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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 709 - July 28, 1877
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 Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 709 - July 28, 1877" ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 709.      SATURDAY, JULY 28, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



PETER BOTTE.


In the island of Mauritius, in the Southern Ocean, stands Pieter Both
(or Peter Botte), one of the strangest shaped and most inaccessible
mountains in the world. From the sea it is most calculated to impress
beholders. Its quaint shape towers above the rugged mountain mass which
again dominates over Port-Louis; and its still quainter name dates from
so far back as 1616, when Pieter Both d'Amersfort, a Dutch admiral, or
General of the Sea, as he is described in the records, happening to
be shipwrecked on the island, was perpetuated by name in the mountain
which cast its shadow across his drowned body.

The travellers' tales which are heard beyond the seas of the ascents
of a mountain, insignificant in size, but by reputation ranking with
monarchs of Alpine celebrity, have contributed to lend a grandeur and
a mystery to Pieter Both in the imaginations of those who approach him
for the first time. Though various ascents have been made from time
to time (one of which was described in this _Journal_ as far back as
1834), that made in June 1876 by a party of eleven seems to have been
of special interest, as the following narrative, from the pen of one of
the party, will shew. His story runs as follows:

An Indian, Deebee by name, a carriole driver by calling, by repeated
ascents has made himself so much at home on the mountain as to be
able to arrange a system of ropes and rough rope-ladders by which
any one with a good head and fairly strong muscles can reach the top
with comparative ease. Deebee is a short square-built East Indian,
with a pock-marked face, whose dress on the last time I saw him was a
soldier's old tunic, and a lady's 'cloud,' also old, about his head
and chin. This worthy, after the preliminaries are settled with the
leader of the expedition, purchases a coil of two and a half inch
Manilla rope, arms himself with a wonderfully battered horse-pistol
and a broken cutlass, takes into his confidence sundry others of his
countrymen, and starts up the mountain the day previous to that on
which the ascent is to be attempted. Upon the 'Shoulder,' which I
shall presently notice, he has built a small hut, where he and his band
sleep; to me, who saw it empty, it seemed just capable of holding half
one man, with the contingency that his other half would dangle over
a precipice some hundreds of feet high. In the morning the ropes are
fixed; the 'Ladder Rock' being ascended by means of a pole; the pistol
is used to fire a line over the head, by which the rope is gradually
hauled up; the cutlass is for cutting the rounds of the rope-ladders
from the bushes; so that if all goes well, when the party gather on
the 'Shoulder' they will see above them the whole apparatus, strangely
suggestive of the Old Bailey on hanging mornings, with Deebee and his
crew clinging thereto--a black Jack Ketch to perfection.

Pieter Both itself is one of a score of peaks situated in the rim of
a gigantic crater, which can be traced at the present day from itself
on the north to the Black River Mountains on the south, a distance of
more than twenty miles. A mountain called 'The Pouce,' so called from
the resemblance of its peak to a man's thumb, lies immediately above
Port-Louis, and forms a well-known feature in the views of that town.
After the Pouce, which is thirty-six feet only lower than Pieter Both,
the crater-wall becomes a wall indeed. Its northern face falls down in
sheer precipice to Pamplemousses, two thousand feet below its crest;
the reverse, no less steep, facing the valley of Moka, green with
sugar-canes, and fifteen hundred feet below. This wall is broken into
several peaks, of which the last is Pieter Both, having an elevation
above sea-level of two thousand six hundred and ninety-eight feet,
according to a recent survey made by the colonial surveyor.

At La Laura, a sugar-mill about ten miles from Port-Louis, the final
arrangements are made for carrying up the provisions and other
impedimenta, including on this occasion a photographic apparatus; and
that satisfactorily arranged, comes a trudge of a mile along a gently
ascending cane-road.

As the path nears the woods we find their margin impervious with the
matted undergrowth; the bright green of the wild raspberry, with its
hairy fruit, and long straggling branches armed with fearful thorns;
the scarlet and orange blossoms of the _Lantana_; while the snowy white
and pink blossoms of the many other species of underwood crowd in
beneath the shade of the taller trees in a many coloured parterre.

Side by side with many other curious varieties of trees will be noted
the fluted stem and broad spreading top of the mighty Sambalacoque,
now fast disappearing under the axe. On either side of the road which
winds along this forest line are the tall sugar-canes, like walls high
above our heads, the silver-gray blossoms waving in the softly blowing
trade-wind; the rain-drops hanging from their leaves, falling in
showers, and giving a none too welcome hint of slippery work a little
higher up. Between Pieter Both and the mountain ridge that joins him
with the Pouce is a steep gorge, wide at the base, narrowing gradually
till it ends abruptly in a gap some fifteen yards across, and about
four hundred feet below the summit. You can climb up to this gap, but
it requires to be cautiously approached, for on looking over its edge,
sharp and knife-like, you will find yourself looking down a precipice
of naked rock some two thousand feet deep. The lookout is grand beyond
description, and you will make out Port-Louis harbour, looking about
the size of the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens, and Pamplemousses
Church a dot immediately below you.

The path ends with the canes; and that which we follow after leaving
them we make for ourselves. But upwards is the right way; you can't go
wrong, for the ravine is like a funnel cut in half, and the easiest
slope lies in its centre, to which we all gravitate by a sort of
'natural selection.' The forest is dense under foot and overhead;
perhaps it is as well that it is, for without clinging on to the
branches and tree-stems, and swinging bodily by them up bad places, the
lower part would be as difficult as the upper. The forest primeval,
silent and gloomy, shuts out the light, and the air feels hot and
stifling. Dead trunks lie rotting on all sides, mere touchwood many
of them, resenting our footsteps by a cloud of dust; giving homes to
a variety of lovely ferns, including the hartstongue, which grows in
tufts on the dead-wood wherever its roots can penetrate. Everywhere
strange forms meet the eye, as if Nature in a frolic had run wild to
form them. From the branches depend long trails of 'lianes,' ropes
that twist and twine and squeeze the life out of the trees they fasten
on. Orchids are here also, fleshy leaved, with no apparent roots; and
black shapeless masses perched in the higher tree forks, the nests of
the destructive white ant. Mosses clothe the ground with an emerald
tapestry, beautiful to the eye, but treacherous and squelching full of
water under foot. Everywhere is a rank garden of luxuriant dripping
vegetation, which, speaking as to comfort, we could have done without.

After a stiff climb, the funnel narrows visibly, and we get into the
central watercourse, where there is free space to breathe and less
vegetation. The path is rough, macadamised by gigantic boulders,
moss-grown and slippery, standing at incalculable angles, very tedious
to clamber over, amongst which a sharp lookout has to be kept to
preserve our poor dear shins. Gradually the trees, hitherto a green
arcade overhead, thin away, and the watercourse emerges into a steep
grassy slope, growing steeper at every step. Above, facing us, is the
gap spoken of already; on the left is the mountain ridge; on the right
rises old Pieter Both, cold, gray, and menacing--and a long way up. The
ravine has narrowed to some fifteen yards; here and there is a scrubby
bush. The water-course is now the only way possible to climb by, and in
two places there are in it rocks twelve feet high standing straight up,
which have to be clambered over somehow.

Above, on the right, is the 'Shoulder,' a narrow projection about
twenty yards long, and two or three wide, on which breakfast is to
be eaten and preparations made for the final climb. To reach this
'Shoulder' appears a sufficient task from where we are; beyond it rises
a smooth perpendicular cone, without flaw or crack, mid air, apparently
impossible. Yet as we bend back our heads and say so, out of one side
far up, springs a small figure; and the word 'impossible' is wiped out
of our dictionaries when we behold that a 'black man and a brother' has
essayed the task. Up to the 'Shoulder' it is all hands and feet; beyond
that there is nothing for it but rope. Viewed from a distance, the
'Shoulder' forms the knees of the sitting figure which the mountain is
said to resemble. From many points the resemblance to the statue of Her
Majesty at the London Royal Exchange is ludicrously exact.

When the top of the grass slope is reached, there is a narrow band of
turf, dotted with half-a-dozen scrub bushes of a foot or little more
high. This band leads off horizontally to the right, and is the only
possible way to the 'Shoulder.' A very bad way indeed it is. From
below it looks nothing but a strip of green ribbon stretched across
the middle of a rocky face, black and green and slimy as ever earth,
air, and water put together have concocted to puzzle mountaineers. In
truth it is little better than it looks. There are toe-holes to stick
your boots into as you walk with your face to the wall; and here and
there a shrub to let you feel something between your fingers, besides a
bunch of dead damp grass to save you from eternity. The whole passage
is oozing with sludge and water, very slippery, and the grass looks
utterly rotten and unreliable.

This track, which is about one hundred yards in length, lands you a
little below the 'Shoulder;' then a dozen yards' stiff steep climb
and you stand upon it--perhaps sit at first--for a yard farther on
across it is space, sheer awful space, which to look down till you have
got your breath is neither wise nor pleasant. You soon get used to
the feeling; but it is a little startling just at first to find that
this promised landing-place where breakfast is to be served ends in
nothing, just three feet beyond the baskets that contain the provender.
When you have got your breath, the first thing to look at is the great
bare cone immediately above and the dangling rope up which your road
must lie. Your eye takes it all in at a glance, and that first glance
is not promising. But breakfast puts a better construction on the
onward journey; and by the time we have made acquaintance with the
Oxford sausages and Australian sheep's tongues, we begin to scramble
about quite merrily, and doff boots, coats, and hats for the task with
as jaunty a grace as did my Lord Russell on Tower Hill.

The summit of Pieter Both is a cone of sugar-loaf form, compressed at
the sides, that nearest the 'Shoulder' having a slight bulge, without
which the ascent would be certainly impracticable. From the 'Shoulder,'
which is covered with short grass and wind-scarred scrub, a ridge some
three yards wide runs up to the foot of the 'Ladder Rock.' This ridge,
which narrows as it goes up, is composed of rock-fractures firmly
cemented together, and is to all appearance a great buttress supporting
the cone. Up this you climb, hands and knees, without requiring a rope.
The buttress comes to an abrupt end at the foot of a huge cube of rock,
flat-sided and perpendicular, which stands bolt upright, and bars all
further climbing without mechanical aid.

