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1821.)
Account of Agrigentum.

397 not be put together by hands of or- mostly cut out of the rock. The cadinary men. This Temple is said to tacombs and sepulchres are all very have been 340 feet loog, 60 feet extensive. Polybius mentions one of wide, and 120 feet high.

them as being opposite to the TemThe fragmeots of the columos are ple of Hercules, and to have been enormous, and it is said this Temple struck by lightning in his time. It slood till the year 1100, but is now remains almost enlire, aod answers in ruins. The fragments, although the description he gives of it, but the enormous, do not equal the expec. inscriptions are so defaced that they tation raised by descriptive authors. cannot be made out. This is the mo

There are the remains of several nument of Theron, King of Agrigenother Temples, and great works. tum, one of the first SiciliantyThe Temples of Vulcan, Proserpine, rants. It is of great antiquity, for Castor and Pollux; and a very re- it is not only mentioned by Diodomarkable one of Juno, which was rus, Polybius, and the later of the enriched by one of the famous pic. antient Historians, but by Herodotus, tures of antiquity, celebraled by and Pindar, who dedicated two of many of the antient writers. Zeuxis, his Olympic Odes to him ; so that being deterioined to excel every thing this monument must be more than that had gone before him, and to 2,000 years old. form a model of human perfection, All the ruins of Agrigentum, and prevailed on all the finest women of the whole mountain on which it Agrigentum (wbo were even ambi. stands, are composed of a concretion tious of the honour) to appear na. of sea shells, run together and ceked before him; of these he chose mented by a kind of sand or gravel, five for his models, and moulding and now hard and durable. This all the perfections of these beauties stone is nearly white before it is into one, he composed the famous exposed to the air ; but in the TemPicture of the Goddess; and which ples and other ruins, it is of a was considered as his master piece, light brown colour. The shells but it was unfortunately burnt when found on the summit of the mounthe Carthaginians took Agrigentum: taio, at least 14 or 1500 feet above Many of the Citizens retired into the level of the sea, are of the most this Temple as a place of safety ; common kinds, such as cockles, mus. but as soon as they found the gates cles, oysters, &c. attacked by the enemy, they agreed

When Plato visited Sicily, he was to set fire to it, and chose rather to so struck with the luxury of the citiperish in the flames, thao to submit zens of Agrigentum, both in their to the power of the conquerors; but houses and their tables, that a saying neither the destruction of the Tem- of his is still recorded, “ that they ple, nor the loss of their lives, has built as if they were never to die, been so much regretted by posterity and eat as if they bad not an hour to as the loss of this picture.

live." The Temple of Æsculapius was Ælian tells the followiug story by pot less celebrated for a Statue of way of illustration : " after a great Apollo ; which was also taken from feast, where there was a number of them by the Carthaginians at the young people of the first fashion, same time that the Temple of Juno they got so much intoxicated that, was burnt, and carried off by the froin their reeling and tumbling one Conquerors. This Statue continued upon the other, they imagined they the greatest ornament of Carthage were at sea in a storm, and began to for many years, and was at last re- think themselves in imminent danger; stored by Scipio, at the final destruc- at last they agreed, that the only tion of that City: it has been sup- way to save their lives was to lighten posed, that this stalue was after. the ship, and with one accord they wards carried to Rome, the wonder began to throw the rich furniture out of all ages, knowo to the world uuder of the windows, to the great amusethe name of Apollo Belvidere; and ment of the mob below, and did not allowed to be the perfection of hu- slop till they had entirely cleared the man art. The ruins of this Temple house, which, from this exploit was are still to be seen.

ever afterwards called the triremes, The antient walls of the City are or the ship."

At

398
Account of Agrigentum.

[May, At the same time that Agrigentum point of the Church, behind the great is abused by ancient writers for its altar, they could hold a conversation druokeoness, it was as moch cele in very low whispers. For many years brated for its hospitality, and the this singularity was little known; very elevated situation of this City, and several of the confessing chairs where the air is thio and cold, has being placed near the great altar, the perhaps, been one reason why its in- , wags, who were in the secret, used habitants are fonder of wine than to take their station at the door of their neighbours in the valleys. the Cathedral, and tbus beard dis

