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and narrow-hearted. His family consisted of two sons and a daughter—Maura, the last-named, being the eldest, and Felix by several years the junior of his brother Hugh. Between the two brothers there was in many things a marked contrast of character, whilst in others there might be said to exist a striking similarity. Hugh was a dark-browed, fiery man when opposed, though in general quiet and inoffensive. His passions blazed out with fury for a moment, and only for a moment; for no sooner had he lieen borne by their vehemence into the commission of an error, than he became quickly alive to the promptings of a heart naturally affectionate and kind. In money transactions he had the character of being a hard man; yet were there many in the parish who could declare that they found him liberal and considerate. The truth was, that he estimated money at more than its just value, without having absolutely given up his heart to its influence. When a young man, though in good circumstances, he looked cautiously about him, less fur the best or the handsomest wife than the largest dower. In the speculation, so far as it was pecuniary, he succeeded; but his domestic peace was overshadowed by the gloom of his own character, and not unfrequently disturbed by the violent temper of a wife who united herself to him with an indifferent heart.
His brother Felix, in all that was amiable and affectionate, strongly resembled him; but there the resemblance terminated. Felix was subject to none of his gloomy moods or violent outburst* of temper. He was manly, liberal, and cheerful—valued money at its proper estimate, and frankly declared that in the choice of a wife he would never sacrifice his happiness to acquire it.
"I have enough of my own," he would say ; "and when I meet the woman that my heart chooses, whether she has fortune or not, that's the girl that I will bring to share it, if she can love me."
Felix and his sister both resided together; for after his father's death he succeeded to the inheritance that had been designed for him. Maura O'Donnell was in that state of life in which we feel it extremely difficult to determine whether a female is hopeless or not upon the subject of marriage. Her humours had begun to ferment; her temper became shrewish ; still she loved Felix, whose good humour constituted him an excellent butt for her irascible sallies. He was her younger brother, too, of whom she was justly proud; and she knew that Felix, in spite of the pungency of her frequent reproofs, loved her deeply, as was evident by the many instances of his considerate attention in bringing her home presents of dress, and in contributing, as far as lay in his power, to her comfort.
The courtship of Alley Bawn and Felix had arrived, on the fair-day of ltallaghmore, to a crisis which required decision on the part of the wooer. They went in, as we have shown the reader, to a publicoouse. Their conversation, which was only such as takes place in a thousand similar instances, we do not mean to detail. It was tender and firm on the part of Felix, and affectionate between him and her. With that high pfide, which is only another name for humility, she urged him to forget her, "if it was not plasin' to his friends. You know, Felix," she continued, "that I am poor and you are rich, an' I wouldn't wish to be dragged into a family that couldn't respect me."
"Alley, dear," replied Felix, "I know that both Hugh and Maura love me in their hearts; and although they may make a show of anger in the beginning yet they'll soon soften, and will love you as they do me."
"Well, Felix," replied Alley, "my mother and
you are present; if my mother says I ought"
"I do, darling," said her mother; "that is, I can't feel any particular objection to it. Vet somehow my mind is troubled. I know that what he says is what will happen; but, for all that—och, Felix, aroon,
there's something over me about this same match I
don't know—I'm willin' an' I'm not willin'."
They rose to depart; and as both families lived in the beautiful village of Ballydhas, which we have already described to the reader, of course their walk home was such as lovers could wish. The arrangements for their marriage were on that night concluded, and the mother, after some feebly-expressed misgivings, at which Felix and Alley laughed heartily, was induced to consent that on the third Sunday following they should be joined in wedlock. Had Felix been disposed to conceal his marriage from Hugh and Maura, at least until the eve of its occurrence, the publishing of their banns in the chapel would have, of course, disclosed it. When his sister heard that the arrangements were completed, she poured forth a torrent of abuse against what she considered the folly and simplicity of a mere boy, who allowed hiinSMlf to be caught in the snares of an artful girl, with nothing but a handsome face to recommend her. Felix received all this with good humour, and replied only in a strain of jocularity to every thing she said.
Hugh, on the other hand, contented himself with m single observation. "Felix," said he, " I wont see you throw yourself away upon a girl that is no fit match for you. If you can't take care of yourself, / xenll. Oncfl for all, I tell you that this marriage must not take place."
As he uttered the words, his dark brows were bent, tvnd his eyes Hashed with a gleam of that ungovern—mlile passion for which he was so remarkable. Felix, msX all times peaceful, and always willing to acknow
ledge his elder brother's natural right to exercise a due degree of authority over him, felt that this was stretching it too far. Still he made no reply, nor indeed did Hugh allow him time to retort, had he been so disposed. They separated without more words, each resolved to accomplish his avowed purpose.
The opposition of Hugh and Maura to his marriage, only strengthened Felix's resolution to make his beloved and misrepresented Alley Bawn the rightful mistress of his hearth, as she already was of his affections. At length the happy Sunday morning arrived, and never did n more glorious sun light up the beautiful valley of Ballydhas, than that which shed down its smiling radiance from heaven upon their union. Felix's heart was full of that eager and trembling delight, which, where there is pure and disinterested love, always marks our emotions upon that blessed epoch in human life. Maura, contrary to her wont, was unusually silent during the whole morning; but Felix could perceive that she watched all his motions with the eye of a lynx. When the hour of going to chapel approached, he deemed it time to dress, and, for that purpose, went to a lsrge oaken tallboy that stood in the kitchen, in order to get out his clothes. It was locked, however, and his sister told him at once that the key, which was in her possession, should not pass into his hands that day. "No," she continued, "nor the sorra ring you'll put on the same girl with my consent."
During the altercation which ensued, Hugh entered. "What's all this?" he inquired; what racket's this?" "Oh, he wants the kay to deck himself up for marrying that pet of his." "Felix," said his enraged brother, "I'm over you in place of your father, and I tell you that I'll put a stop to this day's work. Be my sowl, it's a horsewhip I ought to take to you, and lash all thoughts of marriage out of you; if you marry this portionless, good-for-nothing hussey "Felix's eyes flashed. He manfully repelled the right of his brother to interfere. It was in vain. After several unsuccessful remonstrances, and even supplications very humbly expressed, a fierce struggle ensued between the brothers, which was only terminated by the interference of the two servant-men, who, with some difficulty, forced the elder out of the house, and brought him across the fields towards his own home. Maura then gave up the key, and the youthful bridegroom was soon dressed and prepared to meet his "man," and a few friends whom he had invited, at the chapel. His mind, however, was disturbed, and his heart sank at this ill-omened commencement of his wedding-day.
Let us follow him on his way. He had not gone far when he saw his brother walking towards him through the fields, his arms folded, and his eyes almost hidden by his heavy brows; sullen ferocity was in his looks, and his voice, for he addressed him, was hollow with suppressed rage. "So," said he, "you will ruin yourself! Go back home, Felix." "For God's sake, Hugh, let me alone, let me pass." "You will go?" said the other. "I will, Hugh." "Then may bad luck go with you, if you do. I order you to stay at home, I say." "Mind your own business, Hugh, and I'll mind mine," was the only reply given him.
Felix walked on by making a small circuit out of the direct path, for he was anxious not only to proceed quickly, as his time was limited, but, above all things, to avoid a collision with his brother. The characteristic fury of the latter shot out in a burst that resembled momentary madness as much as rage. "Is that my answer?" he shouted, in the hoarse, quivering accents of passion, and, with the rapid energy of the dark impulse which guided him, he snatched up a stone from a ditch, and flung it at his brother, whose back was towards him. Felix fell forward in an instant, but betrayed, after his fall, no symptoms of motion; the stillness of apparent death was in every limb. Hugh, after the blow had been given, stood rooted to the earth, and looked as if the demon which possessed him had fled on the moment the fearful act had been committed. His now bloodless lips quivered, his frame became relaxed, and the wild tremor of horrible apprehension shook him from limb to limb. Immediately a fearful cry was heard far over the fields, and the words, "Oh! yeah, yeah, Felix, my brother, agra, can't you spake to me?" struck upon the heart of Maura and the servant-men, with a feeling of dismay, deep and deadly.
