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As in Warsaw they have the new style of calendar, and do not reckon by the old as they do in Russia, we had to jump over twelve days; and instead of its being the 3rd of December it was the 15th already. And it happened to be the name's day of our conductor, and he hoped for his own sake to reach Warsaw on that day by about three in the afternoon. Our spirits rose at these good news; and, tired and really worn out as we were, we were a merry party at our midday meal.
We did, however, not reach Warsaw at three, but at five; and perhaps it was all the better that we did not arrive in broad daylight. You must remember, dear reader, what a long journey we had had ; and how day and night we had been travelling : and how for all that time we had to wear the same things ! and only now and then that we could manage to get some water to wash our hands and faces! And indeed Nicolai and I had been the only ones who had done so. Nicolai had naturally a beard, therefore he did not look much different; but Monsieur Fourger and the officer were not improved in appearance by the want of the razor and the absence of soap and water for a whole week. We must have looked a motley group!
Arrived at the delightfully inviting-looking hotel, we had quite a little crowd around us in a very few minutes. The conductor was at once relating our hairbreadth escapes with the banditti, and various other adventures, some of which, we passengers concluded, he must have dreamt of, as we were not aware how he had shot a wolf that had jumped on to one of his horses, and many other marvellous mishaps that he had always rescued us from.
But here we are in Warsaw. I can hardly believe it. Each one of us in a clean comfortable room; and oh! the delight of a warm bath and clean clothes ! and then of a good dinner, served up in a decent way and manner. This meal we four had together in a little private sitting-room; we were too fatigued to go to the table d'hôte.
Although we were very thankful that our long and weary journey was at an end, yet we were very sorry we should here have to bid each other good-bye. I thought my cousin was going to Vienna, as well as Madame de Bresinsky, but to my great delight ho told me that Paris was his destination; so we three would still continue our journey together. We bade Madame de Bresinsky good-bye in the evening, for she left early the next morning. We remained a few days in Warsaw to recruit our strength, as well as to see the interesting old city.
But here ended my adventures; and I must beg my English readers to be lenient, and to remember that I am a Russian, writing in a foreign language.
THE GULF STREAM. On the Gulf Stream Karshish is most excellent, but so long that we
unwillingly resign it, as Bog Oak's has essentials, except that she has not mentioned the central elevation of the water in the Gulf Stream. Wakatu also very good, with a nice map. A New Thistle (who had better change her name) is careful, but not well expressed. Celia painstaking ; President, Kentish Cherry, Nightingale, good; Meg good, but gets confused at the end; Cape Jasmine fair; Pipes tidy; Cape Jessamine, Bat, and Bruce's Spider, fair; Tippula, Jabberwochy, Anemone, Fatima, Ila, also received.
Oh, whence do the waters rise ?
Nor find the waters out ;
And still it is all a doubt.' The Gulf Stream is a current forming part of the system of Atlantic Ocean currents, which has acquired in its circuit of the Gulf of Mexico (whence it derives its name) certain marked and peculiar characteristics, distinguishing it, even to the naked eye, from the ordinary Atlantic water; and which, in its subsequent north-easterly course, washes the shores of the British Isles, and exercises an influence for warmth on our climate.
This seems to be nearly all which can be eonfidently asserted respecting it ; for the subject of oceanic circulation is so completely in its infancy, that of the few men of science in England who have studied the subject independently, it is said that no two hold exactly the same theory; nay, there are not wanting those who deny the existence of any current from the Gulf of Mexico to our shores. Most scientific men, however, agree as to its existence, direction, and general connection with other currents, but differ fiercely as to its origin, importance, and the suitability of the name Gulf Stream.
In old times, among other theories, the River Mississippi was pointed to as the cause of the Gulf Stream. It is interesting to remark, that though no one now believes this, we are still allowed to look to that river as the cause of the wonderfully blue colour of the stream, which is said to be due to its being impregnated with minute particles of matter, washed into it by the river.
