• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 A few words about this book
 Central Europe; its animals and...
 Mountain regions of Europe
 Alpine animals and plants
 Animal life in a Russian fores...
 The northern coasts of Asia
 The steppes of Central Asia
 India; its animals and plants
 Animals of the eastern peninsu...
 Animals of the Sunda Islands
 A tour in the Great African...
 The Nile; its animals and...
 Animal life in Central Africa
 The Cape of Good Hope
 The lion of South Africa
 The cold regions of North...
 Animal life in the prairies
 Tropical South America; animals...
 Tropical South America; its animals...
 Animal life in the Andes Mount...
 Animals of Australia
 Back Cover






Group Title: Animal life all the world over : with remarks on the trees and plants of various regions
Title: Animal life all the world over
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00065518/00001
 Material Information
Title: Animal life all the world over with remarks on the trees and plants of various regions
Physical Description: 83 p., 21 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 23 x 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Dulcken, H. W ( Henry William ), 1832-1894
George Routledge and Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: George Routledge and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
New York
Manufacturer: Woodfall and Kinder
Publication Date: [188-?]
 Subjects
Subject: Animals -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Plants -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1885
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by H.W. Dulcken ; with illustrations in colours.
General Note: Date of publication based on binding indicating publication in the 1880's.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065518
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002219232
notis - ALF9413
oclc - 71124010

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Frontispiece
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
    List of Illustrations
        Page v
    A few words about this book
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Central Europe; its animals and plants
        Page 4
        Plate
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Mountain regions of Europe
        Page 8
        Plate
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Alpine animals and plants
        Page 12
        Plate
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Animal life in a Russian forest
        Page 16
        Plate
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    The northern coasts of Asia
        Page 20
        Plate
        Page 21
        Page 22
    The steppes of Central Asia
        Plate
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    India; its animals and plants
        Plate
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Animals of the eastern peninsula
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Animals of the Sunda Islands
        Page 36
        Plate
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    A tour in the Great African Desert
        Page 40
        Plate
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    The Nile; its animals and plants
        Page 44
        Plate
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Animal life in Central Africa
        Page 48
        Plate
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    The Cape of Good Hope
        Page 52
        Plate
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    The lion of South Africa
        Page 56
        Plate
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    The cold regions of North America
        Page 60
        Plate
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Animal life in the prairies
        Page 64
        Plate
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    Tropical South America; animals and plants of Guiana
        Page 68
        Plate
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    Tropical South America; its animals and plants (the Amazon)
        Page 72
        Plate
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Animal life in the Andes Mountains
        Page 76
        Plate
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
    Animals of Australia
        Page 80
        Plate
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text
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By an Indian river. The Boa Constrictor, Rhinoceros, Leopard and Buffalo.


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ANIMAL


LIFE


ALL THE WORLD OVER.

WITH


REMARKS ON THE


TREES AND


PLANTS OF


VARIOUS REGIONS.


BY


H. W. DULCKEN, PH.D.


Witj gilustratins in Cnalnxs.


GEORGE


LONDON :
ROUTTLEDGE AND SONS, THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
NEW YORK: 416, BROOME STREET.


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LON DON :

'ITNTED EY WVOODFALL AND KINDER,

M1ILFOiRD LANE, STRAND, W.C.





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A FEW WORDS ABOUT THIS BOOK .

CENTRAL EUROPE ; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS

MOUNTAIN REGIONS or EUROPE

ALPINE ANIMALS AND PLANTS

ANIMAL LIFE IN A RUSSIAN FOREST

THE NORTHERN COASTS OF ASIA

THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA

INDIA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS

ANIMALS OF THE EASTERN PENINSULA

ANIMALS OF THE SUNDA ISLANDS .

A TOUR IN THE GREAT AFRICAN DESERT


PAGE
1

S 4

S 8

12

16

. 20

23

27

32

86

40


THE NILE; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS

ANIMAL LIFE IN CENTRAL AFRICA .

THE CAPE or GooD HOPE .

THE LION Or SOUTH AFRICA .

THE COLD REGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA

ANIMAL LIFE IN THE PRAIRIES .

TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ANIMALS AND PLANTS OF GUIANA

TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA (TEE AMAZON) .

ANIMAL LIFE IN THE ANDES MOUNTAINS

AUSTRALIA AND ITS ANIMALS .


PACIE
441

48

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56

S 00

S 64

68

*72

76

80


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gist of ttrttiuns.


Squirrel-Roebuck-Does-Fawn, &c.


TO FACE PAGE
4


Combat of Two Stags-Does-Fox and Duck
Chamois Hunters-Ibex-Chamois-Fawn and Marmots
Russian Forest-Bear-Russian Bison-Wolf
Polar Bears of Northern Siberia-Arctic Foxes and Sea-mews-
Natives with Reindeer .
Desert in Central Asia-Musk-ox and Wild Ass-Rhubarb Plant
and Tea Shrub
A Hunt in the Indian Jungle-Hyena-Elephant-Royal Tiger
and Peacocks
By an Indian River-The Boa Constrictor-Rhinoceros-Leopard
and Buffalo .
A Swamp in Sumatra-The Toucan-Cassowary and Ourang-
outang on a Bread-fruit Tree-The Tapir
The Great African Desert-Caravan of Camels, Horses, and Asses
overtaken by the Simoom-Frightened Gazelles .
By the Nile in Nubia-The Ibis-Giraffe-Hippopotamus-
Crocodiles and Baboons


8
12
16


20


23


27


32


36


40


44


TO FACE PAGE
Various African Birds-Flamingo-Stork-Pelican-Grey Heron
C M A4 A.8


--- anes on a mr -re .
Kaffirs driving Animals into a Pit-Various Antelopes-Hart-
beest-Zebra-Ostrich, &. .
Animals of the Cape of Good Hope-Vulture-Lion-Jackal-
Hyenas-Cape Buffalo, &c..
Scene in Northern Canada-Racoon-Beaver-Wild Turkeys-
Elk-Passenger Pigeon

Animals of the American Prairies-Grizzly Bear-Bison-Prairie
Dogs and Rattlesnakes .

Forest in Guiana-Jaguar-Capybara-Tapirs-Toucan-Arma-
dillo
Forest in Brazil Red Macaw Puma Ant-eater Howling
Monkeys

Andes Mountains in Peru-Llama-Condor
Animals of Australia-Dingo-Kangaroo-Lyre Bird-Emu-
Black Swan-Duckbill.


52


56


60


64


68


72

76


80


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ANIMAL LIFE ALL THE WORLD OVER.


A FEW WORDS ABOUT THIS BOOK.


T may be safely asserted that, among any company of
young people, very few will be found who are quite
insensible to the delights of travelling. Among boys
especially, nineteen out of every twenty associate the idea of
a long journey with everything that is pleasurable and
bright. To travel!-to visit foreign lands! To be surrounded
by the grandest forms of animal and vegetable life, beneath
the bright tropical sun !-to watch the glare of the Northern
light, and the great floating icebergs in the frozen Polar
Zone! to rest at noon beneath the shade of some primeval
forest in Central America, and watch the birds as their many-
coloured wings whirr to and fro among the giant trees !-or
to sit by the helmsman at night, as the ship cleaves her
silent way through the tropic sea, and the track of her wake
is bright with flashes of phosphorescent light !-to behold the
thousand marvels of beauteous Nature as they are exhibited
in every zone,-this earth which God has made so beautiful,
and whose marvellous beauty so few of those for whom it is
made have properly learned to appreciate and to enjoy!
Such a prospect surely has its charms; and the heart and
brain must be as dull as those of "No-eyes," in the good old
"Evenings at Home," that could fail to stir with a feeling of
delight and thankfulness at the thought of the wonderful
wisdom they display.
Now, I cannot undertake to lead my young readers away
bodily with me from the comfortable room or the snug


corner of the garden in which they may choose to read this
book; but, if they will be content to follow me in imagina-
tion, I will endeavour to paint for them in words what the
artist has shown them here in pictures-to exhibit to them
some scenes of the Animal Life and Plant Life that the
traveller beholds as he traverses the various zones, intent
upon Nature's wonders. Beginning with our own continent
of Europe, we will start on an imaginary journey, wherein it
shall be our task to visit in succession Asia, Africa, and
America, and lastly that land of wonders, whose secrets are
as yet but partly unveiled to the enterprising explorer, the
great and marvellous land we call Australia.
More than a general view I cannot promise to give.
Hundreds of pictures, and thousands of written pages, would
not suffice to exhibit the animal creation in anything like a
complete form. I can only select a few of the most
prominent animals, and a very few of the trees and plants in
each separate clime, and shall try to choose just those which
would first strike my young readers, if they could be actually
transported to the various regions of which I speak. If I
can manage to excite the interest of my readers in the
subject, I need only remind them that in other and larger
books they will find these animals and plants spoken of at
greater length, and in a far more complete manner; and can
promise them, that the more diligently they pursue the
study of Natural History, the greater cause they will find for


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A FEW WORDS ABOUT THIS BOOK.


2


wonder and delight at the marvellous goodness and wisdom
that fashioned every living thing and every green thing
upon the earth, from the greatest to the least.
The animal and vegetable creation in a country depend
upon various circumstances; and first and foremost among
these circumstances must be reckoned the CLIMATE of each
land. The polar bear would be unable to live in the hot
regions of Africa. The tawny lion, on the other hand, would
quickly perish in the icy regions in which the polar bear feels
himself at home. Apes and monkeys can only flourish in a
wild state, in climes where the sun shines hotly down all
day; and the larger the ape, the more difficult is it to keep
him alive in a temperate climate. Even the little monkey
that dances on the Italian boy's organ shivers and shakes
miserably whenever the keen east wind blows; and his big
cousins the chimpanzee and the ourang-outang can only be
kept alive in the Zoological Gardens by constant care and
attention, in rooms artificially heated and specially prepared
for them. The moisture or dryness of the soil also has a
great influence on certain kinds of animals. Some, again,
are intended to live in plains; while others are formed for a
mountain life, and are fond of climbing among almost
inaccessible rocks. Some seek refuge in caverns and dens,
while others dwell among the thick trees of pathless forests;
some love the bright sunshine, while others dwell in the
shade. Many graminivorous or plant-eating animals are
only found in regions where certain plants abound; while
others haunt the sea-shore, feeding on marine animals and
fish. The carnivorous creatures, some of which feed on
living and others on dead animals, are obliged to haunt the
regions frequented by their prey.
Different nations have treated the wild animals in their
countries in very various ways. The Red Indians of North


T


America and the natives of Australia have always been
hunters and fishermen, and have never cared to keep flocks
and herds. Other nations have laboured hard to tame those
animals that might be useful to them, and have wandered
about from place to place, dwelling in tents, and removing to
different parts of the great plains in which they dwelt,
according as their cattle or sheep required fresh pasture.
Thus in Central Asia, on the wide Tartar plains, dwell nations
whose only wealth consists in their flocks and herds. The
milk, the flesh, the wool, and the skins of horses, sheep, and
oxen, supply these people with food and drink and clothing;
and they go wandering through the endless grassy plains,
not caring to abide in fixed dwelling-places, but striking
their tents and seeking new resting-places when the supply
of water and pasturage begins to fail, or when their own
restlessness impels them to move on. To such nomadic or
wandering races belonged the patriarchs of old; and the Bible
records show how often in early times the staff was taken in
hand for long journeyings, and how pasture and water for
the cattle were regarded as the one thing indispensable
wherever the Shepherd Princes set up their rest.
In other cases animals have been tamed to act as beasts
of burden, by whose means commerce and traffic between
various nations can be carried on. The camel, the Ship of
the Desert, has for thousands of years carried the rich
products of the East across the vast ocean of sand that
occupies almost all the northern expanse of Africa. The
elephant has not only been employed in the toils of traffic,
but enlisted in the service of war. Already, in the Roman
times, that mighty brute was made to add to the strength of
an army; and in India too, within our own times, he was
employed as a combatant. He still maintains his place and
office as a camp-follower, to carry the baggage, and drag


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A FEW WORDS ABOUT THIS BOOK.


artillery along the mountain roads. The Bible tells us that
it was the design of Providence to make the animal creation
serviceable to man; and as man, in various climes and at
different periods, has shown himself more or less able to
assert the empire given him by the Almighty, has the
aspect of a country changed, so far as its animals are con-
cerned. Thus, in the days of the old Saxon kings, when
huge forests covered a large part of the face of Britain;
when towns and villages were few, and hardly any roads
existed; the wolf and the wild cat prowled in the woods, and
on a winter night hungry howlings were heard around the
wattled fences that surrounded the wooden huts. But as
the country became more occupied, as towns and villages and
cultivated fields increased in number, the wild animals
were gradually driven back into the depths of the forests.
The price set on the wolves' heads cleared the country of
those fierce creatures; and with them other wild animals,
incessantly pursued and driven farther back by the advance


of man, gradually disappeared. Forty years ago the back-
woods of the United States of North America swarmed with
bears and deer;; and the hunter roaming through those path-
less wilds, with his dog and gun, was sure of abundant-and,
indeed, of exciting and dangerous-sport. Now the tracts
once desolate and solitary are dotted with smiling farms and
homesteads, and the gruff grizzly bear has retired far into
the Rocky Mountains, among whose fastnesses he still
maintains himself in surly state.
Thus a picture of the Animal Life in any country will give
an idea of the nature of the country itself. If many wild
beasts and birds career and soar over a region in full and
unrestrained liberty, that country has not yet been brought
under the dominion of civilized man; if, on the contrary, the
domestic animals prevail, and the wild beasts have become
rare or extinct, we may be sure of the presence of a nume-
rous population, practising commerce and manufacture, and
observant of seed-time and of harvest,


