Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

9. The reflection of this illuminated bridge upon the water, was so strong as to deceive the eye, and gave to the whole the appearance of a brilliant circle suspended in the air. The effect was splendid beyond description, and greatly hightened by the gloom of the forest in the back-ground. While we were admiring this delightful scene, a band of music struck up at a little distance, and amused us with an excellent concert.

10. We were led from this enchanting spot, across the illuminated bridge to a thatched pavilion, open at the sides, and supported by pillars, ornamented with garlands, and twisted festoons of flowers. We found within, a cold collation, and sat down to a table covered with all sorts of delicacies, with the most costly wines, and every species of fruit which nature and art could furnish.

11. The evening was pleasant, the scenery delightful, the fare delicious, and the company in fine spirits; for who could be otherwise, when every circumstance which the taste and ingenuity of our fair hostess could invent, conspired to highten the entertainment ?

12. The collation being ended, we rose from table, which I concluded to be the close of the entertainment, but was agreeably disappointed; the gardens were suddenly illuminated; we ranged about, as fancy dictated, and were gratified with the sound of wind-instruments, played by persons dispersed in dif. ferent parts of the garden.

13. Repassing the bridge, we returned to the cottage, when the two eldest daughters of the princess, in Grecian dresses of a most elegant simplicity, performed a Polish and a Cossack dance; the former serious and graceful, the latter comic and lively. The eldest son, then eight years of age, danced a hornpipe with wonderful agility, and afterwards, a dance in the manner of the Polish peasants, with much humor.

14. It was now past two in the morning: we seemed as if we could stay for ever; but as there must be an end of all sublunary joys, we took our leave, expressing our gratitude in language unequal to our feelings. I am satisfied, that it seldom falls to the lot of any person, twice in his life, to partake of such a pleasing entertainment.

CHAPTER XLIV.

SOURCE OF THE DANUBE. 1. The Danube, one of the largest rivers in Europe, has its source in the court-yard of a palace, belonging to the prince of Furstenberg, in Swabia. It proceeds from some small springs bubbling from the ground, and forming a basin of clear water, about thirty feet square, from which issues a little brook, which

is the Danube. Continually augmented by additional streams from the mountains of Switzerland, it swells to a mighty river; on which ships of war may sail, and fleets engage in battle. It pours its waters into the Euxine sea.

FALL OF THE RHINE. 2. The Rhine has its source among the Alps, in the country of the Grisons. At Lauffen is a cataract, where the water tumbles over a rock, and falls perpendicularly about sixty feet. A scaffolding is erected within the very spray of the fall, where the traveler may view this interesting scene. A sea of foam, rushing down the precipice,-a cloud of spray, rising and spreading to a distance,-the roar of the tumbling waters, and the magnificence of the scenery, surpass the powers of description.

3. On one side of the river, is the castle of Lauffen, upon the edge of the precipice, and projecting over the river ; near it is a church and some cottages; a cluster of rustic dwellings near the fall; in the back-ground, rocks clothed with vines, or tufted with hanging wood; a beautiful hamlet upon the summit, skirted with trees; the body of water, which seems to rush from the bottom of the rocks; two crags, lifting their heads from the midst of the cataract, their tops sprinkled with shrubs, and resting secure on their base, mocking the force of the raging current. Such are the objects which add beauty and grandeur to this stupendous scene.

LAKE OF CONSTANCE. 4. The lake called Constance, is one of the boundaries between Germany and Switzerland; fifteen leagues in length, and six in breadth. It is of an oval form, its waters of a greenish hue, and its borders consist of gently rising hills. It is deeper in summer than in winter, being swelled by streams from the melting snow of the Alps. It abounds with fish, and especially with a large species of trout, larger than a salmon, of a deep blue color on the back and sides, and beneath, of a silvery white. In spring and summer, the flesh is of a fine red color, and very delicate food.

5. Near this lake is the town of Constance, in which is still seen the room in which sat the council which condemned to the stake John Huss, the reformer. Here is also the dungeon in which he was imprisoned, and the stone to which he was chained. But reason has triumphed over bigotry, and this place is now the seat of freedom and liberality.

BRIDGE AT SHAFFHAUSEN. 6. The Rhine at Shaffhausen is rapid, and had destroyed several stone bridges of the firmest construction. A carpenter of Appenzel offered to throw a bridge of a single arch over the river, which is near four hundred feet wide. The magistrates, however, would not permit the attempt, but required that it should consist of two arches, with a pier in the middle. The architect obeyed, but constructed the bridge in such a manner as to render it uncertain whether the pier aids in supporting the bridge. His descendants say that it does not; but more probably it does.

7. This is a hanging-bridge of two arches; one of a hun. dred and ninety feet chord, the other of a hundred and seventy: two feet. The road is not over the arches, but on a horizontal line, suspended from the timbers above. The bridge trembles under the feet of the traveler, but has stood a great number of years, and sustains the heaviest loads.

