name of
Antennarius, (on account of the filament which they possess on the
forehead,) are met with in the sea of warm climates, in the east as
well as in the west. They subsist chiefly on small crabs, to surprise
which they hide themselves among the sea-weed, or behind stones. Their
flesh is said not to be edible; it may, perhaps, have been rejected,
on account of their disgusting appearance, and is certainly too small
in quantity to allow of its being important as an article of food.
In swimming, they usually gulp down air, and, thus distending their
capacious stomachs, enlarge themselves into a rounded half-floating
mass, much in the same manner as the globe of balloon fishes. Their
nearest affinity is to the fishes known as anglers, with which
they agree in the form of their gill-openings and fins, and in
the possession of filaments on the head; but the monstrously
disproportioned head of the anglers, which is depressed from
above downwards, and the enormous opening of their mouth, readily
distinguish them from the Toad Fishes, whose head is of moderate size,
and, like their bodies, compressed laterally. They are either smooth
or variously hairy or bristly, and are always destitute of the regular
scales with which fishes are generally invested. They are furnished,
especially on the lips and the under parts, with numerous short, loose
processes of skin, which add considerably to their sense of touch.
There is great variety in the different kinds in the length of the
filament on the head, and its termination is still more varied; in
some it is almost simple, as though formed of a single undilated hair;
in others, it is surmounted by a small, dense, globular mass of short
filaments; and in others again, it has two, or even three large fleshy
processes at its end, not unlike the baits which terminate the fishing
filaments of the anglers.

In the species figured, the Antennarius Iaevigatus, the skin is
smooth, and furnished with short loose processes; the filament on the
head is short, and terminated by a small knob of clustered minute
filaments; this is succeeded by two other processes, each resembling
a fin supported by a single ray, and fringed, especially towards its
upper part, by loose portions of skin; to these succeed the back fin,
supported, as usual, by many rays. The colour is pale, irregularly
blotched, spotted, and streaked with brown, the markings varying
considerably in different individuals; it is also dotted irregularly
with white. By these characters it may be known from the other species
of the genus, with which it appears to have been associated by
Linnaeus, under the common name of Lophius Histrio. It was first
scientifically distinguished by M. Bosc, a French naturalist, who
observed it, on his voyage to America, among the Sargasso weed: he
described and figured it, not without some imperfections, in the
Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle. It has since been figured,
but not described, by Dr. Mitchell in the Transactions of the New York
Society; and one very nearly resembling it has been described by Mr.
Bennett with a figure, in the Geological Journal. The genus to which
it belongs is most completely treated of by M. Cuvier, in the Memoires
du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Cuvier]

Cuvier, the great naturalist, paid the debt of nature in May last,
after a life devoted to science with an unwearied application and a
success exceeded by none in modern times. He was born at Montbelliard
in 1769, a year which gave to so many remarkable men--a Napoleon--a
Chateaubriand--a Wellington--a Humboldt, &c. and his first discoveries
were on the Mollusca, and shook to its base the zoological
classification which then universally prevailed.

