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The following particulars have been collected, partly by conversation with a considerable number of people in the neighborhood, and partly by_ personal inspection. There was one source of information which appeared to be the most comprehensive. A young j>retre-aspirant, who had just donned his official costume, and whose soutane of the newest and glossiest black cloth shone in the sunlight as it never will shine again till polished into supernatural brightness by the friction of many years, paid a visit to the writer, accompanied by two or three of his seniors, and related many details. He was wound up like a piece of mechanism, and you had but to touch the spring and off the wheel-works went. He was brought up every now and then by an untimely interruption from one of his associates; but on these occasions he quietly bided his time, with more or less of patience, and then took up his parable again just where he had left off, until he was fairly run down. But as his narrative began with an assurance that the atmosphere had a strong smell of sulphur, and as the writer's look of surprise was met by a ready explanation that " On prctendait qu'il y avait la-h;uit beaucoup de pierres soufl'reuses," his anecdotes have been received with caution, and used but scantily.
Early in the afternoon of the 22d of September, it was evident that a heavy storm was gathering. As far down the valley as Samoens — nearly eight miles below the Chalets des Fonds — it was so dark at three o'clock that the agent-voyer, Monsieur Barbier, who was at work in his office, was obliged to light his lamp; and the upper parts of the Buet, of the heights running from the Buct to the Col d'Anterne, of the Chaine des Fys, and of the Pointe de Sulks, were shrouded in one dense mass of impenetrable black cloud. To those who were in it, however, it does not appear to have been so thoroughly opaque as many a lighter mass of vapor; for the people who were in the Eagle's Nest speak of having seen the Chalets des Fonds, though of course obscurely; and, as will presently appear, when the storm was at its height they were able to distinguish the lower crags of the Buct at a much more considerable distance.
The storm did not fairly burst till between four and five, and then while it lasted there was no lack of light either where it was actually raging or lower down the valley, for it is said that the lightning was to all appearance actually and absolutely continuous for half an hour together. The fall of water is described as having borne no resemblance to ordinary rain, but as having descended in sheets as if poured out of pails or tubs. Men who were at work mending the mule-path to the Col d'Anterae, at a height of between five thousand and six thousand feet above the level of the sea, say that it fell upon them in spouts, like great douches, four or five inches across, which pitted the ground wherever it was struck. Fortunately the Chalets of Grasses Chfcvres were at hand, or they might have found themselves hardly dealt with by the elements.
A very few minutes after this deluge of water began to fall, two women who were at the Eagle's Nest observed a black cataract burst, as it were, out of the clouds, and come falling down a gully on the side of the Buct where it approaches nearest to the Chalets des Fonds. From this gully a watercourse, called the Kuisseau des Fonds, — often dry in summer, — leads down to that arm of the Haut Giffre which descends from the Col de Le'chaud, and in its lower part forms the boundary of the ground belong
ing to the Eagle's Nest. Along its side the owner has enclosed his property by a very substantial wooden palisading, built with a strength and solidity which prove that the difference between an Alpine and an English climate has been felt and appreciated. In some places this fence is strengthened by heavy walls of rough stone several feet in thickness; in others, the natural rock and soil have appeared to afford sufficient hold. Above the fence the ground rises very sharply till the little plateau on which the house stands is reached. Higher up the Ruisseau des Fonds, near to the place where the cataract was seen suddenly to emerge from the clouds, a huge withered pine had been felled for firewood for the inmates of the Eagle's Nest. It was of enormous growth, and the stem which remained, after being topped and lopped and dressed, is said by a very intelligent man, named Claude Gurlie, a sort of major-domo at the Eagle's Nest, to have been eighty feet long. It lay on the bank of the Ruisseau des Fonds, not longitudinally, — parallel with the stream, — but with the thick end near the bed of the watercourse and the top above the bank, leaning against the steep side of the ravine. The flood of water caught the butt end of the pine stem, and rolled the whole piece over till it fell into the torrent and was hurled down as if it were a plaything. ^ At the same time a heap of logs ready cut for firewood, and stacked some twenty or thirty feet above the bed of the stream, were reached by the water, and hurried away. The first obstacle the great pine-tree met was the palisading of the Eagle's Nest, at an angle in the stream; of course it was swept away like so much gingerbread, and but for the stout wall at its base, the bank above must also have been assailed, and it is difficult to say how much might not have been swept off by so irresistible a torrent, so charged with rocks and stones, and trees and timber. The Ruisseau des Fonds is perhaps the very smallest of the affluents of the Haut Giffre, but the marks along its sides showed that the water must have risen between twenty and thirty feet above its bed, and all observers concur in saying that the waters attained their full height in a few minutes.
