Page images
PDF
EPUB

amateur for purchasing it of him, as it was like receiving stolen goods.

H. WALPOLB.

Should the above anecdotes be judged worthy a place in the Enquirer, they shall be succeeded by others.

HEREWARDUS.

DESCRIPTION OF A REMARKABLE

ALTERNATING BOILING SPRING.

TO THE EDITORS OF THE ENQUIRER. GENTLEMEN,

Perhaps the following description of a remarkable Alternating Geyser, or boiling spring, extracted from Sir G. S. Mackenzie's f< Travels in Iceland," lately published, may afford some amusement to your readers. If any of them can satisfactorily account for the phaenomenon, they will greatly oblige,

Your humble Servant,

"About a mile further down, at the foot of the valley, is the Tunga hver, an assemblage of springs, the most extraordinary, perhaps, in the whole world. A rack rises from the bog about twenty feel, and' is about fifty ards in length, the breadth not being considerable, his seems formerly to hare been a hillock, one side of which remains covered vtith grass, while the other has been worn away, or perhaps destroyed at the time when the hot water burst forth. Along the face of the rock are arranged no-fewer than sixteen springs, all of them boiling furiously, and some of them throwing the water to a considerable height. One of them, however, deserves particular notice. On approaching this place, we observed-a^high jet of water near one extremity of the rock. Suddenly this jet disappeared, and another, thicker but not so high, rose within a very short distance of it. At first we supposed that a piece of the rock bad given way, and that the water had at that rnomew

found a more convenient passage. Having left'tar horses, we went directly to the place where this had apparently happened; but we had scarcely reached the spot, when this new jet disappeared, and the one we had seen before was renewed. We observed that theje were two irregular holes in the rock, within a yard of each other; and while from one a jet proceeded to the height of twelve or fourteen feet, the other was full of boiling water. We had scarcely made this observation,, when the first jet began to subside, and the water in the other hole to rise; and as soon as the first had entirely sunk down, the other attained its greatest height, which was about five feet. In this extraordinary manner these two jets played alternately: the smallest and highest jet continued about four minutes and a half, and the other about three minutes. We remained admiring this very remarkable phenomenon for a considerable time, during which we saw many alternations of, the jets, which happened regularly at the intervals already mentioned.

"I have taken the liberty to give a name to this spring, and to call it the Alternating Geyser.

"To form a theory of this regular alternation is no easy matter; and it seems to require a kind of mechanism very different from the simple apparatus usually employed by nature in ordinary intermitters, or spouting springs. The prime mover in this case is evidently steam, an agent sufficiently powerful for the phaenomena. The twp orifices ave manifestly connected ; for,, as the one jet sinks towards the surface, the other rises,, and this in a regular and uniform manner. I observed once, that when one of the jets was sinking, and the other beginning to rise, the first rose again before it had quite .sunk down, and when this happened, the other ceased to make any efforts to rise, and returned to its,former state,till the first again sunk, whenthesecond rose and played as usual. This communication roust be formed in such a manner that it is never complete, but alternately interrupted, first on one side and. then on the other. To effect this without the intervene, tion of valves, seems to be impossible, and yet it is, difficult to conceive the natural formation oi a set at' permanent valves; so that this fountain becomes one of the greatest curiosities ever presented by nature, even though in attempting to explain the appearances it exhibits, we take every advantage that machinery can give us. If it is occasioned by natural valves, these must be of very durable materials, in order to withstand continual agitation and consequent attrition. . "Not having obtained any explanation which lean consider quite salisfactory, and having been unable entirely to overcome the difficulty myself, I leave its solution to the ingenuity of those who may think the phaenomenon of the Alternating Geyser worthy the exercise of their talents."

A LETTER

FROM A

MERCHANT OF TOMBTJCTOO.

A CAPITAL CITY IN THE CENTRE OF AFRICA, TO HIS FRIEND THERE.

(Translated from the original Tombuclan by a Moorish Dragoman./ London, Ihc 22ml of the moon of the Lion, year 50, 751.

