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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 458 - Volume 18, New Series, October 9, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 458 - Volume 18, New Series, October 9, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL

  CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S
  INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.


  No. 458. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._



A SWIM EXTRAORDINARY.


I have been all my life a sort of amphibious animal, having, like many
an old Roman, learned to swim long before I had learned to read. The
bounding backs of the billows were my only rocking-horse when I was a
child, and dearly I loved to ride them when a fresh breeze was
blowing. I rarely tired in the water, where I often amused myself for
hours together. I grew up with such a liking for the exercise, that I
have never been able to forego the opportunity for a swim when it
offered; and a daily bath has been for a long course of years as
necessary to me as my daily food. The exercise of swimming has been
through life my chief pleasure and my only medicine--a never-failing
restorative from weakness and weariness, and, what may appear strange
to some readers, from the effects of irritation, anxiety, and
mortification as well.

This accomplishment, however, once led me into a strange adventure. I
was engaged in a rather extensive commercial tour through the central
kingdoms of Europe. I had crossed the Hungarian frontier about the
middle of the day, after being much annoyed and chafed by a
multiplicity of delays and extortions; and at length, hot and wearied,
arrived at B---- late in the evening. As soon as I caught sight of the
Danube in the distance, I resolved that the first thing I would do
after getting housed and refreshed by a few hours' sleep, should be to
enjoy the luxury of a leisurely swim in that noble river. With this
view, passing through the town, I put up at a small but decent
_gasthof_ which stood upon a patch of rising ground close upon the
margin of the stream; and having first seen to the comfort of my
horse, which was well-nigh knocked up with the day's journey, and next
attended to my own, I retired to rest at an early hour, without
descending to the common room and joining in the beery orgies of the
evening. I rose next morning, as was my custom, a full half hour
before the sun; and finding no one stirring in the house, proceeded to
the stables, the back of which overlooked the water. Here I found a
middle-aged tatterdemalion, whose flesh and costume were all of one
colour, and that the precise hue of the dungheap from which he had
just arisen, and from which one might have imagined him to have been
engendered. He was in the act of cleaning out the stable, as well as
the task could be accomplished, with his bare feet and a shovel, the
blade of which was not much bigger than his hand. With some trouble,
and with the aid of a small coin, I contrived to make him understand
my purpose; and he led me up stairs to a loft, in which I might
undress and deposit my clothes, and pointed to a rude flight of wooden
steps, leading from the window to the water's edge, and from which I
might plunge in from any height I chose.

In a few minutes, I had left my clothes upon a truss of odorous
clover, and plunging in head-foremost from the top of the ladder, I
rose to the surface at a few yards' distance from the bank, and struck
out vigorously to enjoy my swim. The sensation was deliciously cool
and pleasant. Keeping my eyes fixed upon the opposite shore, I made
towards it, feeling all the while as light as a cork and as strong as
a colt. How long I revelled in the first exquisite sense of enjoyment
I have not, nor had I then, any very distinct idea. Turning, however,
upon my back, just to vary my position, my head, of course, faced the
shore I had left, from which, to my great surprise, the good town I
had left had vanished entirely, and I became aware that the rapid
current of the river, upon which, in my eagerness for a bath, I had
not bestowed a single thought, had already carried me some mile or two
in its progress towards the Black Sea. Not being victualled for so
long a voyage, I began to look around me, and to curse the headlong
haste which had brought me into such a dilemma. I found that I was as
nearly as possible in the centre of the stream, and immediately put
all my vigour in requisition to regain the shore I had left. This, to
my no small dismay, I soon discovered was not to be accomplished, the
current setting strong towards the opposite side. I made an experiment
of my strength by means of a small chip of wood which floated by: I
could judge what prospect I had of regaining the northern bank of the
river by the distance at which I could leave the chip behind me, while
swimming in a contrary direction; but it was of no use: in a quarter
of an hour's hard struggling I had not gained twenty yards, while I
had floated more than a mile further down the stream. Nothing remained
for it but to make for the shore, towards which I was drifting at any
rate, and that must be done as fast as possible; for being now really
alarmed, I felt, or fancied that I felt my strength deserting me.
Under this impression, I struck out more furiously, and thus fatigued
myself the more; and it was with no small difficulty I at last reached
the opposite bank, up which I climbed, with sensations almost as
forlorn and hopeless as those of the shipwrecked mariner whom the
tempest casts ashore.

In fact, I would have given a round sum for the rags of the
shipwrecked mariner to cover me. Here I was in the condition of a
primeval savage, on a desert spot, without a dwelling in sight, and
prevented, by the want of clothing, from seeking out the habitations
of men. I ran to the highest ground in the neighbourhood, and that was
close to the water's edge, and looked around me in every direction. On
the shore which I had left, I could see what appeared the dim outline
of buildings at a great distance; but on the side of the river on
which I was standing, nothing but a vast tract of low land was
visible, which, from its swampy condition, it was plain was overflowed
by the river in times of flood. I hallooed for some minutes with all
the strength of my lungs; but the only response was the rising of a
few moorfowl from the marsh, which wheeled cackling above my head, as
though wondering what my business might be, and then settled down
again in the reedy pool from whence they had arisen at my cry. I sat
down upon a stone, and feeling that I was fast going into a state of
distraction, tried to collect my faculties, and to consider what was
best to be done, or, indeed, if anything could be done. With the sense
of my desperate condition came also a horrible sense of the ludicrous.
What would my principals in London think of their continental agent
shivering, without a rag on, upon the desolate banks of the Danube?
Here was I, a man well known upon 'Change, with four thousand pounds
in the three-and-a-half per cents, the idea of which had been a
comfort to me for many a long year, ready to forfeit the whole sum in
exchange for the raggedest pair of pantaloons that ever dangled from a
scarecrow, and ready, too, to go down upon my bare knees to any
ministering angel of an old Jew who would propose the bargain. I
grinned a despairing laugh at the thought of such an absurd compact,
and then groaned aloud as the conviction overcame me, that in my
present circumstances it would be a prudent one.

Relapsing into grim and savage silence, I glared gloomily at a sharp
jagged stone which lay at my feet, and at length, taking it in my
hand, walked mechanically into a stagnant pool, where a group of
willow sprigs were growing on a few old stumps barely emerging from
the water. I contrived to sever a dozen or two of the twigs by hacking
at them with the flint--and, carrying them to dry ground, was soon
busy in rehearsing over again the toilet of Adam in Paradise. Tying
their ends together, I crossed a couple of them over my shoulders in
the manner of a shooting-belt, and from these I managed to suspend a
kind of frock of green leaves, which effectually transformed my
appearance from that of the rude savage of the wild to the civilised
Jack-in-the-Green of May-day in London. I may declare without reserve,
that I never felt more proud or pleased with any exploit of my whole
life than I now did at the completion of my toilet. My spirits, which
had before been villainously depressed, rose all at once, and I no
longer despaired of restoration to society. I walked majestically up
and down, keeping a careful look-out both upon the water and the land.
A boat passed at the distance of half a mile from the shore, but I
tried in vain to attract the notice of the crew. My voice could not be
heard so far, and if by accident they saw me, they must have mistaken
me for a bush. I now turned my back to the river in disgust, and
commenced a severe and careful scrutiny upon the land-side, to see if
I could possibly in any direction make out any signs of life. Five or
six hours must have elapsed since the moment when I plunged headlong
from the ladder; the sun was now nearly at his meridian; the blue mist
which had covered everything, and veiled the distance from my view in
the morning when I emerged from the water and crawled up the muddy
bank, had now entirely rolled away, and the vast level tract of
marsh-land was open to my inspection to a distance at least of some
five or six English miles, at the extremity of which it was bounded by
a rising ground sparsely wooded. I imagined that I could distinguish
tho mud-walls of a row of small cottages, partly concealed by a group
of trees, though I was by no means sure that it was not a bank of
earth or the face of a rock. I looked anxiously round for other
indications of life; and after a close and protracted scrutiny, had
the satisfaction of distinctly perceiving a thin column of white smoke
winding up the dark background of the distant hill. I resolved now, in
case no means of escape should turn up on the river, to attempt the
passage of the marsh in another hour at latest--though, from former
experience, I well knew the difficulty of the attempt, and the little
probability there was that a perfect stranger would succeed in getting
across. I saw, too, that if I would make the attempt at all, I must
not defer it much longer, since to be overtaken by darkness in the
midst of the bog would be certain destruction.

I passed another half-hour in surveying the river, in which, about
four miles below the point on which I stood, I now for the first time
discovered several small islands, overgrown with reeds or underwood;
but they manifested no signs of any human inhabitants, so far as I
could distinguish, and I adhered to my resolution of crossing the
marsh. Delaying no longer, I descended from my post of observation,
intending to travel in a straight line to the point where I could
still see the smoke ascending. I had not, however, proceeded 100
yards, before I found that my idea of journeying in a straight line
was utterly impracticable. I could walk over the firm soil, and I
could swim the pools; but through the deep masses of soft bog I could
neither walk nor swim; and after a narrow escape from smothering in
one of them, I came to a stand-still. I found, too, that now I was
down in the swamp, I could not see the distant hill which was the
object of my journey, though it was plain, that from any part of the
marsh I might see the little mound on the river's brink which I had
just left. I returned to the mound, and, by the aid of a number of
loose stones which were lying about, contrived to erect a couple of
small fagots of willow-branches, at a distance of about ten feet from
each other, to serve as direction-posts, arranging them so that while
I could see but one of them, I might know that I was in the right
track. Thus I was left at liberty to take a sinuous course in search
of firm ground, as, by making an observation by my telegraph, I could
at any time regain the right path.

It is my decided opinion, that had I been left alone, and suffered to
continue my journey, I should have accomplished the undertaking,
arduous as it was. I had already walked and waded, and swum and
staggered, and floundered along for more than a mile, when I suddenly
caught sight of a ragged, bare-headed figure about half a mile in
advance of me, who was stooping over a stagnant pool, and groping in
the water for something, perhaps leeches, of which he was in search.
Without reflecting for a moment what might be the effect of my sudden
apparition upon the mind of an ignorant boor alone in such a solitude,
and too much overjoyed to think of anything but the overwhelming
delight of securing a 'guide, philosopher, and friend,' I hastened
towards him with all the speed of which I was capable--now clearing a
route among reeds and rushes, and now sinking up to my neck in a pool.
In less than half an hour, I had arrived, panting for breath, to
within a few yards of the pond over the margin of which he was still
bending, with his eyes fixed in the water. Pausing for one moment to
recover my wind, I raised myself to my full height, and hailed him at
the top of my voice with a 'Hola! Mein Herr,' which, like an electric
shock, brought him to his feet in an instant. I saw in a moment that I
had committed a fatal blunder. The poor wretch stood aghast, horrified
beyond the power of description; his white hair stood on end; his
bloodshot eyes were bursting from their sockets; his mouth yawned like
a cavern, and emitted a faint, gurgling sound, and every limb shook
with the agony of fear. I saw that it was necessary to reassure him;
and seeing no other way of approaching him than by swimming the pond,
I entered the water, and, staff in hand, made towards him. Before I
had lessened the distance between us one-half, he had so far recovered
himself as to be able to give utterance to one wild yell of terror,
and to take madly to his heels. When I had swum the pool, and ascended
to the spot which he had left, I saw him running at the top of his
speed, and following a winding route, with which he was evidently
familiar, as he avoided the water and the bogs, and kept on firm
ground. I made an attempt to come up with him; but in my haste trod
upon a piece of loose shale, which, sliding beneath me, threw me upon
the ground, and badly wounded my right foot, so that for the moment I
could proceed no further.