Where the Ruisseau des Fonds joins the Haut Giffre that stream flows, or rather falls, by a set of rapids and cascades through a gorge of the wildest and most romantic description. Massive crags, of great height and perpendicularity, hem it in on either side, and almost meet in places. In one spot they are spanned by an old tree, which has fallen across, and almost forms a bridge, a hundred and twenty or thirty feet above the water. In ordinary times it is a stream that you leap across, if you cannot walk over it dryshod, but on the present occasion, the water rose to within about fifty feet of the top of the gorge, so that the stream at this point must have been seventy feet in depth. Higher up, the ravine is shallower on one side, and the depth of the actual cut through which the river flows not above thirty or forty feet. The set of the stream, over a beautiful fall a little way above, is against this side; and ten days later the alder-bushes and young firs which cover the steep slopes above it were so full of mud, left by the swollen flood, that the writer was half smothered with dust in pushing his way through them, — certainly a hundred feet above the then level of the water. Lower down, and below the narrowest part of the gorge, is a fir-tree, growing just on the edge of a shelving bank ending in a drop of about thirty feet into the river. This firtree is so bruised and battered and barked, to a height of about six feet above the ground, by the trees and debris hurled past it, that it is doubtful if it can ever recover.
But if this was the condition of the smaller arm of the Haut Giffre, what was the volume pouring down the other arm, which receives the real drainage of the Buet? It is not easy to give a notion by description of what it must have been. But there was a bridge by which the path to the Chalets dcs Fonds and the Col d'Anterne crossed the river, just above the junction of the two confluents. Its highest point was about fifteen feet above the stream, which is not confined to a very narrow gorge like the smaller arm, but has abundant room to spread. This bridge was carried away, and the water-line was unmistakably traceable along the rock and in the shrubs and grass about twelve feet still higher. Not a hundred yards higher up, where the sides of the watercourse are a little more contracted, the marks of the flood where not less than fifty feet above the bed of the stream. In this place the flood must have been fifty feet deep and at least a hundred wide. People who saw and heard the waters about two miles below, where the bed of the GilTre is still contracted, and before it had met with anything like a plain to overspread, say, that when standing five hundred feet above it, they felt the ground tremble beneath their feet as if they had been close to a railway train at its full speed.
Before reaching the point of junction with the Bas Giffre, which is a few minutes' walk below the village of Sixt, the river passes by a small but very fertile plain or delta of alluvial soil ; and a village named Fee is planted close to the water-side. There is a blacksmith's forge, worked by the stream, and several houses are also close along its banks. The rush of the water upon these devoted buildings is described as having been awful in the extreme. The blacksmith, Michetti, a provident and industrious man, who has been utterly ruined by the calamity, described to the writer how there was a cry that the water was coming, — how he rushed to the door, which happened to face up stream, and saw a black wall of mud higher than himself sweeping down upon him with the velocity of an avalanche, and how he was splashed by the spray of the advancing torrent, as he hurried up the bank above him. Two seconds later, escape would have been impossible, and he must have perished with all that belonged to him. In another moment the wheels and hammers were smashed to pieces, or far on their way towards Samoens, and an hour after his workshop was one mass of mud, which had to be dug out as the ashes are dug out of Pompeii. The neighboring houses, of course, fared no better, and their inmates were happy to have saved their lives.