This is the 'Ladder Rock,' and is between fifty and sixty feet in
absolute perpendicular height, its breadth being less than twenty feet.
Running down its centre is a crack, without which the difficulty of
climbing it would have been greatly aggravated, if not insurmountable.
Against the face of the 'Ladder Rock' hangs a rope, the end
disappearing over the upper edge where it has been made fast; the climb
up it being made easier by a rough rope-ladder, which takes you up some
dozen feet, to where the crack is sufficiently wide to admit your toes;
that reached, grasping the rope with every one of your ten fingers,
and squeezing as many of your toes into the crevice as you can, you
must trust to your muscles and swing yourself up. The top of this rock
reached, you are glad to sit or lie down upon a second ridge like the
lower one, but much steeper and narrower; so narrow that in climbing up
it, still with the rope tightly grasped, you sit astride it, your legs
dangling over the sides, where it is better not to let your eyes follow
unless the head that owns them is of the steadiest. This ridge has
been christened 'The Saddle,' and is made up of broken rock cemented
together with lava. Here and there are tufts of grass, with bosses
of the silver-leaved 'everlastings,' wind-torn and ragged, and other
plants. The 'everlastings' shew brightly against the cold gray rocks,
and tempt many of the party to pluck them to adorn their hats when they
get them; which just now is somewhat doubtful, as the slightest slip
may be fatal. This dreadful 'Saddle' is said to have once vanquished
two aspirants; one of them, conscious that he had 'lost his head,' lay
flat along the ridge, allowing the man who came to his rescue to climb
over his body, a ticklish bit of mid-aërial gymnastics, which happily
came off successfully.

The 'Saddle' rises at a steep angle, say the steep roof of a house,
and ends at another 'facer;' a huge rounded rock perhaps ten feet
high standing straight up across the way, the way now having narrowed
to a blunt-knife edge. This is the 'Saddle Rock,' and is the
nastiest-looking and most dangerous place in the ascent. The 'Saddle
Rock' must either be swarmed up or circumvented by stretching round
its left side; for both experiments a rope is needed, and both are
a trifle delicate. This time the rope went round; and the thread
which disappeared past the smooth slippery face, out over the ghastly
precipice, that fell down sheer into Pamplemousses, was not inviting.
To get round you have to sidle up to the base of the rock, holding the
tightly stretched rope level with your head, and push on your feet
inch by inch till your toes rest on the outermost knob of rock. You
must be quite sure that their hold is good before you slip your hands
round the corner, letting your head and shoulders follow until you can
make out a little branch as thick as your umbrella, and four inches
long, which sticks out of a cranny, and is within reach of a long
straddle. The awkward part of this is that in looking for the branch
you are obliged to look _down_. It is the first look-down absolutely
necessary, and it is one not easily forgotten. To the writer it had a
strange fascination. The actual peril of the position; the necessity of
coolness in head and eye; the uncertainty how far this could be relied
upon, was so startling, so vivid when the actual time came, as to force
a feeling of absolute security upon the mind! Never did he feel more
certain of his own powers than when hanging like a spread-eagle against
the face of that rock twenty-six hundred feet above the plains.

It is a good stretch, but does not require very long legs to do it. One
toe, no more, the right one on a knob of rock; the other foot feeling
for those four inches of scrub wood; both hands overhead grasping
the rope; and the strangest bird's-eye view between one's legs that
featherless biped could wish for. It did not do to look too long.
Another pull up is in front, along a ridge like the previous two, but
narrower again, which runs up to the Neck, the rope your companion
all the way; and then you can at last sit down in perfect safety.
This is the 'Neck,' which the aneroid gave as three hundred and forty
feet above the 'Shoulder.' It forms an irregular plateau partly round
the 'Head,' some six or eight feet broad, and quite flat. On it is a
carpet of rough grass and 'everlastings,' protected from the wind and
rain by the overhanging mass of rock, which is the 'Head,' formed of
irregularly shaped rock, forty feet in height, nearly round, and which
contains what there is of the brains of Pieter Both.

A notch in one side allows the rope which has been already passed
over, to rest without fear of slipping; and depending from this is a
short rope-ladder, hanging quite clear of everything over the rim of
the Neck. Its half-dozen rounds put the rope between your fingers; and
in less time than it takes to write it you are on the old fellow's
brain-pan, the keen air racing past, with no more harm done than a few
'barked' knuckles, and a queer growing feeling in one's head of utter
loneliness. Nothing but space all round; blue sky; white scudding
clouds quite close, which turn one giddy; for it seems to be that we
on our little plateau are racing past the clouds, borne noiselessly,
interminably; flung on some tiny planet whirling around an endless
orbit. There was another feeling to confess to, suggested by that thin
white rope creeping and disappearing over the bare edge--suppose it
broke, or was cut or frayed through! It was our sole connecting link
with home and life and dinner. How hungry we should be if anything were
to happen to that rope! how thirsty! how cold in the chill night! how
wet in the company of those drifting clouds! Insensibly one fell to
calculating which was the fattest for to-morrow's meal.

From our airy resting-place, the whole circumference of Mauritius, with
a small exception, can be traced. From its height everything below is
strangely dwarfed. Port-Louis as a town is barely visible; the harbour,
which is nearly two miles in length, is a mere strip of water; moving
objects are as much obliterated as if the land below was a printed map;
sounds there are none, absolute silence, broken only by the whistle
of the wind. In Mauritius, there is a paucity of animal life even in
the valleys; it is possible to walk for miles without hearing a bird's
note. On Pieter Both are no birds--even the lizards don't attempt him.
Now and again a tropic bird, the _Paille en queue_ of the French, sails
past, screaming his news from the sea beyond. One by one our party
gained the top, each one as he pulled himself over the edge lying down
for breath. Our feet, innocent of shoe-leather, had lost some of their
own, and more than one pair shewed signs of rough usage. But what were
a few scars to the triumph of sitting perched on Pieter Both--the dear
old Peter Botte of childhood's picture-book.

As the party met and got their breath, tongues were unloosed, and the
serious concentrated look that had sat on most faces hitherto, melted
under the influence of mutual congratulations. Eleven in all, without
counting Deebee and an assistant Indian, were gathered on the 'Head;'
sitting, standing, lying on that patch of black soil which Claude
Penthé spoke of for the first time nearly ninety years ago. The sheet
of lead for inscribing the names of the 'visitors' was there, but of
a tin box which was known to have been left, not a trace remains;
some passing hurricane has probably spirited it away. The descent was
safely made, though it is perhaps more awkward than the going up. Some
photographs were taken from the 'Shoulder,' on so narrow a shelf that
it was necessary to place a man at each leg of the tripod to prevent
the camera toppling over; a final glass drained to the health of the
old gray rock; and about four o'clock in the afternoon, La Laura and
the pleasant sugar-cane fields were reached without a single mishap.

It may be thought worthy to record the names of this the largest
party that ever made the ascent of Pieter Both. He is not likely to
be visited again for some time to come, and long before this account
appears, the whole eleven will be scattered far and wide--miles
distant from that strange, eerie trysting-place. They are: Lieutenants
MacIlwaine, Creswell, Bayly, and Midshipman Elwes of H.M.S.
_Undaunted_. Major Anderson, Captain Bond, Lieutenants Phillipps,
Hammans, Sillery, and Saunders of H.M. 32d Regiment; and Captain
Montague, Brigade Major. A pole was rigged up, and the Union-Jack
hoisted and left flying, as a remembrance of the day, and as a sign to
the many watchers in town that the ascent had been successful. These
told us afterwards that through a telescope our movements had been
perfectly traced; the passage of the 'Saddle Rock,' where the rope
stretches round the face of the mountain opposite Port-Louis, having
caused the strongest sensation, as our bodies, dwarfed to the size of
spiders, came out against the sky.

    W. E. M.



THE LAST OF THE HADDONS.

CHAPTER XXXIV.--TWO LETTERS.


After arranging everything else, I sat down to write my farewell
letters, commencing with one to Philip, and being very careful to allow
no tears to fall upon the paper.

    'DEAR PHILIP--I ought to have told you what I am about to
    write, when I bade you farewell this morning; but I wanted our
    parting to be, as it was, a happy one. Had I had the courage to
    tell you, instead of writing, I know you would not have yielded
    to me; perhaps you would not even have listened. When you read
    this, your blame cannot reach me; and until you can forgive me,
    we shall not meet again. Dear Philip, I cannot be your wife.
    I must bear all the blame of not making it known to you until
    now, as best I may; but I cannot marry you. The conviction has
    only become absolutely clear to me since you so much pressed me
    to make no longer delay.'

    'Ah Philip, may you never suspect _how_ it was made clear to
    me!' I mentally ejaculated, breaking down for a few moments in
    an agony of suffering. But I sternly called myself to order,
    and was presently bending to my task again.

    'I have chosen a different life, and only delay explaining what
    that life is, and why it now seems more congenial to me than
    being a wife' (to the man who loves another woman, was in my
    thoughts), 'until you have quite forgiven me. Indeed, it is the
    belief that that time will come, which gives me the courage to
    act as I am doing. But there is one way, and only one, by which
    you can prove that your forgiveness is sincere, and give me the
    comfort of believing that I have not shadowed your life. If I
    hear that you are able, by-and-by, to find some other woman
    more appreciative than I'----

    I dropped the pen, and bowed my face upon my hands again in the
    bitterness of grief. 'More appreciative than I!' But I forced
    myself to my task again, and left the words as they were. If
    he once suspected that it was a sacrifice, would he accept it,
    however willingly it were offered? Loved he not honour more?
    Besides, this must be a letter which he could shew to Lilian;
    at anyrate by-and-by, and no suspicion of the truth must reach
    her.

    'If that time comes, and I earnestly desire that it may, I
    shall be able perhaps to justify myself to my own conscience.
    I know only one whom I should consider worthy of you, one not
    to be easily won, but worth the labour of a lifetime to win.
    I dare not name her--I am almost afraid to write of her. But,
    dear Philip, if it could be--if she whom I love above all other
    women could be in time won to make up to you for the loss of
    me, I shall have nothing to regret. I can only repeat that
    nothing but the knowledge of your happiness will give me the
    courage to hope for your forgiveness and to meet you again.
    Meantime, I can only beg you to try to believe in your loving
    sister

        MARY.'

I read the letter through with not a little dissatisfaction, though
I could not see how to amend it. It had been so difficult to say
sufficient to serve the purpose without giving some clue to the truth.
I could not help a little bitter smile at the reflection how very
different would his judgment of that letter have been if he loved me!
How scornfully would such excuses have been swept away if I had been
the woman he loved! How angrily he would have taunted me for being what
in fact I should have been had I deliberately wronged him! Alas! I was
writing to a man whose love for me was dead, and who yet desired to act
honourably towards me. He would not be inclined to be unkindly critical
about my _manner_ of setting him free, if I could only contrive to make
him believe that I wished to do so.

