Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Scenes in the Mauritius
 Scenes in the Andes
 Scenes in Spitzbergen
 Scenes in Iceland
 Scenes in the Alps
 Scenes in Greenland
 Island of St. Helena
 Island of St. Kilda
 The fall of the Staubbach
 The glacier fountains of the...
 The valley of Goldau
 Back Cover

Title: Nature's wonders
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028191/00001
 Material Information
Title: Nature's wonders pictures of remarkable scenes in foreign lands
Physical Description: 120 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson & Sons
Place of Publication: London
New York
Publication Date: 1875
Copyright Date: 1875
Subject: Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Andes   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Iceland   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Alps   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Greenland   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1875   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre: Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
General Note: Added title page and frontispiece printed in colors.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028191
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALH5263
oclc - 60786750
alephbibnum - 002234826

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Front Matter 3
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
        Half Title 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    Scenes in the Mauritius
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Scenes in the Andes
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Scenes in Spitzbergen
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Scenes in Iceland
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Scenes in the Alps
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Scenes in Greenland
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Island of St. Helena
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    Island of St. Kilda
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    The fall of the Staubbach
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    The glacier fountains of the Rhone
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
    The valley of Goldau
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
    Back Cover
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
Full Text

Please return this book
in due course to



The Baldwin Library





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HE following brief sketches of a few out-
lying regions of the world will, we trust,
prove not unacceptable to juvenile readers,
and of some little avail in adding to the stores of
juvenile knowledge. The regions described are all
places of interest, have all been thought deserving of
exploration, at risks, in many cases, which, to the ex-
plorer, were infinite; and have been pronounced worth
all the discomfort and sacrifices undergone in visiting
them. Many of them are spots which, from various
causes, are capable of only temporary sojourn, and all
are but rarely visited, and little known. Those who
have seen them have thought them worth describing
to those who have not; and the interest which
attaches to them, they and their readers feel to be
a human one withal. Mere wastes, in most instances,
of snow or sand, of solitude or darkness, they .re
not unconnected with human fortunes, and they
make, both directly and indirectly, appeals to the


human heart. The dreariest has had a history and
seen better days, though it now lies cold and dead;
and forms a high-lying or out-lying, but integral,
portion of those rock foundations which bear up the
world and man's life. All the places described, how-
ever, are not, throughout at least, of this nature;
but lie, some 'within the limits of possible, nay
actual, existence, and a few even within the region of
tropical life. But all these either verge on the
former, or are of similar origin and conformation,
though they are now clad with verdure and capable
of yielding shelter and sustenance to man. The
products, as well as the aspects and workings of
nature, in these regions, are more or less hinted at;
and the sketches we have given are each accompanied
by admirable woodcut illustrations, which faithfully
exhibit features to a great extent physiognomic of the
whole district.
J. W.

&oani inf a,


MOUNTAIN, ETC., ... ... ... ... ... 7

II. SCENES IN THE ANDES, ... ..... .... ... 19

III. SCENES IN SPITZBERGEN, ... ... ... ... 28

IV. SCENES IN ICELAND, .... ..... ... ... 40


VI. SCENES IN GREENLAND, ... ... ... ... 75

VII. ISLAND OF ST. HELENA, ... ... ... ... 86

VIII. ISLAND OF ST. KILDA, ......... ... ... 94

IX. THE FALL OF THE STAUBBACH,... ... ... ... 103


XI. THE VALLEY OF GOLDAU, ... .. ... ... 116



Saints in: tb glanutixns .

HE Mauritius is an island of irregular oval
shape, and exactly twice the size of the
county of Edinburgh, situated in the
Indian Ocean, 500 miles east of Madagascar, and about
200 miles within the southern verge of the Torrid
Zone. Colonized by tne Dutch in 1644, and occupied
afterwards by the French for nearly a century under
the name of the Isle of France, it became a British
possession in the year 1810, which it has ever since
continued to be. The English, at the same time,
became masters of the Island of Bourbon, which is
about 100 miles south-west, and a third larger; but,
by treaty in 1814, while Mauritius was retained,
Bourbon was restored to the French, to whom it still
belongs. These two islands, though in such close
proximity, are in many respects very dissimilar;
Bourbon, looking one huge mountain mass with


several summits, one of which, called the Sugar-loaf
of Snows, is 10,000 feet high, and another, said to be
the most active volcano in the world-erupting twice
a-year-is 7200 feet. There are wastes in it of mere
ashes, lava and volcanic wreck, equalling, it is said,
one-sixth of its area, and, though the rest is fer-
tile, only one quarter is under cultivation, while
its climate is unhealthy to the last degree, and its
shores dangerous, and often fatal, to shipping. The
Mauritius, on the other hand, 'though not without
abundant traces of volcanic agency, and covered with
mountains, has none of its peaks so much as 3000 feet
in height; and these, when seen from a distance,
resemble a cock's comb. Approached nearer, the
peaks look like fingers pointing heavenward, and are
for most part feathered to their summits with tree-
foliage. The forms of the mountains are as beauti-
ful as they are varied. Some present large vertical
walls, others rise towering aloft in pyramids; some,
as we have said, are covered to the top with thick
wood, others only half way up, and these terminate in
a point of rock, which shoots suddenly upward smooth
and bare from a green ocean of foliage. They
are cut up in all directions by lovely valleys, and
steep, narrow gorges; the whole enveloped for most
part in a rich, balmy atmosphere, and overlooked
by a cloudless sky of the purest azure. The gorges
and valleys are one and all, at certain seasons, swept
by noisy torrents, which, when united, enter the
sea by some twenty, or thirty, channels, or rivers.
These rivers are frequently broken and enlivened
by picturesque cascades-instance, those of the River


Galets and Chamarel. The former of these, though
of difficult and even dangerous approach-as most of
them are-is, it seems, well worth all the risk run in
reaching it. Formed by a river of the same name,
it falls from a height of 600 feet over several groups
of rocks of a ferruginous tint, which are covered
with ferns and green soft moss-beds.
The soil of the island is of a red-rusty colour, from
the presence of iron; so hard, when dry, that only a
hatchet will break it; but when moistened by rain,
viscid and tenacious, yet easily cultivated, and of the
richest quality. It is covered throughout with often
thickly scattered blocks of rock, or boulders, of a
size varying from that of the human hand to that of
masses of a ton weight; and these, too, are of a red
colour, and composed, many of them, of earth
arranged in layers like the coats of an onion. The
ground under and around them is especially suited
for the growth of sugar, which, accordingly, is the
staple product, and of which as much as 65,000
tons was raised in 1847 alone. It is grown in the
valleys, which, as we have said, are all well watered,
and the cultivation of it occupies fully one quarter of
the surface, and employs the majority of the inhabit-
ants. The other crops the soil yields are chiefly
wheat, maize, coffee, manioc, and yams; and, wher-
ever it is not cultivated, the ground is covered with
every variety of tropical tree, united together by a
jungle of gay flowered creepers and climbers. These
forests abound in palms, bananas, guavas, mangoes,
and bread-fruit trees; and, here and there, is a spe-
cies of tree fern, with beautifully long feathered


fern-leaves growing in a mass from the top of a
stem forty feet high, and depending in graceful
curves to the ground. The tree in greatest repute
for its timber is the ebony-tree; the heart-wood of
which being hard, compacted, dark-coloured, and
capable of a high polish, is extensively used for
veneering, inlaid-work, and toys. As found in the
Mauritius, the bark is white, the leaves large and
thick, green on the upper surface, and white below,
the flower smelling like cloves, the fresh wood of a
fetid odour, and only the hard heart-wood black and
available as ebony.
The forests, and indeed the whole island, swarm,
as usual in these latitudes, with insects and reptiles;
but neither here nor in Bourbon is there a venomous
serpent to be found. Of the insects the musquito is
the most troublesome, and, next to it, a creature
called the flying-bug, which both" stinks and stings,"
and is a perpetual irritation in the cool of the even-
ing. Scorpions and lizards exist in plenty, and land-
crabs living in warrens and occupying holes like
rabbits. In Drake's voyage, they are represented as
" so large that one of them will plentifully dine four
persons." Acutely sensitive to light and odour, they
are said to be deaf as door-posts, and not to hear the
report of a rifle, or feel the earth shake when a
bullet lights among them. A lizard there is, too, of
fly-catching propensity, which, being provided with
feet like those of the fly it hunts, can not only climb the
walls of rooms, but crawl over the ceiling as well. In-
nocent, very agreeable companions, their persons are
held sacred in most families for the flies and insects


they abolish; only, in their eagerness to catch their
prey, they sometimes, when on the ceiling, forget
where they are walking, lose their footing, and fall
amongst the company. There is no great variety of
birds on the island; and though a few of them, like
the cardinal, as he is called from the flashing scarlet
he wears, are bright feathered, hardly any of them
are gifted with a talent for singing. The only one
that makes any respectable attempt in this way, is a
bird they call the martin, who is a universal favourite,
being "the life and spirit of the island, where all
other birds are as good as songless," but his exuber-
ance of spirits is often such that he will "break off
with a laugh in the midst of th6 performance." The
early Dutch settlers had at one time nearly exter-
minated his race, having mistaken him for an enemy
who only devoured their fruit; but when they dis-
covered, which happily they did in time, that by
killing insects he saved more than he consumed,
the exterminating war they had begun against him
ceased, and they proceeded to treat him with the same
religious regard in which, for a like reason, they hold
the stork at home. Not so favourably could these
settlers be made to think of another bird, called the
dodo, a native of this island; for him they persecuted
so relentlessly that he has not only never been seen
there since, but his race has perished from the face
of the earth, and all that remains of him in the
museums of the world, for science to study, are a
single head and two feet. Descriptions of the bird
exist; and these represent him as of the most un-
gainly form and movement, with short scale-clad


legs, large head and bill, short, sparse-feathered
wings, a curly tufted tail, and of a size a little
larger than a swan. The Dutch, though they used
his flesh for food, took a mortal dislike to him, call-
ing him Disgusting-fowl;" and as from his slow
movements he was an easy prey, they never rested
till they cleared the island of him, and, as we say, it
happened, the world. He is understood to have
belonged to the cassowary, or ostrich, class of birds,
and to have served some not undivine purpose in his
day and generation, which it is to be hoped other
creatures remain to fulfil. Parrots there are none
native to the island, but paroquets, and an insignifi-
cant kind of monkey, who has mind enough, however,
to combine with his fellows in plundering incursions
upon man's estate, making off with his booty by
snatching it up and pitching it to an accomplice out-
side in waiting, who, in turn, hands it to a third, and
he to a fourth, until, at length, the prize is safely lodged
in some retreat accessible only to monkeyhood.
In this island there are properly only two seasons;
the one when there is a constant wind from the
south-east, which is cool, and injurious to vegetation
and fruit exposed to it; and the other, in which it
blows steadily from the north-east, when the most
delicious evenings compensate for the heat by
day-November, December, and January being the
hottest months in the year. The island is very much
encircled by coral-reefs, and being subject, as all
tropical countries are, to violent storms, is safely
accessible only by a rock-and-fortress-protected inlet
on the north-west. This is Port Louis, which is also


the capital, and, like most other places, it retains the
name given it by the French. Batteries, planted to