The connection of the Gulf Stream with the other Atlantic currents is as follows:
There is a strong, swift current setting across the Atlantic in a slightly north-west course from the Bight of Biafra. This is the equatorial current, and is comparatively cold. The angle formed by the coast-line of South America at Cape S. Roque divides this current into two parts, one flowing south, under the name Brazil current, circulating thence to the Cape of Good Hope, and so to Biafra again. The larger portion of the equatorial current proceeds at a leisurely rate towards the West Indian Islands, which again divide it; one portion, and, as some think, the smaller part, circulates round the Gulf of Mexico, acquiring, by its long sojourn in tropical climates, a high degree of warmth, and by its progress through the narrows of VOL. 29.
Bemini a much more rapid course than before. It is here about twenty-five miles broad, and a quarter of a mile deep. Outside Florida it probably rejoins the other portion, which turned northward at the West-Indian Isles. The re-united stream flows north to Cape Hatteras, retaining its peculiarities to such an extent that a ship has been observed floating partly in Gulf Stream, and partly in ordinary sea-water. The stream has been called a huge ocean-river, with banks of ordinary sea-water, Off Hatteras the stream loses most of its characteristica, takes an easterly course, and washes the British Isles and Sweden on one side, Iceland and Spitzbergen on the other. It is said its effects can be traced as far as Nova Zembla, portions of tropical trees being carried into high latitudes by the Gulf Stream.
The manner in which the Gulf Stream influences our climate is a disputed point. Whether, when its waters reach our shores, they are actually warm enough to temper our cold weather, one thing is certain : our prevalent south-west winds owe much of their temperature to it; for first they come to us along the course of the Gulf Stream from its warmer portions, and secondly, as the stream crosses the Atlantic and cools, heat is given off in the process, which is borne to us on the wings of the friendly wind.
But it is the causes which originate the Gulf Stream that have been such weapons of offence among the learned ; and how shall Spiders decide, when doctors disagree ? Sir John Herschel at one time positively asserted that the equatorial current (and hence also its offshoot, the Gulf Stream) is entirely due to the action of the trade-winds. But, unfortunately, these winds for about one-third of the year blow from the south-west, and are altogether too gentle in character to account for the formation of a great current. Anyhow, they could not account for a constant current. And towards the close of his life, Sir J. Herschel acknowledged that the opposite view must at any rate have its share in the phenomenon. This opposite view is, that currents are originated by the action of equatorial heat, polar cold, and evaporation. But at this point the view splits up into about as many sections as there are observers, no two quite agreeing together. This much seems certain, that besides the surface-currents we have considered, there are under-currents in the ocean ; e.g., the Arctic-current, which at one point actually crosses under the Gulf Stream, carrying ice-bergs with it against the surface-current.
The enormous evaporation then in equatorial regions may draw off so much water that the colder under-currents rise to supply the vacant place; and just as water flowing off from the equator towards the poles would naturally owing to the earth's rotatory motion) do so in an easterly direction, so these colder currents flowing towards the equator would have a westerly movement, and thus would give the equatorial current its impetus westwards. The easterly flow of the Gulf Stream, after leaving the American shores, seems better accounted for thus than by attributing it to the rebound from the coast of America : it is simply leaving the equator for the poles, and so flows east. It is satisfactory to be told that even if part of the Gulf Stream were drained off by a large canal through the isthmus of Panama, it would not much affect our climate, as our south-west winds would still blow to us the influences of its delicious waters, as surely as our cutting east winds bring us reminiscences of the steppes of Siberia.
THE NATIONAL FLOWERS OF EACH COUNTRY. Of the national flowers, A Bee is much the best ; Rafela has interesting
matter, and so has Ignoramus. Pipes and Firefly give mere lists.
I am afraid that the little information I have been able to scrape together concerning the national flowers will be hardly worth notice ; but rather than seem indifferent on the subject, I send what I can. Let us then begin with the rose of England, which seems first to have been assumed by Edward I., although we find that the rose was used as a badge on the banners of the Saxons. Their idol, Irmensul, bore on his shoulders a shield adorned with a lion, surrounded by flowers, and it was carried into battle by the priests with the banner in its hand, beneath which the prisoners of war were sacrificed. The badge used in the time of the Wars of the Roses was taken from the cognizances of the two families of York and Lancaster. Shakespeare alludes to the two badges in the scene in Henry VI., where Vernon and Basset plead to be allowed to combat, and Basset exclaims
* Crossing the sea from England into France,
Did represent my master's blushing cheeks.'
