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- -- -- -SHE scenes described and illustrated inthis little volume are all possessed otpeculiarly interesting, not to say striking,and even imposing features; and on this, as well asother accounts, well deserve a place in our regardsand affections. They suggest, with deep impres-siveness, lofty thoughts of the Creator of all things;and they at the same time appeal, by a certainkindredness of mood and expression, to the deepestfeelings of our" own hearts. Nay, any interestthey have is rooted in human- sympathy, and wetake them home to our bosoms, or stand aside, intheir presence, with awe-struck wonder, accordingas they affect us with images of tenderness or fear,which all derive their spirit and life from the soulalone. Only as reflections of the soul's own moods dothey possess any power to charm or appal, and it is
vi PREFACE.because those who have seen them and describedthem felt this-felt the likeness or unlikenss tothemselves or others in them, a certain friendliness,that is, or foreignness of aspect-that they were seizedwith any desire to delineate them to others by pencilor pen. The brief sketches given in this volume areall derived more or less directly from eye-witnesseswho had, consciously or unconsciously, this feeling;and it is from a kindred sympathy on our part theyare attempted here. Some few of the places de-scribed have an additional significance, derived fromtheir association with singular or sacred experiencesin human history or life; and these, in one or twoinstances, supply an interest which is felt to trans-cend that which attaches to merely physical nature.If these sketches serve, in any degree, to introducethe places concerned and their related associationsto the affections of the young readers for whomthey are designed, the writer's labour will not bein vain.J. W.**s~*A
(Sionb rnI .-----M-----I. THE DESERT OF SAHARA, ... ...... 9II. THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY, ... ... ... 21III. GAURISANKAR: THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THEWORLD, ... ..... ... .. ... 33IV. THE PEAK OF TENERIFFE, ... ... ... ... 38V. REMARKABLE BASALTIC MASSES, ... ... ... 46VI. MONTE TAFONATO, ... ... .. ... ... 52VI. NATURAL BRIDGES, ...... ... ... ... 55VIII. THE RAPIDS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, ... ... .. 67IX. THE CASCADES OF THE HOAR-FROST RIVER, ... ... 76X. FIRST AND SECOND CATARACTS OF THE NILE, ... 84XI. THE FALLS OF TROLHETTA, ... ... ... ... 96XII PETRIFIED CASCADE OF PAMBUK-KALESSI, ... ... 104XIII. FOUNTAIN OF BANIAS, ... .. ... ... ... 12
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SCENES OF WONDERIN MANY LANDS.I.pfrxi of iJzjara#AHARA, in Africa, is deemed the largest de-sert on the face of the earth, being one-half___ ~the size of Europe, and yet it constitutesonly part of a larger which extends, with interrup-tions, eastward through central Asia, and forms a beltequal to one-third the circumference of the globe.The aridity of soil which characterizes this belt ofland is caused by the dryness of the air which sweeps.its surface, and this again is due to the air-currentswhich blow across it traversing immediately be-forehand no great expanse of water. The Africanportion of this desert lies about half within, andhalf beyond, the Torrid Zone; and it is by nearly athird of its area west of the meridian of London.In its greatest length itstretches east and west, and is.twice as long as it is broad, being twenty-five hundredmiles by, on the average, twelve hundred. It is
10 DESERT OF SAHARA.not, as was for long thought, a low level waste ofmere drifting sand, but an immense table-land of, inthe main, from 1000 to 1500 feet in height, withhere and there, particularly in the east and centre,minor plateaus, and even mountains of from 4000to 5000 feet high. Large tracts and dunes ofsand, indeed, abound, but naked, rocky surfacesalso extend on all hands. Most of its area is com-posed of firm soil, of solid masses of indurated sand,of sandstone and granite, which occasionally riseinto peaks and ridges, and are cleft into deep wildravines, the whole of even, sombre aspect at times,and entirely without vegetation. Examined geolo-gically, it would doubtless exhibit the usual rock-varieties, but the only mineral it has yet been madeto yield to man's necessities is rock-salt, which in onepart exists so plentifully as to afford materials forbuilding houses. Proof there is that it was once,and at no distant date geologically, he bed of a seain communication with the Mediterranean, and thisthe abundance of salt, shells, and other marine re-mains establishes beyond all cavil.The sand with which the desert abounds has,under the action of the sun's heat, and the impulseof the winds, been extensively divided into a subtlepowder, which, when the hurricane rages, swells,moves, rolls, and labours like the waves of the sea,and sometimes rises into hills that have been soundedand found to be 300 feet deep. These fine particleshave as much mobility among themselves as thoseof water, and obey in a mass the same laws. Sa-hara resembles the ocean. too, in its vastness and
- -----_----- ---_--- ------------,. \All.. ... ....1L" I ll 1--5WMOOM IN THE DESERT.
DESERT OF SAHARA. 13in the sense of silence and solitude, with which, whencalm, it impresses the voyager. Like the ocean, ithas its green islands, its wave-stricken shores anddangers. At night, its surging masses, which byday heave in alternate lines of dark shade and daz-zling sunshine, are seen to emit a phosphorescenceresembling that of the waves of the Equatorial ocean.In keeping with this observed analogy it is, that themodern Arab and the fairy legend agree in callingthe camel, on which from time immemorial thissand-sea has been traversed by man, "the ship of thedesert." Perched on the back of this invaluable andhardy creature, the traveller, like the sailor, has noother method of determining his bearings and direct-ing his course, but his mariner's compass and know-ledge of thte stars. Sahara, in brief, has its pilots,pirates, and perils, the same as the liquid desert wename the ocean.Sahara has, for ages, been crossed along differentlines of route by companies of men, mounted oncamels, called caravans, and these, as they happen toassemble at the place of rendezvous, have been knownto number as many camels as two thousand. Thesecaravans, however picturesque at starting, at halting,or on route, are often exposed to perils to whicheven sailors are strangers. .Except meeting, may-hap, now and then another company, they willtravel on for days without descrying a single livingcreature, tree, grass-blade, or even lichen-withoutbeing able to trace the least vestige of anything withthe principle within it of organic life,-nothing dis-coverable anywhere to the oppressed spirit but a
"14 DESERT OF SAHARA.weary waste of rock and sand. The heat, too, causedby the direct and reflected rays of a burning sin,shaded by not even a single cloud, communicates tothe soil and atmosphere an absolutely scorchingquality, so that you breathe an air sometimes at1200, and pass over a surface heated to 1500. Atnight, such is the radiation of heat from the soil intoCARAVAN IN THE DESERT.uncloaded space, that water, owing to the quantityof heat thus abstracted, will freeze before morning,and so small a quantity of vapour is there in theatmosphere, that the rising sun is preceded by notwilight, but announces itself at once on the horizonas a ball of fire. But of all the perils to which thetraveller in this desert is exposed, the greatest andmost dreadful are those which accompany the simoom.
DESERT OF SAHARA. 16This is a hurricane, which after a brief array ofdoomsday-like warnings, bursts over its expanse lkea blast from a seven-fold heated furnace, parching ipthe very blood in the body, and choking .and suito--- . ... ..- ___- -- .-- _______________________~--_____- --- ;-r---I ----- __--- j ----- _- ~1~----~- ____________ -~------ ~ --- ---2---- ------HALT OF A CARAVAN IN THE DESERT.eating with burning dust the mouths and nostrilsof men and beasts. This last is so penetrating that,in spite of every precaution, it will, in many cases,stop up the air-passage, arrest respiration, and, as
16 DESERT OF SAHARA.in drowning, suspend life. And even when it isnot thus immediately fatal, the rapid evaporation theheat induces, dries the skin and engenders inflamma-tion, fever, and a maddening thirst. In 1805, thesimoom destroyed thus a caravan of two thousandpersons, and nearly as many camels, and everywherein these -deserts the traveller comes upon memorialsof its desolating ravages, in the whitened skeletons ofmen and camels. In this region there is no dew,and seldom, except on the mountains, any rain, notoftener than once in ten, or even twenty years, andthen it seems " it never rains, but it pours." Therains, which fall on the mountainous districts, whichthey do in tropical showers from time to time forsome months every year, either immediately evaporateagain, or percolate the soil. What the soil, or rathersand, absorbs in this way, gives rise in all probabilityto the underground waters, which the Arabs, fromimmemorial times, in many quarters, come upon bydigging to various depths below; and the presumeduniversal presence of which here, has led them todesignate Sahara by a name signifying the " Islandthat floats on a subterranean sea." These subsoil-waters, so to speak, here and there, all over thedesert, but principally towards the east and north,rise of themselves to the surface and appear assprings. The spots they irrigate are called Wadies,or Oases, and these are gardens for fertility, andparadises for beauty, yield dates, fruits in everyvariety, and grain, and support a population in manycases of several thousands. The springs by whichthe verdure of these spots subsists, and is nourished,(179)
1=~'== 2-; ~-~-~--~. ........_THE MIRAGE IN THE'DESERTOt12_2;- --~- 9~--- C--~ nr~S~--;; ~~i---~
"DESERT OF SAHARA. 19are guarded by the natives as true holy wells, thefilling, or the drying up, of which would convert it atonce into a portion of the general surrounding waste.Nor is this contingency at all uncommon, as thescattered ruins of important villages too plainlytestify. The Oasis of T6baich perished thus notmany years ago, and to-day the stems of the palm-trees may be seen standing out of the sand, whichburies it, like the masts of the ships of some strandedfleet. The date-tree is the life of these green spotsin the wilderness, and the date, like the palm-tree,must, as the Arabs say, have "its feet in the waterand its head in the fire." Without the palm-treesthere had been no oases; without the oases no worldfor man to occupy; and so the natives say, that Godmade the palm-tree when he made man.Not the least striking phenomenon witnessed bythe wayfarer in these solitudes is that known inoptics as the mirage. Of the effects of this the mostwonderful accounts aie given, and the deception itproduces has misled the inexperienced and the un-wary from the earliest ages. Often, as the caravanjourneys over the desert-all the company, it maybe, foredone with fatigue, maddened with thirst, andnearly blinded with the light reflected from theburning sand-will they descry on the verge of thehorizon what seems a glistening as of water and awaving of palm-trees. Nay, in these circumstances,it is said, the eye will discern in the distance nowsmiling landscapes, and now verdant islands, hererivers flowing between fertile banks, and there citieswith their mosques; while again, at other times, is
20 DESERT OF SAHARA.clearly visible a caravan halting under the date-clus-ters, with the camels browsing on the herbage, orquenching their thirst by the palm-tree wells. De-ceived by visions of this nature, and goaded by thirst,the traveller will oftentimes turn aside from the routein quest of water, following to his ruin the speciousbut seductive illusion, as it recedes before him beckon-ing him on and on. Much of exaggeration as theremay be in the accounts of these illusions, there canbe no doubt of their reality; for, strange as they are,they are easily explained, and are a necessary resultof the heat communicated by the sun to the soil' ofthe desert. This heat is so intense at times as torender the layer of air which rests immediately uponthe soil considerably rarer than the air above, whichlatter we may conceive of as an ocean of water restingupon the former as on an undulating shallow atmo-sphere of air. Where these meet at their surfaces, thereis a mirror created, in which objects are reflected justas they are, for example, in a lake where the air isabove and the water below. The images in the casehere are reflections, more or less distorted, of somereal objects at no great distance beyond, or, as formost part happens, some particular aspect of thesky. In this last instance, the colour of the skywill reflect itself in this mirror with more or less ofundulation, according to the undulation created inthe lower stratum of air. Such is the mirage, andthe images it creates owe their fantastic forms to thecombined action of the agitation in the atmosphereof the desert and the feverish excitement in the brainof the thirsty traveller as he traverses its wastes.