.i T .
i -- ,', ,

right and left, were once, if not still, strong enough
to defy ships of war passing in; and the port itself,
into which the pilot guides the vessel with his eye


upon the peak of Peter Botte Mountain in the rear
of it, is nestled "-an eye-witness assures us-" at
the foot of an amphitheatre of rugged, oddly-shaped
mountains, in the centre of which rises the 'Pouce,'
or 'Thumb,' covered with wood to its very top."
The Peter Botte," which is the beacon inwards,
lies over the first range of hills to the left, and is not
unworthy to rank among the wonders of the world.
It is a mountain-pinnacle, which, seen from a distance,
resembles, says one, a finger with a marble balanced
on the tip of it; or, as others aver, the statue of a
woman. At a nearer view, it is seen to be an obelisk,
towering sheer up more than 300 feet from its base,
and about 1800 from the plain, which, on one side,
it overhangs, and surmounted by a huge irregular
mass of detached rock. It owes its name to a
Dutchman who, some say, succeeded in ascending
it, but lost his life either at the last, or when he was
descending, earning for his failure from an unsympa-
thizing public no nobler distinction than that of
"Botte or Silly." His fate, real or imaginary,
did not, however, deter others from projecting, and
even attempting, the same feat; and it was actually
accomplished by a party of British officers on the
7th September 1832. This party consisted of four,
and was attended by a number of sepoys and ne-
groes, who carried for them the necessary block and
tackle and provisions. The ascent was steep and
toilsome from the very first, but the real difficulty
lay in scaling the needle and surmounting the loose
block at the top. The needle, which, at its base, on
one side, rises 1800 feet sheer up from the plain


below, was ascended by a negro, who, with a cord
round his waist, and using his feet monkey-wise, clam-
bered up the knife-like edge, or ridge of it, on all
fours. Attached to the end of the cord he carried
was a rope, which, when he reached the neck, he
hoisted and fastened, and by the aid of it the officers
were, though not without difficulty, landed at his
side. The detached block, still to climb, they found
to be an immense mass, 35 feet in height, and project-
ing beyond its base many feet on every side; and the
landing overhung by it to be a tolerably level ledge
six feet wide, running about three-fourths round, and
bounded everywhere, at the verge, by the abrupt
edge of the precipice, except towards the perpen-
dicular ridge, along which the ascent had been made.
The block above, too, projected beyond the outer
verge of the ledge all round, except here, and even
from this point the eye as it glanced upwards could
only see along its face. To adjust a ladder against
this, therefore, was clearly impossible, nor could they
by any projectile apparatus throw a cord over to
hoist one up. It was a puzzling, seemingly insolv-
able problem, but sailor intrepidity and ready wit
soon and successfully resolved it. Captain Lloyd,
one of the party, undertook to throw a line over, if
his comrades would support him by a rope round his
waist, while he swung himself horizontally back with
his face looking upward and his feet planted against
the perpendicular rock of the needle. It was a
daring project, and frightfully perilous to all con-
cerned, but it was at once adopted, and at length
crowned with complete success-not, however, till,


after repeated failures, it was all but given up, when
the stone, which frequently returned, was carried over
aided by a wind that chanced. This was eagerly
caught, as it descended, at the opposite side, and
soon the ladders were raised, and our four adventurers,
led by Lloyd screeching and hallooing, stood waving
wildly the Union Jack at the top. This signal was
at once recognized by thousands of onlookers on the
watch in the port, and responded to by a salute from
a British frigate in the harbour, and the guns of a
battery in one of the forts. The fearless madcaps,
having got a bottle of wine, christened the peak King
William's, and drunk His Majesty's health, with
hands round the Jack now planted by the flag-
staff in the rock, hnd amid "hip, hip, hurrah."
Here they by-and-by dined together, and after spend-
ing upon it an evening of glorious beauty, they
descended in the morning, "stiff, cold, and hungry,
leaving the Union Jack well secured, flying on the
Mauritius is the scene of the story of Paul and
Virginia, which was written on the eve of the French
Revolution, and while the island was still subject to
France. Faithfully has the author, Saint Pierre,
who visited the island, delineated its beauties, and
many are the objects associated with his morbidly-
thought, though musically-rendered, tale. Here it
was, or rather amid imagination of scenes like these,
that, according to Mr. Carlyle, old France chose
to sing her swan-song" and give up the ghost,
longing for communion with Nature, and yet cling-
ing to "diseased perfidious Art," pining for reality


and unable to enjoy it because it was not French-
dying of etiquette," and drawing tears of sympathy
from all hearts. Two children, a boy and a girl,
grew up from infancy together in this charming
region, innocent and happy as the first pair in Eden;
their fathers dead, but their mothers, who live
together as sisters there, caring each for both- as if
they were her own. The boy, however, is of no birth,
while the girl has high connections, who, when love
emerges, induce her with consent of her mother to
return to fortune and honour in ancestral France.
She leaves her lover, vowing fidelity, and, through
many temptations remaining true to her promise, is
sent back. But when she returns, a storm overtakes
the vessel just at the landing, and she alone of all on
board is shipwrecked, choosing rather to perish than
be saved at the expense of sacrificing the fine ladyism
she had learned in France.
The southern part of the island is charmingly
beautiful, especially the district called La Savane. It
is remarkable for a cascade, which is nearly unique
among waterfalls, for bursting over a precipice of up-
right basaltic pillars. This precipice is a thick wall of
black basalt, composed of columns shaped into regular
geometric prisms, as if they had been cut according
to square and rule by the hand of man, and which
are tightly packed together side by side like the cells
of a honey-comb. The water in falling over them is
dashed back from the tops of the shorter arid broken
columns in front, and leaps, when in flood especially,
in a vapour of spray into a deep pool surrounded
with water-lilies. The leaves of these lilies float on
(341) 2


the water without being wet, and the rain which
falls upon them from the cascade collects on their
surface into little dancing globules, as of mercury,
while athwart their violet stems, which hang grace-
fully over the water, may be seen darting to and fro
swarms of bright glancing, variously coloured little
fishes. The environs of the fall are adorned with
bananas and other tropical trees, which, along with
the fresh feeling from the water, impart to the spot
an air and aspect truly charming. Here the Cascade
de la Savane at one season trickles gently, and at
another dashes in spray, outmatched in its basaltic
character only by the Cascade of Regla in the New



5ceus in t~e 2nbes:

HIMBORAZO, though not the highest
mountain in the New World, as it was
long thought to be, has been ascended
higher up by man than any other in either hemisphere,
if we except the peak of Ibi-Gamin, in the chain of the
Himalaya,-Humboldt, in 1802, having attained an
elevation of about 19,000 feet, and Boussingault,
thirty years after, a height of 20,000 feet. This
mountain is 21,420 feet, or fully four miles high,
and situated not far south of the line in Ecuador,
South America. It was on the 22nd of June,
Humboldt, with his friend Bonpland and a number
of native guides, commenced the ascent, and after
halting for the night at the Indian village of Calpi,
far up the sides of the mountain, he and his com-
panions started for the summit on the morning of
the 23rd. This summit is approached all round by
a succession of level terraces, called Llanos, covered
with vegetation, and rising, the highest of them, to
an elevation greater than the peak of Teneriffe.
These llanos, which are perfectly horizontal, re-


semble the bed of what had once been a lake, and
forcibly recall the steppes of Central Asia, while the
mean temperature is the same as that of Paris. At
an elevation of about 14,000, or 15,000 feet, the
vegetation ceases, and only rocks appear, rising aloft
from fields or slopes of eternal snow, and resembling
at times, in the distance, forests of trees, dead in-
deed, but still standing. Undertaken from the
south-west, Humboldt found the ascent possible only
along one of the ridges, owing to the depth and
softness of the snow which had recently fallen on
the slopes; and this, as he proceeded, became always
narrower and steeper, until at length all the guides
refused to advance further, and he and Bonpland
were left with only one attendant to prosecute the
rest of the way alone. In this they made greater
progress, in spite of the mists, than they expected;
but it was amid dangers which thickened at every
step. The ridge, or back of the knife, as the
Spaniards call it, along which they ascended, was
often hardly a foot in breadth, while to the left there
sloped away a field of snow at an angle of thirty
degrees, coated with ice glancing dazzlingly like a
mirror; and on the right, the eye looked down into
an abyss 900 feet deep, into which there was the
danger of falling and being empaled on rock-needles.
" We proceeded," says Humboldt, with the body
inclined, however, more to the right-the danger on
the left appearing greater, because there were no
rocks to cling to in the event of slipping over, and
there was the risk of sinking through the ice, which
coated the surface, and being buried in the snow."





At length the ascent became more difficult still;
the rocks more crumbling, the slope so steep that it
was necessary to employ hands as well as feet, and
there was the risk every moment of being wounded
by the sharp asperities of the rock. Nay, not un-
frequently were the rocks, which they might be
tempted to use for props, found, on trial, to be such
as would certainly have given way had they trusted
to them. Here the temperature was five or six
degrees below freezing, the ground humid, and the
mist obscuring. The party, too, began to experi-
ence vertigo and an inclination to vomit, and in this
the native, who accompanied them, was the greatest
sufferer. The eyes grew blood-shot, and the gums
and lips began to swell and bleed. The same effects
Saussure experienced in his ascent of Mont Blanc;
but, what is curious, they began to show themselves
with him at little more than half the elevation.
This depends partly on the air and partly on the in-
dividual. Gay-Lussac ascended in a balloon to a
greater height than any mountain-explorer, without
being subjected to one half the inconveniences.
And now the veil of mist, which had hitherto en-
veloped the party and the top of the mountain,
suddenly cleared away, and the rounded, dome-like
summit appeared close at hand. The way, too, be-
gan to widen, and the confidence of our travellers
to increase; but before long a barrier confronted
them, and this, though the summit beckoned them
upward, they found it impossible to surmount. This
was a crevasse that yawned athwart the ridge more
than 400 feet deep and 60 feet wide. The ridge, or


rather ledge, indeed, prolonged itself beyond, but to
attempt to reach by descending the chasm, appeared
an enterprise too perilous, and there was nothing
for it but to stop short. It was the utmost eleva-
tion yet attained on the globe by human beings,
though they were still 1500 feet from the top.
Here it was impossible to remain long, for the mist
re-descended, and there was a good distance to re-
trace to find a shelter to pass the night. Snow also
began to fall; but in two hours the party had got
back as far as the guides and their horses which had
been left below the snow-line.
Chimborazo is an extinct volcano, yet is the vol-
canic force not quite extinct in its depths, for though
the natives pay no heed to them, earthquakes are
not uncommon on its slopes and around its base.
Cotopaxi, its neighbour, which Humboldt also at-
tempted, is still in action to its very summit, and at
times erupts with a noise which is heard 700 miles
off, and a torrent of flame which ascends 8000 feet
above its crater, and this, though the mountain
itself is 2500 feet higher than Vesuvius piled on the.
peak of Teneriffe. The rocks and scorie ejected by
it would, if collected from its slopes and gorges,
form a mountain of imposing proportions. Its sum-
mit is a perfect cone 4000 feet high, covered all the
way down with snow of a dazzling splendour, particu-
larly at sunset, but which disappears on the eve of
an eruption, and isolated from the rest of the moun-
tains by. deep ravines which defy all attempts to
reach the top. This top, seen at a distance, looks a
parapet of bare rock, which surrounds the crater like


