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generally confined by connexions of business, possessions, or pleasure, to one place or country, are seldom able to do this. But in Persia, where by ascending the mountains a man can change his climate in a few hours, there is a great inclination for this enjoyment even among the inhabitants of towns; and the wandering people who can take down their tents and pack up their kettles for a journey in half an hour, make this change of climate a regular practice.
It frequently happens amidst the mountains of Persia, that all the four seasons of the year appear in one view to the spectator. The highest mountains covered with snow exhibit winter.
The next rangemfor I speak rather of lines of mountains than single peaks—the next range of rather lower mountains, covered with light evergreens, would seem to indicate spring; the next and nearest range of still lower hills, with their naked surfaces and cliffs glaring with red and yellow ochre, and with no plants or shrubs growing on them, appear as if burnt up by the strong heats of summer; while the nearer and low ground of the valley, diversified by orchards, and by fields of corn ready to be reaped, makes one think of autumn. Speaking generally, the
aspect of Persian mountains is very forbidding. They present little to the eye but masses of gray rock splintered by the weather; and even where a little soil appears on the surface, the slopes are rarely enlivened by wood or herbage. In the north and west of Persia, trees and verdure are more frequent on the mountains. In former times, indeed, the part of Persia then called Media (see the map of ancient Persia) was famous for its woods and gardens. But commonly, even here, the woods are no more than widely-scattered shrubs upon the slopes of the mountains, which more generally present high cliffs at the base and then slope up, presenting a surface strewed with stones, like a road newly broken up.
Now that I have described to you the general appearance of the mountains, and said so much about the most important single mountain in that part of the world, I shall not tire you by talking of all the other mountains of note. We will only talk a little about Demawend. Look at this drawing of it.
Frank. What is that thing round its neck ?
U. O. That is a very beautiful illustration of the verse from Goldsmith which you so much
admired. It is a cloud; and it is remarkable that it seems almost a fixture upon the same part of the mountain during the winter months, though it rarely appears during the summer. · H. How odd it looks! It is like Saturn's ring.
Jane. It is like a frill round its neck!
U.O. It is like a great many things. You see, Demawend is a very beautiful and regularly formed mountain, shooting up in great dignity and singleness, like the monarch of the land. When I first saw this mountain, I was more than 100 miles distant from it, and I could hardly believe that it was really Demawend that I saw, for it looked much as mountains would do at one-third of the distance in other countries. But, on account of the clearness and dryness of the air, distant mountains and other objects are visible with a distinctness which much surprises, and frequently deceives, a stranger. The Persians themselves say it may be seen from a tower in Ispahan, which is at least 240 miles distant; but, on account of the roundness of the earth, it is impossible that this should be true. Demawend does not look so high as Ararat, though, as it does not spread
out so wide at the bottom, it is much more steep and abrupt.
H. But, Sir, is it really so high as Ararat ? · U. O. No; Ararat is considered to be not
less than 14,000 feet above the level of the sea, while Demawend is but 12,000. Snow lies on the upper part of the mountain all the year round; but it is only in large single patches. This is a proof that Demawend is not near so high as Ararat, whose top is always capped with ice.
H. But why do you say above the level of the sea ?? What has the sea to do with the mountains ?
U. O. It would not be necessary to say so if the plain ground was everywhere of the same height. But this is far from being the case, for in many countries the ground gradually rises until the level ground is higher than a tall mountain near the sea-shore would be. So, for example, the Mountain of the Cross in the Caucasus is 8000 feet above the level of the sea, which is more than twenty-two times as high as the cross on the cupola of St. Paul's. Yet the ground has been so continually ascending for several days before one comes there, that it is in appearance, from top to bottom, like such hills as little boys like to roll themselves
down. It is therefore necessary to measure the height of mountains from a level which is nearly the same throughout the world—and that is the sea. Though, then, Demawend is not near so high above the level of the sea as Ararat, yet I could never learn that in modern times any person had ever reached the top, and was assured that the attempt would be hopeless. Some persons are in the habit of ascending as high as possible to collect sulphur. They go through a course of training before they set out, and fortify themselves by eating garlick and onions. None of these men ever succeeded in an attempt to reach the top.
F. But how comes the sulphur to be there?
U. O. Sulphur, in its purest state, is frequently found in volcanic mountains among the substances thrown out from the crater, the heat of which, like that of a furnace, melts it out from substances with which it is mingled. It is found in Demawend, chiefly at the bottom of small craters at the base of the cone--that regular part which forms the top of such mountains; and as other volcanic substances also are found, as earthquakes are not unusual, and as the cone is said sometimes to emit smoke, this is