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the spot, and of which the trunk was still remaining in the twelfth century ;-no one daring, as we are told by Giraldus, to touch it with a knife. The extraordinary veneration in which St. Bridget was held, caused such a resort of persons of all ranks to this place—such crowds of penitents, pilgrims, and mendicants—that a new town sprang up rapidly around her, which kept pace with the growing prosperity of the establishment. The necessity of providing spiritual direction, as well for the institution itself, as for the numerous settlers in the new town, led to the appointment of a bishop of Kildare, with the then unusual privilege of presiding over all the churches and communities belonging to the order of St. Bridget throughout the kingdom.


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interwoven catacombs unfrequented certify intersection mysteries inscription galleries martyred indication

labyrinth inscribed exhalations St. SEBASTIAN's, a church erected by Constantine in

memory of the celebrated martyr whose name it bears, has a handsome portico, and contains

some good pictures and paintings. It is, however, more remarkable for being the principal entrance into the catacombs which lie in its neighbourhood. The catacombs are subterranean streets or galleries, from four to eight feet in height, from two to five in breadth, extending to an immense and almost unknown length, and branching out into various walks. The confusion occasioned by the intersection of these galleries resembles that of a labyrinth, and renders it difficult, and, without great precaution, dangerous, to penetrate far into their recesses. The catacombs were originally excavated, in order to find that earth or sand, called at present, puzzolana, and supposed to form the best and most lasting cement. They followed the direction of the vein of sand, and were abandoned when that was exhausted, and oftentimes totally forgotten. Such lone, unfrequented caverns afforded a most commodious retreat to the Christians, during the persecutions of the three first centuries. In them, therefore, they held their assemblies, celebrated the holy mysteries, and deposited the remains of their martyred brethren. For the latter purpose they employed niches in the sides of the walls, placed there the body, with a vial filled with the blood of the martyr, or perhaps some of the instruments of his execution, and closed up the mouth of the niche with thin bricks or tiles. Sometimes the name was inscribed with a word or two, importing the belief and hopes of the deceased; at other times a cross, or the initials of the titles of our Saviour interwoven, were the only marks employed to certify that the body enclosed, belonged to a Christian. Several bodies have been found without any inscription, mark, or indication of name or profession. Such may have belonged to pagans, as it is highly probable that these cavities were used as burial places, before as well as during the age of persecutions. It is impossible to range over these vast repositories of the dead, these walks of horror and desolation, without sentiments of awe, veneration, and almost of horror. We seemed on entering to descend into the regions of the departed, wrapped up in the impenetrable gloom of the grave. Independent of these imaginary terrors, the damp air and fetid exhalations warn the curious traveller to abridge his stay, and hasten to the precincts of day.


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Papyrus termination answering triangular acacia-tree

sufficiently tapering ligature experiment occasionally scholar

ascertained overlap pellicle saccharine

filaments transversely impregnated THE Papyrus most naturally suggests itself, whenever we turn our attention to the vegetable pro

ductions of Egypt. The stalk is of a vivid green, of a triangular form, and tapering towards the top. Pliny says that the root is as thick as a man's arm, and that the plant occasionally exceeds fifteen feet in height. At present it is rarely found more than ten feet long, about two feet, or little more, of the lower part of the stalk being covered with hollow sharp-pointed leaves, which overlap each other like scales, and fortify the most exposed part of the stem. These are usually of a yellow or dusky-brown colour. The head is composed of a number of small grassy filaments, each about a foot long. Near the middle, each of these filaments parts into four, and in the point or partition are four branches of flowers, the termination of which is not unlike an ear of wheat in form, but is in fact a soft, silky husk.

This singular vegetable was used for a variety of purposes; the principal of which were, the structure of boats, and the manufacture of paper. In regard to the first, we are told by Pliny, a piece of the acacia-tree was put in the bottom to serve as a keel, to which the plants were joined, being first sewed together, then gathered up at the stem and stern, and made fast by means of a ligature.

But it is as a substance for writing upon that the papyrus is best known, and most interesting to the scholar. The process by which the plant was prepared for this purpose, is briefly stated by the Roman naturalist. The thick part of the stalk being cut in two, the pellicle between the pith and bark, or perhaps the two pellicles, were stripped

off and divided by an iron instrument. This was squared at the sides, so as to be like a riband, then laid upon a smooth table, after being cut into proper lengths. These strips or ribands were lapped over each other by a very thin border, and then pieces of the same kind were laid transversely, the length of these last answering to the breadth of the first. This being done, a weight was laid upon them while they were yet moist; they were then dried in the sun. It was thought that the water of the Nile had a gummy quality sufficiently strong to glue these strips together; but Mr. Bruce, who ascertained by experiment, that this opinion is perfectly groundless, suggests that the effect was produced by means of the saccharine matter with which the papyrus is strongly impregnated. The flower of this plant, it is well known, was used for religious purposes.


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