페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

From The Spectator.

mountain slope, interrupted by no rocks or THE ALPS.*

cliffs, and thus of hill-like formation. The

fall of an avalanche, of any kind, is in form MR. STEPHEN has completed worthily a almost exactly like a waterfall completely task which ought to recommend him to all broken into foam. The fall is generally true lovers of nature. Fine writing about heard sooner than seen. Startled by the scenery is common enough, as w know to thundering fall, a stranger not acquainted our cost, but writing like M. Berlepsch's with the awful phenomenon generally looks which, while up to the level of its subject, the thunder-clouds which produce these

upwards, and seeks in the atmosphere for never degenerates into tawdriness, is a real sounds of thunder; but peace is in the deep and most unfrequent luxury. This work is blue ether--not a cloud is swimming in the more like a great poem than an ordinary aërial ocean. Now the roar rolls through book of travels, yet every description is the valleys, and renews in stronger swells minutely or even severely faithful, and the the waves of sound, while the eye sinking impression of sublimity which the best pas

lower, perceives on the silver mantle of the sages convey is created not by the words by the breeze, and close below it a sliding

mountain a smoking dustlike cloud moved themselves, but by the perfect accord be- motion in the slopes of névé which just between the words and the living grandeur of fore were hanging in the stillness of death. the scenes M. Berlepsch intends them to por- With apparent slowness, at measured intertray. Nature in the Alps is so magnificent, vals, the snow cascade sinks over the rocky her power so visible and so awe-inspiring, walls like broad ribands of satin, plunges that any description, if it be but accurate, is more deeply over the cliffs, bursts into round sure to produce that sense of the powerless- Cloud, like the intervals of a cataract, or

woolly foam-bows and fluttering curls of ness of the human race, that ground tone of loses itself for seconds in concealed gulfs, mental horror, which is at once the most fas- and sinks down, repeating the spectacle from cinating and the most permanent impression step to step, till it comes to rest on level Alp created by mountain chains. Most describ- meadows or in deep basins. On the disapers, however, fail in transferring this sensa- pearance of the apparent stream, the rolling tion to their pages, either because, like Pro

thunders which accompany the fall cease fessor Forbes, they attend too exclusively to that the two agencies have a mutual relation

also, and the traveller becomes convinced its cause; or because, like most of the recent to each other. But where the seeming travellers, they are so occupied with the stream of dust rolled down, there is now a effect itself, that they analyze their own emo- dirty pale line in the midst of the dazzling tions instead of painting the scenes which snow, showing that something more than produced them. We have no apology to snow, that earth and fragments of rock, offer for the long extracts, which we usually must have come down to leave such traces.

“Such is the picture of a summer 'ground avoid, for no criticism of ours could interest avalanche,' painted from a distant and secure our readers, or describe the book so thor- point of view. If one could approach nearer oughly, as, for example, this account of the to the falling avalanche, with a telescope of formation and descent of the summer ava- greater magnifying and defining power, it lanches :

would show quite different forms, and, like

the unsuspected cellular tissue of organisms “ The picture which fancy has built of the under the microscope, would suddenly disappearance of an avalanche during its fall play boundless snowfields, in whose embrace is as erroneous as the notions as to its vari-cyclopean fragments of rock, massive blocks

It is not a round ball, as people of ice, and torn-up sheets of turf, would fly fancy, which in its place of formation is the down shrieking and howling; What appears size of a cauliflower, and increases by rolling to the naked eye like harmless descending over and by the adherence of particles of masses of foam, becomes a madly, raging snow, till at length it forms a ball of colos- fury when seen from near; for, as is usual sal diameter, which is not crushed till it in the Alps, we have no sufficient measure bursts in the valley like a bomb: such a of distance by which to judge the heights progressive spherical form, as one sees made over whose unbroken surface the avalanche by boys in the lowlands at the beginning of is breaking. If we subtract the approximate winter, when they want to build a snow man, height of the place where the avalanche would at least require a uniform inclined buried itself from the height of the point

* The Alps. By H. Berlepsch. Translated by from which it fell, and divided the resulting the Rev. L. Stephen. Longman and Co.

difference by the sum of the seconds during

ous causes.

which it lasted, we should gain a quotient of “ The summit of Mont Blanc, Tödi, Mont speed for the enormous rapidity of fall, which Velan, Cima de Jazzi, etc., presents soft, would at the same time explain the thunder round, vaulted, snowy cushions on a broad of its descent."

base, affording perfectly safe resting-places.