Invited to Paris to fill the place of Professor of Comparative Anatomy
at the _Jardin des Plantes_, his lectures speedily drew crowds around
him, attracted by his popular eloquence and lucid arrangement. His
next work, _Lecons d'Anatomie Comparee_, 1805, was rewarded by the
Institute with the decennial prize for the work which had contributed
the most to our knowledge of the Natural Sciences during that period.
At the same period he published a series of Memoirs on the Anatomy of
the Mollusca, and devoted his attention to a detailed examination
of the fossil remains of the bones of mammiferous animals; he
particularly examined the numerous fossils in the environs of Paris,
assisted in the geological part of his task by his friend M. A.
Brogniart. The sagacity and accuracy which M. Cuvier displayed in the
examination of fossil bones, raised this branch of inquiry to the
dignity of a perfectly new science, which has thrown a powerful light
on geology, and directed it into a more philosophical route. A
number of works and of elaborate memoirs published since by various
naturalists, have shown the prodigious influence which the labours of
Cuvier have exercised on the study of geology, of the animal kingdom,
and even of fossil botany. M. Cuvier amused himself during these
laborious works by particular researches which would alone have been
sufficient to have distinguished any other man, such as his five
Memoirs on the Voice of Birds, on Crocodiles, and on numerous subjects
of zoology; such also as his descriptions of the living animals in
the menagerie, &c. In all his works, even to the minutest details,
we discover the same luminous, clear, and methodical mind, and the
sagacity which characterized him. Feeling the want of a work
which should present a general view of his ideas on zoological
classification, he published in 1817 his work entitled _Le Regne
Animal distribue d'apres son Organisation_, in 4 vols, 8vo. which
speedily became the text-book of all zoological students. When
employed on this work he felt how far in arrear of the other branches
of zoology was that which respects the class of fish, and saw how much
difficulty had accumulated in it, as well from our ignorance of the
anatomy of these animals, and the impossibility of determining with
precision the laws of their comparative organization, as from the want
of large collections, and perhaps also from the too artificial spirit
which had hitherto prevailed in ichthyology. He employed his influence
to form a collection in the Paris Museum of specimens of fish from all
parts of the world, and was so successful in his endeavours that the
number of specimens which at first scarcely amounted to 1,000, in a
few years amounted to 6,000. Of these he dissected a large portion
with a care hitherto unknown, having the advantage of an able
associate in the study of the details in M. Valenciennes; he was thus
enabled in a period of time that may be called short, looking to the
extent of the results, to collect the materials of his great _Histoire
Naturelle des Poissons_, of which eight volumes have appeared, with
their appropriate plates, and for the continuation of which we have to
look to his laborious assistant. The recent embarrassment among the
Paris publishers having occasioned a stoppage in the progress of this
work, M. Cuvier availed himself of this (as the part prepared for the
press was already in advance of the printer) to make preparations
for republishing his _Lecons d'Anotomie Comparee_, of which a second
edition had been long anxiously called for. This design, however, he
was not permitted to complete; but it is to be hoped that we shall not
be long deprived of the edition he had contemplated, and that it will
be accompanied with those beautiful and accurate plates on which he
had bestowed so much pains, and in the execution of which he himself
excelled; for he was a skilful draftsman, and seized external forms
with rapidity and accuracy, and possessed the art of representing
in his drawings the forms of organic tissues in a style peculiar to
himself. His last course of lectures, on the History of the Natural
Sciences, and on the Philosophy of Natural History, delivered at the
College of France, is now publishing in livraisons, and will extend
to three or four vols, 8vo. This work, however, we believe, has been
published without his consent or revision. His memory was prodigious,
and he scarcely knew what it was to forget anything. Although his
great powers were more particularly devoted to natural history, no
part of science was a stranger to him, and his taste for literature
and works of imagination was particularly refined and elegant. In his
_Eloges_ of illustrious men, delivered in his capacity of perpetual
secretary of the Academy of Sciences, he always displays the utmost
impartiality and love of truth; he never debased the dignity
of science by any love of intrigue, and displayed the utmost
disinterestedness in his efforts to promote science. The qualities
of his heart were not less estimable than those of his head, and he
possessed the happy art of inspiring his friends with an unalterable
attachment. His conversation was varied and animated, adapted by turns
to every subject, and he may truly be said to have been the grace and
ornament of society. We must not forget the great services he rendered
to public education as head of the University; his Report on the
State of Primary Education in Holland is a lasting monument of his
solicitude for the education of the people, and all those who have
observed his conduct with regard to the higher branches of education,
know how constantly his influence was directed to favour their
progress and to remove obstacles. In other departments of the civil
service into which he was successively called, as Master of Requests,
Counsellor of State, President of the Section of the Interior,
Director of Protestant Worship, (for he was an enlightened and liberal
Protestant, and watched over the interests of his co-religionists with
constant solicitude,) and at last as a Peer of France--in all these he
displayed the same superiority of talent. The office of Censor of the
Press, which was offered to him, he, to his eternal honour, refused.
Such was the man whose loss the world has now to deplore: but the mind
that traced her age and history--in the wrecks of ages dug from her
bosom--will live for ever in his works to enlighten and instruct
mankind.--_Foreign Quarterly Review._

Cuvier is said to have died of a paralytic affection of the
oesophagus. His body was examined by several eminent pathologists:
his brain is stated to have presented a mass of extraordinary volume,
weighing three pounds thirteen and a half ounces; a fact which will
be treasured up by contemporary phrenologists as evidence of Cuvier's
great intellectual capabilities.

