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than did some of the people of Cromarty when gazing at these lights.

Day after day vessels from the Baltic came sailing up the bay, and the fears of the people, exposed to so continual a friction, began to wear out. The first terror, however, had been communicated to the nearer parishes, and from them to the more remote; and so on it went, escorted by a train of vagabond stories, that, like felons flying from justice, assumed new aspects at every stage. The whole country talked of nothing but Cholera and the Quarantine port. Such of the shopkeepers of Cromarty as were most in the good graces of the countrywomen who come to town laden with the produce of the dairy, and hen-cot, and return with their little parcels of the luxuries of the grocer, experienced a marked falling away in their trade. Occasionally, however, a few of the more courageous housewives might be seen creeping warily along our streets; but, in coming in by the road which passes along the edge of the bay, they invariably struck up the hill if the wind blew from off the quarantine vessels, and, winding by a circuitous route among the fields and cottages, entered the town on the opposite side. A lad who ran errands to a neighbouring burgh, found that few of the inhabitants were so desperately devoted to business as to incur the risk of receiving the messages he brought them; and, from the inconvenient distance at which he was held by even the less cautious, he entertained serious thoughts of providing himself with a speaking-trumpet. Our poor fishermen, too, fared but badly in the little villages of the frith where they went to sell their fish. It was asserted on the very best authority, by the villagers, that dead bodies were flung out every day over the sides of the quarantine vessels, and might be seen, bloated by the water and tanned yellow by disease, drifting along the surface of the bay. Who could eat fish in such circumstances? There was one person, indeed, who remarked to them, that he might perhaps venture on eating a haddock or whiting; but no man in his senses, he said, would venture on eating a cod. He himself had once found a bunch of furze in the stomach of a fish of this species, and what might not that throat contrive to swallow that had swallowed a bunch of furze? The very fishermen themselves added to the general terror by their wild stories. They were rowing homewards one morning, they said, in the grey uncertain light which precedes

sunrise, along the rough edge of the northern Sutor, when, after doubling one of the rocky promontories which jut into the sea from beneath the crags of the hill, they saw a gigantic figure, wholly attired in white, winding slowly along the beach. It was much taller than any man, or, as Cowley would have perhaps described it, than the shadow of any man in the evening; and at intervals, after gliding round the base of some inaccessible cliff, it would remain stationary for a few seconds, as if gazing wistfully upon the sea. No one who believed this apparition to be other than a wreath of vapour, entertained at the time the slightest doubt of its portending the visitation of some terrible pestilence, which was to desolate the country.-HUGH MILLER.

THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM.

When marshall'd on the nightly plain,
The glittering host bestud the sky;
One star alone, of all the train,

Can fix the sinner's wandering eye.

Hark! hark! to God the chorus breaks,
From every host, from every gem;
But one alone the Saviour speaks,
It is the Star of Bethlehem.

Once on the raging seas I rode,

The storm was loud-the night was dark,
The ocean yawn'd-and rudely blow'd

The wind that toss'd my foundering bark.

Deep horror then my vitals froze,

Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem;
When suddenly a star arose,-

It was the Star of Bethlehem.

It was my guide, my light, my all,
It bade my dark forebodings cease;

And through the storm, and danger's thrall,
It led me to the port of peace.

Now safely moor'd-my perils o'er,
I'll sing, first in night's diadem,
For ever and for evermore,

The Star!-the Star of Bethlehem!

-H. K. WHITE.

THE BETTER LAND.

"I hear thee speak of the better land;
Thou call'st its children a happy band:
Mother! O where is that radiant shore?
Shall we not seek it, and weep no more?
Is it where the flower of the orange blows?
And the fireflies dance thro' the myrtle boughs?"
"Not there, not there, my child!"

Is it where the feathery palm-trees rise,
And the date grows ripe under many skies?
Or 'midst the green islands on glittering seas,
Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,
And strange bright birds on their starry wings,
Bear the rich hues of all glorious things?"
"Not there, not there, my child!

"Is it far away, in some region old;
Where the rivers wander on sands of gold?
Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,
And the diamond lights up the secret mine,
And the pearl gleams forth from the coral strand,
Is it there, sweet mother, that better land?"
"Not there, not there, my child!

