Page images

thirteen hundred miles. Then the ice breaking up with a thousand thunders into huge masses, like so many Titanic war-galleys, charges down upon the groaning barque, which, gallantly fronting the onset, cuts her way through the foe. Escape from impending destruction is the signal for encountering fresh perils. Again that little vessel penctrates the empire of ice—and again its stern monarch clasps her in his cold embrace, chains her to his glittering throne, and draws around her the dark curtain which no rising sun for many weeks shall pierce.

What is the object of her brave crew? They hope that the blessing of those that are "ready to perish" may fall upon them, and that "the widow's heart may sing for joy." Yet how slight their encouragement! Expedition after expedition has failed to discover any trace of Franklin and his brave companions. Twelve years have elapsed. Still another attempt is made. The little vessel "Fox" is fitted out. M'Clintock, in the true spirit of a British sailor, allured rather than repelled by hardship and danger, at woman's call in the cause of philanthropy, undertakes the command. Volunteers, in embarrassing numbers, ask to serve in any capacity. They are now (1858) spending their second winter in journeys over the ice, with a temperature seventy degrees below freezing. At length they discover relics of the long-lost voyagers, some of whom may still survive in the huts of the Esquimaux. Alas, they find a record of disaster. Then a bleached skeleton. A native reported that Franklin's party "fell down and died as they walked along." And now they come to a boat. In it are two other skeletons-also precious relics, a watch, a fragment of slipper worked by loving fingers, a Bible with texts interlined. The problem is solved. They are too late to receive the blessing of men ready to perish-too late to make the widow's heart sing for joy.

Yet their heroism was not wasted. Nothing kindly, bravely done, ever is. The doer at least is bettered. Valuable discoveries were made, agonizing suspense was

* Lady Franklin,

ended, fresh testimony was afforded of the value set on human life, additional pledges were given that no Englishman imperilled in the discharge of duty will be abandoned, the moral nature of those heroic seekers was raised, and their work of charity was looked on with approbation from above!



THE Polar clouds uplift-a moment and no more,
And through the snowy drift we see them on the shore,
A band of gallant hearts, well-ordered, calm, and brave,
Braced for their closing parts,-their long march to the

Through the snow's dazzling blink, into the dark they've gone :

No pause the weaker sink, the strong can but strive on,
Till all the dreary way is dotted with their dead,
And the shy foxes play about each sleeping head.

Unharmed the wild deer run, to graze along the strand,
Nor dread the loaded gun beside each sleeping hand.
The remnant that survive onward like drunkards reel,
Scarce wotting if alive, but for the pangs they feel.

The river of their hope at length is drawing nighTheir snow-blind way they grope, and reach its banks to die !

Thank God, brave Franklin's place was empty in that band! He closed his well-run race not on the iron strand.

Not under snow-clouds white, by cutting frost-wind driven,
Did his true spirit fight its shuddering way to heaven;
But warm, aboard his ship, with comfort at his side
And hope upon his lip, the gallant Franklin died.

His heart ne'er ached to see his much-loved sailors ta'en ;
His sailors' pangs were free from their loved captain's pain.
But though in death apart, they are together now—
Calm each enduring heart,-bright each devoted brow!



A YOUNG officer' had sò far forgotten himself, in a moment of irritation, as to strike a private sóldier, full of personal dignity (as sometimes happens in all ranks), and distinguished for his courage. The inexorable laws of military díscipline forbade to the injured soldier' any pràctical redress. He could look for no retaliation by àcts. Words only! were at his command; and, in a tumult of indignation, as he turned away, the soldier said to his officer that he would "make him repènt it." This, wearing the shape of a ménace, naturally rekindled the officer's anger, and intercèpted any disposition which might be rising within him towards a sentiment of remorse; and thus the irritation between the two young mén' grew hotter than befòre.

