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though its commerce is inconsider- pleasing, are referred to the Meable, yet it is the residence of moirs of the Royal Academy of many noble families, who form an Paris, for 1761. agreeable society, and even condescend to mix with their neighbours; the place abounds with all the necessaries and conveni-An account of the journey up Mount encies of life, even to game and Ætna. From the Latin of the fish; the inhabitants have also late M. D’Orville, in a work white bread, which is as little intituled Sicula, or the History known in Siberia as the pine- and Antiquities of the Island of apple ; indeed nothing is scarce at · Sicily, &c. 2 vols. folio, pubCafan but wine.

lished at Amsterdam. He left Casan on the 7th, and


, he 18th of July, M. D'Orville came among new nations, the Ze- left Catanea, and dined at a conremises and the Sousvaschi, of vent of Benedictines, about 14 which he has recorded nothing but miles from that city. These fathe names. In proportion as he thers were gathering in their harapproached Petersburgh, which is vest. As far as the monastery all to the north of Casan, the cold be- the country was cultivated and came more fevere, and travelling very fertile. The little city of more difficult; fome rivers were Ætna, or Ireffa, is thought to already frozen, but the ice of others have been formerly situated there.

not thick enough for the fledge: A little farther the ground rises, he at length, however, arrived safe- ' and one must traverse a vast forest, ly at Petersburgh, where he passed where our traveller saw the largest the winter, and as foon as the sea trees that he had ever observed, was open in the spring, he embark- and had the most difficult roads to ed for France, where he arrived in pass for three or four miles of the August, 1762, having been absent way. After having clambered near two years.

about 3000 paces, he found himBy astronomical observation he felf in a valley, where there was fixes the longitude of Cafan to be scarce any turf. Here he supped 3h. 8m. 371. East of the meridian frugally with his fellow traveller, of Paris, and the latitude to be their mule drivers, and 'servants : 55d. 43m. 58f.

two guides, inhabitants of the vilThe longitude of Tobolski helage, came hither to lend them fixes by observation also at 4h. their aflfiance. They went two 23m. 54f. E. of the meridian of miles farther in a litter, but not Paris. His account of the Transit without much hazard, till they of Venus, the phænomenon which came to a place named Castellucci, he went to observe, is less the ob- where all the company stopped in ject of general curiosity, and less order to take fome rest in one of capable of abridgment; for this, the caverns formed by the lava of therefore, the learned, to whom the volcano, for beyond the Benealone it can be either useful or dictines they found no more lroufes,


and as soon as they had ascended out stopping through a plain of as high as Castellucci, they faw no sulphur and alhes (a little like more trees, nor plants, nor ver- that of Salfatara, near Naples) dure, but only ashes, and pumice- which conducted him to the second ftones which were covered with and principal of the two openings ; snow. It was cold, our travellers and though it was the 19th of felt it very sensibly, though they July, all the way as he approached were doubly provided with good this gulph, he found snow under cloaks, and though with some fag- the alhes and sulphur on which he gots, which they had picked up trod, while a few paces farther he in their journey, they made a large saw himself surrounded with ilamfire at the entrance of the cavern, ing exhalations, which rose from where one may easily suppose they place to place, as already particudid not rest long.

larly described by Silius, ClauThey set out from hence two dian, Severus, Seneca, and some hours before day, mounted on their moderns. mules, whose bridles their hands The large mouth of Ætna may benummed with cold held with dif- be about three or four miles in ficulty. To see things distinctly, circumference. M. D’Orville and one must reach the top of the moun- his fellow traveller, fastened to tain before the sun has raised the ropes which two or three men held vapours. The first thing remarkat some distance for fear of acciable that presented itself to M. dents, descended as near as poflible D'Orville, at the foot of that ridge to the brink of the gulph ; but the of the mountain where are the small flames and smoke which if. mouths of the volcano, was a great sued from it on every fide, and a oblong block of marble, 8 or 10 greenish sulphur and pumice-stones, feet high, and 3 or 4 thick ; how quite black, which covered the it came there is unaccountable; margin, would not permit them for though what Despreaux has either to advance farther, or to exsaid, too poetically, from Longi. tend their views to the bottom nus, that Ætna throws from the of this abyss. They only saw difdepth of her abyss, stones, rocks, and tinctly in the middle, a mass of floods of fire, (which is impossible, matter which rose in the shape of a on account of the size of its mouths. cone to the height of above 60 and of the vast resistance which the feet, and which towards the base, air makes to what comes out of as far as their sight could reach, them) though this, I say, were might be from fix to eight hundred. true, how could the volcano throw It was a mass of consumed lava out this piece of marble, all polish- which burnt no longer. ed? Some edifice must certainly While our travellers had their have been there in former times. eyes fixed on this substance, they The temple of Vulcan was on the perceived some motion on

