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six thousand patients have been admitted
NIGHT VIEWS FROM MY WINDOW. into this charity since 1839. During the term of office of the present resident phy
LUNAR SCENERY. sician, there have been received three thou S i draw back the curtain, a flood of sand eight hundred and eighty-two insane pale, silvery light streams into the persons, and one thousand eight hundred quiet room where I take my post for a and twenty discharged recovered, show- good portion of the night,—to me ever a ing the amount of recovery to be nearly period of the purest, the most peaceful, fifty per cent. At present the inmates and, I may add, profitable enjoyment. And number six hundred, being a much larger now the window is open, and there is nothnumber than in any other hospital for the ing between me and heaven but the dark insane in this country. Five-sixths of sky, and the brilliant moon and stars, the this number are foreigners.
work of God's fingers, unobscured by a Much reliance is placed on medical cloud. It is strange what a difference treatment during the first year of the ex there is between an open and a closed winistence of insanity ; but after that period, dow. When thus gazing upward, glassthe principal hope of recovery is from
even the clearest and the purest—always moral treatment. This last consists gives a sensation of restraint, more or less. mainly in the correction of improper You feel there is something material still habits, a healthy occupation of mind and between you and the boundless depths body by properly selected labor, reading, above,—the mighty expanse into which and amusements, such as dancing, music, you look, and where you would fain wan
der; but, that once removed, and an undeTo one who has drawn his ideas of a finable sense of liberty-freedom from all lunatic asylum from works of fiction, or physical restraint—is experienced, and from accounts of systems followed in such you may soar away at will. The mind institutions years ago, it would be a mat- becomes endowed, as it were, with an anter of wonder to find among so large a gelic power and desire, which, although number of insane as are here gathered it is for the present denied to the body, together so few requiring confinement or will, no doubt, be one day permitted to restraint. In fact, it may be stated as a both to exercise far more fully 'than at general rule, that the greater the personal present; such a sensation, possibly, as St. liberty enjoyed, consistent with good Paul experienced in anticipation when he judgment and safety to the patient, the was “caught up to the third heavens," more quiet, manageable, and orderly he with feelings so strange that, as he avers, will be.
he could not tell whether he was “ in the No healthier or more beautiful location body or out of the body.” for an asylum could have been chosen than With a telescope for at once my guide the one occupied by the subject of our and my bark, I launch forth through the sketch. Good air, good drainage, easy silent night into the dark ocean of space access to the city, seclusion froin the out- above me. I strike out into the remotest side world, a flowing river on each side, regions of the universe—I transport myenlivened by passing steamboats and self at will to worlds whose light would white-winged sailing vessels, a surround never reach the retina of my eye, save ing country made picturesque by green through the wonderful instrument whose woods and jutting river points and growing field it illumines. Thus prepared, then, villages, render it all in this respect that I take my post, I keep my watch to-night. could be desired. The same remark made There is something at once soothing by a celebrated engineer that lakes and and exciting in this midnight, breathless rivers were made for canals, might be stillness of the terrestrial world, and the extended to Blackwell's Island, that it calm, divine repose of the celestial rewas made for the public institutions of gions, whither I am about to journey. The New-York city.
air is so still that the least sound becomes The city government is exceedingly audible. I hear the midnight chime of the fortunate in having at the head of this bells from the distant city ; and now, as important institution, so capable and gen- the sound dies away, the roar of the surf tlemanly a superintendent as Dr. M. H. as it breaks with softened murmur, tossing Ranney.
