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few hours inundated the whole Irâk. Numberless villages of matted huts
were swept away; men, women, and children, were in a moment rendered
houseless; numerous cattle and sheep were drowned; date trees torn up by
the roots, and boats swamped or stranded. The artificial banks of the
river, which had governed our progress upwards, were now overflowed, and
it was with the greatest difficulty we could discover the river's bed
and escape getting aground.

(At Bussorah.)

Intelligence of the approach of the plague had spread consternation
throughout the city, and had sent thousands of its inhabitants into
retreat. The shops were closed - trade at a stand - the streets
deserted - houses tenantless - the oft busy creek had scarcely a boat
moving on its surface - the mosques were filled with the dismayed
Moslems, whom poverty or self-interest had kept in the town - the
Christian churches held the few Armenians and Chaldeans whom fear had
driven to pray with sincerity. Here might be seen a cluster of Zobeir
Arabs, meditating rapine: and there a straggling Jew, ruminating on the
losses he had sustained by the flight of the panic-stricken slaves of
his usury.

Aga Pharseigh had lost all his confidence and self-sufficiency. He had
sent off his family to Bushire; he was himself to sink into the humble
office of clerk to the resident; and he was (which he esteemed the most
distressing event of the three) to encounter face to face those who had
just left the "city of the plague." I had told him of the circumstances
under which I had met the resident, (coming from Bagdad,) and that there
were three cases of plague on board. The Armenian, whose only notions
regarding _cases_ were acquired in the course of his mercantile
transactions, and who believed a plague case and a six dozen champagne
case to be much about the same article, ejaculated, "Three _cases_ of
plague! Merciful heavens! - if the major wanted to preserve such
abominable virus, could he not have brought a smaller quantity? Three
cases! If it _should_ run out, how it might spread about the town!"

(The "divinity" of the sheikh of the Chabeans is worth record. He was
pleased with Mr. Stocqueler's medical zeal, and more so with a box of
ointment which he laid "at his feet as a certain remedy for the
_impaired vision_ of his left eye. He had been stone blind from his
childhood, but he held it disrespectful to be told so."

The levee of the sheikh of Fellahi is amusing.)

He was in a spacious veranda in front of his harem, looking out on the
palace court, above which it was raised for about three feet. Three or
four beautiful hawks were perched near the sheikh, and he was patting a
couple of favourite greyhounds. Below, in the court, stood a
considerable guard, and about the sheikh's person were a number of
subordinate sheikhs. Those of the highest rank merely bowed and took
their places, others advanced and kissed the sheikh's hand while the
humblest officers knelt on one knee to perform the same ceremony. I
observed, however, that great respect was always paid to age in this
little court, for when the head of a village, far advanced in years,
limped up to the _nummud_, the sheikh rose and embraced him, though he
held but a trifling post, and was a man of little personal merit. My own
reception was most flattering. "Ah, ha! khoob! khoob! shahbas!" (good,
good, admirable!) exclaimed Mobader Khan, in Persian - "you are now
yourself. It is long since I looked upon an Englishman, but I do not
forget that they are a great nation." He then discoursed with me about
my plans for the future prosecution of my journey, and gave me some
instructions for going through the Chab territory. Talking of hunting,
and more especially of falconry, he told me that his deserts abounded
with game, and that if I would stay with him, I should see herds of
antelopes fall to his noble hawks. He was curious about our field
sports, but showed very little interest in more important matters;
because, said he, "I am already well informed in all that concerns
Europeans and their empires."

The sheikh is held in great veneration by all the tribes, who fly to
Fellahi at his summons, bringing their own _materiel_ of war. In this
way he can command the services of six or seven thousand cavalry, and
above fifteen thousand infantry, independently of the wandering
Illyauts, who inhabit the deserts of Chab.

(At Bebuhan are some interesting notes.)

The Khans and Meerzas of Bebuhan are considerable consumers of coffee,
but not after the fashion of Turks, Arabs, or Europeans. It is with them
a kind of _bon-bon_ eaten in a powdered and roasted state, without
having had any connexion with hot water. When Meer Goolam Hussein called
on me, he was always accompanied by his coffee-bearer, who carried about
the fragrant berry in a _snuff-box_, and handed it frequently to the
company present. The first time it was brought to me, deceived by its
colour and quality, and strengthened in the delusion by its singular
repository, I took a _pinch_ of the coffee and applied it to my nose,
amidst the roars of laughter and looks of surprise of all the party.

