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THE

VESUVIUS IN ERUPTION.

Carriages were of course quadrupled in

price; the Neapolitans are too knowing DHE stranger who should walk round not to take advantage of any extraordinary

by Santa Lucia, in Naples, by night, incident; and it was with difficulty that we would at the present moment be aston- could get any vehicle at any reasonable ished by seeing the entire heavens in the price. But the obstacles are overcome, direction of the north lighted up by a and my friend and I have at length lighted blazing fire. The little fishing-boats, in our cigars, and are bowling along the Cardicated by the lights at the bows, and mine at eight o'clock P. M., at a good which dart like fire-flies across the tran- round pace. quil sea, are lost; and even the light On getting out of the city we fall into house, with its revolving fires, which give one continued line of carriages, all bent courage to the distant mariner, is dimmed in one direction. On either side of the by that outburst of light which sets the road is a crowd of pedestrians, who acwhole sky in a ruddy glow. A path of company us like a body-guard. Somefire lies across the sea, and curiosity rap- times, indeed, they linger at the stalls with idly running along it, pierces the mystery, their little paper light, to lay in the luxand finds that Vesuvius has broken out, uries of the season as a supply for the and is filling the people with consterna- night, such as dried peas and beans, or tion. All Naples quickly turns out to melon seed, or shriveled black olives, or gaze on this wondrous spectacle. Santa nuts in their several varieties ; and then, Lucia, the Mola, and the Carmine, are running on to make up for lost time, shout, thronged with anxious and awe-struck or sing, or utter some joke which sets multitudes. Should the night be cloudy, them all a-laughing. I should not be at little is to be seen except the lurid clouds, all surprised at its being at our expense, which, like huge masses of red-dyed wool, if I read their looks and signs aright. lie piled one upon the other; but should a There is a species of etiquette which preland wind, as it did last night, sweep away vents carriages of high degree from passthese threatening volumes of smoke, the ing one another on such an occasion as cone may be seen with its north side this. We jog on, therefore, very properly seamed with fires, and the stream of lava and orderly for the most part, except when may be watched, like a broad crimson corricoli shoot by us like a mail-train. ribbon, pursuing its silent and almost im- See,-one has just passed us ; the coachperceptible course down to the base of the man, a tall, laughing-looking devil, in a mountain. Not a sound, however, is to Phrygian cap, stands up behind, and rubs be heard

-no thunder -no distant can the reins against the shoulders of a fat nonade.

priest. There are fifteen passengers, three This eruption, which has now continued of whom hang in a net attached to the for upward of a week, broke out on the bottom of the carriage ; and what is most first of May--the month when birds are remarkable of all, the single horse dashes singing and flowers are opening their along at a pace which would make you bebosoms to the sun. The well-known guide, lieve that he could carry double the numCozzolino, reported early in the morning ber. On arriving at Resina we find a that, on ascending the mountain, he had motley crowd of guides and donkeys, facheard a noise like thunder, and that a new chini, and torch-bearers, all insisting on mouth had been immediately formed, from the necessity of their services, and forthwhich were ejected flames and stones. with attaching themselves to our persons. In the afternoon of the same day the erup • Let us be off, let us be off, signore,” tion was more decided, and, as night says a sly-looking rogue; “Giacchimo is approached, the mountain assumed the the guide for you ; I know every step of appearance I have described. A grand the way, and can lead you into the crater spectacle even at a distance, how much if you will." “ But, Giacchimo caro," grander must it be on the summit!

we are in a carriage, and have So thought I, and so thought thousands no want of a guide.” “Very well, signore, of others; during the whole of the night I will get up at the back.” So there he carriages were astir in taking off the cu- is, standing between the spikes, and here rious to the Hermitage. For myself, I we are dragging up through the accumuladid not go up till the following evening. I tion of fine sand, nearly axle deep in the

I argue,

debris of lava. “ They 'll be up to-mor- source, and we should have started on our row morning," says one. " Ah !” cries last trip; ever since that night it has actuanother, "the mountain will stop for them, ally recommenced its journey. To stand of course ; do n't you see they are En- still on some spots was impossible, so exglish?”

