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have three hundred and twenty acres of
land, very good. Mr. T. is very kind
indeed to us, and puts all the money in my

"I hope you will not fail to write as soon as
you can, and tell all my dear brothers and
sisters to write to me. Oh, if you knew the
value I set upon a letter, I am sure you
would write. Oh, how I long to see you all
once more! We often talk of coming to
England, if spared.

"I am trying to learn the Spanish language,
for we have so many in for drink and meals,
I have some trouble to understand them. A
female here is treated with the greatest
respect, there are so few of them here. Dear
father, I would be happy in my mind if I had
any means of sending you some money, to
make you comfortable. I have it by me, but
have no means to send it; it is a bad place
for sending to England. I expect Mr. T. will
go to San Francisco, to buy some goods soon,
and I shall get him to ask how we can send
money to England. I can assure you it is a
trouble on my mind that I cannot do it, but
you may depend I shall send the first
opportunity. I have some beautiful lumps of gold,
which I have had given me for to make
brooches and pins of. I would send you them
all, if I had a chance. Henry has got some
lumps given him by different people, worth
four pounds sixteen shillings. Emily has
some worth one pound ten shillings. When she
can say all her letters she has the promise of
another lump of gold; she can nearly say
them all. I have so little time, but I teach
them once or twice a day. We are twenty-
one miles from church, chapel, or school.

"At our back-door we have a large flat
piece of ground, with the river running at the
bottom; at our front-door we see the
beautiful mountains; and we are surrounded with
treesa beautiful spot; I like it much. We
have plenty of wolves; they are so shy, we
shot two the other day, and nailed the heads
on the oak tree. We have plenty of deer and
antelopes; we had some the other day; I like
the meat much. Plenty of grisly bears, but
they are twenty miles from us; their flesh is
good eating, but I do not like it so well as
deer. I have bear's grease I got from the
meat; I have it for my hair; it is genuine.
Plenty of wild geese and ducks. We had a
couple of ducks for dinner yesterday; they
are very small, but very nice. We have a
fine cat; we would not sell her for forty dollars;
cats are scarce here, like women.

"I hope you will send me a letter as soon
as you can. I do so want to hear from you all
very much. I could say much more, but
must say adieu."


WHAT is meant by the figures 16,842,357?

"A very long chalk," replies a friend from
the United States.

"Sixteen millions, eight hundred and forty-
two thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven,"
answers everybody else.

No doubt. Those are the names of a certain
number of figures placed in a certain sequence;
but their names only. Have you a clear
idea what the figures mean? What idea have
you of sixteen millions of peas? How many
pint measures will they fill? Twenty, or
fifty, or a dozen only, or less? Have you
the smallest idea? Probably not; you are sure
that a vast number of peas go to that number;
but, on the other hand, a great many can be
put into a pint measure. Well, suppose that
you make a guess, and say twenty; if you
had been asked the same question about
a hundred and sixty thousand peas, would
not your ideas on the subject have been
equally vague, and your answer just as much
a guess as the other?

Now, we wish to know what sixteen
millions of peas mean. How shall we set about
it? We might try how many average-sized
peas, side by side, would extend over an inch.
Perhaps five peas will cover an inch of space.
Well, then, a thousand so placed would stretch
over two hundred inches, or about sixteen
feet, and therefore a thousand times a
thousand (or a million) peas would cover the floor
of a room sixteen feet by sixteen: and again,
by fancying a suite of sixteen rooms of these
dimensions, and all covered in the same odd
manner, we should not be very far wrong in
our conceptions of sixteen millions of peas,
and these words would now no longer give
rise to the mere vague English idea of "a
great number," or the American one of "a
long chalk."

This has been effected by first finding out
something definite concerning the size of the
objects we have selected to measure, by actual
trialby handling and measuring some half-
dozen peas: then, by means of this result,
we have taken another step, and gained a
clear idea of a vast number of them, without
seeing them at all: and starting again from
this last number, we are able to obtain just
conceptions of numbers still higher. This is
a very different process from merely naming
the figures that make up any large sum, and
then fancying that we therefore understand
its meaning.

We propose endeavouring, in somewhat
the same manner, to translate the
incomprehensible numerals of astronomy into
language a little more tangible. We are told
that the sun, for instance, is ninety-six
millions of miles off. Well, it must be a vast
distance: but is that all that we can say
about it? We could not have said much less
had we been told that the sun was nine
hundred and sixty thousand miles away from us;
are we then to rest satisfied with merely
knowing, what it hardly wanted an
astronomer to tell us, that it is "a long way from
here to the sun?" And yet, how can we
say that we know how far it is, when we