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AT THE CRATER OF VESUVIUS.
bookcases, in particular, are architectural to act on these rules, or display originality, labours, and he forgets that a sofa is not or try in any way to do as they like. They meant for sitting, but for lounging; but cannot afford it. Mr. Eastlake is never there is surely a medium between his pro- tired of repeating that nothing is cheap posals, suggested by sense of recoil, and that cannot be obtained in thousands, and the gimcrack rubbish now scattered about it is true that if one buys this year a satisdrawing-rooms. Then there is that patent factory set of china or glass or an excellent absurdity, a bright grate. Ladies hate piece of furniture, it will two years hence bright grates, because they are never be nearly or quite impossible to replace it bright; housemaids because they have to except at excessive cost. The pattern will brighten them; men because they interfere have been disused, as any woman may with the ready lighting of fires; yet all ascertain by the very simple test of trying three submit to a fashion as irreconcilable to renew a broken smelling-bottle. A with taste as with convenience. A fireplace month's search will not reveal a bottle should be either dead-black, as iron would which will fit, and the stopper, possibly be after contact with coal, the ornament valuable, must be sent to the manufacturer, being heavy bas-reliefs; or it should not to be detained a month or two and refitted be of iron at all, but of fire-proof tiling, at a cost six or eight times that of the origiwith a round vase for the coals in the cen-nal mould. The thirst for change not tre, - a vase of bars, the cheapest, sim- felt by the buyers is felt by the sellers, plest, and hottest form of grate, which can whose gains depend not upon the excelbe lighted when it is wanted, and not only lence of their goods but upon incessant alwhen it is convenient to the seryants that it terations in their form, and the sellers are should be cleaned. 'Under the influence of in some departments absolute. The only the same feeling, the fire-irons are bright- remedies for the purchaser are dogged obened till they are conspicuous objects, and stinacy and self-will. Let every man or the coal-scuttle is made a kind of orna- woman who is furnishing decide for himself ment, whereas fire-irons should be of black or herself what he wants, arrange his rooms iron and dead brass, as invisible and useful as he pleases, take no counsel except from as possible; and the coal-box should be a artists and books and his own sense of conbox, as Mr. Eastlake says, to keep a dirty venience, snub every seller who ventures though useful substance out of sight. We to mutter “They are not used now," and, are inclined to think a coal-scuttle a sur- above all, give time to the search for the plusage, that the coal should be kept in a precise thing he wants. In a few cases in pit in the hearth, filled every morning be- London he will be beaten by the master fore the fire is lighted; but if this is diffi- evil of the place, the leasehold tenures, cult, it is, at all events, easy to make the which forbid nearly every kind of solid imcoal-scuttle unobtrusive and of such a shape provement; but in the country his house, that, while its contents cannot fall upon the and in town his furniture, can be arranged floor, it shall, when filled, be as easy to his own way. With time and a little money carry as the old brass bucket, which, pace anything can be accomplished, even the Mr. Eastlake, is among the wofst articles furnishing of a modern house so that it of furniture ever devised by man. Rugs, shall be a pleasant habitation, shall not reif Turkey carpets were exclusively used, quire renewal ,more than once in a lifewould be speedily pronounced an abomina- time, and shall not bear the most distant tion, especially in small rooms, where they resemblance to an upholsterer's showroom. destroy the appearance of breadth ; or restored to their original meaning as mats, to prevent wear in any place where the feet
From The Pall Mall Gazette. are constantly shifted. Short, broad mats
AT THE CRATER OF VESUVIUS. of skin, — bearskin preferably, because it will not keep dirt and suits any colour, - OFTEN as Vesuvius has been described, would answer every end. In fact, the true there is one set of impressions which are theory for arranging and furnishing a room perhaps the most generally interesting of of any kind is the same as the true theory all, but which, from the nature of the case, for everything else, – bookbinding, for ex- cannot so frequently be recorded. I refer ample, to insist first of all that the end to the impressions of one who has stood sought shall be attained, and seek for or- upon the lip of the crater and looked down nament chiefly through the perfection of while an eruption is actually in progress. the work.
