Imagini ale paginilor

injurious before or after eating; but exercise beyond this limit is hurtful at such times. All, therefore, whose object is to improve or preserve health, and whose occupations are in their own power, ought to arrange these, so as to observe faithfully this important law, for they will otherwise deprive themselves of most of the benefits resulting from exercise."

In Chapter VII.—in a clear and forcible description of the nature of healthy respiration, and the importance of a regular supply of pure, fresh air-it is stated, that it has been ascertained, from the experiments of Sir H. Davy, and others equally eminent, that in the course of an hour, one pair of lungs will, at a low estimate, vitiate the air by the subtraction of no less than one thousand four hundred and forty cubic inches of oxygen, and the addition of an equal number of carbonic acid; thus constituting an alarming source of impurity. The subjoined instance, with several others, is given of the fatal effects of breathing vitiated air :

"The horrible fate of the Englishmen who were shut up in the Black Hole of Calcutta in 1756 is strikingly illustrative of the destructive consequences of an inadequate supply of air. 146 in number were thurst into a confined place, 18 feet square. There were only two very small windows by which air could be admitted, and as both of them were on the same side, ventilation was utterly impossible. Scarcely was the door shut upon the prisoners when their sufferings commenced, and in a short time a delirious and mortal struggle ensued to get near the windows. Within four hours, those who survived lay in the silence of apoplectic stupor; and at the end of six hours, ninety-six were relieved by death! In the morning when the door was opened, 23 only were found alive, many of whom were subsequently cut off by putrid fever, caused by the dreadful effluvia and corruption of the air."

We may mention-and this would not have been amiss in the publishers' advertisement-that this work is not from the pen of Combe, the celebrated writer on Phrenology, and author of the "Constitution of Man, considered in relation to external Objects," noticed in the last number of this Magazine, but from a brother, of the same city, and to which he is equally an honor.

NAVAL STORIES. BY WILLIAM LEGGETT. One vol. pp. 179. New-York: G. & C. & H. CARVILL.

THIS neat little volume contains seven stories, which have been written at different periods, for American periodical publications of reputemost of them for the New-York Mirror. The author is peculiarly happy in his sea-tales-many of which possess all the graphic distinctness of the better pictures of Cooper. There is great dramatic power, too, in the management of the incidents of all the stories, and a force of language, that renders them peculiarly attractive. The "Encounter," the first story, deserves the precedence given it. It is a natural and vigorous description of an encounter at sea. The minutiae of the detail evinces a warm imagination and a practised eye, and heightens the interest of the chief scene depicted, in itself sufficiently impressive. Of all Mr. Leggett's sketches, however, we prefer the simple but vivid story of "The Main-Truck, or a Leap for Life." Though we can scarcely

hope that it will not be familiar to the reader, we venture upon an extract or two, embracing the denouement, to justify our encomiums. A brave lad, on board of a man-of-war, in a playful contest with a domesticated ape, ascends to the main-truck-or the extreme point of the "high and giddy mast:"

"The adventurous boy, after resting on the royal cross-trees, had been seized with a wish to go still higher, and moved by one of those impulses which sometimes instigate men to place themselves in situations of imminent peril, where no good can result from the exposure, he had climbed the skysail-pole, and, at the moment of my looking up, was actually standing on the main-truck! a small circular piece of wood on the very summit of the loftiest mast, and at a height so great from the deck that my brain turned dizzy as I looked up at him. The reverse of Virgil's line was true in this instance. It was comparatively easy to ascend-but to descend-my head swam round, and my stomach felt sick, at the thought of the perils comprised in that one word. There was nothing above him or around him but the empty air-and beneath him, nothing but a point, a mere point-a small, unstable wheel, that seemed no bigger from the deck than the button on the end of a foil, and the taper skysail-pole itself scarcely larger than the blade. Dreadful temerity! If he should attempt to stoop, what could he take hold of to steady his descent? His feet quite covered up the small and fearful platform which he stood upon, and beneath that, a long, smooth, naked spar, which seemed to bend with his weight, was all that upheld him from destruction. An attempt to get down from 'that bad eminence,' would be almost certain death; he would inevitably lose his equilibrium, and be precipitated to the deck a crushed and shapeless mass. Such were the thoughts that crowded through my mind as I first raised my eyes, and saw the terrible truth."