I,


3














CENTRAL EUROPE; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


^ UROPE, the quarter of the globe which we inhabit,
has gradually lost many of its wild animals; and we
must now travel far east, to the wilds of Russia,
before we encounter the surly bear and the grim wolf. In
the time of the old Romans, a great forest stretched across
almost the whole extent of Central Europe. This was the
Ilercynian Forest. It was almost entirely abandoned to
wild animals, and only at intervals scattered tribes of barba-
rians strayed through it, to hunt the beasts whose flesh and
skins afforded them food and clothing.
The winters in those times were long and dreary, and
colder than the winters of our own times. The great
forests, where the ground was not drained or cultivated in
any way, retained a great quantity of moisture; and great
marshes and morasses covered the face of the country for
many miles. The rivers, even in the .southern parts, were
thickly frozen over in the winter; and we read how Trajan,
a Roman emperor, crossed the Danube on the ice, with all
his army, their baggage and warlike engines. The barba-
rians, too, had a sport which consisted in sitting down on
their broad flat shields, and thus sliding, as if on sledges,
down the steep sides of the snow-covered mountains. Rest-
less and warlike, they wandered from place to place, and
only the more civilized among them built villages and
towns. Many German tribes lived in waggons ; and when
they were attacked, these waggons were drawn up in a


square, so as to form a kind of castle, within which the
women and children remained, while the men went forth to
attack the enemy. Even the women and children fought
with the fierceness of wolves when the waggon-castle was
attacked. Sometimes they boldly mounted on the waggon-
wheels, and thence hurled back at their Roman foes the
darts and javelins that had been thrown at them; at others,
they thrust forth spears and long knives from among the
wheels, and tried to wound their aggressors. The men
themselves fought with the desperation of wild beasts, and
seldom gave up the contest while life lasted.
Now all this is completely changed. Where the vast
forests grew, and the wolf, the bear, the wild boar, and
many other savage creatures roamed in savage freedom,
the hand of man has been at work for centuries, to
replenish the earth and subdue it.- By his toil and
labour the great forest has been cut down, the plough
has passed over the stubborn earth, and the land that
once appeared but as a succession of heath, and swamp,
and moorland, now smiles with harvests of waving corn
or fragrant clover.
Europe lies mostly within the Temperate Zone; only
its northern extremities extend to the limits of perpetual
frost, while the southern coasts at times exhibit a heat
that indicates to the traveller his approach to the burning
Continent of Africa. The effort to overcome the powers





















































Under the shady Beech are the Squirrel, Roebuck, Does andFawn and the Hare; Partridges
hide among the corn.


..., /-







CENTRAL EUROPE; ITS


I ,,-~ -


5


ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


of Nature has, therefore, been less arduous and more
successful than in other parts of the world. The terrible
earthquakes that, in Central and South America, some-
times devastate hundreds of square miles in a day,
laying mighty cities in ruins, and shaking the firmest
ground to its foundations, are almost unknown here.
The violent tropical tempests, whose fearful fury blows
down great forest-trees, and sweeps away the habitations
of men like leaves and dry brushwood, do not visit these
more temperate regions; and thus the European does
not see arrayed against him the mighty powers against
which the inhabitant of other climes often fights in vain.
He can count pretty accurately on the return of the
seasons, and beholds the literal fulfilment of the Divine
promise, made after the flood, that "while the earth
remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and
summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease."
The dominion of man over the animal creation has been
completely established in Europe. Fierce and noxious
animals have been exterminated, or driven into remote
mountains and forests, and useful and valuable ones have
been fostered and multiplied; while the plants and vege-
tables on which the domestic animals feed have been culti-
vated with every care.
In England, the greater part of the soil has been laid
out in fields; for, with the increase in the number of in-
habitants, the necessity for. turning the land to the best
account, and making it bring forth food for man and beast,
has increased from year to year. Some of the old forests
still remain, though their limits have been greatly narrowed;
and the glorious old forest-trees, in the pride of their heavy
foliage, form a picture of beauty which few other lands on
the face of the earth can rival.


Let us walk together on the borders of the New Forest
in Hampshire, and pause to examine and enjoy the scene
around us. First we are struck by the appearance of the
forest-trees. Most of our English trees are of the kind called
deciduous. Their leaves fall down in autumn, when the sap
of the tree retreats towards the root, leaving the great
branches bare and dry through the winter. The beech-tree
is one of the most frequently found, and one of the most
useful. One of the finest collections of these trees is to be
seen about twenty-four miles from London, in Buckingham-
shire, and is known by the name of Burnham Beeches, from
a small town near which it is situated. The trunk of
the beech gives a moderately hard wood, very useful for
various purposes. Bowls and other household utensils are
frequently made of beech. The tree may be known by its
smooth bark, its glossy leaves, and its spreading boughs,
which hang gracefully down from the trunk. It is one of
the loveliest of our forest-trees. The nuts, called mast, are
greedily eaten by swine and small animals.
In the forest, and on its margin, are to be found the beau-
teous wild flowers which make our woodland haunts so lovely.
In the neighbourhood of cornfields we are almost sure to
meet with the scarlet pimpernel, the shepherd's weather-glass,
as the country-people call it, from the fact that it always
closes before rain. Over the hedges and among the under-
wood spreads the bindweed, or convolvulus, sometimes with
delicate little pink blossoms, sometimes with larger white
ones-the little pink flowers full of delicate fragrance, as if
they had an additional quality given them to compensate
for their smaller size. The dog-rose blooms around, and
the pretty graceful harebell waves to and fro under the shel-
tered bank. By the streamlet the forget-me-not raises its
blue star, looking straight upwards, an emblem of innocence;


.i


i


5







6 CENTRAL EUROPE; ITS

and, most fragrant prize of the woods, the delicate lily of the
valley, or as the Germans call it the May-bell, modestly
hiding in the shade, is betrayed by its fragrance.
Among the animals found in the forest, the foremost in
importance are those of the deer kind. There are various
kinds of deer, of each of which I shall have something to say,
in speaking of the country which it inhabits. The deer
standing under the beech-tree are of the kind called "roe."
The roebuck is much smaller than the other species of deer,
and has horns that seldom exceed ten inches in length.
These horns fall off in the autumn, and are renewed in the
spring. The roebuck chooses a female or doe, to whom he
is very faithful; for he remains with her year after year,
though he is not always very kind to his family. The female,
though she is timid by nature, like all animals of the deer kind,
will defend her young one, or fawn, with very great courage
and affection. And, indeed, the fawn requires. all its
mother's care, for it has many enemies among the beasts and
birds of prey. Where the deer is not disturbed or worried,
it loses a portion of its natural timidity, and grazes quietly
in the forest glades; but if pursued or molested it becomes
very shy, hides itself in the thicket, and only comes forth
at evening to seek for food. During the winter, when the
grass is hidden under a covering of snow, the deer eats the
twigs and bark of young trees, and thus causes considerable
damage. In the German forests the keepers accustom the
roes to resort to certain places in the wood by strewing salt,
of which these creatures are very fond. Some of the keepers
are also very clever in imitating the cry of the roe. Thus
they lure the deer within gunshot, and kill them with bullets
from their rifles.
Look at that quick little creature, running up the trunk of
the beech-tree so nimbly that he is perched on a branch
4t


ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


almost before your eyes can follow him! That is a little
brown squirrel. He has a nest in the tree, you may be sure,
but it will be difficult to find, for Master Skuggie is a very
cunning fellow, and takes great care to make his domicile as
private as possible. The squirrel's nest is a model of neat-
ness and ingenuity. It is made of leaves and moss and the
fibres of trees. Sometimes it is built in a hole inside the
trunk, at others in a retired and convenient nook at the
junction of a branch with the stem. In this latter case the
little builder is very anxious to make his house appear as if
it were only a knot or a knob belonging to the tree itself;
and he shows great ingenuity in matching the colour of the
bark with which he covers his nest to that of the tree, so
that it may escape detection. The old squirrels feed their
young and watch over them with great solicitude. The
nests are made very carefully, the materials being most
neatly interwoven and fitted together. The leaps the squirrel
will take are astonishing for such a little creature. When
he eats a nut, he sits upon his hind-legs, with the fbod hud-
dled up in his fore-paws. First he rasps away one end of
the nut with his teeth, and then splits the shell from end to
end; he is very careful to strip off all the brown skin before
he eats the kernel. Provident for the winter, he lays up a
store of acorns, young shoots of trees, beechmast-and nuts
form his chief food; and he will hide some of these provisions
in various holes round his nest, for he seems to think it is
safer to have many warehouses than one. A story is told of
a nest full of young squirrels, which were brought home by
a boy, and neglected-as poor animals are too frequently
neglected by the young and thoughtless. But there hap-
pened to be a cat in the house. Puss had lost a litter of
kittens only a few months before, and she took to the poor
little squirrels in a most marvellous way. She nursed those


{












































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o






CENTRAL EUROPE; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


IA


forlorn orphans, and purred over them, and caressed them.
A great many people naturally came to see this wonderful
sight; and puss became so jealous at finding so many
inquisitive eyes turned upon her young charges, that she
carried them from place to place to hide them, and one of
them was actually killed in her persistent efforts to hide it.
Whether the squirrels were grateful to their kind nurse when
they grew up is not told; but I am afraid they took the first
opportunity of escaping, so soon as they were big enough to
shift for themselves.
At the corner of the cornfield, looking as if he were all
ready for a start, lurks another very familiar animal, whom
we are all glad to meet at dinner-namely, the hare. In
England this is one of the few game animals we have
left. The hare makes a little cave or hut for himself
in the field; and this hut is called his "form." When
frightened out of his home he tries to run up hill;
for here the length of his hind legs gives him a great
advantage over the hounds that pursue him. Many
creatures that are weak and unable to defend them-
selves, have been gifted with cunning to enable them
to escape from their enemies; and the hare possesses this
gift in a remarkable degree. lie will resort to all sorts
of stratagems to lead the hounds away from his form, and
then he will turn or double in his running many times, and
thus endeavour to slip back unobserved to his form, and to
lie there concealed until the danger is past. One pair of
hares will have as many as fifteen or sixteen young ones in
the course of a season. Iares are sometimes shot, and


sometimes hunted with fleet grey-hounds, which hunt the
poor hare down in spite of his swift running. A great and
good English poet, named Cowper, who was for a long time
in very bad health, kept two tame hares for his amusement,
and used to be much diverted by their funny tricks and
frolics. He called them Tiny and Bess. Tiny was rather a
surly self-willed hare, but Bess was very good-natured and
amiable. So you see that even among animals there are
different tempers and dispositions.
Crouching among the standing wheat, in a warm sheltered
corner of the field, we see the partridge and her young ones.
A partridge's nest will sometimes contain from nine to
twelve or fourteen eggs. Like the hare, the partridge is not
without cunning, and will very cleverly contrive to lure
away an intruding dog from its nest. Sometimes it will
pretend to be lame and weak, and shuffle along the ground,
just keeping out of the reach of the dog, to entice him away
from the spot where its young ones are hiding in the corn or
in the thicket; and sometimes it will even pretend to show
greater uneasiness the farther it lures him away ; till at last
it suddenly rises and flies off, leaving the dog very much
bewildered. Partridges are game birds, and are highly
prized by the sportsman, as their flesh is very delicate
eating. The time for shooting this bird begins on the first
of September, after the corn-fields have been reaped. In
hard winters partridges and hares often suffer from want;
and then, in spite of their natural timidity, they approach
the farm-yards, and the dwelling-places of men, in search of
food.


7


-. t -




I


MOUNTAIN REGIONS OF EUROPE.


