Sayfadaki görseller

Order of Battle, but very well qualified to maintain a War among Woods and Rivulets, where much Mischief may be done by unexpected Onsets, and Safety be obtained by quick Retreats. They can waste a Colony by sudden Inroads, surprize the ftraggling Planters, frighten the Inhabitants into Towns, hinder the Cultivation of Lands, and ftarve those whom they are not able to conquer,



[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ANTIPAROS is one of the smallest Inands of

the Levant; has but a single Village on it, and very few Inhabitants : It is one continued Mass of Stone, but covered two or three Feet deep, and very rich in Vegetables. In this Ifland is the famous Grotto, known from the earliest Times, and celebrated down to these. I heard so much of it that I was determined to go down; but I confefs that I often repented my Curiosity, and often gave myself for loft. I am apt to suspect no Body will follow my Example, and that my Account will be the laft that ever will be given from personal Observation.

We were led about four Miles from the Town to the Place : The Opening into it is by a vast Cavern formed into a Kind of natural Arch at the Entrance; this opens in the folid Rock, and its Roof and Sides are rough and craggy. There are some Pillars the Work of Nature, not of Art, which divide this Entrance into two parts; on the largeft of these there is the Remains of an Inscription; it is very ancient, and consists only of some proper Names. The Greeks, who at present inhabit the land, have a Tradition that they are the Names of the Con


spirators against Alexander the Great, who retired hither as to a Place of the greatest Security that could be found ; but there is nothing to countenance this Supposition.

The Descent into the Cavern is by a noping Walk that begins between two Pillars on the right Hand.' 'Tis but a gentle Declivity at first; but afterwards it becomes much more steep. We were now at the farther Part of the Cavern, and our Guides lighted their Torches, and pointed to an Opening that led to the Recesses of the Grotto. They were in no Humour to go down before us. I was obliged to walk in first with a Flambeau in my Hand, and a Fellow with another just behind me; after him followed three more; and there were still two others behind, who were to keep at a little Distance, to be ready in case of Accidents.

We had not walked far along this narrow Alley, which was too low to admit our standing upright, when I saw before me a strong iron Staple driven into the Rock; the Guides, if I may so call the People who went behind, not before us, had told me of this, and one of them had now the Courage to come forward, and fasten a Rope he had brought for that Purpose to the Staple. I had some Difficulty to persuade him to make the first Descent into a frightful Abyss, which was now immediatly before I was the Second that descended; we flid down by means of the Rope, and I found myself on a level Floor with Walls of rough Rock all about me, and a vast arched Roof above. There had been nothing particular in the Sound of my Guide's Voice from below; but that of those who answered me from above, was echoed to us in Thunder. When we were all landed, a Gratuity, which I gave

the bold Fellow who descended first, encouraged him to precede us again ; he turned to the Right, and led us, after a few Paces, to the Brink



of another Precipice. This was less steep, but much deeper than the former. Our Guide placed himself on his Breech, and with his Torch held up in both Hands, nid down with a frightful Rapidity: We followed him, and I hoped we were now at the Bottom. Alas! what an Imagination ! We had Leisure here to breathe again, and there was fomething in the perfect Stillness of the Place that appeared awful, and yet pleasing : It was a frightful Consideration to think how far we were out of the Reach of Day; but our Torches and Flambeaus burnt well, and all about us was sufficiently enlightened : The Air was not at all close or disagreeable as if confined, but warm and pleasant; and fo, perfectly out of the Reach of all Interruption, we had Opportunities of examining very favourably all about us.

The Rocks at the sides of the Cavern in which we now food, were in general of a Kind of Porphyry, with a great Deal of Purple in it; a Stone very frequent in these Islands, and which would certainly be very beautiful if cut: The rough and prominent Edges in several Parts of these, were at once terrible and beautiful. The Roof was out of the Reach of the Eye, at least the Light of the Flambeaux did not reach it with Strength sufficient to give us any distinct View of it. The Floor or Pavement was of a Stone quite different from the Sides, a rough and soft grey Flag-stone, like those of some Parts of Yorkshire, which they use in Building; and in this there were lodged a vast Number of petrified Shells, cornua ammonis, & conchae anominae, which itood up above the Level, and made it very disagreeable to the Feet.

From this Place our Conductor led us to the Brink of another Precipice, not deep, but horribly fteep; he in a Moment Aung himself down this, and then turned a Ladder, which hung down on


one Side, and thrusting it up within the Reach of our Feet, held the Bottom steady while we descended by it: I cannot remember any Thing equal to the Terror I conceived at letting myself down with my Breast to the Rock, and hanging by my Hands above, to get my Feet to the top Round of this Ladder. From hence I descended with less Pain : But it was a terrible Prospect, from the left Hand to see Precipices and opening Caverns ready to swallow any one up, who should have the least Slip with the Foot. From the Plain on which we found ourfelves after this last Descent, we were conducted along narrow and low Passages, and sometimes thro' broader, but all the way upon the Descent to a considerable Distance.

Here I was in Hopes we were at the End of our Expedition ; but no such Matter: Our Guide, who had been once before down, crept with trembling Feet before us, and warned us of a Precipice more terrible than any of the former : This was no way to be descended but by Means of a Ladder, that was brought on Purpose by our Guides, and unfor. tunately it was not quite so long as it should have been. We had great Difficulty to let the Fellow down by a Rope, and when he had fixed the Ladder, we had the same Difficulty as before to get to the first Round. From the Bottom of this Cavern, which was not Rock like the rest, but Earth, and fomewhat moitt, proceeded to another Declivity too deep for our Ladder ; but not so steep'as to have abfolute Necessity for it. We were reduced to fix our Cord once again here, and one by one to slide down the Rock on our Backs, with a firm Hold to the Rope. The Ridge of the Rock on which we made our Way in this Descent terminated on the right Hand very abruptly, and we could distinguish Water in the Depth below.


« ÖncekiDevam »