« PreviousContinue »
tensions for some time, the water only boiling, and gently Howing over the side. The sensations which therefore came upon him in a moment may be conjectured, and must be envied by all his readers. . . . . At half.past nine, whilst I was examining some plants gathered the Jay before, I was surprised by a tremendously loud and rushing noise, like that arising from the fall of a great cascade immediately at my feet. On putting aside the canyass of my tent, to observe what could have occasioned it, I saw, withio a hundred yards of me, a column of water rising pe pendicularly into the air, from the place just mentioned, to a vast height: but what this height might be, I was so overpowered by my feelings that I did not for some time think of endeavouring to ascertain.' In my first impulse I hastened only to look for my portfolio, that I miglit attempt, at least to represent upon paper what no words could possibly give an adequate idea of, but in this I found myself nearly as much at a loss as if I had taken my pen for the purpose of describing it, and I was obliged ic satisfy myself with little more than the outline and proportional dimensions of this most magnificent fountain. There was, however, sufficient time allowed me to make observations ; for, during the space of an hour and half, an uninterrupted column of water was continually spouted out to the elevation of one hundred and fifty feet, with but little variation, and in a body of seventeen feet in its widest diaméter; and this was thrown up with such force and rapidity, that the column continued to nearly the very summit as compact in body, and as regular in width and shape, as when it fi.st issued from the pipe; a few feet only of the upper part breaking into spray, which was forced by a light'wind on one side, so as to fall upon the ground some paces from the aperture, The breeze also, at times, carried the immense volumes of steam that accompanied the eruption to one side of the column of water, which was thus left open to full view, and we could clearly see its base partly surrounded by foam, caused by the column's striking against a projecting piece of rock near the mouth of the crater; but thence to the upper part, nothing broke the regularly perpendicular line of the sides of the water-spout; and the sun shining upon it rendered it in some points of view of a dazzling brightness. Standing with our backs to the sun, and looking into the niouth of the pipe, we enjoyed the sight of a most brilliant assemblage of all the colours of the rainbow, caused by the decomposition of the solar rays passing through the shower of drops that was falling between us and the crater.' Stones of the largest size that I could find, and great masses of the silicious rock, which we threw into the crater, were instantly ejected by the force of the water; and though the latter were of so solid a nature as to require 'very hard blows from a large hammer, when I wanted to procure specimens, they were, nevertheless, by the violence of the explosion, shivered into small : pieces, and carried up with amazing rapidity to the full height of and frequently higher than the summit of the spout. One piece of a light porous stone was cast at least twice as high as the water, and falling in the di., rection of the colunin, was met by it, and a second time forced up to a great heighit in the airi' p. 134.
i.; 3. bila During this prodigious exertion of the subterraneous forces,
there were no signs in the great Geyser, or in any of the boiling wells, to indicate any communication among their foun. tains, or community in the agency which produces such aston nishing effects in the two principal ones. Mr. Hooker has de. clined giving his speculations on the probable constitution of the interior regions and reservoirs, and the precise mode of operation of the steam, by which these wonderful phenomena are produced. The subject is scientifically investigated, in the still more recent and very interesting work of a still later traveller, or rather party of travellers, Sir George Mackenzie and his associates. It is conjectured that the cavities that supply the water and steam of the new Geyser, must have been enlarged by an earthquake about twenty years since, its opera tions having been more frequent and magnificent subsequently to that time. Shin i iii!! !!!! !!!
On one of the latter days of Mr. Hooker's encampment on this unequalled spot, he was reminded of its being Sunday, by seeing a number of people passing on horseback toward a church at some distance: and he determined, for whatever reason, to attend the service; calling, by the way, at the house of an old lady, who"was celebrated as rich by the Icelanders, for she was the proprietor of 6 ten cows, five rams, and a huna dred sheep.' The account of the manners of the people as' displayed in the church-yard, previously to the service, and of their seriousness during its performance, is a curious picture of friendly siniplicity, and, to all appearance, of sincere interest about their religion.. .
