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embarking in balloons all our heaviest and most bulky articles—such as the History of Brazil, the Court of Aldermen, Busby's Lucretius, Louis Dixhuit, all our tomes of controversial divinity, the elephant at Exeter Change, &c. &c.—but I confess I am disposed to consider this scheme as the chimæra of a visionary.
Others may perhaps be disposed to pronounce a similar judgment upon the fourth project, which will, however, be very shortly in a course of actual experiment. It appears by the last papers from America that a Colonel Sims has proposed to the President to discover a new world, and has demanded a squadron for the purpose. This terra incognita he maintains to be situated within our own globe-that the old earth, in fact, has a young one in its stomach ; and the arguments by which he supports this strange position are both numerous and plausible. If Columbus, by merely consulting a map of the world, became convinced that the equipoise of the system required a counter-ponderant continent in the southern ocean, the colonel insists that we may ù fortiori conclude that the earth must contain another within it. In the first place, he observes, that Nature is ever economical of her means, creating nothing in vain; but that if we presume the whole contents of our planet, which is nearly eight thousand miles in diameter, to be solid, there would not only be an incredible waste of materials, but that the weight of such a prodigious mass would infallibly drag us out of our sphere in the system of the universe, and precipitate us into the blind abysses of space. M. Dupin calculates the weight of the great pyramid at above ten millions of tons ; yet what is this huge pile, enormous as it is, compared to a single mountain ? and what are all the mountains and seas upon the surface of the earth, compared to its cubic contents ? By supposing it to be hollow, its buoyancy in space becomes no longer inexplicable, and the principal difficulty-that remains is to discover the door of entrance, which the colonel confidently pronounces to be situated at the North Pole. It is conjectured that all the mountains of the undiscovered land are formed of loadstone, and that the position of the aperture leading to them occasions the polarity of the needle. Its name occasioned some little difficulty, the term new world being already applied, the new new world being deemed tautologous ; Simsia was rejected as not being classical, Simia as exposed to a ludicrous perversion, Subterranea as not strictly accurate, the country being rather within than beneath our own, on which account it was finally resolved to term it Interranea. A loan has already been raised for the new government, and the Interranean five per cents. are quoted at 96, having been done at a 100. A bookseller in the Row bas given a considerable sum for the copy-right of the Voyage, and the public of both Continents (who now discover the appropriateness of that designation since they contain another within them) are looking with the utmost anxiety for the results of this interesting voyage.
It may not always be possible, in the formation of travelling alliances, to foresee that opposition of tastes and opinions which I have described as tending, in various ways, to damp enjoyment and awaken disgust; but the inconvenience arising from a discrepancy of pursuits may generally be anticipated. I have therefore avoided the mineralogist, with his two-pound hammer and his budget of broken stones, looking as if he had carried off one of Mr. M'Adam's roads ; I have shunned the botanist, who would lead me through miles of marsh to meet with a nondescript duckweed, or starve me on a barren crag while he completed his set of lichens, or fix me a whole day in a hedge-alehouse, that he might study a scarce kind of houseleek : and I have generally kept aloof from all those ardent travellers who pursue any study or amusement so indiscreetly and with so little prudent respect of persons, times, or places, as to procure themselves a mortifying notoriety wherever they appear. A very well-meaning enthusiast of this class is my respected acquaintance Mrs. Sarah Clackmannan, a lady of great literary attainments but unbounded simplicity, who makes it her boast to study human nature from the drawing-room to the cottage. Every journey she takes is, to her, a sentimental one, and the choicest results of her observation are from time to time collected into elegant volumes and printed for private distribution ; a harmless indulgence of vanity in a maiden of large fortune and of " a certain age.” In the drawing-room her peculiarities are understood and humoured; but the cottage which she has visited as a stranger (for where she is known her approach is welcome notwithstanding her eccentricity of conduct) never receives her a second time without marked uneasiness ; and very often, if she has been descried at a distance, every inmate is gone to the fields by the time she taps at the door. Her custom is to establish herself in the midst of the rural family, and interrogate every person in downright terms upon such matters as appear to her most interesting ; the men upon their village feuds, their amours, jealousies, pecuniary losses, and the faux-pas of their female relations; the women upon their matrimonial expectations, their rivalries, and their disappointments in love. Unhappily, nature has not formed her for the arts of insinuation; her bodily proportions approach rather to those of the elk than of the antelope ; in other words, she is a large, bony person, about six feet high ; she steps up a staircase like the statue in Don Giovanni; her voice says in all its tones “ We are a giantess;" her laughter might be supposed the cackle of Sindbad's roc; her condolence, the moaning of Glumdalclitch for the loss of Grildrig; and when she adopts a soothing tone, it is as if one should make love through a speaking-trumpet. Meeting her once at a watering-place, I was ensnared into an acceptance of her offer to carry me in her pony-chaise through some of the neighbouring villages. At the first of these she began her accustomed visits to the cottages ; and she questioned an innocent-looking girl, the parish-clerk's daughter, in such a manner that I became uncomfortable at the third query, and in five minutes was obliged, from mere embarrassment, to stroll into the street. By and by I had great difficulty to dissuade her from alighting at a house where it was evident no modest
woman ought to be seen, nor indeed any man who valued appearances. At last groups began to assemble at the doors and gaze after us, and I overheard some talk of a man in woman's clothes ; my fair companion asked me what the people said ; I muttered something about a typhus fever, and Mrs. Clackmannan, who is afraid of every thing, but particularly of infectious diseases, wheeled her pony about and fled home with as much alacrity as I could desire.