II.y j nMammof4, dabt in Aintfufhz.HE Mammoth Cave is the largest known toexist in the crust of the globe, and is. situated in Kentucky, U.S., 130 milessouth-west of Lexington, in the latitude of Gibraltar.It is entered from the banks of the Green River, atributary of the Ohio, and appears itself to havebeen excavated by some ancient river in some longby-gone age of the world. It consists of a succes-sion of caverns of various dimensions, with interven-ing passages, and has been penetrated by the curiousexplorer to a distance of 10 miles. The countryround is richly wooded and cultivated, and the fis-sure, 20 feet high by 30 wide, which forms theentrance to the cave, and is .in the side of a lime-stone hill, is half concealed by festoon-work of leavesand flowers. Here there are in daily attendance anumber of chartered guides, who, provided each witha number of miners' lamps, are ready to direct andshow the tourist through the labyrinth; and these,till lately, at all events, used to be negroes, who, formost part, fathers of families, were able, from theprofits of this occupation, at length to purchase free-dom for themselves and children.
22 THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY.Choosing, and accompanied by, one of these guides,you enter this underground region, and, descendingsome sixty paces, find yourself in a lofty cavern, orrather gallery, 60 feet wide and half a mile long,which the Americans, in consequence of the millionsof bats which cluster here, call, after their greatornithologist, the Hall of Audubon. This galleryis chiefly remarkable for its length, its level floor,and the saltpetre wrought out of it in the beginningof the present century. Arrived at the further endof it, you find you have been conducted by it into aspacious amphitheatre, not inaptly denominated theRotunda, 100 feet high and 175 feet wide, and fromwhich branch off in various directions numerouscorridors. Entering by one of these, you are leddown a pretty rapid slope into a chamber 300 feetin circumference, the lofty roof of which is archedlike the nave of a cathedral, and supported, as itwere, by stalactites resembling cathedral pillars.This cavern bears the name of the Gothic Church,which, that the resemblance might be complete,Nature has provided with stalls and even a pulpit,whence, it is said, once and again, Christian minis-ters have preached the gospel. These pillars, pul-pit, &c., have been formed, in the course of longages, by water dropping continually from, or ratherthrough the roof, charged with particles of lime andflint, which, as they adhere at the top, depend likeicicles, or, harden at the floor, rise into columns.Such formations, when suspended from the roof, arecalled stalactites, and when rising from the floor,stalagmites; and these often result in producing
THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY. 23forms strongly similar to those organized by livingnature and elaborated by art. In this case so com-plete is the similarity to a Gothic church, that eyes,aided by torch-light and imagination, have discernedhere an altar, a font, and candalabra, nay, even anorgan flanked by draped figures in various attitudes.The avenue called the Gothic-as being no lessrich in fantastic shapes, borrowed, as it were, fromthe Gothic model-by which you retire from thechurch, conducts, through a succession of corridors,into what is called the Chamber of Ghosts. This.compartment of the cave is so named because of theimmense number of mummies found in it when itwas first explored; the only relics, it is thought, ofa tribe of Indians long since vanished from the earth.Strangely, this which had once and for centuriesbeen a silent place of skulls, was, till lately, themost animated and best illuminated quarter of thewhole cave, frequented, as it happened to be, byvaletudinarians, of the consumptive type especially,from all parts, on whom the saltpetre in the atmo-sphere, combined with the equability of the tempera-ture, was thought to act beneficially, and for whoseaccommodation here American enterprise had builtand provided a number of stone huts by way ofhotels. Here to this day, though the valetudin-arians have left in quest of health elsewhere, it ispresumed, refreshments may still be had, and news-papers in restaurants; kept, possibly, in the usualfashion, and presided over, as in negro slave-emanci-pation times, by the wives and daughters of theguides.
24 THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY.Quitting the Chamber of the Ghosts, your way. forlong is narrow, tortuous, and often steep. First,you descend by a series of ladders, then you crossa chasm by a wooden bridge of the most frail, ricketystructure, and are soon involved in the coils of alabyrinth winding and again winding upon itself.At length the passage grows straighter indeed, butthe roof lower and lower, until not even stoopingwill suffice, and you must go down and creep alongon all fours. This passage, which some of ournegro friends probably have called the Valley ofHumility, terminates in a sort of balcony, to whichhas been given the name of the Devil's Chair. Thischair is a recess cut out in the side of a perpendicularrock, and provided with a window, from which youlook down into an abyss deemed by your familiarwitty people not unworthy of the name they havegiven it, the Bottomless Pit. The wall in which thebalcony, or chair, has been formed is one of the sidesof this pit, and is doubtless the brow of the precipiceover which once dashed the waters of some extinctNiagara. The abyss yawns gloomy and vacant inthe lamp-light both above and below, only darknessvisible all round. Bits of-paper twisted and dippedin oil, are kindled by the guides, and thrown in,but they keep falling as long as they continue burn-ing, and seem no nearer the bottom when they goout than when they were lighted. What the depthis, the negro, with his sensational tendencies, assuresyou is uncertain, a sounding-line of 900 feet having,to his certain knowledge, come short of the bottom;which is not so surprising, when we hear of a chasm
THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY. 25in Sweden of such depth that a stone, when castinto it, takes nearly two minutes to descend, andthus gives evidence of a space passed through equalto twice the height of the highest mountain in theglobe! Of the abyss in Kentucky the negro guidesused to relate each his surprising tale; and one theytell is of two fugitive slaves, who, after being trackedand hunted from corner to corner all over the cave,were at length driven into the gallery which termin-ates in this pit, and who, rather than fall into thehands of their pursuers, waited only till they sawthemselves overtaken, and then, hand in hand,leaped wildly in, sending back, as they descended,not even the echo of an echo to announce the arrivalof their unhappy carcasses at the bottom!From the verge of this horrid gulf your guidesnext conduct you, by a succession of ups and downs,to what they call the Mammoth Dome. This is acavern of immense extent, with a cupola, or dome-like roof, nearly 400 feet in height, and the vault ofwhich is lost in so dense a darkness as to be invisibleeven under the light of multiplied torches. A stoneof even moderate size, detached from this roof,would, you are told, quickly despatch you, if youhappened to be below it, an announcement underwhich you feel no inclination to tarry longer, andyou-willingly follow your guide as he precedes youby a path which rises winding to the summit of thisdome. Arrived at its lower margin, you look up,and lo, you behold a vault, dark as night, studdedall over with star-like fire. This, your guide tellsyou, is the Star-chamber, while you, as you gaze up,
26 THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY.can hardly persuade yourself you are not standingunder the firmament of night itself. Being in-crusted all over with stalactites of, it is said, blackgypsum, this dome, when illuminated by the lampsof the guides, is set a-sparkling like the sky in anight of summer. Nay, by adroit management oftheir lights, the guides can make them so fall uponthese stalactites as to reflect for you appearancesresembling dusk and daybreak in the heavens.Passing from the star-chamber, ,you skirt theshores of a lake some 50 feet long and 30 feet broad,which you are gravely told is the Dead Sea; and,by-and-by, you stand arrested on the banks of ariver you are assured is the Styx, which, especiallywhen you descry the boat at its margin, remindingyou of Charon, you feel half disposed to believe it is.It rolls on, at a depth of 300 feet below the earth'ssurface above, between banks which are 30 feetapart, in a volume of water 40 feet deep, and about500 feet onwards. dives suddenly out of sight, veiledin its going, as in its coming, like the mystery oflife itself. The boat it is meant you should enter;and as you commit yourself to it, your guide, as hepushes it off and paddles away, horrifies you withsounds, which, as they come back upon you from thevaults and passages, tempt you to believe you heargroanings from the tormented in penal Tartaros.Troubled with these reflections, which the weirdlight on the walls, and the ghost-like shadow ofyour guide on the waters, caused by the light nowcarried by yourself, contribute to deepen, you aresuddenly startled nearly out of your senses by a
11 o IA, IV N;iiit])/Il MAISTY
THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY. 29sound beside you which, as it reverberates along the.galleries, makes you apprehend something like thecrack of doom itself. This is a trick of your guide,who, seeing you lost in your reflections, has, unob-served by you, slipped ashore and startled the echoesby striking his oar violently upon a wall or ledge ofrock. You look round you terror-stricken, andthere is Sambo. grinning and laughing, as only anigger can, over your consternation, ravished to themarrow of his bones at the success of his smallhocus-pocus. After an hour's sailing on this netherriver, in which, by the way, you are told anglershave caught two kinds of fishes, one with eyes butwithout vision, and another with no eyes at all,only marks, you disembark at length at the furtherend on a bank of fine sand, where you can clearlyperceive traces of higher water-levels. Onwards alittle further you alight upon a small sulphur-spring,and then by the Cleveland Avenue, whose wallsseem wrought all over with a delicate fretwork offlowers, you are at length ushered into what, fromthe snowy whiteness of its walls, obtains distinctionamong entities as the Snow Ball-room. From this,by paths now wide, now narrow, now smooth Andlevel, now steep and rugged, you pursue your way,and arrive at length at a range of rocks lyingathwart your course, which you see must have fallendetached from the vault above; and as you ascendand descend, you are given to understand are no-thingless than the Rocky Mountains. These youcross, not merely for the sake of crossing, but to seethe far-famed Fairy Grotto which lies beyond. This
30 THE MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY.grotto, when you enter and inspect it, you find afairy-realm of pillars and arches which, as thesonorous droppings all round testify, are still un-finished, and not to be seen, therefore, or criticizedby fools or children, who, according to a Scotchproverb, should never see things half done.At the further extremity of this room, as it iscalled, a group of stalactites may be seen, which, intheir curvings and inclinations, are an exquisiteimitation, as in alabaster, of an Oriental palm-tree,from the top of which the jet is still in play, underwhose droppings and runnings this glittering ara-besque is being formed; and this, as you behold itwith still fresh wonder, your guide, to your sorrowor not, announces as the close of the entertainment.Thus far, it seems, you have penetrated to a depthof above nine .miles; and your journey hither andback, you need not be astonished should it occupyten hours;-ten hours which, whether marked withwhite chalk or black on the tablet of memory, arenot soon to be forgotten, and likely to form a periodto or from which all other events in your historymay date themselves. To the last you may be un-certain whether the prominent place this visit retainsin your recollection is due to the impression madeupon you by the cave itself, or the gratitude youfelt as you issued from it alive and scathless.
