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I'll expunge what might point at your sister or wife,-
The Giant smiled grimly: he could'nt quite see
What difference there was on the face of the earth,
And his taking the same thing in that money's worth.
But to please him he wrote; and the business was done :
The MEMOIRS were purchased by Longman and Co.
W. GYNGELL, Showman, Bartholomew Fair.
RECENT EXCURSION TO MOUNT VESUVIUS.
WE left Naples about eleven A. posed to light, and one chaotic spot
M., and having arrived at Resina, we mounted asses, and after a long ride during torrents of rain, reached the hermitage on the side of the hill at one o'clock. The road so far is very rugged, with many detached fragments of lava; but the great bed of the latter is now resuming marks of slight verdure. The habitation of the monks itself is placed on a projection from the mountain, of tufa rock, formed in 1779 by the eruption, and lies so towards the crater, that, though the lava flows on both sides, the eminence itself is left untouched. When we arrived here the weather appeared to be clearing, and, as we had plenty of time to ascend and see the sun set from the top, we remained some time with the holy fathers, and the afternoon answered our expectations. When almost fair, we set off and pursued our way on asses towards the cone. Our road (if such it could be called) lay over an extensive bed of lava, partly formed in 1822. A more deso late scene can scarcely be conceived; rugged, rising grounds, with craggy dells between, all formed of this hard, black, monotonous, and frightfully romantic lava; the very Tartarus on earth, whether we imagine it burning with sheets of liquid fire, unquenchable by human means, and rolling down its dread resistless tide, or whether we see its wide convulsive remains, its indescribably horrid, desolate, uninhabitable aspect. It seems as if the elements of nature were ex
left amidst the richness of creation. Passing this dreary tract, we reached the bottom of the cone at half-past two, where we left our beasts and ascended on foot. It is composed of productions of the volcano itself, and the exterior is quite coated with loose cinders, which render the ascent very laborious, as you often sink back till you are above the ancle in these loose materials. I ascended it in forty minutes. When we reached the brink of the crater, we found it full of smoke and fumes, while the strongest sulphureous smells prevailed. We rested and refreshed ourselves for some time in a hot crevice, where we left several eggs to roast, and then advanced round the south brink of the abyss, and had a tolerably easy walk for about half its circumference, during which we heard occasionally noises like thunder proceeding from rocks every now and then giving way from the sides in vast masses, whose fall is reverberated and renewed by the echoes of the vast cavern. At length the edge of the crater grew much lower, forming a gap in the side of the cone next to Pompeii, which we first descended, and then scrambled inwards towards the centre of the mountain, being a fall on the whole of 1,000 feet.
In this gulf nature presented herself under a new form, and all was unlike the common state of things. We were, in truth, in the bowels of the earth, where her internal riches
are displayed in the wildest manner. The steep we had descended was composed of minerals of the most singular, yet beautiful description. The heavy morning rains were rising in steam in all directions, and had already awakened each sulphureous crevice, while almost every chink in the ground was so hot, that it was impossible to keep the hand the least time upon it. But this sensation was in unison with the objects around; the great crater of the volcano opening its convulsed jaws before you, where the rude lava was piled in every varied form in alternate layers with pozzulana and cinders. Below us the newly-formed crater was pouring forth its steamy clouds, and at every growl which labouring nature gave from below, these volumes burst forth with renewed fury. At our feet, and on every side, were deep beds of yellow sulphur, varying in color from the deepest red orange, occasioned by ferruginous, mixture, to the palest straw-colour, where alum predominated; and beside these, white depositions of great extent and depth, which are lava decomposed by heat, and in a state of great softness. Contrasted with these productions of beauty, we find the sterner formations of black and purple porphyry, which occasionally assume the scarlet hue from the extreme action of heat; add to this the sombre grey lava, and that of a green colour glittering throughout with micaceous particles, with the deep brown volcanic ashes, and you will have a combination which, for grandeur and singularity must be almost
MY FOUR FRIENDS.
THERE is a dreamy, melancholy mood of thought into which the mind sometimes steals without any perceptible reason for it; a sort of voluntary trance, in which the spirit resigns its activity, but retains its
unparalleled. It is singular enough, that, among so many sulphureous fires, we should have suffered from pinching cold. At the lowest point to which we went, the thermometer stood at 43 10-2. We employed ourselves for a considerable time in collecting the finest specimens we could obtain of the above-mentioned minerals. We then retraced our steps in this descent, which proved considerably laborious; and after gaining the top, visited a crevice a litthe way down on the outside of the cone, opened within the last forty days, which, though about one finger broad, and not much longer, admits a current of air so tremendously heated, that, on laying a bunch of ferns quite wet with the morning's rain, upon it, they speedily were in a blaze. Resuming the edge on the summit, we returned the way we came to the top of the descending path, and on our way saw the sun set in a very splendid manner, illuminating the distant islands of Ischia and Procida, the point of Misenum, and the bay of Baie, with his last rays. Having eaten our eggs, we descended the cone; being rather dark I made no particular haste; but on a former occasion I went down the cone with great satisfaction in four minutes. Had there been fewer stones I could easily have gone quicker. We left the top about half-past five, and having taken our cold dinner the hermitage, we descended to Resina by torch light, and reached Naples safely at half-past eight o'clock.