This spot,' (the churchyard), previous to the arrival of the minister on a sabballi affords a most interesting spectacle. Numerous parties of men, women, and chileren, who had come on horseback, and in their best apparel, were continually saluting each other; and any person who had been absent from the place of worship for a more than usual length of time, either through illness or any other cause, was kissed by the whole congregation. As they were little accustomed to see strangers, they all locked, around us, presenting us with milk and cream from the neighbouring farm, and asking us a hundred questions. Many were surprised at our having come so far to see the Geysers, which they are accustomed to look at with the utmost indifference. .:
s i .. . There will be some little reluctance to admit, what is probably the truth 'nevertheless, that if these amazing objects were in England, they ivould be thus regarded with indifference by the generality of the people after being long familiarized to the sight. It would be a very curious, and perhaps a very, mortifying experiment, for even men of taste and philosophers to try, whether, and how soon, and by what perceptible de grees, their feelings also would decline from amazement, and inquisitive wonder, down to a comparative general indifference.
The churches are often made the places of temporary entertainment for strangers, as being larger than the apartments of the dwellings. In many instances, the inhabitants use them also as depositaries for their better clothes, which are lodged in chests that serve also as seats. They are, for the most part, miserable structores, with respect to convenience of any kind, but especially in the article of light, the small allowance of which must, we should think, reduce the priest, on a misty day, to depend on his memory in performing the service. The established religion is Lutheran, from which, it seems, there are no dissentients. The service consists of a litány, chanted: by the priest from a book, preceded, and at intervals, accompanied by singing, (which is performed by the men only) and followed by a sermon. The sacrament was added in the church near the Geysers. It was administered to the men first, and then to the women, the priest putting a wafer and some white wine into the mouth of every individual, repeating at the same time a short prayer. The singing was, to our author, excessively unmusical.
Mr. Hooker returned southward to Skalholt, a few years ago the capital of the island, and now consisting of one good turf house, three or four smaller ones and a church.'. This track was in a direction towards Hecla, which it was his intention, and indeed had been a very principal object of his visit to the country, to ascend. But he was unsuccessful in all his attempts to obtain a guide ; all the peasants peremptorily refusing to attempt what they declared to be impracticable in consequence of the state of the rivers and marshes, from the long and heavy rains. Admitting it would have been an undertaking of great toil and difficulty, he was, nevertheless, confident of its being practicable; and he attributes the dread and refusal chiefly to superstition; many of the people believing volca. nic mountains to be the abode of the damned,' and ' all the lower class regarding them with the greatest horror.' It was with extreme mortification that Mr. H. was compelled to relinquish his design, notwithstanding that he had been informed by Icelanders of respectability, who had visited this mountain, that he would see nothing remarkable upon it, but what he had seen elsewhere.
He saw much that was grand and inexpressibly dreary in the country, and much that was wretched in the physical condition of the people, on his way back to Reikevig. Thence he made an excursion to be present at an annual salmon-fishing, in the river Lax Elbe, where he saw two thousand two hundred caught in one day, and bought by his English friend Mr, Phelps. Two thirds were cured for exportation, and the other given to the persons who had been employed in the
nishery. This anoual day presents a scene of 'extraordinary festivity and sociality ; as most of the people from a great distance round assemble at the spot, in their best dress, and all classes inix and converse on terms of kindness and equality.
There was time allowed him before the departure of the ship, for rather a long and most interesting excursion to the northward, into the district of Borgafiord, and a shorter one to the southward, through scenes of a character incomparably. wild and solemn, but bleak and barren, and sometimes almost horrid. As our concluding extract we trauscribe the description of one scene at Kreisevig, in the sulphur mountains, in the Guldbringe district. A sulphur-spring was the central object.
