« VorigeDoorgaan »
exports of China together do not as yet such a severe task on his strength and amount to more than about two shillings nerves. The habits of a successful stu. per bead of its four hundred and fifty dent, fresh from the honors of his alma millions of population.
mater, are not a fit training for a conqueror of Alpine mountains. Many weeks of careful preparation are necessary to strengthen the muscles and give tone to
the system. The hand and eye and foot From Land and Water.
must be educated for the task, and not MOUNTAINEERING IN THE ALPS.
the least quality that is needed is the A CALAMITY of unusually tragic inter- power - in most cases an acquired gift est has signalized the commencement of of looking down from a dangerous dethe holiday season in Switzerland, and clivity or height without giddiness or that has opened up the old discussion on sinking of the heart that oppresses many mountaineering in the Alps. In this in. an otherwise strong and stalwart climber. stance the tragedy is doubly accentuated. Without these qualities the perils of A career full of the richest promise has Alpine mountaineering - in themselves been closed, and by a death at once sud. sufficiently great -are enormously in. den and terrible. The exact cause of the creased; and it cannot be too strongly catastrople will probably remain among urged on the young and adventurous that the gloomy secrets of the mountains. In attempts made without such preparation so perilous an undertaking, the slightest are exceedingly dangerous, and that the accident - a movement of the foot, a sud. courage displayed in making them is den giddiness, a miscalculation of dis- scarcely distinguishable from foolbardi. tances - may be fatal. The memorable ness. When a tragic incident draws at. tragedy of 1865, in which Lord F. Gordon tention to the dangers of Alpine moun. and four others lost their lives, after the taineering it is customary to bear the first ascent of the Matterhorn, was occa- practice condemned, and the lovers of the sioned by one of the members of the ex-pastime held up to ridicule and censure. pedition failing in nerve at a very critical in our opinion such censure is unfair, and moment, and accidents from this cause altogether lacking in that wide sympathy alone are numerous in Alpine records. A with the inclinations of others which touching tribute has been paid to the per- should be the basis of all criticism on sonal and intellectual character of Mr. matters lying outside the region of pure Balfour from the pen of one who knew morals. The pleasures of mountaineering him in the intimacy of college rivalry, and to those who indulge in them are of the than whom none is more fitted to speak of keenest kind; and the dangers by which the great achievements of the deceased they are undoubtedly attended are very and of the brightness of the life so swiftly much exaggerated by the critics who know and mysteriously extinguished. It is in- nothing of them by actual experience, and finitely saddening that a career of such to whom it seems, necessarily, a species high possibilities should have been termi- of madness to tempt the knife-like edges nated by what seems an almost reckless of a snow-ridge where a single slip would adventure. Little as is made of it by be fatal. Without disputing the assertion Alpine tourists of the present time, the of the knight of Snowdoun, scaling of the monarch of European mountains still remains a feat that should
If the pass be dangerous known,
The danger self is lure alone, not be idly attempted. It is attended with many dangers at all periods of the year, it is a well-authenticated fact that the risk and from whatever side it is essayed. to life and limb in Alpine adventure is From the meagre telegram announcing not greater than the same risks in the Mr. Balfour's fate it would seem that he, English hunting-field, or in the exercises accompanied by one guide only, was as of boating and swimming. In all these cending the Italian side of the mountain pastimes accidents are in the vast majorwith, no doubt, the intention of making ity of cases due to inexperience or reck. the descent into the valley of the Arve, in lessness. It is seldom that a good hunter the Swiss canton. Such an attempt un is fatally thrown, or that a swimmer of der any circumstances was attended with strength and experience is drowned. grave danger, aggravated by the fact that and the cases of fatal accidents that have the traveller had started without the requi- occurred in mountaineering to climbers of site assistance. To these are to be added judgment and experience may be counted, the unpreparedness of Mr. Balfour for during the last decade, on the fingers of may demand.
