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works, whilst his knowledge of the physical laws of the universe enabled him to unfold many difficulties which had perplexed his predecessors. It also showed that the utmost exactness in reasoning may be conjoined with the highest and purest eloquence, and that the study of the profound sciences is not inconsistent with attention to the beauties of composition.

In 1805 Mr Playfair exchanged the chair of mathematies for that of natural philosophy, vacant by the death of Professor Robison. In this new situation he had more opportunity of displaying his peculiar powers-establishing the fundamental propositions of mechanical science with elegant simplicity, but rising to true eloquence when describing the wonders of the starry heavens. He soon after published some observations on the solids of greatest attraction, on the progress of heat in spherical bodies, and a lithological survey of Schehallien, undertaken with a view to correct the estimate of the earth's density, which had been deduced from Dr Maskelyne's observations. In 1814 he published Outlines of Natural Philosophy, for the use of his students, and some years afterwards a dissertation on the progress of mathematical and physical science in the supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica. He also contributed many papers to the Edinburgh Review, principally on subjects connected with physical geography, geology, or mathematical science. These articles were distinguished not less for the beauty of expression, than for their philosophic views, and the skill with which the results of most abstruse researches were explained in a manner comprehensible to all. It is much to be regretted that he was not always careful to guard his views against misapprehension, and one paper on Laplace's Theory of Probabilities was regarded by many as hostile to the evidences of Christianity, and met with severe reprehension. The influence of these papers on the progress of science in Britain was highly important, since they first made known to English students the vast progress which mathematics had made on the Continent, and destroyed those national prejudices which had prevented them adopting many valuable improvements. They have also proved in the end advantageous to the cause of religion, since the very principles which were supposed to overturn its evidence are found, when carried out to their full extent, to support and confirm its truth.

Mr Playfair had long meditated publishing a new edition of his Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory, or rather a new work on the same subject. In this he meant to collect all the well-ascertained facts in geology, and having stated these without any mixture of hypothesis, to deduce from them such conclusions as they seemed to warrant, and finally, to apply these to an examination of existing theories, and the establishment of the one he considered true. This work he never performed; and though others have since adopted the same plan, it seems yet to remain unaccomplished. It however led him to undertake many journeys into different parts of Great Britain, and, after the peace in 1815, to extend his researches also to the Continent. Of this journey an interesting account is given by his nephew, principally from his notes made in pencil on the spot. He went first to Paris, where he remained for six weeks, visiting the museums, and conversing with Cuvier, Humboldt, and the other distinguished men of that metropolis. From Paris he proceeded to Switzerland, where, in passing through the Jura Mountains, he observed the blocks of granite from the Alps, seventy miles distant, found on them, and pointed out the glaciers as the only natural agents capable of conveying such immense masses of rock free from attrition. He had already introduced this theory into his Illustrations, and is therefore its true author, but was far from carrying it to such an extravagant length as has been done by some who have recently brought it again before the public. He remained some time in Switzerland, with which he was already familiar from the works of Saussure, by whose guide he was accompanied in his excursions. He then crossed the Simplon into Italy, noticing the peculiarities