Sweeping past the hamlet of We, the torrent spread itself over the low-lying fields, and soon covered a great extent of land; but it appeared not yet to have spent the velocity of its current sufficiently to deposit the vast stores of mud and grit with which it was charged. It ploughed a deep channel through the soft soil for nearly half a mile, and even this was fairly silted up only at its lower extremity. The full measure of its destructive power was reserved for two smaller plains just below the junction with the Bas Giffre, separated from one another by a most remarkable gorge called Lea Tines, where the Giffre flows through a narrow ravine cut in the course of ages through the solid rock, varying from
twelve to twenty feet in width, and about one hundred and fifty in depth, — a dark, sunless chasm, at the bottom of which the stream glides on oat of sight, and in ordinary times out of hearing. This gorge of Les Tines saved the people of the rich plains below from infinite mischief, for it is so narrow that it speedily arrested the great trunks of trees and blocks of wood which the torrent brought down. Ten days after the storm a heap of logs and timber fifty or sixty feet high was still collected against the entrance of Les Tines. It dammed back the water, ponded it on to the little plain above, and let it out to the plains below far more gradually than it otherwise would have come. But a little flat just below Les Tines, stretching on both sides of the stream, and one of the most fertile spots in this fertile valley, was nevertheless buried, like its neighbor above, three or four feet in grit and sand and debris. Houses that stood near the water-side were nearly half filled with mud, and humble homes made desolate for many a day to come.
All this ruin was the work of half an hour. The violence of the storm had spent itself in that time, and what rain fell afterwards would not have been exceptional among the Alps. In that short time every bridge, large and small, between the Col de Lechaud and the gorge of Les Tines was swept away, and an amount of damage done, not great according to English notions, but disastrous in the extreme to the poor peasants who suffered from it. Skilled persons, directed by the government to investigate the mischief done, assessed it at little short of one hundred thousand francs. That it was not far greater was owing partly to the peculiar nature of the course of the Giffre, which flows for a great distance between high and steep banks where it cannot do any great harm, and partly to the remarkably circumscribed area of the storm. It was confined in its violence almost to the Buet itself. The Bas Giffre was scarcely swollen, a little plank bridge not four feet above the water, and within two hundred yards of its junction with the Haut Giffre, was not disturbed. The region of the Col d'Anterne felt only the outskirts of the storm. The " Graignier de la Commune de Sixt," a mountain which Ihrnishes some of its watercourses with a provision of huge stones and boulders so extensive and de*troetive that they arc always called "des plus mechants," was hardly touched by the tempest; and so the stream, swollen as it was, lacked the ruinous power given to such torrents by the presence in their waters of the boulders with which they are often charged. The neighboring valleys on the other side of the Buet and the Col d'Anterne were visited by no unusual downfall.
Most readers probably know the kind of exaggeration that a Swiss or Savoyard peasant indulges in when any misfortune that affects himself or his neighbors is in question. The good people of Sixt are certainly no exceptions to the general rule in this respect Amongst the happy results of French rule, an increased sense of sell-reliance is certainly not to be counted. The wildest rumors were afloat as to the extent of the disaster. "Tout est perdu!" resounded on all sides, and Samoens was filled in an incredibly short time with a clamorous crowd, besieging the authorities and people of influence to procure for them the assistance of government. Amongst the first rumors that were extensively circulated was that of the complete destruction of the Eagle's Nest Gurlie, mentioned above as the major-domo of the establishment, was at Sixt when
the alarming intelligence was brought in, by witnesses whose testimony would have placed the fact
;•'in.i a doubt had not cross-examination elicited that they had neither been near the spot themselves, nor seen any one who had been. Gurlie sent at once to Vallon, a village an hour's walk down the valley, for his son Louis to accompany him on an expedition to ascertain the true state of the case. While he was waiting the arrival of Louis, fresh witnesses came in, who reduced the disaster to the annihilation of some of the "ddpendances." By and by Louis arrived, having exercised his powers of observation by the way, and narrowly inspected the ilt'brii and broken timber cast up by the flood at the entrance of Les Tines. Louis's observations still further modified the gloomy anticipations of his father. "II n'y a pas tant de mal," lie laconically observed. "I have seen no timber such as would have come from the Eagle's Nest; some of the palisading is gone, that is all." And Louis's predictions were fully borne out by the facts.
