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Care and dean air ted Catkins
the mulberry-coloured catkins of the alder (betula alnus) give an air of cheerfulness to the otherwise bare and desolate scene.
The principal objects worthy of attention in the vegetable kingdom, in the present month, are the various specics of mosses, which are, many of them, in full bloom, exhibiting, like some evergreens, their flowers and fruit at the same time. There is much to interest the curious observer, even among these humble mosses; they, in general, bear their stamens and pistils in separate flowers, either on the same or on different plants. What Linnæus considered to be the anthers have proved to be the real seed-vessels; and by the sowing of the seeds, a very plentiful crop has been raised of young mosses similar to their parents in every respect. - Trifling and insignificant as mosses appear, their uses are by no means inconsiderable: they thrive best in barren places, and most of them love cold and moisture : they protect the more tender plants when they begin to expand in the spring, as the experience of the gardener can testify, which teaches him to cover with moss, the soil and pots which contain his tenderest plants; for it equally defends the roots against the scorching sunbeams and the severity of the frost. In the spring, when the Sun has considerable power in the day, and the frosts at night are severe, the roots of young trees are liable to be tbrown out of the ground and killed, but if they are covered with moss this accident can never happen: they who are fond of raising trees from seed, will find it greatly to their interest to attend to this precaution. Several species of mosses grow upon marshes, and in process of time occupy the space formerly filled with water; forming, in their decayed state, immense
beds and masses of peat, which, where coal and - wood are scarce, is of great use as fuel.
Pheasant shooting usually terminates about the 1st, and partridge-shooting about the 15th, of February,; In this month early potatoes are set, hedges repaired, trees lopped, and wet lands drained. Poplars, willows, osiers, and other aquatics, are planted.
Phenomena and Natural History of the Arctic
(Continued from p. 33.] About the period of the shortest day, Captain Parry thus beautifully describes the situation of himself, his officers and crew, while, ice-bound and snowsurrounded, they were compelled to winter in this inhospitable region. "The officers (says he) were in the habit of occupying one or two hours in the middle of the day in rambling on shore, even in our darkest period, except when a fresh wind and a heavy snow-drift confined them within the housing of the ships. It may well be imagined, that, at this period, there was but little to be met with in our walks on shore, which could either amuse or interest us. The necessity of not exceeding the limited distance of one or two miles, lest a snow-drift, which often rises very suddenly, should prevent our return; added considerably to the dull and tedious monotony which, day after day, presented itself. To the southward was the sea, covered with one unbroken surface of ice, uniform in its dazzling whiteness, except that, in some parts, a few hummocks were seen thrown up somewbat above the general level. Nor did the land offer much greater variety, being almost entirely covered with snow, except here and there a brown patch of bare ground in some exposed situations, where the wind had not allowed the snow to remain. When viewed from the summit of the neighbouring hills, on one of those calm clear days which not unfrequently occurred during the winter, the scene was such as to induce contemplations, which had, perhaps, more of melancholy than of any other feeling. Not an object was to be seen on
which the eye could long rest with pleasure, unless when directed to the spot where the ships lay, and where our little colony was planted. · The smoke which there issued from the several fires, affording a certain indication of the presence of man, gave a partial cheerfulness to this part of the prospect; and the sound of voices which, during the cold weather, could be heard at a much greater distance than usual, served now and then to break the silence which reigned around us,-a silence far different from that peaceable composure which characterizes. the landscape of a cultivated country; it was the deathlike stilness of the most dreary desolation, and the total absence of animated existence. Such, indeed, was the want of objects to afford relief to the eye or amusement to the mind, that a stone of more than usual size appearing above the snow, in the direction in which we were going, immediately became a mark, on which our eyes were unconsci
ously fixed, and towards which we mechanically · advanced.'--Journal, pp. 124-125.)
THOMSON has a magnificent description of these icy regions, with an affecting allusion to the fate of Sir Hugh WILLOUGHBY, and his crew, sent by Queen ELIZABETH, on an expedition of discovery to this inhospitable, bleak, and barren clime.
Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds.
Projected huge, and horrid, o'er the surge, .
As if old Chaos was again returned,
Of teinresť taken by the boundless frost,
Aud bid to roar no more; a bleak expanse,
The sailor, and the pilot tu the belm. About the last mentioned period (Dec. 21), the return of each successive day had always been very decidedly marked by a considerable twilight for some time about noon, that on the shortest day allowing two hours for walking out. There was usually, in clear weather, a beuutiful arch of bright red light, overspreading the southern horizon for an hour or two before and after noon, the light increasing, of course, in strength, as the sun approached the meridian.. Short as the day now was (if indeed any part of the 24 hours could properly be called by that name), the reflection of light from the snow, aided occasionally by a bright moon, was at all times sufficient to prevent our navigators from experiencing, even under the most unfavourable circumstances, any thing like the gloomy night which occurs in more temperate climates.
The following lines, forming part of some very excellent · Reflections on the Morning of Christmasday, 1819,' while they afford a pleasing illustration of Captain Parry's description just given, fully evince that, whatever tendency the cold might have to consolidate every thing in the shape of a liquid, it had
not the power to freeze 'the genial current of the soul of poesy,' or to bind in its icy, adamantine chains, the ever-welling stream that flows from the fountain of Hippocrene:
Rich from the blashing East no glory darts
Io deeper russet, and at once expires" ! On the 11th of January, 1820, the greatest degree of cold was experienced, the thermometer having fallen to forty-nine degrees below zero; but the weather being quite calm, 'we walked on shore (observes Captain Parry) for an hour without inconvenience, the sensation of cold depending much more on the degree of wind at the time, than on the absolute temperature of the atmosphere as indicated by the thermometer.' That violent sensation said to be produced on the lungs (like rending them asunder) when the air is inhaled at a very low temperature, was never experienced by our arctic navigators, though, in passing from the cabins into the open air, they were constantly in the habit, for some months, of undergoing a change of from 80° to 100°, and, in several instances, 120° of temperature, in less than one minute ; and, what is still more extraordinary, not a single inflammatory complaint (except a common cold) occurred during this particular period.
" See a most beautiful engraving of an Arctic night-scene,'in Capt. Parry's Journal. ! ? Aurora Borealis.
? North Georgia Gazette, p. 5%.