V ill

w- .N



the funnel of Teneriffe; and, in this respect, Cotopaxi
differs from Chimborazo, which terminates in a dome.
The valleys in the neighbourhood of these moun-
tains are generally crevices, often of enormous depth,
and some of them, which are narrow, are united and
arched over by natural bridges formed of fallen rock.
The most remarkable of these bridges are at Ico-
nonzo, south of Santa F6, and one of them is espe-
cially remarkable for the singular forms of its rocks,
" the naked tops of which," according to Humboldt,
" present the most picturesque contrast with the
tufts of trees and shrubs which cover the edges of
the gulf." This arch is 47 feet long, 39 feet broad,
and the fissure it bridges over is 318 feet deep,
while the bottom of this fissure is swept by a stream
that comes rushing and foaming into it after a fall
in the form of a double cascade. Sixty-four feet
lower down is another bridge composed of three
enormous masses of rock, which have fallen so as to
support each other. In the middle of this arch is a
hole through which the bottom of the cleft is seen.
The torrent, viewed from this place, seemed to flow
through a dark cavern, from which a doleful sound
arose, emitted by the nocturnal birds that haunt the
abyss, thousands of which were seen flying over the
surface of the water," supposed by Humboldt, who
reports this, to be goatsuckers."

-'j ,'. *V -', .,"' =--m i --._S _./ "- .'., "


Katnes in 5yitgJxmer .

PITZBERGEN forms a cluster of islands
which lie nearly due north from the North
Cape, and are at their northern extremity
2000 miles from London, and rather more than 600
miles from the Pole. They are composed of primi-
tive rock, covered with sharp-ridged and many-peaked
mountains, and indented all round with deep bays or
fiords, which, with the valleys at their head, are
more or less completely occupied by enormous
glaciers. They form the most northern land yet
discovered upon the globe; and, with the exception
of Captain Parry in 1827, no navigator is known to
have even sailed beyond them. Even he, though he
ventured farther, with only boats and sledges, had to
retire after he had ascended only 100 miles farther
north, having found that he was being carried
southwards by the ice-floes at a greater rate than he
was advancing up.
Spitzbergen was discovered by a Dutch sailor in
1596, and was subsequently visited by Hudson,
among others, in pursuance of a project, then popu-
lar, of approaching the east by the North Pole. It
was not an unfrequent resort for whalers after this,


of whose visits traces are still visible in the coffined
dead they left unburied behind them; but, ever since
the fisheries to the east of Greenland have been
abandoned for those in Baffin's Bay and Davis'
Straits, Spitzbergen, as being off the route, has been
rarely trodden by the foot, and hardly so much as
seen by the eye, of the sailor. Since then the few
who have visited it have done so for purposes of
science or adventure; and of these the most dis-
tinguished are Dr. Scoresby and Lord Dufferin.
The latter visited it in the August of 1856, but
could not, for fear of being locked in by the ice, re-
main longer than five days, having arrived at one A.M.
of the 6th, and departed at three p.M. of the 11th.
He sailed in a schooner called the Foam, manned
and equipped for the occasion, and approached the
island from the south, through fogs and seas of
floating ice, by, after sighting it, coasting the ice-
barrier to south of it westward, then turning north,
and finally coming down upon it from the north-west.
He took a western course to find a northern opening
through this barrier, because he calculated he would
be aided by the Gulf Stream, which, consisting of a
river of heated water from the tropics, was known to
flow north to west, and not to east, of the island.
Seen at a distance for the first time to the north-
east, by a sudden clearing up of the atmosphere, it
seemed a forest of peaks glittering gem-like," and
this view justified at once the name it went under-
Spitzbergen; that is, mountain-land of peaks. Ap-
proached nearer, .it unfolded into sharp-ridged and
needle-peaked ranges of hills of "gneiss and mica


slate" terminating sea-ward, and including valleys
covered throughout with immense fields of ice, which
extend into, and end precipitously in, the sea.
The bay into which the Foam steered, and where
she for the five days of her stay there lay at anchor,
is called the English Bay, and is understood to be
one of only two inlets in which vessels at that season
might be reckoned safe against being blocked up for
the winter by the drifting ice. It is a silent
haven" and "completely land-locked," being de-
fended as it opens westward by the foreland of an
island which stretches opposite it north and south.
As the ship on this occasion dropped anchor in it, all
seemed still and solitary as an abode of death. There
was no sound or sign of life, or living thing, in
the air above, on the land adjoining, or even in the
water round, except it were the far-off booming from
time to time of what it seems was the plunging of
large ice-masses from the brow of the ice-cliffs into
the silent sea. The sun even hung over the horizon
to northward muffled" in a death-like mist, and
shedding on the scene a weird light, in keeping with
the general ghastliness. Mere sea, naked rocks, and
expanses of ice, occupied the whole landscape. The
bay itself is nearly filled by a glacier, which is thought
to extend inland above 30 miles, and the portion not
so filled is formed on its east side by the sea-ward
cliff of this glacier, 120 feet high, and by two sharp-
ridged ranges which bound it-the one to north and
the other to south-and jut farther into the sea, six or
eight miles apart. This glacier is not the largest in
the island, which is full of them; for there are others

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said to be 50 miles long, 10 miles broad, and 500
feet in height, where they beetle over the water, but
all of them, as is common, seem to topple, and as if,
with the slightest agitation, they would precipitate
their whole mass downward into the sea. Such was the
bay in which Lord Dufferin and his company moored
their vessel for the five days they spent in Spitzbergen.
Soon after the ship was brought to anchor in this
haven, all on board were, from sheer exhaustion,
buried in a slumber nearly as profound as that which
reigned in Nature round them. The ice-falls from
the brows of the cliffs which terminate the glaciers,
as they tumbled over into the deep sea overhung by
them, alone disturbed the death-like silence, and the
only variation in the sound which broke upon the
ear of the sleepers was due to the nearer or remoter
distance of the falling masses. These masses were of
all sizes, and Dr. Scoresby bears witness to having
seen one descend a height of 400 feet into the water
" as large as a cathedral! When they have fallen,
they float away, covering the sea in these parts in all
directions; and, being fresh, when they melt, they
cause the water of the Polar regions to be less
brackish than that of more southern latitudes.
As the morning advanced, the crew awoke from
slumber, and, after breakfast, lowered the boat and
pulled for the shore, to see what was to be seen, take
photographs, and stalk deer. They landed on the
north or left-hand side of the bay, as the only vege-
tation within ken appeared in that quarter, and this
turned out to be a belt of black moss, half a mile
in width. Here they soon assured themselves of the
(341) 3


presence of the animal they had come in quest of,
for they saw in several parts the marks of his hoofs;
but though they scanned the horizon all round with
telescopes, they could nowhere see a horn, or, indeed,
any other creature, winged or wingless, at which to
aim a shot. With the thermometer below freezing,
they proceeded to explore northwards, and found the
shores in that direction bestrewed all over with logs
of driftwood, and here and there, alas! too, with
planks of ships, and even bones of animals, borne
thither evidently from other latitudes by the Gulf
Stream,-the last apparently on icebergs which had
been wrecked there. But what surprised them most
was the discovery of an open coffin surmounted by a
wooden cross, in which there lay extended the skele-
ton of a Danish seaman, who, as an inscription testi-
fied, had been left there by his comrades 100 years
before. This coffin could not, it seems, have been
buried underground, as, the soil, such as it is, being
always frozen there at two inches from the surface,
it is impossible to dig a grave. Other sailors who
visited this region have, it is said, fallen upon the
bodies of men that had died in these latitudes 250
years before, but which, having been deposited there,
had become and remained so incrusted with ice, and
been thereby so preserved from corruption, that their
features could be completely discerned by pouring
upon their faces boiling water.
No trace of vegetation did our adventurers find ex-
cept the black moss already mentioned, and this, they
noted, never grew beyond twenty feet above the sea-
level. Though of sailor race and habits, none of

them appears to have attempted either the ridges or
peaks of the mountains. To have reached Spitz-
bergen itself, was feat enough without attempting
more; and there, where they could safely foot it,
the practical sense within them appears to have
told them they had reached a limit, by transcend-
ing which they could experience and know little
more. Many who had already made the attempt
had lost their lives in making it; and Dr. Scoresby,
who by miracle, as it were, succeeded, had reported
nothing to tempt Lord Dufferin to repeat the experi-
ment. "Bay to north and south of you, like the one
you anchor in, filled with glaciers of larger dimensions
and still more sea-invading; sea of glass to westward;
mountains with innumerable peaks to east, far as the
eye reaches; cloudless canopy of azure overhead;
the whole lit up by the glory of a blazing sun; sub-
limity of the spectacle enhanced by the perilous
situation of the beholder, as he straddles on a
ridge too narrow for human foot-sole." Such was
what Dr. Scoresby witnessed; and this spectacle was
one our heroes had no ambition to observe again.
From a less dangerous elevation, the whole as it lay
around with its needles of stone, it was privilege and
honour enough to them to have seen, looking up to
it, and they had no very ardent wish to command it
all by looking down.
The sun, which never set while they stayed on the
island, they report as being brighter at midnight
than at noon, and they were successful in photograph-
ing here and there an object by its midnight light.
The frost at night was so intense as to mantle the


bay all over with a thin coating of ice one-eighth of
an inch in thickness, which looked like oil, and would
rise and fall with the undulation of the water without
breaking. In winter the cold in these regions must
be something frightful, when in summer the ther-
mometer descends so low, and the mists, as well as
seas, are daily frozen. Wintering on the island has,
indeed, been attempted, but with fatal issues for
most part, unless with infinite precautions,-the
demon to guard against being cold, not scurvy, and
those who have perished under it, having, from the
contortions visible, died in agony. No description,"
says Lord Dufferin, "can give an adequate idea of
the intense rigour of a six month's winter in this
part of the world. Stones crack with the noise of
thunder; in a crowded hut the breath of its occupants
will fall in flakes of snow; wine and spirits turn to
ice; the snow burns like caustic; if iron touches the
flesh it brings the skin away with it; the soles of
your stockings may be burnt off your feet before you
feel the slightest warmth from the fire; linen taken
out of boiling water, instantly stiffens to the con-
sistency of a wooden board; and heated stones will
not prevent the sheets of the bed from freezing. If
these are the effects of the climate within an air-tight,
fire-warmed, crowded hut, what must they be among
the dark, storm-lashed mountain-peaks outside ?"
Of animals his lordship did not see many, and he
and his companions appear to have shot nearly all
they saw,-one or two eider-ducks, as many ice-birds,
sixteen ptarmigan, and one bear. With another
creature the waters round swarmed in plenty, but