[Cuvier was Professor of Geology in the College of France. The chair,
vacant by his death, has just been filled by the appointment of
M. Elie Beaumont, celebrated for his investigation of mountain

* * * * *



[These are three novel-sized volumes from the prolific pen of Mr.
Grattan, whose _Highways and Byeways_ have probably started off
hundreds of scribbling tourists to the Continent, much to the
annoyance of the keepers of old castles and other necromantic
haunts. These Legends, however, have little to do with the Rhine,
which is perhaps fortunate for their success, as most of the
traditionary stories of the romantic river have been dished up in
as many forms and fashions as French cooks are accustomed to serve
up eggs. A few of our Correspondents have tried their taste,
but we hope not the reader's patience, in _Rhin_-onomy; and Mr.
Planche, moreover, has wandered and sailed up and down the
district, picking to new van its mystic stories in every form
common to our literature. We have enjoyed every inch of the stream
and its banks, coloured after nature, in a panorama on paper, to
put into your pocket or portmanteau; and just now Views on the
Rhine are publishing in sixpenny portions, and becoming as little
rare as Views on the Thames; till we may as well say thick as
leaves on the Rhine, as in Vallainbrosa.

Mr. Grattan's Legends are stated to be freely adapted from the
literature of the countries where the scenes are laid. They
consist of some ten or dozen stories of untiring length but too
much for entire extract. For the sake of some delightfully
graphic writing we are induced to quote a portion of one of the
tales--_The Curse of the Black Lady_, a legend of the twelfth
century. The scene lies in the Low Countries, and introduces an
admirably-drawn portrait of a knight of the period.]

The Castle of the Countess of Hainault at Mons was a complete specimen
of the splendid architecture of the twelfth century, or that which
is now called Gothic; pointed windows abounding in coloured glass,
unpolished marble, heavy wooden doors, thickly studded with iron
nails, leading into immense corridors, interminable passages, and
branching staircases.

It was early in a morning of the month of February, that the horn of a
knight was heard beyond the castle wall, and immediately replied to
by the warder; and when the draw-bridge was slowly replaced and the
portcullis heavily withdrawn, a knight followed by a squire, whose
surcoat bore the Flander's lion, entered. The cap of the knight was
of black velvet, and slight bars of steel, bent into the form of a
semicircle, crossed each other at the top of his head and served at
once for defence and for ornament. His boots of thick leather reaching
almost to the knees bespoke him an inhabitant of a maritime country,
having spurs formed of a single point of iron, long and obtuse, and
these being gilt would have announced the wearer's rank in chivalry,
even if his whole equipment and bearing had not proclaimed his right
to the deference with which he was received. As he dismounted from his
horse, he threw off the large mantle, not unlike the military cloaks
of our days, and discovered the knightly armour, which showed to
peculiar advantage his powerful limbs. A straight black tunic without
sleeves descended to his knees. It was fastened by a silver girdle,
from which depended on one side a strong sword, and on the other a
dagger, the richly wrought handle of which seemed to declare it of
Turkish make. His arms and hands were covered with a steel tissue,
sitting close and so flexible that it yielded lightly to every motion.
The squire who followed him was old, and a certain familiarity was
mingled with the respect of his manner, and seemed to declare that he
had been long accustomed to his master. In truth he had served
the father of our knight, and the latter had grown up beneath his
attendance, which had not unfrequently become his protection. His
armour, far from adorning his person, scarcely left a human figure
visible beneath its heavy plates of iron, fastened by nails whose
monstrous heads seemed cast in the same mould with those which
strengthened the heavy oak doors of the palace. His helmet seemed the
section of a water-pipe of cast iron. Visor it had none; but in its
place was a plate or bar of iron descending from the forehead to the
chin, almost touching the nose and mouth, and he had a group of arms
suspended from his saddle. It was Sir Guy de Dampierre and his squire.

The seneschal conducted them with much ceremony to the knight's
apartments in the castle, where a small table placed by the side of an
enormous log-fire in the middle of the room, and plentifully furnished
with cold salted and dried meats, together with the thin wines of
France, and the more potent juice of the German grape, soon made him
forget the cold and thirst he had endured in the forest. The beer he
quaffed with peculiar pleasure, as it invitingly foamed in a silver
tankard, which had been thickly embossed by the abbot of Wansfort, and
presented by him to the Emperor Baldwin previous to his embarkation
for the Holy Land.