"Oh I" she exclaimed, with clasped hands and upturned eyes, " Oh! my boy, my boy !—Felix, Felix, what has happened you?" Again the agonised cry of the brother was heard loud and frantic. "Oh! yeah, yeah, Felix, are you dead ?—brother, agra, can't you spake to me?"
With rapid steps they rushed to the spot; but ah! what a scene was there to blast their sight and sear the brain of his sister, and indeed of all who could look upon it. The young bridegroom smote down when his foot was on the very threshold of happiness, and by the hand of a brother!
Hugh, in the meantime, had turned up Felix from the prone posture in which he lay, with a hope—a frenzied, a desperate hope—of ascertaining whether or not life was extinct. In this position the stricken boy was lying, his brother, like a maniac, standing over him, when Maura and the servants arrived. One glance, a shudder, then a long ghastly gaze at Hugh, and she sank down beside the insensible victim of his fury. "What," said Hugh, wildly clenching his hands, "have I killed both! Oh, Felix, Felix! you
are happy, you are happy, agra, brother; but for me, oh, for me, my hour of mercy is past an' gone. I can never look to heaven more! How can I live?" he nmttered furiously to himself; "how can I live ? and I darn't die. My brain's turnin'. I needn't pray to God to curse the hand that struck you dead, Felix dear, for I feel this minute that his curse is on me."
Felix was borne in, but no arm would Hugh suffer to encircle him but hjs own. Poor Maura recovered, and, although in a state of absolute distraction, yet had she presence of mind to remember that they ought to use every means in their power to restore the boy to life, if it were possible. Water was got, with which his face was sprinkled; in a little time he breathed, opened his eyes, looked mournfully about him, and asked what had happened him. Never was pardon to the malefactor, nor the firm tread of land to the shipwrecked mariner, so welcome as the dawn of returning life in Felix was to his brother. The moment he saw the poor youth's eyes fixed upon him, and heard his voice, he threw himself on his knees at the bedside, clasped him in his arms, and, with an impetuous tide of sensations, in which were blended joy, grief, burning affection, and remorse, he kissed his lips, strained him to his bosom, and wept with such agony, that poor Felix was compelled to console him.
"Oh ! Felix, Felix !" exclaimed Hugh, "what was it I did to you, or how could the enemy of man tempt me to—to—to—Oh, Felix, agra. say you're not hurted—say only that you'll be as well as ever, an' I take God and every one present to witness, that, from this minute till the day of my death, a harsh word 'ill never crass mv lips to you. Say you're not hurted, Felix dear. Don't you know, Felix, in spite of my dark tempter's puttin' me into a passion with you sometimes, that I always loved you?"
"Yes, you did, Hugh," replied Felix, "you did, an' I still knew you did. I didn't often contradict you, because I knew, too, that the passion would soon go off you, and that you'd be kind to me again." After uttering these words, the suffering Felix gradually recovered, but it was only at intervals that he was free from pain or clear in his faculties. His partial recovery, however, such as it was, gratified both Hugh and Maura, and each strove to assure him of their hearty concurrence in his marriage with his dearly beloved Alley, and hastened to make preparations for entertaining the company which might be expected to be present at the marriage-feast.
Gathering strength sufficient, as he thought, to support him, the stricken Felix now rose to depart. When ready to set out, he again put his hand to his head. "It'comes on me here," said he, "for about a minute or so—this confusion—I think I'll tie a handkerchief about my head. It'll be an asey thing for me to make some excuse, or I can take it off at the chapel." This was immediately acquiesced in; but at Hugh's sug.' gestion a car was prepared, a horse yoked in a few minutes, and Felix, accompanied and supported by his brother and sister, set out for mass. On arriving at the "green," he felt that his short journey had not been beneficial to him; on the contrary, he was worse, and very properly declined to go into the heated atmosphere of the chapel. A message, by his sister, soon brought the blushing, trembling, serious, yet happy-looking girl to his side. Her neat white dress, put on with that natural taste which is generally accompanied by a clear sense of moral propriety, and her plain cottage bonnet, bought for the occasion, showed that she came prepared, not beyond, but to the utmost reach of, her humble means. And this she did more for Felix's sake than her own, for she resolved that her appearance should not, if possible, jar upon the feelings of one who she knew in marrying her had sacrificed prospects of wealth and worldly happiness for her sake. At sight of her Felix smiled, but it was observed that his face, which had a moment before been pale, was instantly flushed, and his eye unusually bright. When he had kissed her, she replied to the friendly greetings of his brother and Maura, with a modest comely dignity, well suited to her situation and circumstances. Then turning to the elected husband of her heart, she said,
"Why, thin, Felix, but it's little credit you do me this happy morning, coming with your nightcap on» as if you wern't well;" but as she saw the smile fade from his lips, and the colour from his cheek, her heart sank, and "pallid as death's dedicated bride," wits) her soft blue eyes bent upon his changing colour and bandaged head, she exclaimed, "God be merciful to us! Felix, dear, you are ill—you are hurted! Felix, Felix, darling, what ails you? What is wrong!"
"Don't be frightened, jewel," he replied; "don't, darling—it wont signify—my foot slipped aftherlavin* you last night on my way home, and my head came against a stone—it's only a little sore outside. It '11 be very well as soon as the priest puts your heart and mine together—never to be parted—long, long an' airnestly have I wished an' prayed for this happy day. Isn't your mother here, jewel, an' my own little Ellen?"
When the ceremony was concluded, those who attended it of course returned to Felix's house to partake of the wedding dinner. He indeed seemed to be gifted with new life; his eyes sparkled, and the deep carmine of his cheek was dazzling to look upon. Courtesy, and the usages prevalent on such occasions, compelled him to drink more than his state of health was just then capable of bearing; he did not, however, transgress the bounds of moderation. Still the noise of many tongues, the sounds of laughter, and the din of mirth, joined to the consciousness that his happiness was now complete, affected him with the feverish contagion of the moment. He talked hurriedly and loud, and seemed to feel as if the accomplishment of his cherished hopes was too much for his heart to bear.
In the midst of all this jollity, a change which none observed came over him. His laugh became less frequent than his shudder or his sigh, and taking Alley aside, he begged she would walk with him to the beach. "The say-breeze," said he, "and a sate upon the rocks—upon your own thyme-bank, where we've often sat happily, Alley, dear, will bring me to myself soon. I am tir'd, asthore machree, of all this noise and confusion. Come away, darling, we'll be happier with one another than with all these people about us." His young bride accompanied him, and, as they went, her happy heart beating under that arm to whose support she had now a right, her love the while, calm, and secure in its own deep purity, she saw before them, in bright perspective, many, many years of domestic affection and peace.
There they sat in the mellow sunset, until the soft twilight had gradually melted away the lengthened shadows of the rocks about them. Their hands were locked in each other, their hearts burned within them, and a tenderness which can be felt only by souls equally pure and innocent, touched their delighted converse into something that might be deemed beautiful and holy. Long before the hour of their return, Felix had felt much worse than during any preceding part of the day. The vivid and affectionate hopes of future happiness expressed by Alley, added to his concern, and increased his tenderness towards her, especially when he contrasted his own physical sensations with the unsuspicious character of her opinion concerning his illness and the cause that produced it. 'Tis true he disguised all this as long as he could; but at length, notwithstanding his firmness, he was forced to acknowledge that pain overcame him. With the burning chill of fever bubbling through his blood—shivering yet scorching—he complained of the shooting pain in his head, and a strange confusion of mind which the poor girl, from some of his incoherent expressions, had attributed to his excess of affection. With words of comfort she soothed him; her arm now returned the support she had received from his; she led him home languid and half delirious, whilst she herself felt stunned as well by the violence as the unaccountable nature of his illness. On reaching home, they found that the noise of social enjoyment had risen to the outrage of convivial extravagance; but the moment he staggered in, supported only by the faithful arm of his wife, a solemn and apprehensive spirit suddenly hushed their intemperance, and awed them into a conviction that such an illness upon the marriage day must be as serious as it was uncommon. Felix was put to bed in pain and danger; but Alley smoothed his pillow, bound his head, and sat patietit, and devoted, and wife-like, by his side. During all that woeful night of sorrow she watched the feverish start, the wild glare of the half-opened eye, the momentarily conscious glance, and the miserable gathering together of the convulsed limbs, hoping that each pang would diminish in agony, and that the morning might bring ease and comfort.