I cannot forget, among the fellow-travellers who have exposed me and themselves to an unwelcome share of public notice, a gentleman who once accompanied me from Lausanne, when I had occasion to leave that city in considerable baste. We were setting out before daybreak, in a very dark morning. All at once it struck my companion that he had never paid a visit to the celebrated house and garden in which Mr. Gibbon completed his Roman History. Without explaining himself to any one, he took up an ostler's lantern, and very quietly walked down the street to Gibbon's house, where he made such vigorous application to the bells and doors as roused not only the inhabitants of this classical abode, but their neighbours on every side. To make himself under: stood by the quaking porter, who at last answered his summons, was an affair of more time than the emergency allowed, and the bold Briton, first putting an écu into the man's hand and desiring him not to be uneasy, marched familiarly through the house, let himself into the garden, took two turns on the terrace, examined the summerhouse with his lantern, and came back well satisfied with his exploit, and very indifferent to the opinions of some hundred lookers on, who were gathered together in the streets and at the windows, part of them terrified, part angry, part amused, but all willing to put the worst. construction upon this outrage of the mad English. It required the sacrifice of a few more écus to abridge our explanation with the police on this unseasonable tribute to departed genius, and we did not escape from Lausanne till it was light enough for the saucy citizens to laugh in our faces. Again, in the course of the same journey, we had fixed our residence for the evening in one of the soberest Swiss towns, Lucern; my companion was, by some accident, separated from me, and I presently found him, to my infinite shame and consternation, shouting at the highest pitch of his voice in a court of the Ursuline convent. When he had finished this exercise, he laughed several times with great energy, after which he changed his place and shrieked, then barked like a dog, and was at last beginning to thunder out a stave of “Old Towler," when I recovered presence of mind enough to lay hands upon him and cut short his amusement. Several domestics of the convent had been gazing at him in silent alarm, but without daring to approach, as they naturally supposed him to be some raging demoniac, or a person just seized with hydrophobia. I enquired what ailed him, and if he were determined to bring the whole town upon us? “Do not interrupt me,” he said, (and began to crow like a cock,)“ I am only trying for an echo. It is very odd, I am sure I read in-I don't know whose travels, that there was an echo about the Ursuline convent in this city, which gave five responses. But these things are very hard to find sometimes. I once shouted three days at an old abbey in Ireland before I could make it answer. The people were so ignorant they knew nothing about it. But, as you say, perhaps I am in a mis
take here. I thought it was the Ursulines. We will try the Carmelites as we walk home.
My first associate in any tour of pleasure was my honest, simple, and affectionate schoolfellow George Waters, an enthusiastic lover of the picturesque, and an humble follower of Gilpin and his disciples. His chief solace and amusement, even from childhood, was to sit in the open air and draw landscapes ; but one hard fatality has attended all bis efforts from that time even to the present; that no person, unless previously informed, could ever say with certainty what place his drawing represented. At the time of our first leaving school, any friend Waters and I set out on a pedestrian tour through Wales ; I undertaking all meaner cares of the expedition, and he engaging to sketch the country as we went along, till we should have the whole principality in our portfolio. Poor Waters's execution was rather tardy, and untoward events would sometimes interrupt our proceedings: once indeed we narrowly escaped rough usage from the natives, when my friend had got into a tree for the sake of improving his prospect, not noticing that the boughs bore apples, nor reflecting that he had climbed a fence to arrive at this station. It was obvious that no other place would have afforded a decent side-screen to the landscape in hand, but the clowns did not understand painter's English, and the drawing was not sufficiently advanced to speak for itself. Shortly afterwards, either from sitting too long on a tombstone while my companion delineated the church of Llangibby, or from remaining several hours exposed to the sun and flies on a similar occasion, in a swamp near HarTech, I was attacked with fever ; our journey was interrupted at its remotest point, our funds failed, and, before any remittances could reach us, poor Waters had sold his pencils, his inks, his mathematical instruments, and in short, his whole drawing-case piece by piece, retaining only his landscapes, which nobody could be prevailed upon to buy.