To Lilian I wrote in a somewhat more jaunty strain. Better that my
letter should seem to be written even flightily than sadly. But I
had been so little accustomed to this kind of diplomacy, that I was
astonished as well as saddened to find how close one might keep to the
truth in the letter, whilst departing so far from it in the spirit.
Neither to Philip nor to Lilian did I dare to tell the truth, and yet I
could write all this without appearing to depart from it! Fortunately
this kind of diplomacy blinds none who are not inclined to be blinded.

    'MY DEAR SISTER--You must try not to be very angry with me
    for running away without bidding you farewell in some better
    fashion than this. But by acting as I am doing, I avoid your
    scoldings, or perhaps I had better say pleadings. It is really
    no use arguing with a person like me, as I think you have
    discovered before now. And as I have very deliberately made
    up my mind, there really is nothing to be done. You have, I
    know, been a great deal puzzled of late to account for the
    change which you have perceived in me, and as I could not
    explain it without shocking you, I have waited to get out of
    the way first. Dear Lilian, I was not in jest when I told you
    I had begun to suspect that marriage is not my vocation; and
    I have at length come to the conclusion to obey my instincts,
    which tend in another direction. I believe that you will in
    time agree with me in thinking that I have done for the best;
    though I fear you will be very angry with me at first, not
    being able to see all my motives. Please get dear Mrs Tipper to
    ask Philip to come down sometimes, and try what you both can
    do to cheer and comfort him. He knows so few people, and he
    will be so terribly lonely. I must trust that in time he will
    come to acknowledge that I may not be altogether so selfish and
    inconsiderate as I must appear to be to him and to all of you
    in the first moments of disappointment. I will say this much
    to you, dear sister--I feel, and the feeling is not altogether
    of sudden growth, that I am too old for Philip; or perhaps I
    ought rather to say he is too young for me. At anyrate I have
    chosen a different life, and only wait until I feel sure that
    you have all forgiven me, to prove to you that I am happy in
    it. Say all that is kind to dear Mrs Tipper for me. I must hope
    to be able to prove my gratitude to her by-and-by. Ah Lilian,
    my sister, if I dared to write about my hopes! I can only say
    that if Philip is in time fortunate enough to find some good
    woman willing to make up for the past to him, my gratitude
    towards her will be very great. I am going away because I
    think it is best for us all that I should go, and because the
    persuasions which your love might prompt you to use would not
    induce me to alter my decision. I have begged Philip to try to
    believe in a sister's love, and I ask you too, dear Lilian, to
    believe in the love of your sister

        MARY.'

Little as I was satisfied with these two letters, I knew that I should
not be able to improve upon them, however much I might try to do so.
The fault was that I could not be explicit; and that would be apparent
to myself if not to the others, however elegantly my sentences might be
turned.

I put the letters aside until they should be required, and then lay
down for a few hours' rest. Thank God it _was_ rest! I fell into a
deep dreamless sleep, and only awoke when Becky came to call me in the
morning. There was still the same expression in her face, half sorrow,
half pity, as though she saw cause for both as she looked at me.

'Now, Becky, you must not look at me in that way, to begin with. I am
going to depend a great deal upon you, and it will not do to let your
face tell all you are thinking about, as it is doing now.'

'I can't help it shewing, because---- O Miss Haddon, dear, I know you
are not so happy as you pretend to be--I know it! And it's ever so
much worse to see you look like that, than as if you were crying and
sobbing!'

I saw that it was no use trying to throw dust into Becky's eyes.

'Well, suppose I am not very happy, Becky, and suppose I have some good
reason for pretending, as you call it, to be so. Suppose that I do
not wish to grieve your dear old mistress and Miss Lilian by allowing
them to see that I am unhappy. It is of great importance that I should
appear cheerful to-day; and I want you to help me as much as possible
to make them think that I am, for--Becky, I am going away, and they
must not know I am going.'

Becky threw up her hands. 'Going away!'

'Hush! No one but you must know that I am going.'

She was on the carpet clinging to my feet. 'Take me with you; do, pray,
take me, Miss Haddon, dear; no one will ever love you better, and I
can't stay without you!'

I made her get up; and taking her two hands in mine, murmured in a
broken voice: 'Try to trust me, Becky. If I could take you with me, it
would be very selfish of me to do so. It is your duty to stay here,
as it is my duty to go. But I shall not be so far away as I wish them
to believe I am--recollect, as I _wish_ them to believe; and I may be
able to see you frequently, if I find that I can trust you to keep my
secret.'

'You may trust me, Miss.'

'I am sure I can, or I would not ask you to help me. I must not break
down this last day, Becky; for the sake of others as well as myself, I
_must_ not.'

She dried her eyes; and presently the expression I wanted came into her
face.

'Please forgive me; I won't shew it any more; and I will do anything
you tell me.'

'First, and above all, you must earnestly do what you can to assist me
to make it appear that I am feeling neither sorrow nor anger to-day,
Becky.'

'I will,' she replied, simply and honestly.

'And next, I want you to contrive to carry that small portmanteau into
the wood for me at dusk this evening, when some one will meet you, and
bring it to me. You must contrive it so that no one will know that you
have helped me. The best time for you to take it will be whilst the
ladies are at tea. If you take in tea at the usual time, precisely at
seven, you would have a spare half hour, which would be time enough.
Slip out the back way, and carry it anyway. I cannot take it myself, as
there must be no good-bye.'

'Very well, Miss. This one?'

'Yes. It is not too heavy for you, I hope?'

'O no, Miss; it is not that;' lugubriously.

'Now, Becky, please do not forget. _That_ is not looking cheerful, you
know.'

'No, Miss Haddon, dear; I won't forget, when I'm down-stairs.'

Fortunately, she helped me to get up a smile, to begin with, at the
breakfast-table. How shall I describe the expression of Becky's face
when she came in with the coffee, &c. Her mouth was distended with a
grin, which was in strange contrast with the sadness in her eyes, and
her whole face reminding one, as Lilian said, of an india-rubber one
pulled out of shape!

Whenever she entered the room there was the same grin on her face. In
fact, in her anxiety to be loyal to me, she was overacting her part,
and it culminated, when, after looking at her in some astonishment,
Lilian inquired if she had received any good news.

'Yes--no. It's only because I'm so happy to-day, Miss,' returned Becky,
with a still more alarming distension of her mouth.

I think Mrs Tipper had occasion afterwards to congratulate herself upon
Becky's 'happy days' not coming very frequently.

'She has broken two plates and a cup already, my dears,' anxiously said
the little lady to Lilian and me. 'And I can't find in my heart to be
angry with her about it, when she says it's through being so happy;
but really, you know, it is a most unfortunate way of shewing her
happiness.'

Lilian and I made a merry little jest at it, advising her to look
sharply after such household treasures as Windsor Castle, &c.

'I wouldn't let her dust them to-day for the world, my dears!'
ejaculated the little lady, hastily trotting off to the kitchen again.

I did not allow Lilian to make her escape afterwards. I smilingly
decided that there was to be no French history to-day, and that she
and I were to spend the morning together in the old delightful fashion
of the past. Philip was not coming for a day or two; and we would go
over some of the old work, which had been somewhat neglected of late,
with the exception of music and singing. A little steady work, and the
consultations over it, was bracing for us both, and set us at our ease
as personal talk would certainly not have done. We were not, either of
us, strong enough just then to talk about ourselves. Moreover, I begged
Mrs Tipper to make it a fête-day, and treat us to one of her famous
lemon puddings; and she was enjoying herself to her heart's content in
the kitchen, only too delighted to be asked to treat us, and bent upon
shewing that a lemon pudding was not enough to constitute a feast in
her estimation. The only disturbing influence was poor Becky's hilarity.

'My dears, it really is not natural,' the little lady confided to us at
dinner. 'No more like smiling than a baby in convulsions. I was almost
frightened at the strange faces she made just now in the kitchen; and
if it goes on, I must make her take some medicine.'

I begged Becky off that infliction, persuading her anxious mistress to
wait a few hours.

Kind Becky! she would very soon be able to look as she felt. There
would be nothing unnatural in her regret at my departure, after having
known me so long a time. On the whole, I was more successful than I had
dared to hope for in the way of leaving a pleasant impression upon the
minds of Mrs Tipper and Lilian--just the impression I wished to give
them.

They believed that I was happier than I had been for some time
previously, and I know now that they attributed my happiness to the
fact of the date being at length fixed for my wedding to take place.
They had seen just enough to perceive that some disturbing influence
was at work with me; and the sudden change in my bearing seemed to
them to imply that my doubts and fears were now set at rest. It did
me real good to witness the unfeigned relief in Lilian's face; the
unselfishness which could rejoice in my happiness though her own
might be wrecked. I know now how much she had suffered from shame and
dread--how terribly afraid she had been lest I should divine any part
of the truth; lamenting over what she considered to be her disloyalty
to me, and blaming herself as she certainly did not deserve to be
blamed.

'Dear Mary, it seems quite like old times again; does it not?' she
said, looking up into my face with the nearest approach to happiness in
her own which I had seen there for some time, as I bent over her with a
playful criticism upon a bit of foliage she was doing.

'It has been a pleasant day, has it not, dearie?' I returned. 'All the
pleasanter for French history being kept out of the programme, I think.
You know I never did take kindly to that.'

She flushed up, nestling closer to my side. 'There shall be no more of
it, Mary,' she whispered.

I replied with a tender kiss; then lightly said: 'I really feel quite
kissably inclined this afternoon!' turning to my dear old friend, and
giving her two or three hearty good-bye kisses, then back again to
Lilian with a last hug.

'And now, I must run off again;' adding as I reached the door: 'Do not
wait tea for me. I shall not be able to get back by then.'

'To town! Mary?' asked Lilian. 'And I am not to be permitted to
accompany you again. I feel sure there must be something very
mysterious going on!'

But she was smiling, and I believe that both she and her aunt were now
quite at ease about it, having made up their minds that their first
surmise--that I was preparing some pretty surprise for them--was a
correct one.

I ran up to my room, hastily indicated to Becky where she was to find
the two letters in a couple of hours' time, put on my bonnet and cloak,
gave a quiet embrace and warning look to the faithful girl, sobbing
under her breath, then went down-stairs again. I dared not venture to
go into the little parlour for a last word, lest some tender speech of
Lilian's should cause me to break down; so little would do it just now,
when every nerve was stretched to its utmost tension.