consciousness, and floats passively up and down the stream of time and humanity. There is a luxury in this state of mind, of which every one has tasted more or less. To the busy and active, it is the spirit's bed of
A small crater burst out in the bottom of the large one on the morning of the 18th. This excursion was on the 21st of November.
down; to the lonely, deep-thinking, and imaginative man, it is the passage to scenes of inconceivable loveliness, shadowy, and indistinct, and dim, but dropping with the rich dews of a most perfect harmony. But the awakening from this dream is painful in proportion to the intensity of its impressions. We feel the walls of mortality closing round us with a sensation of suffering; the realities and circumstances of life arrange themselves as barriers to our enchanted palace; the past, with its mellowed sacred beauty, is lost under the glare of day; and we hear a thousand voices telling us, that, while our hearts seemed to see their holiest remembrances become instinct with life and form, they were but in a vain and unprofitable dream.
The last night of the old year found me in the mood I have been describing, but there was pain and regret mixed up with the sensations it produced; visions floated around me that had but just escaped from my grasp, and the unreal had been too lately a part of the present and the palpable to let me enjoy it in reverie. We can look steadily and calmly back on the far off waves of life; but we shrink from watching them, when they are still bearing the wrecks of our lives and enjoyments. I felt that it would be wiser to escape from my lonely thoughts; and, seeing the clear bright moonlight glittering through my window, I but toned myself up, and sallied out for a ramble. I had not, however, gone far, when a dense fog arose, my path became hardly discernible, and the thick heavy dew dripped off my hat as in a steady shower of rain. There was no alternative, but either to stay out and get unimaginably wet, or return back to my solitary study, to neither of which I could reconcile myself; the one threatening me, in plain sober language, with a most unsophisticated cough all the winter, and the other with something worse. I remembered, however, that there was more than one fireside at which I should be a welcome
guest, and I accordingly determined on paying a short visit to some of my most domesticated acquaintances.
The house I first made for was that of an excellent man, who had formerly been in business; but, having had a property left him by a relative, had for some time been liv ing in the enjoyment of independence. He had been twice married, and by his former wife had three daughters, who were grown up, and still living with him. His present wife, to whom he had been married little more than a twelvemonth, was only a year or two older than his eldest daughter, and had been introduced to the father as her particular friend. I soon found myself at the house of my old acquaintance, and in the warm, comfortable drawingroom, where I had often spent the winter evening before his present marriage. Since this event, I had seldom made so unceremonious a visit, and every little alteration, therefore, in the arrangements of the family party, became at once visible. When I formerly spent my evenings there, the place itself seemed fitted to fill every one who entered it with all comfortable feelings. There was that warmth and quietness which make an essential part in the idea of a happy home. There was no sound that could disturb the soft repose of the spirit as it retired into its sanctuary, and no object that could recal any thing but images of peace and content. My friend used to be seated in his arm-chair, undisturbedly reading the paper, or attending to one of his daughters, who would sometimes persuade him into hearing a novel read, while those who were unemployed thus would be busied in performing some little task which their filial affection had set them. There was now a considerable alteration in their fire-side arrangements. The two eldest daughters were seated at a work-table, drawn into one corner of the room, and, by their close and half-whispered conversation, showed there was some little division of family confi
dence. The younger sat reading to herself by the fire; and my friend, half bending out of his arm-chair, with his placid features considerably excited by anxiety, was watching the feeding of a baby, who shrieked, to the utmost capacity of its lungs, every time the nurse took the spoon from its mouth. Opposite to him sat his wife, lolling easily in her chair, and evincing infinitely less perturbation, but every now and then casting a look at her husband, which seemed to me to express anything rather than reverence for his fatherly looks. Truly did my words stick in my throat as I wished the party a happy new year; but, fortunately for me, my friend having entered into an edifying discussion with his wife on teething and sore mouths, ended by determining instantly to go out, and purchase the last new work on the diseases of children, and advice to new married people.
Out, accordingly, we went. We had before rambled together in the evening, and long and pleasantly amused ourselves with its mixture of merriment and repose, or ruminated, in the philanthropy of our hearts, on the misery behind its curtain; but, alas! my companion was no longer the same man. Instead of the firm and somewhat strutting step with which he formerly walked, he hastened on with a quick, shuffling pace and stooping gait, that bespoke the confirmed old man. Heaven keep me, thought I, as I parted with him, from pouring the dregs of my winecup into another's full and sparkling bowl!