It is not always that a view of such a scene But we shall be told it is useless for can be obtained. It was at a time when housekeepers of moderate means to attempt crash was following crash in a manner that was quite sufficiently terrible, and when all levels, you have the deep brick red of the suffocating steams and vapours were be- stones that have been under the action of ing driven to one side of the mountain by fire, the brightest vermilion, and every ima strong wind, that we were able to go up aginable shade of orange and yellow that from the windward side, stand upon the sulphur deposits are capable of taking. lip of the crater, look down into the roaring The ground is hot too; so hot, indeed, abyss, and see what the eruption of a vol- that you cannot keep your foot on the same · cano looks like on the spot.
spot for many seconds together. "Between That is, in truth, the only way of getting the chinks of the stones you can see that a an idea of what a repository of horrors a few inches below the surface it is actually volcano is. Without such a visit Vesuvius red hot. You thrust in the end of your is often a little disappointing. It is noth- stick for a moment and you pull it out ing but a fine mountain, just like any charred. Over all the farther half of the other, says Mendelssohn. You may be a crater there hangs a dense cloud of smoke little disappointed as you see Vesuvius and vapour; all around you there is an atfrom below. But you have only to mount mosphere of sulphur which sets you coughto the summit when an eruption of any ing; from numberless small holes about magnitude is in progress to find yourself your feet there issue with a hiss suphurous in the presence of appalling phenomena jets of steam which nearly choke you as both of sight and sound. Choose the last you pass over them; and then as you look few hours of daylight for your ascent; and down into the actual abyss you are face to then, as the darkness closes round and the face with the most appalling phenomena, world below becomes hidden from your both of sight and sound, which, perhaps, the view, you stand at the crater in presence whole of Europe has to offer. Among the of a scene for which no language can be crowd of strange sensations that are expevery extravagant. For experienced moun- rienced at such a time the phenomena of taineers the effort required for the ascent sound are perhaps the most wonderful of is nothing remarkable; but for ordinary all. What meets the car is, if anything, people it is laborious enough.
even more terrific than what meets the eye. You arrive at the edge of the crater, and Even to sight the eruption is not just what there you behold a scene full of awe and the imagination paints it beforehand. It majesty. The suddenness with which you does not consist, as the pictures necessarily come upon
it is quite startling. Going up lead one to suppose, of a continuous shower you neither see nor hear anything. One at all. Still less does it consist of a conmoment you are clambering up the side of tinuous shower of black ashes shot out from the cone amid profound silence; the next a fire blazing on the top of the monntain ; moment, as your head rises above the cra- it is rather a series of explosions. But the ter lip, you encounter a roar and a blaze roar and glare of the great abyss are continwhich make you shrink back a little. uous. You look into the pit, and though This surprise is occasioned, I suppose, by you see no actual flame, yet its sides are the formation of the crater. It is a huge in a state of constant incandescence; from bowl which comes up to quite a sharp lip, the mouth of it there roars up incessantly about half a mile in diameter and some a dense cloud of steam; and in the depths hundred yards in depth. Towards the bot- of it below you hear the noise of preparatom of this bowl, on the opposite side to tion for the outburst that is next to come. where we stood, was a great hole, from Then you hear a sharper crackle, and then which all the projectiles of the eruption without further warning follows a loud exwere shot; the surface of the bowl being plosion, which shoots into the air a torrent composed of lumps of lava, stones, and of white-hot missiles of every shape and cinders, all of them smeared with sulphur, size. So enormous are the forces at work precisely like those upon which we were that not only small pieces of stone and standing. As you mount the cone there is sulphur, such as you might carry away as between you and the gulf an enormous memnentoes of your visit, but huge blocks wall, which dulls everything alike for of mineral, each enough to load a railway eye and ear. Even while on the steeps of ballast wagon, and all in a state of perthe cone itself you might be unaware that fectly white heat, are tossed up as though the mountain was disturbed. But a single they were so many cricket balls. The exstep seems almost enough to transfer you plosion lasts, perhaps, no longer than a from the most deathlike stillness to the minute: and then there is a cessation of grandest exhibition of force it is possible some seconds with the noise only of interto conceive. Instead of the monotonous nal preparation once more, after which the dull black of congealed lava on the lower explosion is repeated. That was nothing
