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benumbed, he dropped helpless choly token. And yet he did notice
down, and lay stunned for a considerable time by the fall. When he recovered, the glorious vision had vanished. He was in darkness. He doubted whether it was not a dream that had passed before his sleeping fancy; but gradually his scattered thoughts returned, and with them came remembrance. Yes! he had looked once again upon the gorgeous splendor of nature! Once again his eyes had trembled beneath their veiled lids, at the sun's radiance, and sought repose in the soft verdure of the olive-tree, or the gentle swell of undulating waves. Oh, that he were a mariner, exposed upon those waves to the worst fury of storm and tempest; or a very wretch, loathsome with disease, plaguestricken, and his body one leprous contagion from crown to sole, hunted forth to gasp out the remnant of infectious life beneath those verdant trees, so he might shun the destiny upon whose edge he tottered!
Vain thoughts like these would steal over his mind from time to time, in spite of himself; but they scarcely moved it from that stupor into which it had sunk, and which kept him, during the whole night, like one who had been drugged with opium. He was equally insensible to the calls of hunger and of thirst, though the third day was now commencing since even a drop of water had passed his lips. He remained on the ground, sometimes sitting, sometimes lying; at intervals, sleeping heavily; and when not sleeping, silently brooding over what was to come, or talking aloud, in disordered speech, of his wrongs, of his friends, of his home, and of those he loved, with a confused mingling of all.
In this pitiable condition, the sixth and last morning dawned upon Vivenzio, if dawn it might be called the dim, obscure light, which faintly struggled through the ONE SOLITARY window of his dungeon. He could hardly be said to notice the melan
it; for, as he raised his eyes and saw the portentous sign, there was a slight convulsive distortion of his countenance. But what did attract his notice, and at the sight of which his agitation was excessive, was the change his iron bed had undergone. It was a bed no longer. It stood before him, the visible semblance of a funeral couch or bier! When he beheld this, he started from the ground; and, in raising himself, suddenly struck his head against the roof, which was now so low that he could no longer stand upright. "God's will be done!" was all he said, as he crouched his body, and placed his hand upon the bier; for such it was. The iron bedstead had been so contrived, by the mechanical art of Ludovico Sforza, that as the advancing walls came in contact with its head and feet, a pressure was produced upon concealed springs, which, when made to play, set in motion a very simple though ingeniously contrived machinery, that effected the transformation. The object was, of course, to heighten, in the closing scene of this horrible drama, all the feelings of despair and anguish which the preceding ones aroused. For the same reason, the last window was so made as to admit only a shadowy kind of gloom rather than light, that the wretched captive might be surrounded, as it were, with every seeming preparation for approaching death.
Vivenzio seated himself on his
bier. Then he knelt and prayed fervently; and sometimes tears would gush from him. The air seemed thick, and he breathed with difficulty; or it might be that he fancied it was so, from the hot and narrow limits of his dungeon, which were now so diminished that he could neither stand up nor lie down at his full length. But his wasted spirits and oppressed mind no longer struggled within him. hope, and fear shook him no more. Happy if thus revenge had struck
He was past
its final blow; for he would have fallen beneath it almost unconscious of a pang. But such a lethargy of the soul, after such an excitement of its fiercest passions, had entered into the diabolical calculations of Tolfi; and the fell artificer of his designs had imagined a counteracting device.
The tolling of an enormous bell struck upon the ears of Vivenzio! He started. It beat but once. The sound was so close and stunning, that it seemed to shatter his very brain, while it echoed through the rocky passages like reverberating peals of thunder. This was followed by a sudden crash of the roof and walls, as if they were about to fall upon and close around him at once. Vivenzio screamed, and instinctively spread forth his arms, as though he had a giant's strength to hold them back. They had moved nearer to him, and were now motionless. Vivenzio looked up, and saw the roof almost touching his
head, even as he sat cowering beneath it; and he felt that a farther contraction of but a few inches only must commence the frightful operation. Roused as he had been, he now gasped for breath. His body shook violently-he was bent nearly double. His hands rested upon either wall, and his feet were drawn under him to avoid the pressure in front. Thus he remained for more than an hour, when that deafening bell beat again, and again there came the crash of horrid death. But the concussion was now so great that it struck Vivenzio down. As he lay gathered up in lessened bulk, the bell beat loud and frequent crash succeeded crash-and on, and on, and on, came the mysterious engine of death, till Vivenzio's smothered groans were heard no more! was horribly crushed by the ponderous roof and collapsing sides-and the flattened bier was his Iron Shroud.
Ir has always struck me that the ocean is the fittest emblem, and conveys the deepest impression of God's immensity and eternity; the Alps, of his unapproachable power, and everlasting unvariableness. In the sea, wave succeeds wave forever and forever; billow swells upon billow, and you see no end thereof. But magnificent a spectacle as ocean ever is, at all times, and under all aspects, it still cannot be enjoyed without some alloy. It must be seen either from a ship, in which man enters too much; or from the land, which again breaks the unity of the idea.