Fazzello, after railing at the Citi- tinctly every word that passed be. zens for drunkenness, adds, “that tween the confessor and his penitent; there was no town in the island so by this means the most secret incelebrated for its hospitality; many trigues were discovered, and every of tbe pobles bad servants placed at woman in Agrigentum changed either the gates of the city to invite all her gallant or her confessor-yet it strangers to their houses.” Diodorus was the same: at last, the cause was says the great vessels for holding discovered, the chairs were removed, water were commonly of silver, and and other precautions taken to prethe litters and carriages for the most vent the discovery of these sacred part were of ivory, richly adorned. mysteries, and a mutual amnesty The Piscina, which was a large pond passed amongst all the offended para made at an immense expence, full of ties. fish and water-fowl, and in his time Agrigentum, like Syracuse, was the resort of the iohabitants on their long subject to the yoke of ly. festivals, was even then (in the age ranis. And I shall mention the folof Augustus) going fast to ruin, lowing as an instance of the cru. requiriog too great an expence to elty of Phalaris :-Perillus, a goldkeep it up. There is not now the smith, by way of paying court to smallest vestige of it. But there is Phalaris the tyrant, made him a prestill a curious spring of water that sent of a brazeo bull, of admirable throws up a kind of oil on its surface, workmanship, hollow within, and so which the poor people make use of cootrived that the voice of a person iu many diseases. This is supposed shut up in it sounded exactly like the to mark out the place of the once bellowing of a real bull. The Artist celebrated pond which is recorded by pointed out to the tyrant wbat an Pliny and Solious to have abounded admirable effect this must produce, with oil.

were be only to shut up a few crimiDiodorus, speaking of the riches nals in it, and make a fire ander of Agrigentum, mentions one of its them. The tyrant, struck with so Citizens reluroiog victorious from horrid an idea, and curious to try the the Olympic games, who entered experiment, told the goldsmith that the City, attended by 300 chariots, he himself was the only person worthy each drawn by four wbite horses, of animating his bull: that he most ricbly caparisoned. These horses were have studied the note that made it esteemed all over Greece, for their roar to the greatest advantage, and beauty and swiftness; their race is that it would be unjust to deprive celebrated by many antient writers : him of any part of his invention. “Arduns inde Agragas ostentat maxima

Upoo this he ordered the goldsmitb longè

to be shut up, and made a great fire Mænia, magnanimûm quondam genera

around the bull, which immediately tor equorum ;

began to roar, to the admiration and and those which had been ofien vic- delight of all Agrigentum. This bull torious at the games, were not only was carried to Carthage after the honoured with burial rites, but had taking of Agrigentum, and was remagnificent monuments erected to stored by Scipio. their memory t.

Zeno, the philosopher, came to The Great Church is famous for a Agrigeutum, and being admitted into remarkable echo.

If one person

the presence of the tyrant, advised stands at the West gale, and another him, for his own comfort, as well as on the cornice, at the most distant that of his subjects, to resign his

power, and lead a private life. Pha* Virgil, Æv, III. 703.

Jaris, not relishing these sentiments † Pliny. of philosophy, and suspecting Zeno

to

1821.] Singular Custom among the Americans. 399 to be in a conspiracy with some of upon for the purpose. The attenhis subjects, ordered bim to be put to tive husband may judge by certain death in the presence of the citizens proguostics when the storm is nigb at of Agrigentüm. Zeno immediately hand; when the lady is unusually fret. began to reproach them with cowardiceful, finds fault with the servants, is and pusillanimity, in submitting tame- discontented with the children, and ly to the yoke of so worthless a complains much of the filthiness of tgraat ; and in a short time raised every thing about her ;-these are such a flame, that they defeated the signs which ought not to be neglectguards, and stoned Phalaris to death. ed; yet they are not decisive, as they

The country round Agrigentum is sometimes come on and go off again, delightful; the fields are covered with without produciog any further effect. a variety of the fioest fruits; oranges, But if, when the husband rises in the lemons, pomegranates, almonds, pis- morning, he should observe in the tachio nuts, &c. and a great profit is yard a wheelbarrow with a quantity derived from its valuable sulphur of lime in it, or should see certain inines.

W. R. buckets with lime dissolved in water,

there is then oo tiine to be lost; he Mr. URBAN,

Philadelphia, immediately locks up the apartment

March 1. or closet where his papers or bis pri. MYI

Y wish is occasionally to trans- vate property is kept, and putting ibe

mit you some account of the key in his pocket, betakes himself to people of these new states; but I am flight; for a husband, however be. far from being qualified for the pur- loved, becomes a perfect nuisance pose, having as yet seen little more during this season of female rage; than the cities of New York and Phi. his authority is superseded, bis comladelphia. I have discovered but few mission is suspended, and the very national singularities among them. scullion who cleans the brasses in the Their customs and manners are nearly kitchen, becomes of more considerathe same with those of England, which tion and importance than him. He they have long been used to copy. bas nothing to do, but to abdicate, For, previous to the revolution, the and run from an evil which he can Americans were from their infancy neither prevent nor mollify. taught to look up to the English as The husband gone, the ceremony patterns of perfection is all things. begins. The walls are in a few miI have observed, however, one cus- nutes stripped of their furoiture; tom, wbich, for aught I koow, is pe- paintings, priols, and looking-glasses, culiar to this country. An account lie in a huddled heap about the floors; of it may afford considerable amuse- the curtains are torn from the testers, ment to the numerous readers of your the beds crammed into the windows; respectable Miscellany.