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of the rocks, and the skill wherewith a road has been formed through wild defiles and perpendicular cliffs. At Milan, he found rich collections of the tertiary fossils and volcanic productions of Italy; and also met with many celebrated men of science. At Bologna, he especially admired the remarkable anatomical models in wax; and was introduced to the Abate Mezzofanti, librarian of the Institute, who was said to be master of more than thirty languages. The relics of the Academia del Cimento, the first association of experimental philosophers in Europe, interested him more at Florence than even the galleries and works of art in which that city so abounds. The room in which these patriarchs of science met, the table at which they sat, the instruments they employed, are all carefully preserved; even the original telescope of Galileo, made of two semicylinders of wood, rudely hollowed out, bound together by threads and covered with paper, may still be seen. His next halting point was Rome, where he remained for the winter, enjoying the society of the numerous strangers then thronging to the city. He was also employed in examining the remains of antiquity, studying the geological features of the surrounding country, and searching, but in vain, for manuscripts of the ancient Greek geometers in the Vatican library. In the following summer he visited Naples, where Vesuvius, Somma, the Solfatara, and the numerous volcanic phenomena round that city, formed a rich field of highly instructive observation. He had now an opportunity of comparing a country of undoubted volcanic origin with the trap rocks so common in his native land. The result, it need hardly be stated, fully confirmed his belief in the igneous origin of both, though he did not fail to observe some points of diversity, arising in the different conditions under which they had been produced. From Naples, he returned by Rome and Florence to Genoa, and thence, visiting the marble quarries of Carrara on his way, proceeded through Turin and Milan to Venice. He had thus an opportunity of observing the vast plain of Lombardy, strewed with boulders from the Alps, and saw in the Po a remarkable example of the power of running water to effect changes on the surface of the earth. His route next led through the pass of the Brenner into Tyrol, and thence along the northern declivity of the Alps, to Lucerne and Geneva. Having finished his examination of Switzerland, he proceeded by Lyons to Clermont, in Auvergne, where he found himself again in a volcanic country, containing rocks in every respect like those round Naples. No historical memoir remained of any eruption from these mountains, and many were unwilling to allow that volcanoes long extinct could exist in the very centre of France. No theoretical prepossessions, however, stood in his way in arriving at the truth, and Playfair not only recognised their volcanic character, but traced some of the lava currents to their source in the mountains. From this he returned home by Paris, having travelled four thousand miles in seventeen months, though now bordering on seventy years of age.

The rich store of materials thus collected was destined never to be employed. In the summer of 1819, a severe disease, to occasional attacks of which he had long been liable, recurred with increased violence, and terminated his existence on the 19th of July. The true character of a literary man is to be sought in his writings and his labours in the cause of science, by which he stands in the closest relationship both to the men of his own times and to posterity. Yet the following traits extracted from a masterly portrait of him by Lord Jeffrey, may not be without interest. He was one of the most learned mathematicians of his age; and among the first, if not the very first, who introduced the beautiful discoveries of the later continental geometers to the knowledge of his countrymen. He possessed, in the highest degree, all the characteristics of a fine and a powerful understanding-at once penetrating and vigilant-but more distinguished, perhaps, for the caution and sureness of its march, than the brilliancy or rapidity of its movements. having made any great discoveries himself, he was a most

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eloquent expounder of that magnificent system of knowledge which has been gradually evolved by the successive labours of so many gifted individuals. These qualities rendered him eminently useful as a teacher, enabling him to direct his pupils to the most simple and luminous methods of inquiry, and to imbue their minds, from the very commencement of the study, with that fine relish for the truths it disclosed, and that high sense of the majesty with which they were invested, that predominated in his own bosom.

APPLICATIONS OF SCIENCE.

GEOLOGY AND AGRICULTURE.

In some recent numbers of this journal a short sketch of geology was given, explaining certain of the most important facts and best established principles of the science. These papers may have shown our readers what a rich field of instruction and amusement is opened up to them in this study. They may also have shown how much a knowledge of the structure of the earth may contribute to their enjoyment of nature, and what a new interest it conmediate neighbourhood. It may not be in every one's power to study geology in its full extent, but there are few who cannot attain such a knowledge of it as would enable them to understand the structure of the district in which they live, or even to a considerable degree of their native land. And such a knowledge is of great importance even for the enjoyment it confers. The hills and rocks are no longer dead and meaningless, but each has its history and its traditions, not less true and scarcely less romantic than those attached to the feudal tower or the ruined abbey. But to a large class of the community geology has a more direct and practical interest. Their daily occupations lead them to busy themselves with objects out of the mineral kingdom, and to acquire at least a certain knowledge of their properties and uses. But in geology they would find these more fully described, and would learn not only many important practical facts, but also the reason of these facts and their connexion with each other.

