Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

wind rave as it would over the hill, let it bend down the birch-trees, and make the pines rustle and crack, and strike their branches against each other, the fury of the tempest could not reach one there that let the rain pour down in ever such heavy torrents, as if the windows of Heaven were open, the thirsty ground would drink up the streams as they fell, as if its draught were insatiable. There were signs of taste, too, about the building, of humble and natural kind. Over the door had been formed with some labour a little sort of trellised portico, of rough woodwork, like an arbour 1), and over this had been trained several plants of the wild-hop and wild-clematis), with one solitary creeping garden-rose. Sticks had been placed across the house, too, to afford a stay for these shrubs to spread themselves over the face of the cottage, if they had any strength to spare, when they had covered the little portico, and two or three wandering shoots, like truant children, were already sporting along the fragile path thus afforded them.

The interior of the house was less prepossessing than the outside ; the mud - floor, hard beaten down and very equally flattened, was dry enough, for the sand below it carried off all moisture; but in the walls of the rooms there was, alas! many a flaw through which sun or moon might shine, or the night-wind enter, and to say the truth, the inhabitants of the cottage were as much indebted to the banks of the pit for protection against such a cold visitant, as to the construction of their dwelling. The furniture was scanty and rude, seeming to have been made by a hand not altogether unaccustomed to the use of a carpenter's tools, but hastily and carelessly, so that in gazing round the sleeping-chamber, one was inclined to imagine that the common tent-bed that stood in one corner was the only article that had ever tenanted a shop. The great chest, the table, the two or three chairs, all spoke plainly the same artificer, and had that been all that the room contained, it would have looked very miserable indeed; but hanging from vails driven into the wall, were a number of very peculiar ornaments. There was a fox's head and a fox's brush, dried, and in good preservation; there was the gray skin of a badger, and the brown skin of an otter; birds of prey of various sizes and descriptions °), the butcher-bird 4), the sparrow-bawk, and the buzzard, as well as several owls. Besides these zoological specimens, were hung up in the same manner a number of curious implements, the properties and applications of some of which were easy to devine, while others remained mysterious. There were two or three muzzles for dogs, which could be distinguished at once, but then by their side was a curious - looking contrivance, which appeared to be a Lilliputian wire-mousetrap, sewn on to some straps of leather. Then came a large coils) of wire, a dog's collar, and a pair of greyhound -slips. Next appeared something difficult to describe, having two saw-like jaws of iron like a rat-trap, supported on semi-circular bars which were fixed into a wooden handle, having a spring C) on the outside, and a revolving plate within. It was evident that the jaws could be opened and kept open in case of need, and had I been a hare, a rabbit, or any other delicate-footed animal, I should not have liked to trust my ankle within their gripe. I could describe several other instruments both of leather and iron, which were similarly suspended from the wall; but as I really cannot tell the reader what was the use of any one of them, it would be but labour thrown away. However, there were other things, the intent and purport of which were quite self-evident. Two or three small cages, a landing-net, fishing-rods, a gun, powder-flasks, shot-belts,

1) Laube. 2) Waldrebe. 3) Gattungen. 4) Neuntödter. 5) Rolle, Schnur. 9) Feder.

a casting-net, and a clap-net '), and by the side of the window hung four small cages, containing singing-birds.

But who was he in the midst of all this strange assortment? Was he the owner of this wild, lonely dwelling? Oh no, it was a young man dressed as none could be dressed who frequented not very different scenes from those that lay around him. His clothes were not only those of a gentleman, but those of a gentleman who thought much of his own personal appearance too much indeed to be perfectly gentlemanly. All that the tailor, the boot-maker, the hat-maker could do had been done to render the costume correct according to the fashion of the day; but there was a certain something which may be called a too - smartness about it all; the colours were too bright, the cut too decidedly fashionable, to be quite in good taste. Neither was the arrangement of the hues altogether harmonious. There are the same colours in a China - aster and rose, but yet what a difference in the appearance of the two flowers; and the same sort of difference, though not to the same extent, existed between the dress of the person before us, and that of the truly well - dressed man even of his own time. In most other respects his appearance was good; he was tall, rather slightly formed than otherwise, and had none of that stiffness and rigidity which might have been anticipated from his apparel. Demeanour is almost always tinged more or less by character, and a wild, rash, vehement disposition will, as in his case, give a freedom to the movements which no drilling ?) can altogether do away with. His features in themselves were not bad. There was a good high forehead, somewhat narrow indeed, a rather fine pair of eyes (if one could have seen them both), a little close together, a well-formed nose, and a mouth and chin not badly cut, though there was a good deal of animal in the one, and the other was somewhat too prominent. The whole countenance, however, was disfigured by a black silk shade which covered the right eye, and a fresh scar all the way down the same side of the nose, while from underneath the shade, which was not large enough for its purpose, peeped out sundry rainbow rings of blue and yellow, invading both the cheek and the temple.

