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SIZE is not the only element of value, even
in the case of landed estates, wherein men
have a special hankering after elbow-room.
Bulk does not constitute brilliancy, nor does
immensity necessarily imply importance.
Dry deserts that may be measured by
geographical degrees, sterile steppes overstriding
half an empire's surface, Patagonian plains
(lumps of the world's original paste, or dough,
rolled out with an endless rolling- pin) are
but cyphers compared with tiny patches
of earth whose area, if cut out of them
would be no more missed than a kernel of
wheat from a sack of corn. Ætna and
Vesuvius outweigh in the moral, if not in the
material balance, whole chains of ordinary
mountains. Runnymede was not a commonplace
mead, nor Vaucluse a vulgar fountain.
The spot shines, like phosphorescent adamant,
with its own proper light, as well as with
every ray it catches from every luminous
object near it. No trifling sprinkling of this
bright territorial diamond-dust glitters on
the British diadem. Besides the great central
sun at home, she has distant outpostsfixed
stars, twinkling merrily here and there
throughout the dark vastness of terrestrial
spacewhich cheer the British wanderer,
and help him wonderfully to steer his way.
There are Gibraltar, Malta, St. Helena, and
Ascension: the beloved of aldermen, the tomb
of turtle. There are Ceylon, Newfoundland,
Cape Town, and Corfu, none of which would
be estimated in the market by the number of
acres of land they contain. Last, and least,
there exists another little jewela clear chip
of rock crystal, a pure cairngorumto the
translucent brilliancy of whose native water
recent circumstances have acted as the foil.

At the foot of Denmark, out in the North
Sea, in front of the mouths of the rivers
Elbe and Weser, facing Cuxhaven in Hanover
and also commanding the island of
Neuwerk, is another little island called
by us Heligoland (Helgoland by the
Germans), which will help us to smile with
unaffected pleasure and grin the grin of
gladness, at the moment when we are receiving
the sincere sympathy, the amiable assistance,
the frank friendship, and the candid
coadjutorship, of our dear, dear allies the
Germans in general, and the Austrians and
Prussians in very particular particularity.
We find it convenient to enroll a few foreign
soldiers ; and King Hiccup and his friends
are so pleased at our doings, that they testify
a disposition to provide board and lodging
at their own expense, both for English
agents and the recruits they may raise.
It is a long way, too, and the road is not quite
straight from the Tom Thumb German dukedoms
to the shores of Albion. Britannia,
therefore, steps forward a great deal more
than half way to receive her young pupils in
her ample lap. She has stuck her trident on
the isle of Heligoland, and hoisted the Union
Jack on the top, to give notice to all whom it
may concern that here is a dépôt for the
foreign legion which the English government
is raising in Germany, to help us and our
real allies in the Crimea.

Look at the map of Europe: there is a spice
of humour in the choice of the spot. The
advantages which it offers for the purpose
are quite out of the common way. In time of
peace, Heligoland is an advanced sentinel, who
can constantly keep her eye open on what is
passing in the north of Germany. In war, she
is a little Gibraltar, from which, as a centre,
Britannia can send her cruisers to wander
about, her scouts to spy, and even her smugglers
to trade. At all times, therefore, in
spite of its tightness and exiguity, Heligoland
is by no means to be sneered at, as a possession
of importance to the United Kingdom;
being a sort of outstretched snail's- eye,
which allows us to watch whatever is in the
wind on the North-German coast, at the
mouths of its two main commercial arteries,
Holstein and Holland. At the present
moment, Heligoland, in reference to Great
Britain, is in a position analogous to that of the
mouse in the fable and the lion caught in the
net. Tedescan art has woven round us
meshes and snares composed of four points,
conferences, propositions, and mediations ;
but this little bit of pet-land enables us to
laugh in our sleeve at the cunning of
diplomatic huntsmen. According to the reports
of the government agents from all quarters,
recruiting for the foreign legion goes on most
satisfactorily, notwithstanding the covert
repugnance of some governments, and the
open hostility of others. Great numbers of