The following account of his style of composition by the same distinguished critic deserves quotation, even for its own sake: There is a certain mellowness and rich-fers on travelling, or even on our walks in our own imness about his style, which adorns without disguising the weight and nervousness, which is its other great characteristic-a sedate gracefulness and manly simplicity in the more level passages-and a mild majesty and considerate enthusiasm where he rises above them, of which we scarce know where to find any other example. There is great equability too, and sustained force in every part of his writings. He never exhausts himself in flashes and epigrams, nor languishes into tameness or insipidity; at first sight, you would say that plainness and good sense were the predominating qualities; but, by and by, this simplicity is enriched with the delicate and vivid colours of a fine imagination-the free and forcible touches of a most powerful intellect and the lights and shades of an unerring and harmonizing taste. In comparing it with the styles of his most celebrated cotemporaries, we would say that it was more purely and peculiarly a written style-and, therefore, rejected those ornaments that more properly belong to oratory. It had no impetuosity, hurry, or vehemence-no bursts, or sudden turns or abruptions, like that of Burke; and though eminently smooth and melodious, it was not modulated to an uniform system of solemn declamation like that of Johnson, nor spread out in the richer and more voluminous elocution of Stewart; nor still less broken into that patch-work of scholastic pedantry and conversational smartness which has found its admirers in Gibbon. It is a style, in short, of great freedom, force, and beauty; but the deliberate style of a man of thought and of learning, and neither that of a wit throwing out his extempores with an affectation of care-improving, agriculture remained in almost the same state less grace-nor of a rhetorician thinking more of his manner than his matter, and determined to be admired for his expression, whatever may be the fate of his senti

ments.'

Of his private character, an equally beautiful picture has been drawn. The most learned philosopher of his day, he had the manners and deportment of the most perfect gentleman, and the same admirable taste which is conspicuous in his writings, or rather the higher principles from which that taste was but an emanation, spread a similar charm over his whole life and conversation. With the greatest kindness and generosity of nature, he united the most manly firmness and the highest principles of honour, and the most cheerful and social dispositions with the gentlest and steadiest affections. Independent of his high attainments, Mr Playfair was one of the most amiable and estimable of men: delightful in his manners-inflexible in his principles, and generous in his affections--he had all that could charm in society or attach in private. Although in some parts of this character the partialities of friendship may be visible, there can be no doubt that Mr Playfair was one of the most remarkable men of his time and country. Though, from the rapid progress of science, his works may be superseded by others embodying the results of modern discoveries, yet he must always be respected as one who essentially contributed to that progress by the revival of mathematical studies in Britain. It must always be remembered to his honour, and that of the University of Edinburgh, that in it the discoveries of Laplace were first taught in this country, as, in a former age, Maclaurin had expounded from the same chair the philosophy of Newton, when the vortices of Descartes were still alone tolerated in the halls of Cambridge.

Agriculture is probably that profession which, above all others, brings men most directly into contact with external nature. It is also one of those employments to which science has been recently applied with most beneficial results. Though practised from the earliest periods of human history, and honoured by the favour of kings and legislators, the cultivation of the ground has seldom been considered as a science, or studied with the attention its importance demands; and its progress has been such as might have been expected from this mode of treatment. Whilst all other departments of human industry were fast from generation to generation. In many countries this is still the case, and neither the methods of cultivation, nor the instruments employed, are at all better than they were many centuries ago; but in our own country and in many other parts of Europe, the progress of population, compelling four persons to find their food on the same space where, a hundred years ago, only one lived, has given a great stimulus to agricultural improvement. Hence, in these countries it has made vast progress, and seems destined to proceed with still greater rapidity. Its principles are no longer regarded simply as matters of tradition, to be followed because such has been the custom from time immemorial. The nature of plants and their relation to the soil have been studied, and science called upon to render an account of practices whose utility experience has confirmed. For this purpose chemistry has been principally called into requisition, to analyze plants, soils, and manures, so as to show the relation subsisting between them, and how the one is able to supply what the other wants. Geology has also been made use of for the same purpose, and we shall now point out some of the information it is fitted to confer.