Having praised the flavour of the beer and helped himself to some
slices from a well cured wild boar's head, he said to the chamberlain,
"And Baldwin of Avesnes is not yet arrived, you say?"

"No, Count," replied the chamberlain; "we expected he would be with

"Why, my road lay through Namur, and he comes directly from Bruges. I
marvel therefore he be not arrived--and I have news for him," said the

[The next page includes a passing notice of the _introduction of
chimneys_ into England, referable, though not without dispute, to
this date:--]

The warder's horn was again heard; and after due time the person in
question made his appearance. He looked harassed and fatigued, and
gladly took the seat Count Guy pointed to, close by his own, and
having stirred the logs which burned lazily in the huge hearth, he
observed, "Methinks the wood emits this sulphureous vapour more
strongly than ever. I marvel, Guy, that you have not repaid the
compliment of the English king's invitation to your weavers, by
bringing over workmen to build you some of those long narrow passages
which, beginning just over the fire, project from the top of the house
to carry off the smoke."

"What mean you, Baldwin?"

"Nay, have you not heard that in England they are beginning to build
along the end of the rooms, lodges or troughs to contain the fuel, on
the base of which they raise a brick funnel, through which all the
smoke mounts and so evaporates at the top of the house?" replied

"Think you then, d'Avesnes, that the whole room can be warmed with the
fire at one end of it, particularly if the smoke be carried out?"

"Indeed they say," replied d'Avesnes, "it casts a strong heat

["The Black Lady" is thus characterised:--"They speak of her as
one entirely destitute of natural sensibility; they hint at some
dark practices, and they designate her so frequently by the
epithet of the 'Black Lady,' that many, both in Hainault and
Flanders, are ignorant that this is not really her title." Here
follows a whole-length portrait of this specimen of black-letter

In the tapestried room into which the brothers were conducted, sat
the Black Lady of Brabant on a throne elevated considerably above
the floor. The dais was covered with the same rich tapestry as the
hangings which covered the walls, for even in this early age Bruges
was celebrated for such manufactures. The draperies of the throne were
of purple velvet fringed with gold, with a canopy and curtains of the
same rich materials, the latter being looped back with a massive cord
and tassels. The constable supported one side of the throne, and
the seneschal the other. Below these were the cup-bearer and grand
huntsman. Six pages were placed about the steps of the throne, and
the same number of ladies in waiting were also there. Yet Marguerite
herself wanted not the surrounding magnificence to mark her superior
dignity of "Countess by the grace of God," then accorded to only one
county besides her own; for there was a sort of fearful majesty about
her towering height, unbowed either by the weight of years (and she
had already passed what the Psalmist has declared to be the age of
man) or luxurious indulgence. Her face was pale and marked by deep
furrows, indicating an unlimited indulgence of the strong passions
which had rendered her life so unquiet. Her eye was black, and
retained all the fire of lively feeling, yet it was sunken. Her
forehead was low, yet there was an inflexibility of resolve in
its deep lines that added much to the majestic character of her
appearance. Her teeth too were perfect, and her thin and colourless
lips left them visible to attract the painful admiration excited by
their contrast with the unlovely expression of her features; her chin
was small. Her hair was all drawn from her face to the crown of her
head and concealed under the black lace veil, which concealing the
upper part of her forehead, fell over each shoulder even to her feet.
Her upper garment was a long mantle of black velvet lined with ermine,
which, opening in front, fell over the arms of her throne, and
discovered a dress of crimson cloth of Bruges of that beautiful sort
called _ecarlate_. The boddice was drawn tightly to her shape by
rich gold cord, the ends of which, finished by heavy tassels, fell
downwards to the edge of her robe. The crimson tunic reached only to
her knees, and discovered an under dress of white Syrian silk, on
which was a border of gold, evidently of oriental workmanship. Her
hard bust was covered by many rows of the finest Asiatic pearls, and
depending from her girdle was a rosary of jet, which sustained a
richly embossed golden cross, probably enshrining a piece of wood of
the true cross from Palestine. The small gold crown which circled
her brows, and the sceptre she held, were evidently made by the same
skilful artist--probably the work of the celebrated Erembert, Abbot
of Wansfort. Her arms, which notwithstanding her towering statue were
disproportionably long, were covered by sleeves of the finest Bruges
linen, which however only appeared at the shoulders and elbows, the
rest of the arm being covered with the crimson cloth which formed the
tunic, and these were laced with gold cord down to the waist, where
the Bruges linen formed a cuff. Her form was harsh and bony, and no
grace of motion relieved its outlines; for she was so fearfully still,
you might have thought the living form had been placed in sight of the
Gorgon's head and so transformed to stone. Her features seemed alike
immovable, all sunk into a dark, fixed, and settled discontent with