I passed swiftly out, and down the garden path, only venturing to give
one look back to nod and kiss my hand, when I reached the gate, and
then sped on as fast as my feet would carry me. I was just turning into
the lane which led towards the stile, when suddenly I found myself face
to face with Robert Wentworth.

'Where are you going to at that rate, Mary?'

I shrank back, for a moment incapable of uttering a word; eyeing him
desperately, almost defiantly, for I felt in my misery as though he had
suddenly presented himself in my path to bar my escape--a new power
to strive against, when my strength was almost spent. He could always
see deeper than any one else; and he had come upon me when I was so
unprepared. I had just dropped the smiling mask which I had found it
so difficult to wear all day, and was beginning to feel sufficiently
secure from observation to be less careful as to what my face might
tell. I caught in my breath, shrinking farther away, but facing him
like an animal at bay. For a few moments he stood gazing at me,
apparently as much at a loss for words as I was myself, then his eyes
fell upon my muffled hand, and he asked: 'Have you hurt your hand,
Mary?'

'Yes.'

'Not seriously, I hope? How did it happen?'

I looked down at my hand in a dazed kind of way, trying to recollect
what had happened to it. 'I don't know. Good-bye.'

'Mary! is there anything to be done which a brother might do for you?'
he asked in a low troubled voice.

I tried to think what brothers could do, and what there was to be done
for me, then shook my head.

'For old friendship's sake, _do_ treat me as a brother now, Mary!'

His very evident perturbation had the good effect of making me rally
my scattered wits, and I was so far like myself again as to reply:
'The only--only way in which you can help me just now is to let me go
without any further questioning.'

He stood aside at once without a word, and I passed on. But I had no
sooner done so than my conscience smote me. Was _this_ the way to part
from him--the one above all others so true to me? I turned back to
where he remained standing, laid my hand for a moment upon his arm,
and said: 'Please forgive my rudeness, Robert; and believe that if
there were anything for a brother to do, I would ask you to do it. And
perhaps you _will_ be able to help me presently in trying to convince
them that, however blamable I may at first appear, I have acted, as I
believe, for the best;' thinking that they might possibly turn to him
for advice and assistance. Then offering my hand, I added tremulously:
'Good-bye, Robert.'

'God keep you, Mary!'

(_To be concluded next month._)



CURIOSITIES OF THE VOICE.


Some years ago, a delightfully interesting book was written by Sir
Charles Bell on the human Hand. There might be fully as interesting a
work written on the mechanism of the human voice, in which would be
equally demonstrated the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.
We offer a few observations on the subject. Until recently, there were
mysteries difficult to explain concerning the wonderful inflections in
the voice. Now, it is thoroughly understood how words are produced,
and how the throat is able to send forth a wide variety of charming
notes in singing. We begin by mentioning that Dr Mandl has devoted
himself to the study of the organs of speech, and from his work on the
_Larynx_ we give some interesting particulars. Investigators have long
been occupied with researches; but until they had seen the larynx of
a living being one thing only was proved, that the voice was formed
in the glottis. For fifty years of this century they were trying by
mirrors and other appliances to examine the interior of this organ,
but without results. Suddenly an inspiration came into the head of a
celebrated singer, whose name awakens charming remembrances among old
amateurs. This was M. Manuel Garcia. Ignorant of all the trouble which
surgeons had taken in order to observe the movements of the throat in
the act of singing, he conceived the idea of looking at himself. By
the help of two mirrors, the one reflecting the image on to the other,
he saw the whole of his larynx depicted. In ecstasy before the glass,
he determined to pursue the accidental discovery which had been so
long dreamed of. But the autumn had set in, and the sun's rays, which
were necessary to success, did not lend their aid. London with its
fogs forced him to try artificial light, the results of which were
unsuccessful, and therefore he could only profit by fine days; yet he
soon recognised how isolated sounds were produced. In 1855 the Royal
Society received some communications from him on these curious studies.

The subject was at once taken up with great activity, especially in
Vienna, where success was far from equalling the hopes of the doctors.
The caprices of solar light and the defects of artificial threw them
into a state of despair. By all means they must improve their mirrors.
Czermak, the Professor of Physiology at Pesth, taking an example from
the instrument used in examining the eye, the ophthalmoscope, had
recourse to a concave mirror which concentrated the light. From this
time there was no difficulty but to perfect the lenses. Czermak having
acquired great skill in the use of his laryngoscope, visited the
principal cities of Germany, where his demonstrations deeply interested
surgeons and physiologists. He was warmly received in Paris in 1860,
where he shewed not only the whole length of his larynx, but also
the interior of the trachea or windpipe as far as its bifurcation; a
spectacle truly astonishing to those who witness it for the first time.
It is not possible to examine the organ of the voice with the same
facility in all; a man must have had some experience before he can do
it.

A slight sketch of this organ will perhaps make the subject clearer.
From the breast there rises to the middle of the neck the passage for
the air between the lungs and the mouth; at one end it is divided into
numerous branches, called the bronchial tubes; at the upper end, like
the capital of a column, is seen the larynx, resembling an angular
box; strong cartilages make it very resistent; and the interior is
lined with a mucous membrane forming folds, named the vocal lips. These
separate, lengthen, or shorten in the formation of various sounds.
The largest of the four cartilages rises in an annular form, and
protects the whole structure. It is but slightly shewn in the neck of
the female, but strongly marked in the man, and is popularly called
Adam's-apple. Like everything else, the larynx presents individual
differences. A fine development is an indication of a powerful voice.
As the child grows up, there is a sudden alteration and increase of
size; but it always remains smaller in the woman than in the man; the
angles are less sharp, the muscles weaker, the cartilages thinner and
more supple, which accounts for the sharp treble notes in their voices.

Singing demands a different kind of activity in the organs from
speaking. In society, where education requires a submission to rule,
singing belongs to the domain of art; but in a primitive state all
nations have their songs. Musical rhythm drives away weariness,
lessens fatigue, detaches the mind from the painful realities of
life, and braces up the courage to meet danger. Soldiers march to
their war-songs; the labourer rests, listening to a joyous carol. In
the solitary chamber, the needlewoman accompanies her work with some
love-ditty; and in divine worship the heart is raised above earthly
things by the solemn chant.

A strong physical constitution and a perfect regularity in the
functions of the organs used in singing, are inappreciable advantages.
They should be capable of rendering an inspiration short and easy, the
expiration slow and prolonged; there is a struggle between retaining
and releasing the air, and with the well-endowed artiste the larynx
preserves its position, notwithstanding the great variety of sounds
which it emits. But the evolutions of the parts are multiplied, the
vocal lips vibrate, and the configuration of the cavity modifies the
sounds which are formed in the glottis, and determine the tone of the
voice. The most energetic efforts of the will cannot change this tone
in any sensible manner. Professors injure their pupils by prescribing
the position of the mouth, from which perhaps they themselves derive an
advantage.

It is interesting to watch the play of the organs by the help of the
laryngoscope, and see the changes which succeed one another in the low
and high notes. At the moment when the sound issues, the glottis is
exactly closed; then the orifice becomes a very long figure, pointed
at the two extremities. As the sound rises, the vocal lips approach
each other, and seem to divide the orifice into two parts; then as the
highest notes are sounded, there is but a slit the width of a line. The
vocal lips change like the glottis; they stretch out, harden, thicken,
and vibrate more and more as the voice rises. Women, who have a smaller
larynx and shorter vocal lips, can sing higher notes than men, with a
tone less powerful, but sweeter, more uniform, and melodious.

The ordinary limits of the voice comprehend about two octaves of the
musical scale: it can easily be increased to two and a half; but some
reach the very exceptional range of three, and three and a half.
Thus at the commencement of this century, Catalani astonished every
one who heard her, as a sort of prodigy. Suppleness and intensity
may be acquired by practice, as has been proved in the case of many
singers: the voice of Marie Garcia was harsh, but it became at last
the delicious one of Madame Malibran. In general, the natural gift is
manifested without culture; the child endowed with this great charm
warbles like a bird for amusement; a lover of art passes by, listens
with surprise, and promises glory and fortune to the rival of the lark.
Thus the famous Rubini won his triumphs. Occasionally the singer has in
a moment lost all power, and an enchanting voice will disappear never
to return; such a misfortune befell Cornelia Falcon.

Those who have watched the formation of vowels and consonants can
describe very precisely the positions which the lips, tongue, and
palate take in articulation. Yet almost identical sounds can be
produced with different positions. As we all know, the teeth are
a great help to pronunciation, but a person who has lost all his
teeth can modify the play of the lips and tongue and express himself
intelligibly. Actors imitate the voice of public characters so as to
make the illusion complete. The ventriloquist can make his voice issue
as if from a cavern. When misfortune has deprived a man of the whole
or part of his tongue, he can still hold a conversation, though the
sounds are never particularly agreeable. All this shews that there is
nothing absolute in the actions which form words, though in general the
same organs play similar parts. Those who were born deaf have ceased
to be dumb by interpreting the movements of the mouth with wonderful
certainty: they guess the words of the speaker instead of hearing
them, and so learn to speak by imitation, their speaking, however,
being seldom well modulated. There are now several institutions where
the poor creatures who have been deprived of one of their senses can
acquire a means of communicating with their companions without the
tedious intervention of writing. The master indicates to the child how
he must open his mouth, place his tongue and lips; he then draws the
pupil's hand over his own larynx, so that he may feel the movement.
Those who, like the writer, have seen this reading from the lips, will
be struck with the surprising delicacy of the impressions made on the
eye which has been thus cultivated.

In comparison with the human voice, that of animals seems poor indeed.
The barking of the dog, the mewing of the cat, the bleating of sheep,
cannot be called language, in the proper sense. Yet the larynx of
these creatures is on the same plan as that of man. Among monkeys the
resemblance is perfect. To all appearance the impossibility of speaking
is due to the formation of the lips and tongue. In 1715 Leibnitz
announced to the French Academy that he had met with a common peasant's
dog that could repeat thirty words after its master. In spite of such
an authority, we must always say when we most admire the intelligence
of this faithful companion: 'He only wants words.' So well endowed
with memory, affection, and intelligence, he can only express his joy
by sharp, short expirations of air through the glottis. Howling is a
prolonged note in the pharynx, excited by deep grief or pain. Yet they
in common with many other animals can communicate with each other in
a marvellous manner when they wish to organise an expedition. A dead
bullock was lying in a waste far from all habitations, when a solitary
dog, attracted by the smell, came and fed upon it; immediately he
returned to the village and called together his acquaintances. In less
than an hour the bones were picked clean by the troop.

