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called and requested that he would compose as speedily as possible, a requiem to soothe the last hours of a dying prince. He left double the price Mozart asked to insure expedition. The composer began his work, in the progress of which he felt his mind unusually agitated. He employed not only the day but much of the night in the composition of it, with which he seemed to be infatuated. He wrote portions of it after he was no longer able to rise from his bed, and told his wife he was writing it for himself. It was arranged that it should be performed in his chamber, but the performance had not proceeded far, when he was so affected by it, the musicians desisted. He finished it on the day of his death, and speaking to his wife, with tears in his eyes, he said, “Did I not tell you I was writing this for myself ?" Mozart died in his thirtyFOWLING IN THE ORKNEYS. 1. Many of the islands which stud the sea around the north and west coasts of Scotland are remarkable for the stern grandeur of their precipitous cliffs. One might almost imagine that the surges of the mighty Atlantic, dashing against them for ages with unbroken fury, had undermined their solid foundations, and worn for themselves numerous passages, leaving only columnar rocks of vast height, detached from one another, though of similar formation and construction.
extempore, on the spur of the
moment. Sistine Chapel, where the car
dinals meet in conclave to
elect a pope.
Salzburg, a town in Upper
Austria 156 miles
Vienna. harpsichord, a musical instru
ment with strings of wire played by means of keys; a kind of
old form of piano. minuets, slow dance music. counterpoint, harmony of parts
to a melody, so called because harmony was formerly noted
by points. Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Versailles, near Paris.
premature, very early, or before
it might be expected. overture, the preliminary music
to an opera. requiem, a solemn piece of music
suitable for a death-bed or a
funeral. infatuated, uncontrolled by
At what age did Mozart show an interest in music? What were his musical abilities at the age of five years? What wonderful feats did he accomplish in England? Describe his great accomplishment at Rome. When was his requiem written? Describe some of the circumstances.
. Such a rock is the Holm of Noss, apparently severed from the isle of Noss, from which it is about a hundred feet distant; but the cliffs are of stupendous height, and far below in the narrow gorge, the raging sea boils and foams, so that the beholder can scarcely look downwards without horror. But stern necessity impels men to enterprises from which the boldest would otherwise shrink. To obtain a scanty supply of coarse food for himself and family, the hardy inhabitant of the Orkneys dares even the terrors of the Holm of Noss.
3. In a small boat, with a companion or two, he seeks the base of the cliffs; and leaving them below, he fearlessly climbs the precipice, and gains the summit. thin stratum of earth is found on the top, into which he drives some strong stakes; and having descended and performed the same operation on the opposite cliff, he stretches the rope from one to the other, and tightly fastens it. On this rope a sort of basket, called a cradle, is made to traverse, and the adventurous islander now commits himself to the frail car, and, suspended between sea and sky, hauls himself backward and forward by means of a line.
4. And do you ask what prize can tempt man to incur
such fearful hazard ? It is the
of a scabird, the fishy taste and oily smell of whose flesh would present little gratification to any whose senses were not made obtuse by necessity. The gannets and guillemots dwell in countless myriads on these naked rocks, laying their eggs and rearing their progeny wherever the surface presents a ledge sufficiently broad to hold them. Their immense numbers render them an object of importance to the inhabitants of these barren islands, who derive from them, either in a fresh state or salted and dried, a considerable portion of their sustenance.
5. In some other situations the fowlers have recourse to a still more hazardous mode of procedure. The cliffs are sometimes twelve hundred feet in height, and fearfully overhanging. If it is determined to proceed from above, the adventurer prepares a rope, made either of straw or of hog's bristles, because these materials are less liable to be cut through by the sharp edge of the rock. Having fastened the end of the rope round his body, he is lowered down by a few comrades at the top to the depth of five or six hundred feet. He carries a large bag affixed to his waist, and a pole in his hand, and wears on his head a thick cap, as a protection against the fragments of rock which the friction of the rope perpetually loosens; large masses, however, occasionally fall and dash him to pieces.
6. Having arrived at the region of birds he proceeds with the utmost coolness and address; placing his feet against a ledge he will occasionally dart many fathoms into the air to obtain a better view of the crannies in which the birds are nestling, take in all the details at a glance, and again shoot into their haunts. He takes only the eggs and young birds, the old ones being too tough to be eaten. Caverns often occur in the perpendicular face of the rock, which are favourite resorts of the fowls; but the only access to such situations is by disengaging himself from the rope, and either holding the end in his
hand, while he collects his booty, or fastening it round some projecting corner.
7. A story is told of an individual, who, either from choice or necessity, was accustomed to go alone on these expeditions. He supplied the wants of confederates above by firmly planting a stout iron bar in the earth, from which he lowered himself. One day having found such a cavern as is mentioned above, this fowler imprudently disengaged the rope from his body, and entered the cave with the end of it in his hand. In the eagerness of collecting, however, he slipped his hold of the rope, which immediately swung out several yards beyond his reach.
8. The poor man was struck with horror; no soul was within hearing, nor was it possible to make his voice heard in such a position; the edge of the cliff so projected that he never could be seen from the top, even if anyone were to look for him; death seemed inevitable, and he felt the hopelessness of his situation. He remained many hours in a state bordering on stupefaction; at length he resolved to make one effort, which, if unsuccessful, must be fatal. Having commended himself to God he rushed to the margin of the cave, and, springing into the air, providentially succeeded in grasping the pendulous rope, and was saved.
9. Sometimes it is thought preferable to make the attempt from below; in this case, several approach the base in a boat; and the most dexterous, bearing a line attached to his body, essays to climb, assisted by his comrades, who push him from below with a pole. When he has gained a place where he can stand firmly, he draws up another with his rope, and then another, until all are up, except one left to manage the boat. They then proceed in exactly the same manner to gain a higher stage, the first climbing and then drawing up the others; and thus they ascend till they arrive at the level of the birds, when they collect and throw down their booty to the boat.
10. Sometimes the party remains several days on the expedition, sleeping in the crannies and caverns. This mode is attended with peculiar hazard; for, as a man often hangs suspended merely from the hands of a single comrade, it occasionally happens that the latter cannot