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wife, a tall sour-looking matron, assisted by an aged for thy hand, although, even if I hadn't set my heart friend, opened the stove, and began removing the on Chris here-as thou didst too-he was quite out several dishes, and placing them on the table; while of the question.' Gertruda, Christopher's young wife, rose from her Who's that?' demanded Frantz, with his mouth settle, and, aided by four or five companions and bride- distended with stock-fish and roast brisket. Eh! maids, proceeded to light the lamps, and place large what? Tueta, the Lap!-ah, bosh!' and swallowing quantities of dried stock-fish, and pieces of bread or hastily his mouthful, he turned his head, and, with a bannocks, beside every guest, the stock-fish_being gesture of contempt, testified his disgust at the name universally eaten as bread with every meal. Having of a Laplander by spitting on the floor. attended to these lighter duties of the table, the young Had a Lap the insolence to propose for my females drew their stools up to the board, and awaited Gertruda ?' inquired Christopher, looking up from the the onslaught by the men. But we must take the rib of beef he was attacking with his teeth. I sicken present opportunity to make the reader acquainted at the name of a Lap.' with the personal appearance of the bride. Like the "Well, well, he meant no harm,' resumed the father Norwegians of both sexes, Gertruda was remarkably apologetically ; 'and I was obliged to speak him fair, fair, and the pure whiteness of her complexion for Tueta is powerful with his charms and incantations. would have made her face insipid but for the bright Bless you! he's quite a magician, and has a black cat sunny blue of her large clear eyes, which, relieved that, for instinct and devilry, I think is the very fiend by long dark lashes, gave it a peculiar vivacity and himself. I wouldn't say it before him, but I hate a animation. Her figure was remarkably light and Lap; and that's the reason I've arranged for you to graceful. Over a chemisette as white as one of her set out to-night, only three days after your wedding; native snow-drifts, she wore a close-fitting wadmel because Tueta's gone home by the fiords instead of jacket of bright orange, which, fitting close to the over the Tornea, where you might have met him; and form, and shewing the contour of the swelling bust, his frown would put a blight on the best man living. was laced in front from the neck to the waist, where Then, again, he's as dangerous to handle as a goupe.* it terminated in the form of a stomacher. A black Oh, he can do no end of mischief!' girdle of polished leather, embossed with plates of Have you got a cat, father Carl ?' demander silver, and adorned with small silver bells, rings, and Christopher, looking inquisitively at the top of the other ornaments of the same metal, served to confine stove. and adorn her slender waist. A full-flowing skirt of Surely, lad—surely. Bumpo! Where is he?' blue wadmel, gathered in flat plaits over the hips, fell "Well, I suppose he is up there, on the roof of the in graceful curves round her person, and reached to stove,' he replied, “for a pair of red eyes have been within a span of her small-pointed shoe. Her hair, of fixed on me for some time. There !' and he pointed soft sunny chestnut, was, after the fashion of young to the servant's bed on the top of the stove. wives, gathered into bands, and confined round her Oh, very likely; he's fond of a warm berth. well-formed head in braids, while a party-coloured Perhaps he's hungry. Bumpo!' kerchief placed archly on the back, and tied with an "I'll give him a bone, then,' cried the young man. expanded knot, was, with the hair, profusely covered taking up the heavy rib he had so carefully polished, with rings, medals, coins, large silver spangles, and and flung it with so true an aim, that it struck, as thin plates of silver and gold; so that, at every motion, the company judged by the sound, the animal's head. the entire head-dress flashed and scintillated with * By St Nicholas, that was a blow!' cried Carl a brilliancy perfectly dazzling. A long silver chain sympathetically. passed three or four times round the neck, with a It's made him shut up his eyes, at anyrate. I gold ducat suspended from its links, and resting on never saw such eyes in a cat's head before. But what the bosom, with amber bracelets, where the sleeve of manner of man is this Tueta ?' inquired Christopher the chemisette terminated in a frill, completed her abruptly. costume; and Gertruda, like most of her Norwegian "Oh, he's well enough for a Lap,' replied his father ; countrywomen, carried on her girdle and head-dress 'though he's not altogether a Lap, but a kind of the whole of her bridal fortune.