4. Geographie und Geschichte.

1. England and Wales.
Extracts from Thomas Myer's Modern Geography &c.

General remarks. England, or Anglia, is the appellation by which the southern part of Great Britain has been designated ever since the time of the venerable Bede :), who adorned the early part of the 8th. Century. It was derived from the Angles, a nation of the Cimbric Chersonese, or modern Jutland, who had previously conquered large districts in the northern and eastern parts of the country. The immediate denomination which it received from these people was, therefore, Angeland; since modified into its present name.

The present division of England into counties or shires, is ascribed to Alfred the Great, who reigned from 871 to 901. These were at first the nominated shires; from the Saxon word signifying shares; and

1) Lerchenne. 2) Abrichtung. ) [: Literatur.

each was under the superintendence of an Ealdorman or Aldorman; an appellation apparently derived from the age of the person by whom this authority was commonly exercised. Subsequently to the Danish conguest, these governors were called Earls, from the Danish word Jarl, implying a man of rank. The government was originally exercised by the Earl himself; but the dignity becoming hereditary, the management of the county affairs devolved upon his deputy, who was called Shire-reeve, or Sheriff, answering to the Latin term Vice Comes; from which, or from the French word Comte, introduced after the Norman conquest, many of these shires have obtained the name of Counties.

During the reign of Edward I. Wales was annexed to the English Crown; and Henry VII, in the 27th. year of his reign, extended the same laws to Wales as were in force in the sister country, and by another statute, he gave to the Welsh counties and the adjacent ones of England, the names and extent which they now have. The number of counties in England and Wales is now 52; each of which sends a certain number of Members to Parliament.

The population of both Countries is about 14,000,000; but is far from being equally distributed over its whole surface. The number of people in the manufacturing districts greatly exceeds that in the agricultural, on the same extent. Nearly half this population live in the towns, and the remainder is spread over the country, residing in villages, farmhouses &c.

Outlines. Among the prominent features in the physiognomy of a maritime country, are what may be called its Outlines, or the general character of its coasts; and in no country are these of greater importance than in England. Numerous inlets and projections, render its outlines, as well as those of Wales, very irregular. In some places the sea indents the land, in others the land projects into the sea; forming bays, creeks, harbours, and convenient anchorage for vessels in stress of weather.

The chief inlets on the south coast of Cornwall are Mount's Bay, and the Havens of Falmouth and Jowey. The Land's End principal projections are the Land's End, Lizard Point, Deadman's Point, and Ram's Head. Some portions of this coast present magnificent scenery. Plymouth Sound, made by the confluence of the Plym and Tamar with the sea, constitutes a spacious inlet, about 12 miles from which stands the Eddystone Lighthouse, on a rock so exposed to the heavy swells of the Atlantic, that the waves frequently break over it with inconceivable force. The present edifice was built by the late Mr. Smeaton, and is one of the finest spécimens of the kind that has ever been erected in any age or station.

Besides Plymouth harbour, the chief inlets on the coast of Devonshire, are Dartmouth haven and Torbay; and the principal headlands Praul point and Hartland point. Torbay is the great resort of the British Navy. On the coast of Hampshire, the most remarkable openings are Christchurch bay, Southampton water and Portsmouth harbour. The Isle of Wight terminates the bay, formed by the eastern extremity of Devonshire,

with a full range of high cliffs in front; the western side being fenced with ridges of rock, the most prominent of which, from their sharp-pointed appearance, are called the Needles.

Between this island and the mainland, is a safe road for ships, denominated Spithead, and off the eastern part is St. Helen's.

Chichester and Rye havens are the chief openings along the coast of Sussex; while the principal promontories are Beachy head and Selsea bill. The western part of Kent is formed by the promontory of Dunge Ness, which is succeeded by the North and South Forelands. The Downs situated between these points and guarded toward the sea by extensive

[ocr errors]

sand - banks, constitute a capacious basin for the anchorage of shipping during the prevalence of contrary winds. Much of the southern shore of Kent is flat; but on approaching Folkstone the hills close in with the sea, and the rocks begin to present their bold fronts to the waves. From this point the elevations increase, and their towering heights, and chalky aspect, in the vicinity of Dover, not only obtained, for this insular tract of the globe, the name of Albion, but, in more recent times, have at once excited the envy of, and bid defiance to the ambitious enemies of Britain. Another low sandy tract occurs, before the bold chalky cliffs of the Isle of Thanet terminate the south-east point of England. The Isle of Thanet still retains its name, though its insular character has long since disappeared.