* * * * *


[This is the seventeenth volume of the _Library of Entertaining
Knowledge_; and, like the majority of its predecessors, it aims
at rendering popular, and of obvious interest, subjects which had
hitherto been abstruse and uninviting. It is the first of a series
of volumes to be published on the Antiquities of the British
Museum, so as in some measure to set them free from their national
imprisonment; for such we must term any assemblage of works of art
(the property of the country), which are not unconditionally open
to public inspection.

The portion before us is the first of two volumes devoted to
the Egyptian Antiquities in the Museum. It has been diligently
compiled; and rendered more interesting than would be a bare
account of what the Museum contains, by correct notices generally
"of the history of art among the Egyptians." The best authorities
have been consulted and acknowledged, as Hamilton, Heeren, Gau,
and Belzoni, and the more recent labours of Mr. James Burton.
The whole is attractively arranged in chapters; on the Physical
Character of Egypt; Political Sketch of Ancient Egypt, and the
monuments of the respective divisions of the country. We subjoin
an extract, containing a graphic outline of _Thebes_:]

We pass by Kenneh, on the east bank, from which travellers may go to
Cosseir to embark on the Red Sea; we hasten by the remains of Kouft,
the ancient Coptos, and the solitary propylon of Kous, standing alone
without its temple,--to the plain of Thebes, to the most wonderful
assemblage of ruins on the face of the earth.

All travellers agree that it is impossible to describe the effect
produced by the colossal remains of this ancient capital; nor does it
lie within our plan to attempt this description at present any farther
than is necessary to make our readers acquainted with the general
character and localities of the existing temples of Egypt.

No knowledge of antiquity, no long-cherished associations, no
searching after something to admire, is necessary here. The wonders of
Thebes rise before the astonished spectator like the creations of some
superior power. "It appeared to me," says Belzoni, "like entering
a city of giants, who, after a long conflict, were all destroyed,
leaving the ruins of their various temples as the only proofs of their
former existence." Denon's description of the first view of Thebes by
the French army, which he accompanied in the expedition into Upper
Egypt, is singularly characteristic. "On turning the point of a chain
of mountains which forms a kind of promontory, we saw all at once
ancient Thebes in its full extent--that Thebes whose magnitude has
been pictured to us by a single word in Homer, _hundred-gated_, a
poetical and unmeaning expression which has been so confidently
repeated ever since. This city, described in a few pages dictated
to Herodotus by Egyptian priests, which succeeding authors have
copied--renowned for numerous kings, who, through their wisdom, have
been elevated to the rank of gods; for laws which have been revered
without being known; for sciences which have been confided to proud
and mysterious inscriptions, wise and earliest monuments of the arts
which time has respected;--this sanctuary, abandoned, desolated
through barbarism, and surrendered to the desert from which it was
won; this city, shrouded in the veil of mystery by which even colossi
are magnified: this remote city, which imagination has only caught a
glimpse of through the darkness of time,--was still so gigantic an
apparition, that at the site of its scattered ruins, the army halted
of its own accord, and the soldiers, with one spontaneous movement,
clapped their hands." It is, however, rather unfortunate for Denon's
description, that another traveller denies that there is such an
approach to Thebes as is mentioned in the extract, and he assures us
that the ruins cannot be seen till the traveller comes near them; and
further, that to produce such astonishing effects as the Frenchman
describes, we ought to be _very_ near them or _among_ them. Without
pretending to reconcile these contradictions, we can readily believe
that the ruins may produce a considerable effect, even at some
distance, if Denon's drawings are at all correct. As to the impression
made by a near inspection of these wonderful remains, there is no
discrepancy among travellers.