EAVING the cultivated plains beneath us, smiling
with their rich harvests and verdant meadows, let us
turn our faces toward the mountains, and see what
these regions have to show.
Where the great rocks rise like walls and massive towers,
animals, rarely found in the cultivated lowlands, find a refuge
and a home. The eagle screams from his lofty eyry or nest
on the crag, the fox lurks in the thicket, and the lordly
red deer, the monarch of the chase, roams among the
mountain passes at his own free will. When his antlers
are grown, he is very combative; and nothing delights a
red stag more than to challenge another, whereupon the
most determined fights frequently take place, not seldom
ending with the death of one of the champions. The red
deer is more wild than the fallow deer, and consequently
chooses his haunts in places not easily accessible. This
splendid creature is found in various parts of the world;
but in France and Germany,. where forests are preserved
under the strict supervision of gamekeepers, he is not nearly
so wild, nor does he become so strong and powerful, as in
the vast woods of Canada, or in the desolate plains of
Siberia. Thirty years ago, great numbers of the red deer
were to be found in the backwoods of the United States;
but the great increase of population, and the establishment
of farms and townships, in places where the primeval forests
have been cut down, has driven the surviving stags far back
+&----------


among the mountains; and the backwoodsman may now
wander for days with his rifle before he gets a shot at one of
these lords of the forest. In America, the hunters frequently
resort to the salt-licks, or places by the side of the great
rivers; whither the deer resort to lick the salt after drinking
but even these are now deserted.
In the old times, when hunting was a pastime exclusively
reserved for themselves by the great ones of the earth, the
laws were more severe against a man who killed a stag, than
against him who slew one of his fellow-men. William the
Conqueror was so strict in guarding his deer, that a Saxon
chronicler wrote bitterly: "This king was as fond of wild
beasts as if he had been their brother." How the Conqueror
destroyed a number of villages in Hampshire to make a New
Forest for his deer, and how several of his family perished
by accidents that occurred in that very forest, are facts the
Saxon historians never fail to mention in complaining of the
Norman tyranny.
The hind, or female deer, watches over her young one,
which is called a fawn, with great tenderness and affection.
She is obliged sometimes to hide it from the stag himself,
who is disposed to molest the little animal. The age of
the stag may be told by the number of branches on his
horns, and by their size. The Stag of Tyne," or stag with
ten branches, was frequently written or painted up as a sign
over the doors of an inn. The horn of the stag is used for







'tL 4~~41


.A-.g^


- ~"- -.



/ 4


Combat of two Stags near an Oak; the Does watching them; Fox and Duck.





4-


MOUNTAIN REGIONS OF EUTROPE.


making knife-handles, and for other purposes; and in the
old times, pairs of branching antlers, or heads," as they were
called, were a common ornament of the squire's great hall.
The hind no has horns. Red deer are said to attain an age of
between thirty and forty years. In the winter they seek
the more sheltered spots, but in summer they love to
frequent the naked slopes of the mountains.
One of the most valuable and most beautiful of the forest
trees of Europe is the oak-the sacred tree of the ancient
Britons, whose priests took their name of Druids from
Drus, which meant the oak. The timber of the oak is
remarkable for its toughness and durability. In the Tower
of London a pair of gates is shown, supposed to have been
built in the time of Henry I., more than 700 years ago.
The ironwork on these gates has long since become decayed
and eaten up by rust, while the "heart of oak" is still firm
and sound. The great ships with which the battles of the
Nile and of Trafalgar, and many other famous sea fights were
won, were built of oak timber; but now, a ship like Nelson's
renowned Victory, would be sunk in half an hour by the
tremendous cannon we use; and therefore our modern
ships of war have iron to strengthen them, in addition to
the brave old oak. The bark of the oak is used in tanning
leather; and in old times the sound of the swineherd's horn
was heard in the forests, as he drove out his grunting charges
into the woods in autumn, that they might fatten on the
falling acorns. Now, however, other food has been found
for our pigs, as it is said that acorns spoil the pork, if
Master Piggie devours them in too great quantity, as it is
his nature to do.
In the hollows among the rocks the cunning fox has his
lair. He is found in all the colder parts of Europe, Asia,
and America. There are black, red, and white foxes, but


all are sharp, quick-witted fellows, very keen after their prey,
and fierce and brave for their size. The fox often takes pos-
session of a badger's hole, which he alters and enlarges to
suit himself. The fox is very fond of fruit, and especially
of grapes. Thus, in the Bible, mention is made of "the
foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines." But poultry of.
all kinds is the food that Reynard most affects; and thus he
is the sworn foe of the farmer's wife, and the terror of the
poultry yard. In England, hunting the fox with hounds and
horses has for centuries been a favourite sport; and thus,
while in other countries he is looked upon as a robber, and
destroyed wherever he is encountered, in many counties in
England care is taken to preserve foxes, as if they were very
valuable creatures. Before the fox-hunt begins, the keepers
go out, generally at night, with lantern and spade, to stop up
the holes of the foxes, while the owners are abroad, ranging
the woods for prey; for when the fox is alarmed by the
hounds, the first thing he does is to make for his hole, and
there he endeavours to hide. But when he finds this place
of refuge stopped against him, he starts off across the
country, and generally leads horse and hounds a fine run
before they can come up with him. The hounds follow him,
guided by their acute sense of smell-for the fox leaves a
strong scent wherever he passes. He has other methods,
besides his fleetness, of ridding himself of his pursuers.
Sometimes he will jump into a stream, and swim some
distance with, or even against, the stream before he lands,
that the hounds may lose the scent, and become bewildered.
Sometimes he will creep into a hole so narrow that no
hound can follow him; again, he will plunge into a thicket
where the hounds cannot force their way among the
dense underwood. When at 'last he is run down, he
fights for his life right bravely, snapping and biting


C






MOUNTAIN REGIONS OF EUROPE.


at his enemies; and he often dies without uttering a single
cry of pain.
Many stories are told of the cunning of the fox, and
REsop, the great Greek fabulist, who seems to have studied
the characters of the various animals very accurately, always
makes the fox out to be a very clever fellow, and puts some
of his wittiest sayings into Reynard's mouth. Our young
readers will doubtless remember the fable _Esop tells of the
fox who, hard run by the hunters, ran into a farmyard where
a man was chopping wood, and begged for shelter. The
man showed him a corner where he might lie bidden.
Presently up came the huntsmen, and asked whether the
fox had come that way. The man answered "No," but
pointed with his finger to the corner where the poor fugitive
lay. However, they did not understand him, and went
away. Thereupon the fox was going to creep off without
a word. But the man rebuked him and said, "Is it thus
you go off, without a word of thanks for your preserver ?"
"A pretty preserver, truly!" cried the fox. "If you had
been half as honest with your hands as with your tongue,
I should not have gone away without taking leave of you."
Now, was not Master Fox represented as a cunning fellow ?
Equally good is the fable which tells of the fox who saw a
mask very handsome to look upon, but hollow, as it is the
nature of masks to be. "A fine head," said Reynard, who
had run round to look at the back of the mask,-" but what
a pity that he hasn't any brains 1"
When the female fox has a litter of cubs, she stays with
them constantly during the first weeks; and this is quite
necessary, for the little things are as helpless as babies, and
are blind for a fortnight, like kittens. During this time the
father fox is very attentive, and continually brings his good
wife part of the prey he has taken, and sees that she wants


for nothing. In about three weeks the education of the
young foxes is begun. They are led out into the open air,
and taught to hunt for themselves. At first they live on
such small game as grasshoppers and beetles, and then they
catch mice and small birds. The old foxes bring them the
animals they have caught only half dead; and the cruel
little cubs play with their victims as a kitten might play
with a mouse, and thus become practised in the art of
catching for themselves. Old foxes eat all kinds of things.
They pounce upon partridges and other birds in their nests,
chase rabbits and hares, and have even been known to attack
very young fawns, that have strayed from their parents.
Even fishes and crabs in the water are not safe from these
universal plunderers. And, to make matters worse, the fox,
if he gets into the farmyard, will kill more than he can eat,
and try to bury the overplus as a provision for future need.
It is very difficult to catch him in a trap; for he is too
cunning not to look before he leaps. Even when very
hungry, he will keep clear of a snare if he sees the least
danger; and when he has been caught by one leg in a trap,
lie has been known to bite the paw off, and to limp away
upon the other three.
A story is told of a fox who had made up his thievish
mind to steal one of the cubs of a wild sow. He was afraid,
however, of the vengeance of the defrauded parent; there-
fore he sought out a hole in the rock, difficult to come at,
and practised till he could climb into this hole quite easily;
whereupon he fell on the poor little pigling, and carried it
off in triumph.
Another story, told by a naturalist, well illustrates the
care and affection displayed for her young by the mother
fox:-" A female fox, having a cub, was unkennelled near
Chelmsford, by some gentlemen's hounds and friends, and


10


4.







MOUNTAIN REGIONS OF EUROPE.


pursued by them a considerable distance, with all the eager-
ness of sport. The poor animal, at the moment of their
approach, felt for the safety of her young one ; and,
snatching it up in her mouth, fled before her pursuers for
several miles, panting under the weight of her burden, but
resolved to preserve it at the hazard of her own life. At
length, exhausted by fatigue and fear, she was attacked by
a mastiff in a farmer's yard, and, unable to support her
offspring any longer, she dropped it at the farmer's feet, who
kindly saved it from destruction, while the mother happily
*saved her own life from the multiplied dangers by which
she was ,surrounded."
Where the ground is marshy, and especially where large
ponds or lakes occur, the wild ducks are fond of congre-


gating. The wild duck is a very shy and cautious bird. It
loves to build its nest on an island in the midst of a marsh,
and, for greater security, chooses the most retired and
sheltered spots. In the day it remains hidden, and comes
out in the evening to look for worms and insects. Some-
times, in her anxiety for her young, the wild duck has been
known to make her nest in a tree generally, on such occa-
sions, choosing a willow that overhangs the water, in order
that the little ones, who can swim directly they break
through the egg, may fall into the water. Deserted rooks'
nests, thirty feet from the ground, have even been chosen by
wild ducks for their abode; and, in such cases, the mother
carries her little ones carefully in her beak, and deposits
them at the foot of the tree.


'~


11


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i













ALPINE ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


HIE traveller journeying from Italy to Switzerland, or
in the contrary direction, has to pass the mighty
range of mountains called the Alps. The highest
peaks of these tremendous mountains rise to a height of many
thousand feet, and are covered with snow all the year round.
To climb them is a work of great toil and danger, and
cannot be undertaken except under the leadership of skilled
guides. These guides are in general hardy Swiss moun-
taineers who have been familiar with the mountains all
their lives. They know the times and seasons when the
ascent of the various peaks may be attempted with the least
danger, and they are well acquainted with the safest paths
to pursue, and with the means to be taken to avoid
danger.
For Alpine climbing is a dangerous enterprise, even under
the most favourable conditions. Sometimes a surface of
snow which appears to any but a mountaineer to present a
firm safe foothold, will suddenly give way like the thin crust
of ice over a pond in winter; for this surface of snow covers
a treacherous hole or a cleft between two walls of rock.
The traveller who puts his foot on a dangerous place of this
kind often falls through to a depth of perhaps seven or eight
hundred feet, and lies shattered and dead at the foot of the
cleft or crevasse. The guides, who know where these
dangerous parts are situated, take care to advance in a long
line, each man walking at some distance from the others, and


all tied together by a long rope ; so that if the ground gives
way under any one of the number, he is stopped in his fall
by the rope, and the others can drag him forth from the
dangerous gulf. Long tough staves, shod with iron at one
end, and called Alpenst6cke," or Alp sticks, are used by the
travellers to assist them in climbing, or to steady them in
descending steep paths ; and it is customary for those who
have visited famous spots and climbed high peaks among
the Alps to have the names of the various summits they
have crossed burnt into the alpenstock they carry, as a
remembrance.
In the sheltered Alpine valleys the oak and the beech are
found growing luxuriantly; but as the traveller begins to
mount into the higher and colder regions, he leaves these
trees behind him. Now appear the trees of the pine and fir
kind, growing close together, and in some positions forming
a capital barrier not only against the cold winds from the
mountains, but against the terrible and destructive ava-
lanches. Thus there is behind Altdorf, the chief town of the
canton of Uri, in Switzerland, a great forest of pine-trees which
have stopped many an avalanche from falling upon the town
and burying it. Avalanches are great masses of snow loosened
from the mountains either by the action of water, or by the
force of the wind. They come sliding down the mountains,
pushing more snow before them as they descend, and thus
increasing in bulk until the whole mass thunders into the


4


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.A


T


Th


I





?f ''


Chamois hunters of the Alps, one carrying an Ibex a Chamois lying dead; near it a
Fawn. In the foreground some Marmots.


