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where, after covering the apex, they vanished as quickly as they had ascended. Their disappearance, however, did not in the slightest degree interrupt or diminish the splendour of the spectacle, and fresh volumes of cloud continued to roll

up in all kinds of fantastic shapes, and with the same brilliant effects.

These floating walls completely blocked out the sky, so that nothing could be seen of the blue vault of heaven or the countless stars. The eye could only behold the wonderful evolutions of masses of light, set in motion by an invisible hand, while the ear was enchained by majestic strains of harmony, with which the whole atmosphere resounded.

The Aurora was undiminished in brilliancy for several hours, but afterwards its motions were less rapid, the coruscations of light faded gradually away, and at two o'clock all had

deserves particular attention, because it shows us the electro-magnetic évolution of light as part of a meteorological process. The magnetism of the earth is here exhibited in all its influence on the atmosphere, and the condensation of vapour.” The clouds thus influenced by terrestrial magnetism, Humboldt calls “polar bands.”

vanished. The stars which up to that hour had been obscured or only partially visible, appeared in all their former glory; the moon shone brightly as it sailed over its clear azure path, and everything resumed its usual aspect.

Wishing to ascertain what the Berezovians, who have not the slightest knowledge of natural philosophy, thought of the Aurora, I made inquiries with this view. The explanation I obtained from the wisest among them was that the waves of the Arctic Ocean, reflecting the light of the moon, threw back a radiance on the sky, whence arose all the effects of the Aurora.

CHAPTER XVI.

Lieutenant Pim's proposed journey across Siberia –

Difficulties of its execution as stated by the Russian Government Rebellon of a Samoied chief — His capture at Obdorsk — Alarm at Berezov - Belief in witchcraft.

In considering the peculiar complexion of the events which are related in the present chapter, the Editor thinks he will be excused, if, in order to make the contents of the original text more fully understood and appreciated by the reader, he prefaces it with a few particulars connected with the expedition lately proposed by Lieutenant Pim to the north-east coast of Siberia, in search of Sir John Franklin, and the views

66 are

taken by the Russian authorities on the subject. What may have been the ulterior motives of the Imperial Government for discountenancing the project, we shall not stop to inquire, but the doubts at St. Petersburg, as to the possibility of carrying the undertaking into effect, appear to be genuine and well-founded.

“ These doubts," as Baron Brunnow expressed in his letter to Sir Roderick Murchison, more than mere conjectures: they amount almost to a certainty.” But it may be doubted whether the subsequent assertion be entitled to equal credit, that “under these circumstances it was not to be expected that the Imperial Government should be induced to put in jeopardy the life of a British officer, sacrificing his safety to a bold experiment, without any reasonable chance of success,” though, as to the obstacles to a journey through Siberia, the Baron's testimony is fully borne out by the description our author gives of that Arctic wilder

These obstacles are not only immense, but at certain seasons of the year are absolutely insurmountable. Had Lieutenant Pim been permitted to make the attempt, he would have

ness.

had to cross tracts of pathless snow, and in spring, swollen rivers and inundations, impenetrable forests, and ravines swarming with venomous reptiles, and rapacious wild beasts, with no succour within reach, and hostile tribes of

fierce and lawless aborigines to encounter at every stage. Add to this, the depredations and knavery of the perfidious Russian settlers, always alert to prey on the stranger. Siberia is not a country to travel or to live in. To bear its discomforts without repining, one must be born there, or inured by long custom to the mode of living

The Russian authorities at St. Petersburg, appear to have been so little prepared for such an expedition as that proposed by Lieutenant Pim, that they were startled with amazement at the enterprise. After expressing the Emperor's and their own admiration of his noble devotedness, they proceed, in their report, to make the following observations.

· But, unfortunately, between the conception of such a project and its realization, physical difficulties and insurmountable obstacles exist, which Mr. Pim, guided by his generous devotion,

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