j it-GROTTO-MAMMOTH CAVE, KENTUCKY.lip isi
III.Sauris anhar:THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD.HIS mountain, the height of which wasmeasured by Major Everest, after whom" Qit is in this country usually named, is thehighest on the surface of the globe, lying within therange "of the Himalaya, and in the centre of Nepaul.No one has approached within many miles of eventhe sides of it, so impassable are the chasms whichlie between; and yet its height has been accuratelytaken by that strange science which enables us withcertainty to know the sizes and distances of the un-visited stars. Its summit is 29,002 feet, or 5- milesabove the level of the sea, the mountain next itin elevation being Dapsang in Western Thibet.Kinchinjunga, straight north of Calcutta, ranksthird in the scale; but this, though 1000 feet lowerthan its brother-mountain in Nepaul, attains a higherlevel than would the highest of the Pyrenees wereit piled upon the top of Mont Blanc itself. Be-tween it and Gaurisankar, which rises west of it,there extends a panorama of mountain, gorge, andglacier, which, with the snow-peaks crowning it inthe rear, is, for grandeur and sublimity of effect,(179) 8
34 GAURISANKAR :anapproached by any spectacle in the world. Thesepeaks, with the two giant ones which bound themto east and west, may be seen from the south on aclear day at a distance of 300 miles; and a littlebelow Bhagulpoor, on the Ganges, is the confluenceof a river, called the Coosy, whose waters are fed bythe glaciers which lie between. "At the foot ofthis colossal wall of mountain, which these peaksdominate, and which seems the barrier of a world,stretches, parallel with its length, a long, black,fantastically-traced border." This is called the Terai,and is a zone of forests which extends along the footof the mountains from one extremity of India to theother, from the Sutledge to Bramapootra. The soilof this forest-region is neither alluvial, as on theside of the plains, nor of rock, such as the moun-tains, but consists generally of a series of layers ofsand, gravel, and pebbles rounded in water; the'whole deposited in beds by the twofold action of tincurrents of the mountains and the tides of the oceanin those ancient epochs when the latter dashed up(ttheir bases with its waves, and abraded them witiits ice-fields. The region itself is the haunt of wildFand savage animals; but by the middle of Aprilsuch is the miasma engendered within it, that the\all abandon it, and do not return again till tl,month of October. The tigers and elephants with,draw to the mountains; the monkeys, antelopes, anlwild boars make for the plains; and those who, ormilitary or other enterprises, are at this seasonobliged to traverse it, report that th' f' gf :lation to which the malaria has reduced it is sucr
---~-------;a:- ------ -~L--- ----------------------St "I~l f_ .fil" l_____ ___-l- l' -.,I-~~~~ __ '( __ii I ( I I[Riil- --%---- _. -H .- ,GAURISANKAR.
THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD. 37that its silence is unbroken by the cry or flutter ofeven a single bird. It is for this reason the regionis called the Terai,-a Persian word, which signifies avapour, or misty exhalation."The Terai may be regarded as the ditch, ormoat, of the rampart formed by the Himalaya, ofwhich the scarp, with a mean height of 20,000 feet,bears bastions that are more than 25,000 feet high,and presents to the enemy from the south a con-tinuous wall without apparent breaches, and of 1200miles in length." There is only one pass practicablethrough this immense natural barrier; and this isthe gorge through which the Sutledge, towards thewestern extremity of it, finds its way from thenorthern sides of the chain to the southern.Above 200 miles north-west from the source ofthe Sutledge, but on the southern side of the range,rises the Jumna, the principal feeder of the Ganges.This river is remarkable for being the only river ofany note in India, which, throughout its course, ispurely Indian; all the others flowing round the eastor west of the chain from the north. Its source isnearly 11,000 feet high, and after a course of 680miles it joins the Ganges at Allahabad. Its waters,being drained off for canals and irrigation, are shal-low and navigable only to rafts. It is, however, animportant frontier-river against invasion by thenorth-west; and on it, accordingly, are built bothAgra and Delhi, the seats successively of the Mogulpower in India.
IV.9et tah of mmerifft.HE Canaries are a cluster of seven largerand numerous smaller islands, lying in theAtlantic, 60 miles off the coast of Africa,and about 1700 miles south-west of London. Theyare all of volcanic origin; that is, they consist of rockmolten in, and thrust up by fire from, the deep sea-bottom. Theywere renowned in fable long before theywere known in fact, and are thought to be the groupcelebrated in antiquity as the Isles of the Blessed,or the immortal abode of the heroic dead. It wasfancied the hero must have his final resting-place inthe region of the setting sun, and these islands, whenthe report of their discovery first reached Greece,were at once fixed upon as the sacred spot: andnot unworthily, as it turned out, for they abound inevery natural delicacy, and yield the productions ofnearly every clime. Their chief exports are wine,sugar, fruits, and grains., They were originally in-habited by a race of people called Guanches, whoused to go to war with each other, tribe with tribe,and sell their captives to Spanish merchants forslaves. They are now extinct as a people, havingbeen swept away by pestilence, sold into slavery, or
THE PEAK OF TENERIFFE. 39merged in the Spanish race, who conquered them andseized their possessions. Mummies of them remain,and the knowledge of embalming this fact implies,proves them to have made considerable advance incivilization. They were men of great stature, andare for this reason sometimes called the Patagoniansof the Old World. The Spaniards, who now occupythe islands, claimed and held them originally invirtue of a grant given by the Pope; but not with-out much bloodshed, as the names of places testify,were they able to make their title good. It is tobe hoped they now hold them by a higher right, andthat they, as well as all land-owners on the globe,realize the existence of surer claims than any based onthe mere parchment grant of pope or potentate.The canary-bird, known far and wide over theworld, is a native of these islands, only his plumageis never yellow, as with us, but invariably green,with a tinge of yellow, if anywhere, along the back.They fly about wild in numerous flocks; and it issaid that, in one of the islands, their eggs at a certainseason are so plentiful, that you can hardly walkwithout treading upon and breaking them. Someof these birds have a finer, that is, a softer, moremelodious and touching song than the canary asknown to us, but these can by no means be tamed," so sacred to their soul is liberty." Yellow canariesare to be seen there as well as here, but only in cages,and by importation from abroad. Here are neitherparrots nor monkeys; but in the Western Islands arenumerous camels, and elsewhere a species of goatsuperior to any found in Europe.
40 THE PEAK OF TENERTFFE.The seven Canary Islands have a population of aquarter of a million, are each under a governor, andall subject to the authority of the Captain-General,who resides at Grand Canary. Of these islands,however, Teneriffe is at once the central and largest,as well as the best known and most remarkable, thechief feature of which is the Peak, and this is inter-esting alike to the naturalist and the navigator. Ithas been for centuries a beacon to the sailor, andfrom an imaginary line, called a meridian, whichpassed nearly through it from north to south, theDutch seaman used to calculate the position of allplaces on the globe. It is upwards of 12,000 feethigh, and may be seen at sea at a distance of120 miles, more or less, according to the stateof the atmosphere. In shape it is a cone of steep,but nearly uniform, slope, terraced somewhat as weapproach the top, and terminated in a small truncatedcone called the Piton, or Sugar-loaf, which in heightequals nearly a twentieth part of the whole elevation,and, being covered with white pumice-stone; reflectsa bright light, suggestive of snow. It looks snow-capped, therefore, at all seasons, but is so only inwinter; and the whole is seen at a distance-the upperpart, or the Piton, because it is brighter, and therest of the mountain because it is darker, than theback-ground formed by the sky. When approachednearer, its sides are seen to be deeply fissured intogorges and valleys, and clothed from the base up-wards with zones of vegetation, which correspond intheir productions with the zones of the world as youascend from the equator nearly to the very pole.
-----------THE PEAK OF TENERIFFE.