There are few more remarkable processes than the mode in which soil is produced and preserved. By soil, we mean those earthy matters which cover the surface of the ground, and in which trees and plants fix their roots and grow. Every one must have observed that the soil is seldom very thick-in many places only a few feet or inches, and rarely so much as several yards. Below this the earth consists of hard and solid rocks, which, had they formed the surface, would have been utterly barren. Why then, it may be asked, does this so seldom happen? Why is this sheet of fertile soil so thin and yet so uniformly spread over the surface of the earth? Many causes

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seem employed in removing this soil and stripping the rocks of this covering. In dry weather the winds sweep it away in clouds of dust; in wet weather the rains wash it into the rivers, which float it down into the ocean. Slow though these processes may be, still, unless some means existed of repairing the waste, the soil would be gradually vanishing and the fertility of the earth decreasing as its population increased; but such we have no reason to believe is the case. What then are the means employed in nature to preserve the due amount of fertile soil on the earth? Many facts show that the soil is generally derived from the rocks below, and owes its origin to their destruction; occasionally the whole process can be readily traced in some natural or artificial section. On the surface are a few inches of vegetable mould, or earth mixed with the decaying roots and stems of plants which have grown upon it. Below this is a layer of fine clay, containing at first none, then a few stones or pebbles; next is a bed in which stones, fragments of the rocks below, begin to prevail; then these increase in abundance and size, forming a considerable portion of the mass. Below this, and immediately above the rock, broken fragments of this almost alone appear, beginning indeed to waste and decay, but still retaining all the marks of their origin. Here we have the whole process of the formation of soil exhibited in all its various stages. First the solid rock; then this broken and beginning to moulder down; next the fragments mixed with earth, or the decayed rock; and, finally, the whole is decomposed, and nothing but the loose mass of clay remains. This decomposition and pulverization of the rock is evidently owing to the influence of the air. The oxygen and moisture it contains attack the iron and other substances in the rocks, destroy their cohesion, and reduce them to an earthy powder. The water, too, penetrating their pores and crevices and freezing there, tends, by its expansion, to force them asunder, as by a powerful lever. Hence no stone exposed to the influence of the weather long remains unaffected, and even the hardest sooner or later crumbles into powder-that is, into soil. In this way the permanence of the soil is maintained. The rains that wash away the surface expose a new layer of half decomposed earth and rock to the atmospheric influence, and thus repair the loss they have occasioned. But certain elements are necessary to the fertility of soil, and when these are exhausted it becomes barren, and either yields no crops or those of an inferior quality. Scientific agriculture tries to repair this defect by introducing manures, which contain the elements wanted; but nature, too, has her method of remedying the evil. Whilst repeated cropping is exhausting the ground, decomposition of the mineral masses proceeds along with it, and sets free a new supply of the necessary elements; and the surface washed away by the rains is chiefly the worn-out soil, no longer able to supply the materials of vegetable existence. That layer has fulfilled its purpose in the economy of nature; it is no longer fitted to perform this; and another process comes in to remove it, and to allow its place to be occupied by a fresh and unexhausted layer. In this there is a singular analogy to many parts of the animal economy, where tissues, or even organs, are removed when their function is completed. Not less striking is its analogy to the succession of animals on the earth, each new generation of them having, as it were, a new earth to supply them with food and nourishment.

Certain chemical elements are essential to the fertility of soil, and unless it contain these, plants will not grow, or at least thrive upon it. Where these elements are greatly deficient, the crops fail in bulk, and still more in quality, as substances adapted to the nourishment of animals. The plant may be considered as an apparatus or machine preparing inorganic matter for the support of animal existence. Man and at least the higher races of animals seem incapable of compounding their own food either out of the simple elements, or of those in that state in which they occur in the mineral kingdom. The most skilful chemist might die of hunger in a laboratory filled with the pure elements of human food. Plants form