its green waves and glittering spray in
the clear moonlight upon the neighboring | find and appreciate the objects of interest shore: but naught else, save now and then there. To such of our readers, then, as the gentle rustle of a withered leaf as it are unaccustomed to telescopic observafalls without, or the impatient chirrup of tion, I would say, there are a few obstacles the little bird whose sleep I have dis- in the way of appreciating lunar scenery turbed in the clustering passion-flower that which you must be prepared for beforehangs in dark masses from the window. hand. For instance, at the first moment I direct my telescope to the heavens, and, your eye is applied to the telescope, (say, passing it slowly from star to star, I at with a power of 120 upon it,) you will length fix it upon that bright moon, now find yourself within two thousand miles in her first quarter. I apply my eye to only of the moon ; in fact, you will see it the glass, and now—what do I see? It precisely as you would if you were rebrings that beauteous globe so near that moved bodily and placed upon a planet I am absolutely upon it; but what a strange separated from it by that interval: short, metamorphosis ! No one who has been indeed, when compared with the actual accustomed to see it from the earth would distance of the moon from the earth, (two recognize it. Like a face which appears hundred and forty thousand miles,) or with beautiful at a distance, but is found full other astronomical intervals, and yet still of wrinkles and imperfections when close very considerable, as can easily be unto it; so our lovely satellite, whose beauty derstood by thinking what a distance two has lent inspiration to the poet's verse, thousand miles is with reference to any and her charm to the painter's landscape, terrestrial object—it is, in fact, equal to loses her perfections in a moment. She a fourth part of the diameter of our globe, is no longer the soft, tender, liquid, sil or one entire diameter of the moon from very thing, whose familiar face we love, herself. At such a distance here, were a and whose beams we hail, whether break- bird's-eye view possible, how little could ing through the sea of clouds among which be discerned ! At this distance, indeed, it she sails, or whitening the gray ruin, or is plain no minute object could be seen ; shining on the placid lake, or the waveless but yet it is astonishing how much is visi.
No; I perceive a huge bright mass, ble, and the general features of the lunar full of holes, rents, and fissures ; it is a surface are at once quite perceptible to the strange-looking country, indeed, that we practised eye. But there are three striking have arrived at—a wonderful place, unlike effeces in particular which this proximity anything we could have imagined, so dif- immediately produces. The first is inferent indeed from the expectations usually crease of brightness, as when a lamp or formed by those who (hearing of mountains candle is brought close to the eye. and valleys in the moon) long to see them, second is increase of size, or the angle that, to prevent disappointment, some ex- subtended at the eye ; and the third, displanation is necessary to enable such per- tinctness of shape, both as to the general sons to understand what they see, and figure of the moon herself, and the objects teach them what to look for and how to discernible upon her surface. The first
of these is intense, and even painful to the The third effect necessary to be preeye not accustomed to it, so that an inex- pared for is with reference to the objects perienced observer sees but comparatively which, under telescopic power, become little at first from the glare. If we wait visible distinctly on the lunar surface. a little, however, the eye soon accommo- Many of these you have never seen anydates itself to the brightness, as it does to thing like before ; you are at once led the darkness. It is, however, a good plan therefore to compare them with, or find a with powerful telescopes, (as there is al- resemblance for them in, something that ways abundance of light to spare,) to shut you have seen. This is likely to mislead off a portion of it by a diaphragm upon the by conveying a false impression; the color, object-glass, which likewise has the effect for instance, which resembles plaster of of increasing the distinctness.
Paris, or the innumerable holes or exThe second effect, increase of size, is crescences, which look like bubbles floatnot so perceptible as might be imagined; | ing upon oil, or caused by fermentation or and there are few telescopic effects in decay : all these comparisons, which are which the eye is deceived more than in derived from terrestrial things, are false forming an estimate of the size of objects. and must be dismissed ; in fact, you see a A power such as I have mentioned would perfectly new and strange object, unlike increase the size of the moon superficially anything terrestrial that could convey to one hundred and twenty times, so that in your mind a true resemblance of it. And the portion of the lunar surface before the then, when you have got over all this, and eye, all comprised within the space, say found that the mountains and valleys of of a four-inch achromatic, such as I am the moon you have heard of are not like now using, you have an image of the moon our valleys, or mountains, or soil, and you magnified one hundred and twenty times, at length have succeeded in realizing the or one hundred and twenty times larger fact that that great glaring thing covered than as seen with the naked eye. This with holes and spots, is really a vast planet amount of magnifying power will have the or world, there remains the difficulty of immediate effect, not of swelling the di realizing the size of the separate objects mensions of the moon accordingly, which which you see so distinctly, together with the ignorant or inexperienced might ex the vast distances over which the eye can pect, but which a moment's reflection will travel in an instant. A prospect, in fact, show to be impossible, as the space you is opened to you which could never be can see must be limited by the actual size seen on earth—even from the loftiest mounof the aperture, but it will have the effect tain in the world—namely, an extent of of enabling you to see a small portion two thousand miles, or an area of seven only of body made so much larger by millions of square miles, stretched beneath optical power, that it cannot fit, as it were, you ; a plain of fifteen hundred miles apwithin the small aperture through which pearing but a little patch as in a map, and you look, and only presents a small portion mountains rivaling the Alps or Andes of its surface at a time, leaving to your as a boundary or shading slightly elevated. imagination the remainder of a huge moon And yet this, too, can be overcome by a to be examined in its various parts in suc little patient observation, by minute attencession, by simply traversing or moving tion to each separate object; marking not the telescope over it. The extent of sur only the object itself, but the shadow it face, therefore, which you can see upon When once the secret of telescopic the moon, will diminish with the increase observation of the moon is thus acquired, of magnifying power; just as in approach- there is nothing more delightful than to ing a large city from a distance, at first wander through its grand and terrible you obtain a coup d'æil of the entire, but scenery, and no more effort will be reas you draw near to it, you see only a quired than is necessary to accommodate street, and at length a single house is suf- the gigantic proportions of our Alpine reficient to occupy the entire field of view. gions to the diminutive representation of So with a power of about 90, you may see them by the artist in a picture one foot the entire disc of the moon at once; but in- square. crease the power to 250, and little more And now, where are we to-night? A than a single crater, with its adjoining more beautiful or picturesque portion of neighborhood, is visible.
