+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

would return home. With Ensign Brownell
in their camp, Governor Hill was of course
obliged to fulfil this requirement; and the
Ashantee captain and his armed party, four
hundred strong, were escorted within their
lines. Still the Ashantees hesitated; they
made further demands; promised to go; but
nevertheless remained. At last, a messenger
from the court of Coomassie arrived in the
camp with the sword of State having a large
gilt decanter attached to it. Further
suspense, however, still occurred; but moderation
ultimately prevailed; Ensign Brownell
was released, the Prah was recrossed, and an
Ashantee war avoided; whilst the treacherous
Assin chiefs were again tried and this time
condemned to death.

If, on the one hand, this demonstration
exhibited the prevalence of ambitious designs
on the part of Ashantee, it is gratifying to
observe on the other the confidence of our
confederates in their own ability to repel
them, and their perfect subordination to
British authority. Not less than thirty
thousand Fantees were ready to turn out in
defence of their independence of Ashantee
and their subordination to the British
Government. It was indeed this spirit of
enthusiasm on the part of the Fantees, quite
as much as Major Hill's energy and Ensign
Brownell's courage and prudence, that at
last induced the Ashantees to withdraw, and
will probably lead to the abandonment of
future incursions. To be prepared, however,
for the worst, the Duke of Newcastle, then in
office, judiciously augmented the materials
of war in the stores of Cape Coast Castle,
and orders were given the cruisers to act
under Major Hill's directions in case of


The first object that will attract the
attention of the geological visitor on entering
the Clarendon Museum at the University of
Oxford, will be a huge fossil sack of cement.
Upon examination this sack will be seen to be
curved a little upon itself, as a common sack
would be when placed full of some heavy
material against a wall. There is the
impression of a rope encircling it in two places;
and, at the mouth, are plainly marked
indentations of the puckers. Close inspection
will show reticulated impressions of the coarse
material of which the sacking was composed.
In the centre is a deep indentation; a cast,
in fact, of the back of the man who last
carried the sack.

The history of this curiosity? Well, it
was once a sack of Roman cement; and was
fished up by some dredgers in the River
Thames below London Bridge. It had,
probably, been dropped into the water by
some ancient lighterman, who had been
carrying it from a barge to the bank. Of
course it sunk immediately; and, by imbibing
water, had become solid, preserving, for a
century or so, accurately the indentation of
the man's back and the other marks as above
described. The perishable materials of the
sacking had, in course of time, decayed;
leaving nothing but the impression of its own
form on the hardened powder.

In another part of the museum is the skeleton
of a woman; who, from the appearance
of the bones, had reached to a considerable
age. The body was found extended, in the
usual position of burial, in a cave in
Glamorganshire. These bones are remarkable
for being stained with a dark-red brick-
coloured substance, known as ruddle. Close
to that part of the thigh-bone where the
pocket is usually worn, were found
several small sea-shore shells in a state of
complete decay; and, mixed with these,
numerous fragments of small ivory rods, and
small ivory rings; together with a rude
instrument resembling a short skewer made
of the metacarpal bone of a wolf; sharp,
flattened to an edge at one end, and terminated
at the other by the natural rounded condyle.
The charcoal and fragments of recent bone
that are, apparently, the remains of human
food, render it probable that the cave in which
they were found was at some time or other
inhabited by human beings; and the
circumstance of an ancient British camp existing
on the hill above it strengthens the
supposition. The ivory rods and rings are
certainly made from the antediluvian tusks
that lay in the same cave, and were probably
used to fasten together the coarse garments
of the ancient British soldiers, or to serve as
armlets for the dandies. The shells might
have been kept in the pocket, or have been
used, as they are even at this day, in
Glamorganshire, for a simple species of game. The
wolf's toe was probably reduced to its
present form by the hands of this ancient
dame, and used by her as a skewer; the
immediate neighbourhood being wholly
destitute of wood. The custom of burying with
their possessors the ornaments and chief
utensils of the deceased, is well known to
have existed among the ancientsancient
Britons included.

Several theories have been started to
account for the peculiar red colour of the
bones. Among others it has been suggested
that this old woman was in the habit of
selling ruddle to the British soldiers in the
camp close by; and that, whilst still pursuing
her avocation she died a peaceful death in her
cave. There being no wood to make her a
coffin, her considerate neighbours had placed
her in her own ruddle sack, and thus buried
her. In lapse of time the sack and the flesh
decayed; but not the bones, which had
absorbed the ruddle.

In the same museum, reposing under a
glass case, is a very remarkable stone, called
"The Sunday Stone." This stone was taken
from a pipe which carries off the drain water