the necessary intermediate step in the process, combining these elements in the proportion and form that animals require for their subsistence. The higher tribes, like man, seem to require more highly prepared and fully organized food, living in part on the flesh of other animals. Now, it is evident that the soil must be capable of furnishing plants with the elements that comprise the animal frame-with the twelve or thirteen substances that are found in the human blood-otherwise these plants cannot form nourishment capable of maintaining men in health. Hence the necessity of a truly fertile soil being a highly complicated one, for though plants supplied with distilled water and air might grow in pure flint sand, or iron filings, they would not furnish food capable of permanently supporting man. Hence arises the question, is the mineral character of rocks, as made known to us in geology, such as to produce by their decomposition a soil of this nature? Now, some of the most important elements of organic bodies are the common constituents of water and the atmosphere-oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon. But, besides these, both plants and animals contain many earths and metals. In the blood, for example, chlorine, phosphorus, sulphur, the bases of potassa, soda, lime, and magnesia, with iron, and traces of manganese, have been detected. In grass and corn, silica is an essential element, and both wheat and coffee are said to contain copper, whilst other plants contain other metals. Such elements must be derived mediately or immediately from the rocks, and the question is, are these fitted to furnish them? This could only be fully proved by an analysis of the various rocks, but may also be known so far from their mineral constituents. Thus granite consists of certain well-known minerals which have often been analyzed, and greenstone and basalt of others. From the composition of a rock, then, certain indications of the kind of soil it is fitted to produce may be obtained. It would lead us far too much into detail to examine each rock in this respect, but a few may be mentioned. Granite, which has been estimated to cover two thousand square miles in Britain, contains, according to the analysis of its common minerals, silica, alumina, soda, potassa, magnesia, lime, and iron; whilst minerals with phosphorus, and several of the metals, are not unfrequent in it. Trap rocks, which are still more widely distributed, are equally various in their composition, and contain the elements in still more favourable proportions. The stratified rocks, as some sandstones and limestones, have often a very simple composition-as the Craigleith sandstone, with less than two per cent. of other matters than silica. Such rocks form the most barren of all soils, and where a large district consists of them pure and unmixed, the poverty of the vegetation shows the deficiency in its natural variety of nourishment. But such tracts are of rare occurrence. Stratified rocks are generally intermixed with each other, and beds of sandstone, shale, and limestone, are united in various alternations. In many of the most fertile districts of Scotland, also, as the Lothians, Fife, and Berwickshire, as a glance at a correct geological map would show, trap rocks have frequently broken through the strata, and thus added to the variety of the soil.

But not only should all the elements occur, they must also exist in due proportion, to constitute a fertile soil. In this respect much latitude is allowed, provided the proportion is not such as to render the texture too tenacious on the one hand, or too open on the other. The former happens where it contains too much aluminous or clayey matter, the latter where it is too siliceous or sandy. Now the tendency of the soil in various districts to either of these extremes may be known from its geological character. Thus the sandstone districts, unless mixed with shale or trap, form too open and loose a soil, which, as a Pembrokeshire farmer said of it, eats all the manure and drinks all the water.' The greywacke and clay-slate produce an opposite soil, too stiff, tenacious, and retentive of moisture, but readily improveable by draining and a mixture of lime or sand. Most of the igneous rocks, on the other hand, produce good soils; and, indeed, where