Thebes lay on each side of the river, and extended also on both sides
as far as the mountains. The tombs, which are on the western side,
reach even into the limits of the desert. Four principal villages
stand on the site of this ancient city,--Luxor and Carnak on the
eastern, Gournou and Medinet-Abou on the western side. The temple of
Luxor is very near the river, and there is here a good ancient jettee,
well built of bricks. The entrance to this temple is through a
magnificent propylon, or gateway, facing the north, 200 feet in front,
and 57 feet high above the present level of the soil. Before the
gateway stand the two most perfect obelisks that exist, formed, as
usual, of the red granite of Syene, and each about 80 feet high,
and from 8 to 10 feet wide at the base. Travellers differ in their
estimate of the width of the base, some, perhaps, taking the actual
measure on the surface of the soil while others may make allowance
for that part that is buried; for that the soil is much elevated will
appear from what follows: "Between these obelisks and the propylon are
two colossal statutes, also of red granite; from the difference of
the dresses it is judged that one was a male, the other a female,
figure;--they are nearly of equal sizes. Though buried in the ground
to the chest, they still measure 21 and 22 feet from thence to the top
of the mitre." Another cause of discrepancy in the measurements
may be, that the adjacent sides of the obelisks are of different
dimensions; which is generally the case.

It is this gateway that is filled with those remarkable sculptures,
which represent the triumph of some ancient monarch of Egypt over an
Asiatic enemy, and which we find repeated, both on other monuments of
Thebes, and partly also on some of the monuments of Nubia, as, for
example, at Ipsambul. This event appears to have formed an epoch
in Egyptian history, and to have furnished materials both for the
historian and the sculptor, like the war of Troy to the Grecian poet.
The whole length of this temple is about 800 feet.

But the remains of Carnak, about one mile and a quarter lower down the
river, are still more wonderful than Luxor: one of the buildings is
probably the temple of Ammon, which we know from Diodoius was on this
side of the river. An irregular avenue of sphinxes, considerably
more than a mile in length (about 6,560 feet), connected the northern
entrance of the temple of Luxor with it; but this was only one
of several proud approaches to perhaps the largest assemblage of
buildings that ever was erected. For a minute description of Carnak
we must refer to the plans in the great French work, and to Dr.
Richardson's and Mr. Hamilton's accounts. The irregularities in the
structure and approaches of this building show that the various parts
of it were raised at different periods, for indeed it would have been
impossible for any one sovereign to have completed such a monument in
his life-time; and we know, also, that the great temple at Memphis
received numerous additions during a long succession of ages. Some
parts, both of this temple and of the larger building at Carnak
(sometimes called a palace), have been constructed out of the
materials of earlier buildings, as we see from blocks of stone being
occasionally placed with inverted hieroglyphics. It is impossible
without good drawings and very long descriptions, to give anything
like an adequate idea of the enormous remains of Carnak, among which
we find a hall whose roof of flat stones is sustained by more than
130 pillars, some 26 feet, and others as much as 34 feet, in
circumference. The remains on the western side of the river are,
perhaps, more interesting than those on the east. That nearly all
the monuments of Thebes belong to a period anterior to the Persian
conquest, B.C. 525, and that among them we must look for the oldest
and most genuine specimens of Egyptian art, is clear, both from the
character of the monuments themselves and from historical records; nor
is this conviction weakened by finding the name of Alexander twice on
part of the buildings at Carnak, which will prove no more than that
a chamber might have been added to the temple and inscribed with his
name; or that it was not unusual for the priests to flatter conquerors
or conquerors' deputies by carving on stone the name of their new
master. Thebes was the centre of Egyptian power and commerce, probably
long before Memphis grew into importance, or before the Delta was made
suitable to the purposes of husbandry by the cutting of canals and the
raising of embankments.

[In a note to this passage, it is stated that "Herodotus has given
no description of Thebes. Denon several times quotes Herodotus
for what is not in that author. But this is so common, even with
people who have claims to scholarship, that it has become almost
a fashion to say that any thing is in Herodotus." So that the
audience of Lord Goderich with the late King, as described in the
_Edinburgh Review_, in the Herodotean (or _says_ he and _says
she_) dialect, is no great license.]

[The volume is profusely embellished.]

