« PreviousContinue »
the eye-piece, while the small illuminated ring, still surrounding the moon, was closing rapidly. I saw the moon's limb advance to the sun's, and cover it completely. I withdrew my eye for a moment from the eye-piece, when I heard my companion remark that the sun was nearly gone. I said firmly, “ It is out.” On being assured that it was not, I again applied my eye to the telescope, and to my infinite surprise I again saw the narrow ring of the sun's disc, not quite so bright as before. I again saw the moon's limb advance to the sun's limb, and cover it. In other words, I saw the totality completed twice."*
Just as the moon's dark form was shutting out the sun's disc, observes another spectator, “I was astounded by a tremendous burst of applause from the streets below, and at the same moment was electrified at the sight of one of the most brilliant and splendid phenomena that can well be imagined. For, at that instant, the dark body of the moon was suddenly surrounded with a corona, or kind of bright glory, similar in shape and relative magnitude to that which painters draw round the heads of saints, and which by the French is designated an auréole. The breadth of this corona, measured from the circumference of the moon, appeared to me to be nearly equal to half the moon's diameter. It had the appearance of brilliant rays. The light was most dense (indeed, I may say, quite dense) close to the border of the moon, and became gradually and uniformly more attenuate as its distance therefrom increased, assuming the form of diverging rays, in a rectilinear line, and at the extremity were more divided and of unequal length : so that in no part of the corona could I discover the regular and well defined shape of a ring at its outer margin. It appeared to me to have the sun for its centre, but I had no means of taking any accurate measures for determining this point. Its colour was quite white, not pearl colour, nor yellow, nor red; and the rays had a vivid and flickering appearance, somewhat like that which a gas-light illumination might be supposed to assume, if formed into a similar shape. I should think it not impossible to give a tolerable representation of this phenomenon by some artificial contrivance. I have seen something like it, in miniature, by the reflection of the sun's light from a piece of broken glass : and on a larger scale by
Report of G. B. Airy, Esq. Astronomer Royal.
viewing the sun through a grove of trees: but in both these cases it is necessary to obscure the central portion of the rays. The brilliancy of the corona was, however, quite as great as that which is produced by either of the methods here alluded to.
Splendid and astonishing as this remarkable phenomenon really was, and although it could not fail to call forth the admiration and applause of every beholder, yet I must confess that there was at the same time something in its singular and wonderful appearance that was appalling: and I can readily imagine that uncivilized nations may occasionally have become alarmed and terrified at such an object, more especially in times when the true cause of the occurrence may have been but faintly understood, and the phenomenon itself wholly unexpected. But the most remarkable circumstance attending this phenomenon (at least, that which most engaged my observation during the short interval of total obscuration, and drew my attention from other objects of interest) was the appearance of three large protuberances apparently emanating from the circumference of the moon, but evidently forming a portion of the corona. They had the appearance of mountains, of a prodigious elevation : their colour was red, tinged with lilac or purple ; perhaps the colour of the peach blossom would more nearly represent it. They somewhat resembled the snowy tops of the Alpine mountains, when coloured by the rising or setting sun. They resembled the Alpine mountains also in another respect, inasmuch as their light was perfectly steady, and had none of that flickering or sparkling motion so visible in other parts of the corona. All the three projections were of the same roseate cast of colour, and very distinct from the brilliant vivid white light that formed the corona : but they differed from each other in magnitude. The whole of these three protuberances were visible even to the last moment of total obscuration, at least, I never lost sight of them, when looking in that direction; and, when the first ray of light was admitted from the sun, they vanished with the corona, altogether, and day-light was instantaneously restored. *
A third observer mentions having distinctly seen on the moon's edge a lofty mountain resembling the Peak of Teneriffe. Abridged from the Atheneum.
* Account of Francis Baily, Esq. V.P. R.A.S.
A DEATH-BED HOPE. HALLER, the great naturalist, though he engaged with ardour in general conversation, and spoke with an interesting enthusiasm on those topics which bore upon his favorite pursuits, is said to have always reverted with peculiar pleasure to religious subjects. "Often," writes one of his biographers, has he said to me, "Now, my friend, let me leave these trifles : the remainder of my time is short, and is quickly passing; teļl me something about our Saviour, for it is He alone who can save, and make me happy.” For many months towards the end of his life he found support and consolation in the pure gospel; and those who were anxious to suit their conversation to his wishes, must speak to him of religion as they would to the most simple peasant, or the youngest child.