Opportunities for studying the language of wild animals are rare: they
fly from man, and when in captivity they become nearly silent, only
uttering a few cries or murmurs. Travellers have sometimes been able
to watch the graceful movements of the smaller African apes. Living
in the branches of trees, they descend with great prudence. An old
male, who is the chief, climbs to the top and looks all around; if
satisfied, he utters guttural sounds to tranquillise his band; but if
he perceive danger, there is a special cry, an advertisement which
does not deceive, and immediately they all disperse. On one occasion a
naturalist watched a solitary monkey as he discovered an orange-tree
laden with fruit. Without returning, he uttered short cries; his
companions understood the signal, and in a moment they were collected
under the tree, only too happy to share its beautiful fruit. Some kinds
possess a curious appendage, a sort of aërial pouch, which opens into
the interior of the larynx and makes a tremendous sound. These howling
apes, also called Stentors, inhabit the deepest forests of the New
World; and their cries, according to Humboldt, may be heard at the
distance of one or two miles.

If it be ever possible to observe the play of the larynx of animals
during the emission of sounds, the subject will be a very curious
one. The difficulty seems almost insurmountable, as their goodwill
must be enlisted; yet M. Mandl, full of confidence in his use of the
laryngoscope, does not despair. After man, among animated nature,
the birds occupy the highest rank in nature's concerts; they make
the woods, the gardens, and the fields resound with their merry
warbles. Cuvier discovered the exact place from which their note
issues. They possess a double larynx, the one creating the sounds,
the other resounding them: naturalists call the apparatus a drum.
Thus two lips form the vocal cords, which are stretched or relaxed
by a very complicated action of the muscles. This accounts for the
immense variety of sounds among birds, replying to the diversity in the
structure of the larynx.

The greater number of small birds have cries of joy or fear, appeals
for help, cries of war. All these explosions of voice borrow the sounds
of vowels and consonants, and shew how easy and natural is articulation
among them. Those species which are distinguished as song-birds have
a very complicated vocal apparatus. For the quality of tone, power,
brilliancy, and sweetness, the nightingale stands unrivalled; yet it
does not acquire this talent without long practice, the young ones
being generally mediocre. The parrots which live in large numbers under
the brightest suns, have a love for chattering which captivity does
not lessen. Attentive to every voice and noise, they imitate them
with extraordinary facility; and the phenomenon of their articulating
words is still unexplained. It is supposed that there is a peculiar
activity in the upper larynx. As a rule, they attach no meaning to what
they say; but there are exceptions. When very intelligent and well
instructed, these birds--such as Mr Truefitt's late parrot, an account
of which appeared in this _Journal_ in 1874--can give a suitable answer
to certain questions.

Our notes on this interesting study come to a close. Man is well served
by his voice; words are the necessity of every-day life; singing is its
pleasure and recreation, whether the performers are human beings or
birds.



FOX-HUNTING ON THE MOUNTAINS OF SCOTLAND.


The light of an almost full moon was struggling with the first faint
glimmer of dawn one morning late in February as I sprang out of bed and
looked through my window. I could see a few fleecy clouds racing across
that luminary; and away in the north-east lay a dark bank, speaking of
the direction taken by the storm which I had heard at intervals during
the night; but otherwise the sky was clear and gave promise of at least
a few hours' respite from the almost ceaseless rain of the previous two
months. Such being the case, I lost no time in dressing and in calling
my companion; and before another day had fairly begun, we were passing
through the fresh clear air on our way to the hill, accompanied by two
couple of fox-hounds, while an irrepressible terrier who would not
be denied found its way to its owner's heels before we had gone many
hundred yards.

Foxes in the Highlands are held in very different estimation from
the same animal farther south. Death, meted out with all weapons and
under all circumstances, is their lot whenever found; and few acts are
considered more meritorious or more deserving of public thanks than
the destruction of a vixen and her cubs. Little fault can be found
with such a state of affairs when it is remembered that hunting is
impossible, and that otherwise foxes would increase to such an extent
as not only to do great damage to game, but to become a serious tax
upon the sheep-farmer, especially during the spring, when quantities
of lambs fall victims even under present circumstances. The great
extent of many Highland properties and the small number of keepers
employed, render it impossible for them to keep the foxes under without
assistance; and the result has been the installation of a regular
district fox-hunter, whose one employment is to go about from farm
to farm accompanied by his hounds and terriers, and kill foxes, on
consideration of receiving a toll of so much per score of sheep, as
well as free quarters for as long as he chooses to stay.

Such was my companion on this occasion. He deserves, however, a
more than general notice. To watch him as he sat over-night by the
kitchen-fire, his chin almost resting on his knees, no one would guess,
from his bent and stiffened appearance and long white hair, that they
were looking at the best hill-man within a radius of fifty miles; a man
who on three different occasions had ventured alone on the outlying
heights during the worst of a wild snow-storm in search of missing
shepherds, and who had succeeded in bringing two of them home alive,
despite having to carry one for nearly five miles through drifts out of
which no other man in the glen would have had a chance of extricating
himself. Although now near sixty years of age, time did not seem to
have had any effect upon his physical powers; and while he grumbled
and declared himself worn out and unfit for his position, entailing as
it did an immense amount of fatigue and hardship, it was well known
that the man who could live alongside of old Ian Cameron when once his
hounds had settled down to a fox, must not only be of sound wind and
limb, but more active than nine-tenths of the young Highlanders in the
district.

The hounds also deserve some notice before I enter upon the doings of
the day. They were small, very powerfully built animals, with heads
and frames much resembling the old Southern hound; and possessing a
grand bell-like note; but far too slow to come up to the modern idea
of a fox-hound. Indeed, except on some very rare occasions, when a
fox had been caught unawares or, as it is usually termed, 'chopped,'
neither they nor their immediate ancestors had ever killed one without
assistance. Ian had, he told me, first got the strain from the late
Lord Eglinton nearly fifty years ago, and had kept it pure from that
day to this. It was, however, in terriers that the old man excelled.
Talk of the prize-winners of the so-called Skye breed at the dog-shows
of the present day! I very much doubt if Ian would have accepted
one of them as a gift, while his specimens would no doubt have been
contemptuously ignored by any well-regulated judging mind. Long-bodied,
short-legged, powerful little animals they were, with rough coarse
coats of the thickest of thick hair, each of them able and willing to
bolt or half kill a fox single-handed. Their ancestors had originally
been brought from the island of Barra, where, in common with all the
western islands, the breed supposed to be confined to Skye is found of
the utmost purity; and they were as perfect representatives of their
class as it would be possible to find anywhere.

Their owner had arrived two days previously at the house of a large
sheep-farmer with whom I was staying; and as I knew there were several
foxes frequenting the cairns among the high hills, I had arranged to
accompany him on this and on subsequent occasions; and I may add, that
for those who both can and will run for miles over the wild tops of
our Highland hills, and who care for hunting and seeing hounds working
when separated from the excitement of hard riding, there are tamer
amusements than accompanying a professional fox-hunter on his rounds.
On this occasion we had some miles to go before there was much chance
of falling in with the object of our search. The wily tods rarely came
down to the low ground, where the house and arable portion of the
farm were situated, preferring to keep among the almost inaccessible
boulders and rocks which strew the surface of many acres on the
hill-tops, from whence during the breeding season they made nightly
raids against the lambs for miles around. In winter, however, the snow
drove them down somewhat, and they took up their quarters in such
low-lying cairns as contained rabbits, which, with an occasional white
hare, seem to form their principal food, until the advent of spring
brings them more easily captured and more toothsome victims. They by no
means, however, confined themselves to any one spot, but moved about
from cairn to cairn; and it was in the hope of getting on the line of
some such prowler and marking him to ground that we were making our
present expedition. A finer morning for hunting of any kind it would
have been impossible to conceive: a warm south-westerly breeze was
blowing, and the air felt more like May than February, while the few
remaining clouds were rapidly disappearing, and the newly-risen sun,
as yet concealed from us by the intervening mountains, was sparkling
on the snow-covered summits of the hills, or pouring down through the
glens in long rays of golden light on to the many lochs and woods
which, intermingled with cultivated fields, formed a belt of lowlands
at our feet stretching to the Western Ocean.

For nearly two hours we pursued our way, mounting higher and higher,
until we reached a broad glen, shut in by very high hills, on which
were some cairns much affected by the foxes. During this time the old
fox-hunter had kept up a continuous stream of talk, quite regardless
of the severity of the ascent, which was such in places as to render
me glad of the excuse afforded by the glorious view below, for a
momentary rest. His theme was foxes, and it may be imagined that after
an experience of nearly fifty years he had a good deal to say worth
listening to on the subject. One anecdote of a cub I remember. He
had been asked by some southern laird to preserve any cubs he could
catch, and to send them south to him for turning out; and one spring he
succeeded in getting three. They were too young at the time of capture
to bear the long journey; but after two months he put the three into
a wooden box, nailed it down, and took it in a cart to the pier, some
twelve miles distant, where the steamer by which he was going to send
them called. A gentleman he met there told him that unless he wished
the cubs to die of suffocation he had better take the top of the box
off and bore breathing-holes in it; and while doing so one of them made
its escape. It was dark at the time; and after a short pursuit he had
to give it up as hopeless, and returned home next morning after sending
off the remaining two. To his astonishment he found the missing cub
comfortably ensconced in its accustomed corner, and was told by his
wife that at eleven the previous evening, just three hours after the
little animal had made its escape, she had heard something scratching
at the door, and on opening it found the cub, much travel-stained and
wet, and evidently very tired, but delighted at reaching home again.
How it managed to find its way on a dark wet night over a road it had
never seen, and had only once traversed shut up in a box at the bottom
of a cart, is one of the mysteries of instinct; a faculty which ought
rather to be ranked with reason.

On entering the glen Ian commenced to cast his hounds, which had
hitherto kept to heel, from side to side; and we had hardly gone a
hundred yards before they began to get busy, and in a few minutes it
was evident they had got on the line of a fox. Knowing the ground
well, we watched them without moving for a little while, until indeed
we felt no doubt as to the particular cairn their quarry had been
making for, and then, as his line had by no means been a direct one,
we had ample time to get above the hounds and, while making our own
way as direct as possible, watch them as they followed him along the
mountain-side. It was pleasant to see them all working together, making
a cast here or a turn there, as they puzzled out the cold scent, their
rich full note every now and again reaching us as one or other of them
was able to 'speak' to it. Winding in and out among the small corries,
but ever rising higher and higher, the tiny pack at last headed direct
for the cairn, close to which we had arrived several minutes before;
and whether the scent was fresher, or they were encouraged by again
seeing us, every hound joined in the musical chorus.