The government help so anxiously clamored for came in the shape of a subsidy of fifteen hundred francs, which, by all accounts, was to be distributed pro rota, giving to each of the sufferers an absolutely useless dividend of about threepence-halfpenny in the pound. Of course, some of those whose land was injured were perfectly able to take care of themselves, and were not proper objects for any kind of assistance; whilst to others, who were utterly ruined, the pittance that came to them in the general scramble was so small as to be utterly valueless. But the sacred principle of equality was preserved. So many pounds of loss, so many souls of subvention. What could be fairer or more admirable? An anecdote which came under the writer's notice is too characteristic of the people to be omitted. Some few families, specially recommended by the cure and the mains as being reduced by the inundation to the greatest straits, were saved from utter destitution during the coming winter by the bounty of a passing traveller. One of them, an old wretch of the name of Michaud, was not forthcoming for some minutes when sought by the stranger. lie had spent the time in hastily collecting together all the neighlwrs he could find at so short a notice, and on receiving the somewhat liberal benefaction bestowed upon him, scarcely thanked the donor; but introducing to him all the bystanders, asked if he would not do the same by each of them. The heads of two other families similarly rescued from the prospect of starvation, immediately gave out to all their neighbors that they had received just one third of the sum which had really been given to them. They were afraid the traveller's charity might be taken into account against them when the dividend of threepence-halfpenny in the pound came to be distributed!
A VISIT TO A LUCIFER-MATCH MANUFACTORY.
The insignificant-looking lucifer match has become one of the indispensable adjuncts of modern civilization. Unknown to the public thirty years ago, it has risen with unprecedented rapidity into popular favor, effectually superseding the flint, steel, and tinder-box so familiar to our forefathers, and which, like the watchman's box, the sedan-chair, and the oil-lamp, have become things of the past, never to be revived in these days of express trains, ocean steamers, and electric telegraphs. The con
trast between the tiny splint and the ungainly form of its predecessor, the common brimstone match, is eminently suggestive of the difference existing between the past and the present. Yet, common as the lucifer match is, there are few who really know anything of the manner in which it is produced. Like the pin, the lucifer match forms one of the curiosities of modern manufacturing industry. Although its manufacture only dates from 1833, yet whole forests have already been cut down to supply the immense and still increasing demand for the wood of which the matches are made, to say nothing of the many tons of chemical matter likewise required; and when we come to consider that at present the trade is, comparatively speaking, in its infancy, the probable extent of its future requirements becomes sufficiently startling.
As is frequently the case with great industries, the lucifer match manufacture has risen from extremely small beginnings to its present magnitude, every new invention for simplifying the processes or economizing labor tending to give an immense impetus to production; the increased cheapness of the article invariably leading to a proportionate increase in the demand. The first lucifer matches were very defective. The splints were too large, and did not ignite easily; while, from want of experience, the chemical ingredients were badly mixed, a much larger proportion of phosphorus being employed than was necessary. They were also liable to be affected by the least humidity of the atmosphere, — a defect still characteristic of the generality of foreign-made articles.
During the earlier years of the manufacture, the factory system was unknown, and the matches were made on a limited scale, in small and unhealthy workshops, where few or no sanitary precautions were taken to protect the health of the workers, who generally followed their occupation in buildings utterly destitute of the proper amount of ventilation. It was during this period that the painful and loathsome disease known as "necrosis " of the jaw was found most prevalent amongst the workers, especially those engaged in the "dipping" process, that is, the dipping of the lucifer-ends into the liquid phosphorus. Mr. William Kb'hler, of Birmingham, stated, in his evidence to Mr. White, that there was a great dislike in Germany generally amongst the workpeople to working in a match manufactory, and that in many parts it is usual to employ prisoners for the work. In this country there is no difficulty in procuring the requisite amount of child or adult labor, no matter how poorly paid or dangerous may be the various processes.