The effect of the scenes among which the chamois-hunter lives, is weakened by no such intrusion as this. Man's works enter not there. From the moment he quits the chalet in which he has taken his short rest, until his return, he sees no trace of man; but dwells amid scenery stamped only with its Cre
ator's omnipotence and immutability. Nature is always interesting. Elsewhere she is lovely, beautiful: here she is awful, sublime. Elsewhere she shrouds all things in a temporary repose, again to clothe them with surpassing beauty and verdure. But here there is no change: such as the first winter beheld them, after they sprang from the hands of their Great Architect, such they still are-like himself, unchangeable and unapproachable. Nor summer's heat, nor winter's cold, have any effect on their everlasting hues; nor can the track or works of man stain the purity of their unsullied snows! His voice may not even reach that upper air to disturb "the sacred calm that breathes around"-that stilly silence which holds forever, save when the lauwine wakes it with the voice of thunder! In such situations, it is impossible not to feel as far elevated in mind as in body,
All was calm and silent. Nothing near us spoke of animated life, except perchance a butterfly, borne by the storm far from its native flowers. We seemed alone in the world; but how different is this loneliness from that felt by those "who, shut in chambers, think it loneliness! It was a solitude
that exalted, not debased, the mental faculties; that soothed, that purified, that invigorated the soul; that taught one to forget this world indeed, but that raised the thoughts to another and a better world.
above the petty cares, the frivolous perhaps a dead chamois at my the low ambition," of feet. this nether world. If any one desire really to feel that all is vanity here below; if he wish to catch a glimpse of the yet undeveloped capabilities of his nature, of those mysterious longings, after which the heart of man so vainly yet so earnestly aspires; let him wander amongst the higher Alps, and alone. Scenes like these must be seen and felt; they cannot be described. Languages were formed in the plain; and they have no words adequately to represent the sensations which all must have experienced among mountain scenery. A man may pass all his life in towns, and the haunts of men, without knowing he possesses within him such feelings as a single day's chamois-hunting will awaken. A lighter and a purer air is breathed there; and the body, being invigorated by exercise and temperance, renders the mind more capable of enjoyment. Though earthly sounds there are none, I have often remarked, amid this solemn silence, an undefinable hum, which yet is not sound, but seems, as it were, the still small voice of Nature communing with the heart, through other senses than we are at present conscious of possessing.
But not to analyze the cause of its charm, there is doubtless a fascination in the lonely sublimities of 'Alpine scenery, which nothing else earthly, to my mind, can approach. And if the Arab feels such ungovernable rapture when launching his courser into the bosom of the desart, is it to be wondered that the same transport should swell the Alp-hunter's breast, who enjoys the same sensation of freedom, the same absence of man, with the addition of scenery of unparalleled magnificence?
Seldom or never have I experienced such thrilling, yet tranquil delight, as when reposing beneath some over-arching rock, in full view of Mont Blanc, or Monte Rosa, with my chasseurs at my side, and
If ever my earthly spirit has been roused to a more worthy contemplation of the Almighty Author of Creation, it has been at such moments as these; when I have looked around on a vast amphitheatre of rocks, torn by ten thousand storms, and of Alps clothed with the spotless mantle of everlasting snow. Above me, was the clear blue vault of heaven, which at such elevations seems so perceptibly nearer and more azure: far below me, the vast glacier, from whose chill bosom issues the future river, which is there commencing its long course to the ocean high over head, those icy pinnacles on which countless winters have spread their dazzling honors who is there that could see himself surrounded by objects such as these, and not feel his soul elevated from Nature to Nature's God? Yes, land of the mountain and the torrent ! land of the glacier and the avalanche ! who could wander amidst thy solitudes of unrivaled magnificence without catching a portion, at least, of the inspiration they are so calculated to excite? I wonder not that thy sons, cradled among thy ever matchless scenery, should cling with such filial affection to the mountain-breast that nursed them, and yearn for their native cot amid the luxuries of foreign cities; when even a stranger, born in softer lands, and passing but a few months' pilgrimage
within thy borders, yet felt himself at once attached to thee as to a second home; nor yet can hear without emotion the sounds that remind him of thy hills of freedom! How has my heart beaten as, slinging my rifle at my back, and with walking-staff in hand, I have turned me from the evil cares and worse passions of cities, to meet the breeze, fresh from Heaven, upon thy mountain's side, and listen to the Kuhreihen of thy pastoral sons! “Heu ! qaunto minus est cum reli
quis versari, quam tui meminisse!" I would not exchange the recollection of the hours I have passed among thy more hidden sublimities, for the actual and visible enjoyment of the tamer beauties of other countries! The future none can command; but deeply grieved indeed should I be if I thought I were never more to view thy pyramids of eternal snow hung in mid-heaven above me, nor tread again, though perchance with less elastic step, thy wide-spread fields of ice!