one hand. Men who choose to wander | taineering, if precautions are taken, it is without guides among snow-clad moun. even possible to avoid all risks without tains and over glaciers with which they losing any of the charms of adventure. are unacquainted, take their lives in their To enjoy to the fullest the fascination of hands. if they suddenly plunge into a the Alps, and to feel the inspiration of its crevasse or lose their footing on a slippery atmosphere, it is altogether unnecessary declivity of snow, such chances should for the climber to essay any of the danbe discounted. To win_the perilous gerous Alpine peaks, such as the Weissheights of the Pointe des Ecrins, as was born, the Matterhorn, or the steep crags done without guides some years ago by of the Rothhorn. Mountains of surpasstwo American youths, was a daring feat. ing grandeur and glacier passes of all But it was not mountaineering. It was in kinds may be conquered alinost without fact opposed to some of the first princi- danger, if the climber possesses a fair ples on which mountaineers work, and to stock of health and has had a fair amount which are attached the highest impor- of training, united to a sturdy heart. One tance. We are at liberty, if so minded, to who has these can enjoy all the delights admire the strong-hearted youths who so of the mountains. Only those who have strangely dared death in many of its most realized it can fully appreciate the keen terrible forms; but mountaineers are care sense of pleasure that the traveller feels ful to guard against the assumption that when he stands on the crest of some snowsuch foolhardy feats have the sanction of crowned peak when the dawn begins to authority. When any considerable ascent redden the east, shimmering down slowly is attempted by a novice, the preparations over a world of snow and ice, with a hunshould be made with the utmost precau: dred white peaks reflecting the rays in tion, and the leading guide empowered golden splendor; when the rugged 'form with full authority to act as emergencies of the aiguilles and peaks begin to sharp
All the climber's move. en in the growing light, and when the last ments, even his speech, should be regu. star disappears in the deep azure of a lated by the leader, to whom the direction southern sky. It is the memory of such of every crevasse is known, and whose hours as these that makes the climber eninstinct is usually unerring in the pres. thusiastic in defence of his favorite pas. ence of an impending avalanche. The time, and gives him a keen anticipation of verdict of the Alpine Club in this matter the future holidays among the mountains. is conclusive. It may be stated briefly There is no doubt that some mountaineers thus : Never dispensé with the services have a pleasure in ascending peaks and of a guide unless you are skilled enough perilous passes for the mere love of climbto take his place. With some ambitious ing. This feeling it would be difficult to mountaineers there is a prejudice against explain, but that it exists there can be the employment of guides. They imagine little doubt, from the experiences that that it reduces them to the position of lay have been given to the world. But all figures in a procession. But such self- who are familiar with Alpine literature effacement is altogether unnecessary. are aware that the Almers of the mounThe guide is to the climber what the tains are men whose sense of the sublime teacher is to the pupil, and may be fol. is strong; and who are not insensible to lowed with the same intelligence. An its beauties. It is not, however, to the apprenticeship is as necessary to sport as individual mountaineer only that Alpine to business, and to the rejection of this exploits are rich in results. To science truism many of the appalling disasters of they have contributed much that is intermountaineering are to be ascribed. To esting and important. Through them the understand the secret of the delights of wonders of the kingdom of frost and snow mountaineering is only a degree more have been displayed, the manifold beaudifficult than to understand the secrets of ties of the imprisoned glacierice exhumed, the pleasures of the chase. Both are en. and the long-hidden mysteries of their gaged in with an implied acceptance of noiseless movement explained and classithe danger-conditions. The chase is, tied. These alone are valuable contribuhowever, a national pastime with which tions to the thought of the age, and entitle all are familiar, and he is a poor sports. mountaineering to a higher place in the man whom the risks would deter from records of the time than it is the fashion following the hounds. But in mountain. to grant it. eering, and particularly in Swiss moun.
From The Leeds Mercury. match-inakers are known as ghatucks, if HINDOO MARRIAGE CUSTOMS. men, and ghatkees if women. The lat.
ter have an immense advantage over the The Hindoos have a saying amounting former in the privilege of their sex, which to a proverb, that a marriage cannot be permits them to have access to the inner effected amongst them without a lakh of rooms of a household. It is the duty of words. They might also say with equal the ghatucks and ghatkees to unmake as truth that the event involves as great an well as to make engagements, and accord. expenditure in the matter of rupees. For, ing to their skill in the task are their from first to last, Hindoo weddings are as emoluments great or small. They do not costly as they are curious. It is well wait to be hired. As a rule they antici. known that they take place very early in pate the work required at t:eir hands. the life of the couple immediately con- They know the marriageable children. cerned; but probably few persons, save They rely mainly on two arguments in those who have studied East Indian man. bringing about a match – on personal apners and customs, are aware that the pearance in the case of the girl, on intelmarriage proper, coming as it does, at ligence as regards the boy:
The boy that period of life when the Hindoo bride must be well trained, and the more ad. has only entered upon her teens, and the vanced his scholarship the higher will be bridegroom is still in his boyhood, has the price they will seek for him in the been preceded years before with a be. matrimonial market. If the girl be goodtrothal ceremony which has practically looking and her parents rich, her mind sealed the fate of both. On each occa- may be a blank so far as scholastic insion, and in the interval between, numer-struction goes - in fact, the more ignoous rites and festivities are indulged in, rant she is, the better is she fit for the to the profit of certain parties whose busi- foolish and degrading service reserved ness it is to effect marriages, to the de- for her. Her only hope is in the Zenana light of numerous invited guests, to the mission, and fortunately that is a work misery of the couple themselves, and to which slowly but surely is preparing the the cost of the parents on either side. Hindoo woman for the birthright from There is no love-making in the matter. which she is shut out. The matchIt is purely a business arrangement, the makers, in going through their work, in. negotiations being carried out by self-ap. dulge in the most