THE PEAK OF TENERIFFE. 43These zones, or belts, of vegetation, with which themountain is found to be successively begirt, havebeen by Humboldt, who visited it in 1799, reducedto five, or rather six. There is, according to him,the zone of-1st, the vine; 2nd, the laurel; 3rd, thepine; 4th, the retama; 5th, the grasses; and 6th,barrenness-this last so, not because it is frigid, forit is not, but because it is without soil. The firstzone, which ascends to a height of from 1300 to1900 feet, is the best cultivated and peopled, enjoysa climate intermediate between that of Naples andthe Torrid Zone, and exhibits a vegetation which inappearance resembles that of Africa. The fruitscultivated in it are dates, sugar, olives, figs, thevine, and even cinnamon and coffee. The secondzone, being the region of the springs, is coveredwith a rich turf, always verdant and planted withevery variety of tree of value for its wood, andbeautiful for. its majesty of form and abundant foliage.It is called the woody region, and abounds in oaks,chestnuts, olives, laurels, and myrtles, the wholecarpeted or festooned with flowers. The third zone,which begins at a height of about 5600 feet, and hasa breadth of above 2000 more, is entirely filled withan immense forest of pines, of which the leaves areof unusual length and stiffness, and sprout from onesheath often in twos, and even threes. Above thisregion the same/ kind of vegetation goes on for atime, but is interrupted by heaps of pumice-stone,broken lava, &c. A beautiful tufted Alpine broomis seen in all directions, and forms higher up inthickets many an oasis in an otherwise waste desert
44 THE PEAK OF TENERIFFE.of ashes. This, called the retama, grows to a heightof 10 feet, and affords food to a race of goats native tothe region. The presence of this broom characterizesthe fourth zone of the mountain, while the fifth,though named of grasses, is, from the presence ofnaked rocks and lava, only thinly spotted withgreen.Though in summer the snow completely disap-pears from the summit of the mountain, there is, itseems, a cavern 2000 feet from the top, whence iceand snow can be had at all seasons, and where natives,provided with mules, collect it to sell it in the townsbelow. It remains unmelted on account of its mass,and because the heat which converts the superficialportions into vapour, comes partly from its own sub-stance, and keeps it cool.The Piton, or terminal cone, which is surmountedby the crater, or cup-like hollow, as it was left bythe last eruption, rises from a narrow plain or terrace,at an elevation of fully 11,000 feet from the base.It is cleft here and there with fissures, which arecalled nostrils of the Peak, and from which are seenissuing at intervals the vapour of pure water, a phe-nomenon due apparently to the evaporation of thesnow accumulated within them in winter. Thiscone is covered all over with volcanic ashes andfragments of pumice-stone, and can be ascended onlyby the groove the lava left in its descent at the lasteruption, ascending by which even you must hold on,as it were, with "beak and claw." The difficultyof the ascent here is enhanced by a sensible increasein the degree of slope, and, when you reach the top
THE PEAK OF TENERIFFE. 45you are confronted by a wall which seems to sur-round the crater, and bar not the entrance only, butthe very view, into the interior. In this, however,when examined, is found a crack from top to bottom,and by it you can not only see into the crater, butdescend within. This wall is found, when youenter, to surround the crater, and form to it anelliptically -shaped funnel, with its greater axispointing north-west and south-east, 300 feet long,and 200 feet wide. The cup, or crater, itself is 100feet deep; and though it, too, is covered with crevices,from which vapours issue hissing, and a clammy oozecorrosive to the clothes and shoe-soles, descent ispossible to the very bottom. This may be hazardedwith all safety, as no eruption has taken place fromthe summit for thousands of years; any manifestationof volcanic life since having- appeared through thesides of the mountains low down, and the last of anynote having occurred in the year 1798.The view from the summit, owing to the narrow-ness of the base, and the clearness of the atmosphere,is unique at once in its range, variety, and beauty.The range of view equals in area half that of GreatBritain, and takes in all the islands of the Canarygroup; and the transparency of the air is such, thatmost distant objects stand out with the most perfectdistinctness of both colour and outline. As for thesky, seen especially in the zenith, such is the rarityof the air, that its azure is intense than De Saussureobserved from the summit of Mont Blanc itself.
V.jemarkabc g asaltic glasses.ASALT is a species of trap, or erupted rock,found in widely separated regions of theworld, and distinguished for the tendencyit has to form itself into columnar masses. Thepillars of which it is composed are perfectly straight,with three, four, five, up to nine, and even twelve,equal sides, each of the utmost symmetry of shape,and fitting by its surfaces and angles exactly intothe others. It is formed of the same ingredients asgreenstone-that is, hornblende and feldspar, witha small quantity of iron-only the particles or grainscomposing it are smaller, hold more firmly together,and yield a rock of a denser and harder texture.In colour it is of a dark gray, next to black, andthe columns it forms are commonly articulated, orjointed, at nearly equal intervals along their length,by in some cases a ball-and-socket joint, while theyfit so closely by their faces to one another that it isoften impossible to insert the point of a penknifebetween them. These columns form themselves atright angles to the greater extent of the mass theyoriginate in-that is, are perpendicular or slopingwhen this mass is in a horizontal otl sloping bed; and
REMARKABLE BASALTIC MASSES. 47horizontal, when, as in Iceland (see page 71), it risesin a perpendicular wall. The minute granulation andhard compactness of the rock is due to the sudden-ness with which it cooled when it was at the firstejected molten from the bowels of the earth, and theICASCADE OF REGLA.columnar form is thought to have been caused bythe escape of vapour from its mass, which made itcrack into pillars, that afterwards, as in starch manu-facture, shrunk slightly when cooling.The most remarkable examples of columnar basalt
48 REMARKABLE BASALTIC MASSES.are the Cascade de la Savane in the Mauritius, theCascade of Regla in the New World, the CyclopeanIsland on the coast of Sicily, the Giant's Causewayin the north of Ireland, and especially Fingal's Cavein the west of Scotland. The basalt at Regla risesin perpendicular cliff-like colonnades, the front pillarsof which-have in some cases fallen away by thejoints near the top, and their places been supplied byfragments of others in the rear, that have been pushedover and lie nearly horizontal. Its grace of form,and soft rich beauty of environment, go to make itone of the cascades of the world, and an expressivesymbol of the great Nature of which it forms a part,where "Beauty alternates with Grandeur, and Peaceestablishes herself in the bosom of Strength." TheCyclopean Island, which is a singular succession ofcolumnar basaltic masses, superimposed upon -eachother terrace, or rather trap, wise, belongs to a regionthat from of old has figured in the human imagina-tion as the fire-centre of the universe. Here it wasthat strange race the Cyclops, offspring of heavenand earth, with their one eye in the centre of theforehead, and preternatural strength, in beautifulsubordination to the world-system, forged thunder-bolts for Jupiter, and panoplies for the immortalgods. These were the servants of Vulcan, the fire-god, and here it was they under him were fabled toproduce fire-work worthy of heaven itself. Any-thing which only a fire-power could produce wasascribed to their agency, and hence a large irregularpile of uncemented shapen, or unshapen, rock-masseshas been called a Cyclopean wall. Not unfitly,
REMARKABLE BASALTIC MASSES. 49therefore, is the towering basaltic island near Sicilycalled Cyclopean, as, whatever we may think of thewalls so-called, there can be no possible doubt ofits being the work of the fire-demons, whom theancients, seeing the single flash dart from the browN--- _i VTHE CYCLOPEAN ISLAND.of the dark thunder-cloud, figured in their fanciesas a set of enormous giants, each with a singleeye.But of all the basaltic pillars in the world, themost perfectly symmetrical and complete every way(179) 4
50 REMARKABLE BASALTIC MASSES.are understood to be those of the Giant's Causewayand Fingal's Cave. The Giant's Causeway, whichconsists of thousands of these pillars, projects bythree piers or moles, of unequal length, from thenorth coast of Antrim into the Irish Channel, and issaid, in legend, to be the commencement of an abortiveeffort on the part of a race of giants to make for them-selves a pile of easy stepping-stones to the shores ofScotland. The largest of these piers runs nearly aquarter of a mile into the sea, and forms by the topsof the columns a sort of uneven causeway. Thesepillars are close compacted together, chiefly six-sided,and composed of parts which fit into one another,the upper one into a hollow in the upper surface ofthe one below. Fingal's Cave, though discoveredless than a century ago by Sir Joseph Banks, is nowknown, by faithful portraiture, at any rate, to nearlyall the world. This cave opens ocean-ward, hol-lowed by sea, wind, and fire tempests, out of the sideof a cliff of dark basalt 112 feet high, and forming thesouth-west side of Staffa, which is composed through-out of more or less vertical columns of this rock,resting on a bed of tufa, and surmounted by an irre-gular mixture of rude masses of rock, covered, formost part, with a rich and verdant sward. The caveitself is 33 feet wide at the entrance, 59 feet high tothe point of the arch at full tide, contains throughoutabout 24 feet of water, while the recess inwardsmeasures 288 feet along the floor and 212 along theroof. It resembles the aisle of a cathedral, flooredby the sea, flanked by pillars, and crowned with aGothic arch. A grander, more imposing, more im-
REMARKABLE BASALTIC MASSES.pressive pile, by all accounts, exists not among theboasted architectures of the world. Nor is Fingal's-the only cave which opens under the basaltic cliffs ofStaffa. On the eastern shore there is another calledthe Clam-shell Cave, 130 feet long, 17 feet wide, and30 feet high; which, contracting as it retires inward,shows on one side the columns bent in a way re-sembling the inside timbers of a ship, and on theother the ends of others fallen horizontal and lookinglike the surface of a honey-comb. And not only arethese cliffs pierced with caves, but the pillars whichcompose them have, on the east side especially, toppledover, fractured by the joints, and left fragmentsstanding above water and below, which in extentand picturesqueness more than rival the Giant'sCauseway itself., ^
P,--- VI.aonfi afonatI ;THE PERFORATED MOUNTAIN.ONTE TAFONATO-that is, mountainwhich has been perforated-is one of thehighest mountains in the rugged island ofCorsica, and famous for an opening drilled as it werethrough and through it, near the summit. It is asolid mass of fine red porphyry, nearly 8000 feetabove the sea-level, and forming the buttress or propof another mountain 600 or 700 feet higher. Theopening to which it owes its name is several yards indiameter, and has its axis so inclined and situated asto afford at certain seasons a passage to a flood orshaft of light-beams from the sun when near its set-ting, such as to form a strange and striking contrastwith the sombre shadow of the mountain, athwartwhich they in so weird-like fashion stream. Noone can say exactly what may have been the geolo-gical cause of this singular perforation; and mean-time, in defect of a theory which will satisfy ascientific inquirer, a not uninteresting legend is at
MONTE TAFONATO. 53d to account for it. This last has found such: avour with a learned Abb6, who lately wrote thehistory of Corsica, that he gives it as the true ex-planation, nothing doubting. This perforation, he-assures us with all gravity, is the work of a demon,who in a fit of spleen did it to spite, as he foolishlyS--- -=- ....4v it I_--MONTE TAFONATO.thought, the good St. Martin! St. Martin surelycould have no objection to the creation of a newavenue for light in so dark a world, and the demonsurely outwitted himself if he thought this wouldbe a source of grief to the holy man.But indeed this perforation is difficult to explain,and the Abb6 Galetti is not without reason for ad-
-54 MONTE TAFONATO.hearing to the old legend as the true account. Thephenomenon is a rare one, and a rock-perforationsometimes classed along with it is now admitted tobe an artificial excavation. This is the tunnel underwhich the road from Pouzzoles passes just- where itenters Naples, near the sea. It is above half a milein length, ninety-six feet in height, and twenty-fiveor thirty feet wide; but it was originally a stonequarry, and it was the quarrymen who, before theyleft off working it, opened it up from end to end.Another mountain in Norway is drilled throughsimilarly into a funnel-shaped perforation of thesame length, and with an opening 150 feet wide,such that the sun may at certain seasons be seenpouring its rays through and through it, so that theystream beyond. But this opening is not, like theone near Naples, of merely human origin, but mustbe a freak of Nature herself, and is perhaps duein part to the action of water at an epoch of theremote past when the mountain lay submerged inthe surging deep. This power of water we havealready commented upon and illustrated in the ac-count we have given of Natural Bridges; and suchperforations as those we speak of may be seen atthis very moment forming on the coasts of NewZealand, under the action of the tides. But whetherthis fact explains the perforation through Monte Ta-fonato is open to question, or rather doubt, for thereseems to be little trace of the action of the agentreferred to on the rest of the mountain.