it wore such a look of rationality and wise, human
gravity, that our Englishmen, with their peren-
nial reverence for the heavenly in man," dared
not touch it. This, it need not be mentioned,
was the intelligent, gentle-hearted, and docile seal.
" The ice-bird is the most graceful winged creature,"
says his lordship, I have ever seen, with immensely
long pinions, and plumage of spotless white." The
eider duck is seen throughout the year on the
northern shores of Scotland, and known in the
winter months to frequent even the southern shores of
England. It is valued chiefly for the down, which
it plucks from its breast and spreads over its eggs
when hatching; and collecting it from the nests at
this season, or plucking it from the animal itself
when dead, is the profitable occupation of many in
the lower latitudes of these northern regions. The
ptarmigan, the only other bird Lord Dufferin's
people met with in Spitzbergen, is a small creature
of the grouse species which has a curious affinity for
spots of the same colour as its own body, by alight-
ing upon which it becomes, as if by magic, all at
once invisible. The first bird of this species, shot
by these adventurers, was so small that the hole made
in it by the rifle-bullet which killed it was as large
as its own body! As for Bruin, the killing of him
was quite a sensation, and Lord Dufferin himself had
no merit in even assisting at the operation, for he was
sighted and done for by the crew of the vessel while
his lordship was at a distance on land shooting
ptarmigan. At first, when he heard the firing, he
dreaded a mutiny of his men on board the ship, but,

as he hurried off from his shooting in the direction
of the vessel, he was met by his servant, a man of
melancholic temper, whom he had left near the shore
taking photographs, who, as he now breasted the hill
in the utmost excitement, and when he thought
himself within earshot, stopped dead short, and
making a speaking trumpet with his hands, shrieked,
" If you please, my lord, there's a b-e-a-a-a-ar."
His lordship instantly cocked his rifle, expecting to
see the animal at his servant's heels, and hoping to
roll him over should he appear in sight; but "what
was my disappointment," he adds, "when, on looking
towards the schooner, my eye caught sight of our
three boats fastened in a row, and towing behind
them a floating object, which my glass only too
surely resolved the next minute into the dead bear."
The skipper, it seems, noticed it when a full mile
to westward making for the shore, and instantly
gave the alarm to all on board; but it had to ap-
proach nearer before they could decide whether it
was a bird, a whale, or a mermaid. As soon, how-
ever, as he was recognized, every rifle was levelled
at him; and when they had tugged him home,
raised him to the deck, and dissected him, his body
was found perforated with six wounds, all mortal.
The steward, to whom the honour was awarded of
having lodged the bullet which had been actually
fatal, was afterwards in honour decorated with the
one which had been extracted from the gizzard.
This bear when sliced into pieces did not prove such
a god-send as his captors thought when they caught
him; for the sailors, judging it indiscreet to eat of


an animal, the offal of which being eaten, had nearly
killed a favourite fox on shipboard, threw the whole
bit by bit into the sea. The grease, however, the
crew had thought more highly of, as his lordship
inferred from the sleek appearance they presented
for days after. Indeed, the steward's head and
whiskers, we are assured, rivalled in polish Day and
Martin, and might have served for a mirror whereat
his lordship, or another, could have seen successfully
to shave. Such sport can healthy Englishmen,
when together, extract from poor, barren solitudes,
but whoso wishes to understand how they managed
to do so, must consult Lord Dufferin's own narrative,
and be of British blood.

- _* --
&a~'-' S,<'-"
( *f st


S cents in Jcdanb.

CELAND is an island one-fifth larger than
Ireland, lying five hundred miles north-
west of Scotland, and overlapping by its
northern margin the Arctic Zone. It has been
known, by name at least, to the rest of Europe for
a thousand years, having been discovered in 860,
and first colonized from Scandinavia in 874. By
way of it, too, Europeans, a hundred and twenty
years later, arrived on the shores of Greenland, and
erelong America itself, five hundred years before its
discovery to the rest of the world by Christopher
Columbus in 1492. The first to approach it was a
Norse pirate, or viking, who, in 860, drifted near
it, and, after sighting it, called it Snowland, and
returned home. It was next visited by another
Norseman, who, by way of taking formal possession,
spent a season on it, sailed round it, and baptized it,
after himself, Gardar's Holm. Floki, the third ad-
venturer who left the shores of Europe to explore it,
took with him three ravens for pilots, having at start-
ing offered a solemn sacrifice to Thor, and was guided
thither by the third raven, which, when let off, flew
northward. Floki of the Ravens, as he is therefore


called, stayed three years upon the island, and, after
surveying its shores and river-banks, gave it the
name it has ever since retained in history. He re-
turned to Norway, representing its grass as dropping
butter and its seas as swarming with fish; and the
report he brought was tempting enough to induce a
number of his countrymen, who were oppressed at
home, to choose it for their place of exile and free
abode. These exiles, who sailed under Ingolf from
Drontheim in open boats with a few sheep and cattle,
landed and settled in Reykiavik, in the Fiord, on the
south-west, which has ever since remained the capi-
tal-directed thither, as they construed, by the gods.
They had carried with them the sacred pillars of the
home they left in Norway, and having cast them into
the sea, they took this spot, into which they drifted,
for the one in which the gods had willed they should
settle and dwell.
Men they were, it seems, of the'best and bravest,
who sought not gain, but freedom, and would rather
die than be driven to do what, in their thinking,
misbeseemed a man. Such were the original settlers
in Iceland, and of such stuff for three hundred years
did their descendants provo themselves to be.
The land these Norsemen, thus inspired and
guided, chose as their future home, for themselves
and children, is one of the most remarkable on the
face of the earth, and the least attractive of all the
regions upon it selected and occupied as a dwelling-
place by man. A strange land "burst up," as the
geologists say, "by fire from the bottom of the sea;"
largest surface and mass of territory in the world


created solely by submarine volcanic agency; a
wild land of barrenness and lava, swallowed up many
months of every year in black tempests; towering


up there, stern and grim, in the North Ocean; with
its snow-jbkuls, roaring geysers, sulphur-pools, and
horrid volcanic chasms, like the waste chaotic battle-
field of Frost and Fire." It burst up from the


bowels of the earth, thousands of years ago, a mass
of lava, or molten earth-rock, and, cooling suddenly,
cracked into hard irregular blocks of all shapes and
sizes, through which, in after-years, poured tumbling
other masses, until at length these, by ever and anon
erupting at the summit, swelled into mountains,
which, as they cooled, became gradually covered to
a peak with ice and snow. Nor did its connection
with the central fire cease with the epoch of its
formation; it subsists to. this hour, particularly along
a belt of land of very varying breadth which stretches
across the island from north-east to south-west, and
is full of openings which, by their eruptions, testify
to the continued action, at its very surface even, of
the fire-agency which, at the first, projected it from
the sea-depths. Risings and falling there still are
of lands at the sea-coast; steamings everywhere of
vapour impregnated with sulphur and other minerals;
caldrons of all sizes undulating here and there with
water at all temperatures up to the boiling point;
large basins with nether-communications, ejecting
ever and anon with thunder noises, here high steam-
ing columns of mineralized* boiling water, and there
dirty sputterings of mingled sulphur and mud; and
to crown all, sleeping under the ice-mountains, are
volcanoes which at any moment may open, scattering
desolation over the island and darkening the sky to
our own shores. Well called by Thomas Carlyle,
" The waste chaotic battle-field of Frost and Fire."
Nowhere else on the earth's surface are these two
elements in such close proximity, or is their ancient
feud kept up so fiercely to this day.


This island, like Norway and the other islands of
the North Ocean, is deeply indented with long
narrow inlets called fiords; and these, in the case of
Iceland, result from the lava having been thrown up
from the central mass in divergent rays, the extremi-
ties of which still exhibit volcanic upheavals. These
rays or promontories, which divide the fiords, are
generally mere naked heaps of lava-blocks contorted
into all shapes, and piled up in the wildest way,
haunted, it may be, by sea-fowl, but without trace
of tree or herb, grass or even moss-bed. Only as
you retire up the fiords themselves do you come upon
any vestige of vegetation, and this oftentimes of so
dark a green that it seems as if it had been fished up
from the bottom of the sea. On the banks of the rivers,
which are numerous, and rise in the jdkuls or glaciers
which also abound, at a distance, in one case, of two
hundred miles from the sea, there are, though nowhere
else, grass meadows to be found, but the grass is gener-
ally of a coarse quality, and often mown and gathered
under two or three feet of water. Grass of this
nature, and moss, are to be met with a certain way
up the valleys; but, though they speak of forests,
nowhere are there any trees, these being only bushes
never exceeding nine feet, and in most cases four or
five in height. Grain there is none, nor possibility
of any, for want of fit soil and season, and therefore
no agriculture; while such pastures as there are yield
a forage barely sufficient for the cattle kept by the
natives. The ponies, which abound, running wild,
and are the surest-footed animals of the kind-such
that Lord Dufferin assures us specimens are to be had


which can, without a slip, go down-stairs backwards
-are left through the winter to forage for themselves,
and are usually so emaciated in spring that it
is June before they can be fed up into faculty for
anything. It is a country of bald rock, volcanic
wreck, and ice, for most part, on which man, isolated
from Europe, could not survive a generation. Fish,
fowl, and flesh occasionally, are at the option of the
natives, but no grain, except a form of rye or grass,
which, though the seeds of it can be ground into
meal for making cakes or pottage, grows too scantily
to supply the lack of the ordinary cereals, or grain-
crops. As it is, there are families which, by ex-
change even, can hardly procure wheaten bread
enough for their households, to supply a meal once a
week. In some cases, so hard bestead are they for
fuel in winter, that they have to warm their huts by
burning carcasses of birds which have been laid up
for food. Sea-birds abound, such as eider-ducks and
land-fowl, in plentiful variety. Fish of the cod
species are numerous on the shores; so much so, that
the French Government employs annually 7000 sea-
men to catch them, and a promontory in the south-
west is, from the profit this fishing in its neighbour-
hood yields the natives, called the gold-bringing
region." Salmon, too, there are in plenty up the
rivers, of a size and quality equal to the best, and
these the natives catch and sell to dealers for, it is
said, some 3d. per pound. A trout there is, more-
over, which, report says, is equalled by no other fish
in the streams or waters. These the natives partly
subsist upon, and partly, and indeed mainly, barter


away for foreign necessaries which the ships bring with
them from Europe. And if we except the sulphur,
which is abundant, and we may say inexhaustible,
there is little Iceland can offer in exchange for the
commodities of other climates which does not feed
on its scanty grass-bords, or swarm on the banks of
its seas and rivers. The produce which these yield,
too, varies greatly from year to year; for such a re-
gion of storms and rains is it, and so invested at
times, even in the summer season, along its northern
shores with a broad margin of ice from the Polar
Seas, that not only is the herbage often insufficient
for the cattle, but there is little to reward the toil
of the fisher on its streams and shores.
The interior of Iceland is for most part uninhabit-
able, and, though it has been surveyed by the
Danish Government with a minuteness of detail
without a parallel in the survey of any other country,
there are immense areas in it which have never been
penetrated, and only two routes, not roads, by which
it is possible to traverse the island from north to
south. It is in the interior a mere waste of lava, or
basaltic masses, piled up, as we have said, in many
quarters into mountains, some of which are above
6000 feet high. In the south-east of the island
there exists a region of 3000 square miles in extent,
of an elevation exceeding 3000 feet, and covered
from year's end to year's end throughout with snow-
enveloped glacier-like fields and mountains of ice.
The prominent peaks are all volcanoes mostly gone
extinct, it is thought-called jdkuls; yet it is only
little more than eighty years since one of these,