As I sat upon the ground, endeavouring to stanch the fast-flowing
blood from my instep by winding round it some long flags from the
marsh, I watched the poor fellow till he was no longer in sight, and
marked that he never relaxed his pace till he disappeared under the
cluster of trees above which I had first noticed the white smoke
ascending. To cross the marsh without a guide, was now out of the
question; and choosing a dry and mossy spot, I lay down and rested
till the afternoon was far advanced, having made up my mind, if no
succour came from the hamlet, which I now felt assured was not far
from the edge of the marsh, that I would return to the river before it
was dark, and make a last and vigorous attempt to swim to the group of
islands which I had observed in the distance, in one or other of which
I might hope to find human inhabitants. I kept my telegraph in sight,
and, the sun being now low in the horizon, was thinking of retracing
my steps towards it, when, in the act of rising to do so, I saw a
party of men, of whom I distinctly counted fourteen, threading their
well-known way through the marsh, and rapidly advancing towards the
spot where I lay. They had already measured half the distance, and I
might have seen them long before had I happened to look in that
direction. I now congratulated myself that my troubles were over, and
was pondering how I could best shew my gratitude to my deliverers,
when the doubt was suggested to my mind whether they would prove
deliverers or not. I kept my eye steadfastly fixed upon their
movements, and, as they drew nearer, beheld with dismay that they were
all armed, two of them, who led the van, with old muskets, and the
rest with staves, scythes, and bludgeons. It was plain that the old
fool I had frightened away had described me to his countrymen as some
savage monster, and this valiant band had come out against me, to hunt
me to the death. I resolved at once to be sure of their object before
they came to a disagreeable proximity; and with this view, started
suddenly to my feet, and shouted as loud as I could.

My fears were but too well founded. At the first sound of my voice,
the leaders recoiled a few steps upon the main body, who stood still
for a few minutes, apparently in consultation, the result of which
was, that the firearms changed owners, and two bold fellows stepped to
the front, and, levelling their pieces, kept my naked body covered
with their muzzles, and only refrained from pulling triggers until
they should have arrived within killing distance. It was plain I had
no time to lose if I would once more try the river, the only chance
now remaining to me. I turned and hobbled away as fast as my wounded
limb would let me, plunged into the nearest pool, sprawled through the
next bog, crashed through the rushes, hopped along the dry ground upon
one foot, and scrambled helter-skelter towards the river, expecting
every moment to hear the report of the firearms, and to feel a handful
of slugs in my body. Never shall I forget the horrors of that chase. I
distanced my pursuers, however, and arrived at the margin of the
stream without having once presented a fair target to their aim. I did
not pause long upon the brink of the flood. They were now yelling like
blood-hounds, and their cries rung in my ears as I gained the very
spot where I had landed in the morning, and where I again took to the
water like a hunted deer, or rather like a hunted duck, for I dived
under, with as gentle a splash as possible, and keeping beneath the
surface as long as I could hold breath, rose at length a good fifty
yards from the shore, and full two hundred yards lower down.

I had no great cause for congratulation at my escape. The sun was
setting, night coming on, and here was I in the middle of the broad
stream of the Danube, sweeping on at the rate of five or six miles an
hour, with no other prospect in view than that of becoming food for
fishes in a very few hours at furthest, unless I could succeed in
making one of the islands I had seen in the morning. It was a strange
thing that I felt no fatigue, even after swimming an hour. I had
passed several small islands, but the rapid stream which they breasted
broke away so furiously from their sides, that I had not strength to
get near them. In their wake, I could see that the water was calm and
tranquil enough, but that tranquil water I could not reach. By and by,
as the darkness fell, I passed several islands much larger, and was
about attempting to land upon one, when I caught sight of a glimmering
light at a distance in the centre of the stream. I directed my course
towards this in preference; and I perceived as I approached that it
proceeded from a raft, moored off one of the islands, upon which the
crew were probably cooking their evening meal. I knew that if I
approached this raft in front, I should inevitably be sucked under,
and never see the light again; at the same time, if I gave it too wide
a berth, I should as surely be carried past it, in which case I felt
pretty certain that my last chance would be gone. I made a desperate
effort at the very nick of time, and happily succeeded in laying hold
of a rope, which was hanging in the water, by means of which I was
swung round to the stern of the raft, upon which, in a small
timber-hut, I could see the crew discussing their supper.

Now that the struggle was over, and my safety secure, all my courage
and strength too vanished at once: I felt as weak as a child, and as
pusillanimous as a woman, and the hot tears ran down my cheeks like
rain. It was as much as I could do to hail the men, who sat laughing
and chatting over their porridge not three yards from me, as I
clutched the rope with the energy of a drowning man. They started up
at the sound of my cry, and in an instant lifted me on board. They
were Germans, fortunately; and I gave them to understand in a few
words, that I had been bathing, and having been carried away by the
stream, had narrowly escaped drowning. I was in no humour to put them
in possession of my whole miserable adventure, which it is more than
probable they would not have credited if I had. Having rubbed myself
dry, one of them lent me a blouse, and offered me food, which, plain
as it was, I was but too glad to accept; but before I had eaten a
mouthful, an old man made his appearance, bearing slippers, cloak, and
cap, and invited me to follow him to his house upon the island, where
I might pass the night, and cross over to the mainland in the morning.
I followed him across a plank, and beneath the shadow of some
willow-trees, to his humble dwelling. He told me that he and his
family were the sole inhabitants of the island, and that he united the
three professions of fisherman, innkeeper, and rope-maker, and thus
managed to make a livelihood. His guests were almost exclusively the
navigators on the river, who frequently moored for the night off his
island, and partook of such entertainment as he could supply. He sent
his fish to market when he caught more than he could consume, and he
and his children made ropes and cordage, for which also he had a ready
sale on the river. Pending this communication, he prepared me a
substantial supper, to which I did ample justice, and then shewed me,
at my request, to a small, neat chamber, where I sought and found the
repose I so much needed.

I sank into a profound slumber, heavy and dreamless, within a minute
after I lay down--the result, no doubt, of the utter exhaustion of
every faculty, both of body and mind. Possessing a vigorous
constitution, and a perfectly healthy frame, I escaped the reaction of
nervous excitement, which most persons in similar circumstances would
have undergone, and which in many would have terminated in fever and
delirium, and perhaps death. But I did not escape altogether. After I
had lain in total forgetfulness for some hours, my imagination woke up
and plagued me with dreams of indescribable terror and alarm. I was
swimming for whole days and nights together in a shoreless sea, tossed
by storms, and swarming with monsters, one or other of which was
continually seizing me by the foot, and dragging me down; while over
my head foul birds of prey, each and all with the terrified face of
the poor wretch whom I had frightened in the marsh, and clutching
firearms in their semi-human claws, were firing at my head, and
swooping to devour me. To avoid their beaks, I dived madly into the
depths below, where I had to do battle in the dark with the grim and
shapeless monsters of the deep. Then, bursting with the retention of
my breath, I rose again to the surface, and enjoyed a moment's pause,
until the screaming harpies again gathered around me, and, convulsed
with fear, I dived again as the vivid flash from their firearms
dazzled my eyes. While performing one of these violent feats,
occasioned by a flash which appeared to blaze over the whole sky, I
woke suddenly. My landlord, the old fisherman, was standing by my
bedside; he had drawn aside the curtains of my bed, and let the
sunshine in upon my face, the hot gleam of which was doubtless the
blazing flash of my dream. I laughed aloud when I found myself snug in
bed, and proceeded to dress in the old man's best holiday suit, which
he placed at my service. My wounded foot had well-nigh healed in the
night, and I could walk comfortably. During breakfast, I gave the old
man and his daughter the real history of my case, to their unspeakable
astonishment, and consulted them as to my future operations. The
fisherman volunteered to land me at a small village a few miles below,
from whence he would proceed with me to K----, where, upon
representing my case to the magistrates, I should be furnished with
the means of getting back to B----, and recovering my property.

This, in fact, was the only thing I could do. I engaged the fisherman
to accompany me through the whole route; and as he had naturally no
desire to lose sight of me, he made no objection. I had slept thirteen
hours; and it was ten o'clock in the day, when the old man and I, and
his two lads, embarked in the boat for the nearest village. We arrived
there before noon, and he hired a conveyance in which we both
proceeded to the place he had mentioned, a distance of some twenty
miles, which we reached about three in the afternoon. But my companion
had no more of either money or credit, and I was compelled to apply to
the chief magistrate of the town, whom, by good-fortune, we found at
his private residence. He proved a good-natured but rather fussy old
gentleman; and when he had heard my story, which he interrupted with a
thousand demonstrations of horror, alarm, and sympathy, insisted upon
my sharing the hospitality of his house for the night, assuring me
that it would be impossible to proceed that day. I gave a reluctant
consent, upon his promising that he would put me in a condition to
start at an early hour in the morning. Hereupon, consigning my
companion to the charge of a servant, he ushered me into a saloon
adjoining his study, and introduced me to his family, consisting of
two grown-up sons, three daughters, and their mother, to whom I had to
tell my luckless adventures over again. That, however, was not the
worst of it. As the hour of dinner drew near, the house began to fill
with visitors: it was plain that my arrival, and the circumstances
connected with it, had been regularly advertised through the town, and
all the world was flocking to see the new 'lion' which the river had
turned up. And certainly a lion I was, as the play-bills have it, 'for
that night only.' I had to tell my story ten times over, and to submit
to questionings and cross-questionings without number. All this,
perhaps, was but natural enough, considering the circumstances; but it
occasioned me no small annoyance; and feigning excessive fatigue, for
which I had but too good excuse, I retired early to rest, leaving the
assembled guests to pump the old fisherman, which they did to their
hearts' content, and to talk over my adventures at leisure.

A servant awoke me before dawn. A carriage and post-horses stood at
the door, and after I had made a hearty breakfast, my worthy host put
into my hand a letter of introduction to his brother magistrate at
B----. I bade him farewell with many sincere and hearty thanks,
entered the carriage with my companion, and drove off. The distance we
had to go may have been about fifty English miles; but the roads were
in such wretched condition, and the cattle, which we changed seven
times, of such an abominable breed, that night had fallen upon the
town of B---- before we entered it. I drove at once to the little
_gasthof_, where, three days before, at the same hour, I had put up
upon my arrival. The landlord bustled out to receive me as the
carriage stopped at the door; but though I identified him immediately,
he shewed not the slightest symptom of recognising me. I told the
driver to wait, and beckoning the old fisherman to follow, demanded to
be shewn into a private room, and to be favoured with the landlord's
company. He obeyed with the utmost alacrity, and taking a lamp from
the hand of an attendant, led the way to a small room on the first
floor.

'Well, Herr Bernstein,' I said, 'are you not glad to see me back
again?'

'Most happy to see you, gracious sir,' said he; 'but have not the
honour to recollect your gracious person.'

'Indeed! An Englishman, on a black horse, put up here three days ago
at this hour--surely you recollect that?'

'Ah, too well I recollect that. Poor English gentleman--a countryman
of yours, perhaps a friend--ah! dear God! drowned--unhappy
man--carried away by the river in the morning before any of us were
up.' Here he wrung his hands in evident sorrow: 'Ah, that stupid
Grute! why did he let the gentleman bathe in the Danube?'

'Stop!' said I; 'let me put an end to your regret--_I_ am that
Englishman!'

'You--you!' cried he, as he staggered back into a seat. 'But it cannot
be--it is impossible. I do not recollect you: you are deceiving me!
Sir, it is a cruel jest.'

'It is no jest,' said I; 'Heaven be praised. Where is Grute, as you
call him? He will tell you whether it is a jest.'