the other side of the mountain.

north fide, opposite to that on Our traveller foon found himself which they stood. . Presently the at the top of the first mouth of mountain began to send forth Ætna, from whence he passed with smoke and alhes: this eruption was VOL. VII.




preceded by a sensible increase in ration, in order to imprint the prorits internal roarings. M. D’Or- pect in his mind, and never to ville was not intimidated by them, forget its inexpreffible beauties. he knew that Ætna seldom casts • Once and again, therefore, says he, forth flames and stones ; besides, I enjoyed the unparalleled pleaevery thing generally falls back “sure of that view, never more to into its vaft mouth. In short, the "be repeated, and satisfied my eyes motion did not last ; after a mo- and my mind for the remainder of ment's dilitation, as if to give it "


life.' At last he left it, and vent, the volcano resumed its tran- having soon descended to the place quillity. But this phænomenon where was the piece of marble, formight return, and the wind, which merly mentioned, he there redrove the vapours to the north, mounted, congratulating himself on might, by changing, bring them the good fuccess with which his to the south, in which case our curiosity had been repaid. curious observers would have run fome risk of being suffocated, as Pliny the elder was by Vesuvius. They therefore went towards their Observations on the singular phaattendants, and immediately got nomena of disappearing and reto the top of that enormous heap appearing rivers : with a de. of lava and ftones, of ashes and scription of several such rivers in fulphut, which, having been accu- Normandy, and other parts of mulating for so many ages, have France. From a memoir by M. raised mount Ætna above all Si- Guettard, in the last volume of cily.

the history of the Royal AcadeThough few are capable of de- my of Sciences at Paris, fcribing fo well as M. D’Orville, the immense and wonderful scene THE farther we enquire into which presented itself to his view the works of nature,

the the moment that the sun had risen more have we reason to admire above the horizon, yet it is eafy to them. It is remarkable also that form from his description loine idea our admiration arifes more freof this grand appearance. Our au- quently from those effects we have thor could scarce tear himself from becn accustomed to fee, than from it. No delay, says he, would our not being able to comprehend • have seemed long to me, contem- them. It is very surprising, if we

plating, as it were, at one view, reflect on it, that a river in its * the true fituation of so many course, which is often very exten*countries, cities, towns, hills, five, should not meet with sponplains, islan:ls, coasts, and seas ; gious foils to swallow up its wa

if my companions, fatigued with ters, or gulphs in which they are * the journey, had not admonish- left: nevertheless, as there has ed me, tired as I allo. was, to been hitherto known but a small

defcend the mountain.' Once or number of rivers whose waters twice he ftill delightfully looked thus disappear, this phænomenon about him with eyes full of admis has been accounted very extraor



If we


dinary, both by the ancients and in general porous, and composed of moderns. Pliny speaks of it with a thick sand, the grains of which an energy familiar to him; and are not well compacted together ; Seneca mentions it in his Quæf- it finks suddenly down by its own tiones' Naturales : he even distin- weight in some places, and there guishes these rivers into two forts, forms great holes; and when the those that are lost by degrees, and water overflows the meadows, it those which are swallowed up all at frequently makes many cavities once, or ingulphed : which would in several parts of them. make one believe that the ancients therefore suppose inequalities in had collected some observations the channels of these rivers, and concerning them.

that there are certain places in But leaving apart what may be which the water ftagnates " longer wonderful in these rivers, it may be than in others, it must there dilute asked, how they are loft? From the ground, if we may use that what particular qualities of the expression; and having carried foil over which they flow, and away the parts which united the from what situation of the places grains of sand together, those through which they pass, does this grains will become afterwards no phænomenon arise? Upon this other than a kind of fieve, through head find but little light in au- which the waters will filtrate themthors. We might, perhaps, be in- felves, provided nevertheless that formed a great deal more, if the they find passage under ground observations of the ancients had through which they may run.