We feel utterly incapable of describing, during the progress of this heavy night, the scorching and fiery anguish of his brother Hugh, or the distracted and wailing sorrow of poor Maura. The unexpected and delightful revulsion of feeling produced upon both, especially on the former, by his temporary recovery, now utterly incapacitated them from bearing his relapse with any thing like fortitude. The frantic remorse of the guilty man, and the stupid but pungent grief of his sister, appeared but as the symptoms of weak minds and strong passions, when contrasted with the deep but patient affliction of his innocent and uncomplaining wife. She wasted no words in sorrow; for, during this hopeless night, self, happiness, affection, hope, were all forgotten in the absorbing efforts at his recovery. Never, indeed, did the miseries and calamities of fife draw from the fruitful source of a wife's attached and affectionate heart a nobler specimen of that pure and disinterested devotion which characterises woman, than was exhibited by the strickenhearted Alley Bawn.
With a vehemence of grief that was pitiable, Hugh uttered cries of despair, and, tearing himself from a spot he dreaded to leave, he mounted a horse, which he spurred to the nearest town for a physician to come and see his now apparently dying brother. The doctor, a man of great skill and humanity, instantly attended the summons. But the visit was unavailing. The patient grew worse every minute. Never before had the physician witnessed such a scene of family distress. "Oh, Felix, Felix, Felix, darling," cried Hugh, in the agony of his repentance, "spake to me, spake harshly, cruelly, blackly—oh, say you wont forgive me—but no, that I couldn't bear—forgive me in your heart, and before God, but don't spake wid affection to me, for then I'll not be able to bear it."
"Hugh," said Felix, from whose eyes the keenness of his brother's repentance wrung tears, despite his burning agony; "Hugh, dear"—and he looked pitifully in the convulsed face of the unhappy man— "Hugh, dear, it was only an accident, for if you had —thought—that it would turn out—as it has done
But no matter now—you have my forgiveness—and you desire it; for, Hugh, dear, it was as much and more my own thoughtlessness and self-will that caused it. Hugh, dear, comfort and support Alley here, and Maura, too, Hugh; be kind to them both for poor Felix's sake." He sank back, exhausted, holding his brother's hand in his left, and his mute heart-broken bride's in his right. A calm, or rather torpor, followed, which lasted until his awakening spirit, in returning consciousness of life and love, made a last effort to dissolve in a farewell embrace upon the pure bosom of his wife.
"Alley," said he, "are you not my wife, and amn't I your husband? Whose hands should be upon me —in what arms but yours should I die? Alley, think of your own Felix—oh, don't let me pass altogether out of your memory; an' if you'd wear a lock of my hair (many a time you used to curl it over on my cheek, for you said it was the same shade as your own, and you used to compare them together), wear it, for my sake, next your heart; and if ever you think of doin' a wrong thing, look at it, and you'll remember that Felix, who's now in the dust, always desired you to pray for the Almighty's grace, an' trust to him for strength against evil. But where are you? My eyes want a last look of you; I feel you—ay, I feel you in my breakin' heart, and sweet is your presence in it, avourneen machree; but how is it that I cannot see you? Oh, my wife, my young wife, my spotless wife, be with me—near me!" He clasped her to his heart, as if, while he held her there, he thought it could not cease to beat; but in a moment, after one slight shudder, one closing pang, his grasp relaxed—his head fell upon her bosom—and he, Felix, who that morning stood up in the bloom of youth and manly beauty, with the cup of happiness touching his very lips, was now a clod of the valley. Half unconscious—almost unbelieving that all could be over, she gently laid him down. On looking into his face, her pale lips quivered; and as her mute wild gaze became fixed upon the body, slowly the desolating truth forced itself upon her heart. Quietly and calmly she arose, and but for the settled wretchedness of her look, the stillness of her spirit might have been mistaken for apathy. Without resistance, without a tear, in the dry agony of burning grief, she gently gave herself up to the guidance of those who wept, while they attempted to soothe her.
At the inquest, which followed, there was no proof to criminate the wretched brother, nor were the jury anxious to find any. The man's shrieking misery was more wild and frightful than death itself. From "the dark day" until this on which I write, he has never been able to raise his heart or his countenance. Home he never leaves, except when the pressure of business compels him; and when he does, in every instance he takes the most unfrequented paths and the loneliest bye-roads, in order to avoid the face and eye of man. Better, indeed, to encounter flood or fire, than to suffer what he has borne, when the malicious or coarse-minded have reproached him, in what, we trust, is his repentance, with his great affliction.
Alley, contrary to the earnest solicitations of Hugh and Maura, went back to reside with her mother. Four years have now passed, and the maiden widow is constant to her grief. With a bunch of yarn on her arm, she may be occasionally seen in the next market-town, the chastened sorrow of her look agreeing well with her mournful weeds. In vain is she pressed to mingle in the rustic amusements of her former companions; she cannot do it, even to please her mother; the poor girl's heart is sorrow-struck for ever. She will never smile again.
Reader, if you want a moral, look upon the wasted brow of Hugh O'Donnell, and learn to restrain your passions and temper within proper limits.
TREACLE, OR MOLASSES. Though this substance is so largely used as an article of household economy, most of our readers know nothing more of its history than that it is made by the sugar-refiners. A few words will explain the history of its manufacture. Treacle is never made on its own account, but is a necessary product of the refinement of sugar. When refined sugar is to be made, raw sugar, after being boiled, is poured into conical vessels made of burnt clay, technically termed moulds, which are placed with their pointed ends downmost. These moulds have an aperture at the point, which for the present is closed. When the sugar has become solid, the stops are removed, and the moulds are placed on vessels, which receive the liquid portion of the sugar as it trickles down, leaving the crystallised portion in the mould. The substance thus obtained is called syrup, and is boiled, put into moulds just as the raw sugar was at first, and then produces another syrup, which, being also boiled, in its turn produces the molasses or treacle, which is just a syrup from which no crystallisable sugar can be obtained. Treacle is also procured by boiling foreign molasses—that is, the syrup which drops from the raw sugar during its manufacture in the colonies. Treacle, though dark in colour, is perfectly pure.
Treacle, besides its more obvious recommendation of agrecableness to the palate, is known to be wholesome and nutritious, and is understood to be useful for medicinal purposes. It is recommended for children by the faculty. Mrs Child characterises treacle as "the aliment of all others useful in regulating the bowels." It has accordingly been remarked, that fa
milies with whom this is an article of daily use, are generally healthy. Some mothers give treacle rather than butter to their children with bread. It is said to be less liable than sugar to become sour in the stomach. Brewers and distillers are prevented from using molasses in their works by a law, which, though only intended to secure to the agriculturist a monopoly in supplying them, benefits the poor, so far as it prevents this article from rising to the high price that would be occasioned by an enlarged demand.
LIVING IN LONDON AND EDINBURGH. A Good deal has been said and written in recent times respecting the saving of expenditure which English families may accomplish by taking up their residence in particular parts of the Continent. That the price of living is considerably lower in France, Germany, as well as the Channel Islands, and other places abroad, than in Great Britain, and especially England, there can be no dispute. But it is cheapness procured at a sacrifice, that of expatriation: Children acquire foreign habits, and are brought up in corresponding ignorance of our national institutions: Society is either on a limited scale, or of a peculiar nature: In the rigorous political supervision which prevails on the Continent, not to speak of the unsettled state of public affairs, there is little to recommend a family to settle for a series of years abroad. Besides, although wines, rents, and some other things, are low-priced on the Continent, there are a thousand little articles and accessories of comfort, which are hardly to be obtained in any country in the world but Great Britain: Coal is generally very expensive, and in many places cannot be procured at any price: Fire-grates arc seldom, if ever, to be seen in the houses: The malt liquors are execrable: The means of land conveyance are very imperfect: Communication in respect of goods or letters is tedious, dear, and uncertain. In short, those who take up their residence on the Continent, for the sake of cheapness of living, have to put up with a number of inconveniences and "disagreeables," which previous calculation could not well have anticipated.
