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Lyceums, while younger America, yet in his teens and under domestic rule, attends these dismal rites only under protest.—Saturday Revieiv.
Niagara Falls.—" One night I wandered alone, down a precipitous footway on the Canadian side, to the spot where formerly Table Rock stood. Its shattered masses lay below me, scarcely visible through the circling clouds of foam. Above me bent forwards the overhanging mass of the hollowed rock, threatening an overwhelming ruin. In front the great flood of waters rolled headlong down, losing itself in a chaos of surge and foam. The ledge on which I stood continued forwards beneath the descending flood. Wet through with spray, with hands against the rock, and with carefully placed feet, I passed slowly behind the falling waters. The moonlight streamed in through a break in the flood, and I paused to look up. It was a spectacle never to be forgotten. From a cavern of black waters, turned here and there into cataracts of brilliants, I looked out into a strange world as fair but as intangible as seen in dreams. The blue heaven, the round moon, and stars were faint'in mist. The outline of the falls brightened where the moonbeams fell, and the dark masses of the woods on the opposite shore rose like a thin vision through the ascending wreaths of spray. Before me the way still led on beneath the body of the falls; I followed. A frightful chasm yawned at my feet, up which clouds of spray came drifting against my face. Below I dimly traced the peaks of jagged rocks. Before me the black wall of the cliff struck out into the falling flood, barring further progress. My eyes threatened to grow dizzy; I closed them for an instant. The earth seemed to tremble where I stood. And, hardest of all to endure, the air was rent with the most hideous and appalling noises. It seemed as though myriads of fiends, or formless creatures of the waters, yelled curses at me from the bewildering floods, or shrieked warnings to the intruder. I returned with hurried steps."
Keith yohnston and Recent Geography.—The death of Dr. Alexander Keith Johnston—a severe loss to his special department of science—suggests reflections as to the immense acquisitions to our knowledge of geography which may be comprised within the span of a single lifetime. That life was itself by no means prolonged beyond what is called the allotted span of man. It was no further back than 1804 that Keith Johnston was born at Kirkhill, a little village near Edinburgh; yet so progressive, even in what may be termed a geometrical ratio, is the development of scientific knowledge, that the two generations comprised within the conscious experience and active work of such a self-made pioneer in geography have witnessed an amount of gain in the general ideas of the earth's structure and extent, such as hundreds of previous years could hardly boast. We set aside for the moment that comprehensive and all-embracing study of terrestrial phenomena which the German includes in the encyclopaedic title of Erdkundt. What we would speak of is little more than that comparatively superficial range of knowledge which it is the province of the map-maker to set before the eye. It is only to a limited extent that the geological features or phenomena of the earth's crust can be
presented within the compass of a chart. For such advance as has in fact been made in -this dilection the world is, indeed, under no slight obligation to Keith Johnston himself. It was his specialty to have made from an early period of life, and on a wide scale, the application of physical science to geography. Without having himself devoted years to the purposes of travel or exploration, his chosen and invaluable work was that of giving in systematic form and harmony the results accumulated by the labors of the great explorers of nature. It was on the plan of Berghaus, combined with a careful study of the best English and foreign works of geography, that he based his National Atlas, published in 1843. Profiting by the research of Humboldt and Ritter, and, indeed, by the counsel of the former, as well as by the energy and accurate knowledge of Petermann, he brought out in 1S48 his Physical Atlas 0/ Natural Phenomena, of which an abridged edition appeared in 1850, and a new and enlarged one in 1856. Among his numerous publications of the kind we would but recall to mind his valuable Dictionary of Geography, the four successive editions of which, from 1850 to 1868, form a notable chronicle of the wide and rapid growth of geographical knowledge. His labors culminated in the splendid Royal Atlas, in large folio, published only last year.
Climbing the Mattcrhorn.—Recently, when reviewing Dr. Tyndall's "Hours of Exercise in the Alps," we ventured in a prophecy respecting the Matterhorn, in these words : " Its summit still awaits a female foot, and, we believe, despite the labor and hazard, a female foot will one day press it." Little did we, and not at all did the majority of those who know the mountain well, expect that this prophecy would be speedily fulfilled, and least of all by an English lady. However, we learn, from a correspondent who has just returned from Switzerland, that Miss Walker, a lady famous for her climbing triumphs, reached the top of the Matterhorn, on the 22d of July last. She ascended from Zermatt, and by the route commonly now known from that side. Being favored with a very fine day the party remained on the summit for forty minutes, and descended without mishap. Intending climbers may be thankful for the information that great quantities of snow have fallen during last winter on several well-known mountains and passes.—Atkemcum.
Docs the Race Progress?—Lord Houghton, in a well-turned speech at the centenary in honor of Miss Hope Scott, the sole survivor of the line, mentioned the kind of loneliness in which the names of all the great litterateurs stand. They have rarely left descendants. We have no Shakspeare, no Milton, no Bacon, no Newton, no Pope, no Byron; Italy has no Dante, no Petrarch, no Ariosto, or Alfieri; Germany has no Goethe, no Schiller, no Heine; France has no Montaigne, no Descartes, no Voltaire, no Lamartine. There is no descendant known of Luther, Calvin, or John Knox. The fact is remarkable, and not favorable to the theory of an indefinite progress of humanity. The race of the very great does not multiply, while the race of the very little, say any Irish hodman, is as the sands of the sea.