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Dr. WALKER." Why not: do you suppose, dearly as I love my native land, that I flatter myself it will be exempt from the fate of all sublunary things. No, but while she still holds fast those virtues which give her strength and power, and energy, which make her sons beloved and honoured at home; feared, envied, yet trusted abroad, we may hope, and that without presumption, her fall will be de ferred. * But I am growing grave; let us resume the subject which led to this long digression.
“ The northern parts of Poland abound in huge forests, while the southern, particularly in Podolia, are rich and fertile to the greatest degree. It also contains mines of silver, copper, iron, coals, black agate, red granite, and salt: but the most curious of its subterraneous productions are the immense quantities of marine petrifactions, which are found in various places. There is a bituminous fountain near Cracow, which encreases and decreases with the moon; if a torch is applied to it, it immediately takes fire, but without heating the water, although it dances along its surface. If unextinguished, it communicates itself by subterraneous conduits to the roots of trees in a neighbouring wood, which it consumes. About seventy years ago, the flames are said to have lasted three years. I am sorry we could not visit Hungary, but we really shall not have time. It contains many natural curiosities, among which a cavern in the neighbourhood of Sizelitze, in Upper Hungary, is very conspicuous. The country around it is extremely picturesque, adorned with woods and hills; and the air, speaking generally, sharp and cold. The entrance to this cave fronts the south ; it is eighteen fathoms high, and eight broad, so that when the south wind blows violently, it rushes into the interior of the cave, making occasionally the most piteous moaning, while at others it howls along the winding passage leading to the south (and the extent of which by the bye has never yet been ascertained) with almost a terrific noise. But the great curiosity of the cave is this: when the neigh-bouring country is covered with frost and snow, the air within it is warm and agreeable; and when, on the contrary, it is summer without, the interior presents the appearance of an Iceland winter.
6. When the heat of the sun is intense on its surface, masses of ice, the size of large casks, are suspended to the roof, forming grotesque figures from the curious ramifications
issuing from them on all sides. This ice is particularly useful in the dog-days, and the inhabitants resort to this cave as to a general and public ice-house, for cooling their wine, and so forth. When the snow on the surface melts in the spring, the inside of the cave, as far as it is exposed to the south sun, emits a pellucid water, which immediately congeals as it drops, and forms the grotesque figures I mentioned, and the water which drops from these unfrozen, upon touching the ground, becomes hård like crystal. In autumn, the cold begins to abate ; the ice gradually dissolves till, in the depth of winter, swarms of gnats, flies, bats, hares, and foxes, take up their warm and comfortable quarters till the approach of spring is again announced by the encreasing cold, and these animals then quit their retreat to inhale the purer breezes of the mountains.”
EDWARD.-" It appears very strange, Sir, and unaccountable? Did
you ever see it ?" DR. WALKER. “ No: I give you the account of it as described to me by a friend. There is Paizan in the distance, we shall not stop there, except to change horses, but continue our journey to Franck, and from thence to Berlin. As the season was advancing, the Polish peasantry appeared in their summer dress, consisting simply of a shirt and drawers, with round caps or hats only. The women wore a wrapper of white linen round their heads, under which their hair was braided, and hung down their backs in two long plaits. Some of them had a piece over their head, and hanging down on each side of their face so long as to reach below their knees. These had a curious appearance, and looked as if they belonged to some monastic institution, and were doing penance. There is a marked distinction between the Polish and Russian peasantry; the former, like their countrymen of superior rank, wear whiskers, and shave their head, except a small circular crown they leave on the top. The Russians, on the contrary, let their hair grow, till it meets their eye-brows, and cut it only in the pole; besides which they allow their beard to grow to a great length, and this custoin arises from the great protection it gives to their throat in the piercing cold, to which they are subject.”
Upon arriving at Frankfort, on the Oder, they were delighted to find they were just in time to partake of the festivities of one of the annual fairs. There were play-houses, concert rooms, and public dancing bouths; the neighbouring walks were crowded with the votaries of pleasure, while the more sober part of the community were engrossed in the disposal or purchase of various goods with which the stalls were absolutely loaded.
From Frankfort they resumed their route to Berlin, the capital of his Prussian majesty's dominions. Berlin is a very beautiful city: the houses are built of fine white free-stone from two to three stories high. But tlfe largest houses, and those too of a magnificent outward appearance, are sometimes inhabited by persons of various ranks and professions. The cobler and the taylor, the hatter and the hosier , all at times display the different articles of their trades from various windows in the same house, while to crown the heterogeneous show, a washerwoman will unfurl from above her snowy banners fastened to long poles.