Many persons proceed southward, also, with a view to enjoying a milder climate thaa Great Britain can possibly afford. In some instances, as in all pulmonary complaints, wintering in Italy or the south of France is certainly advisable; but there are cases of dyspeptics and others of weak health, who would receive all the benefit they could expect in going southwards, simply by a change of air in their own country, or by taking up their residence in a place where they could at once enjoy at a cheap rate the comforts of a refined species of society—the amusements of a capital —and salubrity of atmosphere.
Looking about us, within the limits of the United Kingdom, Ave do not know any place so well calculated to meet the wishes of English families who desire to live comfortably on circumscribed means, at Edinburgh. We do not say this from the least feeling of partiality, but from solid grounds of conviction, and the experience of ourselves, and others whose opinion is worthy of being depended on. We hold that there are three leading points which ought to enter into the views of the families we have been alluding to. These are—the non-deprivation of any of the essentials or accessories of comfort, both physical and moral, which have been hitherto enjoyed, accompanied with the requisite of cheapness—the proper education of children—and salubrity of climate and situation. And it admits of the clearest demonstration that these are points which are fully attainable by a residence in Edinburgh. Many families and individuals are aware of the facts we mention, for many take advantage of them; but we suspect that many more, particularly those who have retired from business and live in the vicinity of London, are still in some measure ignorant on the subject, and would have no objections to hear a few particulars regarding the inducements held out by the Scottish metropolis as a place of residence.
It is a prejudice in the minds of most persons thai every place north of their own country is cold and cheerless. The people of London consider York as very far north; those at York, as the poet has remarked, place the north at the Tweed; but when yom come to the Tweed, you find the north is pushed onward to Aberdeen, where it is pushed onward to Inverness, where it is driven as far as the islands of Orkney and Shetland. Where the Shetlanders place their north—the place which they pity as cold and cheerless—we have never heard, though it is reasonable to suppose that they have such a place in their eye as well as their brethren in the south. Such being the ordinary state of feeling respecting places relatively north, it is natural to conclude that individuals in the south will consider that Edinburgh possesses a cold and disagreeable climate. There could not, however, be a greater misapprehension. Edinburgh is situated in the fifty-sixth degree of north latitude, and its climate differs little from that, we shall say, of places on the sea-coast near the mouth of the Thames. Lying higher and nearer the sea than London, it is more airy, and is perfectly free from damp. During the greater part of the year, the winds blow generally from the west, and are not unpleasant, and always salubrious. Sometimes the wind blows from the east, and in such cases occasionally brings fogs from the sea, but these do not last long. The temperature of the air is variable, yet the variations are not peculiar, and by no means extreme. Having almost daily examined a thermometer for the last three years, we can speak with some degree of certainty on this point. The thermometer placed in the shade, in the open air, with a northern exposure, ranges betwixt one or two degrees below the freezing point, to 40° in winter, to 60° and 70° and 78° in summer. With the exception of the hot weather in summer and the cold days of winter, the range is from about 45° to 55°, and by far the greater part of the year the latter degree of temperature prevails. The truth is, the winters at Edinburgh are not cold enough. It is desirable that they were more keen. They are frequently far colder in Paris and in London. Ice is seen only for a day or so at a time on the pools, and snow rarely falls or lies to above an inch or two in depth. Edinburgh may be stated to possess a greater airiness and freshness—less closeness and uniformity in the summer warmth—than London, and that constitutes the chief, if not the only, difference of climate.
In comparison with London and its extensive suburbs, Edinburgh is a mere village. It is little more than a mile and a half in length and breadth, within which dimensions there are extensive open grounds, and it numbers only about 130,000 inhabitants. Nevertheless, it combines the qualities of a capital along with the advantage of its country atmosphere. Its situation is perhaps the most romantic of any city in the world; being built upon and among a congeries of hills, and presenting on all sides the most agreeable scenery of land and water. One of the grand attractions of this seat of population, is the number and variety of its rides, walks, and places of natural beauty, fit for the resort of those whose main object is to pass life agreeably. The sea-shore is within a mile's distance on the one hand, and on the other, at the easy expense of a quarter of an hour's walk, you may, if you please, enjoy all the solitude of a Highland glen. Here lies the Firth of Forth, with its steamers ready to convey you to some of the most charming spots in the kingdom—there is spread out the country dotted with noble mansions, thriving villages, and all the attributes of mral wealth. The difficulty in London is to get into the country; in Edinburgh it is difficult to keep within the town. At the centre of the city, in the vale betwixt the ancient and modern streets, nnd overhung by the precipitous and sublime cliffs of the Castle, there are extensive gardens disposed in an exquisite style of art, and offering a pleasing series of shady and flowery walks. In another extensive vacancy between the line of Queen Street and Heriot Row, there is a series of equally beautiful gardens, only more broken into detail; not to speak of the ornamented squares and places in all parts of the city. Indeed, from the peculiarities of the ground on which Edinburgh is built, and the judgment that has been displayed in laying out the streets, there is probably no capital city in the world that has so many breathing spaces, as they may be called—so much of country mixed up with town. Another peculiarity may be remarked—it is impossible to walk through it in any direction above a hundred yards without commanding extensive views into the country; in some instances, for thirty and forty miles.
While the attractions of natural scenery in and about Edinburgh tend to the out-of-door amusement of the residents, there is no lack of public entertainments at the proper seasons for their enjoyment. The town possesses a number of museums of an interesting character; has several public exhibitions of works belonging to the fine arts; musical entertainments frequently occur; and there is a winter and summer theatre conducted with a highly respectable degree of enterpriee and good taste. But it is less for such institutions than its educational establishments that Edinburgh is remarkable. Its university has been distinguished as a school of medicine and fur other branches of knowledge for upwards of a century. In the present day, it is rivalled by a body of lecturers, many of whom are, or have been, celebrated in their several departments of science. Hence, no place is probably so well provided with physicians and surgeons, possessing the highest reputation for their skill —a circumstance worthy of being held in view by persons in a feeble state of health, or liable to complaints affecting their constitutions. Besides the chief school under the management of the civic authorities, at which the classics are taught, and another on a similar principle, which prepares scholars for the English universities, there are many well-conducted academies under the charge of intelligent and respectable teachers. The number of private teachers of the elementary branches of education, as well as mathematics, music, drawing, and modern European
languages, is indeed very great, and probably in a greater proportion than in any other town in the world. There is also a variety of permanent and day boarding schools and lecturing institutions for young ladies, at which various scientific branches are introduced. The inhabitants likewise support several institutions at which popular lectures are delivered on subjects of an iustructive and entertaining nature. Education of all kinds is well known to he exceedingly cheap in Scotland. In Edinburgh it is higher priced than in the provinces; still it is low in comparison with what is charged elsewhere. The education of a boy, for instance, at one of the best schools, where he is taught English, Latin, writing, arithmetic, and mathematics, will cost less than two pounds a quarter, Latin alone being seldom more than fifteen or twenty shillings a quarter. Advantages such as those now mentioned, along with the number of libraries and literary associations, are the means of attracting not a few families to the Scottish metropolis, and thereby increasing the number of respectable inhabitants.
The nature of Edinburgh society may be described in a very few words. The inhabitants consist of landed gentry; judges in the courts; barristers or advocates (many of whom live as private gentlemen on patrimonial incomes); writers to the signet, or attornies; other professional persons, shopkeepers, and the various classes of tradesmen—the whole forming a description of society, in various grades, which, in point of refinement and respectability, will bear a comparison with that of any town in the empire; and though aristocratic in tone, and in some measure reserved in manner, fully alive to feelings of kindliness and hospitality towards strangers.
