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In honour of the living or the dead;
Pelican Island, : Some remarks on this subject by Capt. Hall, in his voyage to the Island of Loo-Choo, are very curious. The examination of a coral reef, he observes, during the different stages of one tide, is particularly interesting. When the tide has left it for some time it becomes dry, and appears to be a compact rock, exceedingly hard and ragged; but as the
tide rises, and the waves begin to wash over it, the coral worms protrude themselves from holes which before were invisible. These animals are of a great variety of shapes and sizes, and in such prodigious numbers, that, in a short time, the whole surface of the rock appears to be alive and in motion. The most common worm is in the form of a star, with arms from four to six inches long, which are moved about with a rapid motion in all directions, probably to catch food. Others are so sluggish, that they may be mistaken for pieces of the rock, and are generally of a dark colour, and from four to five inches long, and two or three round. When the coral is broken about high-water mark, it is a solid hard stone; but if any part of it be detached at a spot which the tide reaches every day, it is found to be full of worms of different lengths and colours, some being as fine as a thread and several feet long, of a bright yellow, and sometimes of a blue colour; others resemble snails; and some are not unlike lobsters in shape, but soft, and not above two inches long.
The growth of coral appears to cease when the worm is no longer exposed to the washing of the sea. Thus a reef rises in the form of a cauliflower, till its top has gained the level of the highest tides, above which the worm has no power to advance, and the reef, of course, no longer extends itself upwards. The other parts in succession reach the surface, and there stop, forming in time a level field with steep sides all round. The reef, however, continually increases, and, being prevented from growing higher, extends itself laterally in all directions. But the growth being as rapid at the upper edge as it is lower down, the steepness of the face of the reef is still preserved, These are the circumstances which render coral reefs so dangerous in navigation; for, in the first place, they are seldom seen above the water; and, in the next, their sides are so steep, that a ship's bow may
strike against the rock before any change of soundings has given warning of the danger. See some beautiful poetical illustrations of the subject in Montgomery's 'Pelican Island,' to which we are indebted for the above information.
• THIS month was named, like the preceding ones, from the place it held in the Romulean Calendar, Capricorn is the sign given to it.
In DECEMBER 1828. *3. 1826.-JOHN FLAXMAN DIED, Professor of Sculpture to the Royal Academy. He was an excellent Greek and Latin scholar, and his mind seems to have been early imbued with that classic feeling and taste which it is essential for a historical sculptor to possess, and which laid the foundation of his future celebrity. He was admitted a student of the Royal Academy in 1770. In 1782, he married Miss Anne Denman, of a respectable family in London, not only an amiable, but a highly accomplished female, to whom he was greatly indebted, when designing from the Greek authors, for pointing out beauties which might have escaped him, and which told in his productions with admirable effect.
In 1787, Mr. Flaxman went to Italy, where he pursued his studies for seven years. While resident at Rome, he made for Mr. Hare Naylor about eighty designs from the Iliad and Odyssey. These were so highly approved, that he was afterwards engaged to illustrate, in the same manner, the works of Dante for Mr. Thomas Hope, and Æschylus for the late Countess Spencer. All these designs were made at Rome and engraved there by Thomas Piroli. The Ho
mer was published in 4to, 1793, and again, with additional plates, in 1805; the Æschylus in 1795; the Dante in 1807. His illustrations of Hesiod were made after his return to England. The original drawings remain in the possession of his sisters; and engravings from them, by W. Blake, were published in 1816. These magnificent works established his fame throughout Europe, particularly among the critics and cognoscenti of Italy and Germany, with whom he is considered to have acquired a higher reputation than any artist of our country, excepting Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Joshua Reynolds. In 1794, Mr. Flaxman returned to England, and was elected, on his way, a Member of the Academies of Florence and Carrara. His first work on his return, and for which he received the commission before he . left Rome, was the monument to Lord Mansfield, in Westminster Abbey.
· Of the other numerous sepulchral monuments which he designed and executed, it may be sufficient to mention those to Earl Howe, Captain Miller, Lord Nelson, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, in St. Paul's . Cathedral; several in Westminster Abbey, and a variety of others in different cathedrals and churches in England'. · For his present Majesty, Flaxman designed a model of the shield of Achilles. · This exquisite performance is now well known to the public from the duplicate copy, sold among the plate of the Duke of York, for 1000 guineas, only half its original cost. It may be added, that Mr. Flaxman had made the designs for nearly all the sculpture for the exterior of the King's new palace, and was to have executed as much of it as he could undertake,—but the whole was to bave been under his direction. These were the last drawings he touched, and are now invaluable. ;!. See these enumerated in the Gentleinan's Magazine, vol, xovii, part 1, p. 274.
6.--SAINT NICHOLAS.. Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, in Lycia, holding a place in the calendar on the 6th December, had the title of Great, and appears to have been honoured by public worship, ever since the sixthcentury. Historians are agreed, that nothing certain is recorded of the circumstances of the life or death of this saint; we know that he has supplied the place of the heathen deities worshipped by mariners, and that sailors pray to him in the frequent dangers of the seas, as the ancients invoked Neptune, and Castor and Pollux. Baillet, and all those who have related an account of the numerous miracles performed by Saint Nicholas, agree in saying that he calmed a sea-storm in a voyage be made to the Holy Land; and Ribadeneira adds that, during the same voyage, he brought to life a sailor, who was furling one of the sails in the fore-top, and fell dead upon the deck. Hence, no doubt, the origin of the particular veneration in which he is held by mariners. In all the churches and chapels dedicated to our bishop, we find St. Nicholas represented in his pontifical dress, with three naked young children at his feet, in a little tub. The following miracle is said to have given rise to this circumstance: A certain innkeeper having murdered three young scholars, cut them in pieces, put them into a salting-tuh, and sold their flesh to his customers instead of other viands. St. Nicholas, by a process not often resorted to by these saints, quickly converted the salt meat into fresh, by uniting the pieces, and restoring the unfortunate boys to their pristine form and stature. Hence the origin, it is said, of the children in the pickling-tub,
The proverb of Saint Nicholas que marie les filles avec les gas (Saint Nicholas who marries young men and maidens) appears to be derived from the following circumstance related in his life :—that he went seYeral times to the house of a person whom he knew
ed thromstanceracle is saat his fofical dres tind ses usto into a young sch.certain to have in a little with
veral timmstance Pears to be demi marries