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rocket, from which the flame escapes, continually downward. It is tied laterally to the rocket. If it admitted of being affixed centrally, then the flight of the rocket would be more direct, instead of having a general tendency to lateral flight. Considering the rocket as an ornamental firework, this directness of flight would be rather prejudicial than otherwise, iU curvilinear path being exceedingly beautiful. Were it desired, however, to metamorphose the sky-rocket into a warlike projectile, then, in proportion to its directness of flight, would be its advantages.
Step by step, we are now approaching the construction of a Congreve or war rocket, which, as at present made, chiefly differs from a skyrocket in the two particulars, of having a sheetiron instead of a paper cone, and of being supplied with a central instead of a lateral stick. The first Congreve rockets did not possess the latter advantage. They had sticks laterally attached, like those of ordinary sky-rockets. Of this kin 1 were the rockets employed by the British troops at tho battle of Leipsic; and so desolating were their effects, that some French troops against which they were fired immediately laid down their arms. The war-rocket is so intimately associated with the name of Sir William Congrevs, that by over-zealous advocates he is assumed to bo their inventor, although he himself disclaims the honor. In his book on the rocket-practice, he states that rockets, considered as projectile weapons, were of great antiquity in India and China, and claims to be only the improver of the weapon. Indeed, we have met with undoubted testimony, that the projectile farce of the rocket used as a military weapon was known in Europe before the latter part of the sixteenth century: in the year 1598 appeared the collection of Trailes MxlUaircs, by Hanzelet, in which book there exists not only a full description of tho manner of using rockets as miliary weapons, but a rude wood-cut, showing the method of firing them.
. Some years ago, we remember to have seen in t'le London Adelaide Gallery certain Chinese warr tcke*s. They were captured by our troops at the siege of Amoy, and brought to the British metropolis. To all intents and purposes they were sky-rockets, with the sole addition to each of a barbed arrow-head affixed laterally in the line "f the stick, and projecting beyond the head of the rocket. Compared with even the smallest Congreve rockets employed in our service, they were insignificant affairs. Their flight would be altogether irregular, their power of penetrating comparatively weak. Nevertheless, one of them 'mid undoubtedly have killed a man at the distance of 200 yards: consequently, these Chinese weapons admit of being regarded as a variety of small fire-arms; while even the smallest Congreve rocket may be compared with artillery. So much, then, concerning the history of the war-rocket up to the time of Congreve. He was the first who employed an iron instead of a paper case. He was also the first who applied the central stick: and succeeded in making rockets of one denomi
nation so equal in weight, that the elements of the flight of one being known, data were afforded for the discharge of others.
The war-rocket is a very terrible instrument of destruction, possessing certain advantages which other projectiles do not. Thus, for example, the discharge of rockets, as a consequence of their very nature, is attended with no recoil against a solid body. That which corresponds with recoil in an ordinary gun, is, as wo have seen, the propulsive force of the rocket, and the counterpart of this propulsive force is exerted against the air. Owing to this absence of practical recoil, rockets may be fired from boats just large enough to carry them; whereas shells of equal weight, if employed in naval warfare, can be fired only from very strong ships. Rockets carrying within themselves their own propulsive power, require neither guns nor mortars to project them; consequently, they may bo fired from places altogether inaccessible to artillery, and they may be constructed of much larger dimensions than any available shot or shell. Gunfounders arc now pretty well agreed, that no piece of ordnance can be cast without flaws if much larger than a 13-inch mortar; and the weight of the latter is five tons, although the charged 13-inch shell scarcely weighs 200 pounds. The French tried the experiment of increasing the size of a mortar preparatory to the siege of Antwerp. The experiment was unsuccessful, their monster-mortar bursting after having been only a few times discharged. '' The rocket," to use the words of Congreve, " brings into operation the power of artillery every where, and is nowhere embarrassed by the circumstances limiting the application of artillery." It imparts to infantry and cavalry the force of artillery, in addition to the power of their own respective arms. Thus, a foot-soldier might, on particular occasions, carry several 12-pound rockets, each having the propulsive and penetrating effect of a 12pound cannon-shot, without the embarrassment of the 12-pounder gun. The rocket, as we shall hereafter discover, may be discharged on many occasions without the aid of any apparatus; but even the corresponding rocket-tube, by means of which its accuracy of flight is promoted, weighs only 20 pounds, whereas the weight of a 12pounder gun is no less than 18 hundredweights. In addition to this advantage, the flight of a rocket is visible, whereas the flight of ordinary warlike projectiles is invisible; and superadded to the power of penetration, the rocket has that of scattering the devastation of fire. These properties of the war-rocket being considered, the reader will be at no loss to understand some of the advantages possessed by the missile.