The Galenstock (11,840 feet) displays a softly Or the following description of the surface rounded cupola of snow towards the west; sights and sounds upon a glacier :

but on the east sinks suddenly and almost

vertically downwards for some thousand feet. “ Let us go on! Now at last we can get The top of the Gross Glockner, in Tyrol, is on to the glacier. It is near midday, and an uneven rocky space of chloritic schist, the sun is hot. How very different from giving room for twelve persons at the outwhat we expected is the tolerable level gla- side. The southern point of the Schreckcier surface. It is furrowed by thousands horn (eighty-five feet lower than the higher and thousands of little channels, which have northern, still unscaled summit) has a surformed crossing and meandering paths. The face of some four square feet, in the shape little watery veins of the icy water, of dia- of a bow or semi-circle, with the convexity mond clearness, scarcely one degree above towards the north. On the other hand, the freezing, hasten down to the greater brook- top of the Finsteraarhorn is formed by an like furrows, whose bed always consists of undulating ridge, some twenty feet long, and transparent glacier ice. These brooks, after a foot or a foot and a half in breadth, sinka short course, fall with a roar into deep ing steeply on both sides. The Jungfrau funnel-shaped holes, called mulden' or presents a similar form : it falls in a hard • moulins,' into which they disappear with snow ridge, like the roof of a tent, at an inout leaving a trace. There are secret canals clination of some 60 deg. or 70 deg., with a which reach in all kinds of windings and breadth of some six to ten inches, and the branchings down to the rocky ground of the icy roof of the great Rinderhorn is everyglacier, and supply the stream which pours where so awfully sharp that the boldest mounforth from the glacier gate. The gently taineer would be unable, from the steep slope vaulted surface of the glacier glistens and of the ridge, to ascend it astride or to slide shines with the reflection of the sun's rays down it. The Bernina affords just room from the smooth flooded ice. An infinite enough for three persons to stand close feverish trembling is spread over the whole together, and the Grand Combin runs into bulk of the ice, so that a glimmering arises an absolute snowy point, upon which one as of myriads of particles. It is quite easy

dares not venture." to walk with a firm foot and safe tread over the shining, perspiring glacier ; but if you

The account of all Alpine specialities, the do not tread firmly, and take some care not glaciers, and the forests, landslips and to slip, you cannot be certain of not sitting storms, is as full as it is beautiful, and we down in the wet every two or three minutes. extract a splendid description of the landThis strange vivacity, this humming, sing- slip which on the 2d of September, 1806, ing, rustling in the network of channels that desolated the village of Goldau, lying on the spreads over the glacier's surface, lasts as Rossberg :long as the sun sends down its frost-dissolving rays. As soon as these sink behind the

“ Late in the afternoon (it had struck a mountains, the little life grows dumb, the quarter to five on the church clock at Arth), frozen deathlike breeze moves over the icy suddenly, a vast chasm opened half-way up desert and binds the trickling, drops again the gentle slopes of the mountain in the into crystals, and before it is night, the Rüthe' meadow, which grew visibly broadnoiseless silence of the grave is lying over er, deeper, and longer. The surrounding this corner of the Alps."

turf turned over, so that it showed the red

soil as if it had been plowed. At the same M. Berlepsch adds nothing to our knowl- time the pine forests on the same level beedge of the movement of glaciers, only sug- came unnaturally animated. At first the tall gesting very casually that the original mo- slender pine trunks waved gently to and fro tive power is the pressure of huge masses of as if touched by an invisible hand, much as snow behind them; but his description of in summer the wind produces waves in the their forms and effects is the most vivid we