On passing the estuary of the Thames, the flat and marshy coast of Essex assumes a northerly direction, and is indented by Blackwater bay, and Harwich harbour. The Suffolk coast is at first low, but afterwards begins to rise in a waving line, and with bolder shore towards the north. Lowestoffe is the most eastern port of the kingdom. The coast of Norfolk resembles that of the preceding county, being generally flat, but sometimes relieved by clayey cliffs from 40 to 80 feet in height. Between this and the adjoining county, the Wash forms a large bay. The whole shore of Lincolnshire is flat. Most of its ports are now either choked with sand, or deserted by the ocean; and in one place the remains of a forest are visible beneath the waves. The Humber forms a large opening between the counties of Lincoln and York, and the low coast stretches nearly to Flamborough Head, incomparably the most magnificent promontory on the eastern shores of England. Being composed of white chalky stone it is visible many leagues distant, and serves as a noted landmark for the vessels that navigate these seas. In the northern side of this precipice there are many caverns, which, Mr. Pennant says, «giving wide and solemn admission, through more exalted arches, into the body of the mountain, 10gether with the gradual decline of light, the deep silence of the place, unless interrupted by the striking of the oar, the collision of the swelling wave against the sides, or the loud flutter of the pigeons, affrighted from their nests in the distant roof, afford pleasures of scenery which such formations as this alone can yield. These are also wonderfully diversified. In some parts the caverns penetrate far, and end in darkness; in others, they are pervious, and give a romantic passage by another opening equally superb. Many of the rocks are insulated, of a pyramidical form, and soar to a greater height. The bases of most are solid, but in some pierced through and arched. All are covered with the dung of the innumerable flocks of migratory birds, which resort thither annually to breed, and fill every little projection, every little hole, which will give them leave to rest.»

From this point to the mouth of the Tees, which separates Yorkshire from the county of Durham, the coast is bold and precipitous, and studded with small villages and fishermen's huts, many of them placed, like nests, on the ledges of the rocks.

Having passed the Tees, the coast of Durham is low till it approaches Sunderland; but it becomes rocky and broken into deep caverns, which continue through part of Northumberland, the remainder being low and sandy.

On crossing the island to the western coast, the shores of Solway Firth, on the Cumberland side, are low, but on approaching Whitehaven, they rise into elevated and abrupt precipices. A few miles south of that town is the bold promontory of St. Bee's head, which is succeeded, at the distance of about 20 miles, by the lofty projection of Black Combe Point. Between these, much of the shore is flat and sandy; and on the south of Black Combe, it resumes the same character, through the whole of Lancashire and Cheshire. These are indented by the broad, but shallow Bay

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of Morecambe, and the estuaries of the Ribble, the Mersey, and the Dee, which separate the coasts of England and Wales.

Entering the northern part of the Principality, we traverse a low and marshy shore, till we arrive at the promontory of Llandudno, a steep precipice, which overhangs the sea near the mouth of the Conway, and forms the northern boundary of a bay, the other margin of which is the eastern coast of Anglesea. The extremity of it is Great Orme's Head. Beyond the Conway is the tremendous precipice of Penmaenmaror, the passage over which was, till lately one of the most awful in the British dominions. The southern part of the county of Caernarvon is formed of the peninsular hundred of Lyon, stretching into the Irish Sea, and bounding Caernarvon Bay; on the oneside, and Cardigan Bay, on the other; the latter is wild and mountainous. A promontory on the north of St. David's, in Pembrokeshire, forms its southern boundary. The shore of this last county is, in general, high, and the cliffs perpendicular. The coast continues rocky, and full of remarkable apertures, to the entrance of Caermarthen Bay. The shore of the Bristol Channel then loses much of its bold character till it ultimately sinks into a marshy flat.

The opposite side of the channel is also low till it reaches the Bay of Minehead, where the majestic pile of Dunster Castle appears proudly elevated. From this point the remainder of Somerset and Devonshire is mountainous, steep, and rugged. This side of the county is indented by Barnstaple Bay, bounded on the south by Hartland Point, from which a long range of broken coast sweeps round the Bay of St. Ives, doubles Cape Cornwall, and winds on the left of the Sand's End; thus completing the circuit of England and Wales.

Surface. In the general appearance, or Surface of a Country, independently of its outlines, and the nature of its coasts, the principal features are its mountains, vales, rivers, and lakes; the harmonious combination of which in England and Wales, has been beautifully described by an elegant writer. «In some parts,” says he, «verdant plains extend as far as the eye can reach, watered by copious streams, and covered by innumerable cattle. In others the pleasing vicissitudes of gently rising hills, and bending vales, fertile in corn, waving with woods, and interspersed with meadows, offer the most delightful landscape of rural opulence and beauty. Some tracts abound with prospects of a more romantic kind; lofty mountains, craggy rocks, deep narrow dells, and tumbling torrents; nor are there wanting, as a contrast to scenes, the gloomy features of black and barren moors, and wide uncultivated heaths.»

Of the many mountains in Cumberland, Yorkshire, Westmoreland, Derbyshire and Durham, the highest are the Sea Fell 3,166 feet; Helvellin 3,092 feet; the Skiddaw 3,022 feet, and many from 2,188, till 2,911.

The principal part of the Cambrian range extends towards the south, through Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, and Cardiganshire; but it declines in elevation as it passes through this last county, and approaches the borders of South Wales.

The highest summit is the towering Snowdon, rising to the height of 3571 feet above the level of the sea. The Snowdonian range is composed of various piles, ascending one above another, and that particular point to which the name of Snowdon is applied, is surrounded by others of nearly equal elevation. Snowdon is the Parnassus of the ancient Welsh Bards. Its summit embraces a view of England, Scotland, and Ireland, with North Wales, and the Isle of Man; thus exhibiting such a display of nature as once astonishes and delights the beholder. Carnedd Llewellyn, and David are 3,462 feet high, the other 7 mountains in the different shires 2,545 to

« AnteriorContinuar »