~rj~


%.Awl

4qrAwpw







ALPINE ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


valley. Sometimes strong trees are snapped in two like
reeds by the weight of one of these avalanches; sometimes
whole villages are buried beneath the descending mass, with
their inhabitants and flocks and herds; and several remark-
able stories are told of people who, buried in their houses
beneath the mass of snow, have been dug out alive after
days and weeks had elapsed.
Climbing higher still, the traveller passes the limit of
tall trees, and sees round him a region covered with grass,
and rich in Alpine flowers, with thickets of brushwood here
and there. In these thickets hide the Alpine hare, and
some small birds. During the summer, even butterflies are
not wanting in these mountain meadows. No corn can be
grown here, but the inhabitants of these Alpine regions have
other ways of gaining their livelihood. In the summer the
herdsmen drive the oxen up the steep mountain paths to the
meadows where grass grows among the rocks; higher than
the heavy cattle can climb, flocks of goats clamber among
the hills and pick every tuft of grass on the mountain's side :
and sheep are fed in the upper Alpine valleys. Butter and
cheese are made from the milk of cows and goats, which
form the wealth of the Alpine peasants. Rough wooden
huts, built in various parts of the mountain region, shelter
the herdsmen and peasants from the storms that, even in
summer, often rage in these parts; and when the autumn
comes, and the Alp is grazed bare, the flocks and herds are
driven down into the valleys, where they dwell in warm
stables until the return of spring calls them forth once more.
During the long cold winter they are fed on hay that has
been mown from the mountain side. The mower's task is a
very dangerous one. He has frequently to be lowered by
ropes from a precipice, to get at the scanty crop of grass
that grows on some rocky ledge, and then he is drawn up,


or painfully climbs, to his former position, with the small
truss of hay he has collected firmly bound upon his
shoulders.
Higher still, the adventurous traveller, who still climbs
upwards, comes upon a region of perpetual ice and snow.
Among the snowy peaks are great fields of ice, called glaciers.
Through the cracks and rifts in these glaciers the melted
snows rush downward, forming rivers that run their course
for hundreds of miles towards the ocean. The Rhine and the
Rhine, the great French and the great German rivers, both
have their origin in the same glacier; and wandering free
among the Alpine heights are found animals which frequent
none but mountain regions.
Foremost among these is the ibex. This creature is a
kind of mountain goat, very large and powerful, and endowed
with a marvellous power of climbing. The ibex frequents
the loftiest and most inaccessible parts of the Alps. It has
of late become very scarce, though at one time it was
common enough in the mountains of Savoy, Switzerland,
and Northern Italy. Almost the only place where it can
now be found is lofty Monte Rosa; and even here the
huntsman can very rarely come near enough to get a shot
at it, so shy and cautious has the ibex become by the con-
stant persecution to which it has been subjected. In
Switzerland and Savoy, the people have been strictly for-
bidden to hunt the ibex, that the few specimens which still
exist may be preserved. But in proportion to the difficulties
with which the chase is surrounded, is the eagerness with
which the Alpine hunters strive to capture the ibex. A
Swiss hunter will follow one of these animals for days toge-
ther, following the ibex from peak to peak, and carefully
keeping out of sight, until at length he can make sure of his
aim. Even when he has succeeded in killing the ibex a


I


13 i


f
Y


Iy


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4.


ALPINE ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


14


difficult task remains, for the creature sometimes weighs 200
pounds, the horns alone being often three and a half feet
long, and weighing thirty pounds; and to carry the heavy
carcase on his back, over miles of rugged mountain, is no
light task for the huntsman. In the summer, the ibex feeds
on the plants and herbs that grow abundantly in its Alpine
home; in the winter, it eats the bark and the small twigs
from the trees in the forests. Its voice is a shrill peculiar
whistle, and can be heard at a great distance; its horns are
bent backwards from the head, and are surrounded by rings
at regular intervals. The colour of the skin is a dark grey,
with a reddish tinge. When taken young, the ibex can be
tamed, and is very playful and lively, but when it grows
older it becomes ill-tempered and aggressive; and as it can
inflict serious wounds with its powerful horns, the ibex has
been pronounced ineligible as a domestic animal.
A more easy and frequent prey to the hunter is the
chamois. This creature is much smaller than the ibex, and
is slender and light in build. Its small curved horn is
generally used as an ornament for the alpenstock carried by
the traveller; its flesh is palatable and tender. The chamois
is a gregarious animal, that is to say, a number of them
often feed together. They are very cautious, and an old
experienced doe is always posted at some distance from the
main body, to watch for the approach of an enemy.
If she sees any cause for alarm, she gives the signal to
the rest by a loud prolonged whistling cry; whereupon the
whole company scamper off as quickly as possible.
The young chamois can easily be tamed; and if the dam
is killed, will continue to feed unsuspiciously by its side, so
that the hunters can easily take it alive. It is, however, a
very difficult task to capture a full-grown chamois; even
when desperately wounded, the creature will struggle vio-


lently; and several instances are on record in which it has
dragged the hunter who tried to capture it alive over the
.edge of a precipice. In some districts, where the right of
hunting the chamois has been kept to themselves by the
princes and nobles, the chamois have increased in number,
and have become comparatively tame. They then come far
down from the mountain heights, and feed contentedly in
companies of from ten to twenty. Even where the hunting
is more general, the chamois are sometimes obliged to quit
their mountain fastnesses in the winter time, and betake
themselves to the forests and lowlands in search of food;
and this is the time chosen by the hunters to lie in wait
for them. When pursued, the chamois tries instinctively to
regain its mountain home; therefore the hunter tries to get
between the chamois and the rocky peaks from whence it
has come down. So keen is the scent of these animals, that
the hunter has no chance of success unless he keeps in such
a position that the wind blows from the chamois towards
him.
Sometimes chamois-hunting is practised on a larger scale,
when what is called a battue is organized. A number of
keepers surround a district, and drive all the chamois
towards a certain point where the path is narrow, and where,
therefore, the creatures must present a fair mark to the
sportsmen. Then the hunters take aim at the fleet chamois
as they run past. The shot must be a true one if the
chamois is to be brought down, for these creatures are very
tenacious of life, and even if one leg is wounded will run
very swiftly on the remaining three. When very hard
pressed, it will even turn upon its pursuer, and try to topple
him over a precipice. In the course of each year many
chamois-hunters lose their lives by various accidents. Some
are overwhelmed by avalanches; others fall down the terrible


I
--_411-y -----





.~, -<-
1 .


ALPINE ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


crevasses; and not a few have perished from exhaustion
produced by the terrible work they have to encounter, and
yet they follow their dangerous vocation with untiring zeal
and interest; and its danger seems to make it dearer to them
than ever.
In the streets of many of the chief cities of Europe may
often be seen small Italian or Savoyard boys. Some of
these little fellows grind the hurdy-gurdy, producing most
doleful music. Others exhibit sleepy-looking guinea-pigs;
and others, again, have for show a little brown bright-eyed
quadruped, somewhat larger than a rabbit. The creature in
question is a marmot; and if the boy has taken peculiar
pains with the education of his pet, he may have succeeded
in teaching it to stand upright; while some assert that it
may even be taught to dance. These marmots may be
procured in abundance from the higher Alpine regions.
They live in summer in holes in the rock, to which narrow
passages lead, from three to twelve feet long. Each family
has a separate dwelling, where the female marmot lives with
her family, until the latter are strong enough to be brought
out into the open air, and to play upon the soft green grass,
and among the plants on which they feed. They are active
vigilant little creatures, slipping into their holes in a
moment upon the approach of a bird of prey, or of danger
in any other shape. They are frequently shot for the sake
of their flesh, which is considered a delicacy, especially
towards the end of summer, when they are very fat. The
best time for shooting them is in the early morning, when
the sportsman lies in wait for them, and shoots the poor
little fellows as they come out of their holes, unconscious of
danger. Towards the end of August the marmots begin to
make their arrangements for the approaching winter. They


bite off a quantity of grass, which they leave till it has
become dry as hay. Then they go somewhat lower down
the mountain, and put their winter dwelling-places in order.
These are larger than their summer houses.
The passages that lead to them are from twenty to thirty
feet in length, and the chambers so large, that fifteen marmots
can find room to lie in one of them. These chambers they
carefully line with hay; and when the cold weather begins,
they take up their residence in their subterranean houses,
after filling the entrance passages with stones and hay for a
space of five or six feet. Snugly coiled up in their retreat,
the marmots sleep until the ensuing spring.
Among the creatures that haunt the Alps, the various
kinds of eagles must not be forgotten. The golden eagle,
the osprey, and other varieties, are often found in these parts.
The eagles make their nests among the steepest and loftiest
rocks, and it is considered a great feat to plunder one of
these nests. They live in pairs, and are very constant to one
another. Very rarely are more than one pair found together.
During the time that the nest is full of hungry eaglets,
the rapacity of the old birds is remarkable. From morning
to night they are in search of prey, and then the marmots
and Alpine hares fare but badly, for all their vigilance will
not guard them from these swift-winged and far-sighted foes.
Many a young lamb is carried off by them from the Alpine
pastures: the fawns of the chamois and the young kids are
not safe from their depredations; and instances are recorded
in which they have even carried off young children to feed the
eaglets in their nest. Therefore the peasants and herdsmen
wage continual war against the king of the birds, who
manages, however, to hold his own among the inaccessible
rocks, whither his foes cannot follow him.


I





ANIMAL LIFE IN A RUSSIAN FOREST.


N the days that are gone, when Europe numbered
but few inhabitants, when towns and hamlets were
scattered at very long distances from each other, and
many districts that now smile with cornfields and vineyards
and orchards, were overgrown with forest, or impassable by
reason of great swamps-in those old times many animals
roamed over large tracts of country, whereas their descen-
dants are now confined to small districts. Where fields are
cultivated and orchards are planted, wild animals become
enemies, which must be got rid of as speedily as possible.
Where unarmed travellers are to pass along a road from
town to town, the wolves must first be driven away; and
thus it was that in Saxon England a price was set on the
wolf's head; and, in Germany, a man who had been declared
a common enemy, whom the law no longer protected, and
whom it was lawful for any one who met him to slay, was
called a "wolf's haupt," or "wolf's head." Even those wild
animals which were not in themselves fierce or dangerous,-
those whose weakness or timidity led them to fly from the
approach of man to the depths of the forest, marsh birds,.
like the solitary bittern, and quadrupeds like the otter and
badger, gradually became more and more scarce, and were at
last killed off, until many animals once familiar in Europe,
are now only remembered as having existed, or at most
are beheld at long intervals among the collection in some
Zoological garden.


But in some districts of the north of Europe, and espe-
cially in the great Russian empire, there are forests and
marshes where the wild animals still find refuge in solitudes
seldom trodden by the foot of man. The most remarkable
of these places is the great forest of Bialowicz, in the
Russian province of Lithuania. This forest is of great
extent, and is divided into portions, under the strict care of
gamekeepers, who are ordered to watch the wild animals
that roam through it, and to see that no harm comes to
them. Thus it happens that in the forest of Bialowicz,
animals are to be found which are rarely met with in other
parts of Europe: and of these creatures we have now to
speak.
Foremost among them is the formidable aurochs, or
buffalo. Like the gigantic stag called the elk, the aurochs
once roamed through the whole of Central Europe; but now
the elk is never found in Europe at all, and the aurochs is
confined to the forest of Bialowicz, where the keepers protect
him. He is a strong powerful animal, generally very fierce,
and much given to fighting. In default of any other
adversary, he will sometimes attack a young tree, and
endeavour to tear it up by the roots with his horns. These
oxen are so much prized, that the keepers are directed to
watch that not one of them is killed without especial
permission of the Emperor of Russia. When our Prince
of Wales-who is known to be an ardent sportsman-visited


.1.


























'A ~


A Russian forest, showing t.he Bear, the Russian Bison. and the Wolf.


V






ANIMAL LIFE IN A RUSSIAN FOREST.


Russia a year or two ago, a day's hunting in this great
forest was among the entertainments prepared for him, and
he had the satisfaction of bringing down more than one
aurox with his own rifle. In the year 1856, the number of
these oxen in the forest was estimated at 1,500, but since
that time they have somewhat decreased, in spite of the
care of the keepers. Many of the calves perish in the
winter, from the severity of the weather and the lack of
proper. food; and not a few are devoured, when they fall
into pits of snow, by wolves, lynxes, and bears, with which
the Bialowicz forest abounds.
Several roads have been cut through this forest; and it is
told how, some years ago, a cunning old aurox used to lie
in wait, like a four-footed highwayman as he was, by the
side of this road. He watched for the passing of the hay-
waggons, from each of which he exacted a heavy toll of
forage; and soon he frightened the horses so much, that
they sometimes ran away, and accidents occurred. So at
last he had to be shot, and died a memorable example of
the retribution that sooner or later overtakes the evil-doer !
Specimens of the aurox are sometimes presented to Zoolo-
gical societies, and are looked upon as valuable accessions to
any collection of animals. The young calves are generally
chosen for this purpose, as the older bulls seldom are recon-
ciled to live in captivity, but remain fierce and intractable,
and do not get used to confinement.
Another tenant of this forest, but at the same time an
animal far more widely distributed throughout Europe, is
the wolf. In looking at him, it is impossible to mistake his
relationship with the dog; but he looks like a very badly
disposed dog indeed. Instead of the trusty frankness that
shines out of the honest eyes of a Newfoundland dog or
deerhound, a suspicious ferocity gleams from the green


eyes of the wolf; his gait is slinking and shy, like that of
a dog who has stolen something. His voice, instead of an
honest outspoken bark, is a querulous whine or a savage
howl; and his disposition is fierce and cruel. His outward
marks are the length of his head and his sharp muzzle; the
strange narrowness of his green eyes, which seem to open
lengthways in a line with the nose, instead of across the
face; his legs are long and his tail is bushy. In spite of his
ferocity, the wolf was looked upon in old times as a noble
beast. Saxon kings and princes did not disdain to give
their children such names as Ethelwolf, the noble wolf, and
Berthwolf, the illustrious wolf. In Great Britain and
Ireland the wolf has become extinct; in Ireland, the last
was killed about a hundred and sixty years ago; and in
Scotland, no wolves had been heard of for thirty years
before. In England, the last was slain some hundreds of
years ago. The colour of the wolf varies according to the
country and climate in which he is found. Black wolves
are not uncommon- in Canada, or white ones in the Arctic
regions; but the most common colour is a yellowish grey.
In the meantime, when the wolf finds sufficient prey in the
woods, he lives a solitary life, and avoids the approach of
man. Even if attacked, he will rather flee than fight. But
hunger makes him desperately fierce. In the winter time
wolves associate together in large packs or bands, and hunt
like a pack of hounds, singling out some large beast, such
as a horse or bull, and running it down with untiring per-
severance. When the great steppes or plains of Russia are
covered with snow, packs of wolves will sometimes pursue
the sledges in which travellers journey from place to place,
hungry for the blood of the horse or of the passengers.
In such a case, the general resort is to fire upon the pack,
when it comes sufficiently near. This expedient will almost


.4.