This wavelike motion inhalf-ripe corn.

creased, but in opposing lines, so that the have seen. So in the account of an ascent tree-tops struck against and through each But we prefer to take a short paragraph other with an irregular and vehement modescribing the summits of the best-known tion. With harsh cries, ravens, crows, jays, peaks:

and other birds that harbored in the woods, flew upwards, and hastened in flying swarms destroyed. For the whole slope of the Rossin a south-westerly direction to the forestsberg, almost up to the Gnypenspitz, whose on the slopes of the Rigi. Now the vibrat- highest point is adorned by a wooden cross, ing and jerking motion, the wavelike rising was at that time dotted over with detached and falling passed on to the grass-covered houses ; and beneath in the valley, between land. It looked as if gigantic moles were the lakes of Zug and Lowertz, lay the rich burrowing under it. At the same time a villages of Goldau, Busingen, and Lowertz. gentle sliding and slipping of the whole up- Under the ruins four hundred and fifty-seven per slopes commenced, and became constantly men found a common grave." plainer and more rapid. The pine forests struggled to follow the hurried motion, and About one-half of the book is devoted to looked-according to the expression of the sketches of mountain life in the Alps. The people who watched the whole terrible phe- English idea seems to be that danger is connomenon from beginning to end-something fined to the guides and the chamois hunters, like hair stroked against the grain.

" These alarming phenomena steadily in-but, in truth, life in these regions is full of creased. In even larger circles, and through- horror for almost every man, from the goatout a greater extent, meadows and grass- herds who battle with the eagles on the lands, orchards, houses, and stables, with heights, to the timber-floaters who convey men and cattle, were drawn along into the the trees of the mountain forest to the plain, fearful descent. The people who saw the through never ending “lignoducts," changround on which they had been born and nels of wood flung across hillock and precigrown up give way under their feet, started up in horror and fled from their homes. pice, from the bill which the trees cover to Then was heard a thundering roar, as if the the mountain torrent which is to float them old foundations of the earth's crust had given to a market. Even in the villages life is to way, and a sharp crackling as if a thousand- the idea of the men of the plains very horpointed sheaf of lightnings from the threat- rible. Most of these hamlets are buried in ening clouds had struck the supporting pil- a seclusion to which that of a Cumberland lars of the earth with one blow, and burst dell is society, and many are exposed to a Steinberg-cliff

, a rocky wall of several mil- danger which permanently modifies the cuslions of cubic fathoms with all the forest toms of the people. upon it, and the nagelfluh wall of the "Ge- “In the Mayenthal on the St. Gothard, meinde-Märcht' sinking like a terrace more which is frequently threatened by avalanches, than a hundred feet below, had given way. the neighbors collect in stormy winter weathThis was the signal for universal destruc- er in one of the largest houses, in order to tion, for then began a tragedy which can be watch and be able to set to work together, compared to no other phenomenon for its if a snowfall should come down and bury fearful sublimity, in the wildest confusion everything. In order, however, that time blocks of rock and splinters of stone, mud may not pass too slowly for the good people, and turf, foliage and trees, sometimes whirled they dance through the dangerous night to up into the air, sometimes enveloped in the sound of a fiddle or accordeons. This clouds of dust, chased each over the moun- custom dulls a fear which the foreigner cantain shoulders to the valley of Goldau. One not think of without horror.” huge fragment seemed to be trying to overtake another ; it was a race of raw materials. The strong attachment of the people to a The chaotic fall of the vast masses, the speed life like this is often quoted as a proof of of their descent, the universal confusion, in the charm which mountains exercise over all creased every moment. Mountain-blocks as who live within their shadow. M. Berlepsch big as houses with pines fixed to them, hurried, as if slung by a demon's fist, with free says even the cattle of the valleys long and bounds like flying birds, high through the pine for the mountains, and a true child of air. Other masses of rock ricocheted like the Alps, however prosperous abroad, always shots from a giant cannonade striking from returns to his home. So, however, does a time to time only to bound up again into the Lowland Scotchman, though his home should air. Others were crushed by their compan- be on a plain as flat as Cambridgeshire. The ions on their path, and spluttered like white- love of home develops itself intensely in all hot iron rods shooting out sparks under the hammer. It was a scene from the Titans limited communities, and in England debattle of Greek mythology.

