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aware of their intention, they had fastened a large fowl to a pole, and lowered it down about two feet below the place where we stood at the entrance. In about five or six seconds the poor bird was seen to droop without a struggle. It was then drawn out, and carried into the fresh air, but it only made one faint gasp, and then died.
H., F., and J. Poor thing! Mr. Dillon. Did you perceive any unpleasant smell at the entrance of this cave ?
U. O. When I stood there first, I only felt a disagreeable damp air; but I happened to stoop to pick up my stick which I had let fall out of my hand, and my nose was far more strongly and painfully affected by the gas than it would be if I were to take a strong sniff at Mrs. Oldcastle's scent bottle when it comes home fresh from the druggist's. The people of the country believe that this cave was constructed for the purpose of a treasury, under the directions of Alexander the Great and Aristotle his vizier. They suppose that it is full of untold riches, of which they might obtain possession if they were only masters of the spell or talisman by which these vapours are kept there to guard the treasure. This is
quite in the usual Persian style of accounting for things; and like many other of their accounts it also contains an historical error, for although Aristotle was Alexander's tutor, he was never his vizier or minister, and was not in Persia with him.
Thus much for the mountains; and I think we had better stop here, and keep our next subject for another evening.
Uncle Oliver. Having told you about the mountains of Persia, we will now consider the plains and the valleys. But as the circumstances of the plains in different parts of the country are influenced very much by the climate, I will begin with that. Mr. Dillon, I have heard a description of the Persian climate quoted from Xenophon which I thought very good; will you favour us with it?
Mr. Dillon. I will find it in a moment. (While Mr. D. fetches a book and finds the passage they examine the map.) Here it is. The younger Cyrus said to Xenophon, 'My father's empire is so large, that people perish with cold at one extremity, while they are suffocated with heat at the other.'
U. O. Ay, that is it! Persia is not so large now as it was in the time of Cyrus, but this is still very true of Persia as it is. Thus · Henry. Will you stop a minute, uncle, till I think of that? I can't quite understand.