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properly cultivated, thoroughly bad soils are less common to the variety of soil; and this is more readily known than many would imagine. Complaints of the soil and from this science than in any other way. Even on a climate are in most cases only accusations of the neglect single farm of no great extent two or three distinct formaand ignorance of the cultivators. The Creator has done tions may occur, and the crops or manures suited to the his part richly and abundantly; if man neglects his, he one may be wholly unfit for the other. Geology also has himself alone to blame for the evil that may result. makes known the prevailing character of each particular The admixture of the soil has been promoted in another soil, its most important deficiencies, the substances best way. Geological facts seem to indicate that immediately fitted to remedy these, and the places in the neighbourbefore the present order of things commenced, our conti- hood where they may most readily be found. Numerous nents and islands were covered by the waters of the ocean. instances could be given of lime and other materials driven Currents then, as at present, flowed to and fro, and the many miles at a great expense, when a little knowledge of various materials of the earth were mingled together. geology would have shown that the same or even better Fragments from the rocks of one country have been were to be found close at hand. In some cases, substances carried to another, and the sand derived from one class of no value have been mistaken for others that were so, of rocks, tempers the clays from a second or the lime de- as when Loch Doon, in the south of Scotland, was rived from a third. Even in the present day this process partially drained for marl, the white decomposed felspar, is continued, though, on the part of the earth exposed to a pure clay, having been mistaken for this important our notice, on a smaller scale. It is in the ocean alone, manure. In looking at land in different parts of the beneath its wide-spread waters, that the dispersion of rock country, a farmer acquainted with geology and observing debris is most perfect. But the rivers not only aid in this the distribution of rocks in a proper map, could form a operation, by conveying the waste of the land to the ocean, far more accurate estimate of its value than one who did but, to a certain extent, complete it on the dry land. A not possess this knowledge. But such applications are river rising in mountains of primary or argillaceous rocks, almost too self-evident to be noticed, and they who would flows through a low secondary region, and during inun-profit by them will study science from higher and nobler dations disperses its fertilizing mud far and wide over the motives-for the intellectual enjoyment it offers, the ele surrounding country. In this way the Nile enriches the vation it gives even to the humblest pursuits, and the valley of Egypt, and the swollen Ganges scatters abun- moral improvement it confers on their miud. dance over the plains of Hindostan. And in former ages, ere man had restrained the streams by artificial means. such inundations appear to have been more frequent and extensive, spreading their influence over a wider region. In the deltas at their mouths, or the low alluvial plains along their lower course, we see at once the work of the river mingling the mineral matter from many hills and valleys, and the rich luxuriant fertility thus produced. In many a barren country and rock-bound region, such spots look like gardens of vegetation amid the surrounding sterility-a very paradise reclaimed from the lonely wilderness. Many such may be seen in our own land, both on the seacoast and in the interior, where some ancient valley or lake, now filled up, has arrested the waste of the mountains in its transit to the ocean.

Such are a few of the interesting questions to which geology enables the agriculturist to return an intelligent answer. It may, however, be asked, what is the use of this knowledge? And if by use is meant its money value, the pounds, shillings, and pence, the food or clothing it can produce, the answer must be that it often is very small. But in the expressive language of Scripture, 'Man shall not live by bread alone,' he has other wants besides those of the body-desires that do not centre wholly on this earthly life-enjoyments higher than mere sensual luxuries, and the gratification of his animal propensities. His Creator has given him a mind to be instructed, as well as a body to be clothed and fed; and as the former constitutes man's true nature, the neglect of it is more highly criminal than inattention to his corporeal wants. Now, though every man cannot be a philosopher, every one may acquire such a knowledge of nature and its laws as would enable him to understand the profession in which he was engaged, and the rationale-the true grounds and reason-of the processes he employed. Unless he does this, the workman is little better than a portion of a machine for raising corn and cattle, or manufacturing iron and cloth. Such a workman acts according to mere tradition, and when an unexpected or unusual event occurs, he knows not how to take advantage of it or to remedy the injury that it threatens. The agriculturist has also more inducements than most persons to look at his employment in a scientific point of view. He is more exposed to the climate and the seasons, and his success is more dependent on their influence than in almost any other occupation. He is thus more called upon to study their laws and know their general course. He has also more time at his own disposal when prevented from working by the weather or seasons. Geology, too, is of special importance to the farmer, as his mode of cultivation must be adapted

THE VILLAGE PRIZE.

In one of the prettiest villages of old Virginia there lived in the year 175-, an old man, whose daughter was declared, by universal consent, to be the loveliest maiden in all the country round. The veteran, in his youth, had been athletic and muscular above all his fellows; and his breast, where he always wore them, could show the adornment of three medals, received for his victories in gymnastic feats when a young man. His daughter was now eighteen, and had been sought in marriage by many suitors. One brought wealth, another a fine person, another this, and another that. But they were all refused by the old man, who became at last a byword for his obstinacy or eccentricity among the young men of the village and neighbourhood.