the lunar country we could not have fallen
upon. We have dropped from our ter- waste; and yet, I must acknowledge, it restrial sphere right over Copernicus; and looks very like the bottom of a dried-up from one of the lofty peaks of a cluster of ocean of former days. Mysterious wary mountains a little to the southward of that irregularities creep over its surface like remarkable crater-down into the very sand-hillocks, thrown up by the action of mouth of one of which, indeed, I can par- water, or perchance of wind, but more tially see—let us take our position. What like the former. The different lights and a scene is here! Beneath our feet, some shades, too, seem to indicate different thousand feet below, spreads the vast depths of bottom, as is experienced with plain of the Mare Imbrium, or Sea of the sounding line ; and its boundaries or Showers; it is shining in the glare of the shores, as we may call them, bend into fierce light that beats upon it from the curved bays, run into creeks, and jut out rising sun of a lunar morning—whose day into promontories, just as we find on the will not end for a fortnight-and whose shores of our terrestrial oceans, washed long, black shadows are projecting from away as they are by the perpetual beat a thousand mountain-peaks, whose tops and thunder of the waves. shine like silver, and are scattered over What are we to conclude, then, as to the plain here and there, some in lonely these dry seas or basins which stretch grandeur, others like the well-defined and their immense superficies over the lunar dark semicircular chain of the Apen- surface ? Evidently there can be but two nines, extending like a continuous craggy hypotheses concerning them, either that coast-line for six hundred miles, forming they are a preparation for future, or the the extreme boundary of the solitary de- old dried-up basins of former oceans. sert they inclose.
Astronomers have hitherto been inclined But what of the plain? It is called the to the former opinion as being the more Sea of Showers. It seems a vast plain probable; chiefly, indeed, from the abof sand—a sterile desert like the Great rupt and precipitous manner in which the Sahara of Africa, or any of our own ter- mountain-chains descend to the seas, the restrial flats. To me, at least, it has a slope being generally toward the land side, soft and smooth look that conveys irre- while a steep wall of rock is presented sistibly the idea of sand, or something to the plain. This would imply the abanalogous to it. Certainly no water is sence of all abrasion or attrition by the there to cool or moisten it now, whatever power of water against the lunar shores. may have been its former history; and no Closer observation, however, together change whatever has been observed upon with the possession of more perfect inits surface such as would be caused by struments, has removed, in a great measthe movements or works of living crea- ure, this objection ; and Professor Phil. tures. After sixteen years' frequent ob- lips, at a late meeting of the British servation, I can say with truth, that noth- Association, gave his testimony most ing could be more perfectly changeless strongly in favor of the latter opinion ; viz., than the face of that silent, ghastly plain. that, although it is probable not a drop I remember, wher first I commenced lunar of water exists now upon our satellite in observations, looking many a night with the shape of oceans, it is not so clear intense eagerness in the hopes of discover that it may not have existed there once; ing (and thus immortalizing myself by so and that the dry plains we behold are, in doing, as I thought) some change, how- fact, but the beds of oceans now no more. ever slight; but no-no cloud, however My own observation concurs fully with faint, dimmed it—no shadow stole over it. this ; in fact, I cannot see the soft, wary On the same spots the same marks, shad- outline of those shores, with their sinuows, and craters, reappeared in their silent ous bays and rounded promontories and calmness and majesty, or silvery beauty, creeks, and their apparently soft and bilor desolate wildness; but nothing moved, lowy, sandy surface, together with the nothing changed : and were I there, I feel undulating character of their scenery, convinced I should find that nothing breath- without being deeply impressed with the ed or stirred, nor has stirred for ages-conviction that water once rolled over that perfect silence reigns over its desert them, and waves tossed high their lunar shores—and motionless, noiseless, breath- spray as they dashed against those rugged less, windless nature broods over that arid and dreary, but now silent coasts.
