페이지 이미지

it often happens that these shrinkagemarks cross the footprints in different directions; and where this is the case, the indications usually are that the footprint was made before the shrinkage occurred.

We find, therefore, on investigation, that the characteristics of these supposed footprints, in every particular, are precisely as we should expect them to be in real tracks. And it is to be noticed that this is not affirmed of a large majority of the impressions found, while it is admitted to be otherwise in a few cases; but it is affirmed of every one of the thousands of specimens that have ever been found. We must, therefore, believe them really to be what we call them, the footprints of animals.

[blocks in formation]

Petrifactions, somewhat resembling loaves of bread, it is said are preserved in some of the churches of Germany and Hungary, the story being that some rich person in ancient times having refused a loaf to a poor person, it was immediately converted into stone.

The following story of the origin of St. Patrick's loaves, found in Ireland, is from Richardson, (Geology, p. 44.) It was related by a genuine son of Frin :

the road, and 't was very tired he was, poor "St. Pathrick was walking one day along man! when he meets a stranger bringing a sack of loaves from the baker's. Good morning to yourself,' says St. Pathrick, speaking 'em civil. Same to you, sir,' was the reply, wid all my heart and soul.' May be ye would n't be giving me one of them loaves ye 're carrin,' says the Saint, 'for it's meself that's just dying wid hunger.' May be I would,' says t' other, 'but it's not loaves they are,' says he; 'it's stones they are entirely!' Well then,' says St. Pathrick, if they be stones,' says he, I'd wish they'd be turned to loaves,' says he. and if they be loaves,' says he, 'I'd wish And with that they'd be turned to stones! the sack fell down in the road, enough to break the man's back, for it was loaves they were and not stones, but by the power of St. Pathrick they were changed into stones; and they're called St. Pathrick's loaves all over Ireland to this day!"

But the times of such superstition are past. And yet, such an hypothesis in regard to the origin of these strange phenomena is scarcely less absurd than any other which refuses to attribute their production to the operations of natural causes, such as we constantly see at work around us.

But have the tracks of birds or other animals been preserved in this manner in our own day? They have been; and descriptions of them have been given us by Sir Charles Lyell, who collected specimens in the Bay of Fundy in 1842. The tracks were made by a small bird called the sand-piper, (tringa minuta,) and in every respect they resemble the tracks found in the sandstone, except that they are smaller.


In Lyell's Travels in North America, plate vii, figure 1, we find these tracks and castings represented. In figure 2 of the same plate, a slab is cut from the Portland quarries, showing the tracks of two animals passing in different directions, and belonging to the same species above described.

Of these footprints, several thousand


have been observed in the sandstone of the Connecticut Valley, at some twenty different localities; and it is believed by President Hitchcock, of Amherst, that they were made by as many as fifty different species of animals, some of which were birds,some quadrupeds, and others mollusks. By far the greater number that have been found belonged to birds, and thus it has happened that the whole are frequently spoken of as bird tracks.

The immense size of these tracks is perhaps their most striking character. The largest bird-track found, that of the Brontozoum Gigantium, indicates a bird of a similar kind as the ostrich, but several times larger.

A very remarkable footprint is often found in these quarries, and elsewhere in the Connecticut Valley, which has puzzled men of science not a little. Our cut is made from a single track on a slab, now to be seen at the office of the Middlesex Company. The slab contains but a single track; but on the stratum from which it was obtained some five or six in succession were seen by the workmen, at the regular distance of about six feet; and what is scarcely less wonderful, it occurs some seventy or eighty feet below the original surface of the rock.

walking, placed the hind foot exactly upon the track just made by the fore foot. And it is certainly possible, that if only a single footprint of the kind had been found, we might admit this explanation as possible; but that very many, in fact all that are found, should exactly resemble each other, if made in this way, is absolutely incredible. It is believed, therefore, to have been made by a two-footed animal, though no one is now known having a foot such as this track indicates. Certain species of the frog in the embryo state, it is said, have a foot somewhat like it; and from this circumstance it has been suggested that the animal may have been a gigantic two-legged toad, or frog! If the reader feels a disposition to smile, it will be no more than others have felt on witnessing developments less strange than this; and if his irrepressible smile of incredulity should hereafter give place to one of admiration at the almost prophetic revelations of the man of science, it will be no more than has often happened in times past.

Dr. Hitchcock calls the animal the Otozoum Moodii.


It is very generally conceded, that no animal exists at the present day capable of making this footprint; but such is the perfection of the science of comparative anatomy, that we may speculate with great plausibility as to its nature.

It seems very well determined, that the animal was a biped, and not a quadruped. This the track indicates; though it has been suggested that it may have been made by a four-footed animal, which, in


The works and ways of God are wonderful in that which may seem to us of least importance, as well as in that which is greatest; and it becomes us, his dependent creatures, meekly to investigate his word and his works, to learn what he in his wisdom has seen fit to do, rather than decide, as some have done, ex cathedra, what was becoming the Infinite Spirit.