D


- 4----------------------


17
17


T







ANIMAL LIFE IN A RUSSIAN FOREST.


always gain a certain start for the fugitives; for the wolves
will stop to devour their wounded comrades, and then
resume the chase. They have a dread of fire; and a train,
of gunpowder laid along the ground and suddenly exploded,
has been known to set a pack scampering in all directions.
Wolves are very fond of their cubs, and frequently the
mother wolf will neglect the chance of escape, and allow
herself to be shot, rather than desert her wounded young
one. The wolf has great strength in his neck and shoulders,
and this enables him to carry off with ease a heavy sheep or
goat. In some districts, whenever a wolf shows himself,
a general muster of the men takes place to hunt him out
and kill him. No wonder, therefore, that the number of
wolves is steadily diminishing. The skin of the wolf is
valuable as a fur, especially in the northern districts, where
it is very thick and close.
The Russian forest is also the refuge of the brown bear.
Bruin was once common in Europe, but, like the wolf, has
been chased from place to place, until he has scarcely a
region in Europe that he can call his own. He is a clumsy-
looking fellow, with his thick legs, flat feet, and rough coat;
but he can climb with great agility, and can shuffle along
on level ground at a speed which would astonish those who
judge of his movements by his heavy build. The bear
makes himself a den in a cave, if he can find one convenient
for his purpose; failing this, he ensconces himself in a
thicket, or sets up his rest in a hollow tree. When attacked,
he tries, like most animals, to escape; but if he finds his
retreat cut off, he will turn upon his foes, and, rearing
himself on his hind paws, endeavours to seize them with his
powerful fore feet, and hug them to death against his breast.
With his sharp claws he can deal terrific wounds; and so
tenacious is he of life, that he will often make a good fight


A T


18


Yri-
Th~-~


of it, and inflict signal damage upon his foes, after he has
been pierced with many wounds. The female brown bear
prepares a very comfortable bed for her young, with branches,
hay, and leaves. The little cubs are blind for nearly a month,
and are very helpless forlorn-looking things during their
infancy; and the old bear's assiduity in tending them has
given rise to the popular saying, that she is obliged to lick
them into shape. During the summer and autumn, when
the bear finds plenty of vegetable food, he becomes exceed-
ingly fat. When winter approaches, he retires to his den,
and has a long, long sleep, lying with his head between his
paws. Now and then he wakes up, and whines in a dis-
contented manner, as if dissatisfied that the winter was not
yet over. Occasionally, too, he leaves his den to go to the
nearest stream to get a drink of water, and then returns to
resume his long nap. The skin, too, peels off poor Bruin's
paws in February, and makes him more than ever unwilling
to take his walks abroad; so he lies in his den, disconsolately
licking his tender feet, from which circumstance the popular
error has arisen that he sucks his paws for nourishment. At
last, when spring is returning, and a new skin has grown
on his clumsy feet, Bruin definitely leaves his den to look
after provisions; but by this time all his fatness and come-
liness has vanished, and he presents a very ragged and
attenuated appearance.
The hunter looks upon Bruin as a great prize; for the skin
of the bear is valuable as a fur, and his flesh is strengthening
and savoury, especially the hams and paws, which are looked
upon as especial delicacies. But bear-hunting is a dangerous
sport. Bruin generally shows plenty of fight, and defends
his life to the last. The following account of a bear-hunt is
taken from the journal of a famous sportsman. He says :-
" I was wandering through the wood, lost in thought, when


,-L.


.





ANIMAL LIFE IN A RUSSIAN FOREST.


there was a crashing in the thicket, and a bear, whose den
was there, ran out and away. A bullet from my double-
barrelled gun struck him. Directly he felt himself hit, he
stood still and looked fiercely round at me; I expected he
would rush at me, and cocked the trigger of my second
barrel; but he thought better of it, and crept into a thick
bush. I lost no time in reloading the barrel I had emptied,
and followed him. As I approached he slowly retreated, for
probably his wound was painful. So soon as I could get a
view of his head for a moment, I presented and fired. A
ball shot from a smooth barrel can never be quite depended
upon; and accordingly mine only grazed the bear's skull.
As I came running towards him his fury was fairly aroused,
and he turned to bay. At thirty paces from him, I pulled
the trigger, but my gun missed fire.
"And now the beast ran at me with his ears laid back and
his jaws open; but the imminent danger gave me back all
my presence of mind. I dropped my gun, drew my


hunting-knife, and jumped back a few paces, behind a tree.


In another moment the bear was up on his hind legs, and
stretched out his paws to give me a loving embrace. As he
stood thus erect, he was nearly as large as I, and his fiery
eyes and long sharp teeth looked the reverse of inviting;
but fortunately he was not to know the taste of my flesh.
"I had quite recovered my coolness; for I knew that in the
contest either he or I must perish. In the moment when
the bear was going to seize me, I thrust my long two-edged
knife into his open jaws ; and, pushing forward, I pressed
him down upon the ground. I ought to have known better.
Had I jumped back after wounding him, I should have
escaped without damage; as it was, he tore my coat to
tatters in his fall, and gave me a slight wound in the arm;
but I thanked Heaven to escape so well.
"So there I sat on the fragrant heath, in my tattered coat,
which I was obliged to keep on because it was the only one
I had. To lessen my chagrin, I cut myself a good piece of
bear's meat, which tasted delicious after my exertions. I
also determined to take the skin with me for a coverlet."


I





tA--


THE NORTHERN COASTS OF ASIA.


0 part of the world shows a more barren and desolate
shore than the northern part of Asia. For hun-
dreds of miles the whole surface of the ground
appears as a frozen marsh. There are, indeed, mighty rivers
-the Obi, the Lena, and the Yenesei-whose course is
through the dreary plains of Asiatic Russia towards the
Arctic Ocean; but as they flow from south to north, from a
warmer towards a colder region, they become more and more
clogged with ice as their streams roll onwards; and at last
they overflow their boundaries, and convert the regions
around into a dismal wretched swamp. Thus there is no
pasture for cattle, as in Norway and Sweden, and other cold
countries of Europe; and even the hardiest kinds of grain
cannot grow on these desolate shores. On the margin of the
Arctic Ocean the sun only shines during half of the year.
During the other half he is never above the horizon, and it
is one long dreary night. Sometimes the darkness is broken
by splendid bright meteors, that appear suddenly in the sky,
and sometimes by the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Dawn,
a glorious light that shines in the northern heavens, but is
seldom seen in temperate latitudes. Huge masses of ice
accumulate at the mouths of the great rivers and on the
coast, and form the ice-mountains or icebergs that are fre-
quently met with floating southward with the current, in the
North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans.
Trees cannot grow on these inhospitable shores. Here

{


and there, in sheltered spots, the birch is found trailing
along the ground, like the ivy, without strength to lift itself
and stand erect, like the graceful birch-tree of our own
country. Mosses and lichens grow on the borders of the
great Tundra, or frozen plain, and, plants are met with simi-
lar to those that grow in the lofty Alpine regions by the
great glaciers. Fearful storms of snow and sleet often sweep
over these regions, and desolation and dreariness mark the
country, even in the height of summer.
Yet these desolate plains have their inhabitants; and the
native races of Northern Siberia not only manage to live, but
to live happily and comfortably in their dreary clime. The
frozen land, indeed, is barren and unfruitful, but the sea
yields good store of fish and other prey to the hunter; and
nearly all the necessaries of life, and many of its conveni-
ences, are supplied to the natives of the Arctic shores by
one invaluable animal, as useful to them as is the camel to
the Arab of the desert. This animal is the reindeer.
This useful creature is wonderfully adapted to the country
in which it has to live. It is much stronger and larger than
the ordinary deer, and can readily defend itself against even
such enemies as the wolf. It is found in a wild state in
large herds. In the summer time it frequents the large
open plains near the seashore, where it feeds on the mosses
which at that season of the year grow abundantly on the
Tundra; and here it also escapes the attacks of the nume-


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Polar Bears of Northern Siberia feasting on a dead Walrus; Arctic Foxes and Sea Mews; -
Natives coming with Reindeer.


A.^


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I
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THE NORTHERN COASTS OF ASIA.


rous flies which infest the woods, and plague the reindeer
not a little during the warm months. In winter it retires
to the south, and finds its nourishment in the vast forests,
where it picks the mosses and lichens from the trunks of the
trees, or digs for them in the deep snow. During these
autumn migrations of the reindeer, the natives take the
opportunity of hunting them. They lie in wait in their
small boats on the banks of some river that the herd of wild
reindeer must cross; and when the beasts are in the water
the hunters suddenly urge their boats forth into the stream,
and wound as many as possible. The injured reindeer swim
for the banks; but the wives and children await them here,
and kill them as they land with blows of their knives,
lances, and clubs. As a domestic animal the reindeer is
especially useful. Every part of it is useful. While it
is alive, its milk regales the family of its owner, to whom
it is, moreover, valuable as a beast of draught and of
burden; when it has been killed, its flesh and fat form the
chief article of food in these northern regions. Its thick
furry skin is made into clothes, and of the leather it fur-
nishes the summer tents are made. Its sinews can be
twisted into thread and twine, while its horns and bones
supply the material for many kinds of domestic implements.
The journeys it makes over the snow in winter are truly
marvellous, for its swiftness and endurance are equally great.
The reindeer is certainly one of the most valuable gifts
bestowed by a kind Providence on man.
The roaring seas sometimes. throw unexpected prizes
on the coast, to rejoice man and beast. Great is the
excitement when the waves have rolled ashore the car-
case of a great walrus. Down come the Arctic foxes
in swarms, attracted by the scent of the decaying mon-
ster. But they are not allowed to enjoy their "find"


in peace; for the mighty Polar bear has scented the prey
from afar, and comes plunging through the icy water,
and shouldering his way across the snowy ground to claim
the first share of the feast. The sea-birds, too, wheel over-
head, with impatient screams. They are hungry, and eager
to vary their usual diet of fish with a dish of oily walrus-
flesh. So they wheel aloof, anxiously awaiting the time
when the carcase shall be abandoned to their sharp beaks;
while the foxes, as eager as they, but in mortal terror of
the big Polar bears, stand round, barking querulously, and
wondering when their turn will come; and, indeed, there
would appear to be enough for them all, for the walrus is
one of the largest creatures of these northern regions. It
sometimes attains a length of twenty feet, and a circum-
ference of twelve; and some have been found that weighed
thirty hundredweight. In spite of its vast size, however,
the walrus swims easily, for its great bulk and the amount of
fat on its body render it light in the water. The paddle-feet
with which it is furnished are more useful in water than on
land, where it can only shuffle along in a clumsy and labor-
ious manner. It clambers up on cliffs or on ledges of ice
with the help of its huge tusks, which are pointed down-
wards, and can therefore be readily thrust into the ground.
The chief use the animal makes of these tusks is to dig up
the shell-fish on which it principally lives. Walruses are
caught with large harpoons attached to ropes; but the
natives find hunting them a dangerous occupation, as the
walrus has very great strength, and becomes very savage
when wounded. With his huge tusks he can easily knock
such a hole in the side or the bottom of a boat as to sink it
in a few moments. Though the flesh is wholesome, its taste
is very di-,go ..,k1.. ; but the natives greedily feast on the
fat, which they consider a great delicacy. They also make


Y
21-I
21


-.4-


k


l^


I







THE NORTHERN COASTS OF ASIA.