Grute was the filthy stableman; and the landlord, half-dreaming, ran
off to fetch him--a most unfortunate circumstance, as it put the rogue
upon his guard, and prepared him for the part which it was necessary
for his safety that he should play. The landlord returned in two
minutes, dragging Grute in with him. I saw by the sudden pallor of the
fellow's countenance, and the quivering of his lip, that he recognised
me on the instant; but he looked doggedly around him, without
manifesting any surprise; and when his master pointed me out as the
Englishman supposed to have been drowned, the fellow laughed brutally,
and said the attempt wouldn't do, as I was too tall by half a head. I
perceived the truth at once. He had made free with the contents of my
pockets, in which I had left a few gold pieces, and for his
character's sake he could not afford to admit my identity. The
landlord plainly mistrusted my tale, now that he had heard the
evidence of the stableman, and began to assume a very different tone,
and to talk cavalierly of a reference to a magistrate. This reminded
me of the letter in my pocket, and I insisted that he should
immediately accompany me to the house of the chief-magistrate, who
should judge between us. He shewed himself provokingly willing to
comply with my demand, and, following me down stairs, entered the
carriage. As we drove along, I inquired as to the fate of my valise,
my clothes, and my horse; which latter, especially, I described in a
way that appeared to stagger him. They were all, he said, in the
magistrate's custody, and I should hear more of them, and doubtless
recover them, if they _were_ mine, when my claim was decided on. We
found the important functionary at supper. I requested a private
interview, which was granted, when I presented the letter of my host
at K----, and waited to see the effect of its perusal. I had to wait a
long while, for my hospitable friend had indulged in a long-winded
account of the whole adventure, which it took a good half-hour to get
through. The effect of the narrative was, however, all that I could
have desired: the worthy magistrate asked me a few questions, as he
was pleased to observe, for form's sake, relative to the contents of
the valise, which he had himself inspected, and I replied
satisfactorily. He shook me heartily by the hand, congratulated me on
my miraculous and providential escape, not forgetting my marvellous
prowess as a swimmer; and, calling in the landlord of the inn and the
old fisherman, wrote out in their presence an order for the
restoration of my property, and a warrant for the apprehension of
Grute, who, it appeared, had helped himself to all my loose cash, with
the exception of a single dollar.

There was racing and chasing after Grute during the whole night, but
he had had the wit to take himself out of the way. My valise had
luckily not been tampered with; the contents were all as I left them;
and I had the happiness of rewarding the honest fisherman for the
pains he had taken in my behalf, and the confidence he had reposed in
me. My poor horse had not been treated so well. In accordance with
some old statute, of which I know nothing, he had been claimed by the
commandant of a small military force stationed in the place, and had
been compelled to commence a course of training, under a heavy
dragoon, for the military service. As he had received but one or two
lessons, which consisted almost exclusively of an unlimited allowance
of whip, he had not profited much by instruction. In fact, he had lost
his temper without gaining anything in discipline, and I was
eventually obliged to part with him, from the impossibility of bearing
with his strange antics. He had cost me fifty guineas in London, and I
sold him for fewer thalers to a German dealer, who, no doubt, speedily
found him a berth in some barrack, where he completed his education
for the army. Altogether, my extraordinary swim, taking expenses out
of pocket and loss of time into account, cost me something over a
hundred guineas, and all I got in exchange for them, was the
reputation of a Munchausen whenever I dared to open my mouth on the
subject, and a perennial liability to nightmare, with the repetition
and aggravation of all the worst horrors of that miserable day.[1]


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Lest our readers should suppose this curious narrative to be
merely an invention of some desperate romancer, it may be proper to
state, that the facts are literally true. The hero of the adventure,
when a young man, about the close of the last century, was driven
abroad by political persecution, and not only realised a fortune, but
acquired most of the continental languages. On returning to England,
where he became acquainted with our contributor, he devoted himself
for the rest of his life to acts of private beneficence, keeping up at
the same time a correspondence in Latin with the learned men of other
countries.--_Ed. C. E. J._



WOOL FROM PINE-TREES.


Interesting accounts have recently appeared in foreign journals of a
novel branch of industry carried on in Silesia, combining so much of
ingenuity and utility, as to render a summary of the information very
acceptable to those who are seeking for new sources of employment or
of profit. It appears that in the neighbourhood of Breslau, on a
domain known as Humboldt Mead, there are two establishments alike
remarkable: one is a factory for converting the leaves or spines of
the pine-tree into a sort of cotton or wool; in the other, the water
which has served in the manufacture of this vegetable wool, is made
use of as salutary baths for invalids. They were both erected
under the direction of Herr von Pannewitz, one of the chief
forest-inspectors, and the inventor of a chemical process, by means of
which a fine filamentous substance can be obtained from the long and
slender leaves of the pine. This substance has been called _Holz
wolle_, wood-wool, from a similarity in its quality to that of
ordinary wool; it may be curled, felted, or spun in the same way.

The _Pinus sylvestris_, or Scotch fir, from which this new product is
derived, has been long esteemed in Germany for its many valuable
qualities; and instead of being left to its natural growth, is
cultivated in plantations of forest-like extent. In this way, many
parts of a vast, dreary, sandy surface are turned to good account, for
the tree grows rapidly on a light soil, imparting to it solidity and
consistency, and affords shelter to the oak, which, under such
favourable circumstances, acquires such vigour of development as to
outgrow its protector. About the fortieth year of its growth, the pine
yields considerable quantities of resin; and the value of the wood for
building purposes, and for constructions immersed in water, are well
known. Mr Pannewitz has, however, added another to its list of useful
applications; and if the leaves can be employed as described, the
_Pinus sylvestris_ may become an object of culture in countries where
it is now neglected.

The acicular leaves of firs, pines, and coniferæ in general, are
composed of a bundle, or fasciculus, as a botanist would say, of
extremely fine and tenacious fibres, which are surrounded and held
together by thin pellicles of a resinous substance. If this substance
be dissolved by a process of coction, and the employment of certain
chemical reagents, the fibres can then be easily separated, washed,
and cleansed from all foreign matter. According to the mode of
treatment, the woolly substance is fine or coarse, and is employed as
wadding in the one case, and in the other as stuffing for mattresses.
Such, in a few words, is an explanation of Mr Pannewitz's discovery.
He has preferred the _Pinus sylvestris_ to other species because of
the greater length of its spines; but there is reason to believe, that
it is not the only kind which may be worked with advantage.

There is said to be no danger in stripping the trees, even while
young, as they only need the whorl of spines to be left at the
extremity of each branch, in order to continue their growth; all the
other leaves may be removed without damage. The gathering should take
place while they are in their green state, for at no other time can
the woolly substance be extracted. This operation, which takes place
but once in two years, affords employment and pretty good wages to a
number of poor people, some of whom will collect two hundred pounds in
a day. The yield from a branch of the thickness of the finger is
estimated at one pound, and a beginner will strip thirty such branches
in a day. In the case of felled trees, the work proceeds with great
rapidity.

The first use made of the filamentous matter, was to substitute it for
the wadding used in quilted counterpanes. In 1842, five hundred
counterpanes so prepared were purchased for the use of the hospital at
Vienna; and, after an experience of several years, the purchase has
been renewed. It was remarked, among other things, that the influence
of the _wood-wool_ prevented parasitic insects from lodging in the
beds, and the aromatic odour arising from it had been found as
beneficial as it was agreeable. Shortly afterwards, the Penitentiary
at Vienna was provided with the same kind of quilts; and they have
since been adopted--as well as mattresses filled with the same
wool--in the Hospital de la Charité at Berlin, and in the Maternity
Hospital and barracks at Breslau. A trial of five years in these
different establishments has proved, that the wood-wool can be very
suitably employed for counterpanes, and for stuffed or quilted
articles of furniture, and that it is very durable.

It was found that, at the end of the five years, a wood-wool mattress
had cost less than one made of straw, as the latter requires an
addition of two pounds of new straw every year. In comparison with
horsehair, it is three times cheaper; it is safe from the attack of
moth, and in a finished sofa no upholsterer would be able to
distinguish between wood-wool and hair-stuffing.

It has been further ascertained that this wool can be spun and woven.
The finest gives a thread similar to that of hemp, and quite as
strong. When spun, woven, and combed, a cloth is produced which has
been used for carpets, horse-cloths, &c.; while, mixed with a canvas
warp, it will serve for quilts, instead of being employed in the form
of wadding.

In the preparation of this wool, an etherised oil is formed, of an
agreeable odour, and green in colour, but which an exposure to the
light changes to a yellowish-orange tint, and which resumes its
original colour on the light being again excluded. Under the
rectifying process, it becomes colourless as water, and is found to
differ from the essence of turpentine extracted from the stem of the
same tree. Its employment has proved most salutary in gouty and
rheumatic affections, and when applied to wounds as a balsam; as also
in certain cases of worm disease and cutaneous tumours. In the
rectified state, it has been successfully used in the preparation of
lacs for the best kinds of varnish; in lamps it burns as well as
olive-oil; and it dissolves caoutchouc completely and speedily.
Already the perfumers of Paris make large use of this pine-oil.

With respect to the baths: it having been discovered that a beneficial
result attended the external application of the liquor left after the
coction of the leaves, a bathing establishment was added to the
factory. This liquor is of a greenish-brown tint; and, according to
the process, is either gelatinous and balsamic, or acid; formic acid
having been produced in the latter case. When an increase in the
efficacy of the baths is desired, a quantity of extract obtained by
the distillation of the etherised oil above mentioned, which also
contains formic acid, is poured into the liquor. Besides which, the
liquid itself is thickened by concentration, and sent out in sealed
jars to those who wish to have baths at home, thus constituting a
profitable article of trade.

We understand that these baths have been in operation for nine years,
with a continual increase of reputation and number of visitors. That
the facts are not exaggerated, would appear from medals having been
awarded to M. Weiss, the proprietor and manager, by societies in
Berlin and Altenburg, for the extraordinary results produced. As
likely to lead to a new development of industry, the processes are
especially worthy of attention.

The catalogue of utilities is, however, not yet exhausted; there is
one more with which we bring our notice to a close. After the washing
of the fibre, a great quantity of refuse membraneous substance is
obtained by filtration. This being moulded into the form of bricks,
and dried, becomes excellent fuel, and gives off so much gas from the
resin which it contains, that it may be used for lighting as well as
heating. The making of a thousand hundredweights of the wool leaves a
mass of fuel equal in value to sixty cubic yards of pine-wood.



CHAMBERS'S LIFE AND WORKS OF BURNS.[2]


Beheld in his life-time as a singular example of the genius rising
from the humbler shades of life, Burns is now ranked as a classic
among the poets of his country. The interest originally felt in his
personal character and unhappy fate, has been deepened as the high
absolute rank of the poet became appreciated. These changes might be
said to call for a more searching inquiry into his life than was at
first deemed necessary; and the task was undertaken by one, of whom we
may at least be permitted to say, that he possessed the requisite zeal
and love of the subject. For obvious reasons, we are not to be
expected to say more, in commendation or discommendation, of the work
now under our attention; but we may be allowed to advert to its
peculiar plan, and some of the new details which it brings before the
world.

The leading feature of the work is the assumption on which it
proceeds--that the writings of Burns are in a great measure expressive
of his personal feelings, and descriptive of the scenery and
circumstances of his own existence, and therefore ought to be involved
in his biography. Each poem, song, and letter, known as his, has
therefore been assigned its chronological place in his memoirs, thus
at once lending its own biographical light to the general narrative,
and deriving thence some illustration in return. The consequence is,
that, with the help of much fresh biographical matter drawn from
authentic sources, the life of the bard, as he loved to call himself,
is now given comparatively in detail. We can trace him from day to
day, and see the ups and downs of his prospects and his feelings, his
strangely mingled scenes of happiness and misery. We obtain a much
closer and more distinct view of his domestic existence than we ever
had before. The real extent of his aberrations, such as they were, is
more exactly ascertained. Some unexpected particulars emerge; as, for
instance, that, notwithstanding his poverty, he occasionally
accommodated his friends with money and credit, and almost to the last
was able to be their host as well as their guest. But perhaps the most
important result is what we learn of the wonderful versatility of
Burns's feelings and emotions. He is found writing a pensive,
semi-religious letter one day, and the next indulging in some outburst
of extravagant merriment. One day, he indulges in a strain of
melancholy recollection regarding a deceased mistress, commemorating
her in an elegy which hardly any one has ever since been able to read
without tears; and within four-and-twenty hours, he is again strumming
on the comic lyre. A deep mortification falls upon him in the shape of
a censure from the Board of Excise, a pain in which we are peculiarly
disposed to sympathise; but let us not be too eager to suppose that
Burns was permanently affected by any such mark of moral bondage. A
week or two after, he is found keeping a couple of friends in drink
and merriment at his table for a whole night. It is eminently the
_poet_ that is thus brought before us--a being of keen sensibility,
but whose gusts of feeling are as quick in passing as they are violent
while they last.

Beyond these few sentences, limited to a description of the structure
of this work, we can only propose to give one or two extracts.