Said a distinguished theologian, some years since :

[ocr errors]

"And then to think of two hundred thousand years for snails, and muscles, and lizards, and crocodiles, and alligators, and the like! Thousands of ages, then, the world was without a lord or a head. The image of God, whom he constituted his vicegerent here below, for myriads of ages not created! His dominion put off for thousands of centuries before it began to exist! And who, all this time, were the actual lords of the creation? Lizards and alligators of more than Typhoan dimensions! "When I think of such a picture, I feel constrained to turn away with unspeakable loathing.





"All this wisdom did; but for what purpose? To create a residence during countless ages for snails, and lizards, and iguanodons! Had Eternal Wisdom then joy in any of these? No! Solomon never once dreamed of its being so; for he declares, that wisdom 'rejoiced in the habitable parts of the earth, and her delights were with the SONS OF MEN!" "O

[ocr errors]

We add one further item in this imperfect picture of the past, which, however, aids in giving a degree of naturalness to the scene, though greatly unlike the presThe cut is made to represent a



specimen of sandstone in the cabinet of the Wesleyan University, the surface being covered with wave-marks, and the whole pitted with rain-drops. We say it gives a degree of naturalness to the scene; for we find all the essential circumstances the same then as now-the land and water, the ocean-shore, and birds and quadrupeds, though of enormous size, wandering about, we may suppose, in search of their food; the sunshine, cloud, and storm, all indicating the same general course of events as we now witness; and all leading unerringly to the inference, that the works of nature, however great their variety, have, from the beginning, been under the supervision of the same Infinite and Eternal Spirit, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and whose dominion extendeth throughout all generations.

Biblical Repository, vol. vii, p. 100.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


positions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that would labor to subvert these great pillars man claim the tribute of patriotism who of human happiness-these firmest props

of the destinies of men and citizens. A volume could not trace all their connection with private and public felicity. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion; reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.



N the 28th of September, in the year 1556, the old Spanish seaport of Laredo was a scene of unexpected excitement, as a fleet of fifty-six sail of vessels cast anchor in its roadstead. If we enter the Espirito Sancto--a ship of five hundred and sixty tons-which forms one of the squadron, we shall see an old respect able-looking Spanish gentleman making preparations to leave his cabin, which had been fitted up with a degree of comfort unusual in those days; for it is curtained with green hangings, and has a swing-bed, while the light is admitted through no less than eight glass windows. Care and travail have left their marks upon the old man's face, but intelligence gleams from his eye, and decision is stamped upon his features. When he lands at Laredo, great respect is evidently paid to him; a train of some hundred and fifty domestics wait upon him and the Spanish Bishop of Salamanca does, with all deference, the honors of the place. Not to keep the reader in suspense, we may mention, without further introduction, that this old man is Charles V., the Napoleon Bonaparte of his day, who, after troubling Europe with his ambition, and clutching some half-dozen scepters within his greedy grasp, is now aweary of the world, and on his way to spend the evening of his life in a monastery, having resigned his throne to his


Charles, it appears, had long cherished the design of retiring from public life, in order to prepare, as he conceived of it, in a befitting manner, for the eternal world. In 1542 he confided his design to a courtier; but in 1546 the secret had oozed out, and was whispered among the loungers in his palace. Although the morning of Charles's career as an emperor had been gilded with success, yet clouds attended its afternoon. His health became broken, and the hand which had wielded the lance and curbed the charger was so enfeebled with gout that it was unable at times to break the seal of a letter. His later schemes of conquest, too, had ended in nothing but disappointment; so that, with Solomon of old, he was ready to say, "All is vanity and vexation of spirit." Calling, accordingly, his court together at Brussels, he publicly resigned his empire to his son Philip the husband of our bloody Mary VOL. III, No. 3.-V

and, taking shipping, he had landed, as we have seen, at Laredo, being thus far on his way to his abode at the Convent of Yuste.

As the old monarch, after leaving Laredo, journeyed along, attended by a little staff of friends and a train of domestics, the neighboring towns turned out to do homage to him whose name was indelibly associated with the most eventful passages in Spanish history. There was not very much, however, that was dignified in his mode of traveling. At one part of his road five alguazils or constables, with their staves, formed his attendants, making the little party, as Charles's chamberlain complained, look very much like a troop of rogues marching to prison. Charles, however, would have no display. He seemed to hug with complacency the idea that he was now a private gentleman, who had cast the cares of kingcraft over his shoulder. At one part of the road he was hospitably entertained by a rich money-broker, who, among other luxuries, provided for the emperor's use a chafing-dish of gold filled with the finest cinnamon of Ceylona piece of wealthy ostentation which displeased Charles so much, that he insisted upon paying for his entertainment as if he had been lodging at a common inn, and refused at parting to allow the mortified capitalist the honor of kissing his hand.

