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color, the roads are generally good; but if the sand be black, or mixed with small white grains, the roads are impassable in winter, and often in time of rain.
CLIMATE. The physical causes which may affect health
the quality of the air, cold, hot, wet, or dry; seasons - whether inclement, and how long so— the means of protection from their effects — the customs of the inhabitants in this respect.
Coasts. The nature of the coasts - whether lined with sand-hille, covered with rocks, which render the approach more or less dangerous; or precipices, which forbid it altogether The parts which are open and uncovered, and proper for landing; the bays which form roadsteads and harbors -the points and capes fit for forts and batteries, which may defend the accessible parts; the adjacent islands, which may serve as advanced works to form barriers against the attempts of an enemy; the gulfs, the bays, the roads, the ports — the nature of the winds required to enter or leave these ports, the nature and advantages of which may be pointed out the time of tide most favorable for entering the ports, &c.
-the dangers to be met — the obstacles to be surmounted the actual state of the forts which protect the coast the batteries, the guard-houses, and the artillery in them; if there be rivers emptying themselves on the coasts, the tides are apt to alter their channel; an account may be given of this influence, &c.
FORESTS AND Woods. Their situation - their extent; the kinds of trees of which they are composed, whether fit for fuel or for timber their extent — their magnitude; is the ground of the forest level or hilly, from whence do the roads come, and whither do they lead - their quality
- the nature of the ground around them -- are they near fields, meadows, ravines, hills, mountains, rivers — the streams, marshes, springs, dwel lings, &c., near them the distance of all these objects from the borders of the wood or forest; the roads which intersect them, and the swamps which divide them.
Houses. Their situations — style of architecture – the ground which they occupy - the mode in which they are built- the materials of which they are composed — the color given them by nature or art - are they old or new- the indications of age — moss-grown, ivy-hung, black with time - appendages connected with ancient customs - their associations - the improvements of modern art - additional conveniences, &c.
LEVEL COUNTRY. Its hedges, ditches, villages, buildings, brooks, canals, marshes, roads, rivers, bridges, &c. *
MOUNTAINS. Their position - their slopes in front and rear- -th means of reaching their summits - the nature of the ground - its form -are they covered with wood or with bare rocks -- their height -- their
* In sandy countries, and those filled with brushwood, there are many marshes covered with water during the winter, which are almost dry in summer. In the winter they are impassable, and are to be mistrusted, even un summer, after long rains.
fertility - pastures, fodder, vegetation, dwellings, towns, villages, castles workshops, roads, paths, &c.
RIVERs. Do they branch off, or continue in one undivit ed stream * where do they rise whither do they flow – what is the nature of the country through which they flow - the quality of the water — clear, spark ling, transparent, thick, muddy, turbid — ruffled with eddies and counter
- with or without falls — salt or fresh, sweet or brackish — cold or warm - safe for bathing, or dangerous the manufactories moved by the water - the canals running from or into it — the streams, brooks rivulets, or other rivers that supply it, &c.
Villages. Their situation — the number of fires or chimneys in oper ntion — the nature of the soil — the quantity and quality of the produce the occupation of the inhabitants—their markets—the neighborhood which frequents them the beasts of burden, the flocks, the beeves and poultry they possess - the architecture, or style in which the buildings, houses barns, and sheep-cotes are built — the position of the church and burying ground the blacksmith's shop — whether surrounded by walls, by hushes, by ditches, or palisades - the water and wind mills. †
* Rivers which divide into several branches, form islands and peninsulas. The rivers themselves, thus divided, are apt to change their channels g* every flood.
† In the description of natural scenery, it will be well for tae student to call to memory those beautiful lines of Cowper.
“Nor rural sights alone, but rural soconds
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds ;
The particulars which have now been mentioned as suggestive of ideas, will undoubtedly aid the student, and enable him to coinbine what ad. dresses itself to the eye with that which suggests itself to the imagination, in his endeavors to make verbal pictures of the beauties of nature. Tho nature and variety of such particulars must necessarily be dependen* on the character of the object to be described.
If an individual sensible object is to be described, the ques. tions which naturally arise, and which should most of them br answered in the description, are as follows:
Where is it?
Is it beneficial or prejudicial to the comfort and convenience of man kind?
Are its effects universal or particular ?
In addition to these questions, the student must call to mind what others would naturally arise in the mind of any one, desirous of exact and particular information with regard to the subject of his description, and endeavor fully to answer every such question in his written exercise.
In the description of persons, an entirely different set of questions will suggest the proper answers, to which the description should be a full reply.
What is the personal appearance, complexion, stature figure, &c.; bands, arms, limbs, eyes, &c. ? What feature is most prominently conspicuous ? The expression of the countenance ?
Is the individual remarkable for manly beauty; or illy made, awkward, and ungraceful ?
What is the appearance of his chest, shoulders ; length of his limbs, style of his dress?
What are his habits, his age; what graces, accomplishments, or attain ments has he?
What is his moral character - his intellectual; who are his associates what influence have they wrought upon him?
For what virtues or vices is he particularly noted ?
In the descriptions of persons of the other sex, such ques tions may be a little varied, and answered as in the following examples :
DESCRIPTION OF PERSONS.
DESCRIPTION OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTTS.
