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way of acquainting them with the supply of Bibles and New Testaments that had arrived, except by sending an express to the different corners, or travelling myself around the coast. The latter mode I preferred, on various accounts, as 1 should thereby have it in my power to ascertain the actual wants of the people in a spiritual point of view; leave copies as specimens on passing along; visit the different sea-ports to which copies of the Scriptures had been forwarded from Copenhagen, and make the necessary arrangements with the merchants and others for their circulation in the vicinity; and especially as there was reason to hope that, by the blessing of God, on my conversation with such of the clergy as should fall in my way, I might be the humble instrument of stirring them up to greater diligence and zeal in the work of the Lord, by informing them of the present appearances with respect to religion abroad, the lively interest which Christians of all denominations take in its diffusion, and the energetic and successful means employed by them for that purpose.'
The plan determined on was,' to proceed directly across the 'desert and uninhabited tract in the interior, to the northern parts 'of the island, and then pursue the route along the coast.' No time was to be lost; horses were immediately purchased, at a very small cost, compared with English prices ; and on the 26th of July, our Author set oil", with the valuable advantage of accompanying Captain Von Scheel, one of the Danish othcers employed in surveying the coast, who was making this journey to join his family at a northern station, and was qualified to communicate much useful information.
It must be iu nn extremely cursory way that we note a very few of the remarkable circumstances and appearances, occurring in so crowded a series through almost every stage of the long progress, as to place this work in the very foremost rank for novelty and interest, of the multitude of recent books of travels.
The journey across the island, in a north east direction, from Reykiavik to the factory of Akur-eyri, on the inlet of the northern ooean, named Eyaliord, employee! about ten days; during which, the demauds on the faculties concerned in the emotions of surprise, admiration, astonishment, were somewhat more than enough for any temperately regulated mind of mortal man. The formidable descent, as by a rugged and natural staircase, through the chasm of Almannagta, * where the solid masses of 'burnt rock have been disrupted, so as to form a fissure, or 'SaP» not less than a hundred and eighty feet deep, in many 'places nearly of the same width, and about three miles in 'length,'—was the avenue to the plain of Thingvalla. Here the supreme court of justice for the island was held for nearly nine centuries, ending at the year 1800, when the dreadful convulsions which the vicinity had suffered from earthquakes were made a pretext for its removal to Reykiavik, where it is now held. ' Previously to the year 1690, it was held in the open air, 'surrounded by a scenery the wildest and most horrific of any 'in nature, and awfully calculated to add to the terrors of Jus* tice.' Several narrow, and in some parts unfathomable chasms, were shewn to the travellers, and across one, of which the depth and width are not mentioned, they were obliged to pass, on a' natural bridge, consisting of a thin crust of lava, little 'more than two feet in breadth.' A halt at a cottage on thft margin of the Thingvalla Luke, gives occasion for a minute and curious description of the modes and terms of salutation, (bearing a strong resemblance to the oriental, as described in the Old Testament,) at the meeting and the parting with an Iceland family.
Several jets of boiling water, of a strongly sulphureous quality, with their volumes of steam, which would be extremely remarkable objects in any ordinary tract of the world, were but comparatively insignificant precursors to those sublime phenomena, the Geysers, which have acquired, by means of a number of works on Iceland, (especially the recent ones of Mr. Hooker and Sir G. Mackenzie,) a distinguished place in the imagination of the persons whose minds have been taken possession of by a select assemblage of the most magnificent images of this world's wonders:—images of the most stupendous cataracts, and caverns, and glaciers, and volcanos, images which haunt them, which excite sometimes their envy of the favoured adventurers who have beheld the realities, and which unfortunately tend to flatten the effect of the otherwise striking realities which they may themselves have the opportunity of beholding.
The Traveller saw nt a very considerable distance, in his approach, an eruption of the Great Geyser,* and was drawn Ob with impetuous emotion towards the scene of so mighty and mysterious an agency.
