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as there is water at the bottom of the pit, and the mountain as full of springs. You think now you are at the top, but you are mistaken. I am standing indeed at the top of the abyss, but with a high rocky peak on each side of me, and descending almost perpendicularly into the lake at the bottom. I have been taking a rough sketch of one of these peaks, with the lake in the deepest shadow; I am turning over my paper, which the wind renders very difficult, in order to draw another; I look up, and the upper part illuminated by a beautiful rose-coloured light, while the opposite part still casts a dark shade over its base, and conceals the sun from my view. If I were ready to jump into the pit with delight at first seeing it, my ecstasy now was still greater. The guide seemed quite delighted to see me so much pleased, and took care, in ̧ descending, to lead me to the edge of every precipice, which he had not done in going up. I, however, presently recollected, that I was in a great hurry to get back, and set off along the brink of the cavity for the highest peak, where I arrived at a quarter past four, and saw a view, of which it is impossible to form any idea from description. For many miles around, it was composed of tops of high mountains, of all the various forms that can be imagined: some appeared swimming in an ocean of vapour; on others, the clouds lay like a cap of snow, appearing as soft as down. They were all far below Snowden, and I was enjoying the finest blue sky, and the purest air I ever breathed. The whole prospect was bounded by the sea, except to the east and south-east, and the greatest part of the lands in those parts were blotted out by clouds. The sun, however, rose so far toward the northeast, as to be still hanging over the sea. I took a sketch of a small part of the mountains, with some of the little lakes which appear at their feet,-sat down, for the first time, on a circle of stones which is built on the top of the hill, and made great havock in the bread and milk, in which achievement the guide equalled, if not surpassed me,-and at half past four, almost frozen, I began to descend. My anxiety about my friends increased, as I came near the spot where I had left them; I made all possible haste, and found them safe in the hut, at ten minutes past six. It certainly would have been pleasanter to have had more time, and some one to enjoy the expedition with me; but I am delighted that I have been, and would not for any thing give up the recollection of the sublime scene."
We shall close this chapter with an account of SKIDDAW.This is a mountain of England, in Cumberland, one of the most remarkable in the kingdom, being above 3000 feet in perpendicular height, from the surface of the Derwent-water
which lake is far distant from the sea, and high above its leve! from this circumstance. Skiddaw is reckoned the highest mountain in England. The prospect from its top is very extensive, and, being detached from other mountains, forms a grand object from various points of view. It is easy of access, and the sides are covered with grass. At the top, the atmosphere is uncommonly rare. It is covered with loose brown slate-stone.
CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MOUNTAINS.-(Continued.)
The Andes-Pichinca-Monte Bolea-Pausilipo-Monte Nuovo
-His proud head the airy mountain hides,
THE Andes is a great chain of mountains in South America which, running from the most northern part of Peru, to the Straits of Magellan, between 3000 and 4000 miles, are the longest and most remarkable in the world. The Spaniards call them the Cordilleras de los Andes: they form two ridges; the lowermost of which is overspread with woods and groves, and the uppermost covered with everlasting snow. Those who have been at the top, affirm that the sky is always serene and bright, the air cold and piercing, and yet so thin that they were scarce able to breathe. When they looked downwards, the country was hid by the clouds that hovered on the mountain's sides.
The mountains just mentioned, which have been frequently ascended, are much inferior in height to many others in this enormous chain.
The following is the account given of the mountain called Pichincha, by Don George Juan, and Don Antonio de Ulloa, two mathematicians, sent by the kings of France and Spain, to make observations in relation to the figure of the earth. These mathematicians suffered extremely, as well from the severity of the cold, as from the impetuosity of the winds, which on these heights blow with incessant violence; difficulties the more painful, as they had been little used to such sentations. Thus, in the torrid zone, nearly under the equi
noctial line, where it is natural to suppose they had most to fear from the heat, their greatest pain was caused by the excessiveness of the cold. Their first scheme, for shelter and lodging in these uncomfortable regions, was to pitch a fieldtent for each company: but on Pichinca, this could not be done, from the narrowness of the summit; they were therefore obliged to be contented with a hut so small, that the whole of the company could scarcely creep into it. Nor will this appear strange, if the reader considers the bad situation and smallness of the place, it being one of the loftiest crags of a rocky mountain, 100 fathoms above the highest desert of Pichinca. Such was the position of their mansion, when all the other adjacent parts soon became covered with ice and snow. The ascent up this stupendous rock, from the base, or the place where the mules could come to their habitation, was so craggy, as only to be climbed on foot; and to perform it, cost them four hours' continual labour and pain, arising not only from the violent efforts of the body, but the subtilty of the air, which was so thin, and probably overcharged with the lighter respirable gases, as to render respiration difficult.