cross: his father was a Dane, and so Tueta is rather Attracted by the savoury smell from the stove, two good-looking, and as strong as an ox. Why, lad, his buxom girls suddenly made their appearance through hat’s covered with tin scales-one for every bear he the doors, and came eagerly forward to take their has killed, according to the custom of the Laps. Then places at the table ; but no sooner was the cold he plays on the flute beautifully; but notwithstandadmitted into the room by the entrance of the maids, ing, like all his people, he's powerful ignorant.' than the air of the apartment was converted into a Poor wretch!' ejaculated Christopher, in a tone of cloud of snow, which fell like a fine white powder, pitying scorn. covering every person and article with a layer of hoar- Poor!' exclaimed his father in astonishment, misfrost. So common a circumstance, however, produced taking the cause of his son's pity: “Tueta poor! A no effect on the hungry visitors, who fell vigorously man with a summer gamme on the Waranger Fiord, on the first dish that presented itself- a kind of and a winter one on the Luhea. Poor! A man who hasty-pudding made of oat and barley meal, in which owns a thousand reindeer-has a cap of black fox, a salted salmon had been cooked, to give flavour to and a cloak of martens' skins—can eat deer's flesh the mess. This was followed by roast ribs of beef, every day of the year-has a rifle, a copper kettle, fat brisket of mutton, a haunch of venison, grouse, two iron spoons and a fork. Poor! Why, lad, where partridge, a stuffed hare, and a large dish of reindeer be thy senses !! tongues. For the first quarter of an hour, all were Rich or poor, he's but a benighted heathen,' too busy with their teeth and fingers to think of exclaimed the hostess ; 'for who ever believed that talking; but after the edge of their appetites was a a Lap had a soul! If he had one at his birth, his little dulled, and the party began to eat more lei- wicked mother was sure to sell it to the Evil One, surely, Carl exclaimed : *Try these reindeer tongues; with his first teeth. But if Chris and Gertruda they are of the real sort; I had them, with half a mean to cross the Seggevara to-night,' continued she, buck, from Tueta Ladrona himself, when he last came instead of sitting here talking of Lapland heathens, this way. Nay, you needn't blush, Gertruda,' he continued, observing the almost frightened look of his daughter as she heard the name of the individual and, with its powerful claws, frequently rips up the dogs that you'd better yoke the horse to the pulta, and get the make of her new home for her beloved Christopher, skins ready for travelling. And the frau rose hastily. and picturing her future with all the colouring of Her suggestion, or rather command, was at once carried hope and affection, hier ear became conscious of a low out, for the wife's word was law in the house, liowo breathing music that gradually stole into the apartever much Herr Carl might delude himself with the ment, and rising with measured cadence, filled the air belief that he was its master.
* The goupe, or lynx, when attacked, throws itself on its back, mentioned the poor fellow meant no harm in asking, hunt it.
with tones of such plaintive harmony, that the young Quitting the table accordingly, the female part of wife bent her head with curiosity and delight to catch the company ascended to the bedrooms, to dress the every vibration of the touching melody. When the young wife for her first departure from home, while strain was over, and Gertruda scarcely yet recovered the men gathered round Christopher, as he equipped from her wonder, she was roused from hier reverie by himself for his long journey through the severe cold the gladly recognised clack, click, clack, the noise made of a mountain region; and he was just accoutered and by the knees of the reindeer when in motion, and the ready as the pulta, or travelling-sledge, and horse jingling of the pulta-bells apprising her of the success came up to the door.
of her husband's mission. Gertruda had just entered, carefully wrapped in her 'I am to help you into the pulta, while Herr furs, and holding her vizard of white gauze in her Christopher pays the Lap for the use of his deer,' hand, and was giving and taking the farewell kiss, observed the master of the inn, as he entered and when a pulta, drawn by a Danish horse, with its announced the sledge. The host having assisted to chime of merry bells, dashed past the window, and pass her arms through the shoulder-straps, enclosed before the driver could be seen distinctly, had left the her hands in a pair of long gloves, closed the apron, street, and was lost in the shadow of the mountains. and saying he would call her husband, retired. The
Cheered by knowing that another traveller was on man who stood by the deer having whispered in their the same path, Christopher hastened his preparations, ear the place of their destination-a custom a Lap and the weeping Gertruda was led out by her husband, never omits before starting-stepped backwards with and placed among the pile of cushions and furs. Pass- the reins till on a level with the sledge, when, bounding her arms through the straps at the back of the ing into the vehicle, the reindeer daslied forward like sledge, to keep her stationary, Christopher carefully the wind, the mysterious driver standing erect and adjusted her mask, and drawing the skins over her motionless as a pine, while the host leaped upon the person, fixed her securely in the low carriage; then runners, and held firmly to the back of the pulta. looking to the priming of his rifle, he took his seat The whole proceeding was so quick, that Gertruda in the pulta, and waving his hand to the group at the was unconscious of the treachery practised till already door, gave his horse the rein. With an impatient in motion. As soon, however, as she could comprehend bound, the animal dashed into the street, and with her situation, she shrieked with terror, and called upon long strides, tore over the polished snow with a speed her husband for aid and rescue. Christopher, who was that soon left the town and its inhabitants far behind; returning from an unsuccessful conference with the while the velocity of their motion, and the purple Lap, at that moment descended into the plain, and fires and golden lights that cast their scintillating hearing the voice of his wife, sprang forward to ascerglory over their path, so exhilarated the spirits of the tain the meaning of her cries, as the sledge came flying travellers, that their enjoyment rose to a kind of onwards. Without checking the speed of his deer, the ecstasy.