Skaptar Jdkul, announced itself as still active, with
a vehemence of energy equal to anything on record
in the history of volcanic life. In 1783 this erup-
tion occurred, darkening the heavens for hundreds of
miles round with clouds of vapour and ashes, and
causing the island to quake violently from end to
end. Towards the end of May threatening appeared
in the shape of a light blue fog which rested over it;
with the beginning of June the mountain began to
tremble; on the 8th, it poured forth dense smoke-
masses, which, spreading, overhung the island like a
pall; and on the 12th, after days of fire-breathing
and panic, which affected the rivers and scared away
the fish from the shores, it commenced pouring forth
a stream of lava, which, as it sought and followed
the bed of a broad lake, or river, sent the water
away hissing and screaming before it into clouds of
vapour; and, after two days, lay supine, a solid lava-
river of miles in length, in some places 600 feet deep
and 200 broad. At the time of the eruption there
burst up (from the sea-bottom, 200 miles off) an
island, with three volcanoes on the breast of it, all
in a state of violent action, and ejecting volumes
of pumice-stone in such quantities as to block up
the very seas. This island, though formally taken
possession of by the Crown of Denmark, to which
Iceland is now subject, disappeared in a year after,
sinking slowly under the water again, and now
figures on charts as a reef of rocks, whose points are
from five to thirty fathoms down from the sea-level.
But the volcano on which the reputation of Ice-
land, as a land of fire, mainly depends, is Hecla;


the eruptions of which, as being of late the most fre-
quent, happen to have been most recorded. These
eruptions have occurred at intervals of from five to
seventy years, and frequently display an energyworthy
of the earliest volcanic ages. In 1766, the eruption
was such that the rocks discharged from it flew over it
like bees, one of which, composed of pumice-stone,
and six feet in circumference, was projected to a
distance of twenty miles; the ground within a circuit
of a hundred and twenty miles was covered with dust,
on the average four feet deep; white paper could not
be distinguished from black a hundred and forty
miles away; and even the people of Orkney were sur-
prised with showers of dust-flakes, which they called
black snow.
The most remarkable of Icelandic phenomena,
however, are the mud-caldrons and geysers, to
which we may add the world-historical Valley of
Thing-valla. Of the mud-caldrons, which occur
only in the sulphur districts, by far the most worthy
of notice is that of Krabla in the north; and it in-
deed is second in interest as a physical fact to the
Great Geyser itself. This, it appears, is a lake,
300 feet in circumference, of boiling mud, impreg-
nated and steaming with sulphur and sulphur gases,
and abounding in jets, of which the central one starts
up every five or six minutes to a height of from
twelve to thirty feet, and in a column of about nine
feet in diameter! In the south, these mud-sulphur
pools, though not so large, are more numerous and
about as noisy, emitting a stench which is intoler-
able, and showering a sulphur-powder all round.


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Of the more purely water eruptions, which are all
at the boiling-point, the most striking are the two
Geysers, i.e., gushers, or ragers, which are little
more than a hundred yards apart, and issue from a
surface one half mile across each way, which is covered
with caldrons of all sizes, active and extinct. They
may be seen from the summit of Hecla to the north-
west, and lie some two days' ride to the north-east
from Reikiavik, the capital. The smaller of the
two is called the Strokr, or Churn, and shows an
opening flush with the general surface round, of six
feet in diameter, and which, as you look down into
it, appears to grow gradually and uniformly narrower
as it descends, exhibiting at a depth of twenty feet
an agitation and hissing as of seething water. This
geyser will sometimes continue in action for half an
hour, bursting up fitfully to an elevation, at the most,
of sixty feet, and discharging in all directions vast
clouds of steam. By simply tumbling into it a
quantity of turf, however, sufficient to choke it, it
can be provoked into an eruption at any time, and
it will continue discharging itself till every particle
of the injected matter is cleared out of its throat.
Nay, if after injection of the turf, which must in this
case be administered in a gentle dose, you throw in
a leg of mutton, properly protected, in forty minutes
Strokr returns it to you cooked to perfection. The
Great Geyser, on the other hand, which, owing to
its construction, cannot be subjected to a similar
treatment, presents at the surface, when idle, a cir-
cular pool filling a saucer-like basin 70 feet across
and 4 feet deep, supported upon a mound 15 feet


high, and from the centre of which stretches down-
wards to a depth of 83 feet, a shaft 8 feet wide, and
uniformly so from top to bottom. The basin is
incrusted all over with layers of mineral matter
deposited by the water, and in appearance resembles
the outside of the shell of the oyster. The water
contained in it is always hot, and at the very edge
sometimes 1800, since, even when there is no eruption,
water at the boiling temperature is always ascend-
ing the shaft in the centre, and the surplus escap-
ing over the sides. This geyser was, by all accounts,
at one period more energetic and demonstrative in
its action than it is now, going off explosively twice
or thrice a-day, and springing aloft to a height of
300 feet. Now-a-days its violence is greatly moder-
ated, but even yet its eruptions are on a scale of
surprising vastness and "not only worth seeing, but
worth going to see." They are now seldom, if ever,
witnessed more than once in forty-eight hours, or
known to rise above100 feet. It grumbles a good deal
before the fit comes on in right earnest; but, when
it does, it heralds the act with an explosion enough
in these expectant solitudes to awaken the seven
sleepers. The eruption lasts from twenty to thirty
minutes, the waters shooting upwards jet after jet, in
columns twenty-five feet in circumference, with fearful
rapidity, and, as they do so, shaking the ground
around with their thunderings, and darkening the
air with dense masses of fleecy cloud,--of all which
we must seek the cause in the still immediate near-
ness to the surface, in that part of the world, of its
central fires. These fires engender in the bosom of

-p 7--






the geyser a vapour of steam, which, as it collects,
S must every now and then seek liberation by forcible
expulsion of the water. A reference to the woodcut
on p. 79 will show at a glance the structure and work-
ing of these geysers. A, B, are cavities in the sub-
jacent rock, always more or less replenished with
water. In these the water, as it boils, creates a
steam, which, as it expands, both expels the water
and escapes explosively along with it.
Of all the wonders in the island not the least
remarkable, in a physical point of view, and by far
the most interesting, humanly speaking, is the
Thing-valla Valley, lying midway between the
capital and the geysers, seven miles long and from
three to five wide, and in a remote antiquity formed
singularly by the lava-crust composing its surface
cracking at its margin and sinking to a level of 80
feet lower than the surrounding country. To the
south of it, and in a line with the length of the
valley, there extends a lake, the largest in Iceland,
and thirty miles in circumference, with two crater-
topped islands in the centre, caused by the lava
which forms its bed having sunk lower still than it
did in the valley, bounded all round by rugged lava-
cliffs, and terminated at its southern extremity by
a district abounding in cones, from which are seen
continually curling upwards spiracles of sulphur-
vapour. The valley itself is sprinkled over with a
feeble vegetation, mostly of a birch brushwood, and
thickly interspersed with cracks or fissures, some of
which are sixty feet deep. The lava which com-
poses its surface having not only sunk, but shrunken,


the valley is bounded, on the east and west sides
especially, all the way by more or less continuous
deep rents or ravines. These are called Gjas, and
are, the western one particularly, nearly 100 feet
deep-the cliff formed by the lava which remains at
the primitive level being in some parts 180 feet in
height. But more interesting by far than the valley
itself, is a small green spot within it of an irregular
oval shape, 200 feet long by 50 wide, rising into a
conical elevation at its northern extremity, and
guarded by deep impassable volcanic chasms on all
sides, except the south, where a natural causeway
connects it with the surrounding valley.
Here, under the naked canopy of heaven, for 900
years annually assembled the Parliament of Iceland;
for the first 300 of which they met, speaking and
resolving their wisest and bravest by the help and
counsel of the gods alone. Spot sacred to liberty
all over the world, where men, thinking their gravest
and deepest, dared to speak, act, and enforce it in
the name of Heaven itself. They called their
parliament Althing, that is, assembly of all, where
each one who had anything to say may speak it,
and make sure of an earnest response to it from all
hearts-would find all prepared to draw sword for
it, and shed in behalf of it their best blood. And
the valley ennobled by the Althing was called
Thing-valla, valley of speaking, where the speaker,
if sincere, is listened to, and his word endorsed by
all free men. In the spirit of it, a model parliament
of men to the end of time !


Jima in tf4 TpJ :

ONT BLANC, though not the central, is
the loftiest mountain of the Alps, and
rises higher than any other in Europe, if
we except Elburz, in the Caucasus, which sur-
passes it by nearly 3000 feet. Though little more
than half the height of Gaurisankar, in the chain of
the Himalaya, its elevation is more than three times
greater than that of any mountain in Scotland,
being 15,744 feet above the level of the sea. It
is situated thirty-seven miles south of the eastern
extremity of the Lake of Geneva, in the department
of Haute-Savoy, France, bordering upon Switzer-
land on the north, and Italy on the south-east; and
it extends, in a north-easterly direction, at the
western termination of the Pennine chain, which
stretches east. The Great St. Bernard, Monts
Cervin and Rosa, which belong to the same chain,
lie at intervals straight east of it; while another
chain, called the western, extends straight south
of it, all the way to the Gulf of Genoa, at Nice.
Seen from the Valley of Chamouni, which lies
parallel with it on the west side, Mont Blanc


exhibits three principal peaks, capped with eternal
snow; and the deep valleys which furrow this
side are filled with sixteen glaciers, whose waters,
as they melt, go, by means of the Arve, to swell
the Rhone. The glaciers on the eastern, or Italian
side, though not so famous, are more numerous,
amounting to twenty, and they send their waters,
by the Dora Baltea, into the Po. Of the sixteen on
the west side of the mountain, seven are visible from
the Valley of Chamouni alone; which valley, though
at an elevation of above 3000 feet, is a paradise for
fresh purity of atmosphere, gardenlike beauty,
pretty hamlets, and sublimity of scene. Viewed
from it, the glacier which first strikes the eye is
called Des Boissons; and this, like many others,
descends far into the region of cultivation, and is
fringed on both sides, along part of its course, by
forests of pine, which it overtops, and with which
the dazzling brightness of its white presents to the
eye a startling contrast. But of these seven glaciers,
and indeed of the whole, by far the most remark-
able is the Mer de Glace-i.e., sea of ice-which
terminates two miles above Chamouni, and which,
coming down from its valley-top far up the moun-
tains, covers an area of eighteen square miles. In
order to see this glacier in its all solitary vastness,
it is necessary, after crossing the Valley of Cha-
mouni, near its top to the right, to ascend 3000 or
4000 feet higher up; and here you find yourself, on
a sudden, skirting the top of a precipice on your
left, from the giddy height of which, as you cast
your eye down, you discern its waste expanse


