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into the citadel, and read a lesson from the many beautiful specimens and orders of masonry that compose its honoured and time-worn walls, and then bent our steps to the tomb of its renowned founder-by some styled the treasury of Atreus.
This monument of the past is still in most perfect preservation. Externally it is covered with earth, and appears an immense conical mound, not unlike an ice-house ; a long stone passage, open at top, leads to the huge Egyptian door-way; and here the attention of the visitor is attracted to the lintel, which is one of the largest stones I have ever seen in any country, being twenty-seven feet in length by sixteen in breadth, and four feet six inches deep. The architecture of the interior of this vast bee-hive dome, being already well known to the world, and having, in different places in this work, had occasion to point out the resemblance which it bears to some of the antique remains in our own country, particularly New Grange, the great pyramid of north-western Europe, I need not here describe it.*
From an examination of the vast plain of Argos, and a review of its geological character, I am strongly inclined to believe that, at some very remote period, the sea covered all that level surface now lying between it and the mountains—more particularly as the lower stratum of this circular range of hills is composed of a close compact conglomerate, precisely similar (though from its age more compact) to that at Rhodes, and along the coast of Asia Minor ; like them, the beach, which in all probability this once formed, may have become consolidated. A good sample of these rocks is to be seen in the stones of which the tomb of Agamemnon is built.
Having regained our carriage, we spent an hour or two in Argos. The modern town is but a poor straggling place; the houses being low, mean looking, and detached. It is situated at the foot of the Acropolis, and is far inferior to Nauplia. The only antiquity of any value now remaining is the theatre, which, like that at Telmessus, is formed out of the hollow side of the mountain, facing the sea; and like it, the prospect it commands is most
* See “ The Celtic Druids,” by Godfrey Higgins, page 226.
striking in scenic effect, having stretched before it this noble arm of the Ægean, with its distant islands—the fortress of Napoli—the terraced mountains, and the verdant carpet of the luxuriant plain. An idea of the vastness of this theatre may be conceived from its dimensions. There are three tiers of seats, and each seat is twenty-nine inches broad, and thirteen high; there are thirty-six seats in the first tier, with a division, four feet nine inches in length and two feet in height, between it and the next tier, which contains sixteen seats, with a division of eight feet nine inches and a rise of four feet—from this to the top there are nineteen seats. There is a part of one of the wings or side scenes standing; but, from the bricks used in its construction, and the apparent newness of the work, I should consider it of a more modern date than the rest of the theatre-probably, it may have been built in Roman times. In the immediate vicinity of these remains is shown a cavern, which Dr. Clarke conjectured to be a soothsayer's cave. This seems doubtful—the niches cut in it for votive offerings give it more the appearance of some rude and early temple. On our return to the yacht, we encountered a sirocco, which was exceedingly oppressive, and raised the mercury to 72°.
Here one of our companions, Mr. W. Meiklam, left us to proceed to Constantinople; and our kind friend and guide, Mr. Finlay, returned to Athens.
April 21, we hove anchor and stood out into the gulf, passing the town and island of Spezzia ; and on the 23rd rounded the Capes of St. Angelo and Matapan. A few days more brought us to Malta ; when, having received our letters, and taken in provisions and water, we sailed for Gibraltar on the 1st of May ; but, from alternate calms and head winds, we did not reach it till the 17th. Our voyage, however, was not without interest; at one time we were becalmed, and employed in turtle-catching on the coast of Africa, * where we lay for several days; at another, we were running along the Sicilian coast, gazing on the snowy top of
* While in this latitude a pilot-fish made its appearance, and kept a-head of us for several days, sometimes remaining for hours beneath our cutwater, then shooting off in playful gambols to either side: rising to the surface to display the beauty of its azure bands in the sunshine, then darting far a-head, as if to defy our speed. After several fruitless attempts, it was at last struck with a grains, or forked harpoon, by one of the men. Considering the size of the animal, and the velocity of its movements, this was certainly a feat.
Etna, or the ruined temples of Girgenti, so picturesquely situated amidst the Italian scenery of the vineyard and the orange grove. Farther on, upon the Spanish shore, we encountered a storm of considerable duration and magnitude, which at length drove us into the bay of Almeria, the wind remaining nearly due west. Those romantic writers in the silken annuals of the day, who describe in such glowing terms the calm blue waters and Claude Lorraine skies of the Mediterranean, must have taken their descriptions from the terraces of Naples, the lovely groves of Messina, or the piazzas of the island city of the Adriatic ; but could never have experienced a gale of wind beneath the Sierra Nevada of Granada.