-*VII.jattural iribges.ATURAL Bridges are to be met with invarious regions of the globe, and some ot_ them are not unworthy to rank among itswonders. They are almost all formed by the actionof water, which, worming its way through crevicesin rocks, or the soft, porous, soluble strata under-neath, gradually, by abrading or dissolving the faceof the channels it permeates, scoops out for itself awider and a wider passage. If the water percolatesthe strata near the surface of the rock opposing it, theresult is erelong a stream open to the light through-out its course; but if the percolation takes placeat a depth below, an arch or vault is left overhead,which shall be wide or narrow, straight or tortuous,long or short, according to the breadth of the rock,and the regular or irregular softness and solubilityof its substance. It is thus, for instance, that cavesare formed; and if the compartments of the cave areof various dimensions, and at different levels, this isbecause the rock yields more readily to the solvent
56 NATURAL BRIDGES.or the abrasive power of the water in one part of itsmass than another. Limestone rocks are, above allothers, most susceptible of such corrosion, and it isin them accordingly caves principally exist. Yet iswater not without effect on rocks of a firmer texture,especially when to its power of melting is addedthe friction due to its agitation or motion. Bymeans of it-acting, however, mechanically or fric-tionally rather than chemically-Fingal's Cave seemsto have been formed out of igneous rock, or basalt;and in Sicily, the largest river which issues fromthe base of Etna is known to have, within twohundred and fifty years, worked a channel for itselfnearly 100 feet broad and 50 feet deep through ahard uniform mass of fire-made rock, which at thebeginning of that period came pouring athwart itsbed in the form of lava.This action of water in percolating, and so perfo-rating rocks, in a way to account for natural grottoesand bridges, is a phenomenon attested by thestructure of every river on the face of the globe: notone of them but is fed through the medium of water-formed channels of various calibre, which permeateto all lengths the mass of the mountains where theyhave their springs. But not only are these perfora-tions universal at the sources of rivers, of any extentat least, they are not unfrequently seen to be formedby them after they have begun their course. TheRhone, just where it bursts through the passes of theVosges into France, we have already seen, used to dis-I
NATURAL BRIDGES. 57appear suddenly underground, and flow through asecret channel it had widened, if not wholly formed,to a distance of about 500 feet. The Lys has alreadyhad a long journey, and is arrived in Belgium, whenit abruptly dashes over a precipice, and is lost to visionfor nearly half a mile in the Grotto of Han. TheMeuse, too, has a subterranean course it has formedfor itself, extending to a distance of six miles. Andthe Dromme, a river in Normandy, strangely pre-cipitates itself, at some distance from the sea, into a" hole " 39 feet wide, known as " the Pit of Soucy;"but it has not yet completed the work of perforation,or wrought for itself a clear passage through themountain, for it never re-appears again, except inthe form of new springs, which are understood toarise from its lost waters. But perhaps as remark-able an instance of this mole-like engineeringfaculty on the part of rivers is to be found in twosmall streams of Derbyshire in England. Thesestreams, the Hamps and the Manifold, after their for-mation at separate springs, turn in severally under theface of a hill-range, flow on for miles underground,until at length they re-emerge to the light by aper-tures only fifteen yards apart, each with its originalindividuality distinct and uncorrupted. Their watershave not throughout their subterranean course foronce intermingled, for they are at the point of issueof different temperatures; and that they are the samestreams from first to last is proved by this experiment,that floating bodies which have been absorbed at the
58 NATURAL BRIDGES.swallows are borne away by them down theirchannels to re-appear when they revisit the upperlight.If the caverns which the waters at and through-out their disappearance go to form are of limitedextent, and widely open at the two extremities, thereresults what is called a natural bridge; and this is aphenomenon which is found still to subsist, wherethe water which' formed it has either long sincechanged its course and taken itself away by otherchannels, or is now seen wriggling along far below,shrunk to a shadow. Of natural bridges, one of themost picturesque is that of Icononzo, and of it thereader will find a view and description in " Nature'sWonders," page 25.The bridge of Arc, which is nature-formed andspans the Ardeche in France, has an elevation of97 feet and a width of 190 feet; while that of Veja,near Verona, attains a height of 116 feet. But thetwo most stupendous natural bridges in the worldappear to exist, the one on the western flank ofLebanon in Syria, and the other in the westerndistrict of Virginia, United States.THE ROCK-BRIDGE OF LEBANON.This bridge is situated far up the slopes of themountain, under the brow of snowy Sunnim, thesecond for elevation of the Lebanon-peaks, betweentwenty and thirty miles north-east from Beyrout.It nobly spans a torrent, not far from its source,
NATURAL BRIDGES. 59called 'Ain-el-Lebn, or Fountain of Milk, and which,with another called 'Ain-el-'Asil, or Fountain ofHoney, goes to form the Lycus or Dog River ofthe ancients. The arch at its lower side has aheight of nearly 200 feet, its span is about 160,its width 140, and its thickness a-top 30 or 40feet. It forms to this day a bridge in the greatnorth and southward extending highway, "the high-est in the land, creeping cautiously along the veryuppermost shelf of the Lebanon," and may be veryreadily crossed by the traveller in these parts un-noticed and undreamed of. It is seen to best advan-tage down a little way, and from the bottom of theravine it overarches; and here it presents the appear-ance of "a semi-circular arch, slightly oblique, withregular abutments." The scenery around is bleakand rugged, and the spot is little known and seldomvisited. The brook which trips playfully awaybeneath its archway is of crystalline purity, and,even in summer, of icy coldness, and owes its nameto the pleasant sensations and images such waterssuggest so naturally to an Oriental fancy. It issuesdirect from the snows of Sunnim, and when it leavesthe bridge it enters and traverses the bottom of anarrow rent or fissure in the rock, from which itat length emerges, leaping wildly over a precipicein a thin sheet of foam. The bridge and its environswere at one time less desolate and deserted than theynow are; for not many hundred yards away fromthe bridge itself exist, westward and southward,
60 NATURAL BRIDGES.ruins which point to the period of the RomanEmpire-relics of a tomb, a temple, and a village,all forgotten now, even the very names. The DogRiver, too, into which this now lonely 'Ain-el-Lebnflows, may be said to be even rich in memories, bothmythical and monumental, reaching far back intothe depth of primeval time. The name it bears isderived from some dim, distorted recollection, evenin ancient memories, of some dog or wolf-like monsterchained by fate to its mouth, whose barkings orbayings, not at the moon but at Neptune, when infury he lashed the rocks with his waves, were suchas to appal the natives of even far-off Cyprus. Itwas an ominous howling, the tradition goes on to ... _-----_.. --..- . _.... -was an ominous howling, the tradition goes on to
NATURAL BRIDGES. 61say, which, issuing from the brow of a cliff at itsmouth, when the wind was high, terrified the tribesaround, for days and even years after, with the bod-ing thoughts of some dreadful judgment to whichthey were all doomed. Nay, so intolerable, themyth says, did the horror its repeated bellowingsawoke in them become, that they league togetheras one man, and, in the spirit of Prometheus, marcheddefiantly to the spot, wrestled, as Hercules by him-self used to do, with the monster, threw him, and,by combined effort, cast his body over the rock intothe depth of the sea; thus by one act, at any rateunmistakably heroic, ridding their country of one un-questionable nightmare from the pit, and not likelythenceforth to trouble it again to the end of time.The Dog River our bridge stands connected with isrich in memories of another kind, as the numerousmonuments, left by nearly all Oriental peoples onits banks and in its neighbourhood, so profuselytestify. Here are traces of Egypt, Assyria, Persia,Phoenicia, Greece, and Rome, and memorials alikeof the Crescent and the Cross. " Nowhere else."says Thomson, known to me is there to be foundsuch an assemblage of ancient mementoes as aregrouped together in one spot here."THE ROCK-BRIDGE, VIRGINIA.This bridge spans a rock fissure or chasm aboutone hundred and sixty miles nearly due west fromRichmond, and is approached generally from Lex-
62 NATURAL BRIDGES.ington, which is exactly twelve miles to the north-east. The road thence is, it seems, for its mire androughness, unhappily one of the most wretched,professing to be a road, anywhere to be met with,and is in rainy seasons often totally impassable; sothat the bridge can at such times be reached onlyby a succession of deflections and crossings whichextend the route, while they hardly improve it, toseventeen or eighteen miles. So execrable is thisroad, we are told, and such a penance is it to traverseit, that the Americans can compare it to nothing butpurgatory-by which name accordingly they scruplenot to distinguish it; a designation which in theirhands appears to have passed into a common onefor any place where the nerves, unless preternaturallystrong, are likely to be more than usually tor-tured. Nevertheless, "hard though the way be,"the bridge it conducts to is not only worth seeing,but, what Dr. Johnson would not allow of the Giant'sCauseway, worth going to see, especially if you are"touring it" in these parts at any rate; and it is acheap bargain you have made if you see it evenat the expense of the worst discomforts a journeythither will cause you. " Reader," counsels onewho has been there, and who knows, and subscribeshimself Peregrine Prolix, "do not allow the coldnessof your neighbours, or the heat of the weather, orthe badness of the roads, or the goodness of yourequipage, or the inertia of your disposition, or thegravity of your baggage, or the levity of your purse,
NATURAL BRIDGES. 63or the nolition of your womankind, or any othercreature of any other kind, to prevent you fromgoing to see the Natural Bridge;-you never saw itslike before, and you will never see its like again."Well, then; understand that this remarkablebridge spans a ravine which, from its brink down-wards, is below the level of the surrounding country;and that, being sixty feet wide and of strength suffi-cient, it is, like the one in Lebanon, crossed by a road,from the sides of which it is barely possible for thesteadiest head to look down into the abyss belowwithout vertigo. Not from this position, however,is it customary for the tourist to obtain his first viewof its immense proportions; it is usual rather toform a first acquaintance with it by a descent bya winding rocky path formed in a side of the ravine,and by inspection of it from the bottom of the ravineitself. The very first glance from this point strikesthe beholder with mute astonishment, and a sense ofthe utter impotency of all the art of man to expressor delineate its matchless grace and majesty. Ithas an elevation of above 210 feet, a span of 90, anda breadth, as we have said, of 60 feet, while thethickness of the arch in the centre is 45 feet, andtowards te abutments 60 feet. The piers of thebridge are perpendicular; its arch is covered a-topwith soil sufficient to root and grow considerabletrees, which from this position are seen crowning it;and you have an opportunity of estimating its up-ward dimension by contrast with certain kings of