Burns, it clearly appears, while degraded by the humble office
assigned to him, did his best, by performing its duties well, to
elevate it. He acted humanely towards poor people, but was the
conscientious servant of the government in protecting the revenue in
essential matters. The editor has been fortunate enough to discover
some documents which set his character as a man of affairs in a
favourable light.

'The first is a petition of T. J., farmer at Mirecleugh, addressed to
the justices of peace for Dumfriesshire, reclaiming against a fine of
L.5 which Collector Mitchell had imposed on him for "making fifty-four
bushels of malt, without entry, notice, or licence." J. stated that he
had been in the habit of making malt for forty years without making
entry of his kiln or pond, which he deemed unnecessary, because the
malting was always effected at one operation, and not till notice had
been given to the proper officer. With respect to "notice" on this
occasion--having inquired of Mr Burns which was the best way of
sending it to him, he had been informed that a letter might be sent to
"John Kelloch's," in Thornhill, whence it might be forwarded by post.
He had brought Mrs Kelloch to swear that such a letter had been sent
to her by J.'s son for Mr Burns, but had been mislaid. He offered to
swear that he had sent the notice to Thornhill in good time, and had
had no intention to defraud the revenue. With respect to "licence," J.
averred that he had only been prevented from renewing it as usual this
year because Mr Mitchell, on his applying for it, had put him off to
another time, on the score of being too busy at the time to grant it
to him.

'In respect of J.'s petition, the justices, Mr Fergusson of
Craigdarroch, and Captain Riddel, ordered the collector to stop
proceedings until they should have had an opportunity of inquiring
into the truth of what it set forth. Then came Burns's "Answers to the
Petition of T. J.:--

"1. Whether the petitioner has been in use formerly to malt all his
grain at one operation, is foreign to the purpose: this last season he
certainly malted his crop at four or five operations; but be that as
it may, Mr J. ought to have known that by express act of parliament no
malt, however small the quantity, can be legally manufactured until
previous entry be made in writing of all the ponds, barns, floors,
&c., so as to be used before the grain can be put to steep. In the
Excise entry-books for the division there is not a syllable of T. J.'s
name for a number of years bygone.

"2. True it is that Mr Burns, on his first ride, in answer to Mr J.'s
question anent the conveying of the notices, among other ways pointed
out the sending it by post as the most eligible method, but at the
same time added this express clause, and to which Mr Burns is willing
to make faith: 'At the same time, remember, Mr J., that the notice is
at your risk until it reach me.' Further, when Mr Burns came to the
petitioner's kiln, there was a servant belonging to Mr J. ploughing at
a very considerable distance from the kiln, who left his plough and
three horses without a driver, and came into the kiln, which Mr B.
thought was rather a suspicious circumstance, as there was nothing
extraordinary in an Excise-officer going into a legal malt-floor so as
to [induce a man to] leave three horses yoked to a plough in the
distant middle of a moor. This servant, on being repeatedly questioned
by Mr Burns, could not tell when the malt was put to steep, when it
was taken out, &c.--in short, was determined to be entirely ignorant
of the affair. By and by, Mr J.'s son came in, and on being questioned
as to the steeping, taking out of the grain, &c., Mr J., junior,
referred me to this said servant, this ploughman, who, he said, must
remember it best, as having been the principal actor in the business.
The lad _then_, having gotten his cue, circumstantially recollected
all about it.

"All this time, though I was telling the son and servant the nature of
the premunire they had incurred, though they pleaded for mercy keenly,
the affair of the notice having been sent never once occurred to them,
not even the son, who is said to have been the bearer. This was a
stroke reserved for, and worthy of the gentleman himself. As to Mrs
Kelloch's oath, it proves nothing. She did indeed depone to a line
being left for me at her house, which said line miscarried. It was a
sealed letter; she could not tell whether it was a malt-notice or not;
she could not even condescend on the month, nor so much as the season
of the year. The truth is, T. J. and his family being Seceders, and
consequently coming every Sunday to Thornhill Meeting-house, they were
a good conveyance for the several maltsters and traders in their
neighbourhood to transmit to post their notices, permits, &c.

"But why all this tergiversation? It was put to the petitioner in open
court, after a full investigation of the cause: 'Was he willing to
swear that he meant no fraud in the matter?' And the justices told him
that if he swore he would be assoilzied [absolved], otherwise he
should be fined; still the petitioner, after ten minutes'
consideration, found his conscience unequal to the task, and declined
the oath.

"Now, indeed, he says he is willing to swear: he has been exercising
his conscience in private, and will perhaps stretch a point. But the
fact to which he is to swear was equally and in all parts known to him
on that day when he refused to swear as to-day: nothing can give him
further light as to the intention of his mind, respecting his meaning
or not meaning a fraud in the affair. _No time can cast further light
on the present resolves of the mind; but time will reconcile, and has
reconciled many a man to that iniquity which he at first abhorred._"'

No one can fail to see, even in this piece of business, something of
the extraordinary mental energy of Burns.

The daily life of Burns, in his latter years at Dumfries, is described
in the following terms:--'He has daily duties in stamping leather,
gauging malt-vats, noting the manufacture of candles, and granting
licences for the transport of spirits. These duties he performs with
fidelity to the king and not too much rigour to the subject. As he
goes about them in the forenoon, in his respectable suit of dark
clothes, and with his little boy Robert perhaps holding by his hand
and conversing with him on his school-exercises, he is beheld by the
general public with respect, as a person in some authority, the head
of a family, and also as a man of literary note; and people are heard
addressing him deferentially as _Mr_ Burns--a form of his name which
is still prevalent in Dumfries. At a leisure hour before dinner, he
will call at some house where there is a piano--such as Mr Newall, the
writer's--and there have some young miss to touch over for him one or
two of his favourite Scotch airs, such as, the _Sutor's Daughter_, in
order that he may accommodate to it some stanzas that have been
humming through his brain for the last few days. For another half
hour, he will be seen standing at the head of some cross street with
two or three young fellows, bankers' clerks, or "writer-chiels"
commencing business, whom he is regaling with sallies of his bright
but not always innocent wit--indulging there, indeed, in a strain of
conversation so different from what had passed in the respectable
elderly writer's mansion, that, though he were not the same man, it
could not have been more different. Later in the day, he takes a
solitary walk along the Dock Green by the river side, or to Lincluden,
and composes the most part of a new song; or he spends a couple of
hours at his folding-down desk, between the fire and window in his
parlour, transcribing in his bold round hand the remarks which occur
to him on Mr Thomson's last letter, together with some of his own
recently composed songs. As a possible variation upon this routine, he
has been seen passing along the old bridge of Devorgilla Balliol,
about three o'clock, with his sword-cane in his hand, and his black
beard unusually well shaven, being on his way to dine with John Syme
at Ryedale, where young Mr Oswald of Auchincruive is to be of the
party--or maybe in the opposite direction, to partake of the luxuries
of John Bushby, at Tinwald Downs. But we presume a day when no such
attraction invades. The evening is passing quietly at home, and
pleasant-natured Jean has made herself neat, and come in at six
o'clock to give him his tea--a meal he always takes. At this period,
however, there is something remarkably exciting in the proceedings of
the French army under Pichegru; or Fox, Adam, or Sheridan, is expected
to make an onslaught upon the ministry in the House of Commons. The
post comes into Dumfries at eight o'clock at night. There is always a
group of gentlemen on the street, eager to hear the news. Burns
saunters out to the High Street, and waits amongst the rest. The
intelligence of the evening is very interesting. The Convention has
decreed the annexation of the Netherlands--or the new treason-bill has
passed the House of Lords, with only the feeble protest of Bedford,
Derby, and Lauderdale. These things merit some discussion. The
trades-lads go off to strong ale in the closes; the gentlemen slide in
little groups into the King's Arms Hotel or the George. As for Burns,
he will just have a single glass and a half-hour's chat beside John
Hyslop's fire, and then go quietly home. So he is quickly absorbed in
the little narrow close where that vintner maintains his state. There,
however, one or two friends have already established themselves, all
with precisely the same virtuous intent. They heartily greet the bard.
Meg or John bustles about to give him his accustomed place, which no
one ever disputes. And, somehow, the debate on the news of the evening
leads on to other chat of an interesting kind. Then Burns becomes
brilliant, and his friends give him the applause of their laughter.
One jug succeeds another--mirth abounds--and it is not till Mrs Hyslop
has declared that they are going beyond all bounds, and she positively
will not give them another drop of hot water, that our bard at length
bethinks him of returning home, where Bonnie Jean has been lost in
peaceful slumber for three hours, after vainly wondering "what can be
keeping Robert out so late the nicht." Burns gets to bed a little
excited and worn out, but not in a state to provoke much remark from
his amiable partner, in whom nothing can abate the veneration with
which she has all along regarded him. And though he beds at a latish
hour, most likely he is up next morning between seven and eight, to
hear little Robert his day's lesson in _Cæsar_, or, if the season
invites, to take a half-hour's stroll before breakfast along the
favourite Dock Green.'

Whenever a female of any rank secured the goodwill of Burns, he was
sure to compliment her in verse, and it was always by putting her into
the light of an adored mistress. In his latter days, when declining in
health, an amiable young girl, sister of one of his brother officers,
obtained his friendly regard by endeavouring to lighten the labours of
housekeeping to his wife, then also in a delicate state. The lady, who
still lives, 'relates that, one morning she had a call from the poet,
when he offered, if she would play him any tune of which she was fond,
and for which she desired new verses, to gratify her in her wish to
the best of his ability. She placed herself at the pianoforte, and
played over several times the air of an old song beginning with the
words--

    The robin cam to the wren's nest,
      And keekit in, and keekit in:
    O weel's me on your auld pow!
      Wad ye be in, wad ye be in?
    Ye'se ne'er get leave to lie without,
      And I within, and I within,
    As lang's I hae an auld clout,
      To row ye in, to row ye in.

'As soon as his ear got accustomed to the melody, Burns sat down, and
in a very few minutes he produced the beautiful song:


    OH, WERT THOU IN THE CAULD BLAST.

    Oh, wert thou in the cauld blast
      On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
    My plaidie to the angry airt,
      I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee:
    Or did misfortune's bitter storms
      Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
    Thy bield should be my bosom,
      To share it a', to share it a'.

    Or were I in the wildest waste,
      Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
    The desert were a paradise,
      If thou wert there, if thou wert there:
    Or were I monarch o' the globe,
      Wi' thee to reign, wi' thee to reign,
    The brightest jewel in my crown
      Wad be my queen, wad be my queen.

'The anecdote is a trivial one in itself; but we feel that the
circumstances--the deadly illness of the poet, the beneficent worth of
Miss Lewars, and the reasons for his grateful desire of obliging
her--give it a value. It is curious, and something more, to connect it
with the subsequent musical fate of the song, for many years after,
when Burns had become a star in memory's galaxy, and Jessy Lewars was
spending her quiet years of widowhood over her book or her knitting in
a little parlour in Maxwelltown, the verses attracted the regard of
Felix Mendelssohn, who seems to have divined the peculiar feeling
beyond all common love which Burns breathed through them. By that
admirable artist, so like our great bard in a too early death, they
were married to an air of exquisite pathos, "such as the meeting soul
may pierce." Burns, Jessy Lewars, Felix Mendelssohn--genius, goodness,
and tragic melancholy, all combined in one solemn and profoundly
affecting association!'

In numberless instances, the hitherto loosely stated facts of Burns's
life are corrected in the present work, partly through the accuracy of
a strictly historical arrangement, and partly by direct reference to
written documents. On account of the value of dates in placing the
facts and compositions in that order which gives so much illustration
to the character of the poet, the editor has taken what might appear
in other circumstances a pedantic degree of pains on that score. Of
this we have an example in regard to the chronology of Burns's
attachment to Highland Mary. To fix that affair as occurring in the
summer of 1786--an episode in the connection of the poet with the
young woman who ultimately became his wife--it is necessary to
establish the death of Mary as occurring about the 20th of October
that year. This is done partly by reference to a register of burial
sites in a church-yard, and partly by a chain of curious evidence
respecting the day which Burns celebrated three years after as the
anniversary of the event. He composed on that day his beautiful
address _To Mary in Heaven_, beginning--

    Thou lingering star with lessening ray,
      That lov'st to greet the early morn, &c.

