Illustrated London News, Jan.-June, 1851
MR. WYLD'S MODEL OF THE EARTH.
THE; gigantic Globe of Mr. James Wyld, Mr., now opened in Leicester-square,
is modelled on a scale of ten geographical miles to an inch horizontal, or six
inches to a degree, and it is one mile to an inch vertical, the diameter being
sixty feet. By means of a gradual ascent at different stages this colossal
figure of the earth, with its mountain and valley, sea and river, may be viewed
from a moderate distance. The objects just mentioned are represented by
numberless raised blocks, and castings in plaster, figured on the interior
concave of the sphere, the fittings up of which must have been both difficult
and expensive. The President of the Royal Geographical Society, in his late
address, stated that Mr. Wyld was good enough to show and explain to him the
whole of his undertaking, with which he was both surprised and pleased.
"Recollecting that only a limited part of a sphere can meet the eye at
once, it occurred to Mr. Wyld, that, by figuring the earth's surface on the
interior instead of the exterior of his globe, the observer would be enabled to
embrace the distribution of land and water, with the physical features of the
Globe, at one view. And in this," added the president, " he has
succeeded; from the great size, the examiner of details is hardly aware that he
is gazing on a concavity. The attempt is well worthy of the projector and of the
spirit of the age."
Little need be added to such high authority; but the last phrase reminds us that Mr. Wyld has himself recorded, that, "but for the Industrial Exhibition, his work would never have been undertaken. The congregation in London of the different nations and races of our empire and of the world was deemed the proper moment for the completion of a great model of the Earth's Surface, and the realisation of a thought which had for many years occupied his mind." We are also informed, that, had time or the occasion permitted, and had obstructions not been offered by some of the inhabitants of Leicester-square, Mr. Wyld would have endeavoured, by the formation of attached galleries, class-rooms, and museums, to render the institution still more available for the allied studies of geology and ethnology ; nor does he yet abandon the hope of being able to do so. What is already realised, however, is an important boon, and calculated to supersede to a great extent the inefficient use of maps.
Illustrated London News, Jan.-June, 1851
A JOURNEY ROUND THE GLOBE.
We did not even take a carpet-bag, or a tooth-brush, or a clean collar with
us. All our luggage consisted of a walking-stick and a postage-stamp. The latter
we parted with at the end of our journey, to acquaint our friends that we had
been round the Globe in perfect safety.
We have our doubts whether ladies will approve much of this new style of travelling. It dispenses with everything in the shape of luggage.
Our only passport was a shilling. This passport is very convenient.
It requires no viséing. No allusions are made in it to your eyes; no questions asked about your name, residence, or nose. You present your passport at the door; it is taken from you; and you never see it any more. We wish every passport was as easy to obtain, and as easy to get rid of.
We like travelling round the Globe. First of all, there is not a single turnpike on the road. There is no dust, nor any throwing of eggs nor flour, as on the journey from Epsom. and again, there are no beggars, as in Ireland, - no revolutions, as in France, - no monks or mosquitos, as in Italy,- and no insults, as in America. It is as easy as going up stairs to dress, and coming down again to dinner.
The journey is made on foot. Young ladies who cannot travel anywhere but in their own carriage, must abandon all thoughts of travelling round the Globe. It is true the journey might be made on horseback, but then the horse must be one of those "trained steeds" from Astley's, which are taught to run up ladders without missing a single step. The travelling, it must be confessed, is rather steep and resembles very much a journey up the Monument. This resemblance, however, arises entirely from the peculiar formation of the interior.
In this respect MR. WYLD has made a grand discovery. He has satisfactorily proved that the interior of the Globe is not filled with gases, according to AGASSIZ; or with fire, according to BURNET; neither has ho filled it, like FOURIER, with water, as if the Globe were nothing better than a globe of gold fish. No; MR. WYLD has lately shown us that the interior of the Globe is occupied by immense strata of staircases!
These staircases rise above one another, like the steps in the Duke of York's Column. This new theory must make travelling remarkably easy for persons who are occupied day long in running up and down stairs, and seems as if it had been purposely laid down for maids-of-all. work, or poor relations on a visit.
Our first flight through the Globe - that is to say, when we came to the first landing-place - convinced us that the crust of the Earth very much resembled the crust of a beefsteak pie that had been considerably overbaked. The inequalities on the surface, where the mountains are supposed to rise, represented to our ingenious fancy the bumps caused by the potatoes slumbering below, whilst the cracks through which the rivers are imagined to roll, disclosed to our mind's eye the crevices in the crust that sometimes display such tempting glimpses of the rich gravy that is flowing underneath.
