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chirvan he passed into the territory of the Alani, and thence into the district of the lord of the marches, who dwelt in the city of Derbent, and whose title was Lord of the Golden Throne. For the extraordinary fish which he caught in company with their ruler, see the article upon “Sirens and Mermaids."
The Lord of the Golden Throne furnished our travellers with guides to conduct them farther north, into which quarter, having marched twenty-six days, they arrived at a land which emitted a fearful odor. They beheld, as they went, many cities destroyed by the Yajouje-Vajouje, and in six days arrived at that part of the mountains of Caucasus, in which was the stronghold, enclosing those captives of Dhoulkarnein. They saw the tops of the fortress long before they reached it. On coming up, it was found to consist partly of iron and partly of a huge mountain, in an opening in which stood the gate, of enormous magnitude. This gate was supported by vast buttresses, and had an iron bulwark, with turrets of the same metal, reaching to the top of the mountain itself, which was too high to be seen. The valves, lintels, threshold, lock and key, were all of proportionate magnitude. The governor of certain places in the neighborhood comes to this castle once every week, with an escort of ten men all mounted on horseback, and striking it three times with a great hammer, lays his ear to the door and listens. A murmuring noise comes from within, which is the noise of the Yajouje-.Màjouje. Salam was told, that they often appeared on the battlements of the bulwark.
Do you not fancy, reader, that you take a journey to that awful place, and that after waiting there a long time you behold some of them looking over — huge, blackheaded giants, looking down upon you with a shadow, and making you
AERONAUTICS, REAL AND FABULOUS.
HE balloon, by the help of fashionable encour
agement and the intrepid frequency of the ascents of Messrs. and Mesdames Green and Graham, appears to be again hovering on the
borders of a little improvement. There is a talk of its being made use of for the purpose of surveying land. The only practical account it was ever turned to, was of this sort
a survey of the field of battle at Fleurus ; where the French prevented a surprise by means of it. Ascents have been made, indeed, for scientific experiments, but not with any particular result.
Should you like, dear reader, to go up in a balloon ?
If these latter wish to have a friend to stand by them in their hesitation, I, for one, must own myself of the same mind. It would take much to make me undergo so practical a lift to the imagination. I can imagine it, “methinks," well enough as I am,
on terra firma.
“Suave Vauxhall Gardens, turbantibus æthera throatis,
E terra magnum alterius spectare balloonem."
“ 'Tis sweet, when at Vauxhall throats tear the skies,
To see in his balloon another rise."
I cannot withhold my admiration from those who go up ; otherwise, perhaps, to spite them for my sense of the advantage they have over me, I would ; nor can I
how immense my own valor might become, and how independent of the necessity for some prodigious cause or
principle, if, instead of these sedentary turnings of paragraphs, I could grow young again, and go through a course of horseback, felicity, and the Fives' Court. But meantime, as a king of Naples once, climbing up a tree, told the courtiers who assisted him that he “ found he had an antipathy to the buffalo ; " so I find my antipathy is to height. I could shudder now, this moment, to recollect, that when I was a youth I once walked to the edge of Shakespeare's Cliff (higher then than at present), and looked over ; though even then I was fain to stretch myself along the ground, while the friend who was with me nobly kept his legs. I should have more respect for this infirmity, if I could persuade myself that it was unavoidable by the imaginative ; but Rousseau was famous for his love of these altitudes ; nor is the reverse courage to be attributed to a destitution of thought for others : for the late admirable writer and most kind human being, Charles Lamb, one of the most considerate of kinsmen, and highly imaginative also in his way, could run (as he once actually did) along the top of a high parapet wall in the Temple, so much to the terror of Hazlitt, that the latter cried out, in a sort of rage and cruel transport of sympathy, “ Lamb, if
you don't come down, I shall push you over.” On the other hand, that I may not be supposed to be indulging myself in the lowest of all egotisms, that of parading a weakness, or the want of some common quality, I beg leave to say, that I trust I could do any sort of duty, if required of me, as well as most men, even to the walking on the edge of a precipice; though I should beg leave to be permitted to do it with a pale face. I should want that sort of courage, which removes peril by feeling none; and which, when it does not arise from having no thought at all (though the last instance forms a perplexing ex
ception), seems to originate in some exquisite, healthy balancing of the faculties, bodily and mental ; - a thing admirable, and which I envy to the last degree. I sometimes fancy I have it, when I have been taking vigorous exercise ; but the emotion of a single morning's work over my writing-table puts it to flight. I attribute the change in myself (with regard to the power of enduring height), to a long illness I had, during which, happening to read of a similar infirmity, the impression it made upon me, when I again looked down from a high place, was tremendous ; and I have never since been able to avoid thinking of it, on the like occasions. When I was in Italy, I tried to get rid of it by pedestrian experiments on mountainous places, upon Alps and Apennines ; but it would not do. I only mortified myself to no purpose. (I find I am getting egotistical, after all ; and must beg the reader to ex
I would gladly hear as much about himself, or from any man.)
Hail then, gallant Greens and Grahams ! and gallant Captain Currie ! and thou, Marquis of Clanricarde, worthy of thine ancestry! It is not easy to know how far mind and matter are duly mixed up in any given aeronaut; but the gallant Marquis, issuing from his house of legislation, where he has speech as well as a voice, taketh me mightily; and though captains are bound by office to be both gallant and gallànt, it is not every one of them that would have the poetical enthusiasm to exclaim, when up in the clouds, “Oh, Mrs. Graham ! let us never return to earth !” We, envious fixtures to the ground, may smile at the exclamation ; but the critic who thought he was bantering it the other day in the newspapers, felt himself in his candor obliged to give up the laugh, and allow that the occasion justified the outbreak. I confess, I think the
Captain could not have said a better thing. On all occasions there is some one thing to be said which is better than all others; and this appears to me to have been the very one for the present. It combines the smile of pleasantry with the seriousness of a deep feeling. The clouds were looking gorgeous; the scene was new and heavenly; the world, with all its cares, was under their feet; the thought naturally arose, “ Why cannot we quit all care, and live in some new and heavenly place, such as this seems to lead to ? Let us do it :- let us return to earth.”
On turning to the narrative, I find the words to be still better put, — with more of will in them, justified by the excess of beauty : “ The range of clouds,” Mrs. Graham tells us, were at this minute “forming an indescribable extensive circle around, in one part resembling the immense ocean, the darker clouds having the appearance of snow-clad mountains, the tops of which looked like frosted silver, from the effects of the glorious beams of the great luminary of the day.” Captain Currie was so delighted with the grandeur of the scene, that in the moment of ecstasy, he suddenly exclaimed, “ Oh! how awfully beautiful — how enchanting !- Oh, VIrs. Graham! we will never return to the earth again !” He had made up his mind.
They had at this time “obtained an altitude of above three miles and a half, having surmounted the highest strata of clouds.” What a place for two human beings to find themselves in, looking upon sights never beheld but by the sun and moon, and by eyes spiritual! Who is to wonder at any enthusiasm excited by them? It seems to me that if I had been there I should have felt as if I had no business in such a region till disembodied ; life and death would have seemed to meet together, and their