use of the skin, and sell the tusks to traders, for ivory.
Therefore even the Polar bears are not allowed to enjoy
their prize unmolested; for the natives are "down upon
them with lances and knives, intending to drive them away
and carry off the carcase, for which purpose they have a
couple of reindeer with them.
Another prize, and a very valuable one to the inhabitants
of the bleak, icy coast, where no tree can grow, is found in
the occasional arrival of great trunks of trees which have
been torn from the banks of some river, and floated down
its current to the shore. Some trunks, too, have been
borne by the great currents of the Atlantic from islands
and from tropical coasts thousands of miles away; and thus
it may happen that a great mahogany-tree, that has. grown
in Central America, under a bright tropical sun, comes at
last to be burnt as winter fuel in an Esquimaux hut. It is
said that, among the reasons which induced the great dis-
coverer of America, Christopher Columbus, to feel sure of
the existence of a great continent in the West, was the fact
that so much drift-wood was found on the Arctic coasts.
Columbus conjectured that some mighty current must have
carried all this wood to the north-east from some tropical
region where it grew; and his first voyage proved how right
he had been.
The Polar bear is by far the most formidable quadruped
of the Arctic regions. He is very fierce and exceedingly
strong, and the more inclement the climate in which he
is found, the more powerful and ferocious does he seem to
grow. His fur is of a yellowish white, his limbs are
sturdy and thick, and his claws long and sharp. A great
swimmer, he is as much at home in the water as on the


land; and as he finds his sustenance chiefly in the water,
or else preys upon the other animals of the Arctic shores,
he is almost entirely carnivorous. The she-bear becomes
especially ferocious when she has cubs to defend; and if her
young are wounded, she will die rather than abandon them.
It is related of the famous Admiral Nelson, that when he
was quite a boy, he accompanied a brave naval commander,
Captain Suckling, in an expedition to the Arctic regions.
While the ship was in the neighbourhood of some large
fields of ice, Nelson and a comrade espied a bear, and started
off after it. A thick fog came on, and the young adven-
turers were nearly lost. When reproached by the captain
for his rashness, young Nelson modestly replied, that he
wanted the skin of the bear to take home to his father."
Though, like all his tribe, he moves along with a shuffling
gait, the Polar bear can outrun an ordinary man. He is
very cunning in catching seals and other animals; and as he
can dive capitally, his abilities as a catcher of fish are not to
be despised. Polar bears have an unusual tenacity of life,
and will fight for a long time, even when they have received
many desperate wounds. But, like nearly all animals, they
do not seek an encounter with men, and do not turn to bay
unless their retreat has been cut off, or their young have
been molested.
The poet Thomson, in describing the dreary winter of the
Arctic regions, has given a true portrait of the surly Arctic
bear and his habits. He says :-
Rough tenant of these shades, the shapeless bear,
With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn;
Slow-paced, and sourer as the storms increase,
He makes his bed beneath th' inclement drift,'
And with stern patience, scorning weak complaint,
Hardens his heart against assailing want.


22


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A desert in Central Asia.


The Musk Ox and The Wild Ass. The Rhubarb plant and
Tea shrub in the foreground.


If


Jl














THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA.


O the south of the cold bleak regions of Siberia
extends the great range of the lofty Atlas moun-
tains. To the southward of this ridge a great
country is found, full of wide plains, generally covered with
long grass; but in some places sandy deserts occur, barren
wildernesses, in which nothing can grow. Of this kind is
the sandy desert of Gobi. In some parts of these high
plains, or steppes, as they are called, the grass grows so high
that persons travelling across the steppe in the low waggons
used by the Tartars are quite hidden by it. Tartar nations
are generally great herdsmen, and keep numbers of cattle
and horses. Many tribes have no fixed dwelling-places, but
move about from one spot to another, according as they
require new pastures for their flocks and herds. Nations of
this kind are called pastoral; and it will be remembered
how Abraham and the patriarchs kept flocks and herds; and
how a quarrel arose between the herdsmen of Abraham and
of Lot, which induced their masters to part company, and go
one to the right and the other to the left.
The most terrible of the nations that inhabited the Tar-
tar steppe was that of the Hiognu, or Huns. These people
were wild savage warriors, always on horseback, and hideous
and fearful to behold. They came pouring out of their
desert plains into Eastern Europe, many hundred years ago,
under their fierce king, Attila. They burnt and pillaged
cities, and slew whomsoever they encountered; and so great


was the devastation they caused, wherever they appeared,
that the terrified natives declared no grass would grow
where the hoof of Attila's horse had passed. But after he
had devastated a great part of Italy, and had almost taken
Rome itself, the savage Attila suddenly fell ill and died;
and soon afterwards his followers were beaten in a tremen-
dous battle, in which forty thousand of them were slain;
and the remnants of the nation of the Huns fled back to
the mountain deserts from whence they had come forth.
Near these great plains, northward of the great range of
the Himalaya mountains, some of whose peaks are 22,000
feet high, lies the hillcountry of Thibet. Parts of it are
mountainous and barren, and it is unfitted for agriculture.
Very seldom does rain fall in these regions, and therefore no
waving fields of corn, and no orchards of fruit-trees, reward
the industry of the husbandman. The inhabitants are con-
sequently keepers of flocks and herds; and caravans of
camels carry away the wool and the salt, which are almost
the only articles of trade the country can furnish, in return
for the many products of imperial India.
It may be imagined that a country of this kind is but
thinly peopled. Thus in Thibet several animals are still
found roaming in a wild state, on the declivities of the
Himalaya range, and careering across the elevated plains.
One of the most remarkable of the animals of Thibet is
the Yak, a creature that unites in itself some of the features


- ~ -.


- J|^'


MA





'C 'CI
____________-------------------------------------------------.___________________ ___ .. ___ i-S*--Y


THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA.


of the ox and the horse. It has been also called the grunt-
ing ox, from its peculiar noise, which resembles the grunting
of a pig. The wild yaks keep together in small herds, and
frequent the banks of lakes among the mountains. They
are very shy, and the huntsman finds it a difficult matter to
get near them. But he knows that the yaks are very fond
of salt, and accordingly he lies in wait near the salt licks,"
or places where the salt exudes from the rocks, and to which
these creatures resort to obtain the coveted dainty. The yak
sometimes grows to a length of six or seven feet. His body
is covered with a shaggy coat, the hair of which is peculiarly
long. His tail resembles that of a horse, and is frequently
carried as a standard by Asiatic warriors. Fierce and shy
though he is in his wild state, the yak can be tamed like all
animals of the ox tribe, and lives very contentedly in ser-
vitude, when he wears a ring through his nose, and draws
carts and waggons with exemplary patience and industry.
The milk of the yak cows is very good, but the flesh of the
older yaks becomes tough and tasteless, and is therefore little
esteemed.
Another frequenter of these Thibetian solitudes is the wild
ass, or djiggetai. Herds of these creatures roam over the open
plains, preferring districts where they can see the approach of
an enemy from a distance. These herds are much more shy
even than the yak, and far more swift. The speed of the
wild ass far exceeds that of an ordinary horse, and in many
respects he forms a complete contrast to that useful, patient
drudge, the tame ass. The wary hunter who pursues the
wild ass for the sake of its succulent flesh, uses stratagem in
chasing it. He tethers a horse, which resembles the wild
asses in colour, in some place frequented by the djiggetais.
The leader of the wild herd approaches cautiously, either to
expel the supposed intruder, or to lure it to join his band;


and then the huntsman shoots the creature from his lurking
place behind a projecting rock. The wild asses are very
spiteful and fierce, and can fight bravely with teeth and
heels.
The musk animal, a creature not unlike a small fallow-deer
in appearance, is also found on the Thibetian plains. It has
no horns, but is not without weapons; for a couple of teeth
project downwards two or three inches from the upper jaw;
and the males often fight with each other, each biting and
tearing his adversary with his tusks, with which they inflict
very painful wounds. They are as agile as the chamois, and
climb about on the highest and most inaccessible rocks. The
male musk animal has on its body a little bag which contains
a small quantity of highly scented fluid called musk. This
scent is a great article of traffic, and is bought and exported
in great quantities by the Chinese, and by other nations. In
the summer time, the musk animal keeps so far out of the
track of human beings, that it is seldom taken; but the
approach of winter compels it to resort to more frequented
parts in search of food; though even then it generally feeds
by night, lying concealed throughout the day in some
rocky cavern. With all its ingenuity, however, it cannot
escape the persevering pursuit of the hunter. It is asserted
that fifty thousand musk animals are annually taken in
Russia.
The highest and most inaccessible mountain peaks of
Thibet are also the haunt of the argali, or great hairy goat,
or rather sheep, of Central Asia. The argali is perhaps
the most expert climber of all the creatures of these regions ;
and his thick hairy coat enables him to hold out in his
mountain retreat even during the rigours of winter. And
in this lies his safety; for, should the creature be compelled
by hunger to descend into the lower parts of the country, it


24


r-.


->I-






THE STEPPES OF


encounters many dangers from wild beasts and from the
hunters. In size, the argali sometimes almost rivals the
musk ox. The male has curved horns between two and
three feet in length.
The traveller in the highlands of Central Asia sees grow-
ing around him in wild luxuriance several plants which
have been introduced for their beauty or usefulness into
Europe. No one can walk in our parks and pleasure
gardens without admiring the beautiful rhododendrons
whose crimson flowers stand out so brightly against the
dark green leaves around them. These rhododendrons
flourish in Central Asia as evergreens, and during the
summer season many a mountain district, that would other-
wise look naked and bare, blooms red and purple with them.
The white or pale yellow blossoms of the azalea have also
been introduced into our greenhouses and gardens from
these distant regions.
A well-known and most useful plant, with which most
children have a practical acquaintance, both in the form of
food and medicine, is a native of Thibet. This is the
rhubarb plant. In our own country, our rhubarb is culti-
vated as an esculent plant, and the young stalks only are
used; it is not allowed to reach its full growth; but in
Thibet the chief stems rise to a height of seven or eight
feet. The root of the rhubarb plant, broken into pieces and
dried, forms a very valuable medicine, though an exceedingly
nauseous one to the taste, as many of our young readers
will be ready to testify. On the other hand, the young
shoots and leaf-stalks have none of the bitter harsh taste of
the root, and have consequently long been used in England
for pies and puddings, especially as they are procurable
early in the year, when no other fresh fruit is to be
had. But throughout Germany, rhubarb is only just


CENTRAL ASIA. 25

making its way as an article of food; and for many years
our good continental friends were accustomed to express
great disgust at the idea that the English ate rhubarb;
being under the impression that it was the root, the
nauseous yellow drug, and not the stalks, that entered into
the composition of our pies and puddings.
The most remarkable and important of the vegetable
productions of Thibet is the tea plant. This valuable shrub
is mostly cultivated in China, from whence until lately the
supplies of tea for the whole of Europe were drawn. But
now tea is being cultivated in some parts of India, and in
the empire of Japan; and this is quite necessary, for the
quantity used is increasing every year, and tea is now the
general drink of nations in the most various and distant
parts of the earth. The Russian peasant, who comes to the
fairs or markets held in the towns of that vast empire,
drinks tea in large quantities. It is sold by wandering
merchants, who set up tables in the streets and market-
places, with huge urns or kettles on them called Samovars,
in which the hot tea is prepared. The supply comes across
the land from China, and is brought for thousands of miles
through the dreary Siberian wastes. In far-off Australia,
the shepherd or cattle-drover lights his fire in the bush, and
prepares his tin pot of tea, to drink with the damper of
flour cake baked in the ashes, after his hard day's work.
The whale ship whose prow is turned towards the cold north,
where the hardy crew are to do battle for months, perhaps
for years, against the terrors of the climate and the monsters
of the deep, carries a good stock of tea among the indis-
pensable stores for the voyage; and the rich Indiaman,
bound for Calcutta or Bombay, or some other port beneath
the burning tropical sun, is equally certain to take a supply
of tea for passengers and crew. Rich and poor, high and


------------------^ -


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26-
I 26


low, would alike be deprived of what custom has made a
necessary of life to them, if they had not their cup of tea
twice, or at any rate once, every day.
And yet the introduction of tea as a beverage is of com-
paratively recent date. A hundred and twenty years ago
tea such as is now sold in England at three shillings a
pound, cost thirty for the same quantity. It was then con-
sidered quite as a luxury, belonging exclusively to the rich;
and was drunk out of little cups that looked as if they
belonged to a doll's house. The key of the tea-caddy was
as important a trust as the key of the wine-cellar, and tea-
drinking among the lower classes was an unheard-of thing.
Now, a great number of the finest and quickest ships that
can be built are employed in the tea-trade between England
and China; and every year there is a great race across the
ocean, of the ships that bring the first cargoes of the new


season's teas. The cargo of tea in a single ship is sometimes
valued at more than a hundred thousand pounds.
The cultivation of the tea plant, and the preparation of
the tea leaf, among the Chinese, employ many thousands of
persons. There are many different sorts and qualities of tea,
and the shrub has been greatly improved by careful cultiva-
tion. The shrubs are raised from seed; and from the fourth
to the seventh year the leaves are plucked twice or three
times each year. The younger leaves are the green tea; and
from the older leaves, which are variously prepared, the
black varieties are obtained. The usual method of pre-
paration is by heating the leaves slowly in metal vessels,
and then rolling and drying them. The leaves for the black
tea are piled in large heaps, until they begin to ferment and
attain their dark colour. Sometimes flowers and strong-
scented herbs are mixed with the tea, to give it a flavour.


THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA.