spread out below you, and overhung by frowning
masses of mountain, terrible at once for their size,
steepness, and sterility. The surface of the glacier,
as seen from this height, resembles a sea which has
been suddenly frozen, not while the storm is raging,
but just when it has spent itself; and the waves,
though still high, are no longer sharp-ridged at the
top, but rounded. These waves run parallel to the
sides of the glacier, while across their length are
seen crevasses, or long, wide fissures, of a dark blue
colour, contrasting strikingly with the surface, which
is white. When you descend to the glacier itself,
what from above seemed waves become mountains,
and the trough of them valleys, with lakes and
streams in them; which last, as they flow on, fall
into the crevasses, run below, and issue at its lower
extremity as the source of the river Aveyron. Of
these glaciers, there are about four hundred in the
Alps alone, some of which are twenty miles long,
and, at certain points, two or three miles wide,
and as much as 600 feet of perpendicular depth.
They are, to speak generally, ice-rivers of extremely
sluggish movement, which fill the valleys that
deeply furrow the sides of Alpine mountains-i.e.,
mountains whose tops are always capped with snow.
They are fed exclusively by avalanches, or vast snow
slips, which descend at their upper extremity from
above the snow line, or line above which the snow
on the mountain never melts. This snow mass-
which, when it descends, filling the upper section of
the glacier, is of a perfectly white colour, and called
nev--is composed of very minute particles, mixed


with air; but as the surface melts under the sun's
heat in summer, the water percolates the mass,
expels the air from the interstices, and, by freezing
round the snow particles, enlarges them into grains,
which, uniting at the sides, go to form the solid ice-
mass of which the body of the glacier below con-
sists. This ice-mass, formed wholly from the nvw--
which again, as we say, is composed of snow from
above the snow line-has, from the manner of its
formation, a granular texture, is gritty-surfaced,
clear internally, but not transparent. It moves for-
ward-partly in virtue of the pressure of the ndve
accumulating at the top, and partly in virtue of the
inclination of its bed--very much like a viscous sub-
stance of the nature of tar or treacle, the rate of
motion being greater at the top than the bottom,
in the centre than at the margin, and greatest of all
at the convex side of a winding. When the course
is straight, the motion at the centrcdoes not, even
in the Mer de Glace, exceed four or five feet a-day,
while at the sides it is not more than twice as many
inches. A glacier is liable to crack here and there,
from top to bottom, into wide fissures, called cre-
vasses, which are sometimes parallel with its sides,
and sometimes transverse; parallel if the bed happens
to widen, and transverse when it increases in slope-
the result in both cases being due to the strain, or
what is called the force of tension, which, of course,
is greatest near the top. The water formed by the
melting of the ice or snow on the surface in summer
pours itself, as we have seen in the Mer de Glace,
down these crevasses, flows in an ever-increasing

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stream below the glacier, and issues from an arch of
ice at its lower extremity, to form or feed some far
wandering river. The surface of the glacier is some-
times smooth, sometimes undulating, and sometimes
broken into irregular masses. It is commonly bor-
dered throughout its extent with fragments of rock,
which have descended upon it from the sides of the
mountain, and are borne down with it to lie in a
heap at its extremity. These masses are called
moraines: lateral, when they lie along the edges;
terminal, at the extremity; and medial, when, as often
happens, two or more glaciers unite higher up into
one. These glaciers descend frequently far into the
region of cultivation, verging even on fields waving
at the season with yellow corn. They sometimes
dominate the pines that skirt them, as in the case of
the Glacier des Boissons; and, farther up, are them-
selves dominated by towering, tapering peaks of
rock, the more elongated of which are called Needles.
Such, for instance, are the Aiguille du Dru and the
Aiguille Verte, as seen in our illustrations.
The highest summit of Mont Blanc is a narrow,
nearly horizontal ridge, extending almost due east
and west, 150 feet long and 48 feet wide, very steep
on its. north side, and sloping away at its extremities
by an angle of about 30 degrees. This ridge, from
its shape, is called La Bosse du Dromedaire-i.e.,
the Hunch of the Dromedary; and this name, in
turn, gives a fair idea of its shape. Though this ridge,
owing to the distance from which it could be seen,
had been regarded for long previously as the summit
of the Alpine region, no one dared even to think of


scaling it, till a Frenchman appeared, named De
Saussure, who was so possessed with the idea, that
he seemed sent into the world to give it birth and see
it realized. For twenty-six years did this dream
haunt and even trouble him, by night as well as by
day; but it was not till the end of this period he
saw it executed, and the honour of achieving it
carried off by another-a simple Alpine peasant,
named Jacques Balmat, in the year 1786. It was
not until the end of the season following he him-
self ascended; and this, as it happened, for the last
as well as the first time. His object was purely
scientific; and, this attained, he cared not to repeat
the experiment. He was accompanied by fourteen
guides, who carried his apparatus, and assisted him
in his observations. These, though finished in four
hours and a half, were, owing to the rarity of the air
principally, and the consequent difficulty of breath-
ing, not executed without impediments, but they
established results which attracted, and for a time
engrossed, the attention of scientific people all over
Europe; and these it may not be unprofitable once
more to summarize and repeat.
1. The first result affected the height of the
mountain; and this he estimated at about 15,000
feet. He determined this by the mercury in the
barometer, which was known to fall so much for
so many 100 feet of ascent; and as he found it fall
from 32 inches to nearly 16 inches, he, by calcu-
lation afterwards, arrived at the elevation given.
2. While the thermometer in the shade was at 32
degrees, or the freezing point, exposing it to the sun


-such was the rarity of the air-raised it only a
degree and a half higher. 3. There was, he found,
six times less humidity, or quantity of watery vapour,
in the atmosphere here, than was ascertained to be in
it at the time near Geneva; and this fact he connected
with the intense thirst he and his party suffered on
the summit. 4. Owing to the extreme rarity and
transparency of the air, the azure colour of the sky
was intense, to a degree seen on no lower altitude.
Its depth, indeed, was such as to terrify some of the
guides on the way up-it seemed, and they thought
it, the dread opening into another world. The
degree of intensity Saussure was able to test by the
help of slips of paper, sixteen in number, of all
shades of blue, from the lightest to the darkest,
which, with a wise precaution, he for that very pur-
pose carried along with him; and the result of the
comparison was, that while at the bottom of the
mountain the sky-blue was at the sixth shade from
the darkest, it was only one remove from it at the
top. Indeed, so dark is the sky vault as seen from
this altitude, that it is said, with the due quantity
of shade, the stars can be seen glimmering out in
broad daylight. 5; It was with extreme difficulty
fuel could be got to burn and water to boil; and
when the fire was kindled, it was found that the
water, which at the foot of the mountain would have
boiled in twelve minutes, took nearly thirty here.
Indeed, no fire, or even light, would burn, unless
fed by an artificial current of air, created by fanning,
or blowing, or some apparatus to produce a draft.
This also was an effect of the air's rarity. 6. So
(341) 5


rare, or thin, was the air at this elevation, that
it required two inspirations for one which suf-
ficed at the foot of the mountain, and the breath-
ing was accordingly twice as rapid. The necessity
for this double rate resulted from the fact, that a
given space-a gallon, for instance-contained at
this level only half the quantity of air demanded by
the system, and provided within the limits in which
nature ordained us to live. 7. The rate of the pulse,
too, like the breathing, was nearly doubled, and the
action of the heart, like that of the lungs, was at
double quick time. In one of the party, its beats rose
from 60 per minute to 112; in another, from 72 to 100;
and in a third, from 49 to 98. Hence fever, as well
as thirst, resulted. 8. All sounds were extremely
feeble; and this was due to the absence of all echo,
as well as the thinness of the air. The report of a
pistol which was fired, for example, did not exceed
that of an insignificant cracker. 9. No one expe-
rienced any appetite for food or stimulant, only
water; but for this the craving was both incessant
and keen. 10. No animal, vegetable, or rock even, was
visible for several hundred feet below the summit,
only two solitary butterflies; and these fluttered
about with a distractedness of movement which
argued too painfully they had wandered out of their
element, and were not at home. It is all snow or
ice for 400 feet from the summit, not a spot of
earth or scrap of lichen to be met with.-Such are
some of the results of Saussure's observations; and
they are not an unworthy reward of the zeal he
showed in the prosecution of the enterprise, and of


the labour and difficulty he experienced in carrying
it out. This ascent was effected on the 2d of
August 1787, the greater part of it having been
accomplished the day before; and the inconvenience
experienced in the course of it was due almost
exclusively to the rarity of the air.
It was in the year 1760 that De Saussure-a
native of Geneva, and then a young man of twenty-
conceived the idea he afterwards accomplished; but
though he offered a reward to any mountaineer who
would find out the route, or even explore it, it
was not till 1775-fifteen years later-that any-
thing like an attempt was made. It was by four
natives of the valley it was first undertaken; but
the rarefaction of the air and the blinding whiteness
of the snow was such as to compel them, before
achieving anything, to give it up. Eight years after
this it was before the attempt was repeated; and it,
too, was abandoned, because one of the party became
ominously infected with an irresistible inclination to
sleep. The next time I renew the enterprise,"
said one of them, when he returned, I shall, with
a parasol and eau de Cologne, be provided against
all contingencies." In 1785 Saussure himself made
his first effort; but he, too, though he ascended
upwards of 11,000 feet, was, from the lateness of
the season, arrested and turned back by the snow.
On the 6th of July 1786, six men from Chamouni
met by appointment on the Dome du Gofiter; and
a seventh along with them-Jacques Balmat-who
they were all unwilling should join them, and share
in the surely expected honour and reward. All of


them, however, went on for a time together, and
only returned to the valley when they found that
the ridge between the dome they met on and the
summit they arrived at, besides becoming steeper
and steeper, so narrowed itself that they must go
astride of it to ascend it, while the precipice to right
and left was several thousand feet of nearly perpen-
dicular depth. Only Jacques Balmat insisted on pro-
secuting the dangerous feat; but, when he, too, having
satisfied himself of its impracticability, abandoned it,
and returning along the ridge, still astride, and with
back foremost, found that his companions had not
only relinquished the attempt, but left without
him,-being stung by the affront, he at once deter-
mined not to follow them, but to spend the night
alone upon the mountain, and next day either dis-
cover the true route to the summit or perish in the
attempt. He descended a little way accordingly,
squatted under a rock which projected only partly
over him, and here passed the night without wrapper
of any kind, though the temperature was below
freezing. Next day, therefore, with the dawn, he
started on his explorations, and finished them be-
fore mid-day, redescending with the programme of
the route carefully, conclusively, and, once for all,
sketched and mapped out in his head,-only the
severity of the cold, and weakness from want of
food, compelling him to retire, after merely scanning
the way, without traversing it. On his return, he
slept without interruption for forty-eight hours.
When he awoke, he found he was nearly blind; and
at length he began to be afflicted with a pain in the


eyes, of such acuteness that it was feared it would
result in the loss of his sight. From this misfortune,
however, he was delivered by the healing skill of a
Dr. Paccard; to whom out of gratitude he revealed

a- --_" '5 -.