The peril in which the daring boy is placed soon draws on deck the entire ship's company-among the rest his father, the commodore :

"The arrival of the commodore changed the direction of several eyes, which turned on him, to trace what emotions the danger of his son would occasion. But their scrutiny was foiled. By no outward sign did he show what was passing within. His eye still retained its severe expression, his brow the slight frown which it usually wore, and his lip its haughty curl. Immediately on reaching the deck, he had ordered a marine to hand him a musket, and with this stepping aft, and getting on the lookout-block, he raised it to his shoulder, and took a deliberate aim at his son, at the same time hailing him, without a trumpet, in his voice of thunder.

"Robert!' cried he, 'jump! jump overboard! or I'll fire at you.'

The boy seemed to hesitate, and it was plain that he was tottering, for his arms were thrown out like those of one scarcely able to retain his balance. The commodore raised his voice again, and in a quicker and more energetic tone, cried, "Jump! 'tis your only chance for life.'

The words were scarcely out of his mouth, before the body was seen to leave the truck and spring out into the air. A sound, between a shriek and groan, burst from many lips. The father spoke not-sighed not-indeed he did not seem to breathe. For a moment of intense interest a pin might have been heard to drop on deck. With a rush like that of a cannon ball, the body descended to the water, and before the waves closed over it, twenty stout fellows, among them several officers, had dived from the bulwarks. Another short period of anxious suspense ensued. He rose-he was alive! his arms were seen to move!-he struck out towards the ship!-and despite the discipline of a man-of-war, three loud huzzas, an outburst of unfeigned and unrestrainable joy from the hearts of our crew of five hundred men, pealed through the air, and made the welkin ring.”

The annexed picture of a fire at sea, in the tale of "Fire and Wa

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ter,"-imaginary, although it be, in this instance, could hardly have been drawn by one who had not witnessed it in horrid reality:


"The fire soon caught the dry and pitchy deck and light bulwarks, and spread with fearful rapidity. The unhappy young man on the yard looked down on the scene without the power to release himself from his dreadful place of captivity. Even could he have loosened the knot which bound him there, and which was but drawn the tighter the more he struggled, his situation would have been little improved. The deck was already a sea of fire. It had caught the sails, and towered up in a pyramid far above his head. He writhed in agony and strove to shriek, but it seemed as if the flames which roared around him had scorched his throat and deprived him of the power of utterance. He felt his flesh shrivel and crack in the intense heat, and his garments, as he moved, chafed the skin from his body. The sails, however, were quickly consumed or blown off in blazing fragments into the sea; but the wind, which then visited his cheek brought no relief, but added tenfold anguish to his blistered flesh. * * The flames were fast eating into the mast at the deck, and streaming up the dry and greasy spar with appaling fierceness, while their roar and crackling sounded to his frenzied ear like the exultation of infernal spirits waiting for their prey. The shrouds, too, were on fire, and the pitch that boiled out from them added to the fury of the conflagration. The victim saw that his fate was near at hand, and ceased to struggle. Again the heat came up with scorching power, and a thick pitchy cloud of smoke wrapt him for a moment in its suffocating folds. It passed away and he could see again. The shrouds were quite consumed, save a few blazing ends, which waved round him like the whips of furies; and the flames, which had lingered for a moment round the thick body of rigging at the mast head, were now climbing the topmast, and had almost reached the spot where he was bound. At this moment the brig rolled to windward, and he felt the mast tremble and totter like a falling tree. She slowly righted and lurched to leeward. The mast cracked and snapped-he felt his body rush through the airthe spar fell hissing into the ocean the cold water closed over his scorched and shuddering body-he threw out his arms and made one more frantic effort to release himself-the knot that bound him suddenly gave way-and


But we will leave the reader to ascertain the result from the volume itself-which, though small, is sufficiently large to awaken regret, that the heat and thankless labor of political journalism should usurp talents so well calculated to minister to the public enjoyment in another, and we cannot but believe, a more grateful sphere.

NARRATIVE of an Expedition through the Upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT. One vol. 8vo. pp. 308. New-York: HARPER AND Brothers.

THE Source of the King of Floods, as John Randolph termed the Mississippi, is no longer a mystery. Mr. Schoolcraft has given us a detailed account of the travels of the company under his direction, by the order of the United States' War Department, through the Upper Mississippi, in 1832-3, to the Itasca Lake, the actual source of the river. The summer season of two years was devoted to the expedition, in the course of which all the bands of the Chippewa nation located near the mouth of the Wisconsin, and some bands of the Sioux were visited, according to instructions from the General Government. We are unable to disconnect extracts from the narrative of the passage from