to the almost stupefying din that was going of the mountain. I saw no indication that on before 'us moments when the daylight this ever took place. While you are on was over, and the world below could no the mountain, the streams of 'lava which longer be distinguished when we had have issued forth and cooled at the several nothing but the clear starlight overhead, previous eruptions are quite distinguishand were truly alone with the mountain ; able from each other by their differences of when the varied colouring of the ground had structure and colour. We saw many such ; disappeared in the darkness, and nothing but I saw no indication of any one of them could be seen but the gleam of the burning having come over the lip of the crater. In earth through the chinks at our feet; while every single instance the source of the lava the white-hot, glaring, ribbon of molten stream seemed to have been lower down lava glided languidly down the mountain the mountain. Certainly this was the case at our side, and before us was the flashing with the very fine one which burst out just of the inner fire upon the cloud of vapour before our visit. As we stood upon the overhanging the abyss. Take all these to- lip of the crater it was below us throughout gether, and the scene is indeed rather dif- its whole length. The lava was issuing ferent from what you picture to yourself from a great fissure which it had made for as you calmly read in your newspaper that itself some distance down in the side of the Vesuvius is once again in a state of erup- cone. The guides hurried us away from tion,
the neighbourhood of its source, because, I spoke just now of the stream of lava they said, it was quite possible another oriwhich glides down the mountain. In the lice might open at any moment, and then first place, two peculiarities were observa- would be all over with the present specble in it. One was the marvellous slow-tators. The experience of these ness of its motion. In the early part of its clearly led them to regard this as the nordescent the incline over which it had to mal mode of the emission of lava. In the pass was precipitous; yet so slowly did case actually before us it was being poured this mass of liquid fire move within its forth evenly and continuously in a molten bed that its current was only just percepti- state from the fissure; it descended for a ble. It seemed to be only just in motion. short distance, in a broad stream, to a Perhaps in some degree connected with point where a bifurcation took place, and the same cohesion which this languor of then the burning mineral went down to the movement indicated, was the other pecu- base of the mountain in two streams of perliarity of the lava stream - the tenacity of baps twenty feet each in width, looking in its surface. In appearance, as we stood the darkness like two broad ribbons of fire above it, it was in a perfectly liquid state; stretching down into the plain. it looked as though you might ruffle its surface with the point of your stick. Great, accordingly, was our surprise at finding
From The Daily News. that even with the very greatest force
THE TUNNEL THROUGH MONT CENIS. available on the spot we could not make the slightest impression upon it. The lar- Men flash their messages across mighty gest masses of mineral that we could lift, continents and beneath the bosom of the we dashed down from above upon the wide Atlantic; they weigh the distant planburning stream; but they simply bounded ets, and analyze the sun and stars ; they across its face, like a ball upon a floor, with span Niagara with a railway bridge, and out producing the faintest apparent indenta- pierce the · Alps with a railway tunnel; yet tion. Moreover, it is commonly supposed the poet of the age in which all these things that lava is always projected from the cra- are done or doing sings, We men are a ter, and the language commonly used in puny race.” And, certainly, the great description encourages the idea. “ A stream works which belong to man as a race can of lava was seen to issue from the crater" no more be held to evidence the importance is the sort of phraseology with which one of the individual man than the vast coral is' most familiar in accounts of eruptions reefs and atolls of the Pacific can be held to that took place in bygone days. I am not evidence the working power of the individsure that this is ever strictly accurate; but ual coral polyp. But if man, standing with the crater in anything like its present alone, is weak, man working according to form it hardly seems probable, It would the law assigned to his race from the begintake a vast quantity of molten lava to fill ning - that is, in fellowship with his kind that great bowl of half a mile diameter, is, indeed, a being of power. which I suppose it would have to do before Perhaps no work ever undertaken by any of it would run over down the sides men strikes one as more daring than the at
a puny race."
