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be instantaneous, numerous, and probably comprising most of the political and literary talent, military renown, and commercial enterprise of the kingdom. All those who have come to Greece from the Turkish provinces and islands would certainly not hesitate to abandon so ungenial a stepmother, were their fatherland to become more free than it now is, or even were another portion of Greece of which they are not natives established on a more equitable footing. On investigation, it will be found that very few names which have become in any way distinguished belong to natives of the free kingdom, excepting always the gallant Hydriòtes—and they are a colony of Albanians from Epirus.
THE MEDITERRANEAN STAIRS.
BY MRS. CHARLTON.
Visitors to Gibraltar should never leave this interesting spot without ascending the stupendous rock, or they will lose the most magnificent view to be found in Europe. Still this feat can only be accomplished by good pedestrians, for there is no carriage-road, and only a part of the journey can be achieved on horseback. The celebrated rock is 1700 feet high, and the narrow pathway leading to the summit rough and stony. Does not this present an image of the career of ambition ? for all who seek to rise must encounter fatigue and toil,--none can win eminence without labour : “excellence is placed beyond the reach of indolence.”
The first striking point, after ascending some distance, is the burialground of the Jews, and in observing the Hebrew inscriptions on the tombstones in that lonely cemetery, I felt the resting-place of the sons of Israel was in singular accordance with their destiny and character. No pretty rural churchyard here receives their remains, for the blessed cross therein planted as a memorial of the immortal hopes of those who sleep in peace, is, even to this day, a mockery and a stumbling-block to the unhappy Jews; but on a flat portion of the desolate rock they are buried : and surely that impregnable rock is not more hard, obdurate, and unyielding, than this stiff-necked generation.
From this point the ascent is nearly perpendicular, and pedestrians begin to feel that the
But it is no use complaining when they are still so far away from the Mediterrannean Stairs ; and each side of the stony road is rendered attractive by the great number of wild flowers, often blooming unseen in this lofty region, presenting every variety of hue. The great charm consists in the beauty of the prospect, which no words can convey (for even a daguerreotype picture would give no adequate impression of its peculiar attractions), besides the various ideas excited by visiting the old places of the Old World. Here history appears suddenly verified-its long buried dead, or rather dim spectres, appear with all the freshness of actual life.
At length we arrived at one part of the rock where was inscribed in large letters, “ Mediterranean Road;" and this made us imagine we were near the celebrated stairs, but those more experienced asserted we were only
Sept.-VOL. LXXXVII. NO. CCCXLV.
approaching the locality. A short portion of our journey was now over ; we entered a level path covered with turf, at the end of which we found a long gallery excavated from the solid rock, and a curious triumph of engineering. On emerging from it, the first objects that met our view were two immense cannons, and the words engraved " Mediterranean Battery." Even this solitary and isolated spot, so elevated that it would seem only calculated for an eagle's eyrie, is darkened by the engines of destruction, and proves how the malignant passions of mankind penetrate to the innermost shrines of nature, intended by the great Creator as abodes of peace.
No doubt, from Gibraltar being the most important garrison in the world, it is quite fitting to have this Mediterranean battery; and we only deplored its necessity, while reposing on a pretty seat excavated from the rock, and musing on all around. But our reflections were soon disturbed by the necessity of proceeding upwards, and then we passed through another long gallery, which is a cool retreat from the burning rays of the southern sun. On the present occasion, however, this luminary was only shining with the mild lustre of a day in March ; and the balmy air, mingled with the ocean breeze, was at once mild and invigorating. The ascent became steeper and steeper every moment; it seemed we should never attain our object ; when suddenly one of the party exclaimed, “ Here are the Mediterranean Stairs !"
I looked up and saw the famous steps, 280 in number—on the average a foot each, but many are two feet high ; some carved out of the rock, and all so well placed that they are a triumph of ingenuity. On reaching the summit a glorious panorama blessed my sight, and the deep blue Mediterranean rolled before me in all its beauty. What charm could be equal to the first glance over the glad waters of that celebrated sea, unrivalled for its loveliness and historical associations ! How varied were the recollections that rushed upon my mind of the mighty past, when this famous sea bore triumphantly along the galleys of the Old World ! In various ages the coast of the Mediterranean has been rendered subservient to the advance of European civilisation. The early refinement of Egypt gave to Greece the first rudiments of arts and institutions ; the military spirit of Carthage, combined as it was with maritime enterprise, disciplined to foreign conquest the growing empire of Rome; the Christian Church, early established in the same part of the continent, sustained an important part in the formation of that of Western Europe; and the Mohammedan states, afterwards established on this coast, constituted a chain of communication by which, in a later period, the empire of the Arabians acted upon the modern system of the West. This instrumentality of the African coast appears, however, to have been guarded by the interposition of extensive deserts between it and the interior countries ; the progress of civilisation having been in this manner effectually diverted from wasting itself upon an African population, and directed towards the region in which it might be beneficially received.
The Mediterranean will ever conjure recollections respecting the lands of chivalry, romance, and history; for it is connected with those magical and memorable shores prized by every classical scholar. Nor will the immediate impression ever disappoint the remote expectation; for no inhabitant of our northern isle, accustomed to cloudy skies and the rough waves of the German ocean, can imagine the bright scene displayed by the
“ blue crystal of the seas” in the Mediterranean. This celebrated region of the globe must likewise recal to the English spectator thoughts of the naval supremacy of Great Britain, and the triumphs that have rendered our national flag glorious throughout the world. Who could forget Nelson being here in 1793?—which period is remarkable as the commencement of those twelve last years in his life throughout which he maintained a career of victory almost unparalleled in history. It was then he first was given the command of a ship, and appointed to the Agamemnon, after long seeking in vain the honourable employment so congenial to his stirring and active character. With a mortified and dejected spirit, he looked forward to a continuance of inactivity and neglect, unable to foresee the change a few short years would create in his destiny. Those who pine for a wider field of action should cease to despond, when they reflect that Nelson was long overwhelmed with melancholy in consequence of his humble fortunes and universal neglect ; for, as the Wise Man said, “ To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."
In the year 1793, when the eventful contest commenced between the commercial power of Great Britain, and the military strength of France, Nelson found the tide in his affairs had come; which he took at the flood, and truly, in his case, it led to fortune. From his youth upwards, his zealous character, both as an officer and man, had been formed in the old Anti-gallican school; and that at a time when the specious revolutionary principles of France had taught many of his countrymen to consider as prejudices what their ancestors had long cherished as the most salutary truths. The loyalty and patriotism of Nelson, therefore, uniformly displayed a marked abhorrence and detestation of the French character. Like Hannibal, he seemed to have taken an oath of eternal hostility against France on the altars of his country. Against that nation, whether as a republican, consular, or imperial power, we find his unceasing resistance, through a series of perilous and fatiguing services, with a shattered and emaciated frame, covered with honourable wounds, in the struggle to support the honour of his king and the independence of his country
Nelson's letters from the Mediterranean, when he first took the command of the Agamemnon, and visited Gibraltar, are highly interesting. He found the Spaniards as bad sailors in those days as they are at the present time, and thus describes them :
“ Soon after leaving the Rock we saw a fleet, and after forming our line, perceived them to be the Spanish fleet-twenty-four sail of the line. The Dons did not, after several hours' trial, form anything which could be called a line of battle ahead. However, after answering our private signals, the Spanish admiral sent down two frigates, acquainting him, that as their fleet was very sickly, they were going into Carthagena. The captain added, It was no wonder, for they had been sixty days at sea.' This speech appeared to us ridiculous, for we attribute our being so healthy to the circumstance of being a longer time at sea. If the Mediterranean was not beautiful
, yet there would be a spell to attract, from its name in history, and the long array of mighty shadows it conjures before the mind.
But no portion of the vast waters in the universe can present greater attractions to the sight, more especially the view beheld from the summit of Gibraltar. The sea broke in majestic
slowness at the foot of that great rock, which made a natural defence in this part of the island, where it presents a perpendicular wall of great height. The continual breaking of the waves in a gigantic surf was full of wild and grand simplicity. The rugged and bare rock was relieved against the rich blue sky of Andalusia ; its base disappeared in the midst of a cloud of snowy froth, always dashing up with a thunder-like sound, caused by the incessant and enormous mountains of water which break against the shore.
The bright sun of Spain, in the full meridian of its strength, cast a dazzling torrid light on the granite mass: there was not the slightest cloud in the sky. In the horizon appeared simultaneously the mountains of Barbary and the sierras of Iberia :
Europe and Afric on each other gaze. At some distance from the shore where the waves dashed so furiously the sea was calm as a mirror, and of a rich blue, recalling the tint of lapis lazuli. As far as the eye could reach, we beheld the glorious waters of the Mediterranean rolling onwards in calm and tranquil beauty; but it was more interesting to watch the billows dashing against the rock. We observed one spot where the force of the water had dashed away an immense natural grotto. The waves engulfed beneath this vault with terrific clamour, then fell in a cataract into a lower basin-wide, hollow, and deep. After some undulations, the waves became appeased, and formed in the midst of the rocks a small lake, which looked like a pure and lustrous gem ; the overflow of the lake was forced into the sea by some secret hole. Who would fail, when gazing from the summit of Gibraltar on this glorious view, to remember the lines which Byron has addressed to the vast and boundless main, so peculiarly applicable to this region of the globe!
Roll on, thou dark and deep blue ocean-roll !
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain.
Stops with the shore ; upon the watery plain
A shadow of man's ravage save his own,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
Has dried up realms to deserts : not so thou,
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow:
A DAY AT SYRACUSE IN SEPTEMBER, 1847.
BY WILLIAM ROBERTS HARRIS, ESQ.
My dreams of sometimes being on old Etna, at other times in the cave of Polyphemus and encountering numerous adventures with the Cyclops, were suddenly dispelled by Placido, who, roughly awaking me, and half blinding me with the lamp he carried, told me our carriage would be shortly ready for us. I immediately crept from under the mosquito curtains, which had proved but å sorry defence against those insidious parasites, and, after a bucket or two of cold water had been poured over me, dressed, and joined my friend at breakfast. partly engaged on the previous evening a muleteer to take us to Syracuse, but by the advice of our host Abate, and both my friend and myself feeling rather tired, stiff, and sore, from the ascent of Mount Etna and Sicilian saddles, we had countermanded the mules, and contracted with a voiturier to take us to Syracuse before sunset, at which time the gates are closed for the night. At six o'clock, having taken leave of our American friend, who was slightly unwell from the heat and fatigue of the last three days, we jumped into our vehicle, and amidst the addios and bows of Placido and his master Abate, who was anxious to load us with provisions, drove off, and were soon out of the town, and on the long straight dusty road that leads to Leutini. The morning was a lovely one, though at first rather chilly; and, as we lolled back in our really comfortable carriage with all that feeling of lassitude and love of repose which men have after much fatigue and exertion, we amused ourselves with talking over our adventures of the last few days, and laughing at the odd costumes and appearance of priests, farmers, peasants, and women, as; mounted on all sorts of quadrupeds, and at the usual shuffling pace, they hastened on their way to Catania to be in time for the market. Now was to be seen a fat, jolly-looking priest with an enormously large-brimmed hat, and that covered with a still larger umbrella, who, seated on a little bit of a donkey, the only parts of which that were visible being the head, ears, and legs, ambled quickly along, and jocularly addressed the various black-eyed damsels that he passed. Now came a fine handsome-looking man-proprietor, farmer, or perhaps something worse-who, dressed in black velvet and black slouched hat, and his legs protected by long boots, his face almost hid by an enormous pair of moustachios and long flowing beard, his gun slung on his back, down which streamed his long black hair, his pistols and knife stuck in his girdle, pricked his way among the crowd, mounted on a spirited Calabrian pony, which, notwithstanding that it carried, besides its master, two well-filled saddle-bags, a small portmanteau, and a whole heap of cloaks, journeyed along at a half-walk, halftrot, at a good six miles an hour. Now we passed a rough-looking peasant, wrapped in his black Sicilian cloak, and his head covered by the hood; who likewise carried his gun, and who, nearly hid by the quantity of clothes and household utensils that were piled around him, goaded on with his long spiked pole his wretched donkey, which seemed ready to drop with the weight it carried. Again was met a party of gentlemen, who, dressed in white jackets and trousers, with Leghorn hats on their heads, which were