'Ascending the rampart we had the spacious basin at our feet* more than half filled with the most beautiful hot crystalline water, which was but just mox'ed by a gentle ebullition, occasioned by the escape of steam from a cylindrical pipe or funnel in the centre. This pipe I ascertained by admeasurement to be seventy-eight feet in perpendicular depth; its diameter is in general from eight to ten feet, but near the mouth it gradually widens, and opens almost imperceptibly into the basin, the inside of which exhibits a whitish surface, consisting of a siliceous incrustation, which has been rendered almost perfectly smooth by the incessant action of the boiling water.'
* • The very appropriate term Geyser,' says Dr. H. 'is derived 'from the Icelandic geysa, "to rage, burst forth with vehemence •and impetuosity."'
The whole declivity on the outside of the bank or mound vhieh encircles the basin, is described as covered with ' a beautiful siliceous etHoresence, rising in small granulated clusters, which bear the most striking resemblance to the heads of cauliflowers, and, while wet, are of so extremely delicate a contexture, that it is hardly possible to remove them in a perfect state.' After a comparative quiet of a number of hours, the •xpocting observer's fortitude (we have doubt of the correctness •I" this word) was summoned by unequivocal intimations.
'I heard reports which were both louder and more numerous than he preceding, and exactly resembled the distant discharge of a park >f artillery. Concluding from these circumstances that the long expected wonders were about to commence, I ran to the mound, which shook violently under my feet, and I had scarcely time to look into ;he basin, when the fountain exploded, and instantly compelled mc to retire to a respectful distance on the windward side. The water rushed up out of the pipe with amazing velocity, and was projected by irregular jets into the atmosphere, surrounded by immense volumes of steam, which, in a great measure, hid the column from the view. The first four or five jets were inconsiderable, not exceeding fifteen or twenty feet in height; these were followed by one about fifty feet, which was succeeded, by one considerably lower; after which came the last, exceeding all the rest in splendour, which rose at least to the height of seventy feet. The large stones which we had previously thrown into the pipe were ejaculated to a great height, especially one, which was thrown much higher than the water.' 'The great body of the column (at least ten feet in diameter) rose perpendicularly, but was divided into a number of the most superb curvated ramifications; and several smaller sproutings were severed from it, and projected in oblique directions, to the no small danger of the spectator, who is apt to get scalded, ere he is aware, by the falling jet.'
After the cessation, he descended into the basin, and found the water to be 18;$° of Fahrenheit,' a temperature,' he says, 4 of 'more than twenty degrees less than at any period while the basiii 'was filling (previously to the explosion), and occasioned, 1 sup'pose, by the cooling of the water during its projection into the 4 air.'
At the distance of a hundred and forty yards to the south of this grand fountain, is that which has been denominated the At'» Geyser, the rival action of which our Author was awaked the next morning to behold.
• It is scarcely possible, however, to give any idea of the brilliancy and grandeur of the scene which caught my eye on drawing aside the curtain of my tent. From an orifice nine feet in diameter, which lay directly before me, at the distance of about a hundred yards, a column of water, accompanied with prodigious volumes of steam, was erupted with inconceivable force, and a tremendously roaring noise, to varied heights, of from fifty to eighty feet, and threatened to darken the horizon, though brightly illumined by the morning sun. During the first quarter of an hour I found it impossible to move from my knees, on which I had raised myself, but poured out my soul in solemn adoration to the Almighty Author of nature.1
The jets of water having subsided, their place was occupied by spray and steam, which, having free room to play, ruslied with a deafening roar to a height little inferior to that of the ; water. The largest stones that could be found, being thrown in, to the orifice, they were instantly projected to a prodigious i height; ' and some of them that were cast up more perpendicu'larly than the others, remained for four or five minutes within * the influence of the steam, being successively ejected and fulling 'again in a very amusing manner.' The Author adds: 'While 'I kept my station on the same side with the sun, a most bril'liant circular bow, of a large size, appeared on the opposite 'side of the fountain; and, on changing sides, having the foun'tain between me and the sun, I discovered another, if possible, 'still more beautiful, but so small as only to circle my head. 'Their lines entirely resembled those of the common rainbow.' The crater of this Geyser, about nine feet in diameter, and fortyfour deep, does not descend so perpendicularly as that of the other, is not regularly circular, and does not widen into a basin at the top. It is denominated the New Geyser for the good reason that the commencement of its action, on any great scale, was as late as the year 1780. A dreadful earthquake in that year, imposed perpetual peace on another magnificent agent of the same order, at a small distance, where its cavity is still seen. , But the mighty power of the subterraneous fire was not to be defrauded or beguiled; and within the same year began the grand operations of this New Geyser, which assumed, with the honours which the other had snrrendered, its denomination also of Strockr.
