The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.
masonry, not above a foot and a half in thickness, and generally many feet apart; the interval between them is filled up with earth, making the whole appear like solid masonry and brickwork.  For six or seven feet from the earth, these are built of large square stones; the rest is of blue brick, the mortar used in which is of excellent quality.  The wall itself averages about 20 feet in height, 25 feet in thickness at the base, which diminishes to 15 feet at the platform, where there is a parapet wall; the top is gained by stairs and inclined planes.  The towers are generally about 40 feet square at the base, diminishing to 30 feet a the top, and are, including battlements, 37 feet in height.  At some spots the towers consist of two stories, and are thus much higher.  The wall is in many places carried over the tops of the highest and most rugged rocks; and one of these elevated regions is 5000 feet above the level of the sea.

[Illustration:  MILITARY MANDARIN.]

[Illustration:  THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA.]

Near each of the gates is a village or town; and at one of the principal gates, which opens on the road towards India, is situated Sinning-fu, a city of large extent and population.  Here the wall is said to be sufficiently broad at the top to admit six horsemen abreast, who might without inconvenience ride a race.  The esplanade on its top is much frequented by the inhabitants, and the stairs which give ascent are very broad and convenient.

[Illustration:  CHINESE SOLDIER.]

* * * * *

THE TOMBS OF PAUL AND VIRGINIA.

[Illustration:  Letter T.]

This delicious retreat in the island of Mauritius has no claims to the celebrity it has attained.  It is not the burial-place of Paul and Virginia; and the author of “Recollections of the Mauritius” thus endeavours to dispel the illusion connected with the spot:—­

[Illustration:  TOMBS OF PAUL AND VIRGINIA.]

“After having allowed his imagination to depict the shades of Paul and Virginia hovering about the spot where their remains repose—­after having pleased himself with the idea that he had seen those celebrated tombs, and given a sigh to the memory of those faithful lovers, separated in life, but in death united—­after all this waste of sympathy, he learns at last that he has been under a delusion the whole time—­that no Virginia was there interred—­and that it is a matter of doubt whether there ever existed such a person as Paul!  What a pleasing illusion is then dispelled!  How many romantic dreams, inspired by the perusal of St. Pierre’s tale, are doomed to vanish when the truth is ascertained!  The fact is, that these tombs have been built to gratify the eager desire which the English have always evinced to behold such interesting mementoes.  Formerly only one was erected; but the proprietor of the place, finding that all

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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