The turbulence of the times, the rancor of party rage, and the medium of prejudice or partiality, through which every object in those periods was beheld, render it difficult to form a just opinion of the character of Mary Her personal accomplishments and the graces which distinguished her as a woman, are admitted by all parties; respecting these, therefore, there can be no dispute. Her stature rose to the majestic, her form was elegant and her hands and arms distinguished for their delicacy and beauty. Her hair was black, though, in the fashion of the times, she frequently adorned herself in borrowed locks, and of various colors. Her eyes were dark gray, and her complexion remarkably fine. She walked, danced, and rode, with equal grace. She possessed a taste for music; she played upon the lute with skill, and sung melodiously. Towards the conclusion of her life, she began to grow corpulent, while confinement and bad accommodation brought upon her a rheumatic disorder, which deprived her of the use of her limbs. Her manners were affable and insinuating, dignified and sprightly. She spoke eloquently, and wrote with ease and elegance. Her temper was warm, and her heart affectionate. She loved flattery, and beheld the effects of her beauty with pleasure. If she had acquired the power of dissembling her sentiments in the refined and intriguing court of France, her nature
was nevertheless frank and indis posed to suspicion. Her piety was fervent and sincere; her talents, if not of the highest, were undoubtedly of a superior order; and the resolution and courage which she manifested at her death, are truly worthy of admiration. A long series of successive sorrows bespeak, with few excep tions, some imprudence in the sufferer; the misfortunes of Mary, both in degree and duration, exceeded the common measure of human calamities, and even render the distresses of fiction comparatively faint. The vicissitudes of her life have afforded a fine and fruitful subject for tho tragic muse. No man, says Brantome, ever beheld her without admiration and love; no one will read her history without pity and sorrow. *
* All writers agree in representing Mary of Scotland as distinguished for personal beauty. But on no subject, perhaps, do mankind differ so much as in their ideas of female beauty; and it seems to be wisely ordered by Providence that they should thus differ. Women in the Hottentot country are considered beautiful in proportion to the size of their ears, the flatness of their noses and the projection of their lips. In Otaheite corpulency is the constituent element of loveliness; and in China, small feet, cramped into absolute déformity, are considered an indispensable requisite for beauty. A late physiological writer, spenking of female beauty, says: "A woman of any height, from the petite almost to the gigantic, may be perfectly beau
BERNARD DE ROHAN.
I will attempt to paint him, to the eye of the reader, as I have myseik seen him, represented by the hand of an unknown artist, in one of the
tiful; and of any complexion, from the darkest brunette to the fairest lily. The medium height is generally preferred; but the complexion is a matter that entirely depends on individual taste — the same person, too, would be likely to waver in choice between the darkly beautiful maidens of Spain and the seraphically fair daughters of Circassia. Nevertheless, though the shades of complexion, from the Spanish olive to the Circassian white, or the varieties of altitnde, from the petite Cleopatra to that of the towering Rox ana, matters but little; there are many things arbitrarily essential to perfect beauty in woman." "I shall describe,” he continues, " a beautiful woman. taking her at the medium altitude, which is generally preferred.”
As such a description may be interesting to many who have not access to the original work, and as it cannot be considered wholly out of place in a volume professing to teach the art of description, the author of this volume nas, with some hesitation, ventured here to present it.
“Her height is five feet five inches; her hair is of any color that agrees with her complexion; her forehead is rather low, and as free from freckle or wrinkle as a piece of Paphian marble; her brows are dark, arched, narrow, and strongly defined'; her eyes are large, rather languishing than bright, and of either of the usual colors; for the grey eyes of Mary of Scot land were not less captivating than the raven orbs of the Queen of Sheba; her eye lashes are dark and long; her nose is a mitigated aquiline,
that is, an aquiline curtailed of its severity ; 'her lips are short and small, and yet withal full and pouting; her chin is very slightly developed; her ears are small, thin, and with the tip on a line with the eyebrow; her complexion varies with the emotions of her mind, and the blush that tinges her cheek is delicate, and loses itself in her face, so as to indicate no perceptible outline ; her features are exactly regular, though made to appear otherwise by the ever-varying expression of her lips and eyes, and the fluctuations of the rosy tide that ebbs and flows beneath the transparent surface of her skin; her smile indicates sweetness of disposition, blended with a gently-proud expression, dictated probably by the consciousness of her own worth and beauty; her neck is flexible, moderately slender, of medium length, and pure as alabaster; the fall from her neck to her shoulders is gradual" (like that of a bird); her bust is a gentle swell, so clear that the blue veins are visible; her shoulders almost verge on broadness, and press backwards ; her waist is small, but not too taper; her arms are rounded; her hands delicately small, and fingers rather long and tapered ; her instep is high, to secure a good arch to the foot, which adds grace in walking, and her feet are as small as they can possibly be without subjecting them to the character of diminutive."
To this description the same author adds, that there are three species of female beauty, of which all the rest are varieties."
No. 1. Face round, eyes soft azure; neck rather short; shoulders moderately bópad and gently rounded ; limbs and arms tapering and delicate; hands and feet small; complexion, rose struggling with lily; hair luxuri ant, flaxen or auburn; eyes blue, and whole figure soft and easy.
No. 2. Oblong face; neck long and tapering; shoulders broad and deli rate without being angular; limbs and arme rather long and tapering; reet