his secret, and offered by way of recompense a share
in the honour of accomplishing the first ascent to the
summit of the mountain This the doctor at once
accepted; and the two set out alone on the 8th
., .
P-,. -i ,,


of August of the same year, after previously put-
ting two of the Chamouni people in their conri-
dence; and these were, on the following day, to
summon the villagers to be on the outlook, with
such telescopes as they possessed, to witness the
feat. This they accomplished as they expected;
and though they stayed only half an hour on the
summit, all Chamouni was witness, at any rate, to
the feat being done. When the two returned, Dr.
Paccard was nearly blind, and J. Balmat was
swollen all over the body, and especially about the
lips and eyes. As soon, however, as he partially
recovered-which he did in about four days-he
hastened to Geneva, and unfolded his success to
M. de Saussure; who next year, following in his
footsteps, not only successfully accomplished the
ascent, but, with science to help him, took notes,
and printed them for the benefit of the world.
"With the exception of one undertaken in the year
1844, his was the first and the last scientific ascent
of any consequence; nor was there any great need,
for the purposes of really human science, to attempt
another. Those who have succeeded him-and they
have been many-have done so more to experience
and produce sensations, than to advance any interest
worth the pains.
One other scientific expedition was attempted on
the 18th of August 1820; but this, before it came
to anything, proved fatal, ending in a catastrophe
which is not forgotten in the Chamouni Valley to
this day. The principal in this ascent was Dr.
Hamel, a Russian savant; and he, as it chanced,


was accompanied by two Englishmen and twelve
guides. After spending, as usual, the night previous
to the ascent at a station well up the mountain, called
the Grands Mulets, and being obliged, on account of a
violent storm, to remain through a second, the most
would, with the second morning, which was still
threatening, have at once returned to the valley, had
not the doctor proved resolute, and, sending for more
provisions, given orders they should remain till the
weather cleared. At eight o'clock, accordingly,
when the weather at length brightened, the doctor
instantly required the company to strike their
encampment and proceed. The guides, knowing
the dangers, at first rebelled, and peremptorily
refused. One of these, however-and he of the
unfortunates who perished-taking the doctor's
orders for the decree of fate, burst into tears, threw
his arms round a companion, and exclaimed, I am
a lost man !" One of the Englishmen took the side
of the guides; but when, upon his remonstrating,
the doctor stamped his foot, and, looking him in
the face, called him coward," he, without saying
a word, turned round, got himself ready, and stepped
onwards with the rest of the party in the rear.
Everything went on without accident, or even slip,
during the best of weather, till they reached the
plateau, at the base of the cap of the mountain.
" Never," as Hamel himself writes, did ascent to
this point succeed better, the guides themselves
being witnesses; never with more speed and fewer
difficulties. The snow which had latterly fallen
had the very depth and consistency best suited


for walking over it. All were in the highest of
spirits, and full of hope, despite the rarity of the
air, already considerable, and which was such that
my pulse made 128 beats per minute, and the thirst
I felt was both keen and constant. Our guides
called for breakfast before proceeding further; for,
said they, 'higher up one's appetite is gone.' Here,
accordingly, a cloth was spread out upon the snow,
which served at once for chair and table. Each
seated himself, and ate with relish to his heart's
content. I got all ready for the observations I
intended to make on the summit. I even wrote two
notes, announcing our arrival at the top, leaving only
a blank for the hour. These I intended to attach
to a pigeon I carried with me, and which I meant to
let off there, to see how he would fly in so rare an
atmosphere, and whether he would find his mate at
Sallanches. I carried a bottle of wine also, to be
drunk to the memory of Saussure. At nine o'clock
precisely we resumed our ascent, with the summit
in our eye, and seeming close above us. 'Would
you be tempted to descend for 1000?' said the
one Englishman to the other. Not,' answered he,
'for any bribe you could offer.' Such was the
enthusiasm of the moment in all hearts I"
Thus animated, the company proceeded, and com-
menced ascending the last slope which leads to the
summit, and is called the Cap of Mont Blanc, but at
the foot of which yawned an immense crevasse, 150
feet deep. They ascended this slope obliquely, in
single file, according to an order agreed upon, and
were all in route, each following steadily in the


track of the other over the snow, every foot sure,
and every heart hopeful and light; but as they
advanced, it happened that the track they made cut
off from the snow above it the snow below, which,
having recently fallen, still lay loose upon the sur-
face immediately under it, and, being unattached,
therefore instantly gave way, sliding down, and
carrying, as with the force of an avalanche, every
soul along with it. Three of the guides were pre-
cipitated into the crevasse at the bottom; two
others, being projected with greater force, cleared it,
and were pitched into a smaller one beyond, one of
them up to the neck in a gulf of snow; while the
rest, including Dr. Hamel and his two companions,
were, strange to say, of a sudden arrested and caught
suspended, on the very edge of the abyss ;-the whole
having descended rolling and tumbling helplessly
down 300 feet of slope. The two who had cleared
the crevasse lay for a while unconscious; but recover-
ing at length, soon the one extricated the other, and
both stood, for a time, silently regarding each other
with a look which seemed to say, And are we two,
then, the only survivors?" In a little, however, the
rest, who had, being intercepted, stopped short on
the brink, having, by means of hatchets, with which
they cut a footing in the ice, and mutual help, suc-
ceeded in extricating themselves from their perilous
position, appeared calling to them from a height
beyond. The whole assembled, and it was soon
found that there were three missing; and their
names were P. Carrier, P. Balmat, and A. Teiraz.
Dr. Hamel was pained and sorrow-stricken to the


very heart; while, as for the two Englishmen, they
cast themselves upon the snow like men distracted.
and vowed they would not quit the spot till they
found their innocent companions, dead or alive.
They accordingly, with the doctor and the rest,
descended to the lower margin of the crevasse, and
even entered it; but though they called and sounded,
with the utmost personal risk, in all directions, no
answer was given, and no trace of any one was found.
The search was therefore given up, and all returned
to the valley, each with his gloomy version of the
disaster, and all persuaded that their unfortunate
fellow-adventurers lay at the bottom of the crevasse,
buried under above 100 feet of snow. The two
Englishmen contributed liberally to succour the poor
families of the deceased; but nothing could comfort
the mother of Balmat. The poor old woman, after
weeping her eyes nearly blind, sank to bed broken-
hearted, and in three short days thereafter expired.
Such price, and far greater, from the beginning of
the world, and all over it, is there tragically to
pay, till the human kindred learn what are the pos-
sibilities and impossibilities of life.



cSanes in G 'reL'ninal

REENLAND is now admitted on all hands
to be an island, entitled, however, like
Australia, from its size to rank as a con-
tinent, being 1200 miles from north to south, or
twice the length of Great Britain. The interior is
understood to be occupied by an enormous expanse
of mere ice, which, as fed by descents of snow from
the mountains and the atmosphere, slopes and moves
slowly northward, and sends off, now to the right,
now to the left, along ravines formed by them and ter-
minating in fiords, branches themselves stupendous,
that for most part overhang and even invade the
sea. One of these, called by Dr. Kane the Hum-
boldt Glacier, and approaching by its northern
flank within 100 of the pole, advances from the
central ice-mass upon the sea westward, and termi-
nates in a cliff-like front 60 miles long, 300 feet
high, and of unknown depth; whence, pressed forward
by the mass behind, piles of ice of all sizes detach
themselves, which, buoyed up by the water, float away

as icebergs, covering the seas. This glacier is by
its discoverer set down as the northern boundary of
Greenland, and may be regarded as the central one
itself, trending west. Beyond it land re-appears,
which a party of Dr. Kane's men explored to within
520 miles of the North Pole, and to which Dr.

Kane gave the name of Washington. The south-west
corner of this land rises into a rocky promontory
named Cape Forbes, and the north-west into another
called Cape Constitution, where the land, rising into
cliffs 2000 feet high, appears to trend away east,
and whence, looking athwart the channel on the left,
the eye can see the opposite or strictly American


.shore stretching, or rather undulating away straight
northward for fifty miles, till it is lost in the distance.
The channel between was found by Dr. Kane's men,
to their infinite surprise, when they visited it on
the 23rd of June, to open gradually into an iceless
sea; which, from the data they supplied him, Dr.

_-- -- -_

Kane calculated to cover an area of 4000 square
miles, and which he faintly conjectured to be due
to a deflection thitherward of the Gulf Stream.
Only the coasts of Greenland are inhabited, and
even these sparsely, and, except by Esquimaux, not
higher than latitude 73'. The settlements are princi-
pally of Danes, for trading purposes; but on the west


coast there exist three founded for other purposes, by
the Moravian missionaries. The Danish colonies or
factories number only thirteen-the Danes them-
selves a few hundreds; and the trade they ply is
carried on with the natives by barter, without the
medium of money-skins, furs, oil, cod, &c., being
received in exchange for wheat, brandy, coffee, sugar,
tobacco, utensils, &c. Everything the natives have
to dispose of can be got by barter. Dr. Kane
hired a young Esquimaux for hunter by leaving
with his mother two or three barrels of bread
and a few pounds of pork. Reindeer-hunting is a
favourite occupation in summer; and the skins are
sold and sent to Denmark, where they are much
prized for their lightness and warmth. These are
also used by the natives themselves, as well as seal-
skins-which last are in especial demand for panta-
loons and waterproof over-alls. Fishing is the chief
employment, yields the staple commodity, and is
directly and indirectly the life of the people.
The Danish part of the population are a homely,
simple-hearted, pious class, who are quite ready to
give and receive friendly tokens with strangers. The
Moravians, though also hospitable and kindly, are
more demure, and of an old-fashioned cut, as of
people who had long since seen better days. The
Esquimaux are a faithful race,, if you can make
friends of them; but toward strangers they are in-
variably distrustful, false, and dishonest. Their broad
shoulders give them the appearance, when seated, of


being tall men; but their extremities are short, and
so, when erect, they rather come under than exceed
the average height. They are of squat figure and
feature, and spend their time in hunting and seal-
catching, except when they eat and sleep, which
they do inordinately. Their chief diet is animal
food, which they prefer in the raw state, and the
blood is an especial delicacy. They move about in
small communities, are of extremely filthy habits,
and house themselves for the winter in huts, or
snow-houses, amidst a stifling accumulation of oil
and offal, quite intolerable. These are the natives
of Greenland, and they belong to a nation which,
though the most sparsely, is the most widely scat-
tered of any on the face of the globe.
Greenland has been explored much further north
on the west than on the east coast, owing partly to
attempts, now at length deservedly given up, to find
a passage westward round the north of America, and
to the efforts made to recover the party of Sir John
Franklin, lost in the last of these attempts. Ex-
plorations in this direction have always been at-
tended with great difficulty; for the ice is late in
breaking up, and the sea, when open, is infested with
fogs and icebergs, together with currents and storms
altogether baffling to navigation. The seas, too, are
narrow, north of Baffin's Bay especially, and the
shores bold and rock-bound; only the ships are
never in danger of being wrecked upon the rocks, as
the ice never melts entirely away from their bases.