Nevertheless, the employment of the warrocket is not attended with those universal advantages over shot and shell claimed for it by Congreve. Amidst its good qualities there lurks the very bad one of irregularity of flight, its accuracy of trajectory curve not being comparable with that of a cannon-ball or shell. Rockets can be advantageously fired neither against a wind nor across the direction of a wind, and for reasons which a little consideration will render obvious. The long wooden stick affords a powerful lever for the wind to act upon, the iron rocket itself being at the same time unequally affected; hence ultimate deflection takes place. The striking of a casual object in the course of a rocket's Sight is another ordinary cause of deflection; and to such an extent is deflection occasionally produced from this cause, that rockets have sometimes come back, like boomerangs, to the spot whence they were fired. Something of this kind once occurred at Woolwich during a military exhibition got up for the gratification of Marshal Soult. The veteran, among other displays, was shown what our war-rockets could accomplish; when one of these erratic missiles striking against a stone or something of that sort, immediately departed from its normal course, bounded high aloft, and finally rushing down, plunged deep into a bank near where the Marshal was posted. It was on account of this erratic propensity to which rockets are somewhat given, that they were never great favorites with the Duke of Wellington. Some of the newly-invented projectiles having been forwarded to the Peninsula, the Duke took an early opportunity of trying their range and effects. The British outposts were on one side of a marsh; the enemy's outposts on the other. The distance was convenient: the rockets were pointed, lighted, and discharged. The result was any thing but satisfactory. Either because the wind was unfavorable, or because the rockets had not been long enough in the field to know friend from foe, or for some other reason, they with common consent turned tail to the enemy, and came back to their friends! The Duke entertained a prejudice against them from that day forth. Nevertheless, they are acknowledged to have saved a brigade of Guards during the passage of the Adour; and subsequently, at Waterloo, they made sad havoc among the enemy.
The original ideas of Sir William Congreve, relative to the best manner of arming troops with the war-rocket have never been carried out. He advocated the distribution of the missile to every branch of the service—infantry, cavalry, and artillery. He objected to the formation of a special rocket service: however, in this matter, his opinions have been overruled. Congreve suggested three methods of firing his rockets: 1. From a tube, and singly; 2. In a volley from many tubes, mounted on one carriage; 3. In a volley from the ground. Two only of these methods arc now retained—namely, the first and the third. The rocket tube is a pipe or cylinder of metal, corresponding in size with the diameter of the rocket intended to pass through it, and its business, to give a correct line of flight. In the earlier days of Congreve-rocket practice, there were no tubes, deeply grooved surfaces being used instead. The rocket tube is so contrived that it can be placed at any angle of elevation, and be thus pointed in the manner of a gun. The proper line of aim having been secured, the rocket is thrust into the tube, and ignited, when, after deliberating for
an instant, it rushes through and pursues its destructive course. Having thus made evident the construction and use of a rocket tube, the reader will readily understand the intention of a compound-tube arrangement. Let him imagine twenty or thirty of such tubes mounted on one carriage, each tube discharging its own rocket, and a correct notion of what is understood by the tube-volley will be acquired. This apparatus is no longer retained in the service, the groundvolley of rockets being employed instead. In the ground-volley, the rockets are merely placed on the ground (which must be moderately smooth), with their heads toward the enemy, when they are ignited, and speed away. For the first hundred yards, they ordinarily pursue a course of considerable regularity, seldom rising above the height of a man's head; ultimately, however, their flight becomes exceedingly irregular, darting about in all directions. This, in certain cases, is not disadvantageous, but the reverse. So impossible is it to predict where one of these rockets run wild will go, that it is in vain for any body to think of getting out of its way.