The taunts were not encour- cessive was the heat and so strong the aging certainly ; so, quickly dismounting, odor of the sulphur ; besides, a certain rewe took to our legs.

spect for our boots and our nether garI remember feeling almost a sense of ments kept us in motion. The former we disappointment as we ascended, for the gave up in despair, and the latter we shape of the mountain caused the cone, tucked up to our knees, only to add, howwith its magnificent display of fire, to re- ever, one more to the many ills which tire altogether from our sight. We had a flesh is heir to, for our legs were scorched, better view at Naples, I thought; wiser So onward, onward, over fissures, breathto have remained there, and strolled about ing forth flame and smoke-over glowing Santa Lucia. However, there we were ; masses of fire, with a long jump ; stepping another effort, and we should see what we now from one piece of scoriæ to another, should see.

Torches were blazing all like dainty cats shod with nut-shells ; unabout us as we went on, and in a blaze til we stood by the glowing river of lava. of light, and a cloud of smoke, we arrived It was an inappreciable line which divided at the Hermitage. What a scene of bus- us from it; and it seemed like a freak of tle and confusion it was this night. Hun- nature, which had split the bed of scoriæ dreds of vehicles, of every kind, were in two, and that so finely as to be imperassembled here, while their temporary ceptible. Grand as the spectacle was to proprietors and their various hangers on the outward eye, it was not that which imwere spread about the mountain, or else pressed me so deeply as the idea of power tending by a rugged path in the direction which was conveyed by the silent, majesof the cone. Over this blasted plain, cov- tic, irresistible course of the miraculous ered with strata of lava, we followed the stream. I could understand what must stream of people. The whole cone was be the feelings of a savage at seeing a now apparent to us, irradiating every ob- steam-vessel move over a sea unruffled by ject with its ruddy light. It seemed like a breath of wind, or a mail-train dashing a huge giant, whose side was seained with along through fertile plains. Where is wounds, from out of which poured forth the motive power ? None but the Great his very life-blood. Sometimes the upper Spirit could have put them in movement. new crater shot up stones and flames of And such was my feeling as I looked down fire, which, rising and subsiding at inter- on that vast body of moving liquid fire. vals, reminded one of the action of a forge. Where the surface was undisturbed for a And then, from the other craters the lava few moments, and became black as the gurgled out, which, flowing down in two surface of a coal fire, the appearance of distinct streams, united at the bottom, and the scoriæ was as that of coke which had running along the valley between Somma been well burned out. and Vesuvius, were lost to us. To solve We could not see to a greater depth, the mystery of its course was our great perhaps, than from forty to fifty feet; yet object, and we pushed on through the the grandeur of the spectacle was indecrowd who were coming and going until scribable. A large mountain of lava acwe saw them turn off sharp to the left. cumulated gradually until it rose to nearly It was a bed of recent lava over which we a hundred feet in height. The pressure now passed. Last night it had been thrown from behind increased with every fresh out of the bowels of the mountain, and quantity that was thrown out from the had been running down, a stream of living distant crater. At length it could no fire, and though for a moment its course longer maintain its equilibrium. Small was arrested, we had only to stoop and pieces began to drop away; then a fine pick up its loose scoriæ, and find the fire sand poured out ; then larger masses were glowing beneath our feet. We light our detached, disclosing, as it were, the mouths cigars at it; and throwing in paper and of so many furnaces, which threw out a other inflammable materials, created a heat and light that scorched and blasted bright flame. What if this mass had again us; and then the whole body poured or

over moved on? A little more pressure at its | in a continuous stream into the abyss be

in.