At length the nineteenth birthday of Annette, his charming daughter, who was as amiable and modest as she was beautiful, arrived. The morning of that day, her father invited all the youth of the country to a haymaking frolic. Seventeen handsome and industrious young men assembled. They came not only to make hay, but also to make love to the fair Annette. In three hours they had filled the father's barns with the newly dried | grass, and their own hearts with love. Annette, by her father's command, had brought the malt liquor of her own brewing, which she presented to each enamoured swain! with. her own fair hands.

Now, my boys,' said the old keeper of the jewel they all coveted, as, leaning on their pitchforks, they assembled round the door in the cool of the evening. Now, my lads, you have nearly all of you made proposals for my Annette. Now, you see, I don't care anything about money or talents, book larning or soldier larning. I can do as well by my girl as any man in the country; but I want her to marry a man of my own grit. Now, you know, or ought to know, when I was a young ster I could beat any one in all Virginia in the way of leaping. I got my old woman by beating the smartest man on the eastern shore, and I have taken an oath and sworn it, that no man shall marry my daughter without jumping for it. You understand me, my boys: there's the green, and here's Annette,' he added, taking his daughter, who stood timidly behind him, by the hand. Now, the one that jumps the farthest on a dead level, shall marry Annette this very night.'

This unique address was received by the young men with applause; and many a youth, as he bounded gaily forward to the arena of trial, cast a glance of anticipated victory

back upon the lovely object of village chivalry. The maidens left their looms and quilting frames, the children their noisy sports, the slaves their labour, and the old men their arm-chairs and long pipes, to witness and triumph in the success of the victor. All prophesied and many wished that it would be young Carroll. He was the handsomest and best-humoured youth in the country, and all knew that a strong mutual attachment existed between him and the fair Annette. Carroll had won the reputation of being the best leaper, and in a country where such athletic achievements were the sine qua non of a man's cleverness, this was no ordinary honour. In a contest like the present he had, therefore, every advantage over his fellow-athletæ.

The arena allotted for this hymeneal contest was a level space in front of the village inn, and near the centre of a grass plot, reserved in the midst of the village, denominated the green.' The verdure was quite worn off at this place by previous exercises of a similar kind, and a hard surface of sand, more befitting the purpose for which it was to be used, supplied its place.

The father of the lovely, blushing, and withal happy prize (for she well knew who would win), with three other patriarchal villagers, were the judges appointed to decide upon the claims of the several competitors. The last time Carroll tried his skill in this exercise, he cleared,' to use the leaper's phraseology, twenty-one feet and one inch. The signal was given, and by lot the young men stepped into the arena.

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Edward Grayson, seventeen feet,' cried one of the judges. The youth had done his utmost. He was a pale, intellectual student. But what had intellect to do in such an arena? Without a look at the maiden he left the ground.

'Dick Boulden, nineteen feet.' Dick, with a laugh, turned away, and replaced his coat.

Harry Preston, nineteen feet and three inches.' 'Well done, Harry Preston!' shouted the spectators; 'you have tried hard for the acres and homestead.' Harry also laughed, and said he only jumped for the fun of the thing. Henry was a rattle-brained fellow, but never thought of matrimony. He loved to walk, and talk, and laugh, and romp with Annette, but sober marriage never came into his head. He only jumped for the fun of the thing. He would not have said so if he was sure of winning.

Charley Simms, fifteen feet and a half.' 'Hurrah for Charley Charley'll win!' cried the crowd, good-humouredly. Charley Simms was the cleverest fellow in the world. His mother had advised him to stay at home, and told him if he ever won a wife, she would fall in love with his good temper rather than his legs. Charley, however, made the trial of the latter's capabilities and lost. Many refused to enter the lists altogether; others made the trial, and only one of the leapers had yet cleared twenty feet.

