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as last the Queen made a movement towards the door, and they all four advanced; at that moment a Spanish general, who stood beside me, exclaimed, 'No nos queda mas que marchar' (we have nothing left but to depart). The words betrayed the hopes cherished until then, and at that moment dissipated.

found; it was the funeral procession of a dynasty two centuries old, which had just breathed its last sigh in the Biarritz station. The signal is given, the train is put in motion, everybody bows, and all is over."

This well-written and interesting account of a most interesting and extraordinary event appeared in a newspaper known to "The parting was brief, silent, mournful. be patronised by Prince Napoleon, and The Emperor was unmoved, the Empress was probably addressed to him by some hardly restrained her tears, the Imperial friend at Biarritz. Prince looked astonished. The Queen endeavoured, but in vain, to smile; the little King fidgeted about to hide his emotion; the suite looked aghast. The Queen got into the carriage again, then the King, the Prince of Asturias, whom the Emperor had kissed, and the royal children.

From Macmillan's Magazine. THE SUN'S DISTANCE.

BY J. NORMAN LOCKYER.

A SOMEWHAT important error in our "At that moment the Queen, alone upon measurement of the distance of the Sun the gallery of the saloon carriage with from the earth has recently been discovCount Espeleta, exclaimed in Spanish, No, ered. It is now proved that we have been hé dado un abrazo a la Imperatriz' (I accustomed to over-estimate the distance have not given the Empress a kiss), and made a movement as if to get down; but the Empress forestalled her and got upon the gallery, saying, Subo a ricibirlo (I ascend to receive it). She offered her cheek to the Queen, who kissed it, and then she immediately stepped down again, so that the Queen, who was about to kiss her on the other cheek, found only the empty air.

"General de Castelnau, a chamberlain, and an orderly officer, who had come with the Queen from Hendaye, then took leave of her and of the King, the Queen saying to them in French, Thank you, gentlemen.' These were the last words spoken. The three officers got down and resumed their places near the Emperor.

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It was at that moment that I beheld the saddest spectacle it is possible to imagine, and of which I shall ever retain the uneffaceable impression. The Emperor stands with uncovered head on the platform of the station at two paces from the carriage; the Empress is on his right, her eyes full of tears; and on her right stands the Imperial Prince, agitated and astonished by all he sees passing before him. In the royal carriage the King and his suite are on their legs; the Queen is on the gallery, of which Charles, the piqueur, has just bolted the entrance; before her, looking bowed down, bending under this immense misfortune, stands Count Espeleta. The guards close the carriage-doors of the royal train. Four minutes thus elapse amidst the most profound silence, all looking at each other with an air of gloom and consternation. "I never was present at a funeral where the grief of the mourners was more pro

by four millions of miles, and that, instead of ninety-five millions, the real figure is ninety-one. How this came about, the following observations are an attempt to explain:

were

This time last century the celebrated Captain Cook (then only Lieutenant) was on his way in H. M. S. Endeavour to Otaheite, to observe the transit of Venus, which took place in 1769. The observations made in due course, not only by Cook, but in Lapland, Hudson's Bay, St. Joseph, and elsewhere; and the result was a value of the Sun's distance which, after a century's existence, has just given way to a new one.

For some years this new value has been dawning upon us, for, with our modern methods and appliances, the problem is now no longer dependent upon transits of Veuus for its solution. Wheatstone and Foucault have enabled us to measure the velocity of light by a chamber experiment, and, as we know how long light is in reaching us from the Sun, the Sun's distance is, as we may say, found by the rule of three. It has been so found, and appears to be less than was formerly thought.

Again, elaborate investigations into the motion of the Moon, and of Mars and Venus, have yielded evidence to Hansen and Le Verrier that the old distance was too great, and by assuming a smaller one they have brought the theoretical and observed motions into unison; finally, observations on Mars have all gone in the same direction. In fact all the modern work shows that the Sun's distance is about 91,000,000 miles, whereas the value determined in 1769 gave a distance of 95,000,000.