Mrs Burns had a recollection of the day, which, she said, was in
September, at the end of harvest, and which, she added, he spent in
his usual duties, though labouring under a cold. As the twilight
deepened, he grew sad about something, and wandered out into the
barn-yard, to which she followed him, entreating him in vain to
observe that frost had set in, and to return to the fireside. She
finally found him there stretched on a mass of straw, with his eyes
fixed on a beautiful planet, which shone like another moon. He was
engaged at that moment in apostrophising the soul of Mary. Out of this
anecdote, the editor of the present work contrives to obtain evidence
as to the true date in the following manner:--

'In the first place, the harvest was late that year. We find in the
Scottish newspapers of the time, that, in the middle of October, a
great deal of grain was still _out_ even in the favoured district
around Falkirk; while a letter from Sanquhar (Burns's neighbourhood),
dated the 21st, states that "while much was cut, _very little was yet
got in_, owing to the bad weather." It appears that harvest was
commenced by the 8th of September in some districts, but was
interrupted by rains, and was not concluded till near the end of the
ensuing month. Consequently, the incident _might_ take place in the
latter part of October, and _still be connected with harvest
operations_. The second portion of our evidence on the subject is from
one of the exact sciences, and appears to us at once to settle the
time of the day--the month--and almost the day of the month.

'It fully appears that the planet Venus is the one referred to by the
poet, for the description applies only to it. Now Venus was in
conjunction with the sun, May 30, 1789, and after that became visible
as the _evening-star_ towards the end of the summer, reaching its
greatest brilliancy in winter. It is therefore certain that the star
which "loves to greet the early morn" did not at this time "usher in
the day," and consequently, so far as the time of day alluded to in
the poem is concerned, a poetical liberty was taken with truth. On the
21st of September the sun set at six o'clock, and Venus forty-four
minutes thereafter. The planet was consequently not to be seen at that
time except faintly in the twilight. But on the 21st of October the
sun set in the latitude of Ellisland at 4h 53m, and Venus 1h 3m
afterwards. Consequently, Venus would then have begun to assume a
brilliant appearance during a short interval after sunset. On that day
the moon was four days old, and within eight diameters of Venus. The
planet would then of course be beginning to be dimmed by the
moonlight, and this effect would go on increasing till the moon had
passed the full--that is, early in November. If, then, we are to set
aside the possibility of a later month than October, and keeping in
view the all but certainty that Mary was not buried till some time
after the 12th of that month, it seems reasonable to conclude, that
the barn-yard musings of Burns took place between five and six o'clock
of the evening of some day about the 19th or 20th of October, and
consequently a very short time after the merry-meeting for the
Whistle-contest at Friars' Carse.

'That a month later than October could have been the date of the
incident will, I presume, scarcely be argued for. The moon was at the
full on Tuesday the 2d of November, and it could not be till after
that day that the first hour of the night would be "starry," with
Venus in full blaze. By that time, as far as we can gather from the
chronicles of the time, the harvest was past. Besides, Mrs Burns might
easily mistake September for October, but scarcely for November, a
month of such different associations. On this point the temperature of
the time might throw some light, if we could be sure of the exact
meaning to be attached to the phrase--"the frost had set in." It
chances that the temperature of October that year was unusually high,
the average at eight o'clock in the evening in Edinburgh being 45-1/2°
Fahrenheit. The _Edinburgh Advertiser_ of 30th October speaks of
apple-trees and bean-stalks renewing their blossoms in consequence of
the extraordinary mildness. On the 19th of October, at eight o'clock
in the evening, the thermometer indicated in Edinburgh 51°; on the
20th, at the same hour, 59°; on the 21st, 51° again. The only approach
to frost was on the 30th and 31st, when, at eight in the evening, the
thermometer was respectively at 33° and 37°. After this, it rose to a
more temperate point. Hence it becomes evident that _literal frost_
did not then exist at any such period of the day. Probably Mrs Burns
merely thought the evening was beginning to be comparatively chilly.
If we can admit of this construction being put upon her words, I would
be disposed to pitch upon the _warmest evening_ of the little period
within which we are confined--for unless the poet had been in a
peculiarly excited state, so as to be insensible to external
circumstances, which is obviously a different thing from being in a
merely pensive state, we must suppose him as not likely to lie down in
the open air after sunset, except under favour of some uncommon amount
of "ethereal mildness." Seeing, on the other hand, how positively
inviting to such a procedure would be a temperature of 59°, I leave
the subject with scarcely a doubt that the composition of _To Mary in
Heaven_ took place on Tuesday the 20th of October, and that this was
consequently the date of the death of the heroine.'

This, no doubt, seems a great muster of evidence about so small a
matter; but to judge of the rationality of its being entered upon, the
reader must keep in mind the relation of the incident to others. If it
only proved that the comic drinking-song _The Whistle_, and _To Mary
in Heaven_, were written within three days of each other, it might be
not altogether labour lost, for it would establish an exceedingly
curious literary anecdote. But the bearing it has on the whole affair
of Highland Mary--one of the most deeply interesting passages of
Burns's life--is such as, in our opinion, to make every other
justification superfluous.


FOOTNOTES:

[2] _Life and Works of Burns._ Edited by Robert Chambers. 4 vols.
Edinburgh: 1852.



VISIT TO THE COPPER-WORKS OF SWANSEA.


Our first glimpse of the copper-works was obtained in the 'gloaming'
of a lovely night in August last year, as we rattled over the Landore
viaduct of the South Wales Railway. On each side of us, we could
behold, given out by the chimneys, innumerable flashes of lurid flame,
which rose like meteors into the atmosphere, and scattered around a
brilliant light, that was seen in the distance to blend with the
waters of Swansea Bay. The scene was very beautiful, and singularly
picturesque: we could have wished our enjoyment of it prolonged; but
soon the shrill whistle, the escape-valve, and the lamps of the
station, admonished us that our journey had come to an end.

Our principal object in visiting Swansea, was to obtain some
information concerning the important business of copper-smelting, for
which this port has now become so celebrated. Few of our readers, who
have not enjoyed our opportunities of seeing them, can form any
accurate conception of the vast extent and great economical value and
importance of the Swansea copper-works. Indeed, the copper trade is
far from being popularly known; and the reason is obvious. Iron, which
is very widely distributed in the British islands, is invariably
smelted wherever it occurs. Copper, on the contrary, is only mined in
one or two localities; and it is never manufactured on the spot. This
process is performed almost exclusively at Swansea; and hence the
copper trade of the country is confined to a few individual houses,
and these are in a locality alike remote and unfrequented by the
everyday tourist.

At the period when the first copper-work was established on the banks
of the Tawy, about a century ago, Swansea was comparatively an
insignificant village. It is therefore to this branch of industry the
town and port are chiefly indebted for their remarkable rise and
progress. The population in 1801 was only about 6000; while in 1851,
if we include the copper-smelting district, it had already reached the
number of 40,000. The original cause of Swansea being selected as the
great seat of the copper trade, we may very briefly explain. It was
early discovered that, from the non-existence of coal in the mining
districts of Cornwall and Devonshire, copper, although raised in vast
abundance, could not be profitably smelted there. In fact, it was not
until a considerable time after copper-mining was properly pursued in
Cornwall, that the minerals could be turned to a profitable account.
It became apparent at length, however, both from the large quantity of
coal necessary for the reduction of copper-ores, and the great expense
of the transport, that instead of carrying coal to Cornwall to smelt
the ores--the greater quantity to the less--an opposite course must be
pursued, and the ores carried to the coal districts, and there
smelted.

Now South Wales, poor in copper, is exceedingly rich in coal. Vast
beds of the finest bituminous and anthracite coal exist in rich
profusion in its inexhaustible coal-fields. From its geographical
position and excellent harbour, Swansea was at once selected as the
best port on the Welsh coast in which to establish the copper-works;
and accordingly, the Swansea valley was soon planted with chimneys,
furnaces, roasters, refiners, and, in short, all the necessary and
costly enginery which belongs to the vast and intricate processes of
smelting copper. With such propriety has the selection of a locality
been made, that even now, out of the twenty copper-smelting works of
which the country can boast, seventeen are situated on the navigable
rivers of Swansea and its neighbourhood.

But this was not the only advantage the Cornish miners derived from
this judicious step. The ships employed to transport the ore to South
Wales came back laden with coal to feed their enormous engines; and
thus a system of traffic, mutually advantageous, was originated, and
has continued to exist without interruption down to the present time,
and will continue to exist so long as copper is mined in Cornwall and
smelted at Swansea.[3]

Within the last twenty years, the importation of foreign ores has
become a remarkable feature in the trade and commerce of this place.
Not only is Swansea the seat of the copper trade of this country, but
it may with equal propriety be styled the copper mart of the world.
Large and valuable cargoes of ore are continually arriving at the
Swansea Docks from every country in the world where copper-mining is
pursued. In 1814, there were only four vessels which traded with
foreign ports; in 1849, this number had increased to 771; the greater
proportion of them being directly engaged in the copper trade.

The Cornish ores are sold, as we have seen, in the locality in which
they are produced; but all these foreign ores, from whatever quarter
they may come, are disposed of to the smelters in Swansea by public
ticketing. This ticketing is a curious and characteristic feature of
the trade. The cargoes are usually consigned to a particular class of
brokers, indigenous to Swansea, and known as 'copper-ore agents.' The
ore is by them deposited in large yards, where it is crushed to a
certain fineness, for the purpose of obtaining a proper admixture of
the 'heap.' Notice is then given to the different smelting-houses, who
procure samples of the lot, and assay it. Meetings are held once a
fortnight at the Mackworth Arms Hotel; and on these days the agents
for the ore and those for the smelter take their seats around a table.
A chairman is appointed, who announces the different lots for sale.
Having previously made up their minds what to offer--for there is
nothing like a saleroom competition--the smelters hand up a folded
slip to the chairman, who announces the highest offer and the
purchaser's name. With such expedition does this proceed, that
different cargoes of copper-ore, to the value perhaps of L.50,000,
will often be quietly disposed of in a single hour!

It is very remarkable how closely each offer approximates to the
intrinsic value of the ore. A lot of Chili or Australian ore,
containing a large quantity of metal, may bring L.50 per ton, while at
the same time a poor ore may be sold for a tenth part of the money.
But however variable the offers may be in this respect, they never
vary much in regard to a single lot. Out of the return of the twenty
assayers of the different smelters, probably not a half per cent. of
difference will be found in their estimates of the produce. The
smelters having thus become possessed of the ore, it is transferred to
their own yards, sometimes by means of lighters on the river, but more
frequently by the canal which communicates with Swansea and the
smelting-works.

Leaving the town, and pursuing our way northwards for two miles
towards Neath, we reach the copper-works. The scene is widely
different in open day from that which was presented at night. There is
no beauty now, and little of the picturesque. The first impression,
indeed, the mind is apt to receive, is that of a sense of painful
weariness. Hundreds of chimneys--we speak literally--are vomiting
forth that white, peculiar-looking, and unmistakable vapour called
copper-smoke. Enormous masses of that ugly, black, silicious refuse,
known in the smelting vocabulary as 'slag,' is piled above and around
in such quantity as to change even the physical appearance of the
country.

But this is not all. The noxious gases--which we see and feel around
us--evolved in the reduction of copper, have not played so long on the
surrounding atmosphere without doing their work. Everywhere within
their influence, the perennial vegetation is meagre and stinted. The
hills, particularly to the southeast of the copper-works, are barren
in the extreme. Not one spark of green, not one solitary lichen, can
withstand the ravages of the poison. Time was, we were told by an old
inhabitant, when these hills produced the earliest and finest corn in
the principality; but now they only resemble enormous piles of sandy
gravel, unbroken but by the rugged angles on the face of the rock. In
the year 1822, the inhabitants of Swansea took legal steps to abate
the nuisance. A reward of L.1000 was likewise offered for the
discovery of a successful means of neutralising the effect of the
vapour. The Messrs Vivian of the Hafod Works spent the princely sum of
L.14,000 in experiments, some of which were partially successful, and
are still adopted; but after all, it must be confessed that the fumes
of sulphurous acid, and of numerous other acids alike poisonous in
their character, still taint the atmosphere of the Swansea valley, and
still leave the indelible traces of their blasting properties.