Of late years, however, the factory system has been largely introduced into the trade, and bids fair to rapidly supersede the smaller establishments in which few workers only are employed. Amongst the larger of the London firms are those of Messrs. Bell and Black, Bryant and May, Ilynam, Letchford, and Company, and Bell and Company. The various establishments belonging to these firms are conducted on a most extensive scale, and in a thoroughly scientific manner. Very different are the majority of small manufactories, which are generally so conducted as to be both a danger and a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhood. Mr. White's report is full of descriptive details of visits paid to such places, of which poverty, dirt, and squalor may be said to form the general characteristics. One of these small establishments was situated in a street respecting which we are told that clothes, or rags, were hanging to dry in all directions, while handtrucks filled with remains of most offensive fish, &c., made locomotion a difficult matter. The matches were made in the living-rooms of the house by the family. "A long tear between the body and skirt of the frock worn by the little bare-legged girl," says Mr. White, " showed plainly that this was her only covering of any kind; and her mother was equally ill-clothed."
The moral and social condition of this class of workers is lamentable. They seem to be the lowest of the low, their existence being too often little more than a constant battle with cold and starvation. The introduction of the factory system and mechanical appliances into the manufacture has led to marked results, the health, morals, and remuneration of the workers being in every way improved thereby. Such is the case at the Lucifer Match Manufactory of Messrs. R. Letchford and Company, Bethnal Green. Passing through the closely populated neighborhood of the Cambridge Heath Road, in the direction.of Old Ford, we find ourselves in Three Colt Lane, once a pleasant country thoroughfare, with real green hedges and shady trees, but now lined with rows of habitations; the formation of Victoria Park having given an unprecedented impetus to building operations in this remote portion of the metropolis. In the lane alluded to is the establishment — Messrs. R. Letchford & Co.'s — which it is our purpose to describe. The factory stands in the midst of a clear, open space, forming part of the same premises, and consisting in part of grass and garden, the whole covering an extent of more than one and a half acre. This is in compliance with the provisions of the Metropolitan Building Act, which insists that buildings in which dangerous manufactures are carried on shall be situate at least fifty feet from any other building, and not less than forty feet from a roadway. Tins rule, intended to lessen the mischief arising from explosion or fire, has proved indirectly a means of promoting the health of the workers, by affording them a larger supply of pure air than they would otherwise have obtained.
The premises are divided into two clumps of buildings, in the central one of which the manufacture is principally carried on, the other being devoted principally to the preparing of the wood for the match-boxes, and the manufacture of ink and blacking. The wood used in making the matches consists of the best Canadian pine, a kind of timber which generally possesses an extremely fine grain. The wood is not cut on the premises, but is procured direct from the saw-mills, where, by means of steam machinery, it is cut first into lengths, then into blocks, and subsequently into splints, with beautiful precision. These splints, which are twice the length of the ordinary lucifer match, are made into bundles, each containing from two thousand to two thousand five hundred splints.
The first process to which the splints are subjected is the scorching. This is effected by placing the bundles upon a heated plate, by which means both ends are speedily heated, or charred, to a degree which greatly facilitates the process of dipping, — the heated wood more readily absorbing the melted brimstone or paraffine than would be the case had the wood been of the ordinary temperature. From the tropical-like warmth of the scorching-room the splints are passed (still in bundles) through a window into a room in which are several pans filled with
pnraffine, kept in a melted state by meaiu of rtram. After both ends of the bundles have been saturated with paraffine, or, if needs be, with brimstone, the splints arc taken to the saw-mill, where they are cut into two lengths. When brimstone has been n»«d, the bundles are rolled about by boys, previously to being cut, for the purpose of preventing the splint* from clinging to each other. The splints are next carried to one of theyramin^-rooms. There are two of these, each seventy feet long by thirty-five feet wide, proportionate height, and weu ventilated. In these rooms the utmost activity prevail*, upwards of three hundred children being employed in placing the prepared matches in frames, previous to the combustible mixture being attached to the ends. In each room there are twenty-four tables, each having a stand for twelve persons.