serters are constantly tracked through the “ In a few minutes hundreds of dwelling- certainty that they will hover around the houses and as many stables and sheds were spot whence they first emigrated. It is not,

THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 800

we suspect, the passion for mountains, but erland, but has, we imagine, little necessary the thirst for a form of life which can be connection with any desire for mountains in realized nowhere else, that moves the moun- themselves. The effect of mountain scenery taineers. In the Himalayas, the peasantry perpetually present is only to dwarf the mind so far from loving their grand hills, hate by suggesting the impotence of human effort, them, as involving permanent and unneces- and mountaineers, as a rule, are comparasary toil, and it is almost impossible for the tively brainless. The Arians who left the hill chiefs to keep their few subjects from slopes of the Suleiman have throughout huindulging a thirst for the easier and sleepier man history supplied the dominant races of life of the plains. Climate undoubtedly is a mankind, but those who lingered, crushed strong attraction. Men, even in full health, by their mountains, remained an unprogreswho have once breathed a clear bracing air, sive race, and retain to this day nothing of are apt to feel a longing for it which amounts their ancestry except their superb physique to a disease, and which on the first attack and physical energy. It is, we suspect, to of sickness becomes absolutely irresistible. the visitor rather than to the native that AlThis seems to be specially the case in Switz-1 pine summits seem so majestically attractive.

The sale of Hugh Miller's works has been On Monday a dental hospital for the poor was much larger in this country than in Great opened at 149 Great Portland Street. But one Britain. Messrs. Gould and Lincoln are the such institution as yet exists in London, and Boston publishers, and Messrs. Black, of Edin- nothing is more urgently wanted. At present burgh, issue the works abroad. The “ Testi- the dispensaries, where, if driven to madness,

the only resources of this kind for the poor are mony of the Rocks” has reached a sale of they may have their “ teeth carefully extracted,' 27,000 copies in England and the same in Amer- and their jaws, of course, rapidly emptied. By ica. Next comes the “Footprints of the Cre- the exertion of Mr. Robinson and many other ator,” in which the American sale has entirely eminent dentists, this evil is partially remedied. outstripped the English, the former being up- The new institution is, however, in want of wards of 19,000, and the latter about 6,000. funds, which Messrs. Hoares, of 37 Fleet Street, The “Old Red Sandstone” has sold 16,000 are empowered to receive. Those who have excopies here to 9,000 in England; the “ Schools perienced the pain which makes the heart even and Schoolmasters,", 16,000 here to 10,000 of weakly thankful for a dentist's cruel mercies, will the English ; and 'the “ First Impressions of not hear this in vain.-Spectator. England,” 9,000 against 6,000 in Black's edition. The sale of the other volumes is about the same in both countries.

THE Americans are honored in Germany by Herr Venedey's life study of George Washington, whose high character is sublimated into an abstract ideal of human virtue with the true

German intensity. The literary executors of the late Lady Mor. gan have arranged, conformably with the wishes of the deceased lady, that Miss Jewsbury shall A new part has been published of the Sanscrit prepare her letters and journals for the press. Dictionary by O. Böhtlingk and Rudolph Roth, About a volume of Autobiography exists in the published with that singular energy for the culcomposition of Lady Morgan, 'ready for the tivation of languages which is characteristic of printer. There are also journals and note-books the Russians, by the St. Petersburg Imperial copiously kept, for many years subsequent to Academy of Sciences. the period at which the regular composition breaks off. The letters are extremely numer

UNGRAMMATICAL EPITAPH BANBURY ous, and comprise a cycle of secret history.