One of the leading qualities of Edinburgh, independently of the amenities of its social state, which induce the residence of persons of property and families on settled incomes, is the comparatively small expense at which a certain style of living may be maintained. An elegant mansion, carriage, horses, footmen, and servants, may be enjoyed at less than half the expense they would be in London—that is to say, mingling in the same kind of society in both places. The chief objects of extravagance in Edinburgh are houses. A sort of mania prevails respecting fine mansions, as far as external appearance is concerned—the architectural design of the outside of the house, as well as its situation in a particular street, square, or place, being a matter of first-rate importance, and on which many doubtless expend a too large portion of their income. In our definition of prices of commodities, it is therefore to be premised, that, in Edinburgh, house-rent is high, if the best, or, properly speaking, the fashionable situations are coveted. Houses of the better class vary in rent from L.60 to L.120 per annum. Good flats, or sections of houses, entering by common stairs, as in Paris, and containing five or six apartments, with kitchen and other conveniences, are let at from L.18 to L.35. In all parts of the environs, where many of the most respectable classes reside, commodious houses, with flower plots and small gardens, are to be had at rents varying from L 30 to L.G0. The greater part of the middle and all the lower classes of Edinburgh reside in flats, or up stairs, one house piled upon another, a plait having both conveniences and inconveniences. Whatever be the rents of the houses, they are not extravagantly enhanced by local rates, comparing them with those of London. Within what is called the ancient and extended royalty, the rates are higher than elsewhere. A residence in that quarter, however, may be easily avoided, by taking a house in any part of the environs, or parish of St Cuthhert's, which has very extensive limits. In this district, the whole of the local rates do not amount to above ten per cent, on the rental, which includes a police tax fur watching, lighting, and cleaning the streets, and poor rates— the latter may be reckoned at only 7d. or 8d. a pound for the whole year. Compare this with the extent of rates in and about London, where they amount in general to at least a third of the rated rental, or upwards of thirty-three per cent. We have at this moment lying before us the receipts for money paid during one year for poor rates and police on a house rented at I,.30, in the pariah of Lambeth, and the gross amount of the four quarterly payments is L.5, 10s. 4d. This, with an old church rate, a new church rate, a burial-ground rate, a lighting rate, and
statute duty, makes a total charge of L.8, 2s. 6d a
sum which bears no comparison with the light local taxations in any part of Scotland.
To come now to a comparison of prices of articles of domestic consumption. Good beef in London costs lOd. a pound, inferior T&.; in Edinburgh, the best is Gd., and the inferior 4d. In London, mutton, according to its quality, is 6d., 7d., 8d., and lOd.; in Edinburgh, the very best is not more than Gd. Veal in London sells at lid. and Is.; in Edinburgh, the price is from Gd. to 8d. Pork in London is from 8d. to Is.; in Edinburgh, it is only 6d. Fowls in Loudon cost from 5s. to 7s. a pair; in Edinburgh, tbey may be had, though not so good as those in the south, at from 2s. to 3s. In London, rabbits are Is. a-piece; in Edinburgh, 6d. In London, ducks are 2s. each; in Edinburgh, Is. to Is. 2d. In London, turkeys are usually sold at the rate of Is. a pound ; in Edinburgh, at half that rate. In London, butter is from Is. to 2s. a pound, and eggs 8d. to 2s. a dozen; in Edinburgh, butter is from lOd. to Is. 2d. a pound, and eggs Gd. to Is. Id. a dozen. Game and vegetables of all kinds
are one-half cheaper in Edinburgh than tn London. In London, Newcastle coal costs about 33s. a ton; in Edinburgh, the same can be had for 18s.: but few hum English coal, as excellent native coal it to be had at 8s. Gd. a ton, which answers the same purpose. Speaking of the price of fish in London, neither during gluts nor scarcities, but on something like an average scale, we should be justified in saying that it is from six to twelve times dearer in London than in Edinburgh. Even this does not give a proper idea of relative value; for while the fish exhibited in the Edinburgh market is hard and fresh—" caller" is the word—and only a few hours out of the sea, that sold in the shops of the London fishmongers is in a great measure the reverse. Very fine large fresh haddocks may often be had in Edinburgh for a penny and twopence a-piece, cods 6d. and Is. a-piece, and oysters at from 6d. to 9d. for 120. It it by this remarkable cheapness of fish that the prices of bntcher-meat are kept down, and by which hundreds of families are enabled to live comfortably and genteelly on limited incomes.
Altogether, it may be calculated that the expense of living in and about Edinburgh is from a third to a half of what would be the outlay in any part of the English metropolis or its suburbs. It would be needless to say more. The circumstances which we have, In a spirit of impartiality and candour, laid before our readers, may be safely left to work their way in the minds of that increasing class of individuals who are desirous of seeking out an economical haven of rest, wherein to spend the remainder of their days in personal comfort and cheerful social converse.
THE THUGS. The disposition to destroy life is well known to be one which not only acts independently in the human character, but is liable to be awakened and called into activity by a great number of other sentiments, such at the extreme thirst for gain, offended self-love, panic terror, and even a strong sense of justice, philanthropy, and other of the superior sentiments of our nature. We are now about to introduce to the notice of our readers a remarkable tribe, who, from generation to generation, carry on murder at a regular trade, partly under the influence of the love of gold, but chiefly in obedience to sentiments of a higher, though equally abused character.
The Thugs are a Hindoo race who infest the roads in India, for the purpose of robbing travellers. The states of Bhopaul, Oude, Gwalior, and Bundelkttnd, and the Company's possessions in the Doab, are their chief residence; and the thoroughfares which they chiefly haunt, are those of the Deccan, Scindias, and Holkar's country, down to the sea and the Delhi country. Ostensibly, they are simple cultivators of the ground; but for eight months of the year, they move in gangs along the roads, under various disguises and pretexts, murdering and robbing every party whom they think they can overpower without danger to themselves. They must have practised this trade at least since the days of Akbar the Great, in the sixteenth century, as that sovereign on one occasion executed five hundred of them in one province. Indeed, the profession has not only become hereditary, and of old standing, but is invested with all those inveterate characteristics which attend what is called cajre in India. The young are regularly brought up to it, and, though some are of course better qualified by their natural character than others, none are known to show so much repugnance to it, as to abandon it for any more legitimate means of living.
Though the Thugs are indifferently of the Mahomedan and Hindoo religions, they unite in the grand superstitions which chiefly prompt and support their minds in their abominable courses. They put an implicit confidence in omens. The partridge, the shams, the deer, the jackall, and other animals, are supposed by them tn foretell good or bad luck, according as they appear or are heard on the right or left hand. Leaving their homes in bands at the end of the rainy season, they direct their steps to their high priest or goroo, generally an old Thug (no matter whether Hindoo or Mussulman) who has retired from the trade, and lives upon the contributions of his descendants or disciples, who look up to him with great reverence for advice and instruction, and bend to his decision in all cases of doubt or dispute. On this old man they confer presents. He then consecrates a kodalcc or pickaxe, which they carry with them on all occasions, and to which they ascribe many virtues, one of which is, that it can prevent the spirits of the murdered from rising from their graves which are dug with it. On this occasion, young Thugs who hara passed through a kind of noviciate, and acquired the necessary ardour and hardness of heart, are presented by the priest with the romal or handkerchief—the instrument employed in strangling their victims—which, establishing them in the highest grade of the profession, and insuring a larger proportion of the booty, it regarded as an object of the highest ambition. The priest then tells the young Thug how many of his family have signalised themselves by the use of the romal, how much his friends expect from his courage and conduct, and implores the Goddess Bowanee, whom the Thugs of all religions regard as the arbitress of their destinies, to vouchsafe her support to his laudable ambition and endeavours to distinguish himself in her service. When we reflect on the bane character of the Hindoo priesthood, among which it is a maxim that untruth and false-swearing are virtuous and meritorious deeds when they tend to their own advantage, we shall not wonder that any should be found to employ their influence, and that of their religion, in urging human beings to signalise themselves by acts of murder.