The table is similar to a large school desk, bat more upright. An iron frame is placed in » standing position, and from a quantity of matches lying on the fiat part of it the framer lake* and places a run at the bottom upon a small piece of board with notches in it to receive fifty, at equal distance* apart. then piles one board upon another, each ran baring the fifty notches placed in the grooves, and in a few minutes the task is completed. The whole is torn screwed tightly together, forming a compact man. Each child takes her full frame, and according to her number — each person being known in the building by one — a mark is made upon a slate by a person at the end of the room, when at the end of the day the number of frames each has filled :• counted, and paid for her portion at the end of th* week. It is curious to the visitor to hear the constant reports of lucifers being trodden upon, bnt the floor being either of stone of iron, all danger of fire is done away with.
The room in which the composition is mixed and prepared is called the kitchen, and a very important place it is. Great care is required, and the process M performed by two steady and skilful men. The inoredients are given to one of the men, who first mixes it in a pan dry, similar to a cook making paste, and when worked with the hands sufficiently, is laid upon a stone or iron slab. Water is then added to it, and a stiff paste made. It is then placed in pans, and a certain quantity of glue added, to make it adhesive to the matches. Steam is need for all the heating processes.
The next process is the dipping, or covering the ends of the splints with the explosive material. A panful of the mixture is taken from the kitchen, and put into a receptacle of hot water, which » kept at a certain heat during the time required. The dipper takes the frames, which are brought by the girt from the framing-room, and (after the mixture is placed upon the iron slab, and regulated by a gauge to about the thickness of one eighth of an inch) dips them into the thin paste, the whole of which is charged with the explosive ingredients.
After the matches have been dipped, they are taken by boys to the drying-rooms. These are three in number, one to each dipper, and they are built „ with every care for the prevention of accident. The floor is thickly spread with sawdust, which causes the loose matches to sink under the feet. and thereby escape friction. The rooms are of • arched brick, having double iron doors, and should a fire occur, these doors could be closed, and the ventilators or air-traps at top let down by the dipper, and the rooms hermetically sealed ; the fire a then smothered. For every frame taken into the
dipping-room, one of a two days' drying is taken oat to the packers; and from there being 50 splints | in a row, boxes containing 100 or 200 are easily filled, very little calculation being required. Nev) artheless, it is surprising to see how dexterously the filling is done, as is also the framing ; many of [ the children not being more than nine or ten years j of age, and their little fingers acting like clockwork.
The box-making is the last round in the ladder, and forms a very good concluding part of the proI cess of making a simple box of Inciters. The wood 'of the boxes is made of the best spruce-fir, pieces of a sufficient length having being placed upon a movable plane, which travels backwards and forwards upon a railroad. When the plane is cutting the wood, it is pulled by means of steam power along the under surface of the block, it being securely held in its place at either end by screws and blocks. The slices are cut with amazing rapidity, and it requires two of these powerful machines to ieep supplied the boys who prepare them for the boxes.
The boys take the slips or slices, and, in quick succession, place them upon a block which is gauged with thin pieces of metal. They then bring down npon the slice of wood, with some degree of strength, a block indented with a corresponding gauge, which marks the grain of the piece of wood, so as to double it up into the shape of the box, and cut it off at the same time. One boy can cut or prepare twenty gross an hour.
Other articles, such as vestas, vesuvians, ink, blacking, &c., are made in this establishment; but the processes employed in the manufacture of these do not at present call for particular remark. Some notion mav be formed of the enormous quantity of vestas and" matches made by Messrs. Letchford and Co., by the assertion that the wax taper used for the vestas measures some 600 miles per week, or sufficient, in the course of the year, to go round the circumference of the globe, and leave more than ample length to stretch from England to America and back again. About 24,000,000 vestas are made per week, besides some 60,000,000 paraffine matches.