Some days after the emperor had called at his house, a worthy ecclesiastic who had often seen him, and with whom he was otherwise well-pleased, said to him, Monsieur, I ought to congratulate you on the honor which the emperor has done you; that ought at all events to solace you, and afford you much pleasure.” Haller made no reply for a short time, but after a few moments looked at the pastor, and said, smiling, “ Heureux ceux dont les noms sont inscrits au ciel." Happy are they whose names are written in heaven. From that time the emperor had no farther place in his thoughts.
“PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE.” It was remarked by an excellent dignitary of the church more than a century since, that the time would one day arrive in England when the contentions between religious parties and denominations would no longer resemble the emulation of the oak and the aspen, as to whose leaves should make the most noise; but would be comparable rather to the rivalry of the vine and the olive, which should bear the most and the choicest fruit.
HOW TO MAKE THINGS COMFORTABLE. WHEN the duke of Condé had voluntarily entered into the inconveniencies of religious poverty and retirement, he was one day seen and pitied by a lord of Italy, who, out of tenderness wished him to be more careful of his person. · The good duke answered, “Sir, be not troubled, and think not that I am ill provided for; for I send a harbinger before me that makes ready my lodgings, and takes care that I be royally entertained.” The lord asked him who this harbinger was, he answered, “The knowledge of myself, and the consideration of what I deserve for my sins;" and when with this knowledge I arrive at my lodging-how unprovided soever I find it, methinks it is better than I deserve.-Flavel.
BOTANY. SUPPOSE a person were possessed of a secret, by which he could, in the busy throng of a great town, on the sight of every one he meets, immediately recognize their name, their residence, their occupation, their connections, without trouble or uncer. tainty, it would be thought an enviable talent; but if to this, were added a power of learning at the same time their characters, dispositions, and powers, there are few who would despise the acquisition of such an advantage. Just such is systematic botany with regard to plants.- Memoir of J. E. Smith.
WHERE IS THE INFIDEL'S STUDY? Every blast of air that blows, every blade of grass that springs up from the ground, and every living creature tha
moves upon the face of the earth, is, in some respect or other, subservient to the philosophy of the gospel. So that if any man would be a rational infidel, he must find some other world to reason in: this world is the school of Christianity.--Jones.
WHAT IS LIGHT? As the waters were first spread over the face of the earth, so was the light dispersed thorow the firmament; and as the waters were gathered into one heape, so was the light knit up and emitted into one body. What the light is, whether a substance or an accident, whether of a corporall or incorporall nature, it is not easy to determine. Philosophers dispute it, but, cannot well resolve it. Such is our ignorance that even that by which we see all things, we cannot discern what itselfe is.-Hakeuill.
“ BE COURTEOUS.” “Come in,” said Emily Benton in reply to a knock at her door, which announced an interruption just as she was stirring the fire, and preparing to seat herself for a long morning at that most fascinating of all employments, letter-writing, to friends dearly loved. “ Come in!” The servant who entered the room gave her two cards, saying, that her mamma requested her to go immediately to the ladies, as she was unavoidably detained. Emily hastily seized the cards, and after glancing at them for a moment, indignantly flung them aside, exclaiming, “Provoking creatures! here are these most common-place, tame, and uninteresting Miss Linleys come to sit, sit, sit, and talk, talk, talk, for hours;" and then she added, in an angry tone, “Oh! it is always so." When Emily entered the room in which the visitors were seated, her cold bow, and haughtily raised head, plainly shewed that she was quite disinclined for the friendly greeting which the young ladies were prepared to give her. She com. menced a formal chat, whilst her countenance clearly betrayed that her thoughts were not with her words, but mechanically she carried it on until her mamma joined them, when she relapsed into almost perfect silence. At length the young ladies rose to depart, and no sooner were they out of the house, than Emily exclaimed, “ What a deliverance! I do hope we shall have no more interruptions this morning."
Mrs. Benton sighed; and Emily was grieved to see that there was an expression of most painful interest in her mamma's countenance. “Oh! my Emily,” she said, in answer to her fond kiss, “when shall I see you different? when will you be more true to yourself and to principle, my child?" “Dearest mamma,
," said Emily, “I cannot see that any principle requires me to feel rapture and delight in the company of such.”
“Hush, hush! my love; I said nothing of the kind, but the Word of God has commanded us to 'honor all men,' and to be courteous.”
“Yes, dear mamma, and I think my courtesy this morning was exemplary; to think of having to sit for two whole hours, yes, and five minutes more," continued the giddy girl, as she looked at her watch; "entertaining people who no doubt would be puzzled