A journey slowly prosecuted brought the party to Xarandilla, an exquisitely beautiful spot, from whose lofty eminence the eye ranged over all that was most lovely in Spanish scenery. Here the emperor took up his abode for a while, until the neighboring monastery of Yuste was prepared for his reception. A small band' of followers, similar in some respects to the little company which lingered round Napoleon at St. Helena, attended Charles. Prominent among these were Quixada, his chamberlain, a nobleman of high family, passionately attached to his royal master, with William de la Male, a sort of poor scholar, who acted as the emperor's literary companion. Borja, the celebrated Jesuit, accompanied Charles as his confessor. He had pretended, on receiving the appointment, to have some qualms about the responsibility of the office; but was assured by Charles that he might make himself easy on that point, as, before he left Flanders, five doctors of divinity had been engaged for a whole year in

cleansing his conscience. The last of the ex-monarch's attendants whom we shall name was Dr. Matheoso, the emperor's physician. He seems to have lived in a continual state of warfare with Charles's love of cookery-being sadly perplexed, too, at times, by the interloping of a quack doctor in the neighborhood, who ingratiated himself with his majesty by allowing him for his diet to eat and drink pretty much what he pleased.

A few months having rolled away, and the monastery being ready for his reception, Charles passed over to it from Xarandilla, and calling for the book of the registry, duly signed his name as a brother of the order of the monks of St. Jerome an autograph which was carefully preserved until destroyed by the French soldiers during the Peninsular war. A grand service attended the enrolment of the new friar. All the monks kissed his majesty's hands; the altar was brilliantly lighted up with tapers, and Charles at last found himself in a spot where he might indulge his superstitious tastes to the very utmost. A chamber had been constructed for him, out of which he could look into the chapel as he lay in bed, and see high mass performed, while out of doors everything had been done to make the retirement agreeable. A fountain cooled the air; orangetrees diffused their fragrance, and the eye wandered over a district of surpassing loveliness. Nor were the luxuries of life forgotten. Charles, who was fond of paintings, had brought some of Titian's masterpieces with him, as well as a tolerable supply of books, and a decent complement of rich plate and jewels. Altogether his majesty had a very comfortable residence of it; and had there only been less superstition in his form of piety, the spectacle would not have been unpleasing, of an old man retiring from the storms of the world to a peaceful haven where he might tranquilly spend his time in preparation for the great change which awaited him. But superstition-foul, deadening superstition-tainted, as we shall find by and by, the whole atmosphere.

One of Charles's most pleasing occupations was the feeding of his dumb favorites. Of these he had several, including an old cat, and a parrot endowed with wonderful power of speech; some birds also were his favorite companions. The story indeed is told of him in his early youth,

that when, in one of his campaigns, a swallow had built a nest for her young on the top of his tent, he ordered the latter, on the encampment being broken up, to be left undisturbed. Music, too, formed his favorite pastime; and so correct was the old emperor's ear, that if a monk in the choir sung out of tune, he was pretty sure to get some sharp rebuke from his majesty. On the whole, however, Charles lived on excellent terms with the monks, being condescending and affable in his manners, and dismissing almost entirely the pomp that usually surrounds crowned heads; still, it must be acknowledged, he displayed, for a friar, a most unmortified appetite for good eating. Rich dishes and iced beer he would have, whether the doctor protested against them or not. The weekly courier was ordered to change his route that he might bring eels and fine fish; partridges were ordered from a choice neighborhood; while sausages of a particular order were specially provided.

The daily routine of the king's life was somewhat as follows:-The workshop of Torriano was often the resource of the emperor's spare time. He was very fond of clocks and watches, and curious in reckoning to a fraction the hour of his retired leisure. The Lombard had long been at work upon an elaborate astronomical time-piece, which was to perform not only the ordinary duties of a clock, but to tell the days of the month and year, and to denote the movements of the planets. Twenty years had elapsed since he had first conceived the idea, and the actual construction cost him three years and a half. Indeed, the work had not received the last touches at the time of the emperor's death. Of wheels alone it contained eighteen hundred. Torriano also constructed a self-acting mill, which, though small enough to be hidden in a friar's sleeve, could grind two pecks of corn in a day; and the figure of a lady, who danced on a table to the sound of her own tambourine.

Sometimes the emperor fed his pet birds, of the sylvan sort, which appear to have succeeded, in his affection, the stately wolf-hounds that followed at his heel in the days when he sat to Titian; or he sauntered among his bees and flowers, down to the little summer-house looking out upon the Vera; or sometimes, but more rarely, he strolled into the forest

« 이전계속 »