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in turn contracts separately and by it- the nerves, is greatly influenced by self, no other action of the heart oc the passions and affections of the curring at the same time ; for this is mind; its action is modified and often by no means the case. The two au- accelerated by the slightest emotion; ricles contract and dilate together, and diseases of every kind control, and it is the same with respect to the diminish, and even excite its powers. ventricles, whose motions are simul- By this derangement other parts of taneous also; the contraction of one the system are influenced; for the part, and the dilatation of the other, animal frame may be said to resemble both occurring at the same period. a piece of mechanism, furnished with It
may be observed here, that when numerous wheels depending on and the contraction of the heart is men- giving aid to each other; but let one tioned in general terms, that of the be displaced or put out of order, the ventricles is always alluded to. whole is thrown into confusion. Faint
On each action of the ventricles; ing, for instance, we know is often the whole of the heart is carried occasioned by emotions of the mind, smartly forwards, and the point of this by which, through the medium of the organ comes in contact with the left nerves, the action of the heart is diside of the chest, between the sixth minished, and less blood is conseand seventh true ribs, where its pul- quently sent through the vessels to sation
may be easily felt. From this the brain. Now, from this deficiency, circumstance, a controversy has arisen the nervous power of the brain beamong physiologists, respecting the comes diminished, or even for a time mode in which the contraction takes suspended, as it depends materially place; some supposing the heart at on the circulation, and the body sinks that instant to be elongated ; and inanimate; nor perhaps would it reothers, with better reason, affirming it cover, bad not the heart the property to be shortened ; and numerous were of still preserving its power of contracthe animals sacrificed, to prove the tion to a certain degree, which, as the truth of each assertion. The ques- blood begins again to circulate slowly tion is now set at rest, as it is ascere through the brain, it more and more tained that the external portion of the recovers; and as it recovers, sends ventricles is drawn towards the sep- forth by degrees a still greater portion tum or partition between them, and of blood, till at last the whole circulathe apex or point towards the base ; tion becomes fully restored. Hence the displacement of the heart being we see the reason why persons fainttherefore to be attributed to the influx ing should be placed in a horizontal of blood into the auricles, and to its position, with the head as low or lowexpulsion from the ventricles, by er than the rest of the body. which the aorta and pulmonary artery The arteries, we have before stated, are distended.
may be considered as ramifications of The pulsations of the heart during one great trunk; they are composed health vary much, according to the of three coats, the external one consex, habits, or temperament of the in- sisting merely of cellular membrane, dividual; their frequency, however, the middle one of fibres encircling the decreasing from infancy to old age. artery, and asserted by many to be In the new-born infant, the pulse may muscular; and the internal one, a thin be estimated at 140 per minute ; at membrane calcu ated to give strength the end of the first year, 124–second, to the artery, and afford at the same 110—third and fourth, 96 ;-in youth, time, by the smoothness of its surfrom 80 to 86-manhood, 75—old age, face, a free and easy passage to the 60. But as life advances farther, the blood. The veins also in like manpulse is found so variable, that no ac ner are composed of three coats; but curate estimate can be taken.
as their structure is much more deli. The heart, through the medium of cate than that of arteries, it is a diffi59 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.
cult matter to demonstrate the fact, ble of dilatation to a considerable dewhile, on the contrary, the coats of gree ; but the latter possess this power arteries from their structure easily more remarkably than the former, and admit of separation. The arteries it is astonishing to how great an extent and veins are both elastic, and capa- this may be carried without injury.
THE LAMENT OF ONE WHO “ CAN GET NO EMPLOY."
I had long entertained an ardent wish spot, my heart throbbed with unusual to see the Vale of Covadonga, so cele- emotion; nor could I view the glowbrated in the earlier era of Spanish ing beauty, the wildness, the majestic history. A visit which I paid to a grandeur of the distant scene, without friend, who lived part of the year at feeling my heart awakened to every Canga de Onis, at length afforded me sensation of awe and admiration. an opportunity of indulging these The silence which reigned around wishes, little suspecting the sort of seemed to reach the inmost soul; a adventure to which they gave rise. solemn, breathless stillness hung over The distance from my friend's house those imposing solitudes, and afforded to the renowned spot was not incon- a majestic picture of repose.