"Eye hath not seen it, my gentle boy!
Ear hath not heard its deep songs of joy;
Dreams cannot picture a world so fair:
Sorrow and death may not enter there :
Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom;
Far beyond the clouds and beyond the tomb,
It is there, it is there, my child!"

-MRS HEMANS.

WATER-FIRE.

It was

One of the mightiest agents in nature is WATER. required in great abundance, and most amply has it been provided. Human littleness is strikingly evinced when we contrast the goodliest canals and reservoirs of enterpris

ing man, with the waters of the great deep-simultaneously lashing so many shores, and encompassing so many kingdoms, and, we may say, the globe itself, in its awful universality. More than two-thirds of the surface of the earth are covered by the ocean, and the extent of dry land is farther limited by rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes.

The objection may be started, that there is too much

But an acquaintance with facts, and a just consideration of their bearings, teach us the reverse. We need not complain that the sea circumscribes our domains, as if we wanted room, when vast regions quite open to us are thinly peopled, and there remains so very much land to be possessed. The sea yields those exhalations which pass into dew and rain, and irrigate the earth; and if the effect be not excessive, we should not ascribe superabundance to the cause. That moisture is not to be considered superfluous which, flowing off from the fields, and descending into fissures, ravines, and valleys, becomes springs and rivers, impels machinery and introduces shipping, and after adorning many a landscape, and serving countless valuable purposes, mingles anew with the waters of the ocean. It is a wonderful system on which we are thus remarking. The blood of animals flows in containing vessels; so does the water, made artificially to supply towns; but, elevated by no forcing pump, the vapour rises from the sea, and, conducted by no tubes, it performs its vast and beneficent circuit with infallible regularity. The sanguineous circulation lasts only for a few years; this aqueous circulation is maintained without decay through innumerable ages.

Nor is the sea a blank to vitality-it is not all dead sea. It is not the Typhon of the Egyptians-a name which denoted with them the personation of evil, and which they applied censoriously to the sea, as being in their apprehension a barren sea, unproductive of vitality. Even the salt of the sea was an abomination to the Egyptians; and hence, perhaps, to "sow with salt" became a symbol of devastation in the imagery of Eastern writers. The sea is full of life, active and varied life. Who may

enumerate all its plants, and animals, and animalcules, and tell how its sands and rocks, and shallows and profounds, are adapted respectively to their different populations? "From materials furnished to him by the late antarctic expedition, Ehrenberg has ascertained that animalcules exist

even in the ice and snow of the polar sea, and that they are abundant not only in inland seas, and in the vicinity of land, but that the clearest and purest water, taken from the open sea, and far from land, is crowded with microscopic life. These minute organisms have been found living at the depth of 270 fathoms (1620 feet), and, consequently, subjected to a pressure equal to 50 atmospheres, (about 750 lbs. on each square inch of surface.)

The power of emitting light is possessed by several species of marine animals, among the polypes, annelids, crustacea, and mollusca. It was formerly a question, to what cause the luminosity of the sea was to be attributed? By some philosophers it was supposed to be owing to the decay of animal substances which it contained; while others conjectured that it arose from a kind of electricity peculiar to itself. These hypotheses are now abandoned, and it is universally admitted, that the phosphorescence of the sea is owing to that of its living inhabitants, more especially of those which belong to the present order (that of jelly-fish); and it has been found, that the species of medusæ most instrumental in producing the luminosity of the ocean are those which are the most minute." So largely are the vegetable and animal kingdoms represented in the sea, as to give confirmation to a saying of the ancients, that "whatever exists elsewhere is found in the sea, and that the sea contains things found nowhere else." Nor is it a negation to human comfort. It supplies man with food. The finny tribes he has neither fed nor tended. He has provided for them no sustenance, no shelter, no guardian care. And yet, in the absence of all his attentions and culture, they are supplied to him in such abundance as to raise the question, whether, by all his fisheries, they are sensibly diminished. In sustaining his ships, the sea becomes a medium of communication for him between the ends of the earth. And let it be remembered that these vessels are human abodes, and that thousands of our race, or hundreds of thousands, dwell mostly on the main. In every way, then, the ocean is included in the habitable globe.

The ocean,

Let us now advert to the other agent, FIRE. in lashing shores, tends to wash them away; and if this power alone operated, islands and continents would gradually disappear. The sea, wearing down every thing into its

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