motionless driver drew a missile from his breast, and Two hours of rapid travelling brought them to their hurled it at the head of the intruder; but Christopher, first halting-place, whence, after an hour's rest and quick of eye, caught the projectile in his hand. One refreshment, the pair again set forward, and in two glance told him with whom he had to deal, and what to hours more reached their destination for the night-a expect. It was the bone he had thrown at the supstove, situated in a chasm of the loftiest pinnacle of posed cat! Dashing it to the ground, he instantly the chain up whose side they had thus far travelled.* brought his piece to bear on the erect form of the The view from this point of the Lulian Alps was truly fugitive, and fired; but at that moment the pulta magnificent. Far down at their feet, lay the narrow dipped into one of the hollows, and threw the back indented shores of Norway, while beyond, as far as the of the innkeeper into the line of aim, and the shot eye could reach, stretched the vast Atlantic; north- entering his spine, he threw up his arms, and, with a ward, the Loffoden Isles, and the stormy horrors of loud shriek, fell heavily on the snow; but, indifferent the North Cape; while on the east, the level plains of to the wail of the dying wretch, the impassive driver Sweden, and the barren steppes of Lapland, filled up kept on his course, and in a few moments was lost in the picture.
the haze that swept like a dark scud over the dreary Taking advantage of the early morning, the pair region. Christopher saw that pursuit was hopeless, performed the descent of Luhea, and halted at a and turned with a vindictive heart to retrace his footsmall inn on the banks of Lulea Treiste. Christopher steps, brooding on some swift and terrible revenge. here discovered that a sprain his horse had sustained Suddenly, the silence of the night was broken by a was likely to detain him some time, as not another cry, that rang through the frosty air with a wail so was to be obtained, and his own was unfit to journey shrill and wild, that Christopher paused in suspense further: this, when a few hours' drive would have to hear a repetition of the sound. After some moments carried them to Gora, was most vexatious; for there of intense listening, the growl and snarl of a gorging was no knowing how long they might be delayed, or wolf came down like a deep breathing through the to what annoyances subjected. Finding his horse grew stillness. With a smile of grim pleasure, he reloaded worse rather than better, towards evening, Christopher his rifle, and, throwing it over his arm, stalked sullenly threw his rifle over his shoulder, and leaving Gertruda back to the inn. in charge of the master of the inn, set off to a gamme
When Gertruda saw her husband start so unexof Laplanders, to hire one or two reindeer to take pectedly on their path, her first intention was to their sledge home. As Gertruda sat reflecting on the throw herself from the pulta; but she soon discovered discomforts that surrounded her, and contrasting the that the accomplice, when he drew on the large gloves, repulsive room with the cheerful abode she would had artfully united ber wrists, so that she was a
complete prisoner, pinioned and handcuffed. * Stove, a building erected and maintained at the public That Tueta was the author of this outrage, she had expense for the comfort of travellers among the mountains in no doubt; and when she could muster courage to look Norway, where, free of all charge, large stoves are kept burning on the motionless driver before her, she had no liesitaday and night, for the accommodation of all who journey in such elevated regions.