Having performed their various superstitious rites, the Thugs proceed to rendezvous at some place previously appointed, where tbe gangs make their final arrangements for the season, one of the most important of which is to fix on their private signals. They then break into parties of from twenty to a hundred and fifty, and begin to patrole the roads, usually appearing as a collection of travellers, who have combined for mutual protection against marauders. One of their customs is, never to shave or eat pawn till they have killed their first traveller. There is seldom any display of courage among the Thugs. All their murders are effected in a cunning and insidious manner, so as to avoid danger. Some of the younger members, who are not considered as having sufficient hard-brcastedness, as they call it, even to witness a murder, are employed as scouts to ascertain the approach of travellers, their strength, their weapons, the direction in which they are going, and the valuables which they carry. If they conceive themselves to be a match for the party, one or two of tbe most smooth-spoken among them are sent to join it, and make way, perhaps, for a junction between it and the larger body of Thugs. If they succeed in lulling the suspicions of the party, they will proceed in company for a considerable way, till, coming to a convenient place, they propose a grand repast, the expense of which they are ready to bear. After dinner, two or three will play the guitar, while the rest ait round, smoking and talking. At length the private signal is given; each traveller is caught round the neck by a handkerchief, which the wretch who threw it twists as hard as he can, while two of his companions hold the hands of the victim. If any struggle takes place, a kick throws the unhappy traveller on the ground, where the work of death is completed. They then select the most secret place in the neighbourhood for the interment of the bodies, sometimes a thick mango grove, and not unfrequently the beds of rivulets. Parties of two, four, and nearly as high as twenty, are thus disposed of. As treasure is often carried from place to place in India, the Thugs sometimes secure an immense booty. An instance of their obtaining seven thousand pounds in gold and jewels occurred a few years ago. They display the greatest cautiousness in the selection of their victims, and in every circumstance of their atrocious trade. The government runners are seldom attacked by them, because their fate could not fail to become a subject of inquiry. For the same reason, and from a dread of resistance, they rarely make np to Europeans. In 1823, a formidable gang deliberated about attacking two British officers, who were passing by dawk, and finally negatived the proposal, for these reasons; 1st, because such gentlemen seldom carry valuables with them in dawk trips; 2d, because they always carry pistols; 3d, because their destruction would become matter of publicity. The leading maxim of the Thugs is that dead men tell no tales, and for this reason murder invariably precedes robbery. On one occasion, a risaldar, a woman, and fourteen other persons, were murdered by a party, at Chapara, on their way from Hydrabad: before the murder was completed, four poor travellers came up, and these, though presenting no temptation in the way of booty, were strangled alio, In order to prevent discovery. Two of the poor men were going one way, and two another, and the two couples did not reach the spot at the same time. "When the first two came up," said an informer in evidence,11 we made them sit down: when we had in nr. dered the risaldar and his companions, and when the second two came to the top of the pass, at the foot of which we were, our people persuaded them we had had a dispute, and induced them to descend, which at first they were very unwilling to do. When the leaders came up from the work they were engaged in, they insisted on strangling these four poor men, who submitted in silence to their doom."
At the end of the season, or upon having acquired a considerable booty, the Thug goes home to his wife and family, to enjoy his ill-gotten gains. He is careful to take a portion of his wealth to the temple of Bowanee, whose priests, in return, promise him immunity and success in his trade, and, if he should fail in tbe exercise of his vocation, all the delights of paradise. These priests are said not only to connive at the horrible trade of the Thugs, but on many occasions to give them information respecting travellers, and to suggest particular lines of road as most favourable for their purpose.
Within the last few years, since the conclusion of the Mahratta war in India, the attention of the supreme government has been directed to the practices Of the Thugs, many of whom have consequently been apprehended and executed. One named Dirgpaul, who, from his great daring and success, acquired among his companions the title of Subahdar, was seized in 1632, and an account of him is thus given by a gen
tleman who was present at his execution :—" His ancestors have been Thugs for many generations, and his brother Luchman is still one of their leaders. Of a great variety of murders detailed in evidence, I select a few as specimens. The first affair at which Dirgpaul figures is in the year 1817, at the murder of a pundit at Selodha, a village north-west of Saugor one march. The body of the pundit, with those of some others in the same grave, was disinterred by Captain Sleeman. He was next concerned in the murder of fourteen shopkeepers at Seronge, and got 2000 rupees, equivalent to about L.180 sterling. The day after, seventeen Rohillas, marching through this part of the country, fell in with the gang, and were likewise strangled by Dirgpaul and his party. In 1821, he was concerned in the murder of four police guards, at a place called Bhanpore; the bodies were buried in a rivulet. The following day, a native officer of Holkar's army, with four troopers, came up, and they also were strangled, and the bodies buried under mango trees. Four days subsequent to these murders, they fell in with a Nawaub, whose name was Amber Khan, and his wife, and ten soldiers, all of whom were murdered by this gang. Just as they had completed their work, eleven ooiehatlees, or carriers of Ganges water, came up, who, suspecting what they had been about, let out a hint of the kind. The consequence was, that the gang of Thugs fell on them also, and the whole party wore strangled. Their bodies were buried in some empty houses close by; and the bones of these twenty-three unfortunate victims have lately been dug up by Captain Sleeman's people, and an inquest held on them by the native local authorities. In 1823, he was a principal in the murder of eleven men, one woman, and one girl, in all thirteen, on their way from Poona towards Indore. The gang of Thngs amounted to one hundred and fifty. Dirgpaul was the man who cajoled the party, and persuaded them to march in company with them. Tbe booty on this occasion was 1000 rupees. After halting a day at this place of murder, they were joined by more treasure-bearers, travelling with four ponies. In a sequestered spot, at mid-day, the whole were murdered, and the bodies thrown into the jungle. The treasure found on them amounted to 25,000 rupees (L.2400). The last act recorded of Dirgpaul was the murder of a native officer of rank, in the service of tbe queen of Oodipore, called Loll Singh, of his wife, a female servant, and six men followers. The Thugs mustered two hundred and fifty strong, fifty of whom were under the command of Dirgpaul, who was the principal man in concerting the murders, with another notorious leader. The suhahdar Loll Singh rode a mare, and his wife was nursing an infant boy. The Thugs kept in company with the travellers for some days, and, by one of the leaders riding a horse whose tail was docked, they persuaded the subahdar that they were sepoys, and that the rider got the horse from his European officer. Having intoxicated him with opium and stramoninm, the Thngs fell on him and his companions a little after dusk, and the whole were killed, with the exception of the Infant, whom Dirgpaul kept and adopted. This child was brought in with the prisoner, and is now being educated at the Saugor Government School, at the expense of government. This man had a singular leer on his countenance: when he was under trial for his life, and, subsequently, when sentence of death was being passed on him, it did not forsake him; and, with his little wooden spindle twisting cotton, he affected a carelessness, at once unnatural and indecent. He was executed, with twenty-nine others, on the morning of the 30th June 1832 ; and although his courage was great, his caution was also conspicuous. Six carts conveyed them to the place of execution, which was outside the town of Saugor, about a mile and a half from the jail. The gibbets were erected temporarily, and formed three sides of a square. The posts supporting the cross-poles were fixed into stone walls, about five feet high, and, from the edge of one stone wall to the other, a beam was placed for the wretched men to stand on after ascending the ladders. The nooses were all ready, hanging from the crossbeams, and each man as he landed on the platform selected his rope. Considering it an everlasting disgrace to their names to die by the hands of the common hangman, the condemned Thugs no sooner take hold of the halter, than they push their heads into the noose, and, with loud shouts and cheers, adjust the knot behind the ear, jump off, and launch themselves into eternity! The beam against which the ladders are resting, is the platform on which they stand, and which is withdrawn; but the men are all off swinging before this can be done. Dirgpaul waited to see nearly all his companions off, and I well remember the last look he took of them before he swung himself from the fatal beam."