Some weeks after this a partial action took place with the ènemy. Suppose yourself a spectator, and looking down into a válley occupied by two àrmies. They are facing each other, you see, in martial arrày. But it is no more than a skirmish which is going on; in the course of which, however, an occasion suddenly aríses for a desperate sèrvice. A redoubt, which has fallen into the enemy's hands, must be recaptured at any price, and under círcumstances of áll but hopeless difficulty. A strong párty has volunteered for the sèrvice; there is a cry for somebody to head them; you see a soldier step out from the ranks to assume this dangerous leadership; the párty moves rapidly forward; in a few minutesl it is swallowed up from your eyes in clouds of smòke; for óne half-hour from behind these clouds you receive hieroglyphic reports of bloody strife-fierce repeating signals, flashes from the gùns, rolling mùsketry, and

exulting hurráhs, advàncing or recéding, sláckening or redoubling.

At léngth1 áll is òver; the redoubt has been recòvered; that which was lost is found again; the jewel which had been made cáptive' is ransomed with blood. Crimsoned with glorious góre, the wreck of the conquering party is relieved, and at liberty to return. From the ríver you see it ascending. The plume-crested officer in commánd' rushes forward, with his left hand raising his hát in homage to the blackened frágments of what ònce was a flag; whilst with his ríght hand he seizes that of the leader, though no more than a private from the ranks. That perplexes you not: mystery you see none in that. For distinctions of órder pèrish, ránks are confounded, "hìgh and lów" are words without a meaning, and to wrèck goes every notion or féeling that divides the noble from the noble, or the brave man from the bràve. But whèrefore is it that now, when suddenly they wheel into mutual recognítion, suddenly they pause? This soldier, this officer-who are they? O, réader! ónce befòre they had stood face to face-the sòldier it is that was struck; the officer it is that struck him. Once again they are meeting; and the gaze of ármies is upon them. If for a mòment a doubt divídes them, in a moment' the doubt has pèrished. One glànce exchanged between them' publishes the forgiveness that is sealed for ever. As one who recovers a brother whom he had accounted dead, the officer sprang forward, threw his arms around the neck of the soldier and kissed him, as if he were some martyr glorified by that shadow of death' from which he was retùrning; whilst on his part, the sòldier, stepping back, and carrying his open hand through the beautiful motions of the military salute to a supérior, makes this immortal ànswer—thát answer which shut up for ever the memory of the indignity óffered to him, even whilst for the last time allúding to it: "Sir," he said, "I told you before' that I would make you

repent it."



Alloy, (allier, F.; ad, ligo, L.) Amalgam, (malagma, malasso, G.) Hence amalgamate, amalgamation. Barometer, (baros, metron, G.) an instrument for ascertaining the weight of the air; a weather-glass. Carbonaceous, containing carbon. Conical, having the shape of a cone. Ductile, (duco, L.) that may be drawn out into wire.


Elastic, (elauno, G.) springy; having
the power of recovering its form and
dimensions after pressure.
Flexible, flecto, L.) that may be bent
without breaking.

Fusible, fundo, L.) that may be

Hæmatite, (haima, G.) blood-stone. Lava, a melted substance thrown out by volcanoes.

[blocks in formation]


FROM the metallic bases of soda, lime, and alumina, and a few others of like character, the metals proper are distinguished by their great weight, in which they surpass all other substances. Some of them are found in a pure, or (as it is usually called) native state; but a much greater number have to be separated, by artificial means, from compounds called ores. These ores always contain one or more nonmetallic elements. When two metals combine together, the result is not called an ore, but an alloy, unless one of them is mercury, in which case it is called an amalgam.

The most important metals are platinum, gold, mercury, silver, copper, tin, lead, and iron.

Platinum is chiefly procured from the Ural mountains and from South America. It is the heaviest substance known, weighing more than twenty times its own bulk of water. But it is chiefly remarkable for its refractory and unalterable nature, even when exposed to intense heat, or to the action of those acids by which most other metals are dissolved. It is capable of taking a good polish, and is not liable to rust or tarnish. These qualities render it extremely useful in the construction of many philosophical instruments, such as crucibles, mirrors for telescopes, measuring rods, pendulums, watch wheels, and the like.

« PreviousContinue »