The citizens and superior class of manufacturers in Ber. lin, seldom aim at mixing with or aping any rank better than their own. Society in Berlin is more confined than in any other capital in Europe. The government is very arbitrary and military, and formerly the Prussian officers, although they received no absolute interdiction to visit foreigners of distinction, yet they received those sort of hints, which clearly proved it was for their own comfort, that they should refrain from this indulgence.
Upon enquiring one day of a farmer in the neighbourhood what a particular badge meant which his three younger sons wore, he replied with a sigh, that it was to shew they were destined for soldiers. * But why does not your eldest son wear this distinction,” said Edward, “ as well as his brothers.” “ You would not,” replied the farmer, " that I should be left quite alone. He is allowed to follow my profession, 'tis the privilege of an elder son.” In the hedges which they passed by in their walk about the premises of this farmer, they observed that tobacco grew as a weed alongside of
them, and even in the furrows of a ploughed field. Traces of Buonaparte's despotism were still visible, and in many places thorns and thistles had sprung up, where formerly corn and
grass had displayed a rich luxuriance. Indeed in their present tour, they had repeatedly witnessed the effects of the depredatory system of war pursued by Napoleon, when in the zenith of his power.
Having seen what little they deemed worthy their inspection at Berlin, they resolved on visiting, Dresden.
Early on the following morning, Colin entered the breakfast room, with a very long face. " What is the matter, Colin,” said Dr. Walker kindly to him. “I hope nothing has occurred to distress you Naething has happened yet,” replied the Highlander,“ but I ken muckle well that we'll not all get safe to Dresden, for I couldna sleep all night for the dead watch."
Why, Colin, you are not superstitious, said Edward ?” Dr. WALKER.-" Come, my good Colin, set your
heart at rest, and I will explain to you the cause of your alarm.This is the precise time of the year towards the conclusion of the spring or beginning of summer, that the little insect called the death watch, is mostly heard. This insect is of a dark brown colour, and so nearly resembles dried and decayed wood, that you may look long before you distinctly discover it. It is about a quarter of an inch in length, and of a proportionate thickness. The noise is not produced by the voice of the insect, but by its striking any hard substance with the shield or fore part of its head. I dare say you have observed, that it strikes from seven to nine, or eleven strokes distinctly, and this regularity of number has perhaps given rise to much of the terror it inspires. It always haunts old houses, and this inn, Colin, is very old, and may be heard at all hours of the day. Now listen attentively, I dare say we shall hear its formidable and portentous noise ; the weather is very warm for the time of the year, and that is another reason why we should hear it.
There," resumed the Doctor, “ I hear it now, 'tis just like the noise one makes by tapping upon the table with one's nail. I have heard they may be induced to repeat the strokes by imitating them. Let us try."
Edward tapped nine times on the table, and in a short minute, the sound was returned by the insect.
16 There now, Colin, pack up our goods and chattels,” said Edward, but
leave your fears behind you.” The Highlander was almost, not quite convinced, his apprehensions were groundless ; but he retired deeply impressed with a high idea of the Doctor's knowledge, who was always ready to explain the most marvellous circumstances.
Well, Colin,” said Doctor Walker, “here we are safely landed at Dresden, in despight of your woeful forbodings, and the death watch; and you will confess that the latter part of our journey, has been through so beautiful a country, that we had no apprehensions caused by the roads; you have now travelled enough in this part of the world, to have no fears respecting the skill or honesty of your drivers. Then you will in future set the death watch at defiance." Colin did not very much relish this speech, as to him it seemed to point at something like cowardice. He had however, too much respect for his master to give vent to his feelings, and he retired in silence. Saxony,"
" resumed the Doctor, as the Highlander shut the door, “ is one of the most fertile divisions of Germany. It produces all kinds of grain and vegetables, with hops, flax, hemp, tobacco, saffron, madder, and so forth ; besides which it is rich in mineral productions. Silver, tin, bismuth, manganese, cobalt (from which the blue pigment, called smalt, is made) iron, lead, and tin, the lat. ter of which, though not very abundant, is excellent, are all found in Saxony. Yet, fuller's earth, marble, slate, serpentine agates, jasper, coal, and a beautiful porcelain clay, abound in various parts. You have seen specimens of the Dresden china, to-morrow we will visit some of the great-manufactories in this city, to-day we will inspect the Museum.".
The first room gave them exquisite delight, for it contain