Now,' cried the villagers, 'let's see Harry Carroll. He ought to beat this ;' and every one appeared, as they called to mind the mutual love of the last competitor and the sweet Annette, as if they heartily wished his success. Harry stepped to his post with a firm tread. His eye glanced with confidence around upon the villagers, and rested, before he bounded forward, upon the face of Annette, as if to catch therefrom that spirit and assurance which the occasion called for. Returning the encouraging glance with which she met his own, with a proud smile upon his lip he bounded forward. Twenty-one feet and a half!' shouted the multitude, repeating the announcement of one of the judges; twenty-one feet and a half. Harry Carroll for ever! Annette and Harry!' Hands, caps, and handkerchiefs, waved over the heads of the spectators, and the eyes of the delighted Annette sparkled with joy.

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When Harry Carroll moved to his station to strive for the prize, a tall, gentlemanly young man, in a military undress frock-coat, who had rode up to the inn, dismounted, and joined the spectators unperceived while the

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contest was going on, stepped suddenly forward, and with a knowing eye measured deliberately the space accomplished by the last leaper. He was a stranger in the village. His handsome face and easy address attracted the eyes of the village maidens, and his manly and sinewy frame, in which symmetry and strength were happily united, called forth the admiration of the young men.

Mayhap, sir stranger, you think you can beat that,' said one of the bystanders, remarking the manner in which the eye of the stranger scanned the arena. If you can leap beyond Harry Carroll, you'll beat the best man in the colonies.' The truth of this observation was assented to by a general murmur.

Is it for amusement you are pursuing this pastime?' inquired the youthful stranger; or is there a prize for

the winner P

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Annette, the loveliest and wealthiest of our village maidens, is to be the reward of the victor,' said one of the judges. "Are the lists open to all?'

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All, young sir,' replied the father of Annette, with interest, his youthful ardour rising as he surveyed the proportions of the straight-limbed young stranger. 'She is the bride of him who outleaps Harry Carroll. If you will try you are free to do so; but let me tell you, Harry Carroll has no rival in Virginia. Here is my daughter, sir, look at her and make your trial.' The officer glanced upon the trembling maiden, about to be offered on the altar of her father's unconquerable monomania, with an admiring look. The poor girl looked at Harry, who stood near with a troubled brow and angry eye, and then cast upon the new competitor an imploring glance.

Placing his coat in the hands of one of the judges, he drew a sash he wore beneath it tighter round his waist, and taking the appointed stand, made, apparently without effort, the bound that was to decide the happiness or misery of Harry and Annette.

Twenty-two feet and an inch!' shouted the judge. The announcement was repeated with surprise by the spectators, who crowded around the victor, filling the air with congratulations, not unmingled, however, with loud murmurs from those who were more nearly interested in the happiness of the lovers.

The old man approached, and grasping his hand exultingly, called him his son, and said he felt prouder of him than if he were a prince. Physical activity and strength were the old leaper's true patents of nobility.

Resuming his coat the victor sought with his eye the fair prize he had, although nameless and unknown, so fairly won. She leaned upon her father's arm, pale and distressed.

Her lover stood aloof, gloomy and mortified, admiring the superiority of the stranger in an exercise in which he prided himself as unrivalled, while he hated him for his success.

'Annette, my pretty prize,' said the victor, taking her passive hand, I have won you fairly.' Annette's cheek became paler than marble, she trembled like an aspen leaf, and clung closer to her father, while the drooping eye sought the form of her lover. His brow grew dark at the stranger's language. I have won you, my pretty flower, to make you a bride-tremble not so violently-I mean not myself, however proud I might be,' he added, with gallantry, to wear so fair a gem next my heart. Perhaps, and he cast his eyes inquiringly, while the current of life leaped joyfully to her brow, and a murmur of surprise ran through the crowd-perhaps there is some favoured youth among the competitors who has a higher claim to this jewel. Young sir,' he continued, turning to the surprised Harry, methinks you were victor in the lists before me-I strove not for the maiden, though one could not well strive for a fairer, but from love for the manly sport in which I saw you engaged. You are the victor, and as such, with the permission of this worthy assembly, you receive from my hand the prize you have so well and so honourably won.'

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The youth sprang forward and grasped his hand with

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