CHURCHYARD : Among Lady Morgan's most intimate friends were Lady Caroline

Lamb and Madame Patter." Here do lye our dear boy, son-Bonaparte, and the correspondence of these Whom God hath tain from we; celebrated beauties is said to be in the highest And we do hope that us shall go to he, degree piquant and attractive.

For he can never come back again to we."

IN

From Once a Week. tired to my cell. On the next day two clerONE MOMENT OF SUSPENSE.

gymen were announced as coming with the LORD BROUGHAM in his notes on Paley, intent of bringing me to a just sense of the observes that it is more than probable that enormity of my guilt. On entering they the longest dream occupies in reality but proved to be the only two members of the an instant of time. However the events in Episcopal bench that I had painted in actual it may seem to be prolonged, the entire life—the Bishop of and the Archbishop dream is dreamt from beginning to end dur- of The latter personage was quiet and ing the momentary act of waking. Some- dignified, but quite equal to the occasion. times the subject matter of a dream from The Bishop of was more demonstrative, its commencement will be found to have in fact, he brought me the first consolation direct reference to the act that wakes the I had had since my arrest: “You are to be dreamer, and unless it be that in such cases hanged, my dear friend. True, it is not a the sleeper has the power of foreseeing the pleasant situation to find one's self in, cause that will awake him, and of placing though in some respects a prominent and, let before his imagination a series of visionary us add, an elevated one; but it is nothing, scenes all conducing to the final event, it nothing in the least ; you'll he cut down ; would follow that the theory propounded by all that you have to attend to is to see that our great philosopher must be the only you fall easily—that you have something tenable one. Of the class of dreams here soft to fall upon when the moment comes." referred to, the following is a remarkable The two right reverend gentlemen were one as illustrating the hypothesis in ques- most assiduous in their attentions to me, tion.

in fact, they never left me during the entire I was one of a party on a yachting excur- period of the two days that elapsed between sion. The vessel being a small one, the my trial and execution. I was allowed the sleeping accommodation was of the scantiest best of fare, and the cook at Newgate was -my bed and bedroom being a hammock, an excellent one : in the matter of Beccafislung in the usual manner, from the top of cos he was above criticism; his Ortolans the small triangular cabin, formed by the stuffed with truffles were unapproachable extreme bows of the vessel, the entire apart--in fact, it was the very dinner that I had ment being only large enough to contain once partaken of at the table of Mr. S. C., me, my hammock, and a number of hams the great English gourmand, resident in and dried sausages, dangling like myself Paris. Then the wine was not only from from the roof. I was asleep, and dreaming; the choicest districts, but of the choicest I had painted a portrait of some one, and vintages, Sillery of the year '32; Claret of had failed to produce a likeness, for which ’46, and a fine hock finer than Johanniscrime I was arraigned before a criminal berger, but with a name so long that I shall court on a charge of felony. So far my not remember it till I dream the same dream dream was retrospective-it began in the again. I need hardly say that the bishops present tense on my finding myself waiting dined with me instead of with the governor. in the dock for the verdict, which was either During the meal the Bishop of to liberate me, or to consign me to an igno- tinually urged on my attention that “it was minious death on the scaffold. The intelli- nothing-I should be cut down-take care gent jury before whom I was tried, consisted you fall easily.” After the second bottle of entirely of my relatives and most intimate Sillery the archbishop, to my great consolafriends. I was prepared for their verdict, tion, echoed the words, and assured me which was

Guilty, with the strongest rec- that I might be certain of being cut down. ommendation that the utmost severity of the The only notice that my relatives and friends law should be visited upon me. The Judge who had formed the jury took of me was put on his black cap, and sentenced me in their coming and grinning through the the usual expressive phrases, without hold- grating of my cell during the dinner. ing out the least hope of mercy. I left the The day—the hour—the moment came, dock with the officer, and after transacting and squeezing my hand, the excellent bishop business with a deputation of photographic assured me for the last time that "it was artists from the illustrated newspapers, re- nothing, I should be cut down.” I as

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »