« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
the Walachian and myself, and to the evident relief and joy of our timorous companion.
Well, I have passed three hours in a very pleasurable way-steam-engines, printing-presses, microscopes, magnets, orreries, machinery, paintings, Daguerreotype pictures, and scientific apparatus of all kinds have been inspected, lectures listened to, and some attention paid to the manners of the ever-varying company that throng the place; and now, with my catalogue in my hand, before I quit the place, I will just take a glance at such things in the exhibition as a stranger will do well to regard. Though his taste and mind may not altogether agree, yet still my homely remarks may be useful.
Hear what lectures you can, whether on the steamengine, natural philosophy, chemistry, aërostation, or the chemical Daguerreotype and electrotype arts; and be sure to see the oxyhydrogen microscope and dissolving views, not forgetting afterwards to reflect on what you have heard and seen.
Have an eye to the dock-yard scene attached to the canals in the great hall: go down in the diving-bell, if you are curious in such matters and not fearful. Pass not by without a pause at that model of the Undercliff of the Isle of Wight. Look at the paintings on glass copied from Martin's celebrated pictures, and as the porphyry table is valued at three thousand pounds, and the porcelain table cost Napoleon Buonaparte twelve thousand, you will hardly expect to find them unworthy of
In the hall of manufactures there are lathes, braiding and twisting machines, power-loom and warping
will find many
mills, and a copper-plate printing press at work. See them all. In the gallery of the Great Hall
you things to engage your attention. That Coorg knife and Hindoostanee dagger are ugly weapons: they remind me of a dagger of the king of Lattakoo, once showed to me, which was said to have shed the heart's blood of not less than three of his wives. Oh that mankind would destroy their weapons of cruelty, and dwell together in affection!
The card model of the Thames Tunnel; the shirt made in the Philippine islands from the abacas palmtree; the granite idol from St. Domingo; the agricultural implements; Crosley's pneumatic telegraph ; the photogenic drawings; the hydrostatic bed; the flying windmill; specimens of cloth four thousand years old; a Guiana wasps' nest; and the geological specimens, must not be neglected : but these are but a very few of the very many things of a curious kind that are here collected together.
The Great Hall abounds with articles of interest; fire alarums; fire escapes; stomach pumps; diving bell; diving dress and helmet; skulls of the elephant, hippopotamus, tiger, alligator, walrus, and wild boar; acoustic chair ; water elevator ; with specimens, maps and models of all kinds: but I might go on for an hour, and still have enough to describe. When you have leisure, go to the Royal Adelaide Gallery and the Royal Polytechnic Institution: keep your eyes
your ears open, and afterwards reflect on what has been submitted to your attention, and you will have reason to be grateful for the knowledge and ingenuity that the Father of mercies has delegated to mankind.
Well would it be if we were more ready than we are to remember and acknowledge that every faculty of our bodies and souls is the gift of God, instead of extolling our own acquirements and boasting of our own attainments ! What are we, and what are our doings, compared with the High and Lofty One, and the mighty works he has performed! Our riches, on such a comparison, are but poverty ; our knowledge, ignorance; and our wisdom, folly. Let us offer to God thanksgiving," for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things to whom be glory for ever," Rom. xi. 36.
It is said, “that a man may be known by the company he keeps," and it might be added, by the places he frequents also; but though this latter observation may be generally correct, it is scarcely applicable to the frequenters of Westminster Abbey.
The portals of this far-famed cathedral are entered by persons of opposite characters; the rich and the poor go there, the gay and the grave, the learned and the ignorant, the infidel and the lowly believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Here, on the sunshiny days of summer, come people from the country, who, having visited London to see what is wonderful, naturally enough, come to Westminster Abbey. It is near the parliament houses; it is a grand building; every body goes there; and
they must give an account when they return to those who have never wandered so far from home as London's 66 faire citie.”
These are all valid and substantial reasons why the Abbey should be visited. They gaze around with holiday feelings; listen with good-humoured wonderment to the marvellous description of the attendant · who describes the place, and quit the venerable pile in quest of another London - lion."
În blithesome mood they visit every spot,
The mirthful party and the mournful tomb, Now and then drops in the country manufacturer, to pass away the half-hour he has to spare, before he keeps his appointment in the neighbourhood.
He enters with a somewhat impatient air ; he regards with a hasty glance the monuments of the dead : his watch is frequently consulted ; time flies apace, and “business must be attended to." He cuts a visit short that is a mere parenthesis in the page of his daily pursuits, and hurries off to receive the ready drawn bill, and take the expected order.
Then comes the soldier, who has long been taught to think that bravery is the highest virtue and that the effigied warriors, famous for the destruction wrought by them, have the fairest claim to an earthly immortality of renown: his bosom rises high at the sculptured implements of contention, the neighing war-horse, and the wreath of victory on the brow of the dying chieftain. Such would he be, and such the hatchment that he would desire to be erected over his mouldering bones. Oh that the sons of violence were seekers after peace, even that peace that passeth all understanding!
The learned student, deciphering the time-worn inscriptions; the antiquary, honouring the very dust that covers the mouldering memorials of departed greatness: the man of taste, enthusiastically attached to all that is excellent in human effort; and the poet with a mind rich in the knowledge of the impressive past, and the high-wrought creations of his imagination—these wander from one marble group to another, ardently gazing on them all: and Roubiliac, and Bacon, and Flaxman, and Nollekens, and Chantrey, and Westmacott
, by turns call forth their admiration.
Men from distant parts, and of varied languages ; females in fashionable attire, and London parties of both sexes, are frequently seen walking amid the longdrawn aisles, while one amongst the rest gifted with speech, runs over a few celebrated names ; praises the
pure gothic” of the place; and repeats a verse of Gray's elegy, which, though written in a country churchyard, is equally applicable to the ornamented abbey of a crowded city:
“ The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
Think not that I speak in derision or censure in thus glancing at the peculiarities of those who enter the Abbey of Westminster.
While noting down these reflections, I am standing among the living and the dead, and solemn feelings are gathering within me. The armed knight lying supine upon his tomb, his gauntleted hands raised in supplication; the pendant banners, once floating in the stormy blast of battle, but now hanging motionless; the piles