extravagant phrases. pointed delegates. Even if the couple Their words are likely to be the more were of an age to admit of a mutual at- Rowery if the subject of them should tachment springing up, the rules of the bappen to be anything but worthy of their Hindoo household are such that the boy meed of praise. Their goddess of for. and the girl know nothing of each other tune has the suggestive name Luckee; until they meet to give effect to the decree and they never fail to commend the girl of betrothal. Both are then the merest to the boy's parents in words signifying children, the girl but little removed from that her speech is that of this goddess. infancy, and there is of course a great She will bring fortune, they say, to any fam. change in their appearance and mannerily with whom she may become a member; when the time comes for the performance and as to her person, they can compare it of that later ceremony pronouncing them in brilliancy and beauty to nothing but finally wedded man and wife. In ihe in the full moon. The rarest plants and the terval, however, the little girl is cruelly gayest birds are frequently employed to weaned from the delights of her baby. give an idea of her personal charms. hood and subjected to a superstitious They describe to the girl's parents the
| novitiate for her duties as a girl.wife. The qualities of the boy in the same exagger. boy has greater freedom. The growth of ated language, speaking of him as the his individuality is in no way warped. It envy of every other household where is otherwise with the girl, and indeed there is a marriageable daughter, as the Hindoo female life from the cradle to the most promising scholar in the neighborgrave is so sad a round of existence that lood, as a student who pores over his one cannot wonder at the mothers amongst books by night and day, and, in short, as them looking on the girl-baby as a symbol a boy who is likely to stand amongst the of misfortune. Being the work of pro- great and mighty men of his country: fessional delegates, the negotiations for a But with all this exuberance of Oriental Hindoo marriage are conducted with a talk, the essential points of caste and re. due regard to the fitness of the parties spectability are never overlooked ; and if in a pecuniary and social sense. These these are found satisfactory, and there
should appear no reason why the task the ment for the girl. The boy's welfare is ghatucks have taken in hand should not considered to be pretty well assured, but be allowed to go on to its consummation, bis mother and her female friends strive a demand for preliminary presents is their hardest by retaliatory rites to overmade by the boy's parents upon the par. come the machinations resorted to on be. ents of the girl. The demand is some half of the girl, their fear being that times so heavy as to lead to disputes; and unless this is done the boy's love for his here the ghatucks play a part, succeeding mother and his home is not likely to with. usually in obtaining a reduction of the stand the attempts of the other party to claim. It is thought time enough when capture his whole affections. When at these preliminaries are settled to wait length the day for the marriage arrives, upon the children.
The girl is seen first. the professional match-makers are The ghatucks and the father or brother placed by professional genealogists, and of the boy visit her. She is, say, eight, long ancestral lists are read, showing the or at the most ten, years of age, and as antiquity and doughty deeds of the fam. she is asked to sit down by herself on the ilies interested in the ceremony: The floor that she may be questioned by the bride and bridegroom are gaily dressed, strangers, the meeting is naturally a great their ornaments and drapery having a trial to the girl no less a trial because symbolic meaning as well as being inshe can have but a crude notion of the tended for show. The ceremony itself is meaning of the situation. She answers also rich in symbolism. Thus the hands as best she can the questions put to her of the bridegroom are tied by a piece of as to her name, age, parentage, and the thread as long as his body, and the mothlike. All the while the professional match-er-in-law passes a weaver's shuttle through makers keep up a running commentary in the thread to signify that he is bound praise of her appearance and of the re: durably into a new relationship. She also semblance she presents to the mythical touches his mouth with a padlock, and Luckee. This is done by them, of course, makes pretence of sewing his lips to: to influence the father or brother of the gether, the idea being that after this rite boy in coming to a favorable decision, he will never scold the girl; and that he which, if reached, is manifested by some may continue to treat his child-wife as a gift of more or less value being given to "sweet” darling, spices, sugar, and honey the girl as a sign of approval, and also by are sprinkled or smeared over him. Many a distribution of money among the ser- other religious and domestic rites, lasting vants. This stage in the negotiations through the night, are indulged in, and having been brought to a satisfactory before the tedious ceremony is at end conclusion, the boy is visited by the father bride and bridegroom are inwardly sick of of the girl, and is subjected in the pres- the whole affair, and anxious only for the ence of a university graduate to a very opportunity to return single again to the strict scholastic examination. If both home of their youth. Their separate de. sides are pleased with the result of these parture is also celebrated in extravagant interviews, a marriage contract is drawn fashion, and for several days presents are up by a Brahmin and duly attested, the interchanged between the families. The usual signatures being ratified not simply second or real marriage takes place when by witnesses, but by the production of a the girl arrives at her twelfth or thirteentlı variety of articles considered to have an year. If the ceremonies on the first oc. influence on the welfare of the betrothed casion were unpleasant to the girl, they couple. Entertainments and ceremonies are still less attractive to her now, for alof various kinds follow, and there is much though she has by this time become conjubilation in anticipation of the first mar. scious of the nature of her new life, and riage or binding ceremony. In the ar- is prepared cheerfully enough to discharge rangements for the union the Hindoo its obligations, the preliminaries appear females, the widows excepted, take a to have been devised with the sole aim of lively interest. Widows are excluded from subjecting the bride to indignities and any active share in the preliminaries, lest penance. However “ all's well that ends their help and presence might becloud well” with Hindoo customs as with other the future of the young bride, and this is things, and it is satisfactory to know that perhaps the least objectionable of the the peculiar courtship and marriage ceresuperstitious notions in which the sex in- monials referred to in this sketch, are, as dulge to secure, as they believe, a long a general rule, the prelude to a contented life of happiness and undivided attach- , married life.