WHAT WAS IT?
Maxt years ago — not much less, I am concerned to say, than fourscore — it fell, m the line of professional duty, to the lot of my uncle, — great uncle, vou understand, — then a young officer of engineers, to visit, of all spots in the earth, the Shetland Isles. His journey, as stated in his note-book, from which this remarkable incident is taken, was connected with the intended restoration of Fort Charlptte, — a »ork of Cromwell's day, intended for the protection of the port and town of Lerwick, but which came to considerable sorrow in the succeeding century, »bea a Dutch frigate, storm-stayed, devoted an autumn evening to knocking it about the ears of the halHozcn old gentlemen in infirm health who conSituted the garrison. >
On the evening that preceded his departure from Chatham, my uncle appears to have given a little sapper of adieu, at which were present Captains CWring and Dumpsey, Messieurs Chips, Bounce, B*i The Tourist.
Whether the last three gentlemen belonged to the service or not cannot be ascertained. The armyhjut of that period have been searched in vain for their names, and we are driven to the conjecture
that the sportiveness of intimate friendship may have reduced what was originally " Carpenter" to Chips, and supplied the other two gentlemen with titles adapted to their personal merits or peculiarities.
From my relative's memoranda of the overnight's conversation, it would seem to have taken, at times, a warning and apprehensive tone; at other times, to have been jocular, if not reckless. The wet blanket of the party was Dumpsey, whose expressions of condolence could hardly have been more solemn had my uncle been condemned to suffer at daybreak, with all the agreeable formalities at that time incident to high treason 1
Chips appears to have followed the lead of Cap tain Dumpsey, and (if we may assign to hjm certain appalling incidents of the North Seas, to which my uncle has appended, as authority, " Ch.") with considerable effect. Mr. Bounce seems to have propounded more cheerful views, with especial allusion to the exciting sport his friend was likely to enjoy in those remote isles; while The Tourist has, to all appearance, limited himself to the duty of imparting to my uncle such local information as he was able to afford. In fact, so far as can be guessed, the conversation must have proceeded something in this fashion: —
"Tell you what, old fellow," Dumpsey may have said, "going up to this place isn't exactly a hop across Cheapside. If there 's any little matter of— of property, in which I can be serviceable as administrator, legatee, and so forth — after your — in the event of your remaining permanently within the Arctic circle — now, say so."
"Prut! — Pshaw 1" probably said my uncle.
"The kraken fishery has been bad this year, they tell me," said Chips, quietly. "Otherwise your friend might have secured a specimen or two of the bottle-nosed whale, and moored them as breakwaters in the Irish Channel."
"He did nearly as well," returned the unabashed Bounce. "Bill was bobbing one day for coalfish in rather deepish water, — thousand fathoms or so, — when there came a tug that all but pulled his boat under. Bill took several turns round a cleat, and, holding on, made signals to his sloop for assistance. Meanwhile, his boat, towed by the thing he had booked, set off on a little excursion to the Faro Islands; but a fresh breeze springing up, the sloop contrived to overhaul him, and secure the prize. What do you think it was? Ytiu 'd never guess. A fine young sca-eerpent, on his way to the fiords."
"I should, I confess, much like to learn, from rational sources," said Captain Clavering, "whether these accounts of mysterious monsters, seen, at long intervalsj in the North Seas, have any foundation of truth."
My uncle Bras disposed to believe they had. It was far from improbable that those wild and unfrequented sea-plains had become the final resort of those mighty specimens of animal life, which it seemed intended by their Creator should gradually disappear altogether. Indifference, the fear of ridicule and disbelief, the want of education, preventing a clear and detailed account, — such, no doubt, had been among the causes tending to keep this matter in uncertainty. It was not long since that a portion of a sea-serpent, cast upon the Shetland shores, had been sent to London, and submitted to the inspection of a distinguished naturalist, who (the speaker believed) pronounced it a basking shark.
My relative's voyage must have been made under