neath. Whither it went or what course it grains, for the sake of friendship. And took, was hidden from the eye; but a thick would the signore like to go up to the lurid smoke ascended continually, realizing crater ?” the most vivid descriptions with which “Why, you have just told us that it poetry or painting have ever presented us would be dangerous to go up!” of the infernal regions. The illusion was “ Si, signore, and so it would be withnot a little assisted as we stood behind in out my assistance ; but I know a path the distance and watched the groups who over the lava, and can conduct you safely." were standing on the edge of the preci There were several parties near us pice. Every line of their figures was discussing and arranging the same trip. drawn distinctly on the lurid smoke; and, Some were opposed to it. Several perglowing with the ruddy reflected light, sons had already been driven back by a they appeared like the presiding demons change in the wind, which had brought of the scene. Curious demons, however, down upon them the clouds of sulphurous many of them proved to be, and most un smoke. New craters were continually spiritually occupied. Some were baking opening, and a fountain of fire springing eggs, or lighting cigars, or hooking out up beneath one's feet was not so agreelava to stick their

coppers Some had able : besides, the crust of the mountain brought baskets-ham and chicken, and was so thin that it might fall in at any such like luxuries—and had stowed them- time. Having struck our bargain with selves away under a mass of coke of some our man, however, away we started, over hundreds weight. Some, again, were a rugged bed of lava, for upward of a changing their shirts behind heaps of cin- mile. Plunging and tumbling over heaps ders, for the walk up the mountain had of scoriæ, on we went, rising gradually made them hot; and there is nothing until the magnificent scene began to open which the Neapolitan so much dreads as upon us in all its splendor. On our left, a neglect of this precaution of changing. and between us and the mountain of SomOthers, again, were descanting on what ma, which was irradiated with reflected they had had for supper. And there were light, ran a river of lava, pursuing its a few, too, who stood by me, who appeared course to the cascade we had just left; to be under the influence of a deeper sen then making a bend to the right, till we timent; for I heard them exclaiming as got to the base of the cone, we perceived they looked on the wondrous spectacle, two streams of lava flowing down its sides, Judgment of God! Chastisement of God! and uniting below in that great body of Generally, however, a Neapolitan crowd fire. It was a stiff pull through the fire is noisy, whatever may be the cause of and ashes ; and we sunk to the knees in their getting together; and there was cinders. Fortunately the wind was from laughing, singing, and shouting enough. us, or we should have the entire mass of

“Birra, birra! who will have some red-hot stones upon our heads. After beer ?" roared out a double-bass.

strong effort, having most magnanimously “Fresh water, signore ?” insinuated a refused the assistance of our guides, we tenor, as he rattled his barrel. “With or stood by the edge of one of the most active without sambuca, signore ? "

of the new craters. How many there are, The orange man and the man with cheap | it is impossible to say. One day's report pastry, too, made their rounds continually; differs from another, and no two people and last, though not least, the man with behold the mountain under the saine aspieces of lava, which he was liberally of- pect, so continual are the changes. I have fering for thirty grains each.

heard that there were four, and seven, and “ Thirty grains ! why, you are mad, my ten, and twenty craters. I should prefer good fellow!"

saying that the mountain is riddled with “Well, what will the signore give ?” craters and fissures ; that it is like an in“ Five grains.”

verted colander; and that a stranger is in “ Five grains ! Then go yourself to doubt and fear lest a mouth may open bethe crater, and expose yourself to the dan- neath him and swallow him up. I knew ger to which I have exposed myself. Five one party of friends who watched a rotagrains, indeed!”

tory motion in some smoke ascending And so we moved off, when my hero from the ground, which grew into a whirlcried, “Well, signore, take it for five wind of dust, and smoke, and flame, and