tion in believing that he and the dreaded Lap were the
His well-built, muscular frame--for he differed cooked meat, and the voices of the women, raised in most characteristics from the people of his nation- in dispute, awoke Gertruda from a sleep that had afforded of itself a strong confirmation of her belief; extended over the lapse of two meals, so profound while none but Tueta could have preserved such a had been her slumbers. The sudden jangling of dauntless attitude, his form rising like a mast from sledge-bells apprised her that something of importthe carriage, and swaying with the flying pulta. ance had occurred, and while she was yet pondering Again, had other circumstances left any doubt, a upon its nature, the women began suddenly to attire glance at his dress would have dispelled it. A tall her precisely as she had been dressed when she arrived. cap, of the priceless black fox, rose straight from his The same men immediately after entered, and taking forehead; while the tail of a snow-white ermine, its her in their arms, placed her, pinioned as before, in a extremity tipped with black, hung from the crown pulta, to which three reindeer were already attached, to his shoulders like a drooping feather. The robe while Tueta, as before, stood at their head. Having that encompassed his person was made of many hun given the usual muttered notice to his team, the Lap dred skins of the black marten, and descended in regal sprang into the carriage, and the animals bounded amplitude from the neck to the heels, while a chain of forward, leaving the huts, lake, and valley behind, silver amulets, rings, and medals, crossed, like a collar as the buoyant sledge, holding onwards, rapidly of state, his furry shoulders. As regarded his features, crested the mountains that encompassed them. In Gertruda was yet in ignorance; for though Tueta about two hours, they descended the last hill, and had seen her frequently, she had never herself met entered on the vast level that, stretching from the him, and it was only through her mother that she Tornea River to the White Sea, extends for three had lieard of his proposal for her hand. It was there hundred leagues its desolate waste of snow, without fore not without a certain curiosity that, despite the landmark or track. danger of her position, she watched for some motion Though their course was still rapid, it wanted that of her guide that should enable her to see his counte- velocity which had heretofore characterised their pronance; but though the north wind came howling over gress, for the snow was so deep on the plain, that the the bleak steppes, and the flying reindeer dashed up runners of the pulta dashed it up like billows, while the snow like spray, and the swells and dips in the the sinking sledge was frequently some feet below the surface of the plain made the carriage rise and fall level of the channel through which they ploughed their like a vessel in a storm, the driver never for a impetuous way. After proceeding some leagues over moment removed his unprotected glance from the this ocean of snow, Tueta, grasping the rifle that lay in black outline of hills that rose like a wall in the front of the pulta, and pointing with it to the dark and distance, and towards which the reindeer stretched hazy distance, turned his face for the first time to their utmost speed. As if a part of the inert vehicle, Gertruda, and said: “He is a good husband, and will he continued to stand erect; now over the plain and risk much for his wife. I will not kill him, but he uneven steppes, and anon up the mountain-track and shall have no advantage;' and dropping the muzzle of down the gloomy glens and rifts. At length, dashing his rifle till it rested on the bottom of the carriage, he into a sheltered ravine, and skirting the bank of a used the butt as a crutch to lean on. frozen lake, whose ice, blue as steel, contrasted 'I do not comprehend,' replied Gertruda, in surprise sternly with the universal white that covered hill at the abruptness of his words, and almost quailing and vale, the deer suddenly halted before a series before the piercing glance lie bent with a fascinating of gammes or low luts—the winter encampment of power on her countenance. Shaking off some of the Tueta Ladrona the Lap.
influence inspired by the presence of the dreaded man The driver had scarcely leapel to the ground, when, on whom she looked for the first time, she gazed on with a cry and a howl, a huge black cat bounded on his features with a feeling of wonder and surprise. his shoulders, and began caressing him in a manner His eyes, of an intense black, had all the fire and as ferocious as playful. During this ceremony, three tenderness of a southern clime, and though of the or four Laps hurried to the pulta, and, unfastening same colour, were unlike those of his people, in being her gloves, carried Gertruda at once into the largest full and open-a peculiarity that, with his broad foregamme; where, such was the effect of the sudden heat head, he derived from his Danish father; at the same and unwholesome atmosphere of the place, she would time, his high cheek-bones and projecting jaw were have fainted but for the assistance of several women, equally indicative of his Lapland origin, though the who, by removing her furs, and giving her a draught repulsive character of the latter feature was greatly of reindeer milk and brandy, succeeded in relieving modified by a full moustache, and a beard that fiowed her from the feeling of suffocation caused by the oven- majestically on his breast. But the sallow complexion like heat of the gamme.
