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crowd of stout contadini. These went before, with a strong cotton-band bung bridle-wise from the shoulder. You have nothing to do but to hold on by the band, pick your steps among the cinders, and allow your leader to do the up-hill work of hauling you after him. My friend, Captain M
accustomed to the luxuries of Oriental travel, took two of these men to his share, passed the cotton coil round the small of his back, and allowed them to drag him up, with no exertion on his part but that of picking his steps. With an unwise idea of my own powers, I contented myself with one, and had reason to regret itfor once or twice, in the worst bits of the ascent, it seemed for a second or two a very doubtful point whether my centaur should pull me up, or I him back upon myself ; for though I selected him as a powerful athletic man, his weight was nothing to mine; and, moreover, as I laboured up I had the mortification to see my friend pass me “in a canter," at about three-parts of the ascent, with the cool and cutting taunt, “ If gentlemen with a choice of cavalry will underhorse themselves, they must take the consequences. Good-by; I'll tell them you are coming!"
Underhorsed, and hindmost as I was, we were all landed at the foot of the immediate cone in about forty minutes. An hour is usually allotted for this work, so that after all we did very well. We found the girls arrived a few minutes before us. Here the chairs and centaurs are usually dismissed, and we prepared for the further scramble. I insisted, however, that my youngest daughter, being in rather delicate health, should allow herself to be carried as far as the way was practicable. So she wasm
-and beyond it.
I must observe, that the views from Vesuvius do not improve as you ascend; you have better and clearer prospects from the Hermitage and
; points below it than from any station higher up, and when you are at the crater itself all interest centres in the mountain, and the phenomena of the eruptions immediately close to you.
After a short rest, we now advanced over comparatively smooth and easy ground to the crater's edge, from which the smoke-I should rather say the sulphur-steam-was rising in great volumes. Vesuvius never smokes except in eruption, a light white vapour, like that from the escape-valve of a steamer on arriving in harbour, is its ordinary discharge. The wind ually blows from the sea, and our guide, leading us by an easy path to leeward, we soon found ourselves in wreaths of vapour, provocative of incessant and inevitable coughing. I was at first alarmed, but seeing the guides quite unconcerned, and being assured by them that it was “very wholesome,” we stood still, and soon discovered that a pockethandkerchief held to the mouth prevented all annoyance from the sulphurvapour.
As soon as we had time to look about us, we found ourselves on a sulphur-bank just at the edge of the crater; and here the first object which caught my attention was a lady taking a bird's-eye view of the interior, from an elevation at which I am bold to say no lady ever inspected its phenomena before. The bearers, taking my directions “ to bring my daughter as far as they could,” quite au pied de lettre, had stumbled and slipped on with her to the very edge of the crumbling slippery bank, and there she sat, in more peril than ever M.P. encountered while chairing through a hostile mob, for a slip or stumble would have sent her either sheer down into the Vesuvius crater, or on the other side to roll down to the level of the Atria di Cavallo; nor was a slip an impossibility, for the soil was so hot that we were obliged to shift our ground every minute, and the men were performing the usual experiment of roasting eggs in little holes scooped at our very feet! We soon released the girl from her “bad eminence,” and when fairly on terra infirma, we congratulated her, as a young lady addicted to the romantic, on having taken an observation from an altitude probably never reached by lady tourist but herself.
We now advanced somewhat further, so as to obtain a view of disentombed Pompeii, easily distinguished by its amphitheatre, and of the vast plain, studded with villages and vineyards, which extends into the interior of the country to the south and east. The lava has occasionally broken out in this direction, yet the vast majority of eruptions have been towards Naples and the sea. It was not lava which overwhelmed Pompeii, but vast layers of tuffa ; and of that light ashen substance already described, hence, the “ruinous perfection" in which it has been disentombed. Nay, for that matter, it was not lava either which hermetically sealed up Herculaneum. Charles Dickens, in his powerful way, takes us into the Herculaneum theatre ; as it now stands a dreary pit, hemmed in by walls of monstrous thickness, which he supposes to have been once boiling lava ; and then calls on us to conceive that “this once came rolling in and drowned the city in a red sea of molten marble.” But this was not so; boiling lava did roll over the city in many a stream afterwards—Sir William Hamilton counts six distinct eruptions, with formed soil between each, besides that which buried the city; but that, as he convincingly argues, must have been, not lava, but a liquid mud, formed by the water sometimes thrown out in eruptions in large quantities, and which, cementing ashes, pumice, and other heterogeneous matters into a matrix or mould, flowed round and into the dwellings of the city, and ultimately indurated into a substance, which they now hew with axes like any other rock. Had lava been the agent of destruction, we should not have those well-preserved statues and delicate frescoes in the Museo Borbonico, which have come to us as well preserved as if they had lain inclosed in a plaster masque. It appears to me as if the matter which filled up Herculaneum must have been not unlike the composition with which they form the terrace roofs of the neighbouring towns to this day.
