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of the fame Materials with the Floor; and what added vaftly to their Beauty, as well as their Refemblance of Trees, was, that they were not smooth on the Surface, but covered all over with little shining Points: Thefe, when examined, appeared to be Pyramids of the fame Matter. They were in general about a Fifth of an Inch high, and of a triangular Figure: Their Bafes, which grew upon the Mafs, flood pretty close to one another; but their Tops diftinct. The Breaking of the Light from the Flambeaux among thefe innumerable Prominences, and all of them angular, had a very fine. Effect. At fome Diftance from the Entrance we came up to a Pillar of Cryftal of feven Feet in Height, and more than a Foot in Diameter. This rifes immediately from the Floor, and is of equal Thickness to the Top: Its Surface is very gloffy, and of a pure and perfect Luftre. About this there ftands three or four others, of four Feet high, and a proportionate Thicknefs: One of thefe has been broken, and the Piece lies by it. Our Guides defired us to examine the Stump at its Top, and fhewed us that it was like that of a Tree which had been cut off. They bid us remark the Heart, and the feveral Circles of the fofter Wood round it. They told us, this was exactly the fame as in the growing of Trees; and affured us, that thefe Trees of Cryftal grew from the Floor in the fame Manner. This is a Syftem worthy the Intellects of Peafants: But we, who knew that thefe Columns, like the reft of the Ornaments of the Floor, are formed by Matter left from Drops of Water following one another in long Succeffion, faw a better Reafon for the whole being compofed of Crufts one over another. All the Stalactites or ftony Icicles of the Top, and even the Covering of the Sides, is compofed of a Number of Crufts laid over one another in the fame Manner. On the other Parts of the

Floor,

Floor, we faw little Hillocks of Crystal made in the fame Manner; and in some of the hollower Parts there lay a Parcel of round Stones as white as Snow, and of the Bignefs of Mufket Bullets. Thefe, when broken, were compofed of Crufts laid over one another juft in the Manner of all the other Concretions, and in the Center of one of them we found a Drop of Water. The Sides of the Grotto next came into Confideration; and what a Variety of Beauties did they afford! In fome Places the plain Rock is covered with a vaft Sheet of this Crystal, like a Cake of Ice, fpread evenly over it, and of the Thickness of an Inch or two; its Surface perfectly fmooth, and every where following the Shape of a Rock. In other Places, this Sheet of Crystal is variegated with a ftrange Quantity of irregular and modulated Figures all over its Surface. These were in fome Spots more raised, in others lefs; but their Meanders very beautiful. In other Parts, where the Walls were fo prominent that Drops from the Roof could reach them, there grew from their Surface, in the fame Manner as from the Floor, Shrubs of Crystal; but these were in general lower, and more fpreading than the Floor. We faw a great Number of about a Foot and Half in Height, rifing from each a fingle Stone, thick and irregular, and fpreading into a globular Head, of a Diameter almoft equal to their Height. No Part of the Grotto appeared more beautiful than the Sides where these were more frequent. They were fome of them pure and colourless, others white as Snow, and all of them covered over the whole Surface with thofe little Pyramids I have mentioned before. This however is little to the principal Beauty of the Sides. In fome Places the Sheet of Crystal, inftead of clinging immediately to the Wall or Rock, ftood. out at a Distance from it, forming a Kind of Curtain of pure pellucid Matter. This was an Appear

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ance at once fingular and elegant, beyond all Things of the Kind that I had feen or read of. Thefe Curtains of Crystal were ten or twelve Fect in Breadth, and in Height often twenty or more: They took their Origin from fome Part of the Sweep of the Arch, and hung to the Floor. They ufually were contiguous to the Wall at one Edge, and at a confiderable Distance at the other, fo that they formed a Kind of Clofets or Apartments within, which were very beautiful, and led an Afpect unlike all Things in the World. Thefe Curtains of Crystal were not plain, but folded and plaited; and their Undulations added not a little to their Beauty. If in any Parts they projected out fo far as to take more of the falling Drops, they were there covered with little Pyramids of Crystal, fuch as thofe of the Trees and Shrubs on the Floor; but all the Reft of the Expanfe of the fmooth and gloffy.

It yet remains that I defcribe the Roof of this wonderful Place; but there are not Terms in Language to exprefs fuch a Variety of Objects which thofe who have hitherto ufed Language have never feen. In fome Parts their diverged Rays of pure and gloffy Cryftal, in the Manner of a Star, form a lucid Center, ftretching themfelves to two or three Yards Diameter. In another, Clufters like vaft Bunches of Grapes hung down; and from others there were continued Feftoons, loofe in the Middle, but fixed at cither End, and formed of a vaft Variety of Reprefentations of Foliage, Fruits, and Flowers. There is a Rudenefs in all thofe, that would, whenever one faw them, fpeak them the abfolute Work of Nature; but Art would be proud to imitate them.

At every little Space between thefe there hung the Stalactites, or ftony Icicles, as they are called, in a furprifing Number, but of a Magnitude much more. furprifing. Some of thefe bave doubtlefs been many hundred

hundred Years in forming, and they are from ten to twenty or thirty Feet in Length. One hangs nearly from the Center of the Grotto, which must be confiderably more than that; it is eight or nine Feet longer than all the others, and at the Bale feems five or fix Feet in Diameter. It is a Cone in Form, and its Point tolerably fine. Could a Thing of this Kind be got off whole, and conveyed into Europe without Injury, what would the Virtuofi fay of it? A Cone of this Bignefs of pure Crystal would be a more pompous Curiofity than all their Collections.

At the Points of many of, thefe, and on fome other Protuberances on the Grotto, we faw fingle Drops of a perfectly pellucid Water hanging: This was what had left its Crystal on their Sides, and had been adding its little Portion of Subftance to their Bulk.

Nearly under the Center of the Arch there is a large Pyramid of natural Congelations of the fhrubby Kind of thofe already mentioned. It is the finest Cluster on the whole Floor, and is ornamented with a Parcel of Feftoons and Cones from the overhanging Part of the Roof, which make a Kind of Attic Story to it. Behind it there is one of the natural Clofets curtained off from the main Hollow of the Grotto, and full of beautiful Congelations. They call this Pyramid, The Altar. Some of the Pieces have been cut down; and upon the Bafis of the Pyramid we read an Infcription that puzzled us extremely, Hic ipfe Chriftus adfuit ejus natali die media nocte celebrats. There was a Date of 1673 annexed; but not being of the Roman Communion, we could by no Means make out the Meaning of the Words, till our Guide had informed us, that a French Perfon of Quality, Ambaffador to the Porte, had caufed Mafs to be celebrated there with great Solemnity on Christmas-day at that Time, and had

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spent

spent two or three Days in the Grotto with a numerous Company.

Whilft I was at the Bottom, the Thoughts of getting up again gave the Pain enough, and the Sed revocare gradum of Virgil, rofe up in my Mind with all its Terrors. However, I am out, and all is well. It was a horrible Piece of Work, and I fhall have Occafion to remember it, being more hurt and bruifed from this fingle Expedition, than from my whole Voyage, &c.

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