and small hands and feet were purely Lap, though As soon as she was sufficiently recovered, the women the straight limbs and perfect symmetry of form were placed before her hot milk, boiled salmon, and dried derived from his father. On the whole, Tueta was deer's flesh, which, as she had been many hours without what might be justly called a handsome man. food, and exposed to the rigour of the weather, she 'I mean,' replied the Lap, that your husband was absolutely in need of. From the women, she follows us. But we will strive on equal terms. Do you could learn nothing further than that Tueta himself understand ?-your husband is there!' and he turned had been her conductor—that this was only one of his his glance to the south. Gertruda directed her gaze farms-that the great gamme with his mother and in the direction indicated, and after a long scrutiny of sisters, was a day's journey further to the east, and the scud that swept over the horizon, perceived what that the but she was in was the women's gamme. might have been mistaken for the hull of a ship, Failing to elicit any further intelligence, and expressing which, parallel with themselves, seemed stationary on her weariness, they brought her a mattress of eider the verge of the waste. At length she was enabled to feathers, and a pillow of Lapland grass; and spreading make out a sledge and four reindeer through a break it by the fire, Gertruda laid herself down on the luxu- in the scud, as it was for a moment defined against the rious bed, and, despite her anxieties, closed her eyes, leaden sky beyond. The pleasure which Gertruda and was almost instantly asleep: while the women, derived from the knowledge of her husband's presence, with their knees up to their chins, and faces resting on was quickly banished when she saw Tueta turn his their hands, kept watch round the fire, gazing with deer in a course that would bring lim directly across their small bleared eyes into the glowing embers, and her husband's track, especially when she looked at the in subdued whispers, recounting to each other tales deadly weapon he held in readiness. These feelings of incantation and witchcraft. The strong odour of were excited to the keenest terror when she observed
the other sledge put about, and the two vehicles rapidly was the sledge borne over the ground, that it passed converging. When within a few furlongs of each the pulta some distance before Christopher could check other, Tueta raised his rifle, and fired; at the same its velocity, or bring his vehicle to the side of his moment, the pulta again flew round, and the animals prostrate enemy. To leap from the carriage and fold bounded like the wind upon their former course. his rescued wife in his arms, was the work of a Instantaneously with the discharge, the leading deer moment. So unbounded was his joy, and so fervent of the approaching sledge sprang into the air, and fell Gertruda’s thankfulness at her husband's safety, that dead among its companions. To cut the harness, and for some time neither could speak; never till that throw out the lifeless deer, rearrange his team, and moment, when their troubles were over, had the dangers once more follow the pursuit, was but the work of a they had escaped appeared so formidable. few seconds; and Gertruda had the satisfaction to He liberated his Gertruda's hands, and pressed her know that her husband was unhurt and again in motion to his heart, as he carried her from the pulta, and on their trail.
placed her in his own sledge; and he thought as he Familiar with all the bearings of the snowy desert, kissed her lips, and received her approving smiles and and confident of his route, Tueta never for a moment thanks, that she had never looked so beautiful, nor doubted his being able to baffle all pursuit. But he been so dear to him, as then. Christopher next had to deal with a man every whit as resolute as approached his prostrate rival, and searched minutely himself; and what might have been a successful strata for the wound which he must have received more than gem under other circumstances, lost all its effect when half an hour previous, for he had fallen before the met by such energy as was exhibited by Christopher last shot that struck the deer was fired. A little Steinlioff, who was personally as indifferent to danger blood that had oozed from the right side was the only as the witch-inspired Lap himself. Though the death injury his examination could discover; and believing of his deer somewhat delayed him, yet he was again he had only fainted, Christopher drew the dead deer upon the track, sooner than Tueta could have believed into the pulta, and making it serve as a pillow to possible; with his rifle on his knees, he urged on the the wounded man, laid him along the carriage, and chase with the utmost speed of his untiring deer. But covered him up with furs. Trusting to the sagacity 80 uncertain was the drifting scud, that it became of the animals to take their master home, he clapped necessary for both men to keep as large a space his hands, and starting the deer, saw them dash off between them as possible, till one or other could fire in an easterly direction with their accustomed speed. with advantage.