I believe a clear, leisurely view of the crater can never be had. Our guides assured us that it never steamed less than at the time of our visit; the vapour, though light, was incessant. By watching opportunities, a flaw of wind would sometimes give us a view across the gulf to the opposite wall of rock, beautifully flowered with sulphurcrystals of astonishing variety and richness; then would rise a fresh volume of vapour, forcing us to turn our head, and submit to a sulphursteaming all over, which we could only hope was wholesome, for it was specially disagreeable. All this while we never got a glimpse of the bottom, said to be about 1200 feet in sheer depth. We could only peer into a dark void, forming an excellent illustration of the principle that “obscurity is a source of the sublime.” Before we left this part of the mountain, the guide pointed out to us the results of a small eruption of last year, the lava of which had spread itself but a short way into the level of the Atria di Cavallo, never reaching the lower region of the mountain at all. I noticed in this sheet of lava two objects which I would gladly have examined more closely-namely, two little miniature craters, which rose in different places out of the mass to a height of from ten to fifteen feet. They were in all respects models of the cone on which we stood, with orifices in the top; and I cannot help thinking, that if examined with a geological eye, they might afford some insight into the secrets of volcanic agency. I account for their origin in this wise : that when the lava flowed forth, it either brought with it (if that were possible), or covered over in its flowing, some unfused combustible material, and that these lay under the mass until a fall of rain or snow supplied water to perform whatever part it has in volcanic agency, and that then a kind of miniature eruption took place, and the burning matter below threw
up these little funnels by a degree of the same force which formed their gigantic neighbour, from whose summit we overlooked them,
Having gazed our fill, picked sulphur specimens, and rolled cinder masses back into the crater until tired, we followed our guide to the other side of the cone to inspect a second crater or funnel, into which, he assured us, it was divided at bottom. Hitherto the vapour hid the boundary between the two funnels, which rose only half-way out of the depth, but when we came to the windward side, we were able to see distinctly that the mountain was divided at bottom into two funnel-shaped orifices. The volcanic action on the west or seaward side appeared much more powerful and nearer to us than on the other ; the smoke or steam rose in many places from vents or fissures under our feet. And here, for the first and only time, I obtained a momentary glimpse of the actual bottom. For a few seconds there was a complete cessation of vapour, and I could discern a dark, profound deepening at the bottom to a dull, red heat, over which a lighter flame seemed to flicker. I called all to look, but as I spoke it was gone! the vapour again rose in volumes, and never gave us another chance; and presently the guide, looking westward, gave the word to descend.
This descent of Vesuvius is a very pretty summer-day pastime; they sell you cheap prints at Naples which give an excellent idea of the “fun" -you need but to keep your head well back; let your heel sink into the ashes as deep as it will go, take as long a step as you can manage
without disturbing the centre of gravity, and then “ go it!" and you will find the ascent of an hour become a descent of ten minutes ; people speak of doing it in three, but these, I opine, must be of that “go-ahead” American school, who can arrive at the end of their journey the evening before they set out! Again to recur to Dickens's description-his adventure of a night descent down this bed of ashes at an angle of 60 deg.-coated with ice! must have been anything but “fun,”- -no marvel that one broken leg was the result, the real wonder is how any of the party came to the bottom without a broken neck.
“ Ecco, Mons. Guiseppe,” said I, as we toppled down upon him where he waited with the ponies; “ è fatto-the deed is done.”
“Si, signor," returned Guiseppe, rather gravely, as if he thought that though done it had been done in a rebellious and disorderly way that I had no reason to be proud of.
We were now quickly back at the Hermitage. Our dinner, brought from Naples, laid out by Guiseppe. The Lachryma was supplied by the Dec.-VOL. CII. NO. CCCCVIII.
“I wish we
quasi Hermit; and the girls announced that they had “ tolerable appetites," which, but that the stock of provisions was abundant, I should have pronounced quite“ intolerable.”