A great many endeavors have been made to avoid the necessity of employing a rocket-stick. Congreve never could succeed in this attempt, but Mr. Hale has been more fortunate. We do not exactly know the principle on which his rockets arc made, but we believe he causes them to assume a rotatory or rifled motion, and thus provides for their regularity of flight. Mr. Hale has, moreover, introduced other improvements in the manufacture of rockets. He does not fill them by ramming in the composition, but by the more equable force of hydrostatic pressure, by which means a larger amount of composition is introduced than can be effected by the ordinary method. Nor must we forget to mention the very ingenious device of this gentleman for restraining the rocket during the first moments of its propulsive endeavors. Although the power of a rocket, when in full flight, is tremendous, yet its initial effort is very trifling; so much so, that one of considerable dimensions may be held back by a very small restraining force. Now it happens that, in the ordinary course of firing, a Congreve rocket is apt to droop as it first leaves the tube, thus losing much of the accuracy of flight it would otherwise have possessed. This drooping is in consequence of the paucity of the force it has as yet acquired; for rockets, in point of fact, like young people, go astray sometimes from the circumstance of beginning their career too soon: so it occurred to Mr. Hale, that he would hold back his projectiles—not by the tail, for they arc devoid of that ornament—but hold them back by a sort of spring, from which they can not free themselves until they have acquired a certain definite initial pressure.
We will no* conclude these remarks on Congreve rockets, by stating the chief occasions on which they have been employed. The first was in October, 1806, when rockets of very large calibre were brought into requisition for the bombardment of Boulogne. In less than half an hour after the first commencement of attack, the town was observed to be on fire in many places, and the damage effected was doubtless very great, although its exact extent was never known, the French taking such effectual means to guard the secret, that the British embassador, Lord Lauderdale, while passing through Boulogne shortly after the attack, was vigilantly watched, lest he might observe the extent of the ravage. In 1807, Copenhagen was bombarded with very heavy rockets; and again, with great effect, they were subsequently used against Acre. These are the chief occasions in which Congreve rockets have been used at sea. In the land-service, their employment dates from the battle of Leipsie, where they were employed with terrible effect. Their history during the Peninsular war has already been given—also at Waterloo. The Congreve rocket is no longer a secret. Various Continental nations now make and employ them very effectually. The Austrian rockets arc said to be particularly good. One of the most curious applications of the Congreve rocket was in the slaughter of spermaceti whales. We have now lying before us a six-pounder whaling rocket, precisely similar to the military prototype in every respect, save that of being furnished with a harpoon-head. The idea of using the Congreve rocket for this purpose was ingenious enough. Tho inventor intended that the missile, when discharged, should penetrate into the very centre of the whale; then bursting, fill the huge animal with such an amount of gas, that swim he must, whether he chose to do so or not—all very pretty in theory, no doubt, but entirely false in practice. Congreve whalingrockets did not come into general use; nevertheless, they must have been made in very large numbers. We remember, on one occasion, to have seen a stock of many thousands lying idle in the store-rooms of a large whaling establishment. And now, in conclusion, let us state, that the largest Congreve rockets ever made weigh about 300 pounds, arc eight or ten feet liigh, and have sticks in proportion. Very pretty visitors these to come hissing into the midst of a town!
THE LAST MOMENTS OF BEETHOVEN.