64 NATURAL BRIDGES.the forest, which, springing from the margin of thebrook, nevertheless come far short of reaching thepoint where its curvature commences. The ravineit arches is traversed by a stream called the CreekRiver, and it is from its banks, some sixty yards be-low, experience teaches visitors the choicest view is tobe had. From hence the arch looks more slender, airy,ROCK-BRIDGE, VIRGINIA.and elevated, than from any other point of view; andthe conjunction of soft gracefulness with massivestrength it here exhibits is not outreached by anyother natural wonder in the world; nay, its airinessis such that it seems, in spite of gravity, supportedby its own buoyancy.The impression it makes, seen from a point as far
NATURAL BRIDGES.above the bridge as the previous point of view isbelow, suggests graver thoughts, and under its in-fluence the spirit is weighed down rather than light-ened and elevated, the general aspect being moresolid and sombre. The view of the arch from im-mediately underneath it, has an effect upon the mindespecially pleasing, the symmetry or proportionate-ness of form it here reveals is so choice and perfect.The walls of the ravine, too, scanned from this point,are in both directions of a nature grand and im-posing-so gracefully wavy are the outlines and sovaried the aspect, its bare blue rock alternating sostrikingly with the rich green foliage which here andthere drapes it. A little above the bridge on thewest, for the ravine extends in the main from northto south, the face of its cliff breaks into buttresses,which rise into separate pinnacles to a height ofabout 250 feet. These pinnacles are sometimesscaled, from the upper level of course, by daringadventurers; but it requires a strength of nerve andcoolness of brain, or rather perhaps, as P. P. sug-gests, a thickness of skull, almost preternatural, toqualify one for such an enterprise and insure a com-posure of mind sufficient to gaze steadily into theyawning gulf below. The walls of the ravine, fromwhich these pinnacled buttresses stand out in relief,are of solid rock, for the most part perpendicular,and, though not water-worn, they are thought tohave formed at some remote period the sides of a4cavern, probably miles long, of the roof of which(179) 5
66 NATURAL BRIDGES.all that remains is the width of 60 feet, which nowconstitutes the arch of this marvellous bridge.This bridge gives name to the county of Virginia,in which it is situated, which accordingly is calledRock-bridge county; and it affords the only passagethere is, for miles above or below, for crossing fromone side of the ravine to the other. Underneath thearch, some 30 feet from the bottom, the tourist haspointed out to him the letters G. W. graven inthe rock. These are the initials of George Washing-ton, who was a native of Virginia, and is said, whena boy, to have scrambled so far up the rock here,and proudly left behind him this memorial of thedaring feat.<-J
VIII.4re Wnapib s of t^ S aLorxent.HE St. Lawrence, in North America, isconnected with the largest continuousbody of fresh water and the most exten-sive system of inland navigation in the world. Theriver proper-i.e., from Lake Ontario downwards-is 750 miles long; which is increased threefold ifwe add to this the length of its lakes. Its breadthvaries from 1 to 4 miles, and attains to 100 milesat its mouth; and it is, half-way up--i.e., as far asQuebec-navigable for ships of 600 tons burden.The dry land portion of its basin is in area onlythrice that of its united waters; and the volume ofthese waters is such that'they would take forty yearsto flow over Niagara, at the rate of 1,000,000 cubicor solid feet in a second. Imagine a square pita mile across and a mile deep: the quantity issuch that it would fill it 11,000 times;-a bodyof fresh water this, it has been calculated, nearlyequal to that of all the other collections of this ele-ment on the face of the globe! The navigation it is0*
68 THE RAPIDS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE.capable of is interrupted for five months every yearby frost, and at all seasons by rapids and cataracts:of which latter there are two-one in the channel bywhich the waters leave Lake Superior, and the otherbeyond their egress from Lake Erie, known to allthe world as the Falls of Niagara; but the obstruc-tion these offer has been so far overcome by the con-struction of numerous canals. The rapids-all ex-cept the great one which plunges over Niagara-are,by adroit management, navigable to certain species ofcraft descending them; but the journey upwards isalways accomplished by means of the canals.A rapid is a current, or rather torrent, of water,of such impetuosity that a boat cannot, unless underpeculiar circumstances, breast and surmount it, andflowing over a bed of moderate slope, which is un-broken by a precipice or any solution of continuity,but more or less narrowed by rocks pressing downupon its margin or projecting from its bosom. Thefirst cataract of the Nile is essentially a rapid; and this,as we shall see, is, under conditions, variously navi-gable, upwards as well as downwards. But mostrapids are incapable of such manipulation; albeitthere are few, however impetuous, which the nativescannot and do not, by dexterous and steady piloting,descend from above. This, as every one knows isa feat the American Indians readily accomplish intheir canoes of tree-bark; and the Creoles are daringenough to launch on these rapids a light and grace-ful craft, in which they dauntlessly brave and deftly
THE RAPIDS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 69shoot both the utmost rushing and eddying of theStream.Rapids, though they are to be met with in greaternumbers and on a grander scale in America thananywhere else, occur more or less on all rivers ofany extent, if we except the large rivers of Eng-land, which show none throughout their course, un-less in the tiniest form, near their springs. Thereare, for instance, to go no further than Europe, therapids of the Rhine, at Bingen;; those of the Rhone,at Pierre Encise; and those of the Danube, atOrsova. But it is to America we must turn for thegrandest specimens; and not even there will wefind anything to match, in respect of breadth andvolume, the majestic rapids of the St. Lawrence.These rapids are of varied character and extent,and occur chiefly in that region of the river whichstretches between Lake Ontario and the city of Mont-real. It is just below this lake the river proper com-mences; and here it is all at once broken up into amazy infinitude of channels and lakelets by a worldof islands, of all shapes, sizes, and appearances, whichgoes under the name of the Lake of the ThousandIsles. This is a phenomenon exhibited, except on ascale comparatively insignificant, by no other riveron the globe; and the name it bears, though givenit before the fact was ascertained, does not the leastexpress an exaggeration, for the islands were countedby the United States' Commissioners appointed todetermine the boundary with Canada, and actually
70 THE RAPIDS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE.found to number 1692. To a craft threading itsmazes this lake at times presents an ever-shiftingvariety of the most picturesque scenery, composedof innumerable elements of the most enchantingbeauty, such as would in other days have not un-worthily suggested the region of the Islands of theBlessed. These islands are fitly associated, in manycases, with romantic incident; and were in all pro-bability at one time the scenes of many a RedIndian myth. One such in Lake Huron, theyfable, the Great Spirit guards with tempests, wreck-ing therewith any one who dares to venture near it,lest by landing he should make worse shipwreckstill. It was an island where gold abounded;and this the poor Red Indian believed to be a com-modity the Great Spirit, in his fatherly concern forhis children, deemed a possession fraught withgreater evils to them than death.But it is below the Lake of the Thousand Islesthe rapids begin; and the first of these of any conse-quence is the Rapid of Long Sault. This extends,without break, for a distance of nine miles, andflows on at an average velocity of twenty miles anhour. It is divided in mid-channel by a longisland, on the south side of which the current isnarrower and swifter, and was for long thought saferthan on the north, a raft being able to shoot theentire rapid by this branch of it in forty minutes! Itssurface throughout resembles the surging of the seain a storm; and the roar of the waters, as in their
- ME.RAPIDS ON THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER.RAPIDS ON THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER.
THE RAPIDS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 73headlong fury they roll onward, is awe-inspiring.The river steamboats, when they enter it-whichthey always do in their descent, often crowded withpassengers too-have their steam instantly shut off,and descend it by the force of the stream alone.The rocking and plunging they undergo in theirpassage is such, however, as to impart sensationsaltogether novel, and unlike those experienced in astorm at sea; while the imminency of the dangerthe surging and roaring of the water suggest, createsan excitement under which the qualms of sea-sick-ness have, it seems, no place. It is an undertak-ing the conduct of which requires a steadiness andprecision of pilotage which only unusual strength ofnerve and long well-trained experience can insure;for if the boat should be allowed to turn, so as topresent her side even in the least degree to thecurrent, it would be instant and utter ruin, since thenext wave would expose her broadside to the certainhazard of being capsized. The boat must be underthe absolute command of her rudder; the ruddermust obey the will of the steersman; and thesteersman must be a man of the keenest, mostdecisive promptitude of both nerve and eye. Thesteersmanship in this case requires such strength ofmuscle, as well as swiftness of precision, that it isusually committed to six men, all of whom sharplywatch the movements of the master-pilot, and obeyhim as if each were in immediate contact with hiswill. The tiller-which is astern, and fitted on to