We have dined ; and now the girls, yet unaware of the rapidity with which night falls in these regions, are indulging expectations of catching an evening sketch or so in a glowing twilight, when in a moment the sun sinks and darkness visible comes on. " Ah," observes one, could keep that beautiful deep blue sky a little longer."
“ A little longer,” rejoins another; “ I wish we could keep it always, and carry it to England with us."
This little dialogue reminded me of a similar one which I had been just taking from that painfully interesting book, “The Diary of an Ennuyée," as the subject of a verse-thought on the fair, but fallen land in which we were sojourning.
“ How I wish I could transplant those skies to England !"
“ Cruelle"-said an Italian behind me—“otez-nous notre beau ciel, tout est perdu pour nous."— DIARY OF AN ENNUYÉE.
What! stranger, wouldst thou take away
The Arch which spans our sunlit flood ?
Leave us our poor amount of good.
Hang o'er your wondrous Island-home,
Lords of the world where'er they roam.
And these your bracing clime can give.
We !-oh, the shame!-we doze, you live.
Ah, what were left the aimless slave,
Between the cradle and the grave ? The question is now of our return to Resina. There stood the poniesthe indefatigable, the unequalled-ready to take us down stairs to Resina as they had brought us up in the morning, if we so determined ; having no wish, however, to test their sagacity in the darkness, so that, acting on the proverb, “the longest way round is the shortest way home,” we choose the carriage road—and these wonderful creatures walk away with us as safely as ever; they guide themselves down to Resina through such a network of lanes, windings, and not-to-be-forgotten smells ! as no description could convey. When within the precincts of the town, groups of dark cloaked men occasionally pass us, but not a word of incivility or gesture of interruption from any—the ponies turn of their own accord into the very court-yard whence we had started in the morning; the carriage waits; we had settled all expenses with Signor Pasquale at the Hermitage, and in five minutes we are whirling away to Naples, where we arrive after twelve hours' hard exercise, sufficiently tired, but still more satisfied and thankful that we had “ done our Vesuvius" so successfully.
BY WILLIAM PICKERSGILL, ESQ. No doubt you have heard of the University of Spitzenhofen. It is famous throughout Germany for its learning, and for the services it has rendered to science and literature. I must not, however, be understood to say that in no other department has its usefulness been manifested. The professions have been in an equal degree indebted to it; and I could name several of my own condiscipuli who, at this moment, are occupying the most prominent positions in the various avocations to which they have devoted themselves. I shall not be charged, I trust, with too fond a partiality for this distinguished seat of learning, when I apprise the reader that I graduated there myself: if so, I shall be sorry for it; for I have not been influenced by any such consideration. The university has earned a reputation for itself, which has made it the cynosure of all Europe ; anything that I may say can, therefore, have little weight. I am free, however, to admit that I am not altogether devoid of vanity; and if there be one thing in life of which I am more vain than another, it is of my being a graduate of the University of Spitzenhofen. I have, perhaps, said as much upon this point as I need say; for it is not of the university I am about to treat. I have mentioned it because the incidents which follow may awaken a spirit of curiosity and inquiry, and because some of my learned fellow-countrymen might wish to know the academy at which I was reared.
As I am going to relate no ordinary narrative, it is, perhaps, first necessary to inquire how far the reader is prepared to go with me in belief, and to say a few words in apology for the psychological phenomena to which I shall presently call his attention. The opinion is almost universal that every human being possesses a principle which is indestructible, and which survives after the dissolution of that habitation in which it, for a season, took up its abode. How far that principle is altogether independent of the body in certain conditions, is not very clear ; although it may be presumed that it is so to a very considerable extent, as the faculty of dreaming, more especially, would seem to demonstrate. This, I believe, is generally admitted ; but I am prepared to go much further, as the reader will perceive, by a perusal of the following facts, which, from their peculiar nature, will at all events be found worthy of consideration.
The observance of New Year's Eve appears to be regarded everywhere, and there is no country in Europe where it is more strictly observed than in Germany. I should be sorry, I confess, to see the observance fall into desuetude; for, apart from the conviviality which appertains to the season, there is a degree of friendliness and hilarity prevails which renders it peculiarly refreshing.
It was New Year's Eve. I had but a few months before bade a final adieu to my Alma Mater, and was living in furnished lodgings in the city of Dresden. After tea I felt a little languid and unwell. I could assign no particular reason for it, except that during the day I had suffered at intervals from a decayed tooth, which frequently annoyed me, particularly in cold weather. As the evening wore on, I grew a little impa