The veniently great; and, accordingly, irregular variety and beautifully pichaving procured a strong mule—a sort turesque appearance of the surroundof accommodation peculiarly adapted ing objects excited the liveliest feelto the nature of the ramble—I set out, ings of surprise. Here gigantic massfull of romantic enthusiasm, for this es of rock rose majestically through my first chivalric expedition. A few the green foliage in which they were hours' travelling brought me to the embosomed; and there the vale was scene of my anticipated delight. As flanked with numerous mountain raI gradually approached the hallowed vines. Uncouth and shapeless clus
ters of wild shrubs at intervals met ber. Then the shadows of heroes the sight, strikingly contrasting with long dead passed in review before me;
the trees, irregularly strewn over the they stood out vividly before the vision di hill-sides, and added to the wild beau- of my heated imagination ; they seem
ties of the prospect. I visited the ed to breathe with life, and I endowfamous cavern, where the Goths are ed them with new feelings and passaid to have taken refuge at the time sions. The forms of Pelagius, Alfonof the Moorish invasion, and where a so, Truela, and others, passed in awchapel of rude workmanship comme- ful sadness before my sight; and I morates to this day the stubborn 're hailed with enthusiasm those warriors sistance made in favor of barbarian who had escaped the enervating influindependence.
ence of the corrupted court of the unHaving thus paid my devoirs to the fortunate Don Rodrigo. In this mysgenius of the place, I mounted a little terious trance I had remained some eminence near the chapel ; and there, time, when, suddenly, my musings inspired by the deep silence of the were interrupted by a shrill scream, scene, my mind insensibly fell into a which reverberated mournfully along train of absorbing contemplation. those solitudes : I turned quickly to Methought I was carried back to ages learn whence the cry of sorrow prolong gone by, and that the stirring ceeded, and my curiosity was soon sascenes of an epoch so mournful to my tisfied. country were rehearsed anew. With Not far from the place where I these ideas of despondency and gloom, stood, I perceived a female form, in came mingled others, of vigorous feats an attitude of terrific alarm, looking and daring exploits, which serred to intently upon me, and apparently waenliven my melancholy
melancholy views.- vering what course to pursue. She “ Here," I mentally exclaimed" in seemed in the first bloom of womanthis sacred spot, with mighty efforts hood, and her wretched attire accordof heroism, was commenced that se- ed well with the strangeness of her ries of valorous achievements, destin- look and her wild deportment. Her ed in process of time to rescue the arms and legs were bare, and a tatmother country from the usurping tered garment was the only dress she grasp of her invading Mahoinedan wore. Long tresses of raven hair foes. In these wild and awful soli- flowed, unrestrained, along her back, tudes—fit emblems of the spirit of li- and partly covered her bosom. Her berty and independence !-slavery and countenance was pale and emaciated, oppression could never take firm root; and a flash of vivid eagerness shot at the soil was unpropitious to its growth; intervals her dark eyes. Yet, the mountain-air proved too strong for amidst the disorder and misery of her the sickly parasitical tribe. It was appearance, there were still remains of here, indeed, that
that the renowned uncommon beauty in her wasted form Prince Pelagius checked the over- and features. whelming and victorious career of the This unexpected apparition startled Moors. Yes! on this hallowed spot me from my dream. How such a bewas the first little semblance of a na- ing could be found in those wild solition instituted—a nation which, insig- tudes, was to me a source of painful nificant in its origin, became, in after- conjecture. That she was deranged times, like the Roman, warlike and was the idea that most strongly occurpowerful, not unworthy to contend with red to my mind; but yet how she had the ancient mistress of the world.” contrived to escape from her friends,
These thoughts awakened a thou- and wander so far from human habitasand others of congenial nature; and, tions, strangely perplexed me. I gazinsensibly, I fell into a profound reve- ed upon her for some time in silence, rie, more delicious to intellectual con- and an expression of alarm became sciousness than even the softest slam- perceptible in her looks ; I waived
my hand in friendly token for her to what alarms you? Surely there is approach; but she retreated, with nothing very terrible in my appearlooks of timid apprehension.
ance to excite this dread ?” I then resolved to show her that I “ Your appearance, Senor,” replied came only as a friend, and advanced the old man, “ is comely enough; but towards her. My intention, however, there are so many rogues, that" was baffled; for, in a moment, this “Hold your peace, good man; I strange being banished from my view, am no gentleman robber : no—for I like a phantom'; and I continued merely come to demand—" some moments gazing at the spot, The word demand did not tend to doubting if what I had seen were
the anxiety of the simple real.
goatherds, and they evinced unequivoStruck at this unusual incident, I cal signs of mistrust in their still felt an intense curiosity to learn far- lengthened visages. ther particulars, as such an incident “Gently, gently; you quite miscould not fail to make a strong im- apprehend me ;-what I wish to depression on my feelings. For some mand of you is only information—a time, therefore, I endeavored to trace cheap commodity, I imagine, and the course of the fugitive; but all my which no doubt you can conveniently efforts proved in vain. Better ac
spare, if it indeed be that you posquainted than I with the secret passes
sess it." of that complicated wilderness, she “Well, Senor," said the elder had bafiled my pursuit. I was at goatherd, somewhat reassured, “ such length compelled to retrace my steps ; I may contrive to bestow.” the shadows of evening were fast de “ That's rightly spoken. Now tell scending, and I felt apprehensive lest me, do you know anything concerning a cheerless night of anxiety and pain a strange being that seems to haunt would be the probable reward of my these places ?" romantic adventure.