Teee, the merchant of Tombuctoo, metropolis of the world, to his friend Cooo, the scribe; a sound mind in a sound body. Joy, niy friend! while these savages are endeavouring to discover our city, I am in the midst of theirs. Their whole manners are so remote from those jof the civilized world, that I am overwhelmed with strange particularities, and hardly know where to begin. I shall therefore content myself at present with a few observations; reserving further information for future opportunities.

I shall in the first place, as in duty bound, consider the important project which our monarch (of whom thou art the skilful servant) has formed for the subjugation of these savages. To prevent any other African nation from asserting any claim of prior discovery of this remote island, I in the night proceeded boldly to the chief temple, in the centre of this city, and affixed the holy badge of our religion, as a token of the right

of the glorious sovereign of Tombuctoo. I also buried a bottle containing all his titles, subjoined to which is a solemn claim of these newly discovered islands in the northern sea, as gems inherent in his crown; and of the inhabitants as sheep reserved for his own slaughterhouse. There can, therefore, be no future doubt to whom these islands belong.

Our numerous fleets may easily proceed down the great river, and entering the ocean, assail these lands on the west. The savages have indeed many and large shijas; but they are happily strangers to that submarine fire, so long preserved as.a secret of our state, and by which a few of our boats may send all their fleet into the air, and render it only an illumination of our triumph. Their soldiers are numerous, but not clothed in metal; in consequence they are quite exposed to those showers of active and caustic poison used by our troops; by which, when ejected to a prodigious height bv our vast machines, whole territories may be overwhelmed, and millions of men sent to their fathers; the touch being instant death, and the very air rendered poison. May the blessings of all our gods attend the glorious inventor of this artifical pestilence, the secret of which is only known to us, the chosen people of heaven, the chief of all civilized nations! Let us bend to the gods in humble adoration for this favour, and ever remember their infinite goodness and mercy: most just it is, and most necessary.

There is a king in this country, but it is chiefly ruled -by a sort of sei>ate; which instead of meeting in the morning, the usual aud chosen hour of the soul's vigour, assembles in the night, even in the nights of winter. Hence follow colds and catarrhs, and political fevers, and many inflammatory symptoms. Their state councils, as may be expected, are far inferior to ours; and forgetting that wisdom is the lot of the few, they always decide by the majority, a singular instance ot direct opposition to our constitution.

I heartily agree with all Africa in execration of cannibals. That these people are cannibals I am convinced. Wouldst thou think, my friend, that out of thousands of blacks, imported by them, I have scarcely seen half a dozen, spared, I suppose, as is usual among the worst savages, by some favour Or fortuitous circumstance? The rest are all eaten!

The, vengeance will be sweet; we shall export them by whole ship-loads, and sell them to the southern Cannibals of Africa. Many of the people are very fat and fair, particularly of the casts of the Spankidoodfls, and of the Ha Hums, and the Mummums. This speculation will be excellently profitable. I should expect from five to twenty dinars per man.

As to the colonies to be sent here, they may be easily and firmly estabfished. - A few myriads destroyed by the artificial earthquakes, which we know how to produce so easily; and two or three millions blasted by our artificial pestilences, the rest will be overawed; and will respect our further progress in civilization, and superior skill in the arts of death and destruction. We must, by all means, insist on the establishment of a despotic government, exactly similar to our own. Without this the people could have no liberty nor happiness, and of course would grow fretful and lean; the very thing to be avoided-, as our profit depends much upon their fat and good condition.

The lean and deformed may, however, be occupied for our profit in manufactures, in which they show some little skill. Indeed I am told they have, in this branch, excelled most of the ravages of the north, for these forty years. Before this most articles were imported, in exchange for their wool, a staple commodity, and always a favourite; insomuch that perhaps some of our Tombuctan society of antiquarians may thence derive the singular partiality of this voracious people for the woolly heads of the negroes. This I leave to the learned. I have told thee, friend Cooo, that about forty years back these savages imported most articles of manufacture; and, I am told, but know not how to credit it, that such was formerly their rage for importation, that they have repeatedly imported their kings from tbe continent, as being men of a superior manufacture to any made in their country. This I suppose is one of the fables obtruded upon ignorant travellers.

« PreviousContinue »