chairs and tables, bedsteads and craWhen a young couple are about to dles, crowd the yard; and the garden enter into the matrimonial state, a fence bends beneath the weight of never-failing arlicle in the marriage carpets, blankets, cloth cloaks, old treaty is, that the lady shall bave and coais, and ragged breeches. Here enjoy the free and unmolested exer. may be seen the lumber of the kitcise of the right of white-washing, chen forming a dark and confused with all its ceremonials, privileges, mass: for the fore.ground of the picand appartenances. A young wo- ture, gridirons and frying-pans, rusty man would forego the most advan- shovels and broken tongs, spits and tageous connexion, and even disap- pols, joint-stools and the fractured point the warmest wish of her heart, remains of rush-bottomed chairs ;rather than resign the invaluable there, a closet has disgorged its right. You would wonder what this bowels, cracked tumblers, broken privilege of while-washing is; I will wine-glasses, phials of forgotten phyendeavour to give you some idea of sick, papers of unknown powders, the ceremony, as I have seen it per- seeds, and dried herbs, handfuls of formed.

old corks, tops of tea-pots, and stopThere is no season of the year in pers of departed decanters ;- from which the lady may not claim ber the rag-hole in the garret to the ralprivilege, if she pleases ; but the lat. hole in the cellar, no place escapes ier end of May is most generally fixed uorummaged. It would seem as if

the

400 Singular Custom among the Americans. (May, the day of general doom was come, luable things are mutilated, or suffer and the utensils of the house were death under the operation; a mahodragged forth to judgment. In this gany chair and carved frame undergo tempest, the words of Lear naturally the same discipline; they are to be present themselves, and might, with made clean, at all events, but their some alteration, be made strictly ap- preservation is not worthy of atten. plicable :

lion. For instance, a fine large enLet the great gods

graving is laid flat on the floor, That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our

smaller prints are piled upon it, and heads,

the superincumbent weight cracks Find out their enemies 'non. Tremble, the glasses of the lower tier ; but it thou wretch,

is of no consequence! A valuable That has within thee undivulg'd crimes picture is placed leading against the Uuwhipt of justice !

sharp corner of a table; others are Raise your conccaling continents, and ask

made to lead against that, until the These dreadful suminuners grace !"

pressure of the whole forces the carThis ceremony completed, and the ner of the table through the canvas house thoroughly evacuated, the pext of the first. The frame and glass of operation is to smear the walls and a fine print are to be cleaned; the ceilings of every room and closet spirit and oil used on this occasion with brushes dipped in a solution of are suffered to leak through and spoil lime, called white-wash, to pour buc- the engraving ; no matter, if the glass kets of water over every door, and is clean, and the frame shine, it is scratch all the partitions and wain. sufficient, the rest is not worthy of scots with rough brushes wet with consideration. soap-suds, and dipped in stove-cutters' Ao able arithmetician has made an sand. The windows by no means es- accurate calculation, founded on long cape the general deluge. A servant experience, and has discovered that scrambles out upon the pent-house, the losses and destruction incident to at the risk of her neck, and with a two white-washings, are equal to one mug in her hand, and a bucket within removal, and three removals equal to reach, she dashes away innumerable one fire. gallons of water against the glass The cleaniog frolic over, malters panes, to the great annoyance of the begin to resume their pristine appear. passengers in the street.

The storm abates, and all I have been told, that an action at would be well again; but it is imposlaw was once brought against one of sible that so great a convulsion, in so these water-nymphs by a person who small a community, should pol prohad a new suit of clothes spoiled by duce any further effects. For two or this operation ; but, after long argu. three weeks after the operation, the ment, it was determined by the whole family are usually afflicied with sore Court, that the action would not lie, throats or sore eyes, occasioned by inasmuch as the defendant was in the the caustic quality of the lime, or exercise of a legal right, and oot an. with severe colds, froin the exhalaswerable for the consequences; and tion of wel floors, or damp walls. so the poor gentleman was doubly I know a gentleman who was food non-suited; for he lost not only bis of accounting for every thing in a suit of clothes, but bis suit at law. philosophical way. He considers this,