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INDIA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


HIE vast and wonderful country that stretches from
the mighty Himalaya range on the north, to Cape
Comorin on the south, has always been looked upon
as a kind of fairy-land. The name of India at once
suggests ideas of jewels, pearls, and gold-of a land whose
rivers poured down golden sands-in whose mountains gems
of inestimable value were hidden, and whose forests teemed
with the rarest marvels of animal and vegetable life.
Hundreds of years ago, when a voyage to India was a thing
very rarely undertaken, and still more rarely accomplished,
the most extravagant tales were told concerning Eastern
wealth and magnificence; and even now, though sober truth
has made sad havoc of many of these travellers' tales,
enough of splendour and of beauty is still found to excite
the admiration of the beholder, and make him wonder how
men could be otherwise than grateful and happy in a land
so marvellously and gloriously endowed by the Almighty
Giver of all good.
The great variety and abundance of animal and vegetable
life in India is due chiefly to two causes-the heat of the
climate, and the fulness of the water supply. Heat in itself
has a great effect in increasing the size of animals and
plants; but where great heat exists without moisture, the
country becomes deserted, hard, and desolate; for animal
life finds no sustenance, and plants are withered by the
pitiless beams of the burning sun. No wonder the heathen

IA ----------


Brahmins taught the people to look upon the Ganges as a
holy river; for it is the cause of the fertility of Bengal,
which, without it and its many tributaries, could never grow
the rice crops on which its millions of inhabitants chiefly
depend for food. In the snow-covered heights of the vast
Himalaya range are the sources of the great rivers of India.
These rivers, fed by the meetings of the snows, roll down
all through the land, irrigating Bengal in the east, and the
Punjab, or country of the five rivers in the west, and diffusing
everywhere life and fertility.
Basking thus beneath the splendid brightness of the
tropical sun, and refreshed by the blessed streams of running
waters, India glows with glorious trees and flowering plants,
and with various kinds of grains. Thousands of great ships
every year bear away into distant lands the products of that
marvellous country. Among these vegetable products may
be mentioned the indigo plant, that produces the deep blue
colour used by the dyers in the manufacture of cloth and
various other fabrics; the cotton-tree, with its beautiful
white puffy balls; the poppy, from whose seeds opium is
made; rice, which is cultivated wherever the ground is wet
and swampy; and spices of various kinds. But it would be
endless to enumerate and describe all the useful things we
derive from India. We must now proceed to speak of some
of the chief animals.
The most formidable quadruped in India is the royal






4
28

tiger. Though generally somewhat
in Bengal he sometimes rivals the kii
certainly exceeds him in ferocity and
of his striped fur is as remarkable as
With his claws he can inflict wounds
and those who know how painful a sc
cat can become, may imagine what
of a scratch given by the Bengal t
is another quality of the tiger. E
many balls, and desperately wounded
struck in a vital part; and when
onslaught is terrific. The swampy
the Ganges pours its floods, by many
of Bengal-a region overgrown with
abounding in wild beasts-is still a
tiger. He often lies crouched among
of the river, at a place where the
drink. His tawny skin is not easily
at dusk and at early morning, from t
herbage among which he lies. Sudde
a mighty spring upon his prey, and
to the ground. Then he drags or ca
where he may devour it undistur
strength, that he can throw a hoi
shoulder, and trot nimbly away under
Formerly the natives, in their s
entirely unable to cope with this
frequently, when a district was knov
tigers, the inhabitants of a village w
portable possessions, and abandon
altogether, rather than fight with the
them. In Sumatra, there was a supe
of those whom the tiger had devou


INDIA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.

smaller than the lion, and so the poor ignorant people used to call him their nene,
ng of beasts in size, and or grandfather; and when a tiger was known to be near a
cunning. The beauty village, they would place rice and fruits and other food at
his amazing strength, the entrance, as a present to gain the favour of the tiger,
five or six inches deep; who, they assert, will not harm any one in a place where he
aratch from an ordinary has been received with due respect and submission, but will
must be the severity go farther on in search of prey.
tiger. Tenacity of life Hunting the tiger is considered the finest of sport in
ven when pierced with India; and it certainly does not lack the excitement of
d, he fights on, unless danger. The hunters are mounted on the backs of
once fairly roused, his elephants. They sit in the howdah or carriage-saddle on
region through which the huge beast, whose driver sits astride just behind the
channels, into the Bay elephant's head, and guides him by pulling his ears, or
tropical vegetation, and striking him on the head with an iron hook. The elephant
favourite haunt of the has an instinctive knowledge of the tiger's presence, and
g the reeds by the side shows signs of disturbance, looking uneasily round him,
other animals come to and often showing great unwillingness to proceed. He is
di=tii -h.. especially especially careful to keep his trunk out of danger, waving
;he sunburnt leaves and it high in the air over his head. The procession moves
enly he leaps forth with forward until a tiger is started. Generally, the tiger tries
seldom fails to bring it in the first instance to escape through the jungle. He
irries it away to a place slinks along with his body close to the ground, as if anxious
'bed. So great is his to keep out of his pursuers' sight. The hunters now fire at
rse or a cow over his the tiger from the howdah. If he is hit in the head, the
the load. ball sometimes enters his brain, and puts an end to him at
scattered villages, were once; but if he is only slightly wounded, he becomes
formidable foe; and furious, and often turns on his enemies. Now it behoves
vn to be infested with each man to look to his own safety. The tiger rushes at
would pack up their few the elephant, and tries to spring on the creature's shoulders;
their dwelling-places while the elephant, though mortally frightened, generally
tiger for possession of faces his foe, and threatens him with his formidable tusks.
rstition that the spirits Instances have been known in which the tiger has managed
red dwelt within him, to scramble up to the howdah, and carry off one of its





-4p --


INDIA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


occupants. In most instances, however, he is met with a
well-directed fire, and rolls on the ground wounded to death
or killed.
In the museum of curiosities that once belonged to the
East India Company is a curious plaything that once belonged
to Tippoo Saib, the Sultan of Mysore, who was killed in
defending his capital, Seringapatam, against the British
troops under Lord Cornwallis. Tippoo was a great enemy
of the English, whom he hated most cordially; and as a
proof of his detestation of them, he caused the agreeable
toy in question to be made. It consists of a wooden figure of
a tiger, the size of life, and of another figure representing an
English soldier. Within the body of the tiger some machinery
was concealed; and, on the turning of a handle, the tiger
sprang forward upon the soldier, and seemed as if devouring
him with horrid growls, while the unhappy soldier uttered
sharp cries of distress. This plaything, which was found
among the plunder taken in Tippoo Saib's palace, is said to
have afforded great amusement to the savage Sultan.
The tiger is a large feeder, and kills many animals to devour
them. Whatever he leaves of his feast is cleared away by
the striped hyena.
This creature is found both in Asia and Africa. It in
some respects resembles the wolf, but is cowardly and timid,
seldom defending itself, even when attacked, and slinking
about in a furtive and secret manner. The hyena has a
strange screaming voice, and, when excited, utters sounds that
closely resemble bursts of shrieking laughter. Thus one
species has been called the laughing hyena. There are several
fine specimens of the laughing hyena in the London Zoo-
logical Gardens. The keepers there often, at feeding time,
amuse the visitors by making the hyena laugh for his
dinner. The animal seems to know what is expected of


him; and as soon as he sees his ration of meat held up before
him on the keeper's pointed stick, he rushes forward, and
stands up against the bars of his den, shrieking with
laughter, as if the whole business were in the highest degree
ridiculous. Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller, relates how,
one evening, he saw two gleaming eyes staring at him in his
tent; and found, on a nearer inspection, that they belonged
to a hyena, which was chumping a large bundle of tallow-
candles with evident relish, when he interrupted its feast.
The hyena generally sallies forth at night in quest of prey.
It feeds upon the putrid remains of any carcases that have
been left by other beasts of prey, or on any animals that
have fallen and died from disease or accident. It is gene-
rally looked upon as a disgusting and hateful animal, though
it can be easily tamed, and is certainly useful in the
countries it inhabits, by clearing the public streets and
roads of carcases which might breed a pestilence if left to
putrefy.
Foremost among the quadrupeds of India, the largest and
most magnificent of brutes, stands the elephant. This
mighty beast is an inhabitant of the hottest parts of Asia,
and of Southern and Central Africa. Of vast bulk and
strength, he is yet harmless and docile, and can be made to
use his gigantic power in the service of man. In Ceylon,
elephants are found in vast herds; and so ready is this
creature to learn, that tame elephants are taught to decoy
wild ones, and assist in their capture. The elephant has
hardly any neck; his great heavy head with its huge tusks
would be too weighty to be supported, if he had a neck like
the ox or horse. As he cannot put down his mouth to his
food, he has his proboscis, or trunk, by means of which he
lifts his food to his mouth, and which answers the purposes
of a hand. Elephants in India are taught to carry branches


A






INDIA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


of trees in their trunks, and wave them, to keep the flies and
gnats from the company in the howdah. In ancient times,
the natives of the East employed elephants in war; and in
India the native princes used not to consider their armies
complete without an elephant battalion, even to within the
present century. But it was at length found that the
elephants, when wounded by musket-bullets, became unman-
ageable, and often broke away and inflicted more damage on
their own side than on the enemy; so that now they are
only used to carry provisions and baggage, and sometimes to
drag or push heavy cannon-a duty for which their great
strength peculiarly fits them. The old Romans already
knew the art of frightening the elephants brought against
them by their enemies, and making the terrified beasts
cause confusion in the ranks.
Among the animals of India various kinds of fowls must
be mentioned. Our domestic poultry originally came from
that country, which is the native home of the pheasant,
the turkey, and many other varieties. The native oxen
of India are distinguished by their size and beauty. They
are very extensively employed as beasts of burden. In the
jungle are found various kinds of serpents, whose bite is
deadly; a person or animal bitten by one of these serpents
dies within a few hours. None is more deadly than the
cobra de capella. The poison of the serpent is contained in
a little bag at the root of the teeth; and when the serpent
bites the deadly fluid is forced down the tooth, and enters
the wound. Some of the natives are called snake-charmers,
because they are able to tame these serpents; and they
declare that the serpents never bite them.
India is as rich in useful trees and plants as in animals.
Various kinds of palm-trees are found there, among which
the sago palm deserves especial mention. This palm con-


30


^Pp -------------------------------------------------------------------------------_ ^ S i4.


tains a white pith throughout the whole length of its stem.
When the tree is cut down and split, this pith is taken out,
and, when dried and prepared, it forms the little grains called
sago. The areca palm is considered more important than
the sago palm by the natives of India, who are exceedingly
fond of eating the nuts which grow upon it. They wrap a
piece of areca nut in a leaf of a plant called betel, which has
an aromatic flavour; a few grains of lime are added to the
composition ; and this strange mixture is industriously
chewed by the native races, who declare it to be particularly
wholesome. It has the effect of turning their teeth very
black.
The pepper plant supplies a very valuable article of com-
merce; for in all countries pepper is considered almost as
indispensable an article in the preparation of food as salt
itself. The pepper plant is a climbing plant, clinging round
the trunk of a tree like the ivy or hop. It produces a little
green berry, which turns red when ripe. These berries are
plucked and dried over a fire, on sieves made of bamboo.
They then shrivel and turn black, and these shrivelled ber-
ries are the ordinary black peppercorns. Sometimes the red
berries are thrown into water. After a day or two the red
skin peels off, leaving the berries white; and these, when
ground, form the white pepper. Both kinds are sent to
Europe in very large quantities.
The substance we call arrowroot, and which is found so
valuable as a light and nourishing food for sick people, is
also obtained from India. It is the ground root of a plant
of the bamboo kind. Various other spices are likewise pro-
cured from India,
Until about a hundred years ago, that immense and
marvellous country was very badly governed by a number
of native princes, who made war against one another, and


- i- ._


{


^





4^-


treated their subjects very badly. A great company of mer-
chants had factories, or places where they kept their mer-
chandise, at Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, and a few other
places. But the native princes fought against the English,
and tried to take their merchandise and money, and killed
some of them very cruelly. Thereupon the English con-
quered one piece of India after another, until at last they
had taken possession of the whole of it; so that now India


belongs to England, and Queen Victoria is called Queen of
Great Britain and Empress of India.
In former times, at least six or seven months were required
for a journey to India, and frequently the great ships
belonging to the East India Company required a year to
accomplish the voyage; but now the journey to India, by a
short way called the Overland Route, can be completed in
four or five weeks


INDIA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


31 1


I>&--- -___


I-













ANIMALS OF THE EASTERN PENINSULA.