Having watched their progress till they were lost in * Herr Christopher is swift,' observed Tueta to the haze of the horizon, he took his place by his Gertruda, as his eye caught her husband's sledge beloved wife in the sledge, and directing his course looming through the haze; “but it shall avail him south, was soon flying-like a ship before the windnothing; I'- A flash of red flame leaped from the upon his homeward journey. side of the dimly seen sledge as he spoke, and a bullet Obtaining a relay from a gamme near Kangis, in whirred in the air. With a deep frown, the Lap six hours more they were dashing through the solitary instantly reversed his rifle, and drew a cartridge from streets of Gora, and at length drew up before the door his pouch. He has unsheathed the knife; let him of Herr Steinhoff's house. look to its edge,' he said vindictively, as he rammed Leaping out of the sledge, Christopher caught home the charge. 'I would have spared him, but now Gertruda lovingly in his arms, and, as if fearful of yet he dies.'
losing his coveted prize, carried her into the house; ‘My husband !' exclaimed Gertruda in terror; 'spare placing her in a warm settle near the stove, he knelt him----spare him.'
by her side, and passing his arm affectionately round Hark!' he cried abruptly; "the wolves bark over her waist, with an endearing kiss welcomed her to her the dead deer; they will eat his flesh too, and the Swedish home. snow will bury his bones. Look !' and turning the direction of his deer, the pulta flew round, and held a course in the track of the sledge, which the next
COMET S. moment was seen bursting out of a dense scud, bearing We were leaving Byculla Church, after eveningdown in full career, with such an impetus, that all service, one Sunday in the spring of 1843, when the Tueta's skill was needed to avoid a collision. They first comet we ever saw was presented to our eyes. dashed past with a velocity that carried them again Its whereabouts was announced to us in a very startbeyond the sight or sound of each other; but at the instant of recognition, and while in midway, both men ling manner by the cry of a child who was with us: levelled their rifles, and fired; and though Gertruda Mamma! there is a fiery sword in the heavens!' strove to discover whether her husband was hurt, such
Bending from beneath the carriage-lood in some was the speed at which they flew, that the sledge consternation, we beheld the most glorious apparition was beyond her sight before she could form an our eyes had ever dwelt on-a comet, and such a opinion. Tueta was apparently unbarmed, for he comet! a small nucleus, bright and clear, and a tail directly reloaded his piece, and stood silent and which, scimitar-shaped, swept over half the heavens, motionless, as the pulta dashed onward on its altered and dipped its slender point in the western sea. course.
At length, as if awaking from a dream, the Lap Even now we can see by the eye of memory the white shook his head, and looked keenly round the horizon. radiance of that delicate splendour. It was of most Not discovering the object he sought, he put about transparent light-one could see through it the stars of the pulta, and the deer started in an opposite direc- Orion quivering as through a milky haze. The visit tion with redoubled speed. After many bends and of this glorious stranger was a surprise to the Eurounsuccessful tacks over the pathless snow, his prac- pean population of Bombay; the natives—at least all tised eye at last discovered the sledge emerging from to whom we spoke-expected it. When we asked our the scud. Tueta instantly raised his rifle, and taking Parsee Arjeesia, what he thought of it, he replied: deliberate aim at the approaching figure, fired. The next moment, the piece fell from his hands, and with Much fine comet, Ma'am Salib. People knew he was out a sigh, or the slightest indication of pain, the Lap coming. Great empire going to fall.' dropped heavily over the front of the pulta, as his
The superstition put us in mind of the similar one foremost deer, pierced by a ball from the sledge, fell of Europe in the middle ages, with allusions to which dead, bringing the vehicle to a sudden halt. So swiftly the pages of the old dramatists are full. 'At my nativity,' says Owen Glendower, the front of heaven are with our next-door neighbours the planets, or was full of fiery shapes.' And again, in Julius Cæsar, even with the aristocracy of fixed stars beyond, but Shakspeare makes Calphurnia, with the feeling of his we do know something from actual and recent research age as well as of hers, say:
and experiment, and that we mean to tell.