We were standing on a small eminence close by, and as the rich
bell-like notes sounded through the clear air of the mountain-tops, an
old dog-fox with a white-tipped brush stole out, and before Ian could
get his gun up, was well under weigh. I am glad to say that shooting
straight did not form one of the old man's accomplishments, and I saw
his slugs flatten themselves into great white blotches on the face
of a big black rock a couple of yards behind the tod. At the same
instant, with a yell which brought the hounds to my heels, I rushed
after it, and only waiting long enough to see them racing away in full
view, I made for the top of the hill, now not many yards distant. Ian,
notwithstanding old age and white hairs, was already before me, and I
had to run hard before I could get on level terms with him. The chase
was for the time out of sight though not out of hearing; but after a
smart run of half an hour's duration we came to a jutting perpendicular
precipice, forming the angle where a smaller glen joined the main
one, and far below us we could see the hounds racing without a check,
while a careful search of the probable line of the tod revealed him
making the best of his way to a very strong cairn on the hill exactly
opposite to us. Feeling pretty certain that as he had got his mark in
that direction, he would make it his point, we sat down on the brink
of the precipice and watched both pursuers and pursued. The latter was
evidently gaining ground, and seemed to be aware of the fact, as he was
certainly not distressing himself; but the hounds were running so that
literally a sheet would have covered them, and were hunting his line
without even a momentary divergence; so that, however well this strong
hill-fox might have proved, he would have found it no easy matter to
run them out of scent. Five minutes across the glen, and another five
up the opposite hill, sufficed, however, to bring him close to his
stronghold; and secure in the prospect of immediate safety, he had the
coolness to turn round and watch his pursuers as they toiled up behind
him; disappearing from our view the moment after behind the great rock
and boulders which everywhere lay scattered around.

As soon as he did so, we got up and made the best of our way across,
finding the hounds mounting guard on the rock under which he had
disappeared. The cairn he had taken refuge in was the strongest and
largest on the property. A chaotic mass of loose boulders were strewed
one above another among enormous masses of rock over an extent of some
four acres; and so rough was the walking that it was exceedingly
difficult if not absolutely dangerous to attempt to cross it. Rabbits
inhabited it by the thousand, and the whole mass was connected more
or less by passages beneath the surface. Indeed there was nothing to
prevent a fox from taking the ground on one side and bolting perhaps
two hundred yards off on the other; and Ian's first care on arriving
was to take his hounds round outside, to make sure that it had not
done so. Satisfied on this point, he chose a position on one of the
biggest rocks, and after putting his terrier in he retired there, in
readiness to fire if the fox bolted. I remained down below, to follow
as far as practicable the progress of the terrier. The little animal
well knew its work, and plunged in under the rock with the utmost
keenness. A second after, a yelp or two told that it could feel the hot
scent, if it had not reached the fox; but the yelps grew fainter and
fainter, and at last died away. I kept moving about among the boulders,
listening at the rabbit-burrows and crevices of the rocks, and at
last I distinguished the snarl of the terrier, followed at intervals
by distant sounds of tearing and scratching. The combat, however, if
combat it was, was taking place very deep down, and it was impossible
to distinguish what was going on. By degrees also, even these sounds
ceased; and as, after waiting for more than half an hour, they were not
renewed, Ian joined me, and ineffectually called and whistled for his
dog.

After persevering in trying to make out its position for some time, we
at length desisted; and as it was necessary for one of us to go for
assistance in the shape of other terriers and more men, I volunteered
to undertake the task, leaving Ian to guard the cairn during my
absence. A sharp run of an hour took me to the farmhouse, where the
news of our having got a fox in the Gray Rock Cairn soon spread; and
by the time I had bolted a few mouthfuls of breakfast, and got some
grub put up for Ian, I found half-a-dozen men and three times that
number of terriers and collies in readiness to accompany me back. A
little over two hours saw us at the scene of action; and we heard that
nothing had occurred during my absence, except that Ian felt pretty
confident that he had once distinguished the sound of his terrier
scraping. We had brought four others of his up with us, and these he
at once turned in; while every one who owned a dog of the breed put it
into some part of the cairn, and then awaited the result; the collies
meanwhile contemplating the proceedings, sitting on their haunches with
their ears half cocked and their heads a little on one side; pictures
of canine wisdom. The terriers had not been in many minutes before a
regular chorus of yelping commenced, followed by the appearance of one
or two of the less courageous with their tails well tucked in between
their legs, only to receive execrations in guttural Gaelic from their
owners. We now set to work to move some of the smaller boulders; and
at the end of about an hour's hard work, we reached the scene of the
conflict, and found the fox which we had marked to ground, and another,
quite dead.

Great were the rejoicings over the death of these two of the shepherds'
enemies, and loud the praises each man bestowed on his own terrier, if
he was fortunate enough to possess one. In real truth, however, it was
those belonging to Ian which had done the work, as they were put in
first, and not more than three could have reached the fox at one time.

On several other occasions I was out on such-like expeditions from dawn
to an hour or two after dark, during which time we killed six foxes,
one falling a victim to Ian's gun, and the rest meeting their death
in fair fight with one or two terriers; as except on the occasion I
have just related, I do not remember more than the latter number being
turned in at once. We also had some capital runs with the hounds; and
whatever may be the opinion of the legitimate fox-hunter, I can assure
him he may have worse sport than a day on foot among our Highland hills.

    W. H. D.



SMUGGLING IN ITS DROLL ASPECTS.


The Custom-house, London, although it figures in almanacs in the list
of 'places of public amusement,' is by no means a cheerful building.
Situated in the extremely busy and dirty thoroughfare called Lower
Thames Street, next door to Billingsgate Market, far-famed for good
fish and choice language, it has few attractions for those who are not
compelled by business needs to enter its portal. Here is nothing but
noisy activity. Merchants' clerks, porters, car-men, and the numberless
beings who form the rank and file of a vast commercial centre, elbow
each other as they push through the ever swinging doors in their
anxiety to get their business transacted.

Occasionally a knot of country people may be met with in the
'Long-room' staring about them in the fruitless search after anything
in the shape of entertainment; but with these exceptions the place is
given up to business. If these visitors were able to find their way to
the Museum, they would there see much to both interest and astonish
them; but this part of the building is perhaps necessarily withheld
from the general public, for there seems in the busy hive so much for
everybody to do, that drones in the shape of sight-seers would hardly
be welcome.

Yet, the Custom-house contains a museum of real curiosities--memorials
of attempts at smuggling. Various causes have contributed to the
decline of contrabandism as a means of livelihood, chief among which
are the necessary reductions and alterations in the Customs tariff
since the adoption in this country of free-trade principles. When
such valuable and portable articles as watches and lace were heavily
taxed, the temptation to secrete them was naturally very common. At
the same period too the duty on spirits was about five times as much
as its intrinsic worth, and therefore this class of goods afforded a
rich harvest to the successful smuggler. Things are changed now, for
lace and watches are duty free, and the tax upon spirits has been
reduced considerably more than one half. Tobacco and spirits, owing
perhaps to the universal demand for them, have always, above other
things, met with the smuggler's particular regard; and such cases
as now come before our police magistrates are generally confined to
these two articles. A matter-of-fact heavy fine and confiscation of
the surreptitious goods, is the usual result of conviction; and the
smuggler--which our childhood's fancy painted as a brave hero fighting
the myrmidons of an oppressive government in some wild cave on the
sea-shore--is quietly walked off to prison until he can pay the
forfeit. 'The Smuggler's Cave' still remains; for with that clinging
fondness for the traditions of past times, it is the fashion to dignify
any natural crevice in our cliffs with that title; but now the modern
policeman steps upon the scene, and poetical ideas vanish with the
sound of his creaking contract boots.

The chief evidence of smuggling as it has existed within the present
century is furnished by certain articles which have been seized from
time to time, and which are now lodged in the Custom-house Museum. It
is to this Museum that we now intend to direct our readers' attention,
and more especially to a certain large cabinet in the corner of the
room, the contents of which supply a title to this paper. The first
thing which is pointed out to us is a ship's 'fender,' which we may
remind our readers is a block of wood with a rope attached slung over
the bows to prevent the abrasion which might be caused by contact
with another vessel. This particular fender was found to be hollow,
and to contain several pounds of compressed tobacco. The officer who
thought of looking for the soothing weed in such a receptacle must
have been an extremely 'cute individual. But here is a still more
extraordinary hiding-place, and one which must have involved a journey
aloft for its detection--a ship's block, the sheave or wheel of which
is actually made of solid tobacco. Here is an ornamental pedestal
which once adorned the corner of a captain's cabin, and would perhaps
adorn it still, had it not been found gorged with contraband cigars.
Another commander appears to have been a more moderate smoker, for he
was content with only two pounds of cheroots, which were found inside
a sham loaf on his breakfast table. Here we have a number of cigars
knotted singly on a string, like the tail of a kite; these were dropped
between the inner and outer timbers of a ship's side; whilst holes
drilled in the ends of an egg-box furnish lodging for several more.

A broomstick does not seem at first sight to offer much room for
concealment, but here is one which, accidentally broken, revealed a
core of that rope-like commodity known to those who chew the weed,
as 'pigtail.' Cakes of tobacco formed to fit into the sole of a boot
shew another ingenious mode of disposal. But the prize for inventive
talent must certainly be awarded to the clever rascal who compressed
snuff into slabs, and stamped them to exactly imitate the oil-cakes on
which cattle are fattened. Whether the discovery of the deception was
owing to moral objections on the part of some experienced cow to chew
anything stronger than cud does not transpire; but the real nature of
the food was somehow ascertained, and what might have proved the staple
of a lucrative trade, was transformed into the original dust from which
it sprung.