(A _vestry dinner_ in Persia must be one of our _selections_.)

At the convent of Julfa the governing bishop and his confreres have
ample room, plenty of society, and a well furnished table. I dined once
with his lordship and the churchwardens, and found that vestry honours
and vestry appetites are not exclusively English characteristics. The
dinner was spread as usual on the ground, on a large white cloth, around
which the guests assembled. Placed opposite each guest was a plate,
knife, fork, spoon, and glass, a piece of cheese, two or three feet of
bread, and a hard boiled egg. The feast commenced by each person
drinking a dram of aniseed; then came in quick succession mutton chops,
boiled fowls, boiled kidneys, sour curds, tea, apricots, apples, and
grapes, sweetmeats, and salt fish; to each of which laymen and churchmen
did equal justice, finishing the feast with a sacrifice to Bacchus.

* * * * *



THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.


* * * * *


BOYHOOD OF CRANMER - SCHOOLS BEFORE THE REFORMATION.


Cranmer received his early education from a parish-clerk. This may seem
singular, for he was of gentle blood, and was entered at Cambridge
amongst "the better sort of students." But probably such shifts were not
unusual before the Reformation. The monasteries indeed had schools
attached to them in many instances. In Elizabeth's time a complaint is
made by the Speaker of the Commons, that the number of such places of
education had been reduced by a hundred, in consequence of the
suppression of the religious houses. Still it must often have happened
(thickly scattered as the monasteries were) that the child lived at an
inconvenient distance from any one of them; mothers, too, might not have
liked to trust less robust children to the clumsy care of a fraternity;
and probably little was learned in these academies after all. Erasmus
makes himself merry with the studies pursued in them; and it is
remarkable that no sooner did the love of learning revive, than the
popularity of the monasteries declined. For thirty years before the
Reformation, there were few or no new religious foundations, whilst
schools, on the other hand, began to multiply in their stead; a fact
which sufficiently marks the state of public opinion with regard to the
monasteries as places of education - for education began now to be the
desire of the day. Schools, therefore, in the present acceptation of the
term, in Cranmer's boyhood there were scarcely any; and it was the
crying want of them in London that induced Dean Colet to establish that
of St. Paul's, which, under the fostering care of Lily, the first
master, not only became so distinguished in itself, but set the example,
and prepared the way, by its rules and its grammar, for so many others
which followed in its wake. Edward VI.; with the natural feeling of a
boy fond of knowledge, and himself a proficient for his years, was aware
of the evil, and projected the remedy. Colet might be his model - but he
was embarrassed in his means by courtiers, who were for ever uttering
the cry of the horse-leech's daughters; and, besides, his days were soon
numbered. Cranmer, who perhaps remembered the obstacles in his own way,
and who certainly foresaw the great calamity of an ignorant clergy,
pressed for the establishment of a school in connexion with every
cathedral - a school, as it were, of the prophets - where boys intended
for holy orders might be brought up suitably to the profession they were
about to adopt, and where the bishops might ever find persons duly
qualified to serve God in the church. But Cranmer was overruled, and a
measure, which might have helped to catch up the church before it fell
into that abyss of ignorance which seems to have immediately succeeded
the Reformation, (the natural consequence of a season of convulsion and
violence,) was unhappily lost. It was not till the reign of Elizabeth
that the evil was at all adequately met, nor fully indeed then, as the
deficiency of well-endowed schools at this day testifies. Still much was
at that time done. The dignitaries and more wealthy ecclesiastics of the
reformed Church bestirred themselves and founded some schools. Many
tradesmen, who had accumulated fortunes in London, (then the almost
exclusive province of commercial enterprise,) retired in their later
years to the country-town which had given them birth, and gratefully
provided for the better education of their neighbours, by furnishing it
with a grammar-school. And even the honest yeoman, a person who then
appears to have appreciated learning, and often to have brought up his
boy to the church, united in the same praiseworthy object. In such cases
application was usually made to the Queen for a charter, which was
granted with or without pecuniary assistance on her own part; and
whoever will examine the dates of our foundation schools, will find a
great proportion of them erected in that glorious reign.