then the earth cracked and opened, giving mountain, not far from the Hermitage, and them barely time to fly. A Spanish fam- no one is permitted to pass beyond. The ily, too, were in imminent peril of a similar ground is riddled with holes ; all the upaccident. However, here we were after per part of the mountain, including the our struggle through the ashes, and our cone and the ground around it, is like a catlike walk over burning scoriæ, by one sponge or a colander. The crust breaks of the new craters. The lava was running continually beneath the feet, and the exover the sides like a cup over-filled with pectation is that the whole of the upper treacle, and it seemed purer, finer, and part of the mountain will fall in. Should more liquid than it did in the river below. such a crash come, it is impossible to calI explain it by the fact of its having come culate what the consequences may be, immediately from the furnace, and not immediate and remote. The ruin and having, as yet, been exposed to the action suffering it may involve—the altered asof the air. There were other tributary pect of the country-a lake where there streams more toward the back of the moun- is now a picturesque cone-the possible tain, but only two main streams flowed change in the climate of Naples when the into the valley, and nothing could be more bulwark against the easterly wind is rebeautiful than their movement. As the moved,—all these are pure speculations descent was rapid, they flowed down like as yet; meanwhile the lava is spreading water, their surface, like that of a crisped ruin far and wide over the lower parts of lake, being ruffled with gentle undulations. the mountain, down among smiling vineNear the base of the cone they united, yards and perfumed bean fields, folding and then they ran along in one great some- cottages and palaces in its fiery embraces, thing—for no word can describe it-until and filling the inhabitants of a populous they shot over the precipice. From our district with consternation. standing-place we had a view of its entire course until it was lost below, and never

(For the National Magazine.) can I forget that semicircle of fire which half-girdled us about. So many were the THE HAUNTED TOWER.* mouths, either opened or opening, that attention becarne distracted among them. Some fizzed and smoked, others flamed, WITHIN a moss-grown belfry hung, others threw stones, (though not large All silently and lone, ones,) to a great height, and some of these

An ancient bell without a tongue

On which no sunbeams shone. fell over us. The noise near the surface

The turret walls were old and gray, was as the sound of many forges at work ; And ivy clamber'd o'er but deep in the bowels of the mountain it The moldering stones, which e'en as they sounded like a continued distant cannon

Reveal'd no hidden lore. ade, while the ground vibrated and shook

But in the silent hour of nightbeneath us, as if every fresh effort must The time for sleep and dreamssplit it open.

Yet there was a fascination When scarce a ray of silvery light in the scene which was irresistible; and

Around the turret gleamsstill we stood by the boiling cauldron, fixed

The peasants oft affirm they hear

Peal forth that tongueless bell as the bird by the eye of the serpent. In tones most musical and clear, Like a copper cauldron, too, it appeared : Or deep funereal knell. glowing at the rim and edges with red heat. In the background, piled up against

Do fays or fairies strike those notes

Which swell out on the air ? the sky, were mountains of lurid clouds, Whose cadence softly, sweetly floats full of sulphurous exhalations and every

O'er mountains bleak and bare, thing deadly and destructive to human life.

And over heath, and mead, and glade, A change of wind had driven them back,

And pastures richly green?

What haunts that belfry's gloomy shade and they hung suspended; but if another No mortal knows I ween. change of wind had taken place on this inconstant, fitful night, we must have fallen dead on the spot.

* Suggested by the legend respecting an old ruined

tower, sitnated on the banks of the Rhine, in the belfry As we descended, we gazed back con

of which was suspended a bell, which, although want.

ing a tongue, was reported by the peasants inhabiting tinually on the scene. There has since the vicinity to ring often at midnight-sometimes with been a cordon of soldiers drawn across the

a loud, merry peal; and anon with a slow, solemn tone resembling a funeral knell

BY WILLIAM RODERICK LAWRENCE.

Tlye National Magazine.

place my foot resolutely upon it. It is next to impossible for men without education to sustain now-a-days permanently a local charge. Say

what we please of natural talent, unless it is of OCTOBER, 1855.

a very extraordinary grade, amounting to genius

itself, it must sooner or later become exhausted EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE. by the frequent expenditures of the pulpit.

Our ecclesiastical sytem has, in this respect, LETTER TO BISHOP SIMPSON.

been providentially adapted to the mass of our STATE OF THE MINISTRY-MEN OF MODERATE ABILI

ministry. It has rendered limited resources TIBS-Two IMPORTANT ADVANTAGES FOR THEM

continually available by a regulated re-distribuREPETITION OF OLD SERMOXS-ADVANTAGES OF THE

tion of them. Who can tell how much of the MIXISTRY FOR MEN OF SUPERIOR TALENTS-How

freshness and power of our ministrations has ARE THEY SUPPORTED ?-WHY DO NOT EDUCATED

been owing to this fact? MEN SUCCEED BETTER?-THEIR SPECIAL OPPOR

It imposes some inconveniences, undeniably; TUNITIES AMONG US-INCONVENIENCES STILL PECO

but its advantages, especially to the class of LIAR TO THE METHODIST MINISTEY.