HE had but one happy moment in his life, and that moment killed him. He lived in poverty, driven into solitude by the contempt of the world, and by the natural bent of a disposition rendered harsh, almost savage, by the injustice of his contemporaries. But he wrote the sublimest music that ever man or angel dreamed. He spoke to mankind in his divine language, and they disdained to listen to him. He spoke to them as Nature speaks in the celestial harmony of the winds, the waves, the singing of the birds amidst the woods. Beethoven was a prophet, and his utterance was from God.
And yet was his talent so disregarded, that he was destined more than once to suffer the bitterest agony of the poet, the artist, the musician. He doubted his own genius.
Haydn himself could find for him no better praise than in saying, "He is a clever pianist."
Thus was it said of Gericault, "He blends his colors well;" and thus of Goethe, "He has a tolerable style, and he commits no faults in orthography."
Beethoven had but one friend, and that friend was Hummel. But poverty and injustice had irritated him, and he was sometimes unjust himself. He quarreled with Hummel, and for a long time they ceased to meet. To crown his misfortunes, he became completely deaf.
Then Beethoven retired to Baden, where he lived, isolated and sad, in a small house that scarcely sufficed for his necessities. There his only pleasure was in wandering amidst the green alleys of a beautiful forest in the neighborhood of the town. Alone with the birds and the wild flowers, he would then suffer himself to give scope to his genius, to compose his marvelous symphonies, to approach the gates of heaven with melodious accents, and to speak aloud to angels that language which was too beautiful for human ears, and which human ears had failed to comprehend.
But in the midst of his solitary dreaming, a letter arrived which brought him back, despite himself, to the affairs of the world, where new griefs awaited him.
A nephew whom he had brought up, and to whom he was attached by the good offices which he had himself performed for the youth, wrote to implore his uncle's presence at Vienna. He had become implicated in some disastrous business, from which his elder relative alone could release him.
Beethoven set off upon his journey, and, compelled by the necessity of economy, accomplished part of the distance on foot. One evening he stopped before the gate of a small, mean-looking house, and solicited shelter. He had already several leagues to traverse before reaching Vienna, and his strength would not enable him to continue any longer on the road.
They received him with hospitality ; he partook of their supper, and then was installed in the master's chair by the fireside.
When the table was cleared, the father of the family arose and opened an old clavecin. The three sons took each a violin, and the mother and daughter occupied themselves in some domestic work.
The father gave the key-note, and all four began playing with that unity and precision, that innate genius, which is peculiar only to the people of Germany. It seemed that they were deeply interested in what they played, for their whole souls were in the instruments. The two women desisted from their occupation to listen, and their gentle countenances expressed the emotions of their hearts.
To observe all this was the only share that Beethoven could take in what was passing, for he did not hear a single note. He could only judge of their performance from the movements of the executants, and the fire that animated their features.
When they had finished, they shook each other's hands warmly, as if to congratulate themselves on a community of happiness, and the young girl threw herself weeping into her mother's arms. Then they appeared to consult together; they resumed their instruments; they commenced again. This time their enthusiasm reached its height; their eyes were filled with tears, and the color mounted to their cheeks.
"My friends," said Beethoven, " I am very unhappy that I can take no part in the delight which you experience, for I also love music; but, as you see, I am so deaf that I can not hear any sound. Let me read this music which produces in you such sweet and lively emotions."
He took the paper in his hand, his eyes grew dim, his breath came short and fast; then he dropped the musie, and burst into tears.
These peasants had been playing the allegretto of Beethoven's symphony in A.
The whole family surrounded him, with signs of curiosity and surprise.
For some moments his convulsive sobs impeded his utterance; then he raised his head, and said, "I am Beethoven."
And they uncovered their heads, and bent before him in respectful silence. Beethoven extended his hands to them, and they pressed them, kissed, wept over them; for they knew that they had among them a man who was greater than a king.
Beethoven held out his aims and embraced them all—the father, the mother, the young girl, and her three brothers.
All at once he rose up, and sitting down to the clavecin, signed to the young men to take up their violins, and himself performed the piano part of this chef-d'eeuvre. The performers were alike inspired; never was music more divine or better executed. Half the night passed away thus, and the peasants listened. Those were the last accents of the swan.