Now humanity has a sort of vested inter

est in that time-honoured ninety-five millions of miles; it is not lightly to be meddled with; and in certain quarters not only was the new value altogether rejected, but astronomers were considerably twitted with their discovery that their very unit of measurement was wrong, and that to an extent of some 4,000,000 miles! although in fact, as Mr. Pritchard has ingeniously put it, the difference amounts to no more than the breadth of a human hair viewed at a distance of 125 feet.

most probably, of the existence of a dense atmosphere round Venus, it is extremely difficult to determine when the planet appears to come into contact with the Sun, or when it is exactly just within his disc, and vice versa.

Before anything is seen of Venus itself that portion of the Sun on which it is about to enter appears agitated, and the planet enters, not as a sharply-defined black ball, but with a many-pointed tremulous edge as it encroaches more and more on the Sun's disc; not only is the side of the planet further from the Sun lit up by a curious light, but a penumbra seems formed round the planet itself; and after it has really entered on the disc, the edges of the Sun and planet seem joined together by what has been variously called a black drop, ligament, or protuberance, on the rupture or breaking of which, and not before, the planet seems fairly off on its journey across the Sun.

It is thus very difficult to determine the exact moment of ingress or egress, and if the matter is not considered even in great detail if all the phenomena are not absolutely acknowledged and separated-the reduction of the observation is valueless.

The thing certainly was embarrassing, for the observations of 1769 were well planned, and made under fair conditions by skilled men, and further, the received value was deduced by such a man as Encke, whose reduction no one thought even of questioning. But still the closeness of the agreement inter se of the four independent methods to which we have referred - all of which differed from the old value-made it evident that there was something wrong somewhere where, it was impossible, most people said, to know until the next transit

in 1882.

"The first appearance of Venus on the Sun," and the contact of the limbs did not happen till (says Cook)," was certainly only a penumbra, several seconds after; this appearance was observed both by Mr. Green and me; but the time

One astronomer, however, has not been content to let the matter thus rest. Mr. Stone, of the Greenwich Observatory, thinking that a new discussion of the observations of 1769 must necessarily lead to a clearer view of the sources of systematic error or wrong interpretation to be guarded against in 1874 and 1882, has with infinite it happened was not noted by either of us: it pains re-collected all the observations; re-appeared to be very difficult to judge precisely duced them as if they had been made yes- of the times that the internal contacts of the terday; and has been rewarded by the dis- body of Venus happened, by reason of the darkcovery, not only of several material errors ness of the penumbra at the Sun's limb, it bein the prior discussions, but by a value of ing there nearly, if not quite, as dark as the the Sun's distance from these old observa- planet. At this time a faint light, much weaker tions almost identical with that required by than the rest of the penumbra, appeared to conall the modern methods. verge towards the point of contact, but did not quite reach it. This was seen by myself and the two other observers, and was of great assistance tacts of the dark body of Venus with the Sun's to us in judging of the times of the internal conlimb."

Now, to the uninitiated, this mere determination of the length of passage may seem absurdly easy, and even those who are generally acquainted with such phenomena imagine that Venus enters on the Sun as the shadow of Jupiter's satellites do on Jupiter. But this is not the case. In consequence, VOL. XI. 464

LIVING AGE.

To understand this result, it must be remembered that the observations in 1769 were to determine how long Venus took to cross the Sun's disc at the different stations; the time would be different for each station, and the amount of difference would depend Both when the planet enters and leaves upon the Sun's distance; the nearer Venus the Sun's disc, then, two phenomena are obwas to the Sun the nearer would the observable - the actual contact, and the breakserved times approximate to each other, ing of the ligament or black drop. It is since it is obvious that, if the Sun were a clear that the duration of the transit, screen immediately behind the planet, the measured from contact to contact, would be times observed at all stations on the Earth longer than if measured from rupture to would be absolutely identical. rupture. Hence it is essential that the observers at the various stations should observe the same phenomena, or that due allowance should be made if a contact is observed at one station and a rupture at the other.