The Hafod Works are the largest in South Wales. Situated on the north
side of the river, they cover a superficial extent of about twenty
acres. The number of furnaces, chimneys, and other brick erections
contained in the works, was far beyond our computation; and we can
speak feelingly of the devious ways and labyrinth of bypaths with
which they are intersected, since, on more than one occasion, we
became bewildered in their mazes.

Here was a group of workmen, half-naked, pouring out of a furnace the
liquid copper at a white heat; there was another group with a red-hot
copper-plate of colossal weight and dimensions, which they crushed
like cheese between the huge rollers of the copper-mill: on one hand,
there was an old furnace, that had done good duty in times past, in
the process of being dismantled; on the other, was one about being
rebuilt; and again there was still another, that had, from long
service, become so impregnated with copper, that it was actually being
built over by a larger one, to be melted in its turn!

We shall avail ourselves of the valuable services of Mr Morgan, the
manager for Messrs Vivian, in our walks round the works, although it
is not our intention to give a technical description of
copper-smelting.[4] Such a course would be alike uninteresting to the
reader and unsatisfactory to ourselves. A consecutive description,
however brief, of what we saw, would, in like manner, carry us far
beyond our limits; and we therefore purposely confine ourselves to
whatever is popularly interesting and instructive in the process.

First in order, then, we proceed to the ore-yard, which presents a
very motley appearance. Under its capacious roof there were tons upon
tons of every variety of ore--native and foreign, blue and red, green
and yellow, and all intermediate colours--indiscriminately piled
around. There was the beautiful green malachite from Australia, the
gray sulphuret from Algiers, the phosphate from Chili, and the
hydrous-carbonate from Spain. There was the glistening yellow
sulphuret from Cuba, the silicate from Brazil, the bright-blue
carbonate from the sunny regions of the south, and the dark-brown
oxide from the colder regions of the north. There was regulus from New
Zealand, and the good old pyrites from the Cornish mines; some
compounds with arsenic, antimony, and numerous other substances; and
last, though in one sense not least, there was a solitary specimen of
ore from Ireland.

These ores were all in the form of a coarse powder. The regulus we
have mentioned is simply the sulphuret deprived, by a preliminary
operation, of its extraneous earthy matters; and this is frequently
effected in the localities where it is produced, such as New Zealand
and Chili, the expense of transport from these places being very
considerable.

'And what is this?' we inquired, looking at a black earthy substance
the workmen at that moment were discharging from a vessel.

'Ah!' said our friend, 'that is a commodity which, I suspect, you know
something about. It is a waste product from certain foundries and
chemical works--from Scotland in this case--and it contains a small
per cent. of copper. We don't care much about it; we seldom have it;
but it is sold at the ticketings regularly. For want of a better name,
we term it _slag_; but it is not slag, properly so called, which you
see all around you. A better denomination is that employed in
designating it in the Journal--namely, _rubbish_.'[5]

'You make no kind of distinction in the ore-yard,' we continued. 'Is
that unnecessary?'

'Well, practically it is. As these heaps lie, you can perceive that a
vertical slice from top to bottom will give us a tolerably even
admixture of the different ores. This is always desirable to a certain
extent, since the ores being of different constitution, the one
materially assists in the reduction of the other. Thus an ore
containing a large proportion of fluor-spar may with great advantage
be employed to flux another containing felspar or quartz, which
substances are almost infusible alone. Indeed, the judicious admixture
of ores constitutes the most important vocation of the smelter; and it
is to this that the copper-houses of Swansea are indebted for one of
their advantages over the proprietors of mines, who, possessing only
one kind of ore--rich, probably, but intractable--can never bring it
into the state of a metal with any satisfactory profit.'

'What is the value of these ores?'

'That varies much. This gray sulphuret contains about 70 per cent. of
copper, and is worth L.35 per ton. This yellow sulphuret, from being
mixed with a large quantity of iron and silicious earth, contains only
about 12 or 14 per cent. Some malachites contain so much as 50 per
cent., and others less pure, 30 to 40 per cent. of copper. But the
greater mass of the ores we melt have a far less produce than this.
That Cornish ore you see there, for example, contains only 4-1/2 per
cent. of metal. The average produce, however, of all the British and
foreign ores smelted at Swansea may be given at about 12 per cent.
Previous to the great increase of foreign importation, it was much
lower.'

We now come to the process of smelting. The theory of reducing
metallic ores, of whatever constitution, is to bring them to the state
of oxides; and then, by the addition of charcoal, and with the aid of
heat, to expel the oxygen in the form of carbonic acid; after which
the pure metal is left. In practice, the reduction of copper-ores is
slightly different. Here the object is to separate, first, the earthy
matters and extraneous metals, by forming them into oxides by
calcination: these are subsequently obtained as waste products in the
form of slag; while the copper is left in combination with sulphur,
which is then dispelled at one operation. According to Mr Vivian,
copper undergoes eight, and sometimes nine, distinct operations in its
progress from the ore to the ingot; and these consist of alternate
calcinations and fusions, extending over a period of from 100 to 120
hours. As, however, some of these are simple repetitions, we may, for
convenience' sake, illustrate the process under its three most
important steps.

1. _Calcination of the Ore._--Having arranged a proper mixture of ores
in the yard, it is weighed out in boxes to the calcining-men. This is
drawn up an inclined plane over the tops of the furnaces, and from
thence emptied through hoppers, 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 tons at a time, into
the large calcining furnace. Here it is roasted for a period ranging
from twelve to twenty-four hours, after which it is drawn into the
ash-pit, where it remains to cool. In this state, the ore is a black,
amorphous substance, and is termed _calcined ore_. The object of this
process is to oxidise the extraneous metals, and also to reduce the
quantity of sulphur, by driving it off in the form of vapour. It is,
therefore, in this and the analogous processes of roasting, that the
sulphurous and arsenous vapours are so profusely given off.

We stood upon one occasion beside a furnace, when the charge was in
the act of being withdrawn; but we took especial care never to do the
like again. The sensation resembled what one might expect to feel on
holding a lighted lucifer-match under each nostril. It is surprising
how the workmen stand it. For the greater part of their lives, these
poor Welshmen exist habitually in an atmosphere so charged with the
above-mentioned abominable gases, that it is difficult to understand
from whence their lungs receive the necessary supply of pure
oxygen.[6] Sulphurous acid, we may add, is the predominant smell in a
copper-work; but arsenic acid, hydrofluoric acid, and even
arseniuretted hydrogen, are not at all unfrequent.

2. _Melting the Calcined Ore._--This is a totally different operation
from the last: in place of roasting, it is one of fusion. The calcined
ore is put into the furnace much in the same manner as before; a
quantity of the slag from a subsequent process is added to assist in
the fusion, and the heat is increased till the whole mass becomes
liquid. The object is to separate the earthy matter, which, from being
specifically lighter, rises to the surface of the liquid mass in the
form of slag, and is drawn off. After two or three charges, the
furnace becomes quite filled, and an aperture is then opened in it,
through which the red-hot liquid flows into an adjoining pit filled
with water. It is by this means granulated, and is now termed 'coarse
metal,' or 'regulus;' and is, in fact, an admixture of the sulphurets
of iron and copper, containing about 30 per cent. of the latter.

But it is to the earthy impurities here given off that we especially
wish to direct attention. This slag, as it is termed, when drawn from
the furnace, is run into oblong sand-moulds, from which, when cold, it
is taken outside to the 'slag-bank,' as it is called--'slag-mountain,'
we prefer saying; and an ugly mountain it is!--where it is broken into
small pieces, examined to see whether it still contains metal, and if
not, is left to accumulate. It consists essentially of silicon,
oxygen, iron; or, to speak more correctly, it is a silicate of the
protoxide of iron. It is, in fact, a true _igneous rock_. Portions of
quartz and silica still remaining unfused, are often contained in the
masses, which give to them, when broken, a true porphyritic
appearance, while, from the great preponderance of the protoxide of
iron, it is invariably black.

So hard, solid, and indurated do these slags, in process of time,
become, that a very tall chimney, the most conspicuous object in the
works, is built on the top of a slag-bank. And this beautiful
commodity is not without its use in the arts. Part of it is
occasionally cast into iron moulds, shaped like old Gothic arches,
only uglier; and the casts are applied in great quantity as
coping-stones to the walls and fences in the regions of the
copper-works. Although not a very tasteful, it is yet a very useful,
and, at the same time, a very characteristic application. We may add
here, that the aggregate produce of the substance of the different
Swansea works may be estimated at about 260,000 tons a year. Our
readers may judge for themselves of the ultimate change this is
calculated to bring about in the Carboniferous System, and of the
learned controversies that are likely to arise among future geologists
with respect to the character and constitution of these carefully
disintegrated rocks!

To return to the smelting process. The last product--the regulus--is
again calcined, with the view of bringing the iron to the state of an
oxide. It is again melted, slagged, and run into pigs. In this last
operation, the whole iron is driven out in the slag, and the
remainder--'white metal,' as it is called--is almost a pure sulphuret
of copper. The sulphur, having all along preserved its combination
with the copper--a fine illustration of the theory of chemical
attraction--must now at length be expelled. This is effected by the
last process of roasting. When in a state of fusion in the furnace,
the charge is exposed to a stream of air, in which case a double
action ensues. Part of the oxygen enters into combination with the
sulphur, producing sulphurous acid, which is expelled in the form of
vapour, and part of it combines with the copper remaining in the
furnace; this is again run out into the form of pigs, and in this
state it is termed 'blistered copper.' To produce the finer kind of
copper, another process has yet to be gone through; but for ordinary
_tough copper_, it is at once transferred to what we may describe as
the last stage, and that is--

3. _Refining._--We quote Mr Vivian:--'The pigs from the roasters are
filled into the furnace through a large door in the side: the heat is
at first moderate, so as to complete the roasting or oxidising
process; after the charge is run down, and there is a good heat on the
furnace, the front door is taken down, and the slags skimmed off. An
assay is then taken out by the refiner with a small ladle, and broken
in the vice; and from the general appearance of the metal in and out
of the furnace, the state of the fire, &c., he judges whether the
toughening process may be proceeded with, and can form some opinion as
to the quantity of _poles_ and charcoal that will be required to
render it malleable, or, as it is termed, to bring it to the _proper
pitch_. The copper in this state is what is termed _dry_: it is
brittle, of a deep-red colour, inclining to purple, an open grain, and
crystalline structure. In the process of toughening, the surface of
the metal in the furnace is first well covered with charcoal; a pole,
commonly of birch, is then held into the liquid metal, which causes
considerable ebullition, owing to the evolution of gaseous matter; and
this operation of _poling_ is continued, until, from the assays which
the refiner from time to time takes, he perceives that the grain,
which gradually becomes finer, is perfectly closed.' After some
further manipulation of a similar kind, the refiner is at length
satisfied of its malleability, and that the copper is now in its
_proper place_, as he terms it. It is then poured out by means of iron
ladles, coated with clay, into ingots or moulds of the different sizes
required by the manufacturer.

'This process of refining or toughening copper, is a delicate
operation, requiring great care and attention on the part of the
refiner to keep the metal in the malleable state.' It is also, beyond
comparison, the most beautiful sight in the copper-works. At one
particular stage of the process, we saw the mass of molten copper in
the furnace--some five or six tons--assume the most beautiful and
resplendent appearance it was possible to imagine. It was like a sea
of 'burnished gold;' and, indeed, were it not for the intense heat,
the red-hot ladles of the workmen, and other little circumstances of
the kind, the stranger would have some difficulty in believing that he
did not look upon a beautifully polished mirror.

We have now come to the end of the smelting process; and have left
ourselves no room to describe the transformation into sheets, bars,
bolts, and boilerplates which the metal undergoes in the next
department of the works. These, however, are a better understood
series of operations, consisting, as they do, of the usual and
ordinary processes of rolling the hot metal between powerful iron
rollers. Nor have we space to allude even to the vastly numerous and
varied applications of the metal; although we may take the opportunity
of briefly adverting to the recently discovered process of smelting
copper by electricity, and of inquiring into the probability of its
ever becoming an economical application.