A succession of these brilliant eruptions ; took place during the time the travellers kept their encampment in the vicinity. In one, of the greater fountain, some of the jets were judged to ascend a hundred feet, and the period of action was more than eight minutes, which, however, is a duration much shorter than that of the explosions of the New Geyser. The most majestic exhibition awaited the morning of their departure, when both these unparalleled fountains were in action at once.
In the following year, the Author again pitched his tent for two days beside them, and saw the column of the Great Geyser rise to a hundred and fifty feet. It was an exceedingly remarkable circumstance of this latter visit, that, by an experiment made in the first instance unthinkingly, he found it possible to provoke the New Geyser to a premature repetition of its thundering explosion, and with such an augmentation of its fury as to throw
the boiling element to nearly double the most usual elevation of the column. Certainly, it were desirable there had been time to verify so strange a principle of its agency by a greater number of experiments; but the fact, taken only to the extent of the evidence afforded to Dr. Henderson, gives a strong presumption of such a law of operation as adds darker mystery to the subterraneous economy. We will give our Author's own relation.
'The morning after my arrival I was awakened by its explosion abouc twenty minutes past four o'clock; and hastening to the crater, stood nearly half an hour contemplating its jet, and the steady and uninterrupted emission of the column of spray which followed, and which was projected at least a hundred feet into the air. After this, it gradually sunk into the pipe, as it had done the year before, and I did not expect to see another eruption till the following morning. However, about five o'clock in the afternoon, after a great quantity of the largest stones that could be found about the place had been thrown into the spring, I observed it begin to roar with more violence than usual; and, approaching the brink of the crater, I had scarcely time to look down to the surface of the water, which was greatly agitated, when the eruption commenced, and the boiling water rushed up in a moment, within an inch or two of my face, and continued its course with inconceivable velocity into the atmosphere. Having made a speedy retreat, I now took my station on the windward side, and was astonished to observe the elevation of the jets, some of them rising higher than turn hundred feet; many of the fragments of stones were thrown much higher, and some of considerable size were raised to an invisible height. For some time every succeeding jet seemed to surpass the preceding, till, the quantity of water in the subterraneous caverns being spent, they gave place to the column of steam, which continued to rush up with a deafening roar for nearly an hour.
* The periodical evacuation of Strockr having been deranged by this violent experiment, no symptoms whatever of a fresh eruption appeared the following morning. As I wished, however, to see it play once more before I bade an everlasting adieu to these wonders of nature, and, especially, being anxious to ascertain the reality of my supposed discovery, I got my servant to assist me, about eight o'clock, in casting all the loose stones We could find into the spring. We had not ceased five minutes when the wished for phenomena recommenced, and the jets were carried to a height little inferior to what they had gained the preceding evening.'
It will be obvious that the experiments would have been more decisive, if the intervals had been shorter between the throwing in of the stones and the preceding eruptions.
The whole vicinity of these two magnificent fountains, seems perforated with boiling springs, several of which have their imitative and beautiful eruptions, and would he admired objects but for the transcendent supremacy of the chiefs.
At Holura, the last inhabited station in the advance upon the