On the 23rd we cleared out of the harbour of Gibraltar, rounded the Tarifa point, and once more bent our course to the happy shores of Britain. Our pilgrimage in other lands is now completed-our voyage nearly at an end. Scenes of the East farewell! Shall I ever again enjoy the exciting solitude of those resplendent monuments of past times and people, that have yielded to me so many hours of pure and unmixed enjoyment; and, while they ministered to the pleasures of the present, through the associations connected with the past, raised my thoughts to objects of higher and more enduring happiness in the future! Ye wide-spreading palms and glittering minarets, the evening note of whose Mooslim chant is still ringing in my ears—shall I ever again hear those thrilling strains of the Imam's call to worship! And ye, ye tombs! amidst whose dark recesses I have so long wandered, once more, adieu ! On this latter theme I may have been fatiguing to some of my readers ; but unpleasant as that topic may be, to it we must all, one day or other, come; for tombs, whether they be the simple mother-earth that enwraps the body of the rustic, or the martial-cloak that shrouds the stiffening form of the warriorwhether the gigantic pyramid, or the lowly greensward—the mound that covers the kistvaen, or the urn that holds the asheswhether the costly sarcophagus that surrounds the embalmed
body of the Egyptian, or the shell-adorned cave, where lie the bones of the mariner beneath the ocean's unfathomed depths-the sculptured cathedral monument, or the modest tomb-stone in the grave-yard—they are all so many chambers in the great treasure-house of time, in which are stored the coinage of successive ages, to be opened when the trumpet of the angelic herald summons the gates of death to surrender, and the bright morning of eternity dawns on the night of the grave.
Many topics that I have touched upon, and many scenes that I have described, may to some appear little worthy of notice;
but to me they have been interesting and instructive, and as such · I give them to my readers—for
“In a strange land
And now, before taking my leave, I would say a word at parting on the subject of yacht-clubs and yachting.
“Of all the amusements," says Captain Marryatt, “entered into by the nobility and gentry of our island, there is not one so manly, so exciting, so patriotic, or so national, as yacht-sailing." It is, indeed, one that Englishmen alone can afford, not only from our maritime position, but from the wealth required for its maintenance. It has materially conduced to the improvement of ship-building in this country; for some of the very fastest sailing vessels, for their size, ever launched, were yachts. It is one of the best means of educating a superior class of British sailors, who often see more real service and seamanship, than many who are for years on board a vessel of the line."* How valuable would be the two thousand men who are now engaged in the different yacht-clubs of this country, when distributed among our navy, in case of war or invasion. In stating that the sailors in the yacht service were the best educated and the best conducted
* The English fleet has been now so long in the Tagus, that one of the officers told me, he really feared to go to sea with hands so long unused to work a ship.
men in the whole British navy, I should, I feel, be but giving them that character which they deserve. They are, in general, a set of picked men. Their pay is better than those in menof-war, and they are much better instructed in practical navigation than in the merchant service. It is, indeed, a lamentable fact, that the masters of our traders, so far from giving instruction to those who may wish for it, absolutely prevent men from “taking the sun,” or in any way improving themselves in the theory of their profession. On board the Crusader, and several other vessels of the Royal Yacht squadron that I have known, some of the men were regularly instructed in those different branches that qualify them for rising to be mates or masters.*
Besides all these considerations, the money expended in yachting finds its way into the pockets of our own countrymen. The vessel, and every thing belonging to her, is purchased at home; the wages of the men are, in a great part, paid to their wives or relations at home; and the provisions that are required, especially on a Mediterranean cruise, are procured at English ports.
We are now upon the little Sole-bank, and fast approaching home.
“ Below, there, forrard.”
“Now, then, my man, mind your helm. Come, my lads ; one of you get out with it on the martingal. Luff, there, luff, and shake the wind out of her sails.”
“Luff, 'tis, sir.”
Splash goes the lead, and the coils are thrown off by the different hands.
“Soundings; haul on the line, now; ninety-five fathoms.
* I should be wanting in duty did I not take this occasion to remember the care and attention exhibited on this subject by our sailing-master, Mr. W. Howard, as well as his skill and dexterity in the management of our vessel.