* Yet know, my lord, I'was provoked by him,
Betray'd the faintness of my master's heart.' Henry VII. united these two badges, and he and his successors appear to have adopted many other flowers as badges, and the rose alone was only resumed by James I., who united with it the Scotch thistle. The white rose was long considered the badge of the Stuart party.
The thistle, according to tradition, was adopted by the Scots in honour of its having saved them from a night surprise. A band of Danes was advancing upon them barefooted, when one of them, treading upon a thistle, cried out, and thus gave the alarm to the Scots, who defeated them with a terrible slaughter.
The leek was the distinguishing badge chosen by S. David for the Britons under King Cadwallader; they commemorate their victory over the Saxons by wearing the leek on every anniversary, on account of the battle being fought near a field of leeks. This badge must have been worn at the Battle of Poitiers according to Shakespeare, who, in Henry V., makes Fluellen say: 'If your Majesty is remembered of it, the Welsh then did get goot service in a field where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps, which your Majesty knows is an honourable badge of the service ; and I do believe your Majesty takes no scorn to wear leeks upon S. Tavy's Day.'
It is always believed that the shamrock of Ireland was adopted in memory of the conversion of the pagan Irish to Christianity by S. Patrick, who chose this trefoil to explain the doctrine of the Trinity. There was a miraculous power attached to the shamrock by the Irish Druids, who declared that wherever a priestess of their goddess of love set her foot, it sprang up: and the number three has always been regarded as mystical, and therefore was chosen for many badges—as, for instance, the leek of Wales, which has three distinct colours; the trefoil of Ireland, the fleur-de-lys of France, the iris of Florence, and the violet of Athens.
The origin of the French badge is unknown in heraldry, but a legend says that King Clovis, being engaged in a battle against the Saracens, prayers for his success were offered by S. Renie, when the arms upon the banners were miraculously changed into fleur-de-lys, and under this sign the French arms were victorious. As this flower was regarded by them as the emblem of Christianity, it was probably an iris, which is formed of three large and three small petals, three seed-vessels, each containing three seeds; three stamens, and three divisions of the stigma, thus forming a very perfect emblem of the Trinity. Louis VII., during the second crusade, took this flower as his badge, and from him it was called fleur-de-Louis-subsequently changed into fleur-de-Luce, or fleur-de-Lis.
The violet was assumed by Napoleon and his adherents as a badge of faithfulness during his exile in the Isle of Elba. This was probably the viola tricolour as being appropriate to the colours of Napoleon.
The violet was also the badge of the Ionic Athenians-Ion signifying violet in Greek; but when it was first adopted by them is unknown. Io is said to have fed on violets when changed into a heifer by Jupiter.
The lily of Florence, really an iris, or 'eye of heaven,' still to be found carved on the walls of Florence; and the red giglio, in mosaic of coral and cornelian, is most beautiful. The original lily was white, but, according to Dante, changed red on account of the discords of the city; or it may be that white was the badge of the Ghibellines, and red that of the Guelphs.
In the Song of Solomon the Church is described as a pomegranate, and this is perhaps why it was chosen by the Spaniards as their badge, who carry it in solemn religious ceremonies ; but probably this badge .was also that of the Moors, who are said to have given the name of this fruit to the city of Granada, as they fancied they saw some resemblance in the soft valley surrounding it to the pomegranate.
Beyond these few that I have mentioned, I have been unable to find any more information : I can only state that the linden is the badge of Prussia, and the mignonette that of Saxony. Among the Chinese, the lieu-wha, or water-lily, is considered sacred; and the lotus, the emblem of death, is consecrated by the Egyptians to their gods Isis and Osiris, and is also regarded with great veneration by the Hindoos, who consider it the sacred flower of Gunga, the goddess of the Ganges.
SPIDER QUESTIONS FOR MARCH. Translate Göthe's Die Wandelnde Glocke.
Write a description of your favourite, well-known picture. It may be known to you through print or photograph.
Stamps received from Bianca, Ila, Cape Jessamine, Meg, Fossil.
Arachne grieves to say that an excellent history of the Lady Margaret Beaufort seems to have been lost by the post. She sent it, but the printer never received it.