It is here that Mr. Stone's labours come in. They have been chiefly directed to a

strict interpretation of the language of the former observers, having regard to these details and to the introduction of the necessary corrections just mentioned.

and, have we the entrée; a town-built swimming-bath is all we have prosaic access to, and the payment of the admission-money, a few pence, is the only preparation for which there is any need. The day is one that is devoted exclusively to ladies, and after being conducted through intricate

Hence, from what we may almost term Mr. Stone's re-observation of the transit of 1769 for he has more than reduced the observations, he has infused into them mod-passages of closed bath doors, we ern scientific accuracy - one of the most important questions in science may be looked upon as now definitely settled.

It is difficult to imagine a more beautiful instance than this of the value of one side of the scientific mind-the doubtful, the suspicious side, the side of unrest. Till now" 95,000,000 miles " almost represented a dogma; for a century it has been an article of faith; and all our tremendous modern scientific appliances and power of minute inquiry might in the present instance have been rendered powerless and ineffectual for a time if this other scientific power had been allowed to remain dormant, or had been less energetically employed.

From The Gentleman's Magazine.
A SWIMMING LESSON.

SKETCHED BY A LADY.

come

suddenly upon a chorus of the gay laugh of girls. It is a merry prelude, and we stop, enjoyingly, to listen. As we do so the manageress, who is our leader, opens a large thick door, and there the laughers are. There are a dozen of them, perhaps, not more; their faces rising out of the clear green water with so lively an expression of enjoyment on them, it at once accounts for the jubilance of their tongues. Their pretty dresses must have some influence, too, on their unmistakable complacency. As girl by girl grows tired of her graceful exercise, and leans against the steps leading down the bath, or sits upon the tiled ledge surrounding it, she looks so charming in her woollen caleçons and "Garibaldi," it is easy to see she knows it, and that the knowledge makes her more charming still. We see, too, what a mistake it is to suppose that robes bring dignity, and that the only way to L'ART de natation is undoubtedly la make kings and queens appear of consemode. Potichomanie reigned once; so, quence is to weld them to the earth with more recently, did " tatting;" so, many folds and encumbrances of velvet and heavy years before, did Berlin wool. And there was silk. Look at that massive matron, induethe sway of netted purses, when every silken ing the pert little person beside her to deft and dainty pair of hands was threaded join her in a bold plunge. She raises her in and out with nooses of purse-twist; and arms to show the best attitude for the that of ornamental pens, when quills (the performance, and she is as regal as a only media then of correspondence) were cabled round and round with sewing-silk, and made prickly and uncomfortable with love messages in small glass beads; and there was the reign, also, of crochet, embroidery, and revived knitting, when a mystic literature was consulted, and male readers, looking at the engrossing pages jealously, saw curt commands to noose one, drop one, slip three, and so forth, with wild ideas as to their meaning, and irreverent incredulity about their being of the least import. But Le roi est mort has been uttered over each of these; Vive le roi again echoes it. A new kingdom is established. Swimming has it, both sanitarily and by properly-succeeding inheritance; and for its hour we take our cap off to it, and make it a reverential bow.

Here is a peep at the sovereign, while yet under the glory of its crown. For this we have no especially eligible locale; to no French watering-place, with belles and beaux in mutual contest for the blue rib

Norma, as imposing as a grave Greek goddess. As for the lithe creature she is stimulating, she is at once an expression of high art and a distraction.

"I can't!" she says, cowering on the brink. "I am afraid!" And she looks down at the green water, and turns from it with the most captivating crouch and shudder. Then she raises her arms - bare from a little above the elbow in imitation of the action to which she is again and again invited; she lays the palms of her pointed hands together; she looks round for the admiration she knows her pretty attitude gives rise to, and leaps in. A round of clapping greets her when her head comes up again, and she dashes the water from her saucy face; and then we can see she is an expert swimmer. Courage and love of approbation have brought this expertness to her; and courage and love of approbation urge her to hurry up the steps again, when her swimming has brought her near them, that she may repeat her applauded plunge.