Immediately after the last peace we again became fellow-travellers in Italy and the Tyrol ; but advancing years had now robbed both friends of that elastic spirit and that openness to pleasurable impressions which had given a charm to our earlier expedition, in the midst of its disasters. He had become more inert, I more impatient, and although I esteemed his character and took delight in his conversation, I was now fully sensible of the ridicule to which his peculiarities exposed us. Once indeed I was highly provoked, when I heard the people of a small town where we then resided, call one another to see the Englishman dancing a minuet with their church-steeple, and on looking out, perceived my friend (a gaunt stiff man of a melancholy countenance) deliberately stepping from left to right and from right to left of the church-yard, and eyeing the steeple with great earnestness, as if it had really been his partner in a ball-room. He did not even perceive the groups that were amusing themselves at his expense, so entirely was he occupied in fixing his point of view for a projected landscape, by bringing the church into a line with some distant glaciers. On our return northward we met with an adventure even more unpleasant than the affair of the apple-tree. We had entered a frontier town where the garrison regulations were at that time enforced with great vigilance and severity. My friend, notwithstanding several admonitions, had persisted in sketching certain picturesque points about the citadel, till at length he was arrested and carried before some of the officers on duty, as a person suspiciously employed in noting down the defences and inlets of the place. The trespasses he had really committed in this way were too trifling for a moment's notice, but in turning over the whole of his sketchbook, these sagacious inquisitors found weighty matter of accusation. “Here,” said one of the Germans,
“here is a view of the Old Sally port; not a stone forgotten upon my word!" "Sallyport !" cried the unlucky sketcher, “ that is the tomb of Virgil at Naples.” “ Naples is an open town," replied the phlegmatic man of war; " there are no such works as these in an open town. Do not trifle with us, good friend.” “And this,” said another, after several minutes pondering, and with the air of a man clearing up.a mystery, “this decides the matter at once. Here is a complete groundplan of the place, outworks and all, from the West Gate to St. Stephen's Battery." # Good Heavens!” cried the impatient culprit, “my bird'seye view of the Borromean Islands! Ah, Sir! wait till this sketch is filled up and tinted, and then talk to me of ground-plans!" The officers merely observed that the gentleman was very jocose, considering his situation ; they secured his sketchbook, and left poor
Waters not so much perplexed at the dilemma in which he stood, as offended by the indignity offered to his graphic powers. The commandant, however, was immediately acquainted with what had passed, and this officer, whose wife occasionally amused herself with drawing, very readily comprehended that the Sallyport might be meant for Virgil's tomb, and the ground-plan for Lake Maggiore and its islands : he closed the investigation with a polite apology, and, in consideration of what had passed, he liberally gave my friend permission to copy any thing he pleased while the town should be honoured with bis presence.
It will not, I hope, be thought that the foibles I have exhibited in these and the preceding sketches have been dwelt upon in a misanthropic and unsocial spirit. I have journeyed alone with pleasure, and have also had companions from whom I have grieved to part. There are times when the most capricious humourist I have described would be a desirable associate ; there are also moments in which perhaps no converse of human kind could increase the sum of enjoyment. When we read those well-known lines of the Traveller,
“Even now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend;
The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride”will the most gregarious of mortals affirm that his feeling of the description would be improved by reading “ We sit us down ?"
But the question with whom to travel, or whether the expedition shall be solitary or otherwise, must of course be decided according to each man's humour and inclination, his views in undertaking the journey, and his opportunities of selecting a companion. Upon these points no individual can determine for another, nor have I attempted to propose any rule. Good manners, temper, and common sense may, indeed, be set down as indispensable in all cases; beyond these requisites I scarcely know of any that can be universally insisted on. For my