This conjecture appears to be so Mr. Guettard has undertaken to well founded, that each of thefe remove parts of this obscurity by three rivers loses itself nearly in describing what he has observed the same manner, that is, through in several rivers of Normandy, cavities, which the people of the which are lost and afterwards ap- country call betoirs, and which again ;

these are five in num- swallow up more or less according ber, viz. the Rille, the Ithon, the to their largeness. M. Guettard, Aure, the river of Sap-Andre, and who has carefully examined them, the Drôme.

remarks that these betoirs are holes The three first disappear gradu- in the form of a tunnel, whose diaally, and then come in light again; meter and aperture is at least two the fourth loses itself entirely by feet, and fometimes exceeds eleven; degrees; but afterwards re-ap- and whoso depth varies in like pears ; the fifth loses fome of its manner from one and two feet to water in its course, and ends by five, fix, and even twenty. The precipitating itself into a cavity, water generally gets into these cafrom whence it is never seen to rise vities, when the river is not very again.

high, making a guggling, noise, What seems to occasion the loss and turning round in an eddy. A of the Rille, the Ithon, and the proof that waters are there filtered Aure, is the nature of the soil and absorbed among the grains of through which they pass.

M. this sharp diluted fand, is, that Guettard has observed that it is frequently in a betoir iwo or three


fest from

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feet deep, and through which a a certain time: it must befides, as great deal of water is lost, one we have before said, find ways uncannot thrust a stick farther than der ground, through which it may the surface of its bottom. Where. take its course. M. Guettard seems fore, as these betoirs so frequently also much inclined to believe that occur in the bed and banks of the there are, in these parts, fubterraRille, the Ithon, and the A ure, neous cavities through which the it is not surprising that these waters may flow; and in conserivers should be thus loft. The quence of this he reports a number Rille during the summer season of facts, all tending to prove loses almost all its water in the the truth of it, or at least to prove space of two short leagues ; the that there must be hollow quarries Ithon does very near the same ; serving for strainers to these waters

. but M. Guettard observes fome- Upon which occasion he goes into thing curious concerning this river, a discussion of this question : Are to wit, that formerly it was not there any subterraneous rivers

, and loft, but kept its course without is the prepossession of some perany interruption, as appears by fons in favour of this particular the history of the country : very well-founded ? He makes appear by likely, the mud which had been several instances which he quotes, collected together in several parts and by many reasons which he alof its channel, might have occa- ledges, that there are at least very fioned the waters remaining in great presumptions in favour of others, and thereby have caused this opinion. We are too apt not many betoirs. This is the more to look beyond the exterior of likely; as the mud having been things : we feel resistance upon the collected together in the bed of surface of the earth ; when we go the river Aure, it appears that, deep we often find it compact. It in consequence thereof, the cavi- is therefore hard for us to imagine ties

greatly increased, that it can contain subterraneous which makes it lose itself much cavities, fufficient to form channels sooner than formerly ; however it for hidden rivers, or for any con. has been resolved to cleanse its fiderable body of water ; in a word, channel to remedy this inconveni- that it can contain vast caverns ; ence. Besides, possibly an earth- and yet every thing seems to indiquake happening in the country cate the contrary. A fact that is might have caused several sub- observed in the betoirs of the riterranean canals through which vers concerning which we have the water of the Ithon (which be- spoke, and particularly of the Rille

, fore very likely could not pass proves in some measure that there through the soil beneath its bed) are considerable lakes of water has forced 'its way.

In effect it in the mountains which limit its appears that a foil's being porous course ; this fact is, that in winter is not sufficient to cause the loss the greatest part of their betoirs of a river ; for, if it were then to become springs,

become Springs, which supply do so, it would occasion many fens

a-new the river's channel with as round about, nor would it renew much water as they had abforbed ita course after having disappeared from it during the summer. Now,


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