the moon, like a nightingale with the
whooping-cough — owl broth, as they beThe name of owls is legion. the snowy for that disease. The barn owl, on the
lieve in Yorkshire, being a certain cure owl, the harfang or 'hare-killer” of the Swedes; the coquimbo or burrowing owl, other hand, never hoots, but, says Gilbert that “goes into diggings " with the prai-White, “it does, indeed, snore and biss rie-dog and the rattlesnake, an under- in a tremendous manner, and these menground triumvirate, whose symmetry is aces well answer the purpose of intimidagenerally destroyed by the owl eating the tion, for I have known a whole village up snake; the Indian owls that confer a bene in arms on such an occasion, imagining fit on mankind by garotting green parrots the churchyard to be full of goblins and at night; the small house owls, whose spectres.” But, notwithstanding all these person a good Buddhist must reverence, personal and economic distinctions, the for "the gods come ofttimes thus;" the barn owl and the brown owl find themgreat Virginian owl that spends the night selves, to this day, nailed up, side by side, in circumventing the 'cute Yankee turkey,
as vermin, by farmers, and scheduled towho, "on the approach of his enemy, gether as “ protected” birds, by act of ducks his head and spreads his tail over Parliament. Nor is it any real excuse to his back, so that his assailant, impinging say that the barn owl occasionally picks upon the inclined plane of slippery feath- up a young chicken by mistake for a ers, glides off harmlessly;" and the sheep mouse, or that the brown owl has been slaying eagle owl. But of British owls, known to kill a rat in the dark instead of the snowy owl, the horned owls, and the a rabbit; for the best of us err sometimes. .scops-eared owl are not common enough But as a rule owls are consistent in their to be of legislative, importance, and for diet, and ought not to be mistaken for practical purposes the owl list is limited each other. But the owl in his old age to two — the brown or tawny owl, and the and every owl, even as he first peeps out barn or white or screech owl. But these of the egg-shell upon an ungrateful world, two are as different as such near relations bears upon his wizened face the imprint can be; and it is only on the analogy of of untold centuries – ought to be used to previous errors that we can understand misconception. The ancients made him how the “farmer's friends” in the lower the bird of wisdom ; but an owl has been House omitted their best friend, the barn known to sit for thirteen hours under a owl; or how the game-preservers in "an- leaking water,tap, with the water dripping other place" acquiesced in the protection
on to his head at the rate of twenty drops of the brown owl, one of their greatest a minute; and would any fowl that was enemies. But after all it is only carrying not a brainless idiot do the like? Rustic into a higher court the action of the farm legends again speak with bated breath of er who nails the dead body of a screech
“the ill-fac'd owle, deathi's dreadful mes. owl on his own barn door to encourage senger," of the solemn spectral owls which other birds to come there and catch mice;
"premonish the noble family of Arundel and of the gamekeeper who carefully of Wardour of approaching mortality,” for
when preserves the game-eating brown owí. Under a single nest of the barn owl were Screech owls croak upon the chimney-tops, found several bushels of pellets of skins It's certain that you of a corse shall hear. and bones of field mice; and the contents And, because one of these birds strayed of one brown owl's larder, as reported in into the Capitol, that great republic, Romen the Field, were "five leverets, four young underwent a public illustration, rabbits, three thrushes, and a fine trout weighing half a pound.” Ubi res nisunt
The round-fac'd prodigy tavert quid opus est verbis — let the dead mice
From doing the town and country hurt. and the dead rabbits speak for themselves. But now, as if in mockery of these high As if, moreover, nature intended to make pretensions, no sooner does an owl ven. it impossible for our legislators to mistake ture out into the daylight, than crowds of their friends from their enemies, she has sparrows and all kinds of feathered riffmade one a white bird that“ screeches," raff assemble to jeer and jostle the unand the other a brown bird that hoots, or, happy bird till it blunders back into the as the poets say, complains pensively to dark again.