I next bethought me of an acquaintance whom I cordially esteemed, but whose habits of close retirement, and peculiar turn of mind, deprived him of those companionable qualities which I then felt most in need of. I was sure, however, of finding his fire-side the same as it was when I last visited it, and this was enough to determine my course. The house I was now approaching was a small, two-storied tenement, situated at the corner of an obscure
street, and only different from the rest in the neighbourhood by having a rapper on the door, and an appearance of superior cleanliness. I found my friend at home, as I never remember not doing, and seated with his wife before a fire, which, though occupying scarcely half the depth of the stove, shone bright and cheerfully over the clean swept hearth. This solitary couple, though still in their youth, had been married some years, and had already enough of trial and affliction to separate them from the world, and drive them like frightened birds to the shelter of their nest. They had married from a romantic and almost self-abandoning attachment, for they neither of them possessed the means of increasing the pittance which my friend inherited from his father; but their love was all-sufficient for their happiness. It had defied the worldliness of every other passion; and in their quiet little home they had learnt a philosophy of the heart, which, after all, is stronger in its meek, yielding tenderness, than the purest stoicism that ever existed. I felt my spirits grow sober as I drew my chair nearer to the fire, and as I listened to their conversation, as cheerful as their solitude and subdued hopes could let it be.
The next friend I visited was one of long, long standing,--the friend of my boyish days, of the years whose history is written on the holiest page of memory; she was the dearest one I had, for she had been the companion of my far absent mother, the long constant companion of her whose name always brings back to my ear all the sweet music I had ever heard. She was a widow, and her fireside had the deep quietness, the peaceful, but too solitary air of one that had lost its accustomed circle of happy faces. The old lady was closely engaged in reading; a large favourite cat sat at her feet; and the whole apartment was full of winter comfort. But she was alone, and she felt her loneliness; for, with the vain effort of a hurt mind to
amuse itself with shadows, I saw she had placed the chair, in which her husband used to sit, with scrupulous exactness in its accustomed position; a handkerchief was thrown over one of the arms, and a favourite volume lay open on the cushion. We began to talk, and soon were we far back in the vale of years. Time had read a moral to us both, but she only had learnt it. I sighed as I wished her good night. There is a loneliness in the house of a widow, and a melancholy in her resignation, which I have never witnessed without a feeling too deep to mix well with the lighter fancies of my mind. I tried, but I could not say, a happy new year."
It was now growing late: I had, however, but one more friend to visit, and his house was on my way home. I was soon there, and, as I entered, I was greeted with a dozen voices, all sweet and silvery as the tones of a flute, and only breaking their bird-like harmony by the hearty, unrestrained laugh that burst from their free bosoms. It was a happy scene; the large, old-fashioned parlour, with a fire blazing away as if it knew it was a Christmas fire; the crowd of happy boys and girls making a festival by their very presence, and the delighted-looking pa
HOW OW beautiful are all the subdivisions of Time diversifying the dream of human life, as it glides away between earth and heaven! And why should moralists mourn over that mutability that gives the chief charm to all that passes so transitorily before our eyes, leaving image upon image fairer and dearer far than even the realities, still visible and it may be for ever, in the waters of memory sleeping within the heart? Memory never awakes but along with imagination, and therefore it is
rents, bearing in their countenances traces of care-anxious, heart-heaving care, which seemed only to have forgotten itself for a season; all these together made up a scene full of gladness, yet with a sufficient shade of melancholy to prepare my heart well for its return to solitude.
CHARMS OF RETROSPECTION.
"That she can give us back the dead, Even in the loveliest looks they wore!"
Sombre, though not painful, were the sensations that passed through my breast; but they were not peculiar to myself. They are common to our race, and are the ground-colouring, more or less deep, of every heart. Time, if he have an audible voice at no other season, is heard all over the world when he gathers another year into the mighty dormitory of eternity. The very means which the vulgar make use of at this period to dissipate thought, are those which people employ to amuse themselves in a haunted house; and you may be in the most boisterous party without seeing one who does not make an involuntary pause when the closing minute arrives. There is at that instant a hesitating, stifling feeling within us, as if Time laid his fingers upon our heart, and held it in their grasp, till he set it free again to burn and palpitate with the hopes and agonies of a recommenced exist
The years, the months, the weeks, the days, the nights, the hours, the minutes, the moments, each is in itself a different living, and peopled, and haunted world. One life is a thousand lives, and each individual, as he fully renews the past, reappears in a thousand characters, yet all of them bearing a mysterious identity not to be misunderstood, and all of them, while every passion has been shifting and dying away, and reascending into power, still under the dominion of the same unchanging conscience, that feels and knows that it is from God.
Oh! who can complain of the