Cass Lake to Itasca Lake-the most interesting portion of the volume. Leaving the former body of water, the expedition proceeded, with many moving accidents, and much difficulty in passing swamps, brooks, and diluvial sand ridges, in search of the source of a river, which in some places they found spread out into marshes, intersected with streams, and in others opening into small lakes or ponds. At length, after many long days of toil, the description of which is diversified with geological and general remarks upon the country traversed, "on turning out of a thicket into a small weedy opening, the cheering sight of a transparent body of water burst upon their view. It was Itasca Lake-the source of the Mississippi”—a beautiful sheet of water, seven or eight miles in extent, lying among hills, crowned with pines, containing a single island, and abounding with fish and tortoise. Its outlet is but twelve feet broad, and with but an apparent depth of from twelve to eighteen inches. Its discharge of water is copious in comparison to its inlet-although it is believed that springs may produce accessions which are not visible. The Mississippi originates at an altitude of fifteen hundred feet above the Atlantic, and is now ascertained to have its rise three thousand one hundred and sixty miles from the Gulf of Mexico. At Itasca Lake, Mr. Schoolcraft informs us, "it is a placid basin of transparent spring water, and at the Balize, as turbid as earth in suspension can make it, and carries a forest of floating trees on its bosom." Much of the volume is devoted to the account of an exploratory trip through the St. Croix and Burntwood, or Brulé rivers, which embodies a great variety of useful and interesting historical, geographical, and geological information. No one can peruse the excellent narrative which we have barely found space to glance at it in this place, without feeling an enlarged admiration for our vast country, and its boundless resources.


THE first series of "Curiosities of Literature" was noticed at some length in this Magazine. It has acquired much celebrity both in Europe and America, and the literary authorities of eminence have been loud in its praise. We can scarcely recall to our recollection any volumes of recent origin which possess, in a similar compass, so great a variety of matter, combining such a fund of instruction and amusement, as those before us. They differ in their character from the previous series. The author has endeavored to form a substitute for the delightful essay-writing of the age of Goldsmith, and Steele, and Addison, by occasional recurrence to speculations on human affairs, as they appear in private and public history, and to other curious inquiries in literature and philosophy" to offer authentic knowledge for evanescent topicsto demonstrate some general principle by induction from a variety of particulars-and to suggest subjects which by their singularity are new to inquiry, and which may lead to new trains of ideas." He has fol

lowed out his plan to perfection—and a mere glance at the diversified contents will afford the reader an antepast of the enjoyment in store for him, especially when it is remembered that they are to be served up in the attractive garb of a writer, who has the faculty, as Allan Cunningham has well observed, to turn every thing which he touches to gold. There are something like eighty distinct articles, embracing all manner of subjects, from the "Rump Parliament," to the "Secret History of Authors who have ruined their Booksellers," and "Whether it be allowable to ruin One's Self!" These volumes are distinguished by the neatness of execution, which mark the works of the enterprising publishers from whose establishment they emanate.

THE Complete Works of SIR WALTER SCOTT, with a Biography, and his last additions and illustrations. In seven volumes. Vol. VI. New-York: CONNER and COOKE.

THE publishers of this edition of the works of the immortal author of Waverley, have performed a service in presenting them to the public, for which many thousands of readers have occasion to be deeply grateful. We have heretofore spoken of the clearness and beauty of the type, and the fine color and texture of the paper, which characterize their execution. Their great cheapness will place them within the reach of all. Lord Byron remarks, in one of his letters to Moore, that the works of Scott were a library in themselves. Voluminous and diversified as they were then, they have since greatly increased in value. The volume before us contains, Tales of a Grandfather, History of Scotland, Life of Swift and Dryden, and biographical notices of Fielding, Smollet, Cumberland, Goldsmith, Johnson, Sterne, Mackenzie, Horace Walpole, Clara Reeve, Radcliffe, Le Sage, Johnstone, Robert Bage, Charlotte Smith, Sadler, Leyden, Seward, De Foe, Duke of Buccleugh, Lord Somerville, George III., Lord Byron, and the Duke of York. The edition is, we may say without exception, the cheapest and most convenient that has ever been given to the American public. The favor with which it has been received, may be considered-by the enterprising publishers at least-as the most satisfactory proof of its preeminence and value.

THE KENTUCKIAN IN NEW-YORK, or the Adventures of three Southerns. By a VIRGINIAN. In two vols. 12mo. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.

THESE Sprightly volumes-which we have inadvertently left unnoticed until now-have been some two months before the public, and have attracted much attention. We have perused them with great gratification. Many of the scenes are drawn with a masterly hand. They exhibit shrewdness and observation, a keen perception of the ludicrous in character, and a dramatic facility and richness of grouping and coloring. The descriptions of scenery are peculiarly graphic, and if the author's

« ÎnapoiContinuați »