MODEL OF SWITZERLAND. 8. General Psiffer, a native of Lucern, has formed a model of the most mountainous parts of Switzerland, representing in miniature all the mountains, hills, valleys, lakes, rivers, roads, cottages, and the like. The composition is a mixture of clay, lime, charcoal, a little pitch, and a thin coat of wax.

It is painted so as to represent every object as it exists in nature. Even the different sorts of trees are distinguished, as well as the stratums of rocks, which have been shaped on the spot, and composed of granite, gravel, calcarious stone, or such other substances as compose the real mountains.

9. This model contains one hundred and forty-two compartments, of different forms and sizes, all numbered; and they may be taken apart and put together with as much ease as a dissected map, used by children in learning geography. It comprehends a space of about fifty-five miles by thirty-three. The dimensions of the model are twenty feet by twelve; each foot of the model representing about two miles and a quarter of territory. An inch of elevation in the model, represents about nine hun. dred feet of elevation in a mountain, and the highest point of the model is about ten inches, representing mountains of nine thousand feet high, above the level of the lake of Lucern, which is the central object.

10. The General began this curious work at the age of fifty, and was employed most of his time till seventy, in completing it. To make it perfect, he visited every place which he meant to represent, obtaining an accurate knowledge of every object,

and laying down every part in exact proportion. Being suspected as a spy, he was obliged, in some of the cantons, to work by moonlight, to avoid the notice of the peasantry. When obliged to ascend mountains where no provision could be procured, he used to drive a few goats along, and subsist on their milk. In this manner, with immense industry, patience, and skill, he finally brought his model to be an exact representation of nature.

SINGULAR STATE OF PROPERTY. 11. On a promontory, extending from the western shore of the lake Zug, the property of the soil belongs to the canton of Lucern, the timber to Zug, and the leaves of the trees to Shwitz.

HAPPY CONDITION OF SOCIETY. 12. On the road that runs along the valley of Muotta, in Shwitz, there are several ranges of shops filled with goods, the prices of which are marked. The owners do not attend these shops, but leave them open; and when any person wants an article, he takes it, and leaves the price on the counter. In the evening, the owner visits his shop and takes his money. Such an instance of moral rectitude in a society, and of confidence between men, is probably without a parallel in the history of nations.

CHAPTER XLV. ACCOUNT OF A SALT MINE IN POLAND,-FROM COXE'S

TRAVELS. 1. In Welitska, a village about eight miles from Cracow, in Poland, is a celebrated mine, sunk in a solid bed of salt. It is at the northern extremity of a spur of the Carpathian mountains.

2. " Having fastened hammocs to a large rope, which is used to draw up salt, we seated ourselves in a convenient manner, and were let down gently, without any apprehension of danger, about one hundred and sixty yards below the first layer of salt.

3. Quitting our hammocs, we passed along a gradual de. scent, in some parts of which were broad passages or galleries, capable of admitting several carriages abreast; in other parts, we descended by steps cut in the solid salt, which had the grandeur and commodiousness of the stair-case of a palace.

4. Each of us carried a light, and several guides preceded us with lamps, whose light, shining upon the glittering sides of the mine, was extremely beautiful, but did not cast that luminous splendor, which some writers have compared to the luster of precious stones.

5. The salt dug from this mine is of an iron-gray color; when pounded, it is of a dirty ash color, like what we call brown salt. Its quality improves in proportion to the depth of the mine. Towards the sides and surface, it is mixed with earthy or stony particles ; lower down it is said to be perfectly pure ; but probably is not so, for it has less strength than common sea-salt.

6. Being almost as hard as stone, this salt is hewed with pick-axes and hatchets into large bloeks, many of which weigh six or seven hundred pounds. These are raised by a windlas; but smaller pieces are carried up by horses, along a winding gal. lery, which reaches to the surface of the earth.

7. Besides gray salt, the miners sometimes find small cubes of white salt, as transparent as crystal, but not in any considerable quantity. They sometimes also dig up pieces of coal and petrified wood, inclosed in this mass of salt.

8. The mine already extends to the depth of seven hundred and fifty feet. It is more than eleven hundred feet in breadth, and nearly a mile in length. This body of fossil salt is supposed to branch out in various directions, but its extent is not agcertainable.

9. The greatest curiosity in the mine, is several chapels formed in the bosom of this immense body of salt. One of these is thirty feet long and twenty-five broad; the altar, the crucifix, the ornaments of the church, and the statues of several saints, are carved out of solid salt, and here mass is said on certain days in the year.

10. Many of the excavations, or chambers, are of an inmense size: some are supported by timber; others by vast pillars of salt, left standing for this purpose ; and some are left unsupported. One of these I judged to be eighty feet high ; and it was so long, as to appear, in the subterraneous gloom, without limits.

11. The vast size of these chambers, with the spacious passages, or galleries, together with the chapels, and a few sheds for horses, which are foddered below, probably gave rise to the accounts of some travelers, that this mine contains villages inhabited by colonies of miners, who never see the light. But there is no truth in these accounts. The miners remain below not more than eight hours, and are then relieved by others.

12. This mine is as dry as an apartment above the earth. We observed only one small spring of water running through

« AnteriorContinua »