The father compelled him to accept his own bed; but during the night Beethoven was restless and fevered. He rose; he needed air; he went forth with naked feet into the country. All nature was exhaling a majestic harmony: the winds sighed through the branches of the trees, and moaned along the avenues and glades of the wood. He remained some hours wandering thus amidst the cool dews of the early morning; but when he returned to the house, he was seized with an icy chill. They sent to Vienna for a physician; dropsy on the chest was found to have declared itself, and in two days, despite every care and skill, the doctor said that Beethoven must die.
And, in truth, life was every instant ebbing fast from him.
As he lay upon his bed, pale and suffering, a man entered. It was Hummel—Hummel, his old and only friend. He had heard of the illness of Beethoven, and he came to him with succor and money. But it was too late: Beethoven was speerhloss; and a grateful smile was all that he had to bestow upon his friend.
Hummel bent toward him, and, by the aid of
an acoustic instrument, enabled Beethoven to hear a few words of his compassion and regret.
Beethoven seemed reanimated, his eyes shone, he struggled for utterance, and gasped, "Is it not true, Hummel, that I have some talent after all?"
These were his last words. His eyes grew fixed; his mouth fell open, and his spirit passed away.
They buried him in the little cemetery of Dobling.
WOMAN'S WRONGS—A LEAF FROM ENGLISH LAW.
THE prayers were made, the benediction given, the bells rang out their lusty epithalamium, and by the law of the Church and law of the land, Charlotte and Robert Desborough were henceforth one—one in interests, one in life. No chill rights or selfish individuality to sow disunion between them; no unnatural laws to weaken her devotion by offering a traitorous asylum against him; but, united by bonds none could break—their two lives welded together, one and indivisible forever—they set their names to that form of marriage, which so many have signed in hope, to read over for a long lifetime of bitterness and despair. Yet what can be more beautiful than the ideal of an English marriage! This strict union of interests—although it does mean the absorption of the woman's whole life in that of the man's—although it does mean the entire annihilation of all her rights, individuality, legal existence, and his sole recognition by the law—yet how beautiful it is in the ideal! She, as the weaker, lying safe in the shadow of his strength, upheld by his hand, cherished by his love, losing herself in the larger being of her husband; while he, in the vanguard of life, protects her from all evil, and shields her against danger, and takes on himself alone the strife and the weary toil, the danger, and the struggle. What a delightful picture of unselfishness and chivalry, of devotedness and manly protection; and what sacrilege to erase so much poetry from the dry code of our laws!
Like all newly-married women, this woman would have looked with horror on any proposition for the revision of the legal poem. Liberty would have been desolation to her, and the protection of the laws she would have repudiated as implying a doubt of her husband's faith. She had been taught to believe in men, and to honor them; and she did not wish to unlearn her lesson. The profound conviction of their superiority formed one of the cardinal points of her social creed; and young hearts are not eager to escape from their anchorage of trust. She was a willing slave because she was a faithful worshiper; and it seemed to her but fit, and right, and natural, that the lower should be subservient to the will of the higher. For the first few weeks all went according to the brightness of her belief. The newly bound epic was written in letters of gold, and blazoned in the brightest colors of youth, and hope, and love; and she believed that the unread leaves would continue the story of those already turned over, and that the glories of the future would be like to the glories of the past. She believed as others, ardent and loving, have believed; and she awoke, like them, when the bitter fruit of knowledge was between her lips, and the dead leaves of her young hopes strewed the ground at her feet.
