Imatges de pÓgina

our course. The channel was too narrow to allow the helm to be put up.

Just as she was losing her way, and would inevitably, through the force of the eddy-wind, have got stern-way on her, her head-sails again felt the force of the gale, and, like a hound loosed from the leash, she started forward on her course. Again we were plunging madly through the wildly breaking seas; but the wind blew steadily, and the ice-fields widened away on either side till they were lost to view. Once, again, we were saved by a merciful Providence from almost inevitable destruction. Still, we had some hours of darkness before us, and an unknown sea full of ice-islands through which we must pass. Not an eye was closed that night. Again, we were close to one, but we were now better able to distinguish them than at first. This time we had to keep away, and run to the northward; but before long, there arose ahead of us a fourth iceberg. Again we sprung to the braces, the helm was put down, and, once more close hauled, beweathered the danger.

Thus we hurried on-narrowly escaping danger after danger till daylight approached. Before, however, the sun arose, the gale fell; the clouds cleared away; and a bright gleam appeared in the eastern sky. Up shot the glorious sun, and never shall I forget the scene of gorgeous magnificence his bright rays lighted. Both sky and sea became of a deep blue—the water calm and clear as crystal —while all around us floated mountains of brilliant whiteness, like masses of the purest alabaster, of


every varied form and size. Many were 200 feet high, and nearly a third of a mile in length. Some had perpendicular sides, with level summits—fit foundations, it might seem, for building cities of marble palaces, or fortresses for kings of the East. Some, again, were broken into every fantastic form conceivable-towers and turrets, spires and minarets, domes and cupolas; here, the edifices found most commonly under the symbol of the crescent;3 there, those of the cross, Norman castles, Gothic cathedrals, Turkish mosques, Grecian temples, Chinese pagados, were all here fully represented and repeated in a thousand different ways. Others had been broken or melted into the forms of jagged cliffs, gigantic arches, lofty caverns, penetrating far away into the interior. Scarcely a shape which is to be found among the butting crags, sea-beat head-lands, or mountain summits, in every part of the world, was not there represented in the most brilliant and purest of materials. Whole cities, too, were there to be seen pictured ; squares and streets, and winding lanes, running up from the water's edge, like a ruined Genoa, with marble palaces, and churches, and alabaster fountains, and huge piles of buildings of every possible form standing proudly up amid the ocean, the whole appearing like some scene of enchantment rather than a palpable reality. Here was seen a lofty mountain rent in two by some fierce convulsion of nature ; there, a city overturned; here, rocks upheaved and scattered around in wild confusion; there, deep gorges, impenetrable ravines, and terrific precipices; -indeed, here Nature, in her wildest and most romantic forms, was fully represented. The beauty of the wondrous spectacle was heightened when the sun arose, from the various gorgeous tints which flashed from mountain-top and beetling cliff, from tower, turret, and pinnacle, where its bright rays fell on them as they slowly moved round in their eccentric courses. No words, however, can describe the dazzling whiteness and brilliancy of the floating masses. From some of the most lofty, fountains might be seen gushing down as from a mountain's top when the fierce rays of the sun melt the long hardened snow; while in and out of the deep caverns the sea-birds flew and screamed, peopling those dreary solitudes with joyous life.

W. H. G. Kingston.




WE will now give two sketches of English lise, as it was to be seen about seven hundred years ago.

It is a fine day in autumn; the summer tints of the woods have faded away into bright yellow or russet brown, with innumerable shades between them. The country is well wooded, and the hills and valleys of England look very beautiful, with the bright sunshine full upon them,

The poor Saxon hinds who are hard at work in the fields which are interspersed with the woods, do not spend much time, however, in admiring the beauties of nature, and talking about the glorious hues of autumn. They have something else to think of and to do. It has been a scanty harvest, and a late one. Even now the corn is not half cut, and that which is cut is not carried. There is a small farm, for instance, in one of the southern counties of England, where, on this particular day, a number of hard-working men are very busily at work, reaping and binding into sheaves their master's corn. They have reaping-hooks, very like the modern ones which are still in use, and there is a rough low cart, with solid wooden wheels, which has just been drawn into the harvest field by four oxen, and is now waiting to be loaded with the earlier cut sheaves; the oxen meanwhile are quietly standing and chewing the cud, but almost incessantly whisking their tails, to drive off the flies which grievously torment them.

Presently a man walks up to them, strokes and pats them affectionately; they turn their heads round to him as though they knew him. Most likely they do, for we read, "the ox knoweth his owner;" and it is their owner who is fondling and coaxing them. He is an elderly man, with sunburnt face and hard brown hands. His dress is very little superior to that of his men in the field; indeed, he is so like them that he is not distinguishable as the master. He has been hard at work with them, and has only withdrawn for a minute to examine the condition of his two yokes

of oxen.

He begins to talk to them.

“Poor beasts !” he says, “and so the flies worry you. They sting you, and suck your blood, eh? And why not? Haven't the big Norman flies come over to sting every Englishman, and suck his life-blood out of him ?

You think I am your master. No such thing; the Normans are your masters, and they are my masters. We plough for them, and sow for them, and reap for them, and all we get from them is abuse and wrong-doing. We are their serfs and slaves, I tell you, poor beasts ;—those big Norman blood-suckers.”

And then, when he has thus vented his thoughts, which perhaps he dares not speak out to any human ears, the farmer draws his rough hand across his eyes, and walks slowly away to rejoin his men.

There is some reason in the poor Saxon farmer's complaint, for he has suffered severely from the Normans. In old times, a hundred years ago, his grandfather was owner of all the land belonging to the farm, and of other lands as well. Then the Normans carne, and the estate was taken away from the Saxon, and given to one of the Norman chiefs who had fought in the battle of Hastings. There was no help for it; the Saxon could not resist the wrong, and was even glad that the Norman chief was so considerate as to allow him to remain on the farm, and till the ground, on condition only that he owned him (the Norman) as his feudal lord, and paid him an annual fee for the land,


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