tempt to pierce the Alps with a tunnel. difficulties with which the engineers of this Nature seems to have upreared these mighty gigantic work have had to contend. A barriers as if with the design of showing large part of the rock consists of a crystalman how weak he is in her presence. Even lized calcareous schist, much broken and the armies of Hannibal and Napoleon contorted; and through this rock run in seemed all but powerless in the face of these every direction large masses of pure quartz. vast natural fastnesses. Compelled to creep It will be conceived how difficult the work slowly and cautiously along the difficult and has been of piercing through so diversified narrow ways which alone were open to a substance as this. The perforating machthem, decimated by the chilling blasts which ines are calculated to work best when the swept the face of the rugged mountain- resistance is uniform; and it has often haprange, and dreading at every moment the pened that the unequal resistance offered to pitiless swoop of the avalanche, the French the perforaters has resulted in injury to the and Carthaginian troops exhibited little of chisels. But before the work of perforating the pomp and dignity which we are apt to began, enormous difficulties had to be conassociate with the operations of warlike tended with. It will be understood that, in armies. Had the denizen of some other a tunnel of such vast length, it was absoplanet been able to watch their progress, he lutely necessary that the perforating promight, indeed, have said, “ These men are cesses carried on from the two ends should
In this only, that they suc- be directed with the most perfect accuracy. ceeded, did the troops of Hannibal and It has often happened in short tunnels that Napoleon assert the dignity of the human a want of perfect coincidence has existed race. Grand as was the aspect of nature, and between the two halves of the work, and the mean as was that of man during the pro- tunnellers from one end have sometimes altogress of the contest, it was nature that was gether failed to meet those from the other. conquered man that overcame. And now But in a short tunnel this want of coincidence man has entered on a new conflict with na- is not very important, because the two inteture in the gloomy fastnesses of the Alps. rior ends of the tunnellings cannot in any case The barrier which he had scaled of old he be far removed from each other. But in has now undertaken to pierce. And the the case of the Mont Cenis tunnel any inwork — bold and daring as it seemed is
in the direction of the two tunnelthree parts finished.
lings would have been fatal to the success The Mont Cenis tunnel was sanctioned of the work, since when the two should by the Sardinian Government in 1857, and meet it might be found that they were laterarrangements were made for fixing the per-ally separated by two or three hundred forating machinery in the years 1858 and yards. Hence it was necessary before the 1859. But the work was not actually com- work began to survey the intermediate menced until November, 1860. The tun- country, so as to ascertain with the most nel, which will be fully seven and a half perfect accuracy the bearings of one end of miles in length, was to be completed in the tunnel from the other. It was necestwenty-five years. The entrance to the sary,” says the narrative of these initial latunnel on the side of France is near the lit-bours, “to prepare accurate plans and sectle village of Fourneau, and lies 3,946 feet tions for the determination of the levels, to above the level of the sea. The entrance fix the axis of the tunnel, and to set it out' on the side of Italy is in å deep valley at on the mountain top; to erect observatories Bardonèche, and lies 4,380 feet above the and guiding signals solid, substantial, and sea-level. Thus there is a difference of true.” When we remember the nature of level of 434 feet. But the tunnel will ac- the passes over the Cenis, we can conceive tually rise 445 feet above the level of the the difficulty of setting out a line of this French end, attaining this height at a dis- sort over the Alpine range. The necessity tance of about four miles from that extrem- of continually climbing over rocks, ravines, ity; in the remaining three and three-quar- and precipices in passing from station to ter miles there will be a fall of only ten station involved difficulties which, great as feet, so that this part of the line will be they were, were as nothing when compared practically level.