brethren mentioned, have been invaluable; and

not to them only, but to all classes. By alREY. AND DEAR SIR.-In my last letter I treated lowing the repetition of the same discourses, it of the state of our ministry—its lack of a certain has tended much to improve them, especially class of able men to meet the demands of a as, with us who "extemporize,” they have not certain class of its people. It will not do to been crystallized, or rather petrified, into an leave the subject where I then dropped it; and unalterable shape at their first preparation. I now proceed (as I promised) to make some Franklin said of Whitefield that he never additions to my former remarks, showing par reached the maximum power of any given serticularly the eligibility of our ministerial field, mon till he had preached it some half dozen both for this class of men and for such brethren times. There is no small value in this advanas cannot aspire to their rank, and whom we tage, as every "extemporizer” knows; and it should guard against discouragement from any is astonishing that there should be so much such views as were presented in my last. I fastidiousness among clergymen about being shall be excused if I shall need to recall, at the detected in a habit so undeniable, so universal risk, perhaps, of repeating a little, some of and so profitable as that of the repetition of those views. I hope, also, that I shall not be their best discourses—a habit which prevails, considered too sectarian in what I am about to of course, among manuscript as well as among say. The general opinion of the erangelical extempore preachers. world accords to Methodism a peculiar and a But this is not all. It has a more general very providential mission; good men of all de and a much more important advantage. It nominations, while excepting to many of our relieves the preacher from the necessity of concharacteristics, look gratefully on the work suming most of his time in the mere technical which we are doing in our peculiar field, and preparation of sermons. I have said so much admit readily our claims to peculiar adapta- | heretofore in these columns on “ Homiletics,” tions for it. Such, I am sure, will allow me to that I need not repeat my views of technical serspeak of it as thus peculiar.

mon-making. It is clear that a man who must It cannot be denied that to men of "moderate" | prepare, weekly, two or three new discourses, abilities the advantages of our ministry are especially if he writes them in extenso, can have quite peculiar. They are so for two reasons. little or no time for general studies—those genFirst, because, notwithstanding the changes eral studies which rhetoricians, from Quinctilian spoken of in my last, the social position of our and Cicero to our day, insist upon as essential to people is still such as to afford an ample field | the successful orator. Hence it is, I think, that and a good welcome to even mediocre talents. we clergymen are so apt to be one-sided, rigid, Though this fact is sometimes stated in re professional-sometimes worse. The storing of proach, it is really honorable to us. Rightly the mind with general resources, rather than expressed, it amounts to about this, viz., that technical or professional ideas, is the best prethe practical masses belong more to us than to paration for the pulpit, or any place of popular other sects, that “the poor have the gospel oratory-always presupposing, of course, a thorpreached to them” by our ministry more than ough acquaintance on the part of the preacher by others, and that men drawn from the prae with the great principles of theological science, tical classes, and strong in practical good sense The frequent changes of our ministry afford and divine grace, though destitute of profes- leisure for this important advantage—one that sional culture, are, in general, better adapted is not only important, but which must be very to this class of hearers than more polished in- grateful to the tastes of a man of general culstructors would be. We are not at all so fas ture, or any one ambitious of such culture. tidious of our denominational "respectability" To the large and devoted class of men, then, as to wish to deny this fact. In a certain re of whom I have spoken, Methodism, I think, spect we glory in it; and I shall make fur affords the best field of religious labor yet ther use of it before I get through with these opened in this country. If one or two other letters.

denominations approximate it, yet none equal The second peculiar adaptation of our minis it in facilities for them. Let them make the best try for such laborers, is its annual or biennial of their one talent, if it be but such- let them changes. I am aware that I here step upon devote themselves heartily to their glorious ground which has sometimes been disputed eren work of ministering, as did their divine Master, by some among ourselves; but I nevertheless to the poor, and the mighty hearts and brawny

VOL. VII.--25

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