The gold of the blazoned book was soon tarnished. Its turned leaves told of love certainly; but of a love whose passion, when it was burnt out, left no friendship nor mental sympathy to keep alive the pale ashes. On the contrary, quarrels soon took the place of fading caresses, and bitter words echoed the lost sounds of fond phrases; no real heart-union wove fresh ties in place of the fragile bands which burnt like flax in their own fire; but with the honeymoon died out the affection which ought to have lived through the hard probation of time, and suffering, and distress. It had been a love-match, but it was an ill-assorted match as well; and want of sympathy soon deepened into bitterness, and thence fell backward into hatred and disgust. The husband was a man of violent temper, and held supreme views on marital privileges. His wife, young, impassioned, beautiful, and clever, was none the less his chattel; and he treated her as such. By bitter personal experience, he taught her that the law which gave him all but uncontrolled power over her as his property, was not always the duty of the strong to protect the weak, but might sometimes—even in the hands of English gentlemen—be translated into the right of the tyrant to oppress the helpless. From high words the transition to rough deeds was easy and natural. Matters grew gradually worse; quarrels became more bitter and more frequent, and personal violences increased. More than once she was in mortal fear, with marks of fingers on her throat, and cuts and bruises on her head; more than once relations interposed to save her from further violence. In theso quarrels perhaps she was not wholly blameless. The rash passion of a high-spirited girl was not the temper best suited to such a husband's wife. Less imaginative and less feeling, she might have better borne the peculiar mode of showing displeasure to which he resorted; and had she been of a lower organization, she might have gained more power over a man who did not appreciate her intellect, or the beauty of her rich nature. As it was—he, too violent to control his temper on the one side: she, too rash and eager to conceal her pain and disgust on the other—their unhappiness became publie, and by its very publicity seemed to gain in strength. Friends interfered, many thronging about her; some, to advise patience; some resolution; some, to appeal to her wifely love, and others to her woman's dignity; and she, halting between the two, now consented to endure, and now resolved to resist. So things went on in a sad unhinged manner; outhreaks continually occurring, followed by promises of reformation and renewed acts of forgiveness; but no solid peace established, and no
real wish to amend. Once she left the house, after a long and angry scene, during which he struck her, and that with no gentle hand either; and she would not return until heart-broken petitions and solemn engagements touched her woman's pity, and changed her anger into sorrow. She thought, too, of her own misdeeds; magnified the petty tempers and girlish impertinences which had been punished so severely; took herself to task, while the tears streamed from her dark eyes and steeped the black hair hanging on her neck, until at last imagination and repentance weighed down the balance of evil on her own side. And then he was her husband !—the father of her children, and once her lover so beloved! We all have faults, and we all need pardon, she thought; and so she forgave him, as she had done before, and returned submissively to his house. This was what the Ecclesiastical law calls condonation. And by this act of love and mercy she deprived herself of even tho small amount of protection afforded by the law to English wives of the nineteenth century.
They had now three children, who made up the sole summer time of her heart. Only those who know what sunshine the love of young and innocent children creates in the misty darkness of an unhappy life, can appreciate her love for hers— three bright, noble boys. How she loved them! How passionately and how tenderly! Their lisping voices charmed away her griefs, and their young bright eyes and eager lovo made her forget that she had ever cause for regret or fear. For their sokes she endeavored to be patient. Her love for them was too strong to be sacrificed even to her outraged womanhood; and that she might remain near them, and caress them, and educato them, she bore her trials, now coming fast and thick upon her, with forbearance, if not with silence.
But matters came at last to a climax, though sooner and on different grounds than might have been expected. She and her husband parted on a trivial question of itself, but with grave results: a mere dispute as to whether the children should accompany their mother on a visit to one of her brothers, who was avowedly (very extraordinary that he should be so, after the married life she had led !) unfriendly to her husband. It was at last decided that they should not go, and after a bitter struggle. Far more was involved in this question than appears on the surface; her right to the management of her sons, even in the most trifling matters, was the real point of contention; the mother was obliged to yield, and she went alone; tho children remaining at home with the father. The day after she left, she received a message from one of the servants to tell her that something was wrong at home; for the children had been taken away, with all their clothes and toys, no one knew where. In a storm of terror and agony she gave herself up to the trace, and at last found out their hidingplace; but without any good result. The woman who had received them, under the sanction of the father, refused to deliver them up to her,