Thus it came to pass (to revert to our text), that Cranmer was sent to
college in his fourteenth year, Oxford and Cambridge being at that time
the substitutes for the schools which have succeeded them, and being
considered the two great national receptacles for all the boys in the
country. There they were subjected to corporal punishment. The statutes
were framed with a reference to the habits of mere boys; it is
forbidden, for instance, in one of the Cambridge statutes, to play
marbles on the senate-house steps; and the number of the students was so
enormous (still for the same reason), that Latimer, in one of his
sermons, speaks of a decrease in those of his own time, to the amount of
no less than ten thousand. - _Quarterly Review_.

* * * * *


A TRUE STORY OF MAGIC IN THE EAST.


M. - - , a Perote, one who knew "the difference between alum and
barley-sugar,"[3] if ever man did, a good catholic, a conscientious
person, a dragoman, and as such necessarily attached to truth, and never
telling a lie, save in the way of business, was himself the hero, or the
witness rather of the story he narrated. He was sent one morning from
the European palace of - - , at Pera, on business in Constantinople. He
was in a great hurry, but as he reached the Meytiskellesi, or wharf of
the dead, and was about stepping into his cäik to be rowed across the
harbour of the Golden Horn, either a nail in one of the rough planks of
the wooden quay caught his slipper, or a post on it his robe, I forget
which - but the dragoman turned round, and saw standing close by him, a
tall and very notorious African magician, who had long been practising
at the capital, and was known to every body as one of the lions of the
place. To do a civil thing, and perhaps to keep well in this world with
one who had intercourse with the spirits of the next, the dragoman
naturally supposing he was waiting there on the water's edge only to
cross over from the suburb to the city, very politely invited him to
take a passage in his cäik. The tall African made no verbal reply, but
smiled, and waved his hand to decline the high honour.

[3] A Turkish saying, much in use.

The dragoman then concluding, that instead of waiting to cross over
himself, he was expecting the arrival of some one from the opposite side
of the Golden Horn, stepped into his cäik, which instantly glided from
the quay and shot across the port. The boats at Constantinople are all
very light and sharp, and go with astonishing speed, even when propelled
with one pairs of oars; but people of high consideration, like
dragomans, generally have two pairs to their cäiks, and at this time M.
- - being in a very great hurry, told his two rowers to pull as fast as
they could.

When about half way on his short aquatic journey, M. - - turned his
head and looked back, and then he saw at the end of the quay, just where
he had left him, the tall African standing starch and motionless, like a
granite statue before an Egyptian temple.

The dragoman's boat continued to cleave the waves; it neared the
opposite shore - no cäik had passed him on his way - when lo! as his own
came in concussion with the wooden piles of the Divan-kapi-iskellesi,
and he rose from his seat to step on shore, he saw the identical African
wizard standing there before him, and gazing calmly over to the opposite
quay where he had just left him, and whence it was impossible he could
have proceeded by mortal agency!

The dragoman rubbed his eyes, as well he might; but there was the
Maugrabee, with his large leaden eye gazing across the Golden Horn, and
fixed on the wharf of the dead, just as he had been left behind there
gazing at the Divan-kapi-iskellesi. M. - - felt a sort of
flesh-shivering at this undeniable proof of the wizard's power; he
remained for better than a minute in the position he was, when the tall
African first struck his eye, spell-bound as it were, with one foot on
the edge of the boat, and the other on the edge of the quay; but
recovering himself, he drew up his hinder leg, and then crossing himself
like a good catholic, and _salaaming_ his acquaintance, like a polite
Turk, he stepped along the quay, touching the necromancer as he passed
him, and thus completely assuring himself, it was no deception of
vision. Mr. - - thinking more about this wonderful occurrence than the
business of the - - nation he was going upon went his way, and having
discharged his duty, hurried back to Pera, where he told this story,
where it was universally believed from the veracity and character and
dignity of the narrator, and where the narrator himself is still living.
Very possibly, while I am writing he is telling his rencounter with the
wizard, for he tells it to every stranger - _Metropolitan_.

* * * * *



NOTES OF A READER.


* * * * *


PRECIOUS STONES.

(_From Part 15, of Knowledge for the People - Mineralogy and Geology_.)