This notion of the pie is not in the least overdone; for really the heat of the Globe is equal to that of any baker's oven. We don't wonder at this, when we observed at every turn that there were small jets of gas bursting out of the Earth, in a number almost sufficient to roast a prize ox at any of the ensuing elections. The combustion of these several gases raises the atmosphere of the Earth almost to boiling point; and we are confident that if any one, anticipating a long journey round the Earth, took his dinner with him, he could cook it on the spot, free of expense.
The most curious thing is, that the higher a person ascends in the World, the hotter it becomes for him; so that when he has reached the greatest elevation a man can attain, he suddenly finds the World too hot to hold him, and is obliged to come down again with a run. This is a fine lesson of worldly ambition, which we experienced, for once, ourselves. We felt the heat so excessive, and fancying the Arctic Regions must be of all regions the coldest in the World, we steamed our panting way up there; but, will it be believed? - accustomed as we are always to be at the top of the Pole, - we could not stand the climate of early peas and pine-apples, that is almost at forcing-height in those icy districts; and we were compelled to run down stairs to the Tropics as fast as we could in order to get cool again. It is lucky that there are parts of the Globe where a person can breathe with comfort, or else MR. WYLD would have made us regret that we had ever come into the World at all!
And of this we should have been profoundly sorry; for, to speak the truth, this World is a most beautiful one. It is most agreeable to stand in the centre of the Earth, and to see yourself surrounded by oceans and continents, - first to feast of a bit of land, and then to drink in with your eyes a whole Atlantic-full of water. Drink as much as you will, you cannot take all the water in. You dread lest the waters should close in around you, and swallow you up like a cork in the middle of a water-butt. You cling to the railings for support; but the sight of land cheers you the next moment. All the World is before you; you have only to choose where to go to. With a patriotic rush your eyes run to England, and you arc wonder-struck that a country which occupies so large a space in the thoughts of the world, should take up so little room on the surface of it. England, that has filled so many leaves in the world's history , is scarcely the size of a cabbage leaf; and London, which prides itself upon being the centre of civilization, is not half so big as TOM THUMB'S nose.
The World, as has often been remarked by moralists before, is exceedingly hollow; but then, if it were not, we could never have seen it for one shilling. This is very lucky; for it has enabled MR. WYLD to present to us the Globe in the shape of a geographical globule, which the mind can take in at one swallow. You see the comparative heights of all the mountains, and the comparative sizes of the different continents. Everything is measured to the nicety of a fashionable tailor; and we must say, that in no worldly quality do we admire MR. WYLD so much as in the moderation of his measurement. Most men when they are given an inch take an ell; but MR. WYLD, with a modesty that is beyond all measure, was given ten miles, and he has only taken an inch! - for that is the magic scale with which he has compressed volcanoes into a thimble, and condensed lakes into the size of a tea-cup!
Not only are the features of the different continents carefully portrayed but an attempt has also been made to give the face of each an individual complexion. For this purpose MR. WYLD has called in the assistance of MR. BEVERLEY, whose brush must now enjoy, if it did not before, a world-wide renown. Warm colours are given to warm climates - dead colours to barren districts - neutral colours to countries of which little is known; whilst a generous couleur de rose is thrown over those parts where the Sun of civilization is supposed to shine the strongest. Here and there, you see glittering red points burning away like the tops of the lighted cigars that are made in chocolate These are volcanic mountains, and the authority for painting them that colour, has taken from the celebrated Mountain in the French Chambers, which we all know is excessively volcanic, and particularly Red.
The general effect is very curious. Here a country looks like an immense cabbage-leaf, flattened out, half green and half decayed, with as immense caterpillar crawling right over it in the shape of a chain of mountains. There a country resembles an old piece of jagged leather hung up against the wall to dry, with large holes, that have been moth-eaten out of it. On one side you will see a cluster of islands, like dead leaves floating on the water, whilst opposite to it will be some large tract of land looking vesicated, with the rivers running close to one another like the veins in an anatomical engraving. Above your head will be hanging an old rug, like Russia, looking half-burnt and half- blistered by live coals that had fallen upon it, whilst underneath your feet may be spread Africa, like an immense skin - in some parts red and tawny, like a lion's - and in others a rich yellow, with beautiful black marks, like the stripes on a leopard's back. Fancy these, and many hundred others, hung up in monster frames with endless margins of blue-water, and you will have a vivid conception, though perhaps not a very picturesque one, of the Globe which MR. WYLD has suspended, like a fine, suggestive, picture, on the wall, for us to look at. The great pity is, you cannot see the picture all at once. It is cut in two by the hideous staircase. But this may have been run up purposely to show us that "one half the Globe doesn't know what the other half is doing."
Punch, Jul.-Dec. 1851