She crouches and shudders again, standing perched high up there above us; and with her dress of russet colour, and its edge of warm red, and her untrammelled limbs, no tinted statue could have more beauty than has her every pose.

miles. Or she could save lives from drowning, instead of losing them; and would be sure not to paralyse the nerves of others by uttering appalling screams. She would be as cool in danger as any others who see a clear way out of it; and yet she could swim, she assures us,. after she bad only tried five times. She was always a good bather, one not afraid of cold water; none of your hot

"One! two! three! and away!" cries the matron, initiating her. And she is bravely in again, with a splash and scatter of the water, and a renewal of her very flat-house folk, who stand shivering on the edge tering applause.

She has had a swim, and is bounding up the steps again, when a timorous lady brings her to a stop.

"You have matriculated now," she says. "Surely you don't want to venture any more!

"Oh! I have done nothing yet!" is the little person's dauntless cry. And she springs on the platform, making the petticoated ladies shrink from her to be beyond the terror of her spray; and she makes her third plunge, and is up again on the level of the swimmers, the swiftest and gayest of them all.

But there are novices here, as well as such bright adepts. For these former there are ropes hanging from the vaulted ceiling -swing ropes, on which the ladies can be seated, or on which they can rest themselves whilst learning the way to stroke, at which they can catch, too, if they chance to lose their footing; so any may venture into the water, without being at all afraid. And though there is no professed teacher, all are thoroughly helpful to one another, and goodtempered, and will freely tell the best way anything is to be done. There steps solidly into the water, for instance, a lady who confesses she knows nothing of how to swim at all; and an habituée, who chances to hear her, shows her how to make the strokes, and holds her round the waist while she has a bewildering try. Another habituée holds a second beginner by the chin, and walks the whole length of the bath beside her, with her face thus resting on her hand. A third lady, bound up in a swimming-belt, is none the better for her cumbersome accoutrement, but is fain to be led by a fellowbather, just as if it were away. Then, for a specimen of skill, look at this lady under us, close below our feet. She is swimming with only one hand, holding in the other a folded towel, which she shows dry and untouched, without a spot of water on it, when she reaches the bath's end. This accomplished creature could undress and cross a river (if she were put to it), and by carrying her clothes thus cleverly, could dress herself upon the opposite bank, and so be spared a journey round of many toilsome

of a wave, and run to a dry place the moment they feel its white foam. She had floated and taken "headers" before she had had the ambition to try to swim; but still, she says, this preparation only caused the skill to come to her the quicker: she does not mean that without it it never would come at all. Here is a lady who has none of this experience, who has nothing, indeed, but the great requisite for all of itcourage. Tyro as she is, she disdains the steps to go gradually into the water, and jumps in from above them with the help of rope, which rubs her hands cruelly in the transit, as we can see when she holds them up, to show how much she has been hurt. She is a handsome woman, rather too bulky to be quite so satisfactory a picture as some who are in the water with her; and it is possible her size and thickness that put a limit to her ambition. At any rate to float, and that by means of the rope that has so ill-used her, is the extent of her aim; and to do it she puts out all her power. Putting her head back to lie flat upon the water, she loses her cap (all the ladies wear caps, as coquettish as they can be, and trimmed smartly with quilled scarlet braid, or something equally gay), and when she has recovered this and tied it firmly on, she has a new disaster. She gets herself so entangled in the rope she cannot touch the ground with both feet, but stands there uncomfortably and dangerously poised on one.

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Help me!" she cries out. Minnie, Minnie, do come and help! If you don't, I shall never get right!"

At which Minnie wades to her as quickly as she can. She is so tall and slim she is shapeless, and so timid she has merely crept into the water after trembling for a long time upon the brink; but she is able to give the assistance wanted, and in a minute her large friend is free. Then she begins her efforts again. She sits on the rope; she puts her feet up-higher-higher-till they are level with the surface of the water; she gradually bends back her head.

"Minnie!" she cries, "I'm afloat! I'm afloat!" And the bath-house resounds with laughter at this comical triumph, — at her great fait being at length accompli;

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and Minnie and all look at her, and her certificate may be said to be taken out.