And first-rare visitors as the comets are to us, When beggars die, there are no comets seenThe heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. Kepler tells us that there are more comets in the
they are, nevertheless, a very large tribe in themselves. How did these unlearned Asiatics forebode the regions of space than fishes in the depths of the ocean. coming of the comet, of which European science was They have not, as the stars, a striking family-likeness, ignorant? One cannot tell; but one thing is certain, but vary in appearance so much, that a description the Chinese have ever had a peculiar sympathy with of one of them could only be applied with caution to these long-tailed strangers; they traced the starry another. “The faintest telescopic comets are generally path of each of those visible to them through every devoid of visible tails, and resemble Herschel's nebulous separate constellation, more than five hundred years stars.' This is the most simple type ; but we cannot before the Christian era. They call the tail of a comet be sure, therefore, that these are infantine specimens its - brush ;' and were the first to observe and record a of the perfect meteor, as they may just as probably fact which was not known in Europe till the sixteenth be the remains of older cosmical bodies exhausted by century-that is, that the tail is always turned away exhalation. In the larger comets, we can distinguish from the sun, so that their line of prolongation passes the head or nucleus, and the single or even double tail. through its centre. It might, therefore, have been | The head presents no definite outline, except in a few from Chinese science that the Parsee and Hindoo were rare cases, when it appears as a star of the first or led to expect my comet. How beautiful it was, and second magnitude, as did that of our personal friend how we used to sit and watch it from the house-top of 1843. Doubtless, this indicates, in the case of these on those delicious starry nights! We were told by individuals, a greater thickness of mass, capable of some officers who came just then from England, that reflecting light in greater intensity. The tails are there it looked only like a cloudy star, and the eye had sometimes single, sometimes double; frequently their to seek for it before it could be perceived. We were branches are of different lengths—in one instance, in sorry that the eyes most dear to us could not rest 1744, a comet appeared with a six-branched tail, the on its glorious beauty also; but stranger as it was, we whole forming an angle of 60 degrees. The tails are grew quite to love it and look for it, and were pained straight or curved, and sometimes appear even like a when its place knew it no more, and it had vanished flame in motion, and are of all sizes. The tail of the into space. Comets go away for such long periods one seen in 1618 measured 104 degrees ! of time, generally, that we can scarcely ever hope to The mass of a comet is smaller than that of any greet them again. We have heard since that our other cosmical body, indeed insignificant in combright visitor was even more resplendent in North parison, though never yet in any case precisely America, for it was seen in daylight, in dazzling ascertained; but they occupy much more space, their sunshine, at New Bedford, Massachusetts, on the 28th tails extending over many millions of miles. "The of February, the distance of the very dense nucleus cone of luminous vapour,' says Humboldt, which from the sun's light admitting of being measured with radiates from a comet, has been found in some casesmuch exactness. We ourselves have traced it as a as in 1680 and 1811-to equal the length of the earth's fleecy cloud upon the eastern sky, before the daylight distance from the sun, forming a line that intersects had quite faded; but the sun of India allows of no the orbits both of Venus and Mercury. It is even rival in its noonday dominion.
probable that the vapour of the tails of comets mingled We have been led into this reminiscence of the with our atmosphere in the years 1819 and 1823. Can comet of 1843, by hearing of the strange commotion any of our readers remember if those years were espeand apprehension which the expected visitor of 1857 cially hot? for we have some small misgiving as to is creating in some parts of Europe, and even in great heat this approaching summer, in consequence England. A friend wrote to us the other day,
of the expected bright one.
The variations in form which occur in comets are that the shoemakers of the county town had left many and frequent. The comet seen by Hensius at off work, expecting, like others, that the 13th of St Petersburg in 1744, had a well-defined tuft of rays June was to see the end of the world; and being emanating from that part of the nucleus or head which determined, they said, to enjoy the last month of their was turned towards the sun; and these, bending backexistence! Now, though we cannot assuredly say wards, formed a part of the tail. The nucleus of that combustion by a comet is impossible for the Halley's comet, 1835, resembled a burning rocket, the orbit of Biela’s comet intersects that of the earth, and end of which was turned sidewise by the force of the might, therefore, as Humboldt observes, be productive sive nights, as they were watched by M. Arago and
wind. The rays assumed different forms on succesof danger-still, the chances are so greatly against it, Humboldt from the Paris Observatory. The comet of that we felt convinced ourselves we should experience 1823 had two tails in opposite directions, one turned no evil consequences from the coming visitor. As, towards the sun, the other from it, forming with each however, everything mysterious or indistinct to our other an angle of 160 degrees. mind has a certain awfulness and shadow of fear With regard to the light of comets-an important about it, we purpose to lay before the general reader question when the burning of the earth is dreaded some facts concerning these fiery denizens of the sky, ment called the polariscope, have informed us that it
from it—the experiments of M. Arago with an instruwhich may render them more familiar objects to our is principally reflected. On the 3d of July 1819,' says imaginations: not that we know a great deal of the Humboldt, Arago made the first attempt to analyse comets; we are not at all, not even the wisest of our the light of comets by polarisation, on the evening of the astronomers, on such intimate terms with them as we sudden appearance of the great comet. I was present