* * * * *



The devoutest believers in "the march of intellect" must at intervals
be almost driven to renounce their creed in despair. Errors which were
supposed to have been exploded centuries ago, sometimes reappear on a
sudden, and propagate themselves for a season with a rapidity which no
reasoning can pursue, no ridicule arrest. Notions, worthy only of the
dark ages, spring up in the glare of the supposed illumination of the
present day, and resist all the efforts of the Briarean press itself
to dispel them. At one time, it is a pious Hungarian prince who
performs preternatural cures, at the request of the friends of the
sick parties in Ireland, conveyed through that droll medium for a
miracle, the Hamburg letter-bag! At another, it is an old dropsical
impostor, whom thousands of blaspheming dupes venerate as a second
virgin quick of a new Messiah! A short time since animal magnetism
was in vogue; and the strong will of certain gifted individuals was
believed to have the power of entering into a mystical communication
with the spirits of others, and of absolutely controlling their whole
physical and mental being! To-day we are startled by the actual
exhibition of a miracle, the "unknown tongue," on alternate Sundays,
at the Caledonian Chapel in Regent Square, London! If at any time we
are tempted to plume ourselves on the fact, that the belief in ghosts
and witchcraft has disappeared, we are quickly humiliated by the
recollection that there are yet thousands of devout believers in
the prophecies of Francis Moore, physician; or by overhearing the
rhapsodies of some millenarian dreamer, who as confidently gives us
the date of the opening of the New Jerusalem as if he were speaking of
the New London Bridge.--_Quarterly Review_.

* * * * *


It is physically impossible to carry on the commerce of the civilized
world by the aid of a _purely_ metallic currency--no, not though our
gold and silver coins were every tenth year debased to a tenth! Why,
in London alone, five millions of money are daily exchanged at the
Clearing-house, in the course of a few hours. We should like to
see the attempt made to bring this infinity of transactions to a
settlement in coined money. Credit money, in some shape or other,
always has, and must have, performed the part of a circulating
medium to a very considerable extent. And (by one of those wonderful
compensatory processes which so frequently claim the admiration of
every investigator of civil, as well as of physical economy) there
is in the nature of credit an elasticity which causes it, when left
unshackled by law, to adapt itself to the necessities of commerce, and
the legitimate demands of the market. Well may the productive classes
exclaim to those who persist in legislating on the subject, and are
not content without determining who may, and who may not, give credit
to another, what kind of monied obligations shall, or shall not, be
allowed to circulate--that is, to be taken in exchange for goods at
the option of the parties--well might they exclaim, as the merchants
of Paris did to the minister of Louis, when he asked what his master
could do for them--"Laissez nous faire,"--"Leave us alone, to surround
ourselves with those precautions which experience will suggest and the
instinct of self-preservation put in execution."--_Ibid_.

* * * * *


There can be no doubt too that "_hoarding_" coin goes on to a
considerable extent, and greatly augments the scarcity, and
consequently the value of the precious metals. Even the old practice
of "making a stocking" is by no means given up in rural districts. We
ourselves, but a few days back, personally witnessed an old crone,
the wife of a small, and apparently poor farmer, in a wild pastoral
district, bring no less than three hundred sovereigns in a bag to a
neighbouring attorney, to be placed by him in security: her treasure
having accumulated till she was afraid to keep it longer at home. Such
examples are by no means so rare as may be imagined. The failures of
so many country banks in 1825 destroyed the confidence of country
people in the bank-notes of the present banks, and causes their
preference of gold. The failure of many attorneys, as well as of those
country banks which received and gave interest on deposits, and (with
the exception of the savings banks, which are very limited in the
amount of the deposits they allow) the total absence, in the rural
districts of England, of any safe and accessible depositaries for the
savings of the economical, such as the invaluable Scotch banks,
have tended most injuriously to discourage economy; and where that
principle was strongly ingrafted, have converted it into a practice of
hoarding,--have caused that to stagnate in unprofitable masses which,
spread through proper channels, would have stimulated new industry and
new accumulations, and added both to the wealth of the owner, and to
the general stock.--_Ibid_.

* * * * *


[Our Correspondent, W.M. of the Regent's Park, should read the
following announcement, which supersedes the necessity of printing
his communication. At least, we do not feel ourselves justified in
doing so, without reference to the undernamed German work.]

It is proposed to erect a monument in Mentz, by public subscription

Book of the day: