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garden, but it was daylight, and my friends stood looking on my upright, though fainting form, almost afraid to approach me. Í was disengaged from my tubs and sacks, and carried to bed. But it did not escape the notice of the bystanders, that I was destitute of weight; and although I took care to shew myself publicly with a proper gravity, even with an additional stone weight, strange stories and whispers went forth about me; and when my feats of agility, and frightful, though not fatal, falls were recollected, it became generally believed that I had either sold myself to the devil, or was, myself, that celebrated individual. I now began to prepare myself for immediate escape, in case I should be legally prosecuted. I had hitherto been unable, when suspended in the air, to lower myself at my pleasure ; for I was unable to make my pump act upon itself, and therefore, when I endeavoured to take it with me, its own weight always prevented my making any considerable rise. I have since recollected, indeed, that had I made two pumps, and extracted the weight from one by means of the other, I might have carried the light one up with me, and filled myself, by its means, with gravity, when I wished to descend.However, this plan, as I said, having escaped my reflection, I set painfully about devising some method of carrying about gravity with me in a neutralized state, and giving it operation and energy when it should suit my convenience. After long labour and expensive experiments, I hit upon the following simple method :
You will readily imagine that this subtle fluid, call it gravitation, or weight, or attraction, or what you will, pervading as it does every body in nature, impalpable and invisible, would occupy an extremely small space when packed in its pure and unmixed state. I found, after decomposing it, that besides the gases I mentioned before, there always remained a slight residuum, incombustible and insoluble. This was evidently a pure element, which I have called by a termination common among chemists, “ gravium.” When I admitted to it the other gases, except the azote of the atmosphere, it assumed a creamy consistence, which might be called “essential oil of gravitation;" and finally, when it was placed in contact with the atmosphere, it imbibed azote rapidly, became immediately invisible, and formed pure weight. I procured a very small elastic Indian-rubber bottle, into which I infused as much oil of gravity as I could extract from myself, carefully closed it, and squeezed it fiat; and I found that by placing over the orifice an extremely fine gauze, and admitting the atmosphere through it (like the celebrated English Davy Lamp), as the bottle opened by its own elasticity, the oil became weight; and when I squeezed it again, the azote receded through the gauze, and left the weightless oil. Thank Heaven, I was now
in possession of the ultimatum of my inquiries, the means of jumping into the air without any weight, and the power of assuming it when I wished to descend. As I feared, I was indicted as a sorcerer, and condemned to be hung; I concealed my bottle under my arm, ascended the scaffold, avowed my innocence, and was turned off. I counterfeited violent convulsions, but was careful to retain just weight enough to keep the rope tight. In the evening, when the populace had retired, I gently extricated my neck, walked home, and prepared to leave my country. At Petersburgh I heard that Captain Kharkof Voronetz was about to sail to India to bombard a British fortress. I demanded an interview.
I demanded an interview. “ Sir," said I, “ I am an unhappy man, whose misfortunes have compelled him to renounce his country. I am in possession of an art by which I can give you accurate intelligence of every thing going on in the fortress you are to attack; and I offer you my services, provided
you will give me a passage and keep my secret.” I saw by his countenance he considered me an impostor. “ Sir," I said, “ promise me secrecy, and you shall behold a specimen of my art.” He assented. I squeezed the little bottle under my arm, sprung upward, and played along the ceiling to his great amaze. He was a man of honour, and kept his promise; and in six months we arrived off the coast of Coromandel. Here I made one of the greatest mistakes in my life. I had frequently practised my art during the first part of the voyage for the amusement of the sailors; and instead of carrying my gravity-bottle with me, I used to divest myself of just sufficient gravity to leap masthigh, and descend gently on the deck ; and by habit I knew the exact quantity which was requisite in northern climes. But when I had ascended to view the fortress near the equator, I found too late that I had extracted far too much, and for this
you hold an orange at its head and stalk, by the forefinger and thumb, and spin it with velocity, you will see that small bodies would be thrown with rapidity from those parts which lie midway between the finger and thumb, while those that are nearer are far less affected by the rotatory motion. It was just so with me. I had been used to descend in the northern climates with a very slight weight; but I now found, that in the equatorial regions I was thrown upward with considerable strength. A strong sea-breeze was blowing. I was borne rapidly away from the astonished crew, passed over the fortress, narrowly escaped being shot, and found myself passing in the noblest manner over the whole extent of India. Habit had entirely divested me of fear, and I experienced the most exquisite delight in viewing that fine country spread out like a map beneath me. I recognised the scenes of historical interest. There rolled the Hydaspes, by the very spot where Porus met Alexander. There lay the track of
Mahmoud the great Gaznevide. I left the beautiful Kashmir on the right. I passed over the head-quarters of Persia in her different ages, Herat, Ispahan, Kamadan. Then came Arbela on my right, where a nation, long cooped up in a country scarce larger than Candia, had overthrown the children of the great Cyrus, and crushed a dynasty whose sway reached uninterrupted for 2000 miles. I saw the tomb of Gordian, on the extreme frontier of his empire-a noble spot for the head of a nation of warriors. I skimmed along the plain where Crassus and Galerius, at the interval of three hundred years, had learnt on the same unhappy field that Rome could bleed. A strong puff from the Levant whirled me to the northward, and dropped me at length on a ridge of Mount Caucasus, fatigued and hungry. I assuaged my hunger with mountain mosses, and slept a few hours as well as the extreme cold would permit me. On waking, the hopelessness of my situation distressed me much. After passing over so many hot countries, where the exhalations from the earth had enabled my body to imbibe gravitation more rapidly than usual, I had gradually moved northward, where the centrifugal force of the earth had much decreased. From these two causes, and in this wild country, without the means of chemically assisting myself, I now found my body too heavy to trust again to the winds—intrenched as I was, between the Black Sea and the Caspian, but without weight to give firmness to my step; without the lightness of a fowl I had all its awkward weakness in water. The savage natives cast lots for
and I became a slave. My strange lightness was a source of mirth to all, even to my fellowservants; and I found, by experience, how little weight a man bears in society who has lost his gravity. When I attempted to dig, I rose without effect on my spade. Sometimes when I bore a load of wood on my shoulders, 'it felt so top-heavy, that upon the slightest wind I was sure to tumble over-and then I was chastised: mistress one day hoisted me three miles by a single kick on the breech. But however powerless against lateral pressure, it was observed with amaze how easily I raised the vast weights under which the most powerful men in the country sunk; for, in fact, my legs being formed to the usual capabilities of mankind, had now little or no weight of body to support: I was, therefore, enabled to carry ten or twelve stone in addition to a common burden. It was this strength that enabled me to throw several feet from the earth a native who had attacked me. stunned by the fall, but, on rising, with one blow he drove me a hundred yards before him. I took to my heels, determined, if possible, to escape this wretched life. The whole country was on foot to pursue me, for I had doubly deserved death ; I had bruised a freeman, and was a fugitive slave. But notwithstanding
the incredible agility of these people in their native crags, their exact knowledge of the clefts in the hills, the only passes between the eternal snows and my own ignorance, I utterly baffled their pursuit by my want of weight, and the energy which despair supplied me. Sometimes when they pressed hardest on me, I would leap up a perpendicular crag, twenty feet high, or drop down a hundred. I bent my steps towards the Black Sea, determined, if I could reach the coast, to seek a passage to some port in Cathenoslaw, and retire where I might pass the remainder of my life, under a feigned name, with at least the satisfaction of dying in the dominions of my legitimate sovereign, Alexander.
Exhausted and emaciated, I arrived at a straggling village, the site of the ancient Pityus. This was the last boundary of the Roman power on the Euxine-and to this wretched place state exiles were frequently doomed. The name became proverbial ; and, I understand, has been so far adopted by the English, that the word “ Pityus” is, to this day, most adapted to the lips of the banished. In a small vessel we sailed for Azof; but when we came off the straits of Caffa, where the waters of the Don are poured into the Euxine, a strong current drove us on a rock, and in a fresh gale the ship went speedily to pieces. I gave myself up for lost, and heard the crew, one after the other, gurgle in the waves and scream their last, while I lay struggling and buffeting for life. But after the first hurry for existence, I found I had exhausted myself uselessly, for my specific gravity being so trifling, I was enabled to lie on the surface of the billows without any exertion, and even to sit upon the wave as securely as a couch. I loosened my neckcloth, and spreading it wide with my hands and teeth, I trusted myself to the same winds that had so often pelted me at their mercy, and always spared me. In this way I traversed the Euxine. I fed on the
that floated on the surface—sometimes dead fish, and once or twice on some inquisitive stragglers whose curiosity brought them from the deep to contemplate the strange sail. Two days I floated in misery, and a sleepless night; by night I dared not close my eyes for fear of falling backward-and by day I frequently passed objects that filled me with despair—fragments of wrecks; and then I looked on my own sorry craft : once I struck
my feet against a drowned sailor, and it put me in mind of myself. “At last I landed safe on the beach, between Odessa and Otchacow, traversed the Ukraine, and, by selling the little curiosities I had picked up on my passage, I have purchased permission to reside for the rest of my days unknown and unseen in a large forest near Minsk. Here, within the gray crumbling walls of a castle, that fell with the independence of this unhappy country, I await my end. I have left little to regret at my native Moscow; neither friends, nor
reputation, nor lawful life; and I had failed in a love which was dearer to me than reputation-than life-than gravity itself. I have established an apparatus, on improved principles, to operate on gravity; and I am now employed, day and night, for the benefit
, not more of the present generation, than of all of mankind that
In fact, I am laboriously and unceasingly extracting the gravitation from the earth, in order to bring it nearer the sun; and though, by thus diminishing the earth's orbit, I fear I shall confuse the astronomical tables and calculations, I am confident I shall improve the temperature of the globe. How far I have succeeded, may be guessed from the recent errors in the Almanacs about the eclipses, and from the late mild winters.
are to come.
THE LITERARY HISTORY OF THE PROVENÇALS.
PART II.-On the state of Female Society and the Courts of Love.
(Continued from No. V. p. 143.) The communication of oriental sentiments and manners seems to have operated strongly upon the nations of modern Europe in modifying their feelings towards women, and to have assisted in producing in love that mixture of passion and tenderness and devotion, which distinguished the age of chivalry. Love, in the times of classical antiquity, had superadded little to its sensual elements. The exquisite sensibility of the Greeks rendered them susceptible of a vehemence in this passion which bordered upon madness; their delicate perception of beauty had imparted to it all the refinement of which sensuality was capable; but still the passion was sensual. Though the chisel of Praxiteles might fashion a Venus so beautiful, that even the senseless marble could inspire a sacrilegious frenzy *; yet the imagination of the sculptor and the passion of the lover were both, in their essence, sensual. In the earlier ages of Rome, the condition of women in society had been far different from the degradation to which they were necessarily reduced in Greece; but before Rome became the mistress of the world, and influenced the manners of distant nations, her own manners had been corrupted and polluted. The moral dignity of a Roman matron was destroyed; and in the later ages of the empire, the most gross and disgusting dissoluteness was almost universal. In no respect has christianity exerted a more powerful or more beneficial influence upon morals, than in establishing upon its true
* See Lucian's Amores.