74 THE RAPIDS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE.the rudder to act as a lever-is managed by two ofthese men; and the wheel-which is in the fore-ship, and operative upon the rudder by means ofchain and pulleys-is under the charge of the otherfour. What of faculty these men possess is, for thetime the passage lasts, in a state of utmost tension;and all on board strain along with them with asympathy which in their ear and Heaven's amountsto prayer. It is an excitement in which all share;the grander and nobler, the more it for the timeraises the soul above all fear.There is a series of rapids, several miles in extent,and terminating where the Ottawa mingles itswaters with those of the St. Lawrence. These gounder the names successively of the Coteau Rapid,the Cedars, the Split Rock, and the Cascades; andthe passage of these is effected similarly, and is asexciting as that of Long Sault. The waters in theserapids descend, however, more over a succession ofledges, which here form the bed of the river, andthe vessel is every now and then " settling down,"when she has passed from one ledge to glide overanother. At one point in the rapid of Split Rocka fearful sensation is experienced, for it seems as ifthe vessel were being driven helplessly upon a rock.where she is sure to be dashed in pieces; but justwhen it appears as though you already heard the.teeth of the rock crunching her timbers to atoms, sheis suddenly piloted past it, and clear of all danger.Immediately above Montreal occur the last series
THE RAPIDS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 75of rapids on the St. Lawrence; and these are ninemiles in extent, and have for two centuries bornethe name of the Rapids of La Chine, because, whenfirst discovered, it is said they were hailed by thevoyageur as a new route to China! They are asswift and wild as the others; and,. to avoid them,the people of Montreal have, at great expense, cuta canal alongside of them, of such proportions as toreflect the highest honour on the spirit which con-ceived and carried it through. This, however, likethe rest, is used by the mail steamboats, at any rate,only in their ascent; for these-which are of a size,moreover, to draw seven feet of water-descend theriver with goods and passengers from Lake Ontarioall the way to Montreal, without passing through asingle lock, and accomplish the journey between thesunrise and sunset of a single day-a distance equalto about two hundred miles.c-
IX.94t dasaEbt of d e |oar-jrZr t |ier.HIS "turbulent and unfriendly" river fallsinto the north-eastern extremity of theGreat Slave Lake, and appears to beginits mad career somewhere in the latitude of thesouthern coasts of Iceland, at a point nearly half-way between,the shores of Hudson's Bay and thebanks of the Mackenzie. It is distinguished amongrivers for being throughout its course nearly oneunbroken succession of bounding cataract or foamingtorrent; and it seems to owe the name it bears tothe "hoar-frost" appearance which either mantlesits rapids or overhangs its cascades. It becameknown to geographers about 1833, being then dis-covered and traversed by an exploring party underCaptain Back, who had in the summer of that yearbeen sent out from England in quest of the Arcticvoyager, Sir John Ross, then missing. Back andhis party, who were navigating the lake in search ofa northern outlet, first caught sight of it at the head ofa small bay trending northward, and bending off from
THE CASCADES OF THE IIOAR-FROST RIVER. 77a larger stretching south-east. Its apparition wasaltogether unexpected by the explorers, as in theevening they let their craft drift uncertainly east-ward. When they saw it, however, they at once recog-nized it as the outlet northward they were in searchof, and which their Indian guides had assured themthey would find. Nothing doubting, therefore, theyturned in, sure that the opening they had reachedwas the one they sought for, though there wasnot one who did not feel appalled at the prospectof surmounting the cataracts, to escape beyond.There, as they rowed up, rose on the left, reachingbackward, tier upon tier of broken, steep, barrenrocks; to the right, a deep shelving bank, slop-ing upward, and covered with a jungle of stuntedfir-trees; while between came dashing down, from aheight of sixty feet, into the dark gulf below, tworoaring cataracts, dimly veiled in clouds of mistyspray. To the merely " picturesque tourist," it werea spectacle simply entrancing; but to the party thatfirst described it, it was'suggestive only of furtherperils and harder toils, there as it stood, stern as any-sphinx-goddess, ready to devour the inquirer whocould not, except by resolving her riddle, escape herpower. The very Indians dared not venture topenetrate its banks, except with only bow andarrow; for there, as our adventurers paddled up,lay, concealed in the thickets at the bottom, fifteenor twenty small canoes, waiting the return of theirowners from the hunting-grounds beyond. But
78 THE CASCADES OF THE HOAR-FROST RIVER.Captain Back and his company had to scale its steepand rocky sides through unknown entanglementsand to unknown lengths, not only with food andequipment sufficient for an uncertain journey, butthey must carry or tug along with them a fullyarmed canoe, for the rivers and lakes they knew theyhad still to traverse.Not till the morning after their arrival in the baywas the ascent begun in earnest; but this, when theydid begin it, they essayed with all the spirit and energyof men who felt that success depended upon each doinghis utmost, and, as it were, all. The difficulty of theascent was great from the very outset; and it seemedthey would never be able to land the canoe on thefirst ridge at the level of the crest of the cataract.such was the unevenness and slipperiness of theslope, and so thickly intertangled were the twigsand branches of the trees and underwood. Thisridge, when they reached it, they found to consist ofsand, and the debris of red feldspar and quartz fromthe surrounding rocks; while beyond extended alevel of mere .swamp, overlooked by another ridgeand a second waterfall. When they surmountedthis, however, matters looked more hopeful ; forhere the waters had collected into a pool, in whichthey joyfully launched the canoe, in hope, at least,of some little respite. But hardly had they, intheir paddling, accomplished a few hundred yards,when, lo in front of them rose fresh clouds of sprayfrom another and another waterfall, both thundering
THE CASCADES OF THE HOAR-FROST RIVER. 79down as impetuously as their twin sisters at thebottom. These, for peril of their lives, they durstnot approach, except at a distance; so the canoe hadI..- = ---. i -ICASCADES ON THE HOAR-FROST RIVER.to be again rowed ashore, and borne away to thenext landing, and thereafter along the steep andsloping banks of the river. This, too, on ao-
80 THE CASCADES OF THE HOAR-FROST RIVER.count of the jungle, the rivulets, and quagmires, wasno easy enterprise; but it was accomplished, and alanding effected in a space, still with steep andtowering heights in front of them, but now free fromintricacy and bog. "It was barren and desolate,"says Captain Back. " Crag was piled on crag, to aheight of two thousand feet from the base; and thecourse of the contracted river, now far beneath, wasmarked by an uninterrupted line of foam. Afterfrequent halts to recover breath, the summit of thedifficult pass was attained; the blue lake we hadleft lay as if spread at our feet; and such was thebeauty of the varied outline that we were captivatedinto a momentary forgetfulness of our fatigue." Thedescent from this point to the river was at firstgradual, he adds, for the path lay over rocks, which,though water-rounded- at the edges, were smoothand even a-top. But by-and-by, it seems, moss-covered swamps intervened, and finally a bank ofdebris, sloping down to the river's brink so precipi-tously that Captain Back, though with no otherincumbrance than his cloak and gun, could withdifficulty save himself from falling as the loosemasses slid away from under his feet. The boatwith its burdens was notwithstanding securelylaunched again; and all now breathed more lightly,comforting themselves as best they could with thehope that the worst was past. The river at thispoint, though still rapid, was smooth-nay, glassy-surfaced, and could be traced for three miles ahead
THE CASCADES OF THE HOAR-FROST RIVER. 81flowing down from the north-north-east. " It wasbounded on each side by steep shelving rocks, cheer-ful with vegetation, and thinly clad with birch, firs,.and willows." Here the party, being wearied,halted, and choosing a level spot on the oppositeside, pitched their tent and rested for the night.The labour hitherto had been aggravated by theincessant attacks of myriads of sand-flies and mos-quitoes; and the travellers, as they now turned intotheir quarters, were stung all over the body, andswollen, and blood-smeared over the face. " Noform of wretchedness," says Gaptain Back, " amongthose to which a voyageur is exposed, is at once sogreat and humiliating as the torture inflicted bythese puny blood-suckers. To avoid them is impos-sible; and as for defending himself, though for atime he may go on crushing by thousands, he cannotlong maintain the unequal conflict: so that at last,subdued by pain and fatigue, he throws himself indespair with his face to the earth, and, half-suffo-cated in his blanket, groans away a few hours ofsleepless rest."By 4 A.M., therefore, our explorers were astiragain, and off and away, in the hope of before sun-down overcoming all the difficulties of this unfriendlyriver. Of these it appears there were still plentyin store for them; as they had not gone far whenthey came first upon one rapid, and then anotherand another: so that the best part of the morningwas spent in unlading and reading the canoe, and(179) 6
82 THE CASCADES OF THE HOAR-FROST RIVER.dragging it, now with its cargo, and now without, bymeans of a rope. By-and-by there stood confrontingthem another cascade, foaming noisily from a heightof twenty feet; and this, like the rest, it was possibleto surmount only by the slow toilsome carriage ofboth boat and baggage up hill. " This passed, otherrapids presented themselves ; until, finally, thecanoe got so seriously damaged by the shocks, as tomake us hasten on shore to avoid sinking." Atthis point Captain Back's interpreter fell dangerouslyill; and he passionately implored the captain to healhim, with a tone clearly signifying his belief that hecould, if he would. The captain, being pressed,complied, and proceeded to administer the contentsof a pill-box-which, being an over-dose, made thepoor sufferer worse; but the contents of a brandybottle being next administered, not only counter-wrought the pill medicine, but made him better, andquickly set him on his feet.In a little the canoe was repaired, and the inter-preter himself again; but it was only to wrestlewith further difficulties remaining to be overcome.The stream beyond began to be studded more andmore densely with sharp angular rocks, betweenwhich, as the slope was considerable, the watersrushed oftentimes with a " force that almost sweptthe hauling men off their legs." It was the rough-est piece of navigation the poor craft had had toface; and when it was finished, there, towering infront, rose, wildly defiant, another cataract, forty-five
THE CASCADES OF THE HOAR-FROST RIVER. 83feet in height, consisting of three distinct falls,ascending backwards, like the huge steps of a stair.Again must every man address himself to the workof carrying, and each do his best to encourage hisneighbour with hope: and they had reason, for somewere sufficiently enfeebled in body, and all, thoughthey spoke words of cheer, were faint enough atheart. Happily, this was their last formidablelabour; for " one or two more rapids, and a narrowfall of twenty feet, terminated the ascent of this wildand wilful river."Thus did the task of ascending it occupy CaptainBack and his party two entire days, working over-time; and in the course of them they succeeded intoiling their way over no fewer than eleven or twelvewaterfalls, and a succession of rapids, hardly inter-rupted, and. without number.