The stewardess of a Jersey steamer is the next delinquent who comes
before our notice. On various occasions the petticoat has been found to
be a useful auxiliary to the smuggler, and the one which was taken from
this lady sufficiently proves the truth of our remark, for twenty-seven
pounds of tobacco were hidden in its folds. Two more garments of the
same nature contained respectively eighteen and twenty pounds of
cigars; whilst another, with the help of a number of fish-bladders
hanging from the waistband, was charged with several gallons of
brandy. Bladders of cognac have also been found attached to a ship's
keel several feet under water. It is to be presumed that the discovery
of these last was not made in the Thames, the water of that river not
being celebrated for its transparency. Artificial lobster-pots thrown
overboard with corks attached, also afford favourite receptacles for
various articles. Another stewardess, in this case belonging to a
Rotterdam boat, did a little ostensible trading in pigeons. Here is the
box in which they were caged, constructed with a false bottom, below
which were hidden a few pounds of Cavendish. It is a question whether
birds ever before so well deserved to be called _carrier_ pigeons. The
journey to Rotterdam is but a short one, so that although this lady
did not indulge in such wholesale doings as her sister of Jersey, she
worked on the principle that 'many a little makes a mickle.' Here is
an apparently well-bound volume which a studious individual carried
under his arm during the transaction of his daily business at one of
the docks. It was found to be made of glass, moulded into the form of a
book, and covered with leather. That it was a work of much spirit was
proved from the fact that it was full of _eau de vie_. Another book is
exhibited, the leaves of which are punched through with round holes
from cover to cover, for the reception of watches.

We are told that the detection of most of these contrivances for
concealing goods about the person has been due to the nervous
trepidation of the delinquents themselves; an apt illustration of
Hamlet's words: 'Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.' It would
seem an almost impossible task to secrete one hundred and forty-seven
watches in a single garment, but nevertheless one individual succeeded
in doing so. Unfortunately he found a difficulty in sitting down, and
the continued fatigue of keeping his feet during a long voyage so
told upon his nerves, that fancying he was detected and watched, he
gave himself up to justice, literally clothed in his own confusion.
Here we have four tin boxes about an inch in depth and about two feet
square, having a capacity of four and a half gallons, which, filled
with spirit, were found hidden below the clothing in a passenger's
boxes. But the latest contribution to the Museum is a small quantity
of treacle-like fluid labelled 'Nicotine Poison.' This is a sample of
a consignment lately received from Hamburg, and politely returned to
the port of shipment, by order of the Customs Board. It is imagined
that some enterprising genius had it in his mind to convert by its
aid the refuse leaves of the British cabbage into Havana cigars. We
have already had experience of Hamburg sherry and Hamburg butter, and
doubtless the Customs Commissioners had these commodities in view when
they rejected the persuasive overtures of the narcotic in question.

Besides the things which we have enumerated, there are various articles
of interest in this Museum. Several curious old prints, shewing what
the Custom-house was like in the days when the London suburbs were
little villages, separated from the city by some miles of meadow-land.
It was then the practice of the Commissioners to ride or drive to
their duties, and stable accommodation was therefore a necessary
adjunct of the premises. Here too are shewn the dies used when each
outport had its own particular seal--this was years ago, before the
telegraphs and railways had so effectually lessened their distance from
London. 'Leverpoole' was then a creek attached to the port of Chester;
on the other hand, many towns which have now sunk into comparative
insignificance, were then flourishing sea-ports of great commercial
activity. Some curious records relative to the payment of officers
are also well worth attention. Here we learn, by marginal notes, that
certain unfortunate beings are to be deprived of their salaries, 'they
being Papists;' whilst one is mulcted of his due because 'his wife
is now or was lately a Papist.' These notes were written in the year
previous to that which saw the landing of the Prince of Orange, and
they form a singularly terse comment upon the state of public feeling
which led to that event. The world is now nearly two hundred years
older, and has grown more tolerant. We cannot say that it has become
honest; but for the reasons already given, it is not likely that many
additions will be made to the curiosities of Smuggling.



THE MONTH:

SCIENCE AND ARTS.


The Royal Agricultural Society's _Journal_, No. 25, recently published,
abounds with information likely to interest other persons as well as
farmers. There is a good account of the implements exhibited at the
Philadelphia Centennial Show, in which many clever contrivances are
described, among them not a few shewing that Canada is by no means
deficient in inventive ingenuity. Dr Voelcker in his experiments
on roots explains that swedes when allowed to sprout a second time
transfer two-thirds of their solid substance to their tops or leaves;
and he calls attention to a series of experiments carried on in France
which lead to the conclusion that 'roots mature more readily when
planted closer, and often yield a heavier crop per acre, than when
they are planted too widely apart.' In his chemical report the doctor
exposes the trickery used in the manufacture of oil-cake, and says
that he has 'considered it his duty to refer to these matters because
he knows that mal-practices of cake crushers and dealers are again
gradually extending all over England.' Then comes an article on the
use and value of straw as food, which will surprise most readers; and
next we find a Report on analysis of butter drawn up for the Board
of Inland Revenue, in which the reporters state that the more butter
is washed and kneaded to expel the curd the better will it be; and
that 'while some of the finest and best prepared butters undergo
little or no change, there is in others a gradual disappearance of the
characteristic principles of butter, and a consequent assimilation to
the constitution of an ordinary animal fat. This change, which appears
to be due to an incipient fermentation, and is generally accompanied
by the development of fungi, is probably caused either by the use of
sour cream or by insufficient care in making the butter.' We only add
the remark that the souring of butter is more frequently caused by
negligence in washing out the milk properly than anything else.

This seems the place to mention that a reward of three hundred
marks has been offered by the Pharmaceutical Union of Leipzig for
the discovery of a sure and practical method for the detection of
the adulteration of butter by other fatty substances. The competing
descriptions are to be sent in before September 30 of the present year.

Another article in the _Journal_, by the Rev. Canon Brereton, sets
forth the advantages offered by Cavendish College, Cambridge, as
bearing on the education of agriculturists. 'The time and the cost,' he
says, 'of a three years' residence in College, after the school course
is finished, have been considered incompatible with the obligations
both of learning and earning, in the business of a farm.' But the
reform of schools and the establishment of local examinations have 'not
only made the general school preparation itself much more effective
for after-life, but have admitted the possibility of adding to the
school the further advantage of a college course, and this within the
university, and in permanent connection, therefore, with the highest
education of the country. In short, many a lad of fifteen or sixteen
who has been taught in a good school has it quite in his reach to take
a university degree at eighteen or nineteen, and then enter on his
professional studies and duties with all the advantages of a completed
education. To secure practically this important result, and to offer to
such lads the best university instruction, with suitable protection and
associates, and at a very moderate cost, the new Cavendish College is
now being founded in Cambridge.'

In a recent _Month_ (_ante_ 270) we mentioned an exhaust nozzle for
quieting the noise of safety-valves and escape-pipes. This nozzle
has since been described in the _Journal of the Franklin Institute_
(Philadelphia). It consists of a spiral coil of wire so compressed as
to leave a slight space between the individual turns of the coil. This
when properly adjusted is fitted into the end of the escape-pipe: the
steam rushes out; but instead of communicating its vibrations to the
air, communicates them to the coil. 'As, however, the individual turns
of the coil cannot vibrate to any considerable extent without coming in
contact with the adjacent ones, interference occurs to such an extent
that the vibrations are _not_ transmitted to the air.'

This useful invention (Shaw's Spiral Exhaust Nozzle) has been reported
on by a Committee of the Institute, who in concluding their very
favourable Report, recommend the grant of a premium and a medal to the
inventor, and remark: 'In view of the annoyance, fright, and danger
arising from the roar of escaping steam, and of the completeness with
which the nozzle destroys this roar, we are of the opinion that Mr
Shaw has done a great service to the community, and particularly to
the transportation interests, in overcoming an obnoxious and dangerous
feature in the use of steam.' The nozzle, we are informed, has already
been largely adopted in America. Shall we have long to wait for its
introduction here? People who dwell in the neighbourhood of factories
and thousands of travellers, are ready to give it a welcome.

Steam-power for tramways instead of horse-power continues to be a
subject of experiment, with a view to prevent noise and escape of
steam, so that passengers may not be deafened nor horses frightened.
It was stated at a meeting of the Institution of Civil Engineers, that
the best form of tramway is that which has the rails laid on continuous
wooden sleepers, and that there will not be so great a saving as is
commonly supposed by using steam instead of horses, for the repairs of
the engines will be a heavy item of expense, and the engine-fitters and
drivers will require high wages. Some inventors dispense with steam and
make use of compressed air; and mention was made of 'a pneumatic car
designed by Mr Scott Moncrieff which had been at work on the Yale of
Clyde tramways. It carries one hundred cubic feet of air at a pressure
of three hundred and fifty pounds on the square inch; and considering
that everything about it was of a rough and temporary character, the
success obtained was encouraging.' As regards capability, we are told
that 'on the level, and on gradients up to one in thirty, engines can
do all that is necessary. But the engine has yet to be designed which
will stop and start again, with a heavy car behind it, on any steeper
inclination without trouble and delay.'

On the other side of the Atlantic, a different conclusion has been
arrived at, for, as stated in the _Journal of the Franklin Institute_,
a steam tramway engine has been tried in Baltimore which, with a
load of a hundred passengers, can be easily stopped and started on a
gradient of seven feet in the hundred, or nearly three hundred and
seventy feet per mile. It drew the same load through snow and slush
ten inches deep, when four horses were required to draw an ordinary
car. This engine weighs sixteen thousand pounds. On suburban roads
it travels at from twelve to eighteen miles an hour. Compared with a
two-horse car, it shews, in its working expenses, a saving of five
hundred and fifty-eight dollars in a year. The power of traction is,
however, of less importance than the absence of smoke and of noise from
the steam that is employed. Several good specimens of smokeless and
noiseless tramway engines have been shewn in this country.

A horseshoe which is described as 'partaking of the moccasin and also
of the sandal' has been brought into use at Philadelphia for street
traffic, with, as is said, satisfactory results. It is hollow on the
under side, and the hollow is filled by a piece of tarred rope, which
by deadening concussion, lessens the severity of the horse's labour and
the wear of the paving-stones. This shoe is put on cold, and requires
not more than six nails to hold it in place. Something has been heard
too of a shoe made of compressed sole leather chemically treated, which
is lighter and more lasting than iron shoes; but of this we have as
yet no particulars. Lightness should be a recommendation; for if a set
of shoes weigh two pounds and a horse trots one step every second, he
will lift one hundred and twenty pounds in a minute; from which the
sum-total of weight lifted in a day's work may be calculated. When
farriers and all people who keep horses shall have some real knowledge
of a horse's foot, then proper horseshoes may be expected to come into
general use.

Mr Outerbridge of Philadelphia has succeeded in producing by
precipitation gold-leaf so thin that with a single grain he can cover
nearly four feet of surface. Nearly three million of such films would
be required to make an inch in thickness. The films are not, as might
be supposed, patchy, but are perfectly whole and continuous: they are
also transparent, and serve to illustrate the green appearance of gold
under transmitted light.