- We rode some way till the softness of the earth beneath, caused the horses to sink too deep to render it prudent to continue that mode any longer; and we therefore left our steeds, proceeding onwards, as far as it was by any means safe to venture, with the utmost caution. The appearance of the surface is often very deceitful; for, when it seems most firm, a thin indurated crust of crystalized sulphur and bolus* not uncommonly conceals a considerable mass of the same materials in a hot and alniost liquid state, so that we literally walk “per ignes, suppositos cineri doloso.” This kind of soil became still more and more dangerous the nearer we approached to this spring, and, indeed, prevented our being so close to it as we wished. An elevated rim, about two feet high, and three feet in diameter, composed of a dark bluish black bolus, formed a complete circle round the mouth of the spring, the water in which was sometimes quiet, and sunk about two feet in the aperture; at other times it ejected with great noise a turbid and blackish liquid to the height of from five to seven feet. At all times clouds cf steam, strongly impregnated with sulphureous exhalations, were issuing from the aperture ; but during an eruption of the wa-' ters, the quantity of both was very considerably augmented. The view of this spring, from a little lower down the mountain, togeiher with the surrounding scenery, had an effect the most extraordinary that can be con. + ceived. From the dark coloured and elevated margin of the fountain, extended for a great way in every direction, the yellow crust of crystalized sula phur, raised into a gently swelling hillock by the soft bolus of unmeasurable depth beneath ; and from the centre of this trembling mass, a crater was vomiting forth, with a tremendously roaring noise, to the height of four or five feet, a thick blackish liquid, accompanied by vast bodies of steam, which now ascended perpendicularly, and now were driven down the sides of the hill, by the frequent eddying gusts of wind which issued from the chasms that abounded in the neighbourhood. A back ground worthy of such a picture, was supplied by the dark and rugged sides of the mountain, that, extending all around, formed a chain of rocks, which, in addition to
*. It may be well to observe that bolus is described by mineralogical writers as a viscid earth, less coherent and more friable than clay, inore readily uniting with water, and more freely subsiding from it. It is soft and unetuous to the touch, ad. heres to the tongue, and by degrees melts in the mouth, impressing a slight sense of astringency.'
the rudeness of their figure, were the most barren that can be imagined. A few lichens and mosses alone broke the uniform blackness of their surface.'• In spite of the absence of every beauty that could attract, or excite a pleasu. rable sensation, I doubt whether a traveller ever turned his back upon Ætna with more regret than we felt when we quitted the strange desert scenery of this place. To myself, indeed, the regret, was no more than the being deprived of the powers of beholding one of the most awfully impressive scenes that the world can furnish, or even imagination can conceive; but not so with my companion (Mr. Phelps) who had hoped, that it might have been possible, to have met in the sulphur-springs with an article of commerce, that might at once have been highly advantageous to himself, and beneficial to his country, but who now found to his extreme vexation, that small as is the distance of Kreisevig from the sea, the obstacles interposed by the nature of the intervening country were such as forbade the idea of a commercial speculation.'p. 200.
Our anthor set sail to return to England near the end of Au-' gust, and when the ship was twenty leagues distant from any shore it was found to be on fire, from the malicious contrivance, as it was afterwards proved, of some Danish prisoners at Reikevig. When they were all in expectation of almost immediate destruction, they saw a vessel approaching which proved to be an English ship, the Orion, which had quitted the harbour, at the same time, but had, by means of superior sailing, been left far behind. The captain of this ship, however, had boldly ventured on a nearer, and reputedly dangerous course, and thus most providentially came up just in time, in time to one moment, to save all the crew. The whole cargo perished however, and all Mr. Hooker's collections and drawings. The description of the burning vessel, which was large, and laden with tallow and oil, is very striking : We must here take leave of this most interesting book. It contains much that we liave not noticed, relative to the government of the island, its history, and the state of the inhabitants; but for a proper notice of these another opportunity will soon be presented. There are several neat plates, and a number of small figures in the pages of letter-press.
Art. IV. Redemption ; or, a View of the Rise and Progress of the
Christian Religion, from the fall of Adam to its complete establishment under Constantine the Great. By the Rev. Montagu Pennington, M. A., Vicar of Northbourn in Kent, and Chaplain to the Right Ho
nourable the Earl of Hopetoun. 8vo. pp. xxii, 387. Rivingtons. 1811. W ITH Mr. Pennington we think it is to be regretted, that
many Christians are so ignorant of the history of their religion, particularly of that part of it contained in scripture. To trace the purposes of God, with regard to the salvation of the soul, from their first disclosure in paradise, through a series