It will be seen, in the first place, that the present mode of smelting
copper, though simple in theory, appears in practice extremely
complex. For this reason, within the last twenty-five years there
have, we believe, been as many patents taken out to simplify and
hasten the operation. Without exception, these have been proved to be
altogether inapplicable. Let us see how this is explained.

Out of these numerous improvements, we select two that appear
peculiarly attractive. The first is the method of precipitating the
copper, in our second process, from the fused silicates containing it,
by the action of the electric current--the negative pole of the
battery terminating in an iron plate, which replaces the copper in the
liquid mass. The second method is an improvement on this. From some
experiments made at the School of Mines in Paris, it was shewn that
metallic iron alone, without the aid of the battery, was capable of
precipitating copper from the silicates in a state of fusion, just as
it does in saline solutions at ordinary temperatures. But in applying
this last method to practice--for the electricity was obviously
rendered unnecessary by the discovery--it was found that the
expenditure of iron was so great, that it could not be profitably
applied except as a means of assisting the reduction.

'Still,' said Mr Morgan, when commenting on these methods, 'this, in
point of fact, is precisely what we do. We add, as you have seen, a
great proportion of slag to the melting of the calcined ore, which
consists chiefly of the oxide of iron; while at the same time we
derive the additional advantage of employing an excellent flux--an
advantage which metallic iron does not possess. But, irrespective of
these considerations, the plain fact of the matter is, that _it will
not pay_ to smelt copper expeditiously. We don't wish to do so. It is
quite a matter of choice with us those continued operations; and their
great advantage lies in this, that we are enabled to extract every
particle of copper from the ore. By any of these other methods--very
philosophical they are, I admit--we could not accomplish this. The
slags would all contain more or less metal; and when I inform you,
that we can afford to remelt those slags if they contain only a half
per cent. of copper, you will perhaps understand our reasons for still
adhering to our venerable system.'

Thus we discovered that the smelting of copper by electricity, and of
reducing it with metallic iron, would not pay.

Our statistics are short, but they are heavy: about 300,000 tons of
copper-ore are annually smelted at Swansea; 28,000 tons of copper are
annually produced; and 600,000 tons of coal are annually burned. The
value of the ore is about L.2,000,000; of the copper, L.2,600,000; of
the coal, we have no correct means of ascertaining. Of the population
of Swansea, about one-fourth are dependent on the smelting-works; and
of these, about 3500 are directly engaged in the business. The
probable amount of wages paid by the smelters is about L.135,000; and
the current expenditure of the copper-works in the aggregate exceeds
L.500,000 a year.

The last thing we did was to visit the Hafod Schools. These excellent
schools--one for boys, one for girls, and one for infants--were
erected about six years ago, and are still maintained at the expense
of the Messrs Vivian. At the time of our visit, there were 600 of the
rising population of the place doing their utmost to unlearn the Welsh
idiom, and to acquire the art of speaking and writing the English
language with propriety. We regret that we cannot dwell on this the
most gratifying circumstance of our visit. Messrs Vivian & Sons are
unquestionably great copper-smelters, but, in our humble opinion, the
greatest action they ever did, and what must ever commend them to all
good minds, was the establishment of these schools.

To us it was a change, a relief inexpressibly delightful, to emerge
from the Stygian regions of the copper-works, where for the last five
or six days we had wandered like an 'unshriven spirit,' and to find
ourselves in contemplation of the happy faces of the scholars, and to
hear the hopeful, encouraging tones of their intelligent teachers. The
popular song of _Children go, to and fro_, was being sung in the
infant school at the moment we took our leave, and we shall never
forget the impression. It struck upon our senses, to use an
appropriate metaphor, like the crystal stream of the desert--like the
shadow of a great rock in a weary land.


FOOTNOTES:

[3] See for some interesting information on the system of Cornish
Mining, an article in No. 42 of the present series.

[4] On this point, we refer all who are desirous of pursuing the
subject, to a valuable memoir in the _Annals of Philosophy_, by John
Henry Vivian, Esq., F.R.S., the proprietor of the Hafod Works. This
paper, we may add, is the standard authority on the subject; and is,
with some modification, copied by Drs Ure and Lardner, and by most
popular works upon metallurgy.

[5] The production of this curious substance is explained in an
article on the 'Value of Rubbish,' No. 385.

[6] Notwithstanding this, we were assured by a gentleman connected
with the copper-works, that there is no specific disease arising from
copper-smelting, as in the case of lead. Asthma, rheumatism, and
colds, are the prevailing affections among the men; and even these are
in a great measure due to their own carelessness.



THE KING OF YVETOT.


There are few of our countrymen who have travelled in France but must
frequently have heard proverbial allusion made to a certain monarch of
Yvetot; and still fewer must be those who, having the slightest
knowledge of French literature, are unacquainted with Béranger's happy
lyric--

    There reigned a monarch in Yvetot
    But little known in story,
    Who, stranger all to grief and wo,
    Slept soundly without glory;
    His night-cap tied by Jenny's care
    (The only crown this king would wear),
                              He'd snooze!
              Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!
              The merry monarch of Yvetot.

    His jolly court he held each day,
    'Neath humble roof of rushes green;
    And on a donkey riding gay,
    Through all his kingdom might be seen:
    A happy soul, and thinking well,
    His only guard was--sooth to tell--
                              His dog!
              Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!
              The merry monarch of Yvetot.

    No harsh exacting lord was he,
    To grasp more than his folks could give;
    But, mild howe'er a king may be,
    His majesty, you know, must live;
    And no man e'er a bumper filled,
    Until the jovial prince had swilled
                              His share!
              Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!
              The merry monarch of Yvetot.

    He ne'er sought to enlarge his states,
    But was a neighbour just and kind;
    A pattern to all potentates,
    Would they his bright example mind.
    The only tears he e'er caused fall,
    Fell when he died--which you'll not call
                              His fault.
              Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!
              The merry monarch of Yvetot.

It is well known that Béranger's song, from which we have extracted
the preceding four verses, as translated by Anderson, was a friendly,
though rather satirical remonstrance with Napoleon--of course we mean
_the_ Napoleon--touching his ambitious and bellicose policy. But it is
not so well known, that there really was a kingdom of Yvetot, and that
its several dynasties reigned peacefully for upwards of eleven
centuries. Anderson, in a note to the song, says: 'Yvetot, a district
in the north of France, possesses a monarch of its own, a sort of
burlesque personage, whose royal charger is a donkey; his guard, a
dog; his crown, a night-cap; and his revenue, a gratuitous draught of
_wine_ at the _ale_ houses of his liege subjects!' Young, another
translator of Béranger, not any better informed, tells us that 'the
Lords of Yvetot claimed and exercised, in the olden time, some such
fantastical privileges as are here alluded to.'

The translators have some excuse for their ignorance regarding the
king of Yvetot; for few Frenchmen of the present day, with the
exception of antiquaries, consider him to have been anything else than
a popular myth. Be it our task, then, to jot down some authentic
notices of that ancient, and now extinct monarchy.

Yvetot, a town and commune of ancient Normandy (Pays de Caux), in the
department of Seine-Inférieure, now traversed by the railway leading
from Havre de Grâce to Rouen, was, in the sixth century, the seigniory
of one Vauthier, chamberlain to Clotaire I., the royal son of Clovis
and Clotilda. Nothing whatever is known of the earlier part of
Vauthier's history, more than that he held the fief of Yvetot from
Clotaire by the feudal tenure of military service. An able and
trustworthy statesman in the council-chamber, a valiant and skilful
commander in the battle-field, the chamberlain lived on terms of the
most intimate familiarity with his king, who ever lent a ready ear to
his sage suggestions. This high honour, however, being not at all
agreeable to the other followers of the court, they entered into a
conspiracy to ruin the favourite chamberlain. Taking advantage of his
absence, they perfidiously vilified him to the king. The chroniclers
do not state what were the exact charges brought against him, but they
must have been weighty and artfully insinuated, for the rude and
truculent Clotaire swore that he would, with his own hand, slay the
Sieur of Yvetot, when and wherever he should chance to meet with him.
The reader must not be surprised at such a vow: in those days,
sovereigns frequently indulged in a plurality of offices, and could
upon occasion perform the duty of the executioner as well as that of
the judge. Vauthier happened to have a friend at court, who sent him
timely warning of this state of affairs; and not thinking it by any
means prudent to expose himself to the lethal fury of a king who had
unscrupulously killed his own nephews, he left the country, and joined
the army of the north, then fighting against the Thuringian pagans,
the enemies of Clotaire and his religion, such as it was.

After ten years of arduous service and heroic exploits, Vauthier,
crowned with glory, and hoping that time had mollified the malignant
feelings of the king, turned his face once more towards his native
country. But at that period bad passions were not so easily effaced;
besides, the accusers of Vauthier were now doubly interested in
keeping him at a distance. The Lord of Yvetot, hearing how matters
stood, to make sure of a favourable reception, proceeded, in the first
instance, to Rome, where he made a friend of Pope Agapet, who sent him
with letters to Clotaire, in the capacity of an envoy. Under the
shield of so sacred a function, Vauthier had no hesitation in
repairing to Soissons, and presenting himself before the king; yet, to
be still more secure, he chose for that occasion the solemnities of
Good Friday--the anniversary of the great day of Christian mercy.
Clotaire was at the high altar of the cathedral, celebrating the
holiest rites of the church before a crucifix veiled in mourning, when
Vauthier made his presence known. Throwing himself on his knees in
humble supplication, he presented the letters of the sovereign
pontiff, and implored pardon, if he had been guilty, by the merits of
Him who, on the same day, had so freely shed his blood for the
salvation of all mankind. The ferocious and implacable king recognised
the suppliant, and, without regard to the sanctity of either the place
or the day, drew his sword, and, with one blow, struck the unfortunate
chamberlain dead on the stone pavement, at the very steps of the
altar.

Violent passions have, generally speaking, rapid revulsions. Scarcely
was Vauthier's body cold, when the king repented his hasty deed. The
clergy read to him the letters from Pope Agapet, which attested the
innocence of his former favourite; and they represented to him, that
he had committed the grossest description of sacrilege, the sin from
which the sovereign pontiff alone could absolve. In a short time the
barbarous Clotaire passed from a state of rabid fury to one of the
most abject despair, so that he required little persuasion from the
clergy ere he sent a messenger to Rome, bearing rich presents, to beg
for absolution from the pope. The messenger arrived at Rome just as
Agapet was at the point of death; yet the business being urgent, and
the presents valuable, he was ushered into the sick-chamber of the
dying head of the Christian church. Supported by attendants, the pope
proceeded to pronounce, in a feeble voice, the penitential discipline
of Clotaire. He said that the king could not expect pardon unless he
gave the highest possible satisfaction to the heirs of the murdered
man: but here a fit of coughing attacked and carried off his holiness,
so that whatever penance he intended to inflict was never known.
Clotaire, however, determined to expiate his crime, long pondered upon
the meaning of the pope's dying words, and at last concluded that, as
there was nothing higher than a king, the words 'highest satisfaction'
meant that he should raise the heir of Vauthier to the royal dignity.
Accordingly, he by charter erected the seigniory of Yvetot into a
kingdom--an act in perfect consonance with the ancient French feudal
law, which enfranchised the family of the vassal from all homage and
duty, if his lord laid violent hands upon him.

From that time until the latter part of the eighteenth century, the
descendants of Vauthier reigned as independent sovereigns of their
little kingdom of Yvetot, owing neither tribute, service, nor
allegiance to any other power. Consequently, until the great
Revolution, which, like the bursting of a pent-up deluge, changed the
features of the whole country, the inhabitants of Yvetot paid no taxes
to the government of France.