The ice which attaches to the bases of these rocks, and
is called the ice-belt, becomes gradually covered with
piles of rubbish and masses of stone or slate, rounded
and angular, which have fallen from the cliffs above;
and this breaking up, under the action of the water-
torrents and thaws of summer, divides into ice-rafts,
often of large dimensions, which then float away to
your peril, each with its more or less ponderous
cargo, down the straits into the open sea. Besides,
to make explorations of any extent, one season sig-
nifies nothing, and so the ship must be provided
with men and means able to hold out through an
Arctic winter. A winter spent in these regions is
something truly frightful even to a native, still more
to one who is not; though there have been Ameri-
cans as well as Europeans who have stood out two
in succession, and come south again alive. In North
Greenland, for one hundred and forty days in this
season there is no sun, for ninety or more no twi-
light; the temperature is on the average 600 or 700
below the freezing point, often as much as 900 or
1000, and by no device can the frost be excluded
from hut or cabin. The dogs you carry for the
sledging, which is essential for exploration, must be
provided for, and probably three-fourths of them die
on your hands, of lethargy, delirium, and lock-jaw.
The men, too, cannot be prevented from taking
scurvy, and becoming swollen and haggard. A
month, or even a week, will work greater changes
upon their appearance than a year will at home; and


when the season returns and excursions are attempted,
there is the danger of being frost-bitten, as well as
of stupor and snow-blindness. The snow, if eaten,
burns like caustic, inflames the mouth and throat,
and causes speechlessness. Your men, too, are apt
to mutiny, your ship to be ice-bound, and if your
dogs die, as is most likely, you have no alternative
but to face death, or risk the hazardous enterprise of
escaping southward in an open boat. This was Dr.
Kane's alternative in 1855; he had sailed north
with eighteen of a crew in the brig Advance in 1853,
spent twor winters in lat. 780 30', and after penetrat-
ing as far as lat. 810 20', and losing two of his men.
had to abandon his brig and commit himself and the
remainder of his crew to boats.
The coasts in this latitude he found to be high,
broken at intervals into fiords and by the channels
of glacier-fed rivers, and composed chiefly of red
sandstone rock; which contrasts, says Dr. Kane,
most pleasingly with the whiteness of the expanse
of snow, associating the cold tints of the dreary
Arctic landscape with the warm colouring of more
southern lands. This rock rises often from mounds
of rubbish and ledges of ice into continuous cliffs of
in many cases 1000 or 1200 feet of perpendicular
height; and the action of air and water upon their
stratified surfaces gives them often the appearance of
piles reared by the mason-craft of man. The most
picturesque of these cliffs Dr. Kane found about lat.
79', near Dallas Bay, and several miles south of the
(341) 6


Humboldt Glacier. Here of a sudden the rocks at
the foot of a gorge surprisingly assume the form of a
battlemented castle of imposing grandeur, frowning
in dark shadow when Dr. Kane saw it, while the
gorge whose entrance it commanded was stream-
-----; --- :.,, ,,. .'i4^,O '.r "

S- ------- ,,,,,

ing at noonday with the southern sun." On the
flank of this "dreary semblance of a castle," and
completely isolated, rise in a line three pillar-like
masses of sandstone rock, to which he gave the name

of The Three Brother Turrets." A sloping mound


,,,,, '- ']l Et



of rubbish led to the gorge thus guarded, and as the
castellated structure was at the time in shadow, the
contrast between it and the surrounding whiteness
made the illusion perfect. Not far from this to the
northward, at the northern extremity of a long cliff
of greenstone, that, as it rears itself from a crumbled
base of sandstone," resembles the "boldly chiselled
rampart of an ancient city," and quite detached from
it, there rises a single pillar more striking still, the
shaft of which, as it overlooks a deep ravine, re-
sembles a gigantic Trajan's Column, and is 480 feet
high, while the pedestal it stands upon is 280 feet
morel It seems as if designed and wrought by art
of man to decorate the square and keep alive the
heroic memories of some world-city; and yet Dr.
Kane, when he saw it standing there in its solitary
majesty, was reminded, in the then mood of his
inner man, neither of high cities nor of their proud
memorials, but of the surpassing grandeur of a single
life melodiously led, and rendered, as it were,
apart from and above them all. Such to him, com-
muning in these solitudes, seemed the life of Tenny-
son; and so he not inappropriately called the pillar
"Tennyson's Monument."


|s1anb of ^t. diuna.

HELENA connects itself with the rest ot
the world by two main interests;-as a
halting-place for English vessels on their
homeward-bound voyage from the East; and as for
six years the last, lonely, exiled dwelling-place of
the First Napoleon. It is literally one of the far, or
rather furthest-off islands of the sea, being 1200
miles from the African Continent, 2000 from
America, and 4600 in a straight line southward
from London. Rising abruptly out of the ocean,
"like a plum-cake upon a table," it is 101 miles
long, 7 miles broad, and 28 miles in circumference,
facing the sea in all directions with a wall of per-
pendicular rock from 600 to 1000 feet in height.
This rock, which is throughout volcanic, and of un-
known date, rises more perpendicularly on the north
than on the south side of the island, and is composed
of basaltic precipices of the most fantastic outline, and
rent often into fissures from the top to the bottom.
Of the inlets by which the island can be approached

- f -a -- _', ,



and a landing effected, there are four, three on the
north-west and one on the south-east; and all these
are, or were, commanded by forts sufficient to defy
even a formidable invasion. No ship can approach
it from Europe unless by first sailing past it far to
the south and west; and in the days of Napoleon's
captivity there was not a nook or cranny on which an
invader could, by the faintest possibility, succeed in
planting a foot-sole which was not fortified and guarded.
With the exception of two plains, of which the
larger is that of Longwood, and contains 1500
acres of fertile land, the island is entirely occupied
by a ridge of hills stretching east and west, from
which branch off, at right angles, a number of minor
ridges, with narrow, mostly verdant valleys between.
The highest point of the central chain is towards the
east, and called Diana's Peak, 2700 feet; but there
are other six or seven peaks along the chain, of
which four or five are not 500 feet lower. These
hills are in some cases naked to the summit, in
others covered with shrubs and trees, especially up
the sides. Water of the purest and freshest exists
everywhere in rich abundance, and there are said to
be no fewer than 160 springs, some of them issuing
from the sides of the rocks by tiny picturesque
cascades; and spots there are of surpassing beauty
here and there, though a lonelier and more dreary
hardly exists than that selected by Napoleon for the
place of his grave-verdant, indeed, but entirely
secluded, and only accessible by one winding path-

where the eye can descry no object except the shift-
ing aspect of the sky above !
Though within the tropics, the heat, except when
reflected in still weather from the sides of the bare
rock, is never excessive; and indeed of the climate
generally, it is said it is never so cold as in England,
and scarcely so hot. It is by no means uncongenial
to a European constitution, and is in its atmosphere,
no less than its supply of fresh provisions, peculiarly
adapted for reviving and re-invigorating the ex-
hausted voyager on his way home from the East.
The rains, though sometimes impatiently waited for,
are in the main regular and abundant, especially in
February; and thunder-storms and tornadoes are
but seldom witnessed, though it was amidst such
Napoleon's spirit passed away. The atmosphere,
too, is of such transparency that vessels can be seen
at sea to a distance of 60 miles.
When discovered by the Portuguese, in 1502, it
was one unbroken forest, without inhabitant. The
trees appear to be now all cleared away, and others,
native and imported, occupy their place. Some of
these are available for their timber, and a number
yield an aromatic fragrance when burned. Myrtles
grow to a height of 30 feet; a species of fern, with
eaves five feet long, grows to the height of 20 feet;
and the hills of the interior are covered to profu-
sion with furze, imported from England. The sea
breezes here are the great enemy to vegetation; but
in the sheltered valleys almost any of the tropical or


European fruits will grow and ripen. The common
blackberry, for instance, increased to such an extent
after being planted, that in 1780 it had by peremp-
tory order to be extirpated, root and branch; while
so prolific is the potato, that three crops are often
raised in a single year.
Cattle, principally of English breed, with sheep
and poultry, are reared in great numbers, to meet
the demands of vessels passing; and goats and rabbits
especially swarm plentifully. Sea-fowl of various
kinds breed in thousands round the cliffs; game, in
the shape of pheasants, partridges, and guinea-fowl,
abounds in the preserves; while among the birds of
the linnet species there is one here which builds
two nests, in the upper one of which," says Martin,
"the male bird sits and serenades the female in her
incubation." Fish, too, throng the waters round in
such shoals, and take the bait so readily, that the
amateur fisher is apt to grow weary catching them.
The population numbers about 10,000, and con-
sists of whites and blacks in nearly equal propor-
tions, the former of whom are remarkable for the
wonderful fairness and freshness of their complexions.
Those born on the island are of a quick, apt faculty,
and a proof in point to show that, as the Greeks be-
lieved, the air has something to do with intellect.
St. James's Town, which stands squeezed into a
narrow, tortuous valley, between two lofty mountains,
at the head of St. James's Bay, and is the only con-
siderable place on the island, has a pleasing, com-


fortable aspect, with its pretty, white, tidy-looking
houses, shaded and adorned with trees, generally in
full leaf;-no undesirable "man's nest," or habita-
tion, wherein, with a little more activity and scope,
the human being wants not for means and appliances.
The country immediately to the rear of James's
Town is, for the space of two miles, barren and dis-
appointing; but beyond, it opens at once into a
region of rich verdure and cultivation, dominated by
wooded heights, and enlivened by handsome country
residences and villas.
This island has a somewhat singular history of the
colonization. Discovered by the Portuguese on St.
Helen's day, 21st May 1502, it was not known to
the rest of the world, so secret was the discovery of
it kept, till Captain Cavendish came across it in the
year 1588. It was first colonized by a Portuguese
nobleman, who, having for a crime in India been
mutilated and shipped home in disgrace, prayed the
captain to land and leave him here. This the cap-
tain consented to do; and here the nobleman remained,
clearing and cultivating the soil, planting the seeds
of trees, and rearing the animals his commiserating
friends sent him from Europe, till he was removed
after four years. This settler was by-and-by suc-
ceeded by four slaves, who multiplied erelong into a
population of twenty. These, however, threatened,
especially if they went on increasing, to consume all
the fruits and live-stock on which the ships now de-
pended; and so they were, by orders of the Govern-

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