Imagens da página

appear like solid masonry and brickwork. For six or seven feet from the earth, these are built of large square stones; the rest is of blue brick, the mortar used in which is of excellent quality. The wall itself averages

about 20 feet in height, 25 feet in thickness at the base, which diminishes to 15 feet at the platform, where there is a parapet wall; the top is gained by stairs and inclined planes. The towers are generally about 40 feet square at the base, diminishing to 30 feet at the top, and are, including battlements, 3/ feet in height. At some spots the towers consist of two stories, and are thus much higher. The wall is in many places carried over the tops of the highest and most rugged rocks; and one of these elevated regions is 5000 feet above the level of the sea.

Near each of the gates is a village or town; and at one of the principal gates, which

opens on the road towards India, is

situated Sinning-fu, a CHINESE SOLDIER.

city of large extent and population. Here the wall is said to be sufficiently broad at the top to admit six horsemen abreast, who might without inconvenience ride a race. The esplanade on its top is much frequented by the inhabitants, and the stairs which give ascent are very broad and convenient.



HIS delicious retreat in the island of Mauritius has no claims to the celebrity it has attained. It is not the burial-place of Paul and Virginia ; and the author of “Recollections of the Mauritius" thus endeavours to dispel the illusion connected with the spot :

“After having allowed his imagination to depict the shades of Paul and Virginia hovering about the spot where their remains repose—after having pleased

himself with the idea that he had seen those celebrated tombs, and given a sigh to the memory of those faithful lovers,

[ocr errors]

separated in life, but in death united.-after all this waste of sympathy, he learns at last that he has been under a delusion the whole time—that no Virginia was there interred—and that it is a matter of doubt whether there ever existed such a person as Paul! What a pleasing illusion is then dispelled! How many romantic dreams, inspired by the perusal of St. Pierre's tale, are doomed to vanish when the truth is ascertained! The fact is, that these tombs have been built to gratify the eager desire which the English have always evinced to behold such interesting mementoes.

[graphic][merged small]

Formerly only one was erected; but the proprietor of the place, finding that all the English visitors, on being conducted to this, as the tomb of Virginia, always

asked to see that of Paul also, determined on building a similar one, to which he gave that appellation. Many have been the visitors who have been gratified, consequently, by the conviction that

they had looked on the actual burial-place of that unfortunate pair. These 'tombs' are scribbled over with the names of the various persons who have visited them, together with verses and pathetic ejaculations and sentimental remarks. St. Pierre's story of the lovers is very prettily written, and his description of the scenic beauties of the island are correct, although not even his pen can do full justice to them; but there is little truth in the tale. It is said that there was indeed a young lady sent from the Mauritius to France for education, during the time that Monsieur de la Bourdonnais was governor of the colony—that her name was Virginia, and that she was shipwrecked in the St. Geran. I heard something of a young man being attached to her, and dying of grief for her loss; but that part of the story is very doubtful. The Bay of the Tomb,' the 'Point of Endeavour,' the

Isle of Amber,' and the Cape of Misfortune,' still bear the same names, and are pointed out as the memorable spots mentioned by St. Pierre."

H! gentle story of the Indian Isle !

I loved thee in my lonely childhood well, On the sea-shore, when day's last purple

smile Slept On the waters, and their hollow

swell And dying cadence lent a deeper spell Into thine ocean pictures. 'Midst thy

palms And strange bright birds my fancy joy'd

to dwell,
And watch the southern Cross through

midnight calms,
And track the spicy woods. Yet more I bless'd

Thy vision of sweet love—kind, trustful, true-
Lighting the citron-groves—a heavenly guest-

With such pure smiles as Paradise once knew.
Even then my young heart wept o'er this world's power,
To reach and blight that holiest Eden flower.

Mrs. Hemans.