Historians and jurisconsults have written many grave and learned
dissertations on the curious position of this little kingdom shut up
in a greater one; and, though they differ in some trifling respects,
they all coincide in concluding, that the king of Yvetot, being
independent of any other potentate, was never obliged to engage in
quarrels which did not concern him, and accordingly lived in peace
with his neighbours, whom he never pretended to frighten. Moreover, in
spite of courtiers and counsellors, statecraft and politics were
unknown in Yvetot; thus the king remained neuter during the various
wars that raged around him, though he could bring an army of one
hundred and twenty royal troops into the field. The seriousness of
these disquisitions has been occasionally enlivened by a spice of
pleasantry. We are told how the king of Yvetot kept his own seals, and
was his own minister of finance; that his court consisted of a
bishop, a dean, and four canons, not one of whom ranked higher in the
church than a parish curé; four notaries, dignified by the title of
judges, representing the states of the kingdom, formed the senate, and
composed his majesty's privy-council; four of the best-looking of the
tenants' daughters were ladies of the bed-chamber and maids of honour
to the queen; four stalwart body-guards attended on all occasions of
ceremony--at other times, they worked as agricultural labourers on the
royal farm; a footman performed the duty of chamberlain, and, when
necessary, that of herald; a groom was master of the horse; a gardener
superintended the woods and forests. This, however, is only a
traditionary account of the court of Yvetot; and, lest the reader
should think it all a joke, we shall specify some of the documentary
evidence still extant respecting that little kingdom.

A decree of the Court of Exchequer of Normandy, executed in the year
1392, mentions the king of Yvetot; and various letters-patent, granted
by monarchs of France in 1401, 1450, and 1464, acknowledge and confirm
the title. In the early part of the fifteenth century, when Normandy
was under English rule, one John Holland, an Englishman, claimed, in
the name of his master Henry VI., certain taxes and feudal duties from
the kingdom of Yvetot. Strange to say, in those semi-barbarous days,
the case was tried in a court of law, and the issue given against
Holland, the court fully recognising the Lord of Yvetot as an
independent king. A letter of Francis I., addressed to the queen of
Yvetot, is still in existence. In one of the many episodes of the wars
of the League, it happened that Henry IV., compelled to retreat, found
himself in Yvetot, and determined not to recede further, he cheered
his troops by jocularly saying: 'If we lose France, we must take
possession of this fair kingdom of Yvetot.' At the coronation of his
second wife, Mary de Medici, the same monarch rebuked the grand
chamberlain for not assigning to Martin du Belley, then king of
Yvetot, a position suitable to his regal dignity. The Belley dynasty
reigned in Yvetot for 332 years. The last king of that petty kingdom
was D'Albon St Marcel, who, when at the court of Louis XVI., modestly
assumed no higher rank than that of a prince. The Revolution, as we
have already intimated, swept away the ancient crown, and the King of
Yvetot is now nothing more than the title of a song, with its burden--

    Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!



RELATIONSHIPS.

MASTER AND SERVANT.


The relationship of a master and servant--or, to use the modern
phrase, employer and employed--is properly constituted by the
agreement of one individual to perform certain duties to another; that
is, instead of being guided solely by his own will, to submit himself
to perform in certain matters the will of another.

The extent of duty which is embraced in the contract may vary very
much. It may be only for the performance of one single act, or it may
be for almost the whole range of daily avocations and duties. There is
often a vagueness about the limit of duties, and we often find the
master inclined to exact more than the servant is inclined to give.
There are very good reasons why masters should not consider themselves
as having a right to a full command and power over their servants in
all things; nay, that in things not within the contract, they should
be inclined to admit a certain equality in the two parties. Masters
are too apt to regard themselves as the lords of their servants in all
respects and at all times. They exercise an authority and assume a
superiority in matters beyond the contract.

On their side, servants often grudgingly perform the duties they have
undertaken. These two causes of discontent produce the worst results.

The practical remedy seems to be, that masters ought more generally to
recognise and act on the principle, that the lordship they bargain for
is not of the whole man, but only in certain respects and duties; and
that it is only as regards those duties they can expect their servant
to surrender his will to the guidance of his master's: while it should
be equally impressed on the servant, that in those respects in which
he has agreed to submit to and execute the will of his master, that
submission and surrender of his will should be absolute, and without
the least reserve or limitation. Perfect obedience is a beautiful
fulfilment of duty, and defensible on the grounds of common-sense; for
as no one can serve two masters--that is, in the performance of any
particular duty--so no man can both obey his own inclination and
submit himself to his master's will in the performance of the same
act.

On moral grounds, it is improper that any one should attempt to
execute in all things the will, of any earthly master; for there is a
power, and, in most cases, several powers, superior to both master and
servant, to whom both owe duties; and therefore the servant cannot
legally, nor without failure in his higher duties, enter into any
contract which may hinder the performance of those duties. In matters
of the law, it is held that such a contract is not binding; and thus,
in the case of a moral law being contravened by a contract, a door of
escape is open to those who have entered into such contract, it being
in opposition to the will of a higher authority.

When a servant, therefore, is in duty bound to execute the will of his
master, his obedience should be perfect. All hesitation or murmuring
is a violation of his contract--a breaking of his promise and
agreement.

But the master and servant should equally learn, that in other
respects, and at other times, the parties are not necessarily in the
state of superior and inferior; but, unless from some other cause, are
to be regarded as on a footing of equality; and this is the true
interpretation of the doctrine of fraternity and equality, which has,
from not being properly understood, played such wild work among some
neighbouring nations. In this sense, however, it is safe and useful.

Not only, however, may the individuals who sometimes and in some
respects are master and servant, be at other times and in other
respects regarded as on a level, but they may with propriety, and
often do, change places. The servant becomes of right the master. For
if he should employ that master as his physician or lawyer, no matter
what may be considered the respective ranks of the parties, the
physician or lawyer must, to perform his duty, become the servant, and
submit his will in the business he is employed in to that of his
employer.

This way of regarding servitude is not a degrading one, but the
reverse. Nothing is so pleasant to a reasonable and truly noble mind
as to pay obedience to those to whom it is due; and if the
adaptability of the same individual to be both master and servant was
more practically carried out, our civilisation would work more
smoothly, and we should probably approach more to that desirable state
in which no one would have a stigma attached to him from his birth or
occupation, but only from the manner in which he performed his duty.

It would help considerably towards a proper understanding of the
relationship between employers and employed, if the employed would,
for their own sake, maintain that degree of self-respect which would
induce others to respect them. On this point we would speak kindly,
yet frankly, and cannot do better than quote a passage from a small
treatise on Political Economy, just published.[7] 'The true
relationship between employers and employed is that subsisting
between a purchaser and a seller. The employer buys; the employed
sells; and the thing sold is labour. Attaining a clear conviction on
this point, the connection between the two parties is that of mutual
independence. Thrown much together, however, a spirit of courtesy and
good-fellowship ought to temper the intercourse, and it will be the
better for all parties if this spirit prevails. In some situations,
however, there is shewn a disposition on the part of workmen to ask
favours of employers--as, for example, seeking to absent themselves on
holidays without a corresponding reduction in the amount of wages.
This seems to be as wrong as it would be for the employer to ask his
workmen to labour certain days for nothing. The rights and obligations
are distinctly mutual. One has no right to encroach on the other; and,
indeed, there can be no encroachment, no favour asked, on either side,
without a certain loss of independence. This feeling of independence
should be carefully cultivated and preserved, along with those habits
of courtesy which soften the general intercourse of society.'

We are happy to add, that, to all appearance, a great advance in all
these respects has been made within these few years--disagreements
respecting wages and other circumstances between employers and
employed, being conducted and finally adjusted in a spirit very
different from what used to be manifested a quarter of a century ago.


FOOTNOTES:

[7] _Political Economy_: Chambers's Educational Course.



THIRST IN THE ARCTIC REGIONS.


The use of snow when persons are thirsty does not by any means allay
the insatiable desire for water; on the contrary, it appears to be
increased in proportion to the quantity used, and the frequency with
which it is put into the mouth. For example, a person walking along
feels intensely thirsty, and he looks to his feet with coveting eyes;
but his good sense and firm resolutions are not to be overcome so
easily, and he withdraws the open hand that was to grasp the delicious
morsel and convey it into his parching mouth. He has several miles of
a journey to accomplish, and his thirst is every moment increasing; he
is perspiring profusely, and feels quite hot and oppressed. At length
his good resolutions stagger, and he partakes of the smallest
particle, which produces a most exhilarating effect; in less then ten
minutes he tastes again and again, always increasing the quantity; and
in half an hour he has a gum-stick of condensed snow, which he
masticates with avidity, and replaces with assiduity the moment that
it has melted away. But his thirst is not allayed in the slightest
degree; he is as hot as ever, and still perspires; his mouth is in
flames, and he is driven to the necessity of quenching them with snow,
which adds fuel to the fire. The melting snow ceases to please the
palate, and it feels like red-hot coals, which, like a fire-eater, he
shifts about with his tongue, and swallows without the addition of
saliva. He is in despair; but habit has taken the place of his
reasoning faculties, and he moves on with languid steps, lamenting the
severe fate which forces him to persist in a practice which in an
unguarded moment he allowed to begin.... I believe the true cause of
such intense thirst is the extreme dryness of the air when the
temperature is low.--_Sutherland's Journal._



AN AUSTRALIAN MISS.


The precocity of the Australian youth, to be properly understood and
believed, can only be fully appreciated by being an eye-witness to
some of these very extraordinary young creatures. I have seen a girl
of ten years of age possess all the manner of an old lady of sixty:
she would flirt with three men at a time, and have a ready answer for
them when teasing her; would move like an accomplished actress,
manipulate gracefully, play whist, chess, and other games, and talk
about getting married. This child, for such I must call her, was a
greater mental giant than O'Brien, with his moving mountain of flesh,
and far more entertaining than twenty Tom Thumbs.--_Shaw's Tramp to
the Diggings._



THE DAY OF REST.


    Rest, rest! it is the Day of Rest--there needs no book to tell
    The truth that every thoughtful eye, each heart can read so well;
    Rest, rest! it is the Sabbath morn, a quiet fills the air,
    Whose whispered voice of peace repeats that rest is everywhere.

    O weary heart! O heart of wo! raise up thy toil-worn brow;
    The fields, the trees, the very breeze--they all are resting now:
    The air is still, there is no sound, save that unceasing hum,
    That insect song of summer-time that from the woods doth come.

    And even that seems fainter now, like voices far away,
    As though they only sang of rest, and laboured not to-day;
    The hum of bees seems softer, too, from out the clear blue heaven,
    As if the lowliest creatures knew this day for rest was given.

    The spacious tracts of meadow-land, of bean-fields, and of wheat,
    And all the glebe, are undisturbed by sound of Labour's feet;
    The cotter in his Sunday garb, with peace within his breast,
    Roams idly by the garden-side, and feels himself at rest.

    The streams, the trees, the woods, the breeze, the bird,
        and roving bee,
    Seem all to breathe a softer sound, a holier melody;
    Yon little church, too, tells of rest, to all the summer air,
    For the bell long since has ceased to peal that called to praise
        and prayer.

    But while I stand 'mid these tall elms, a sound comes creeping near,
    That falls like music heard in dreams upon my charmèd ear;
    Like music heard in dreams of heaven, that sacred sound doth steal
    From where the old church aisles repeat the organ's solemn peal.

    Now Heaven be praised! a gracious boon is this sweet rest to me--
    How many shall this truth repeat to-day on bended knee!
    How many a weary heart it cheers, how many an aching breast:
    Now Heaven be praised, a gracious boon is this sweet Day of Rest!

                                                  PICTOR.

      TORQUAY.



'THE BIRKBECK MAGAZINE.'


Some numbers have been sent to us of a cheap London periodical with
this title. Its peculiarity is, that the promoters and contributors
are young men, members of the Mechanics' Institution, Southampton
Buildings, who intend throwing open their columns to unknown writers
connected in a similar way with the other Mutual Improvement
Societies. A considerable circulation might be secured by this plan;
and perhaps such a work may be as well calculated to elevate the
aspirations, and excite wholesome emulation, as the productions of
more practised pens.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. and R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh.
Also sold by W. S. ORR, Amen Corner, London; D. N. CHAMBERS, 55 West
Nile Street, Glasgow; and J. M'GLASHAN, 50 Upper Sackville Street,
Dublin.--Advertisements for Monthly Parts are requested to be sent to
MAXWELL & CO., 31 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, London, to whom all
applications respecting their insertion must be made.





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