THE GREAT MORAY FLOODS.*
MANY of our readers, we dare say, read accounts in the newspapers of Great Floods during August last year in the Province of Moray. But newspaper accounts of calamities are generally considered apocryphal, except they record the bite of a mad dog-each strange tale of hydrophobia being held devoutly true by the Reading Public. Sir Thomas Lauder Dick has spared no pains in collecting all the most interesting circumstances of that unexampled Flood, many of them bordering so closely upon the marvellous, that he acknowledges he might have felt some difficulty in reporting them, had they not, in every instance, been well vouched. The extent of ground carried off or destroyed in particular places, the various items of miscellaneous damage, and the sums of money at which the various losses are estimated, are stated from returns made after the survey by able and responsible men, whose valuations were exclusive of all such injuries as might affect mere taste, or anything not usually measured by money. Though nothing approaching to any just estimate of the grand total can possibly be formed, it must indeed have been enormous.
The deluge of rain that produced the flood of the 3d and 4th of August,
1829, fell chiefly on the Monadhleadh mountains, rising between the south-eastern parts of Lochness, and Kingussie in Badenoch, and on that part of the Grampian range forming the somewhat independent group of the Cairngorums. The heat in the province of Moray, during the months of May, June, and July, had been unusually great; and in the earlier part of that period, the drought so excessive as to kill many of the recently planted shrubs and trees. As the season advanced, the fluctuations of the barometer became very remarkable; but they were not followed by the usual alternations of weather. It often followed that the results were precisely the reverse of its prognostications, and observers of the instrument began to lose all confidence in it. These apparent derangements arose, Sir Thomas D. remarks, from electrical changes in the atmosphere. The Aurora Borealis appeared with uncommon brilliancy about the beginning of July, and was frequently seen afterwards, being generally accompanied by windy and unsteady weather, the continued drought having been sometimes interrupted during the previous months by sudden falls of rain partaking of the character of waterspouts. One of these occur
An Account of the Great Floods of August, 1829, in the Province of Moray, and adjoining Districts. By Sir Thomas Lauder Dick. Edinburgh and London, 1830.
red on Sunday the 12th of July, at Keanlochluichart, a little Highland hamlet at the head of the lake of that name, in the parish of Contin, in Ross-shire. A man, who had taken shelter under a bridge, suddenly beheld a moving mountain of soil, stones and trees, coming down the deep course of the stream. He had just time to leave his stance before it reached the bridge, which it overthrew in a moment, and devastated the plain bordering the lake. All the grown-up people of the hamlet were at church, but the children, who were playing at home, were miraculously preserved by escaping to a hillock before the river reached the spot. The whole fury of the flood rushed directly against the devoted houses; and these, and everything they contained, were at once annihilated, as well as their crops, together with the very soil they grew on .; and after the débacle had passed away, the course of the river ran through the ruined hearths of this so recently happy a community. This waterspout did not extend beyond two miles on each side of the village, which led, continues Sir Thomas, these simple people to consider their calamity as a visitation of Providence for their landlord's vote in Parliament in favor of Catholic Emancipation!
Sir Thomas has a very plausible theory to account for the great floods of the 3d and 4th of August. The previous prevalence of westerly winds had produced a gradual accumulation of vapor somewhere to the north of our island, and the column being suddenly impelled by a strong north-easterly blast, it was driven towards the south-west, its right flank almost sweeping the Caithness and Sunderland coasts, until, rushing up and across the Moray Frith, it was attracted by the lofty mountains of the Monadh leadh range, and discharged its torrents into the Nairn, the Findhorn, the Spey, the Lossie, the Deveron, the Don, and the Dee, and their various tributaries. Certain it is, that
these and other rivers were all more or less affected by the flood exactly in proportion as they were more or less connected with those mountains. Some persons could not believe, looking at the floods, that they could have been produced by merely twenty-four hours' rain. But sure, such rains were never seen; for Mr. Murdoch, gardener to the Duke of Gordon, at Huntly Lodge, ascertained that 33 inches of rain fell between five o'clock of the morning of the 3d, and five o'clock of the morning of the 4th of August ; that is to say, that, taking the average of the years from 1821 to 1828 inclusive, about one-sixth part of our annual allowance of rain fell within those twenty-four hours! This, too, was at a great distance from the mountains-so that among them the rain must have been like one of the floods, which was described by one of the sufferers, from its fury, as "just perfeckly ridiculous."
The united line of the rivers, whose devastations Sir Thomas undertakes to describe, cannot be less in extent than from 500 to 600 miles. Having visited the greater part of the flooded districts in person, he writes about them very much from his own observation, aided by the ample oral and written information obtained from persons of intelligence; and often he brings forward the witnesses to tell in their own words their own story. The narrative, therefore, is often enlivened by dramatic scenes, equal in interest to the best in Sir Walter's novels. We shall select, almost at random, a few of the most interesting.
The Dorback, which joins the Divie, comes from the wild lake of Lochindorbe, remarkable for the extensive ruins of its insulated castle, and has many tributary burns. One of its branches destroyed a bridge on the Grantown road, and another tore down the bridge of Dava, swept away the garden of the inn, and the whole crop and scil attached to it. The Dorback itself utterly annihilated the whole of the