THE MANGOUSTE. The Mangoustes, or Ichneumons, are natives of the hotter parts of the Old World, the species being respectively African and Indian. In their general form and habits they bear a great resemblance to the ferrets, being bold, active, and sanguinary, and unrelenting destroyers of birds, reptiles, and small animals, which they take by surprise, darting rapidly upon them. Beautiful, cleanly, and easily domesticated, they are often kept tame in the countries they naturally inhabit, for the purpose clearing the houses of vermin, though the poultry-yard is not safe from their incursions.

The Egyptian mangouste is a native of North Africa, and was deified for its services by the ancient Egyptians. Snakes, lizards, birds, crocodiles newly hatched, and especially the eggs of crocodiles, constitute its food. It is a fierce and daring animal, and glides with sparkling eyes towards its

prey, which it follows with snake-like progression; often it watches patiently for hours together, in one spot, waiting the appearance of a mouse, rat, or snake, from its lurking-place. In a state of domestication it is gentle and affectionate, and never wanders from the house or returns to an independent existence; but it makes itself familiar with every part of


the premises, exploring every hole and corner, inquisitively peeping into boxes and vessels of all kinds, and watching every movement or operation.

The Indian mangouste is much less than the Egyptian, and of a beau

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

tiful freckled gray. It is not more remarkable for its graceful form and action, than for the display of its singular instinct for hunting for and stealing eggs, from which it takes the name of egg-breaker. Mr. Bennett, in his account of one of the mangoustes kept in the Tower, says, that on one occasion it killed no fewer than a dozen full-grown rats, which were loosened to it in a room sixteen feet square, in less than a minute and a half.

Another species of the mangouste, found in the island of Java, inhabiting the large teak forests, is greatly admired by the natives for its agility. It attacks and kills serpents with excessive boldness. It is very expert in burrowing in the ground, which process it employs ingeniously in the pursuit of rats. It possesses great natural sagacity, and, from the peculiarities of its character, it willingly seeks the protection of man. It is easily tamed, and in its domestic state is very docile and attached to its master, whom it follows like a dog ; it is fond of caresses, and frequently places itself erect on its hind legs, regarding everything that passes with great attention. It is of a very restless disposition, and always carries its food to the most retired place to consume it, and is very cleanly in its habits; but it is exclusively carnivorous and destructive to poultry, employing great artifice in surprising chickens.



CULLODEN. ULLODEN Moor--the battle-field—lies eastward about a mile from Culloden House. After an hour's climbing up the heathy brae, through a scattered plantation of young trees, clambering over stone dykes, and jumping over moorland rills and springs, oozing from the black turf and streaking its sombre surface with stripes of green, we found ourselves on the tableland of the moor—a broad, bare level, garnished with

a few black hats, and patches of scanty oata, won by patient industry from the waste. We should premise, however, that there are some fine glimpses of rude mountain scenery in the course of the ascent. The immediate vicinage of Culloden House is well wooded; the Frith spreads finely in front; the Ross-shire hills assume a more varied and commanding aspect ; and Ben Wyvis towers proudly over his compeers, with a bold pronounced character. Ships were passing and re-passing before us in the Frith, the birds were singing blithely overhead, and the sky was without a cloud. Under the cheering influence of the sun, stretched on the warm, blooming, and fragrant heather, we gazed with no common interest and pleasure on this scene.

On the moor all is bleak and dreary—long, flat, wide, unvarying. The folly and madness of Charles and his followers, in risking a battle on such ground, with jaded, unequal forces, half-starved, and deprived of rest the preceding night, has often been remarked, and is at one glance perceived by the spectator. The Royalist artillery and cavalry had full room to play, for not a knoll or bush was there to mar their murderous aim. Mountains and fastnesses were on the right, within a couple of hours' journey, but a fatality had struck the infatuated bands of Charles ; dissension and discord were in his councils ; and a power greater than that of Cumberland had marked them for destruction. But a truce to politics ; the grave has closed over victors and vanquished :

“ Culloden's dread echoes are hush'd on the moors ;" and who would awaken them with the voice of reproach, uttered over the



« AnteriorContinuar »