An incident of another nature causes a laugh yet more merry still. A new arrival has just entered trippingly from the street. She has on a short petticoat of the newest mode, a dress looped up to be shorter still, a jacket considerably shorter even than that, a hat and coiffure of the most striking fashion, and such a quantity of rows of beads, and fringes of "bugles," and bunches of ribands, the wonder is why she should have been at such pains to get herself up, when it was only to come there to be immediately got down; but she receives only a nod from those who have bathed with her before, and into her dressing closet she goes. This is one of a row ranged in the usual manner along the side of the bath, and in a few moments her voice is heard from it high above all the others, and high above even the sharp and rapid rattle of the handle of her door.

"I'm locked in!" is her cry. "I'm locked in! I'm locked in!"

Upon which all laughter is concentrated on her difficulty, and every other cause is gone. The absurd young people find a delight in everything. There is such exhilaration in the cold green water, it is like a sea-side to them, and there is no lamentation anywhere, but a perpetual shout of joy. Hark! here is a fresh one, as the imprisoned girl is released by the bath-attendant, and shows herself at her open door. She holds up a large biscuit, and feigns to throw it in to the busy swimmers, as if they were hippopotami or polar bears.

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Ha ha! ha!" they all give out, crowding fish-wise, or seal-wise, or duckwise, to the side, and advancing their eager hands. And Ha! ha! ha! again when the girl, with a knowing nod, holds the biscuit all the tighter, and makes a gesture of how much she shall enjoy it when her swim is done. Her descent into the water, too, is the signal for another peal. She stands a moment on the ledge, while she ties a woollen sash about her, and the attendant fastens on her decorated cap; and then she makes such a sudden plunge into the midst of the swimmers, she and all of them are lost in the splash and scatter. Ha ha! ha!" is the sound then predominant (and dominant, for that matter; and good tonic, too,) when the right stroke is recovered; and there are little races run (all causing more merriment), and leaps effected, and feats essayed, till the newcomer has been so demonstrative in her enjoyment, she begins to feel she has a head, and that her head, like others, is quite ca

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pable of an ache. But she has a remedy. not a whit less characteristic than anything that has emanated from her before, and she proceeds at once to make an application of it.

"Turn on the water," she coaxes of the woman in attendance. "Just for a few minutes. Do."

And when the good soul-old, of course, and somewhat more grave than agile-hobbles off to do as she is bidden, the girl swims to the far end of the bath, and stands with her back against the wall. Projecting over her chiselled in fair white marble, is a gigantic wide-lipped shell. It is topped by a lioness's head, with a large, open mouth; and through this opened mouth pours a stream of fresh, cold water, spreading into the lap of the shell, pouring over its fluted brim with a hard and heavy sound; and the harder and more forcible, the better for the girl who has ordered it to come, and she stands under the thickest pour of it, with her eyes hidden in her hands, and her head bent that she may feel the weight of every drop. It looks now as it were only for admiration she did it. No sculpture-room, certainly, could have furnished a prettier figure than hers, with the water feathering over her, forming such a limpid covering to her limbs; and she stands there, getting recovery from it, and then swims animatedly away.

"Oh! dear me!" she cries a short time after as she sits on the bath-steps to rest, "this is my last swim this season. I am going out of town to-morrow, and when I come back the place will be closed. Oh dear!" That is a pity," the lady she speaks to commiserates. "I am sure you will miss it greatly."

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I shall, indeed!" the girl petulantly sighs, and then she begins to count up the months upon her fingers that must go by before she can be once more a mermaid, and resume her aquatic revels. "October," she says, laying her right-hand fore-finger upon her left-hand thumb, "November, December, January, February, March ;" and then pretending to think she has not counted properly, she commences her calculation all again. November," she repeats, this time consolingly letting a month go, "December - January — February Marchoh!" with a charming scream, "only five months after all! How nice! And then," she remembers with further ecstacy of consolation, "then there's skating! Think of skating! Oh, skating is delicious! Do you like it?"

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"No," is the sober answer from a very sober voice. "I never tried."

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