These sinearings and scratchings, which I have called a custom, as a real washings and dashings, being duly periodical disease, peculiar to the cliperformed, the next ceremonial is to mate. His train of reasoning is ingecleanse and replace the distracted fur. nious and whimsical; but I am not at nilure. You may have seen a house- leisure to give you a detail. The reraising, or a ship-launch, whep all the sult was, that he fouod the distemper hands within reach are collected to to be incurable; but after much study, gether; recollect, if you can, the he conceived he had discovered a mehurry, bustle, confusion, and noise, of thod to divert the evil he could oot such a scene, and you will have some subdue. For this purpose he caused idea of this cleaning match. The mis- a small building, about twelve feet fortune is, that the sole object is to square, to be erected in his garden, make things clean; it mallers not and furnished with some ordinary how many useful, ornamental, or va. chairs and tables, and a few priots of

the

ance.

1821 ) Singular Custom among the Americans.

401 the cheapest sort were hoog against He then sat seriously down to exathe wall. His hope was, that when mine a large bundle of old papers, the white-washing freozy seized the which he had untied and displayed females of his family, they might re- on a table for Ibat purpose. In the pair to this apartment, and scrub and midst of his search, he was suddenly smear, and scour, to their hearts' con

called un business of importaoce; he tent, and so spend the violence of the forgot to lock the door of his room. disease in this out-post, while he en. The housemaid, who had been long joyed himself in quiet at bead-quar. looking out for such an opportuoity, ters. But this experiment did not immediately entered with the usual answer bis expectation ; it was impos. implements, and with great alacrity sible it should, since a principal part fell to cleaning the rooin, and putting of the qualification consists in the tbings to rights. The first' object lady's having an uncontrolled right that struck her eye was the confused to torment her husband at least once situation of the papers on the table ; a year, and to turn him out of doors, these were without delay bundled to: and take the reing of government inlo gether like so many diriy knives and her own hands.

forks; but, in the action, a small piece There is a much better contrivance of paper fell unnoticed on the door, than this of the philosopher; which is, which happened to be the very reto cover the walls of the house with ceipt in question; as it had no very paper, this is generally donez and respectable appearance, it was soon ihough it caobot abolish, it at least after swepl out with the common dirt shortens the period of female domi. of the room, and carried in a rubbish Diod. The paper is decorated with pan into the yard. The tradesman Aowers of various sancies, and made had neglected to enter the credit in 10 ornamental that the women have his books the defendant could find admitted the fashion without perceiv- Dothing to obviale the charge, and ing the design.

so judgment went against him for the Tbere is also another alleviation of debt and costs. A fortnight after the the busband's distress ; he has gene- whole was settled, and the money rally the privilege of a small room or paid, one of the children found the closet fur bis books and papers, the receipt among the rubbish in the key of which he is allowed to keep. yard. This is considered as a privileged There is also apother custom pecuplace, and stands like the land of liar to the city of Philadelpbia, and Goshen amid the plagues of Egypt. nearly allied to the former. I mean, But then be must be extremely cau- that of wushing the pavement before tious and ever op his guard. For the doors every Saturday evening. I sbould he ioadvertently go abroad, at first took this to be a regulation and leave the key in his dvor, tbe of the police ; but on a further inhousemaid, who is always on the quiry, I find it is a religious rite, prewatch for such an opportunity, im- paratory to the Sabbath, and is, I' bemediately enters in triumph with lieve, the only religious rite in which buckets, broons, and brushes, takes the numerous sectaries of this city possessivo of the premises, and forth. perfectly agree. The ceremony bewith pols all his books and papers to gins about suo-set, and continues till rights, to bis utter confusion, and alsoul ten or eleven at night. It is sordetimes serious detriment. For very difficult for a stranger to walk instance: A gentleman was sued by the streets on those evenings; he runs the executors of a tradesman, on a a continual risk of having a bucket charge found against bim in the de- of dirty water thrown against his legs:' ceased's books, to the amount of 301. but a Philadelphian born is so much The defendant was strongly impressed accustomed to the danger, that he with an idea that he had discharged avoids it with surprising dexterity. the debt and taken a receipt; but, as It is from this circumstance, that a the transaction was of long standing, Philadelphian may, be known any he knew pot where to find the re. where by his gait. The streets of ceipt. The suit went on in course, New York are paved with rough and the time approached when judg- stones ; these indeed are not washed, ment would be obtained against him. but the dirt is so thoroughly swept GENT. Mao. May, 1821.

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