A good example of the economy of fuel effected by the use of compound
cylinders is to be seen in Cherry's Compound Steam-pumping Engine,
which has been recently exhibited at Birmingham and at Falmouth. With
four pounds of coal hourly for each horse-power, this engine, when
fixed in a mine, will force water from a depth of more than a thousand
feet; and it is of course applicable to overground work as well as
underground work. The characteristics, as described in the Report of
the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, are 'extreme simplicity, the
reduction of friction to a minimum, thorough efficiency of expansion;'
and the entire cost of the engine will be less than the cost of the
foundations for an ordinary pumping-engine.--With this may be noticed
Stevens' patent underground Hauling Engine, which is so compact that it
may be placed almost anywhere in a mine, requires no foundation, may be
spiked to a piece of timber or wedged to the roof, and is not affected
by the moving of the floor, which is not unfrequent in mines. Another
advantage is, that it requires but a few hours to get it into working
order, and may be driven by steam or compressed air at pleasure.

A common objection to ordinary fireplaces is too much of the heat
wasted up the chimney, and various contrivances have been tried to
prevent this waste, one of which was an iron plate instead of bars for
the bottom of the grate. An improvement on this is Wavish's patent
Coal Economiser, which has a hollow-pierced cylinder rising from the
middle of the plate. The air entering the cylinder from below the
grate is thus conveyed at once into the centre of the fire, and the
heat, instead of rushing up the chimney in undue quantity, is diffused
into the room, and coal is economised. The perfection of combustion
is achieved when, instead of feeding the cylinder with the vitiated
air of the room, it is fed by a pipe communicating with the external
air. And further, we are informed that 'if a bag of camphor or other
disinfectant is hung on the cylinder, the scent is driven into the
apartment;' and thus any room in a house may be perfumed, disinfected,
or ventilated by this contrivance, when properly fitted.

Among recent patents is one granted to Professor Sir William Thomson
for 'improvements in navigational deep-sea soundings.' With this
apparatus a sounding can be taken without stopping the progress of
the vessel, which is in itself an important advantage. The depth is
indicated by appearances in a glass tube, which shew what portion
has been occupied by air while under pressure beneath the water. A
Frenchman has invented a sounding apparatus which consists of an
india-rubber bag filled with mercury communicating with a valved
metallic chamber. The pressure of the water forces the mercury into the
chamber, and the quantity therein denotes the depth.

Hitherto the electric light, though a brilliant and powerful substitute
for sunshine, has resisted the attempts made to bring it into general
use. Clockwork has been required to keep the carbon points always
the same distance apart, and as carbon wastes by burning, there was
too often failure on the part of the wheels. But now Mr Jablochkoff,
a Russian military officer, has discovered a way of overcoming the
difficulty. His source of light being a magneto-electric machine,
strong enough to produce, say, twenty minor lights, he connects the
points where these are to be placed with the principal machine by
means of wires. At each of those points he fixes an 'electric candle,'
composed of two strips of carbon, and a central strip of a fusible and
insulating substance described as kaolin. The current flowing from the
machine passes up one of the carbon strips of the first candle, appears
as a steady light at top, passes down the other strip, and so on to
each candle in succession, and returns to the machine from the last
of the series. The candles burn about an hour; but as four are fitted
to each lamp, and take light one after the other, an uninterrupted
illumination of four hours is thus provided for.

This method has been tried with approbation in Paris, and in London at
the West India Docks. Gas appeared dull and feeble by contrast, and the
onlookers came to the conclusion that by aid of the electric light the
loading or unloading of ships could be readily carried on at night.
A further advantage is, that the light is portable, and can be taken
without danger into the hold of a vessel. Thus by subdividing a single
current and leading each division to a 'candle,' it seems that the
question of utilising the electric light is likely to be solved.

Mr C. Meldrum, F.R.S., Director of the Observatory at Mauritius,
devotes much time to observation and discussion of sun-spots, rainfall,
and cyclones. After carefully considering and comparing observations
made in all parts of the world, he finds them corroborated by those of
his own locality, and that there is a decided and apparently persistent
difference between the rainfall of the period of most sun-spots and of
fewest sun-spots: the law being, the more spots the more rain. He finds
further, that the increase and decrease have recurrent periods, that
there are cycles of rainfall, of sun-spots, and of cyclones; and he
remarks: 'Although the question has been brought forward simply by way
of hypothesis, yet it appears to me that, on the whole, the evidence
in favour of a connection between sun-spots, cyclones, and rainfall,
is so strong that any doubts or uncertainty that may now exist will
soon be dispelled.... The hypothesis does not require that the years of
fewest spots must necessarily be years of drought, and those of most
spots necessarily years of torrential rains over the whole earth. It
merely requires that the rainfall of the globe should be subject to a
variation having a period of the same length as the sun-spot period.
Observation shews, however, that the years of fewest sun-spots are
those in which severe droughts are most to be feared.'

'It would be a hopeless task,' continues Mr Meldrum, 'to try to
convince those who judge of the matter only by their sensations, that
less rain falls over the globe in some years than in others. Great
floods and great droughts, especially floods, make deep impressions
on the mind, particularly on the minds of those who may have suffered
from them. If in a certain year a man was ruined by a succession of
floods, and in another by a succession of droughts, it might be hard
to persuade him that, generally, the former was a remarkably dry year,
and the latter a remarkably wet one. The opinions of people who trust
to their sensations in a question of this kind, are swayed from side to
side by every change of weather. It is only by taking annual averages
for many places and many years that the truth comes out.'

Papers bearing on this question were read during the past session
at the Royal Society, shewing that by careful observation of the
periodical phenomena above mentioned, it would be possible to foretell
and provide against the calamitous seasons of famine which occur in
India. This would indeed be a beneficent application of physical
science; but the results of observation are not yet sufficiently
definite. General Strachey, F.R.S., read a paper to prove, by a
negative process, that 'there has been no sufficient evidence adduced
of any periodicity at all.' Thus the question remains open to further
observation and argument, of which there will be no lack; but we may
anticipate that a profitable direction will be given to both by the
new Council appointed by the Treasury to govern the Meteorological
Office. This Council comprises the Hydrographer of the Admiralty, and
five Fellows of the Royal Society eminently qualified to deal with
scientific questions and direct the work of the Office.



A FIJIAN TRAGEDY.


The following sad story is correct in its details; it occurred within
the writer's ken, and may serve to illustrate how English civilisation
and laws affect the Fijian mind and mode of thought. About four years
ago Ravuso Ioni was the principal chief of Waia, one of a group of
islands the most westerly in Fiji, called the Yasawas. About that time
the parvenu Fijian government had just been formed; and we planters and
natives were blessed with a travesty of English laws and institutions
down in the Yasawas: one of our planters was made a warden, a
court-house was established, and a posse of native police sent down.
It need hardly be said that these proceedings were a mystery to the
natives; and even close to Levuka, the more enlightened of them could
at first hardly be brought to understand the idea of any government.
At all events, Ravuso troubled himself very little about the new
_nata-ni-tu_, as the government was called by the natives, but carried
on in the old Fijian style of his fathers. Now there was a young man
in Waia who made love to all the young girls; and not content with
that, he also paid his attentions to the married women. The Fijians
are a jealous lot; and by-and-by a mob of angry husbands complained
of this young fellow to their chief Ravuso, who, with the advice of
the old men in full council, decided that this gay lover was to be
buturaka-ed, or turkey tramped as we whites call it. This buturaka-ing
is an institution peculiar to Fiji. The unfortunate is knocked down;
and the natives dance and jump on him until he is insensible and nearly
dead. A man seldom recovers thoroughly from a good, or rather a bad,
buturaka-ing.

Some, doubtless, of the jealous husbands or their friends were among
the party that buturaka-ed the gay deceiver, because they carried out
their orders so well that in three weeks after the young fellow died
from the effects.

In the old times, most of us whites and natives would have said: 'Serve
him right,' and the matter would have ended. But now there was law
in the land; our warden was just appointed, and, new-broomish-like,
ordered the arrest of Ravuso. After some trouble, he was coaxed to
surrender, and was confined at Somo-Somo, awaiting trial. Nothing so
puzzles a Fijian as the slow procedure of our English law; and poor
Ravuso pined in prison. So one day he asked his _Ban_ (jailers) to be
allowed a walk: they accompanied him; and all sat down under a large
ivi tree. After a time the chief proposed to get some ivis, and climbed
the tree for the purpose. When he got to the top, he called out to his
astonished guards that he was going to throw himself down headlong.
'Tell your white judge,' said he, 'that I am a chief and the son of a
chief; that I can't survive the disgrace of being imprisoned like a
felon; that the punishment given to the man of mine was just--he was a
bad man; that I am a chief, and had a right to punish him vaka-viti'
(after the manner of Fiji). So saying, he threw himself down, broke his
back, and died shortly afterwards.

In a day or two the news of the chief's death reached Waia, and a wail
went up from each little village embowered in its cocoa-nut grove, for
the death of their 'Turaga,' as they call their chiefs. His wife, Lau
Wai (to strike water as in fishing), and young daughter (fifteen years
only) made up their minds that their chief should not go unaccompanied
to Hades, but have some one to cook and look after him there. So one
night they tied a rope between two trees, twisted it round their necks,
and so strangled themselves after the old Fijian fashion. These people
had been Christians ten years, but evidently believed in their old
traditions still. Our warden was not a bad fellow, and I believe the
unfortunate result of his first attempt at enforcing English law among
the natives caused him many a pang.

And now the sad tale of the death of this unfortunate Waia chief and
his family is told in many a Fijian hamlet, in the cool evenings, as
the sun goes down under the shade of the lofty ivis and cocoa-nut
trees; and the women and children hear with a thrill of the power of
that mysterious mata-ni-tu whose action hurled a Fijian chief from his
high estate, and sent him and his devoted wife and daughter prematurely
before the face of their Maker.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Conductors of CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL beg to direct the attention of
CONTRIBUTORS to the following notice:

    _1st._ All communications should be addressed to the 'Editor,
    339 High Street, Edinburgh.'

    _2d._ To insure the return of papers that may prove ineligible,
    postage-stamps should in every case accompany them.

    _3d._ Manuscripts should bear the author's full CHRISTIAN name,
    surname, and address, legibly written.

    _4th._ MS. should be written on one side of the leaf only.

    _5th._ Poetical offerings should be accompanied by an envelope,
    stamped and directed.

_Unless Contributors comply with the above rules, the Editor cannot
undertake to return ineligible papers._

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, 47 Paternoster Row, LONDON,
and 339 High Street, EDINBURGH.

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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