with the difficulties resulting from the bitter The rocks through which the excavations weather experienced on those rugged mounhave been made have been for the most tain-heights. The tempests which sweep part very difficult to work. Those who im- the Alpine passes
the ever-recurring agine that the great mass of our mountain- storms of rain, sleet, and driving snow, are ranges consists of such granite as is made trying to the ordinary traveller. It will be use of in our buildings, and is uniform in understood, therefore, how terribly they texture and hardness, greatly underrate the must have interfered with the delicate processes involved in surveying. It often hap- | heit showing, on analysis, no traces of the pened that for days together no work of any metal. A brief statement of some of the sort could be done owing to the impossibility experiments made on wines will illustrate of using levels and theodolites when ex- the advantages which are claimed for M. posed to the stormy weather and bitter cold Pasteur's process. A certain number of of these lofty passes. At length, however, bottles of Côte d'Or of 1863 were subjected the work was completed, and that with to the heating process in that year, an equal such success that the greatest deviation number of botiles from the same vineyard from exactitude was less than a single foot being allowed to remain in the natural for the whole length of seven and a half state. In the month of March last samples miles.
of both were tested. The wine which had been heated was in perfect condition, while
the other had a decided flavour of acidity, From The Pall Mall Gazette. the special failing to which the principal THE PRESERVATION OF WINE.
Burgundies are apt to succumb. A drop
examined in the microscope showed the M. DE LAPPARENT, the director of naval parasite peculiar to vinous acidity. In M. construction, has recently made a report to Pasteur's laboratory the commissioners saw the French Minister of Marine, which de- a loosely corked bottle, two-thirds empty, serves more than a passing notice. A spe- which had been first opened in June, 1865. cial commission, under M. de Lapparent's The wine, of very ordinary quality, having presidency, was some time since named to cost originally only 45 centimes the litre investigate M. L. Pasteur's mode of pre- (about 3}d. a bottle) had acquired the colserving wine by heating it. The result is our of age but did not exhibit the slightest that its “ decided efficacy” is said to be symptom of sourness or bitterness. It had fully established, and the commissioners been heated before bottling. Under the recommend that the system – which has same circumstances an unheated wine would been adopted by many large wine-dealers have turned to vinegar in a few days. The in France - should, as a preliminary trial, commissioners made an experiment of a very be applied to the wine shipped for the use simple character for themselves. They reof the navy. The Minister “ has read the moved the corks and two glasses of wine report with the liveliest interest,” and has from two bottles, one of wine which they approved its recommendations, which are had seen heated, the other of unheated to be carried out.
wine, and replaced the corks, preserving The process is simply heating the wine to a communication with the outer air by the a temperature of from 52° to 55° centigrade insertion of a bent glass tube, which ex(1250 to 131° Fahrenheit), the lower tem- cluded dust. In three days a very obvious perature being for the finer qualities. The scum had formed upon the surface of the apparatus employed is a modification by M. unheated wine. Microscopical examination Brun, an engineer, of Perroy's machine for proved it to be due to Mycoderma vini, distilling fresh from sea water. The worm which soon degenerated into Mycoderma of the still is contained in a chamber called aceti, and the wine became undrinkable. the refrigerator, which in the process of The other bottle was still “ very drinkdistillation is kept continually supplied with able” a considerable time afterwards, and cold sea water; in the wine-heating process showed no trace of acidity, although from the chamber is filled with wine, which is prolonged contact with the air it had lost retained there until raised to the desired some of its strength and other qualities. temperature by the steam which passes A quantity of wine was heated, carefully through the worm. One of these machines casked, and sent a ten months' cruise in will heat about 11,700 gallons in ten hours, the Jean Bart. Some of the same wine, at a cost of £1 3s. 6d. , about a penny for unheated, was shipped at the same time. every forty gallons. It should be stated At the end of the voyage the heated wine that in heating, about one-half per cent. of was in perfect condition, showing the colalcohol is lost, and must be subsequently our peculiar to old wines, while the other, added if the wine is to be maintained at its in consequence of an astringent flavour, original strength. It was found difficult to turning to sourness, had to be consumed at determine the best material for the cham- once to avoid total loss. ber; experiments were made for this pur- It'would seem that all these experiments pose, and it resulted that the purest tin was were tried upon such wines as are usually the least objectionable, some wine which supplied in large quantities to the French had been heated five times over in such an navy, and are of course not of a very high apparatus to a temperature of 149° Fahren- quality. It thus apparently remains to be