_Why was crystal so named?_

Because it was probably the first substance ever noticed as occurring in
a regular form, and the ancients believing it to be water permanently
congealed by extreme cold, from its transparency, called it
_Krustallos_, signifying ice; but in time the word became used without
attention being paid to its original meaning, and was applied to all the
regular figures observed in minerals.

_Why are the fine crystals of quartz used as a substitute for glass in
spectacles?_

Because, from their superior hardness, they do not so readily become
scratched as glass: they are then termed pebbles.

_Why is the stone Cairn Gorm so called?_

Because it is found in great beauty in the mountain of Cairn Gorm, in
Scotland. It consists of brown and yellow crystals of quartz, and is
much admired for seal stones, &c.; it is sometimes improperly termed
topaz.

_Why is quartz the constituent of so many gems?_

Because the tinges it receives from metals are sufficient to produce
these varieties. Thus, _amethyst_, or purple quartz, is tinged with a
little iron and manganese. _Rose quartz_, or false ruby, derives its
colour from manganese. _Avanturine_ is a beautiful variety of quartz, of
a rich brown colour, which, from a peculiarity of texture, appears
filled with bright spangles. Small crystals of quartz, tinged with iron,
are found in Spain, and have been termed _hyacinths of Compostella_.
Flint, chalcedony, carnelian, onyx, sardonyx, and bloodstone, or
heliotrope, and the numerous varieties of agates, are principally
composed of quartz, with various tinging materials.

_Why is opal among the most beautiful productions of the mineral world?_

Because the colours are not occasioned by any particular tinge of the
substance, but by its peculiar property of refracting the solar rays. It
is a compound of about 90 silica, and 10 water. The finest specimens
come exclusively from Hungary. There is a variety of opal called
_Hydrophane_, which is white and opaque till immersed in water; it then
resembles the former.

_Why is the sapphire genus so highly prized?_

Because, after diamond, it is the hardest substance in nature. It forms
also the most valuable gems, as the oriental ruby and the topaz. The
blue variety, or sapphire, is harder than the ruby. It is infusible
before the blowpipe. It becomes electrical by rubbing, and retains its
electricity for several hours; but does not become electrical by
heating. It occurs in alluvial soil, in the vicinity of rocks belonging
to the secondary or floetz-trap formation, and imbedded in gneiss. It is
found at Rodsedlitz and Treblitz in Bohemia, and Hohenstein in Saxony;
Expailly in France; and particularly beautiful in the Capelau mountains,
twelve days from Sirian, a city of Pegu. Next to diamond it is the most
valuable of gems. The white and pale blue varieties, by exposure to heat
become snow-white; and when cut, exhibit so high a degree of lustre,
that they are used in place of diamond. The most highly prized varieties
are the crimson and carmine red; these are the oriental ruby of the
jeweller; the next is sapphire; and the last is sapphire, or oriental
topaz. The asterias, or star-stone, is a very beautiful variety, in
which the colour is generally of a reddish violet, with an opalescent
lustre. A sapphire of ten carats weight is considered to be worth fifty
guineas. - _Jameson_.

The blue topaz, or Brazilian sapphire, is of recent introduction. The
white topaz considerably exceeds rock crystal in lustre, and in Brazil
is called _mina nova_.[4]

[4] The pink topaz is made from the yellow, which, when of
intense colour, is put into the bowl of a tobacco pipe, or small
crucible, covered with ashes or sand: on the application of a
low degree of heat, it changes its colour from a yellow to a
beautiful pink. It contains fluoric acid, which may be the means
of this change. - _Mawe_.