Our philosophers generally kept within their hut. Indeed, they were obliged to do this, on account of the intenseness of the cold, the violence of the wind, and their being continually involved in so thick a fog, that an object at six or eight paces was hardly discernible. When the mist cleared up, the clouds, by their gravity, moved nearer to the surface of the earth, and on all sides surrounded the mountains to a vast distance, forming no bad representation of the sea, with their rock, like an island, stationed in its centre. When this happened, they heard the horrid noises of the tempests, which then spent their fury on Quito and the neighbouring country. They saw the lightnings issue from the clouds, and heard the thunders roll far beneath them; and whilst the lower parts were involved in tempests of thunder and rain, they enjoyed a delightful serenity, the wind was hushed, the sky became clear, and the enlivening rays of the sun moderated the severity of the cold. But their circumstances were very different, when the clouds reascended: their thickness rendered respiration difficult; the snow and hail fell continually; and the wind returned with all its violence; so that it was impossible entirely to overcome the fears of being, together with their hut, blown down the precipice, on the edge of which it was built, or of being buried by the daily accumulations of ice
The wind was often so violent in these regions, that its velocity dazzled the sight, whilst their fears were increased, from the dreadful concussions of the precipice, caused by the
fall of enormous fragments of rocks. These crashes were the more alarming, as no other noises are heard in such solitary abodes and during the night, their rest, which they so greatly wanted, was frequently disturbed by these sudden sounds. When the weather was fair near their hut, and the clouds gathered about some of the other mountains which they had selected for their observations, so that they could not make all the use they desired of this interval of good weather, they left their hut, to exercise themselves. Sometimes they descended to a small distance; and, at other times, amused themselves with rolling large fragments of rocks down the precipice; and these frequently required the joint strength of them all, though they often saw the same effected by the mere force of the wind. But they always took care, in their excursions, not to go so far out, but that, on the least appearance of the clouds gathering about their cottage, which often happened very suddenly, they could regain their shelter. The door of their hut was fastened with thongs of leather, and on the inside not the smallest crevice was left unstopped; besides. which, it was very compactly covered with straw: but, notwithstanding all their care, the wind penetrated through.
The days were often little better than the nights; and all the light they enjoyed, was that of a lamp or two, which they kept continually burning. Though their hut was small, and crowded with inhabitants, besides the heat of the lamps, yet the intenseness of the cold was such, that every one of them was obliged to have a chafing-dish of coals. These precautions would have rendered the rigour of the climate supportable, had not the imminent danger of perishing, by being blown down the precipice, roused them every time it snowed, to encounter the severity of the outward air, and sally out, with shovels, to force from the roof of their hut, the masses of snow which were gathering on it. Nor would it, without this precaution, have been able to support the weight. They were not indeed without servants and Indians, but these were so benumbed with the cold, that it was with great difficulty they could get them out of a small tent, where they kept a continual fire. So that, all our artists could obtain from them, was to take their turns in this labour; and even then they went very unwillingly about it, and consequently performed it but slowly.
The reader may easily judge what our philosophers suffered from the asperities of such a climate. Their feet were swelled, and so tender, that they could not even bear the heat of the fire, and walking was attended with extreme pain. Their hands were covered with chilblains; their lips swelled and chopped, so that every motion in speaking drew blood; consequently they were obliged to observe strict taciturnity, and 3 G
were little disposed to laugh, as, by causing an extension. of the lips, it produced such wounds as were very painful for two or three days after.
Their common food in this inhospitable region was a little rice boiled with some flesh or fowl, procured from Quito; and, instead of fluid water, their pot was filled with ice: they had the same resource with regard to what they drank; and while they were eating, every one was obliged to keep his plate over a chafing-dish of coals, to prevent his provisions from freezing. The same was done respecting the water. At first they imagined the drinking of strong liquors would diffuse a heat through the body, and consequently render, it less sensible of the painful sharpness of the cold; but, to their surprise, they felt no manner of strength in such liquors, nor were they any greater preservatives against the cold than even
It is affirmed, that there are in the Andes sixteen volcanoes, or burning mountains, which throw out fire and smoke with a terrible noise. The height of Chimborazo, said to be the highest peak of the Andes, has been determined by geometrical calculations to be 20,282 feet. As all or most rivers have their source in mountains, it is no wonder a great number run down the sides of the Andes. Some hurry along with a prodigious rapidity, while others form beautiful cascades, or run through holes in rocks, which look like bridges of a stupendous height. There is a public road through the mountains, 1000 miles in length, part of which runs from Quito to Cusco.
MONTE BOLEA.-This is a hill or mount in the neighbourhood of Verona, in the north of Italy, celebrated for the uncommon abundance and remarkable variety of the organic remains which it exhibits, as well as for the striking relations these bear to minerals of volcanic origin. This spot has long attracted the attention of philosophic inquirers, and even excited the curiosity of the vulgar. Various collections of its petrifactions have been made, and a considerable number of labourers are occasionally employed in digging an: preparing specimens. There are many treatises purposely devoted to the description and arrangement of its fossils, to a minute examination of its geognostic relations, and to laborious disquisitions on the manner in which it must have been formed.
In the neighbourhood of the mount, and over a great part of the territory of Verona, there are seen undoubted products of volcanic eruptions, together with masses of petrified animal and vegetable substances. The hill itself presents a great variety and singular combination of mineral phenomena, of