« AnteriorContinuar »
To such unhappy persons, in whose miseries I deeply sympathize - - - Have I not groaned under similar horrors, from the hour when I was first shut up (under lock and key, I believe,) to indite a dutiful epistle to an honored aunt? I remember, as if it were yesterday, the moment when she who had enjoined the task entered to inspect the performance, which, by her calculation, should have been fully completed-I remember how sheepishly I hung down my head, when she snatched from before me the paper, (on which I had made no further progress than “My dear ant,"') angrily exclaiming, “What, child! have you been shut up here three hours to call your aunt a pismire?". From that hour of humiliation I have too often groaned under the endurance of similar penance, and I have learnt from my own sufferings to compassionate those of my dear sisters in affliction. To such unhappy persons, then, I would fain offer a few hints, (the fruit of long experience, which, if they have not already been suggested by their own observation, may prove serviceable in the hour of emergency.
Let them --- or suppose I address myself to one particular sufferer—there is something more confidential in that manner of communicating one's ideas—As Moore says, “ Heart speaks to heart”-I say, then, take always special care to write by candlelight, for not only is the appārently unimportant operation of snuffing the candle in itself a momentary relief to the depressing consciousness of mental vacuum, but not unfrequently that trifling act, or the brightening flame of the taper, elicits, as it were, from the dull embers of fancy, a sympathetic spark of fortunate conception—When such a one occurs, seize it quickly and dexterously, but, at the same time, with such cautious prudence, as not to huddle up and contract in one short, paltry sentence, that which, if ingeniously handled, may be wire-drawn, so as to undulate gracefully and smoothly over a whole page.
For the more ready practice of this invaluable art of dilating, it will be expedient to stock your memory with a large assortment of those precious words of many syllables, that 311 whole lines at once ; “incomprehensibly, amazingly, deidedly, solicitously, inconceivably, incontrovertibly." An 'pportunity of using these, is, to a distressed spinner, as deightful as a copy all m's and n’s to a child. " Command rou may, your mind from play.” They run on with such elicious smoothness!
I have known a judicious selection of such, cunningly arrānged, and neatly linked together, with a few monosyllables, interjections, and well chosen epithets, (which may be liberally inserted with good general effect,) so worked up, as to form altogether a very respectable and even elegant composition, such as amongst the best judges of that peculiar style is pronounced to be “a charming letter!" Then the pause—the break-has altogether a picturesque effect. Long tailed letters are not only beautiful in themselves, but the use of them necessarily creates such a space between the lines, as helps one honorably and expeditiously over the ground to be filled up. The tails of your g's and y's in particular, may be boldly flourished with a "down-sweeping" curve, so as beautifully to obscure the line underneath, without rendering it wholly illegible. This last, however, is but a minor grace, a mere illumination of the manuscript, on which I have touched rather by accident than design.
pass on to remarks of greater moment.
If ever you should come to Mòdena,
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
But then her face,
Alone it hangs
She was an only child-her name Ginevra, The joy, the pride of an indulgenc father ; And in her fifteenth
became a bride,
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
Great was the joy ; but at the nuptial feast,
'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco,
Weary of his life,
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten,
its lurking-place ?"
-There then had she found a grave!
LESSON CLVI. Account of the destruction of Goldau and other villages in
Switzerland ;extracted from a letter, dated Geneva, 26th Sept. 1806.—BUCKMINSTER.
THERE is an event which happened just before our arrival in Switzerland, of which no particular account may have yet reached America, and which I think cannot be uninteresting, especially to those of our friends who have visited this charming country. Indeed, it is too '
disastrous to be related or read with indifference. If you
have a large map of Switzerland, I beg of you to look for a spot in the canton of Schweitz,* situated between the lakes of Zug and Lowertz on two sides, and the mountains of Rigi and Rossberg on the others. Here, but three weeks ago, was one of the most delightfully fertile valleys of all Switzerland; green, and luxuriant, adorned with several little villages, full of secure and happy farmers. Now three of these villages are for ever effaced from the earth; and a broad waste of ruins, burying alive more than fourteen hundred peasants, overspreads the valley of Lowertz.
About five o'clock in the evening of the 3d of September, a large projection of the mountain of Rossberg, on the northeast, gave way, and precipitated itself into this valley; and in less than four minutes completely overwhelmed the three villages of Goldau, Busingen, and Rathlen, with a part of Lowertz and Oberart. The torrent of earth and stones was far more rapid than that of lava, and its effects as resistless and as terrible. The mountain in its descent carried trees, rocks, houses, every thing before it. The mass spread in every direction, so as to bury completely a space of charming country, more than three miles square.
The force of the earth must have been prodigious, since it not only spread over the hollow of the valley, but even ascended far up the opposite side of the Rigi. The quantity of earth, too, is enormous, since it has left à considerable hill in what was before the centre of the vale. A portion of the falling mass rolled into the lake of Lowertz, and it is calculated that a fifth part is filled up.
On a minúte map you will see two little islands marked in this lake, which have been admired for their picturesqueness. One of them is famous for the residence of two hermits, and the other for the remains of an ancient chateau,t once belonging to the house of Hapsburg.
So large a body of water was raised and pushed forward by the falling of such a mass into the lake, that the two islands, and the whole village of Seven, at the southern extremity, were, for a time, completely submerged by the passing of the swell. A large house in this village was lifted off its foundations and carried half a mile beyond its place. The hermits were absent on a pilgrimage to a distant abbey. The disastrous consequences of this event extend further * Pron. Shwites.
† Pron. shat-to.