The character of this extraordinary race is full of what our habits of thinking would incline us to consider as inconsistencies. With all their superstitious veneration for the priesthood, and though some of them are themselves Brahmins, they make no scruple to kill persons of that sacred order. Though so remorselers in general that they will destroy even those who have preserved them from prison and death, they are capable of manifesting some of the most amiable feelings. They will, as In the case of Dirgpaul, preserve and cherish a helpless child; they will lament the death of a friend or relation with the bitterest , grief, and do any thing, even to the surrender of them
selves to justice, to extricate their wives and children from imprisonment. Feringia, the Jemadar of the Thugs, when in confinement, avowed that he would have "surrendered himself after the Bhilsah affair, if he had met the party of Nujeebs who bad charge of his family; and he more than once burst into a flood of tears, on an allusion being made to bis relations who were condemned in the Bhilsah trial, and hanged at Jubbalpore." If we reflect, however, upon the circumstances under which this trade is carried on, and the motives which animate its professors, we shall be less surprised at these exemplifications of human kindness. The following of this mode of life is evidently not the result of an original disposition to murder: the Thugs are no collection of lovers of blood from all India, but a localised race, each of whom, whatever be his original tendencies, is forced by a kind of destiny of blood to adopt the business of slaughter. Superstition has evidently supplied the pristine impulse to the awful trade, and still helps greatly to maintain it in vigour. Taught by all that he holds sacred to regard murder and robbery as honourable and advantageous in this world, and still more so with a view to the next, the Thug must proceed to his dreadful work with a mind quite at peace with itself. When, in addition to the sanction obtained from the objects of worship, the young Thug has the authority and recommendation of his parents for the trade he is destined to, he can hardly fail to engage in it with heartiness, or at least without compunction. Man is also, as we may remark in various spheres of life, capable of assuming a professional character, considerably different and apart from his domestic one. Regarding murder as his profession, the Thug practises it as a matter of course, all the time retaining his better feelings for display in the appropriate situations and circumstances. It is at least certain that all those who have inquired into this species of crime, speak of a peculiar callosity being manifested by its votaries when upon the road, and which they do not display either in the bosoms of their families, or when they fall into the hands of justice. Tho young are said to have this callosity in a comparatively slight degree. They require to be brought on from the performance of menial offices about the camp, to aiding in the dispatch of victims—next to practising on the old and feeble— till finally, by the joint operation of superstitious zeal, and the glory which man will derive from the basest of accomplishments, they are able to attack individuals in the full vigour of health. It is evident, from all these facts, that the Thugs practise murder withoot that sense of evil-doing which, by hardening the heart, makes it the more ripe for evil-doing—that, on the contrary, it is practised as a kind of virtue, and accordingly in full compatibility with the best of the human sentiments, so far as that race of people art endowed with them.
THE DRY-ROT. Dry-rot is a most destructive and infectious disease in timber, by which its substance is gradually decayed and reduced to a state of powder, so that, all strength of the material being gone, the most fatal consequences, both as regards houses and ships, ensue. The cause of this alarming decay in timber has been the subject of much investigation; but on the whole, little is generally known regarding either its origin or progress. It is most insidious in its advances, for the process of decomposition is often rapidly going on while the surface of the planks remains whole and unchanged. According to the best authorities on the subject, dry-rot appears to be commonly the result of improper seasoning, or of the natural juices of the tree not being thoroughly dried up by free exposure to currents of the atmosphere. It also arises from the timber being placed in contact with something damp, by which the rot is propagated from plank to plank, as if by infection.
The following is the account given of the origin and nature of this disease in timber, by Mr Charles Waterton, in the Architectural Magazine for August 1835:—
"Dry-rot is a misnomer. This disease in timber ought to be designated a decomposition of wood by its own internal juices, which have become vitiated for want of a free circulation of air. If you rear a piece of timber, newly cut down, in an upright position in the open air, it will last for ages. Put another piece of the same tree into a ship, or into a house, where there is no access to the fresh air, and ere long it will be decomposed. But should you have painted the piece of wood which you placed in an upright positionit will not last long; because, the paint having stopped up its pores, the incarcerated juices have become vitiated, and have caused the wood to rot. Nine times in ten, wood is painted too soon. Tlie upright unpainted posts, in the houses of our ancestors, though exposed to the heats of summer and the blasts of wiater, have lasted for' centuries; because tbe pores uf the wood were not closed by any external application of tar or paint, and thus the juices had an opportunity of drying up gradually.
In 1827, on making some alterations in a passage, I put down and painted a new plinth, made of the best, and apparently well-seasoned, foreign H»„I The itone wall was faced with wood and laths; and the plaster waa so well worked to the plinth, that it might be «aid to have been air-tight. In about four months, a yellow fungus was perceived to ooze out betwixt the bottom of the plinth and the flags; and on taking up the plinth, both it and the laths, and the ends of the upright pieces of wood to which the laths had been nailed, were found in as complete a state of decomposition as though they had been buried in a hotbed. Part of these materials exhibited the appearance of what is usually called dry-rot, and part was still moist, with fungus on it, sending forth a very disagreeable odour. A new plinth was immediately put down, and holes, one and a half inches in diameter, at every yard, were bored through it. This admitted a free circulation of air; and to this day the wood is as sound and good as the day on which it was first put down. The same year, 1 reared up, in the end of a neglected and notoriously damp barn, a lot of newly felled larch poles; and I placed another lot of larch poles against the wall on the outside of the same bam. These are now good and well seasoned : those within became tainted, the first year, with what is called dryrot, and were used for firewood.
If, then, you admit a free circulation of air to the timber which is used in a house (no difficult matter), and abstain from painting that timber till it be perfectly seasoned, you will never suffer from what is called dry-rot. And if the naval architect, by means of air-holes in the gunwale of a vessel (which might be closed in bad weather), could admit a free circulation of air to the timbers, and if he could also abstain from painting, or doing with turpentine, See., the outeT parts of the vessel, till the wood had become sufficiently seasoned, he would not have to complain of dry-rot. I am of opinion, that, if a vessel were to make three or four voyages before it is painted, or done with turpentine, &c, its outer wood would suffer much less from the influence of the weather than it usually suffers from its own internal juices, which cannot get vent, on account of artificial applications to the pores. But still the timber would be subject to the depredation of the insect. To prevent this effectually, Mr Kyan's process must absolutely be adopted; and it must also be adopted to secure wood from what is called dry-rot, in places where a free circulation of air cannot be introduced. I consider Mr Kyan's process perfectly unexceptionable. The long arrows which the Indians use in Guiana are very subject to be eaten by the worm. In 1812, I applied the solution of corrosive sublimate to a large quantity of these arrows. At this hour they are perfectly sound, and show no appearance that the worm has ever tried to feed upon them."
To this it ought to be added, that the seasoning of timber by applying artificial heat is extremely dangerous. The heat causes the juices to ferment and fructify, and the rot forthwith commences; and after it is once begun, nothing can cure the malady, but the speedy excision of the decayed part. The most remarkable fact connected with the dry-rot is the appearance of fungi or mushrooms. The question arises, whence the germs or seeds of this class of vegetables— how do they get into the heart of the timber? The only wav of accounting for the introduction of the germs of fungi, is by supposing that they are taken up and incorporated in the growth of the tree, for, in their earliest stage, they are so minute and impalpable as to be invisible to the naked eye. The germinating principle of these seeds, therefore, not being destroyed, moisture and heat readily urge their growth, and consequently they are in due time developed on the surface of trie rotting timber. When one reflects on the great destruction of shipping, and the danger which many houses are in, from dry-rot, it certainly seems strange that so very little has hitherto been done by way of preventive, although preventives of a specific nature are known to exist. "Very few persons (says a writer in the Liverpool Magazine) have any tolerable conception of the quantity of timber required for the construction of the larger classes of vessels, and, consequently, of the loss that arises from the spread of dry-rot, which, when once commenced,, can rarely if ever be eradicated. A first-rate ship of war demands nearly 6000 loads; a quantity sufficient td cover a road fifty feet wide with timber, one foot in depth, for more than a mile and a furlong in length. Hence it is not surprising, that, according to the opinion of the best judges, the annual destruction of timber in the royal navy alone should not be under 60,000 loads, amounting, at L.8 per load, the price usually paid for the best selected timber, to L.40,000 per annum, independent of workmanship; and if to this be added the destruction of the government workshops and other erections on shore, it is no extravagant arithmetic to say, that in the public expenditure of this nation, certainly not less than a million and a half have been annually sacrificed, from the delayed adoption of Kyan's preventive. Of particular instances of this destruction, it may be sufficient to state, that the Queen Charlotte, of 120 guns, within one year after she had been launched, was found to be rotten from the water line upwards, and in many places below it; and, having been built of various sorts of timber, proved to be covered with as many different species of boletus (or fungi). The Spencer cost, for repairs of hull, masts, and yards, nearly Li.l26,0OC; the Tremendous more than L. 135,000; and the Victory, Nelson's ship, in the very first year, 1800, was repaired at Chatham, and her repairs did not terminate
till 1803, when the sum expended, on the above account, exceeded 1,.0(5,000 more. She was under repairs again in 1814-15-16, when she cost for the same more than L.47,000, making the total of the expense for the replacement of her timbers only, within fifteen years, above L. 143,000; the original cost of a ship of this class being estimated, in the time of war, at
less than L.95,000 The destruction by dry-rot in
public and private buildings does not require us to have recourse for proof to the wholesale havoc it has committed on the palaces, churches, institutions, and whole streets, of the metropolis. Judging from the statements of the whole of the operation of this pest in the United Kingdom, the subject cannot be deemed otherwise than of 'fully sufficient importance,' to use the words of Professor I'arrady, in a lecture he delivered on the efficacy of Kyan's preventive, 'to justify inquiry into any process which professes to effect these changes, and to confer so much consequent benefit on mankind. The object is not, as in some instances, the ready destruction of life and property, but it consists of a benefit connected with more social and pleasant feelings, and touching the permanent and mutual interests of mankind.'"
