Page images

class of productions be in any degree less probable, or less according to the principles of human belief, than the other. And mark the inevitable effects on human conduct! The man who honestly held with Chateaubriand in this passage, and was consistent in the following out to their legitimate consequences of the tenets which it embodies, could not sit as a juryman in either a coroner's inquest or a trial for murder, conducted on circumstantial evidence.

10. If he held that an old crow's nest might have been called into existence as such, how could he avoid holding that an ancient human dwelling might not have been called into existence as such ? If he held that a broken patella or whelk-shell might have been created a broken shell, how could he avoid holding that a human skull, fractured like that of the murdered Clark, might not have been created a broken skull ? To him Paley's watch, picked up on a moor, could not appear as other than merely a curious stone, charged with no evidence, in the peculiarity of its construction, that it had been intended to measure time.

11. The entire passage is eminently characteristic of that magnificent work of imagination, “The Genius of Christianity,” in which Chateaubriand sets himself to reconvert to Romanism the infidelity of France. He never attempts dealing by the reasoning faculty in his countrymen. As the Philistines of old dealt by the Jewish champion, instead of meeting it in the open field, and with the legitimate weapons, he sends forth the exquisitely beautiful Delilah of his fancy to cajole and set it asleep, and then bind it as with green withes.


Hugh MILLER 1. We enter along the bed of a stream. A line of mural precipices rises on either hand — here advancing in ponderous overhanging buttresses, there receding into deep, damp recesses, tapestried with ivy, and darkened with birch and hazel. A powerful spring, charged with lime, comes pouring by a hundred different threads over the rounded brow of a beetling crag, and the decaying vegetation around it is hardening into stone.

2. The cliffs vary their outline at every step, as if assuming in succession all the various combinations of form that constitute the wild and the picturesque; and the pale hues of the stone seem, when brightened by the sun, the very tints a painter would choose to heighten the effect of his shades; or to contrast most delicately with the luxuriant profusion of brushes and flowers that wave over the higher shelves and crannies. A colony of swallows have built from time immemorial under the overhanging strata of one of the loftier precipices; the fox and badger harbor in the clefts of the steeper and more inaccessible banks.

3. As we proceed, the dell becomes wilder and more deeply wooded; the stream frets and toils at our feet—here leaping over an opposing ridge — there struggling in a pool — yonder escaping to the light, from under some broken fragment of cliff. There is a richer profusion of flowers, a thicker mantling of ivy and honey-suckle; and after passing a semi-circular inflection of the bank, that waves from base to summit with birch, hazel, and hawthorn, we find the passage shut up by a perpendicular wall of rock about thirty feet in height, over which the stream precipitates itself, in a slender column of foam, into a dark, mossy basin. The long arms of an

intermingled clump of birches and hazels stretch half-way across, tripling with their shade the apparent depth of the pool, and heightening in an equal ratio the white flicker of the cascade, and the effect of the bright patches of foam which, flung from the rock, incessantly revolve on the eddy.

4. Mark now the geology of the ravine. For about halfway from where it opens to the shore, to where the path is obstructed by the deep mossy pool and the cascade, its precipitous sides consist of three bars or stories. There is first, reckoning from the stream upwards, a broad bar of pale red; then a broad bar of pale lead color; last and highest, a broad bar of pale yellow; and above all, there rises a steep green slope that continues its ascent till it gains the top of the ridge.

5. The middle, lead-colored bar is an ichthyolite bed, a place of sepulture among the rocks, where the dead lie by myriads. The yellow bar above is a thick bed of saliferous sandstone. We may see the projections on which the sun has beat most powerfully, covered with a white crust of salt, and it may be deemed worthy of remark, in connection with the circumstance, that its shelves and crannies are richer in vegetation than those of the other bars. The pale red bar below is composed of a coarser and harder sandstone, which forms an upper moiety of the arenaceous portion of the great conglomerate.

6. Now mark, further, that on reaching a midway point between the beach and the cascade, this triple-barred line of precipices abruptly terminates, and a line of precipices of coarse conglomerate as abruptly begins. I occasionally pass a continuous wall, built at two different periods, and composed of two different kinds of material; the one-half of it is formed of white sandstone, the other half of a dark-colored basalt; and the place where the sandstone ends and the basalt begins is marked by a vertical line, on the one side of which all is dark colored, while all is of a light color on the other.

7. Equally marked and abrupt is the vertical line which separates the triple-barred from the conglomerate cliffs of the ravine of Eathie. The ravine itself may be described as a fault in the strata, but here is a fault lying at right angles with it, on a much larger scale; the great conglomerate on which the triple bars rest has been cast up at least two hundred feet, and placed side by side with them.

8. And yet the surface above bears no trace of the catastrophe. Denuding agencies of even greater power than those which have hollowed out the cliffs of the neighboring coast, or whose operations have been prolonged through periods of even more extended duration, have ground down the projected line of the upheaved mass to the level of the undisturbed masses beside it.

9. Now mark further, as we ascend the ravine, that the grand cause of the disturbance appears to illustrate, as it were, and that very happily, the manner in which the fault was originally produced. The precipice, over which the stream leaps at one bound into the mossy hollow, is com

duced itself, with much disturbance, among the surrounding conglomerate and sandstones.

10. A few hundred yards higher up the dell, there is another much loftier precipice of gneiss, round which we find the traces of still greater disturbance; and higher still, yet a third abrupt precipice of the same rock. The gneiss rose trap-like, in steps, and carried up the sandstone before it in detached squares. Each step has its answering fault

immediately over it; and the fault where the triple bars and the conglomerate meet is merely a fault whose step of granitic gneiss stopped short ere it reached the surface.


Mrs. ELIZABETH AKERS. 1. O, good painter, tell me true,

Has your hand the cunning to draw :

Shapes of things that you never saw ?
Ay? Well, here is an order for you.

2. Woods and cornfields a little brown,

The picture must not be over bright,

Yet all in the golden and gracious light
Of a cloud when the summer sun is down.

3. Alway and alway, night and morn,
Woods upon woods, with fields of corn

Lying between them, not quite sere,
And not in the full, thick, leafy bloom,
When the wind can hardly find breathing room

Under their tassels,— cattle near,
Biting shorter the short green grass,
And a hedge of sumach and sassafras,
With bluebirds twittering all around, -
Ah, good painter, you can't paint sound !
4. These and the little house where I was born,
Low and little and black and old,
With children, many as it can hold,
All at the windows, open wide,
Heads and shoulders clear outside,

« PreviousContinue »