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CHAP. had served fifty years in the Russian army, and attained the rank of Colonel, was broken without the smallest reason. Above an hundred officers met with their discharge, all of whom were ruined; and many others were condemned to suffer imprisonment or severer punishment. The cause of all this was said to be the Emperor's ill-humour; and when the cause of that ill-humour became known, it appeared that his mistress, who detested him, had solicited permission to marry an officer to whom she was betrothed. To such excessive cruelty did his rage carry him against the author of an epigram, in which his reign had been contrasted with his mother's, that he ordered his tongue to be cut out; and sent him to one of those remote islands, in the Aleoutan Tract, on the North-west coast of America, which are inhabited by savages'.
Viewing the career of such men, who, like a whirlwind, mark their progress through the ages in which they live by a track of desolation,
(1) The following is the literal sense of that memorable Epigram. It originated in the Emperor PAUL'S attempting to finish with brickwork the beautiful Church of St. Isaac, which his predecessor CATHERINE had begun in marble.
"Of two reigns behold the image:
"Whose base is marble, and summit brick!"
can we wonder at the stories we read of regi- CHAP. cides? "There is something," says Mungo Park, "in the frown of a tyrant, which rouses the most inward emotions of the soul." In the prospect of dismay, of calamity, and of sorrow, which mankind might experience in the reign of PAUL, we began to feel a true presentiment of his approaching death; and do freely confess, much as we abhor the manner of it, that it was
The season began to change before we left Extraordinary Phæ Petersburg. The cold became daily less intense; nomenon. and the inhabitants were busied in moving from the Neva large blocks of ice into their cellars. A most interesting and remarkable phænomenon took place the day before our departure,-the thermometer of Fahrenheit indicating only nine degrees of temperature below the freezing point; and there was no wind. At this time, snow, in the most regular and beautiful crystals, fell gently upon our clothes, and upon the sledge, as we were driving through the streets. All of these crystals possessed exactly the same figure, and the same dimensions. Every one of them consisted of a wheel or star, with six equal rays, bounded by circumferences of equal diameters; having all the same number
CHAP. of rays branching from a common centre. The size of each of those little stars was equal to the circle presented by the section of a pea, into two equal parts. This appearance continued during three hours, in which time no other snow fell; and, as there was sufficient leisure to examine them with the strictest attention, we made the representation given in the first figure.
Water, in its crystallization, seems to consist of radii diverging from a common centre, by observing the usual appearances on the surface of ice; perhaps, therefore, it may be possible
to obtain the theory, and to ascertain the laws, CHAP. from which this structure results'. Monge, President of the National Institute of Paris, noticed, in falling snow, stars with six equal rays, descending, during winter, when the atmosphere was calm. Hauy records this, in his observations on the muriate of ammonia.
The first drosky3 had made its appearance in the streets of Petersburg before we left it; and we began to entertain serious apprehensions that the snow would fail, and our sledge-way to Moscow be destroyed. We had often been told of the rapidity with which the warm season makes it appearance in this climate; there being
(1) An equiangular and equilateral plane hexagon is divisible into three equal and similar rhombs: and if the engraved Figure A be attentively observed, it will appear that each linear ray of the star is a diagonal (See Figure B), joining the acute angles of a rhomb, whose sides are the loci of the extreme points of the lines of ramification from those diagonals. The RHOMB may therefore be the primitive form of water crystallized. This seems the more manifest, because if equal and similar rhombs be applied between all the rays of the star A, in the spaces 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, an equilateral and equiangular hexagon will be the result; as represented by the dotted line in Figure C.
(2) "Il en résulte des étoiles à six rayons, lorsque le temps est calme, et que la température n'est pas assez élevée pour desformer les cristaux." HAUY, Traité de Min. tom. ii. p. 386.
(3) The drosky is a kind of bench upon four wheels, used in Russia as our Hackney-coaches: it contains four or six persons, sitting back to back, thus driven sideways by the coachman, who sits at the end of the bench. This vehicle succeeds the sledge, after the melting of the snow.