<-X.first anb Stcon Iatfaradcs of tlbe lte.HE Nile, like the Jordan, is one of thesacred rivers of the earth. By its deposi-tions of soil, brought down in its annualoverflowing, from immemorial time, for centuryafter century, chiefly from the mountains of Abys-sinia, it has made and maintained the whole landof Egypt; and this land, in a very literal sensethe daughter of the Nile, "the Genius of the Waters,"as the Egyptians call it, is the early cradle ofthe religion, wisdom, and science of the WesternWorld, the birth-place of its history, both sacredand profane. Issuing, as it is now known, fromLake Victoria Nyanza, at a point one-third of adegree north of the line, by a stream 150 yardswide, over igneous rocks 20 feet high, called theRipon Falls, it goes on winding and receiving affluentafter affluent to augment its volume, until midwaydown its course-that is, 1500 miles from its mouthsat the Delta-it moves on majestically alone, like thegod and father the Egyptians have from the earliesttimes regarded it, unaided henceforth by. a single
THE CATARACTS OF THE NILE. 85rivulet or rill. In this part of its course, though itswaters are, in the total absence of rain, drawn off toirrigate the whole length of the land, it maintains,where its bed is not narrowed by cliffs pressing uponit, or widened by islands of rock or sand in themiddle, an average breadth of more than half a mile;and this volume of water, which is deep and powerfulas well as broad, and even when divided intotwo is as imposing as the Rhine in its majesticmoments, comes all down from regions far withinthe tropics, where it is understood it rains, mostly intorrents too, for above 200 of the 365 days in theyear. The annual inundations, however, which haveformed and are still forming the land of Egypt, atthe rate of six inches of new depth of soil in acentury, are due entirely to rains that fall periodicallyin the mountains of Abyssinia; and these inunda-tions, as from the first so still, begin about the 25thof June, continue increasing for three months, andafter twelve days, during which they remain station-ary, subside again, leaving the ground prepared forthe sower and the husbandman. On this the life ofEgypt to this hour depends: too little overflow anyyear is dearth and famine throughout its borders;and too much, plague and pestilence to man andbeast.From Assouan, where, at its descent over the firstcataract, 700 miles from its mouths, it enters Egyptfrom Nubia, the ancient ]Ethiopia, the Nile flows onevenly by an average fall of three inches in a mile, and
86 THE CATARACTS OF THE NILE.at the average rate of three miles an hour, in a streamof an increasingly rich dark brown or olive colour, andbetween banks composed of the deposit of the river,of the complexion of chocolate. The long, narrow,isolated valley, from Assouan downwards, which ittraverses, waters, and fertilizes, is bounded all theway by two, now approaching, now receding rangesof sandstone or limestone hills, frontiers of meredesert wastes lying far and wide beyond; and be-tween these, for the most part contracted enough,to zero sometimes, in two broken strips of emerald,which at the harvest become golden, and at theoverflow silvern, lies a land which, for independentfertility of resources and the awful despotism of itsideas and idols waxing blasphemous, is without aparallel under the sun. Sunk to-day, so far as itslife and influence on history are concerned, it has allits original fertility, and yields for most part threeharvests in the year, and dates in clusters withoutnumber. The waters too, which are delicious tothe taste, swarm with 'fish of endless variety; whilethe atmosphere and sky overhead inspire a luxuryof sensations which strangely, in this land of oppres-sions, buoy the soul aloft into a soft world of azureand upper light.For 700 miles from its mouths, the river is, duringthe Etesian or north wind, easily ascended, not theshadow of a rapid to contend for once with, all theway. Only at Assouan-the ancient Syene-on theutmost border, a little below the first of its six
THE CATARACTS OF THE NILE. 87cataracts, is it first seen to whirl and eddy, soundingover its bed in " a low monotone." Here the riverfor the first time exhibits features which might becalled romantic; here it has its broad, majesticbosom, grandly guarded by sandstone cliffs, of whichthe eastern is picturesquely surmounted by the ruinsof a Saracenic castle, and the western no less so by theruins of a Christian monastery. It is the intimation ofa transition to a totally different country and race ofpeople. Here the Nile Valley has its continuitybroken, and its bed is crossed by a range, whichserrates the horizon southward, of red granite, calledsyenite, with black porphyry intermingled, stretchingeastward, it is understood, as far as the Red Sea,and then bending northwards to bound its westernshores. Over the northern face of this granitebulwark the waters rush expanded, breaking infoam upon a multitude of dark, high-towering, fan-tastically-fashioned rocky masses, which here, bothwithin the bed and beyond it, lie everywhere scatteredabout. This is the first cataract : the second, which iswilder every way, and of the nature of a rapid 10 milesin extent, is 150 miles higher up. The inroads ofthe desert sand on the Nile margin here are verynoticeable. This sand has thrown itself up, und;:r theaction of tempests and hurricanes, into wild, bi.lowy,fantastic mounds, of a pale, death-like hue; and onlythe blue river in its majestic march, a few of the isletsin the mid-channel waving with palm-trees andyellow with corn, and the nearly naked fishermen
88 THE CATARACTS OF THE NILE.paddling the waters, with the wild duck and theheron flying over them, remind you that you arenot beyond the verge of life. It is a waste, on allsides, of tomb- or temple-fragments and rugged. rockquarries, whence, in ancient times, the Egyptiansquarried their obelisks and gigantic statues, andobtained, Dean Stanley surmises, the models alsoafter which they made them.The cataract, hazardous as the navigation of itlooks, and is, may be faced and safely surmountedunder a steady north wind, and a firm, skilful, andexperienced pilot, especially when the Nile is risingand the risk of bumping and wrecking on the rocksis less than when the water is low. This enter-prise has been and is repeatedly attempted with suc-cess; and our illustration shows how at a particularcrisis the affair is managed. A captain of the duecapacity and nerve in steersmanship is hired on thespot, under whom your own crew and the half-nakedsubordinates he brings along with him move at hisbidding as mere automata, to shift the sails, springashore, or plunge into the rapids, as he may requirethem. "A tall, dignified ebony statue, in a longblue robe and white turban," perhaps,-there hestands, steady at his post, with an air, look, and voiceall-commanding. His eye, as he enters the rapid,glances quickly from rock to rock; one of his. men,at the prow, watches the shifting eddies; he himselfnotes all the signs, and with a voice of thunder issueshis commands, which are obeyed by his men quick as
S. -- r--- __ = . .-_ _. - = . .- -. :- : .----- ------ ---_ -iiF T T T NEmma; Z LLT~-- ------ ---=xq; ----~ cI---~- 2-a 1-wA.--;--L-i-- : -1.4 -F.R; AAATO H IF
THE CATARACTS OF THE NILE. 91lightning. It is beautiful and grand to see, and anepitome of true captaincy and hero-generalship allover the world-the man with the eye and nerve au-thoritatively commanding, and a crew, full of loyalty,doing instinctively and instantly as he requires, know-ing this to be life, and believing in a better knowledge,wisdom, and steersmanship than their own. As inlife, so is it at this first cataract of the Nile-strainingunder her canvas, your craft is bearing down upon arock to instant ruin; but your captain, seeing it, issueshis orders, and you drift gently on a harmless shoal ofsand. Henceforth you too acquire confidence inthe pilot, and you forget all the danger in the excite-ment that supervenes. Onward you go, advancingby an irregular zig-zag movement to avoid the rocksand eddies, until at length, near the top, a louder andmore violent rush of the torrent aggravates theperil, and the Nubians dash into the stream, makefor the rocks, and begin with loud shouts to haulat the tow-rope. At such a crisis all the men, ex-cept the steersman, will quit the boat and bear ahand at the pulling, and not rest till, amid a chorusof noise and yelling, they have made it shoot therapid into the calm glassy waters above, " therocks around echoing with the shouts and laughterof -the naked and steaming Nubians, like so manyanimated statues formed out of the black basaltcrags around." And now in front of you, seen re-flected in the mirror-like face of the water, with itspalm-groves and its ruined temples, starts into view*A
92 THE CATARACTS OF TIE NILE.the sacred island of Philse, the whole like a fairy sceneconjured up by enchantment.This cataract, under less favourable circumstances,is sometimes ascended by the boatmen, fifty innumber perhaps, tugging and pushing the wholeway, some on the banks or rocks, some on the craftitself, and others plunging hither and thither to therescue in the surging waters. It is an animatedspectacle'; only the roar of the cataract is too feebleto drown the hideous cries of the boatmen. Thesefellows, who are for most part tall, slender andlithesome, are brought up from boyhood-six yearsof age, it is said-to steer their way alone athwart,before, and against this troubled element. Strippingthemselves naked and bundling the garments on theirheads, they dash, from this early age, into the rapid,balanced astride on a small log of palm-tree woodfive feet long, one and a half in girth, and flattenedat the upper extremity, and dart with a swift dex-terity across ot against the current, sitting sometimeserect, sometimes with their legs and sometimes withtheir whole body extended along the float, paddlingand steering their way by their hands alone. These,when they grow up, will take to fishing in thisfashion, with a dirk slung from their shoulder; andwhen so occupied they are often seen coolly andcarelessly puffing a pipe! Such, and so adventurous,are the men this " Captain of the Cataracts" hasunder him; trained thus loyally to such masterhoodin this element, of which he is the king.
___ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ __ --- -- -_ _~~- -- --------_ ___ ------- -- .-_ _______________NN_= a_ -- =-. .-----THE ROCK OF ABOUSEERIi (Second (Jataraci of Nte Nile.)
THE CATARACTS OF THE NILE. 95The ordinary route of Nile voyagers terminatesat the Wady Halfa, where begins a succession ofrapids and rocks, stretching up the river for aboutone hundred miles to the Second Cataract, whichis impassable for boats ascending the river. Theimmediate country is generally beautiful as well asfertile. In some places the river broadens into achannel of four or five miles span, enclosing numer-ous romantic islands clothed with a luxuriant vege-tation.Near the landing-place at Wady Halfa moulderthe ruins of a temple begun, if not wholly erected,by two of the Theban kings soon after the expulsionof the Shepherd race, and long before the grandstructures of Thebes had been conceived by thegenius of Rameses.From this spot it is customary to make a pilgrim-age to the rock of Abou-Seir, or Abooseer : a steepand craggy hill of red sandstone, about 200 feethigh, which overlooks the whole range of the Cata-ract, and commands a far view of the Nubian wilder-ness-of that wide, desolate waste, which was once afertile and populous kingdom. The whole scene iscomposed of desert, river, and black basaltic rocks,except where, against the dim horizon, may betraced the rounded and softened outlines of the blueArabian hills.
XT.. ljCe falls of Probetta.HESE falls, existing in the upper course ofthe river G!Ota, in Sweden, are in respectof volume greater than, and in respect ofgrandeur of effect equal to, any in Europe. TheGota, part of the course of which they form, issuesfrom the south-western corner of Lake Wener, ofwhich, though it receives no fewer than twenty-four rivers, it is the only outlet; and after flowingfor fifty or sixty miles in a direction in the main alittle to the west of south, falls, by two mouthssome miles apart, into the Cattegat, nearly straighteast of the Skaw, in Denmark. The falls excepted,it is one of the calmest, most smoothly-gliding riversin the world, whether, as is the case, it spreads itselfinto a shallow a mile wide, or contracts into a streamof only one or two hundred yards; and its bankspresent every variety of scenery-now waste anddreary, now grand and elevating, and now beautiful.and charming. From the lake where it emerges,to the falls-a distance of five or six miles-the
THE FALLS OF TROLHETTA. 97aspect of the country is bare and bleak; nothing allround but expanses of barren heath and ridges ofrock, which are almost, if not altogether destituteof vegetation. The river itself, however, in thispart of its course, is not without interesting features;for the stream is prettily studded here and therewith islands, which, though in some cases mererugged masses of naked rock, are not unfrequentlyalso tufted with wood and covered with soil fit forthe sower.At the southern extremity of this section of theriver, two ranges of mountains are seen to run parallelwith its banks, and by-and-by approach them tillthey come down upon the edge of the stream, and atlength confine it within a channel only 400 feetbroad. Here it is as smooth and noiseless as in theupper expanses, and to the eye nearly as still as anuntroubled lakelet. This smoothness continues tothe very brink of a precipice athwart the channel,which the stream all at once bounds over, in abroad, still, glassy-surfaced sheet of water, to bebroken at length by out-jutting rocks, and fall withuproar into a wild, seething, steaming abyss below.This is the first of the cataracts of Trolhetta, whichextend, broken only by intervening eddying rapids,to the distance of nearly a mile below. The bedof the river here has been worn, in the course ofages, through the solid rock by the constant frictionof the current; the banks, which overhang it, arenearly perpendicular; and at the beginning of the(179) 7