IMPRESSIONS OF TRAVEL IN FRANCE. vines, gemmed with the luscious fruit,
hung quite out upon the side-walk ?-miles MHE French are a gay, perhaps a friv- of comparative solitude, where any amount
and, it is supposed, not much more “moral The tempting strawberries, from three to sense;" but in “good taste ” they excel all four inches in circumference, unprotected other nations, and their good taste sup- by wall, hedge, or fence of any kind, creepplies, largely, their lack of good sense or ing to your very feet among the grass of even moral sense. The traveler, passing the road-side, lie untouched save by rightfrom the coast inland-say from Havre to ful hands. And this too in the very vicinParis—is struck by the universal aspect of ity of Paris. Let the traveler accompany neatness and good arrangement which the us in some of our favorite walks to Bourgfarms, the people, all things, present-ex- la-Reine, and thence through the teeming cept the interior of the houses, of which, fields of Fontenay-aux-Roses, (a village as however, he gets glimpses too slight to beautiful as its name,) of Sceaux, of the justify an opinion. The scenery is not re Vallee-aux-Loups, (sacred by the memory markable, now that the Seine is deserted of Chateaubriand,) everywhere, even to for the railroad; but a quiet, rural charm is within ten rods of the pleasure houses of thrown over it, by the exterior beauty and “Robinson Crusoe,"—the gay resort of all comfortableness of the thatched and arbored the neighboring population and of Paris homes of the peasants, and their thorough- | itself-will be found these tempting but ly cultivated fields. Fences, whether your unprotected fields, safe from depredations. northern straight bars or Virginia zig- Only where they wish to protect themzags, are hardly known here. The fields selves from observation — to enjoy the are defined by varying stripes of cultiva- gardens around their houses unobserved tion, which lie gracefully side by side, ex do the French wall them in, and then they tending sometimes over acres, along the do it thoroughly, with masonry fit for a plains, down into the valleys, or up the prison. hill-sides. They produce a beautiful How is this? do you ask. Have the effect, their mathematical uniformity being French a nicer sense of right and wrong usually relieved by frequent clumps of than we orthodox Yankees ? Certainly forest, by the natural variations of the not, but they have a nicer sense of politesurface, and the different degrees of growth It would be meanness for any one or the various hues of the crops. Cattle, to abuse the confidence with which propof course, cannot go at large without erty is thus exposed. Were it less confences; but grazing is very limited in fidently exposed, it would probably be France, and where it does exist at all, gives more liable to depredations. “ Trust a to the scenery the additional charm of the man if you would have him trustworthy,” shepherd with his crook and dog, and old some one has said. It is, in other words, idylic associations.
not conscience but custom that maintains The public roads along these farms are the sacredness of this kind of property in kept in the best condition. They are France. Everything goes by fashion here, usually shaded and beautified by parallel and it is not fashionable—it is decidedly lines of trees, which form the only pro- in bad conventional taste—for a Frenchtection, if such it may be called, to the man to gratify his taste for grapes or strawadjacent fields. A Yankee with his native berries by the meanness of petty pilfering. recollections of orchard-thieving, and mis
The farm-houses look very pretty, at chievous fruit-loving boys, can hardly | least in the distance at which you pass credit his eyes when he sees these rich them on the highway. They are reached fruit fields and gardens verging on to the by lanes of stately trees, never economicpublic road, and defined from it only by ally direct, as with us, but gracefully a few of the road-side trees or their own winding. They are usually inclosed, luxuriance. Will
you believe me when house, out-houses, barn, stables, and all, I affirm that I have walked joyously with in a square or circle of trees, which injoyous friends (feeling the very hilarity closes them with the regularity, but with of the scene and dreaming of the golden none of the exclusiveness of a wall. I age) along miles of vineyards, grain-fields, have many a time, when observing this olive-groves, and strawberry-beds, whose beautiful landscape feature of France,