ADVENTURE ON THE ADIGE. [From " Solitary Walks through many Lands," by Derwent Conway. J
Those of my readers who have walked on the banks of the Adige, below Rovigo, will know that about a league and a half from that town, there are one or two islands in the midst of the channel, between which and the shore the water is not more than a foot deep; and those who have never stirred from home have probably heard that the Adige is extremely subject to violent inundations, equally remarkable for the suddenness of their rise and fall, owing to its mountainous origin and short course.
On the evening of one of the last days of May, I arrived opposite to one of these islands. The water was as pure as crystal, gently flowing over a fine pebbly channel; the island, which might be about forty yards from the shore upon which I stood, though more than double that distance on the other side, was inviting from its extreme greenness, and from a profusion of hyacinths upon one side; a flower to which I am extremely partial. Three or four trees also grew upon its edge, the trunks inclining over the water, and with but few branches. After a day's walk, nothing is more agreeable than wading in a stream; and as I had sufficient time to spare, 1 resolved upon reaching the island. This was soon accomplished; I found the depth nowhere exceed two feet, and the island, when I reached it, as agreeable as I had fancied it to be; and having culled a large bouquet, I lay down upon the hyacinth bank, and gave myself up to those pleasant recollections of home and past scenes, which the fragrance of this flower brought along with it. I had lain, I think, about a quarter of an hour, entirely forgetful of time and place—a busy actor in scenes far removed by both—when my attention was slightly roused by a distant sound, which I supposed at first to be thunder, a good deal having been heard to the northward in the course of the day ; and when it continued, and grew louder, I still supposed it was one of those prolonged peals which are so frequent to the south of the Alps. Soon, however, the sound changed, and seemed like the sea; and, as it became still louder, I started up in some alarm—and what a sight met my eye! At the distance of a few hundred yards, I saw a mountain of dark waters rushing towards me with inconceivable velocity, like a perpendicular wall, and now roaring louder than the loudest thunder. Not a moment was to be lost; the level of the island would be instantly covered, and to gain the shore was impossible—for we cannot run through water with the swiftness with which we pass over dry ground. I instantly made for the largest of the trees, and had gained an elevation of about ten feet above the island, when the flood reached it. As it came nearer, its power appeared resistless; it seemed as if it would sweep the island from its foundations; and I entertained not a ray of hope that the trunk upon which I was seated would escape the force of the torrent. It came, and the tree remained firm—it covered the island and all its vegetation in an instant; and I saw it rush beneath me, bearing along with it the insignia of its power and fury—huge branches and roots, fragments of bridges, implements of household use, and dead animals.
As regarded myself, the first and immediate danger of destruction was over; but a moment's reflection—one glance around me, showed that I had but small cause for congratulation. Betwixt the island and the shore, a torrent, that no human strength could withstand, rolled impetuously on ; and, although not fifty yards over, it would have been as impracticable an attempt to pass it, as if its breadth had been as many leagues. The first rush had left the tree unloosened, yet a second might carry it away; and the flood was still rising—almost every moment I could perceive the distance betwixt me and the water diminish; and, indeed, I was not more than four feet above its surface. I had only two grounds of hope— the most languid, however, that ever was called by the name—it was possible that some person might see my situation from the shore before nightfall, and bring others to my assistance; and it was possible, also, that the river might rise no higher, and speedily
subside. The first of these chances was one of very improbable occurrence, for this part of the country is but thinly inhabited—the high road did not lie along the river side, and the shore, for three or four hundred yards from the channel of the river, was overflowed to the depth of probably three or four feet; and, besides, it was difficult to see in what way human aid could extricate me: no boat could reach tha island; and if a rope or cord could be thrown as far, it was extremely improbable that I should catch it, as it was impossible for me to stir from the tree upon which I was seated; and as to any likelihood of the water subsiding, there was no appearance of it; it was at all events impossible that this could happen before nightfall.
In this dreadful and perilous situation, evening passed away; no one appeared, and the river still continued to rise. The sky lowered and looked threatening; the torrent rushed by, darker and more impetuous, every few moments reminding me, by the wrecks which it bore along with it, of the frailty of the tenure by which I held my existence. The shores on both sides were changed into wide lakes; and the red sun went angrily down over a waste of red waters. Night at length closed in—and a dreadful night it was. Sometimes I fancied the tree was loosening from its roots, and sloped more over the water; sometimes I imagined the whole island was swept away, and that I was sailing down the torrent. I found that my mind occasionally wandered, and I had the precaution to take out of my pocket a silk handkerchief, which I tore in several strips, and, tying them together, bound myself round the middle to a pretty thick branch which supported my back; this, I thought, might prevent me from falling if giddiness seized me, or momentary sleep should overtake me. During the night, many strange fancies came over me, besides that very frequent one of supposing the island sailing down the torrent. Sometimes I fancied I was whirling round and round; at other times I thought the torrent was flowing backward; now and then I fancied I saw huge black bodies carried towards me upon the surface, and I shrunk back to avoid contact with them; at other times I imagined something rose out of the water beneath, and attempted to drag me down; often I felt convinced I heard screams mingle with the rushing torrent, and once, all sound seemed entirely to cease, and I could have ventured almost to descend, so certain I felt that the channel was dry; once or twice I dropped asleep for a moment, but almost instantly awoke with so violent a start, that if I had not been fastened, I must have fallen from my seat.
The night gradually wore away; it was warm and dry, so that I suffered no inconvenience from cold. I became nearly satisfied of the stability of the trunk, which was my only refuge; and although deliverance was uncertain, at all events distant, I made up my mind to endure as long as I could; and thus I passed the night, under a starless sky, and the dark flood roaring beneath me. Before morning broke, I felt assured that the waters had begun to subside; the noise, I thought, was less; I fancied I saw shrubs appear above water on the island, and trees upon the shore assume their usual appearance; and, with the first dawn of day, I joyfully perceived that I had not been mistaken; the flood had fallen at least three feet; and before sunrise, the greater part of the island was left dry. Never did criminal, reprieved upon the scaffold, shake off his bonds with more joy than I did mine that bound me to the tree. I crept down the trunk, which still hung over the torrent, and stepped about knee-deep on the island; I then waded to the part which was dry, and lay down, exhausted with the night's watching, and aching with the position in which I had been obliged to remain.
The water now continued to fall perceptibly every moment; soon the island was entirely dry, and the inundation on shore had subsided intothenatural channel; but still the torrent was too strong and deep to attempt a passage, especially, weakened as I was by the occurrences of the last twelve hours, and by the want of food. I had no certainty as to the hour, for I had not of course remembered to wind up my watch the evening before; judging from the height of the sun, however, the water had so much diminished before noon, that in two or three hours more I might attempt to gain the shore. About three in the afternoon I accordingly entered the stream; I found it then nowhere deeper than four feet, and with a little struggling and buffeting, succeeded in gaining the bank, which I once thought I should never have trodden more. The bunch of hyacinths, which I had not forgotten to bring from the island, I still held in my hand. I have dried a few of them, and kept them ever since; never do I smell this flower, an I walk through the woods or the fields, that I do not experience in part the sensations I felt when I lifted my head and saw the impetuous flood rushing towards me; and, however dreadful a reality may be, the recollection of it is not unmixed with pleasure. 1 often open the leaves where lie these withered hyacinths, and I cannot say, that when I look upon them, I ever think they have been dearly purchased.
Natural Criticism.—A countryman was shown Gainsborough's celebrated picture of the plgi. "To be lure." laid he, "they be deadly like pigti but there If one fault—nobody ever saw ihree pig* feeding together, but what one on 'urn had a foot in .the trough."—J Cm i Utioningt, ttird writ*.