“ Strange beings, Senor! I don't With some difficulty I regained the quite understand what you mean. little eminence, and, mounting my Sure enough, there's no lack of strange mule, I endeavored to make my way beings hereabouts. In the first place, toward Canga de Onis ; but the ani- there's that wicked tia majura, as mal did not, in any way, seem to en- great a witch as ever deserved to be ter into my views, and fatly refused burnt. Ah! Senor, did you but see to advance with the expedition I her chin ! Virgen Santa! what a wished. After an hour's peregrina- suspicious chin! Then her mustation, I descried the little hamlet of chios, and her unnatural-looking eye! Riera, chiefly composed of several Well, I always cross myself wbenever stray huts, sheltered by a small she comes into my mind; and I can wood. A thought crossed my mind, assure you that I am constantly thinkthat I might learn from the in- ing about the witch." mates of these miserable tenements “Why, then, my honest fellow,
particulars concerning the your time must be, if not very profistrange female; and, under this im- tably, at least very piously occupied, pression, I proceeded towards the in prayer against her spells.” place. On arriving at the entrance of The old man returned no comment, the first hut, I found an old and a but fervently made the sign of the young goatherd, who appeared as much cross-in which devout operation be surprised at my visit there, a: I was was joined by his younger companion, with their uncouth dress and bewil- whom I concluded to be his son. Ardered looks. I hastened to remove ter a short pause, the speaker contitheir suspicions.
nued :My good friends,” said I, “
" Then there is the cripple tailor, seem startled at my approach ;- who came from Oviedo-a very ugly
we do ?"
little man; and then such things as he Heavens ! Why, she approaches tells of the foreign parts he has visit nearer every day.-Father, what shall ed !-and a great kingdom, called Madrid ; to which, no doubt, he ar The old goatherd neither answered rived in some large ship! Oh! Sir, nor moved a muscle, but preserved a he is a very learned man; but Hea- most profound gravity. ven preserve me from all his wisdom !"
Now, young friend,” said I, “ Hold, my honest fellow ; I mean “ your suspicions and awful looks apnot to dispute the claims of those pear to me singularly out of time and whom you mention to be called strange place : I see no cause for such debeings; but the person of whom I monstrations. What, in the name of speak is neither the witch with the wonder, can you apprehend froin a long chin, nor the learned cripple tai- poor female ? Do you know anylor."
thing of her ?” " Then," quoth the son, "mayhap “ No, Senor; we know nothing ; you mean, Senor, the mischievous and there precisely lies the mischief. hunchback who made his appearance How came she here ?—what does she amongst us some days ago.
No good, I trow! Depend full of tricks, the wicked, deformed upon it, my very honored master, she monster! But he is no longer here. is possessed-she has an evil spirit. Some say that he returned to Oviedo, Yes, yes ! I would take my oath she seeing how roughly he was treated, has a demon in her body.” and how carefully shunned, by all “ Indeed! that's a curious guest, honest people. For my part, Senor, to be sure. I suppose you have some I verily think he was carried away by very powerful proof to support your the devil, one of whose imps he sure opinion ?” ly is. Certainly, his sudden coming “She has often been heard comand going was very mysterious.” muning with some one, very mysteri
“Well, well, if his Satanic majesty ously, when no living soul was near. got hold of his promising subject, and Perico Matos, a shrewd fellow, saw Carried him to the regions below, it is her twice; and I think that I once not likely he should send him back heard her myself. Now, it is very to a place where his first mission clear, Senor, that she was communing was attended with such indifferent with the wicked sprite. Oh! never success. Besides, the strange being go near that horrid woman-that mato whom I allude is neither old, ugly, lignant being, I should say! for the nor, do I believe, mischievous—but a female form is only a deceit; and I young, beautiful female, whose sud would swear that she is no more a den apparition in these wild passes, no woman than I am inyself.” less than the strangeness of her de “ Hush ! Anton, thou foolish boy !" meanor, have naturally excited my interposed the father, in a reproving deepest interest and curiosity to learn tone,“ how long wilt thou indulge in the particulars of her history." that silly belief? I have often told
The son retreated in visible dismay thee she is no devil, but a poor woman as I pronounced these words. I per- out of her wits-a wild maniac, who ceived that I had touched upon a very has no doubt committed some grievous tender topic, and this circumstance crime, for which she is tormented only only tended to heighten my curiosity. by the demon of remorse. Perhaps she
“ Ah! Senor,” cried the young wanders in these solitudes to do pegoatherd, crossing himself, “ Dios nos nance for her sin, and obtain mercy defrenda ! when did you meet with from above.” her ? was she very near this place ?" I thought the father's account of the
“Not far, certainly; perhaps a female the most reasonable of the mile or so.”
two; but the son favored us with a “A mile ? only a mile ? Good very incredulous shake of the head,