_Why is ruby of such a brilliant colour?_

Because a sixth of it is chromic acid, while other gems, as the garnet,
are coloured by oxide of iron. The most esteemed, and at the same time,
rarest colour, of the oriental ruby, is pure carmine, or blood-red of
considerable intensity, forming, when well polished, a blaze of the most
exquisite and unrivalled tint. It is, however, more or less pale, and
mixed with blue in various proportions; hence it occurs rose-red and
reddish white, crimson, peach-blossom red, and lilac blue - the latter
variety being named oriental amethyst. A ruby perfect both in colour and
transparency, is much less common than a good diamond, and when of the
weight of three or four carats, is even more valuable than that gem. The
king of Pegu, and the monarchs of Siam and Ava, monopolize the rarest
rubies; the finest in the world is in the possession of the first of
these kings: its purity has passed into a proverb, and its worth when
compared with gold, is inestimable. The Subah of the Deccan, also, is in
possession of a prodigiously fine one, a full inch in diameter. The
princes of Europe cannot boast of any of a first rate magnitude. Mr.
Mawe, from whose interesting work we abridge these particulars,
considers the oriental sapphire to rank next in value to the ruby. Among
the British crown jewels is an inestimable sapphire; it is of the purest
and deepest azure, more than two inches long, and one inch broad. The
finest ruby among these gems is more treasured for its antiquity than
intrinsic value, it being the one worn at Cressy and Agincourt, by the
Black Prince and Henry V.: this is worn on the back cross, and the
sapphire on the front, of the imperial crown upon state occasions.

_Why are garnets often found of a reddish brown tinge?_

Because of the excess of oxide of iron which they contain; a small
proportion being sufficient to colour them entirely, without injuring
their play and splendour. In fact, the perfection of all gems depends
less on the quality of their component principles, than on their
complete solution and intimate combination. The alkalized earths, as
lime, magnesia, and still better, pot-ash, seem to intervene as
solvents, for alumina, completely dissolved, acquires, as we have shown
from Klaproth, a crystallization, of which, by itself, it is not
susceptible.

The garnet is found in Bohemia, Ceylon, and other countries; but the
chief mart formerly being Sirian, the capital of Pegu, the best are
often denominated Sirian garnets. The colour most esteemed is blood or
cherry red, mixed often, however, with blue, forming tints of crimson,
purple, and reddish violet; or orange red and hyacinth brown. The Sirian
garnet is of a violet colour, which, in some rare specimens, makes it
compete with the amethyst, from which it is to be discriminated by the
disadvantage of losing its brilliancy, and acquiring an orange tint by
candlelight. Distinct from all other garnets, it preserves its colour
unmixed with the common black tinge, unassisted by foil, even when
thick. _Course garnets_ are used as emery for polishing metals, and by
lapidaries. They are found in Ireland, in Norway, and many other
countries.

* * * * *


GEOLOGICAL CHANGES EFFECTED BY THE SEA.

(_From the preceding work_.)


_Why are certain formations called marine?_

Because they result from continual deposits of shingle and sand, as may
be seen on the flat coast of our eastern counties. In this manner, at
Lowestoffe-Ness, as well as at Yarmouth, the sea has erected a series of
natural embankments against itself. The present extent of land thrown up
by the sea, and out of the reach of the highest tides, is nearly three
miles long, projecting from the base of the original cliff to the
distance of 660 yards at the Ness. The respective lines of growth are
indicated by a series of small embankments, perfectly defined. Several
of these ridges have been formed within the memory of men now living. A
rampart of heavy materials is first thrown up by a violent gale from the
north-cast. Sand is subsequently blown over, and consolidates the
shingle, and the process is completed by marine plants taking root and
extending their fibres in a kind of net-work through the mass. In
process of time the surface becomes covered with vegetable mould, and
ultimately, in many cases, is productive of good herbage.[5]

[5] From a Communication to the _Philosophical Magazine_, by Mr.
R. Taylor.

_Why are shingle beaches formed by heavy gales?_

Because every breaker is more or less charged with the materials
composing the beach; the shingles are forced forward as far as the
broken wave can reach, and, in their shock against the beach, drive
others before them that were not held in momentary mechanical suspension
by the breaker. By these means, and particularly at the greatest height
of the tide, the shingles are projected on the land beyond the reach of
the retiring waves: and this great accumulation of land upon beach being
effected at high water, it is clear, the ebb tide cannot deprive the
land of what it has gained. Smaller lines are formed in moderate
weather, to be swept away by heavy gales: hence it would appear, that
the sea was diminishing the beach; but attention will show that the
shingles of the lines so apparently swept away, are but accumulated
elsewhere. How often has our observation of these changes realized the
homely simile of Shakspeare: -

Like as the waves make towards the pebble shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;


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Online LibraryVariousThe Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 20, No. 560, August 4, 1832 → online text (page 3 of 4)