N India the traveller finds many great cities, whose
streets are crowded with inhabitants, and whose
bazaars are filled with rich merchandise of every
kind. Beaten roads lead from one city to another; and
already railways have been built, and the "iron horse" has
begun his rapid journey through the vast and populous
country. Hundreds of great ships are seen unloading the
cargoes they have brought to Madras, Calcutta, or Bombay;
and hundreds more are loading with the cotton, indigo, rice,
spices, and other products of this marvellous land. Signs of
industry, commerce, and trade are apparent everywhere.
Very different is the aspect of the great Malay peninsula,
that stretches to the east of the Bay of Bengal. Here only the
banks of the great rivers are peopled; and the interior of the
country is in-great part a jungle, or thicket, where the bam-
boo grows so thick, and the trees cover the country in such
dense masses, that it is almost impossible to pass from place to
place. The dense forests swarm with birds of bright plumage,
and with monkeys that skip nimbly from tree to tree; while
large animals of various kinds roam in freedom through
wilds seldom trodden by the footsteps of man.
The soil in the river valleys is exceedingly rich and fertile.
The sugar-cane can be cultivated without much labour, and
the swampy soil will produce two rice harvests in the year.
But in these swamps fever and other diseases are always
lurking; and the traveller who has not a sound constitution


will do well to keep far away from these deadly regions.
Clouds of mosquitoes and other insects hum and buzz in the
air over the swamps, and are the cause of much torment to
the animals that inhabit them.
The largest and most formidable quadruped in these
regions is the rhinoceros, whose horn has given rise to the
fable of the unicorn. The rhinoceros is inferior only to the
elephant in size and strength. He frequently grows to a
length of from ten to twelve feet, and a height of six, and
weighs between two and three tons. A solitary animal, he
lives on the banks of the great rivers, feeding on grass and
reeds. If he makes his way into a rice-field, it is a great
calamity for the farmer; for the unwieldy beast treads down
far more than he can devour, and leaves tokens of his visit
in the shape of a broad trampled track wherever he has
passed. The hide of the rhinoceros is peculiarly thick and
tough, thicker even than that of the buffalo or elephant.
In some places, where the folds lie loosely one over the other,
it cannot be pierced even by a musket-bullet. But in other
parts it is thinner; and the Malays, when exasperated by the
ravages committed by the rhinoceros, sometimes turn out
to attack him with lances and spears. Though the rhino-
ceros seldom attacks a man of his own accord, yet when
wounded or roused to anger, he rushes forward with head-
long fury, and overturns whatever comes in his way. As
his fury is to some extent blind, his enemies avoid him by


I


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ANIMALS OF THE EASTERN PENINSULA.


springing aside, and wound him as he passes along. The
other animals keep out of his way, and avoid him as much
as possible; for his great strength gains him an easy victory
in every combat. He tosses his adversary up in the air,
and tramples the wretched creature to death under his broad
feet, as it falls stunned and bruised. Even the leopard's
claws can make no impression on his thick hide.
The leopard is in many respects almost as dangerous a
creature as the tiger. Indeed he may be called the tiger's
near relation; for, excepting in size, there is little difference
between them, either in outward form or in character. The
skin of the leopard is a beautiful as that of the tiger, and
its colour serves to conceal the animal as he lies crouching
among the thick foliage at the river's brink, waiting for the
thirsty animals that pass by on their way to the water. In
ferocity and cruelty of disposition, the leopard quite equals
the tiger. When he breaks in among domestic animals, he
slays far more than he can eat, from mere bloodthirstiness.
On one occasion a leopard, that had made its way into a
sheepfold by night, killed no fewer than forty sheep. Leo-
pards vary in colour from a light tawny, covered with black
spots, to so dark a brown that the black spots cannot be seen
upon it, except in a strong light. Like all creatures of the
cat tribe, the leopard is savage and treacherous, and is there-
fore seldom tamed; but a small species, called the chetah, is
trained in India, like a hound, to hunt deer and other
animals. The native hunters carry the chetah on a low
bullock cart, taking care to keep its eyes bandaged. The
cart is dragged across the country until the game is described.
Then the bandage is taken from the eyes of the chetah, and
when the animal he is to catch has been pointed out to him,
he is let loose, and bounds away in pursuit of it. When the
chetah has overtaken and pulled down his prey, the hunters


hasten up and take it from him; but they are careful to
reward the creature's services with a gift of part of the blood,
otherwise the chetah would grow angry and surly, and hunt
no more for them.
One of the most wonderful of trees is found in these
wildernesses. It is the banyan-tree. Some of the branches
of the banyan grow out horizontally, and from these others
shoot downwards towards the ground, and there take root;
so that a single banyan-tree often spreads over a large space
and forms a forest in itself, every stem being in close con-
nection with others. One of these banyan-trees, remarkable
for its size and age, numbered more than three hundred and
fifty large stems and twenty-five thousand small ones. It
was considered to be nearly three thousand years old.
Crouched in the branches of a banyan-tree, or hanging
downwards till its flat wicked-looking head almost touches
the ground, the great boa constrictor lies in wait for its
prey. This mighty serpent sometimes grows to a length of
thirty feet. It is not venomous, but it has prodigious
strength. When. a deer, a young buffalo, or some other
animal passes within its reach, the boa constrictor suddenly
darts upon it, and begins slowly to wind itself round the
body of its victim. So great is the serpent's strength, that it
can crush even a bull to death. In one case a boa constrictor
had wound itself round the body of a buffalo, and the crack-
ing of the poor victim's bones sounded like the firing of
pistols. When the boa constrictor has crushed its prey into
a shapeless mass, it sets about slowly swallowing it, begin-
ning at the head. Its own body swells enormously during
the process of swallowing its prey; and when at length the
whole carcase has disappeared down the serpent's throat, the
boa constrictor lies utterly torpid and powerless for days
together. In this state it may be killed without the


I


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33


I->4 S-- "


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{.riY


ANIMALS OF THE EASTERN PENINSULA.


34


slightest danger, for it can make no resistance. When at
length the enormous meal has been digested, the serpent
slowly rouses itself to look out for fresh prey.
The great Indian buffalo is likewise found in these regions.
The colour of the Indian buffalo is generally a dark grey.
It is very large, and has great strength in its head and
shoulders, and a very formidable pair of horns. In its wild
state the buffalo is fierce and pugnacious, and will fight long
and stoutly. An English resident at the court of the late
King of Lucknow, in India, gives an account of an instance
in which the strength and courage of this animal appeared to
great advantage:-The king, it appears, was greatly addicted
to the barbarous pastime of setting wild animals to fight
against one another, and had an open courtyard near his
palace strongly fenced in, and set apart as a field for the
combat. One day he caused a tiger and a buffalo to be
turned loose into the arena together, and though the tiger
was large and fierce, his adversary presented such a bold
appearance, that the tiger seemed more than half-inclined to
decline the match altogether. Being goaded and urged on,
however, he advanced against the buffalo, but met with such
a reception, that at last he gave up the combat, and slunk
into his cage grievously wounded; and the honours of the
day were awarded to the undaunted bull. Like almost all
the members of the ox tribe, the buffalo, however unruly
and fierce he may be in his wild- state, is easily tamed, and
when a ring has been passed through his broad muzzle, he
will contentedly allow himself to be led by a child, and his
huge strength to be employed in ploughing a rice-field or
drawing a waggon. Providence has evidently designed the
ox and the horse tribe to be the companions and servants of
man, and has thus given them docility in addition to the
huge strength so usefully employed in man's service.


Some valuable plants are found in the Malay peninsula.
Here, for instance, the sugar-cane is seen growing wild.
This plant has attained as great an importance as an article
of commerce as the tea-shrub itself, and the sugar-trade has
become as extended as the trade in tea. Many countries
derive their chief wealth from the crops of sugar raised in
and exported from them; and when we see how sugar now
forms part of the food of the poorest among us, we can
hardly imagine how our ancestors, in the old times, can have
managed to do entirely without it. Certainly they had
honey, wherewith to sweeten their dishes; but we should
think that a sorry substitute. In many respects, the
working men of the present day have a better selection of
food, and greater variety, than many a nobleman could
command in the old times.
The sugar-cane is a plant of the bamboo kind. It grows
very rapidly, but exhausts the earth very soon, so that it can
only be grown in hot countries, where the soil is rich and
deep. When the plant has grown high and strong, and is
about to blossom, it is fit for cutting, for then the hollow
interior of the cane is full of a sweet juice. The canes are
then cut down and passed through a mill, between heavy
rollers, which crush them to pieces and press the juice out of
them. This juice is then boiled in huge coppers or caul-
drons, and the scum that rises to the surface is skimmed off.
Afterwards the juice is allowed to cool, and a part of it
crystallizes or forms into flaky grains. In this state it
becomes what we call moist or raw sugar. The part of the
juice that does not crystallize, but remains in a half-fluid
state, is called molasses or treacle; and from this treacle the
spirit called rum is obtained. Some of the raw sugar is
still further purified, and poured into great vessels, shaped
like extinguishers ; in these shapes it cools into hard white


-^ =At~-, --------- .. -.- --------- _----------------------------------------------------------------- -- --------------------------------I L.- ^


!


*t







ANIMALS OF THE EASTERN PENINSULA. 35


masses; and these masses are called loaves of sugar. They
are generally broken into lumps by the grocers; and this
description is the white or loaf sugar.
There are various species of bamboo; and the largest
kind, which sometimes grows to a height of forty feet, is
used by the natives of the regions where it grows for a
variety of purposes. Bamboo is at once light, tough, and
strong, and thus forms an excellent material where we, in
colder climates, should use wood. Thus the native of the
Eastern peninsula canf build a very serviceable house for
himself and his family, of bamboo posts stuck upright in
the earth, and interwoven with their own long slender
leaves. Villages are fenced in with walls made of bamboo,
which are quite strong enough to keep out the wild beasts,
and even to resist human enemies. Small ends of bamboo
are converted into the shape of arrows; and the few pieces
of household furniture, and even the agricultural implements,
possessed by a Malay are chiefly constructed of this useful
material. In irrigating or watering the rice-fields, pipes are
required; and here again the bamboo furnishes a pipe
already made. If the Malay wants a light javelin or spear
for hunting purposes, the never-failing bamboo will again


supply him. Thus while the thickets of bamboo, on the one
hand, conceal numbers of noxious and dangerous animals,
on the other they furnish the material for weapons offensive
and defensive against these creatures; and thus it will be
found that everywhere Providence has placed at the disposal
of man the means of supporting life, and of defending
himself against danger; and it rests with him to use those
means for the purposes for which they were given. But,
unfortunately, men too often turn the weapons intended for
their defence and safety into means of attacking one
another; and in those very countries where there is most
room, and where the inhabitants are few and scattered, they
wage bloody and senseless wars against each other, tribe
combating with tribe-each endeavouring to destroy the
other, instead of fulfilling the Divine command, which bade
man go forth and increase and multiply and replenish the
earth, and subdue it. But there is the hope of a better
time for these nations. Already the light of Christianity
and truth has begun to dawn, though as yet feebly, among
the nations of the East; and we may hope that the day will
come when that light, "like a sea of glory, shall spread from
pole to pole."


1 I


C8q.i^^ ^^EQ


-a__













ANIMALS OF THE SUNDA ISLANDS.


E have now to visit a region rich in animals and plants,
and one that offers to the traveller's admiration many
of the wonders of nature. Southward and eastward
of the Malay peninsula lie the Sunda Islands and the rich
island of Sumatra. From Singapore, the great commercial
port of Eastern India, these islands are easily reached; and
their secluded bays and rivers frequently form a convenient
hiding-place for the light proas or vessels of the Malays.
These Malays are a very treacherous people, and many of
them live by piracy-that is, by plundering vessels and coast
settlements, and by leading the life of sea-robbers.
Let us take a passage in a swift-sailing proa, and start
from Singapore, on a trip to one of the Sunda Islands. On
the passage we shall do well to keep a sharp eye on the
captain and crew; nor will it be at all superfluous, or a
useless precaution, if we carry some weapons with us, and
keep them ready to hand in case of need. For these Malay
worthies are very much addicted to wearing long knives and
savage-looking weapons called creeses; and they look just
the kind of people who would think very little of murdering
a traveller, if they thought anything was to be got by such
a proceeding.
But now the proa has brought us swiftly to our destination,
and the crew have not broken out into any act of hostility.
The proa shoots up a creek, and we land in a region dark
with trees and bushes, and covered with creeping and climb-


ing plants, which in some places grow so thick, and are so
closely matted together, that it is no easy matter to force a
path among them. A swampy region this, and evidently an
unhealthy climate. The air is heavy with moisture, and the
rankness of the abundant vegetation fills it with oppressive
odour. The deadly marsh fever lurks in these swamps, and is
especially fatal to Europeans; though the Malays, thoroughly
acclimatized and at home in this hot vapour-bath, appear to
live and move in it in perfect comfort and safety.
Presently a large quadruped comes crashing and flounder-
ing through the tangle of weeds, and trots along a path
formed by the frequent passage of various animals from the
thicket to the river. This creature is a tapir, an animal
frequently found in these forests. In structure and outward
appearance he is not unlike a fat pig. His colour is white on
the back, and a greyish black on the other parts. He is a
sufficiently harmless and good-natured fellow, doing no harm,
unless he happen to find his way into a rice-field, in which
case he has the bad habit of rooting up a great deal of grain
with his snout, and of treading down much more with his
feet. He lives in solitary state in these dense forests, and
passes most of his time in the water during the heat of the
day; for the mosquitoes and other insects plague him sadly,
and their sharp stings can penetrate even through his thick
hide. Sometimes he is under the necessity of arraying
himself in a suit of armour which shall be impervious to his


4r-ql














N


. iM.. .
. -


A Swamp in Sumatra. The Toucan, Cassowary and Ourang Outang
on. a Breadfruit Tree. The Tapir.





-'-


ANIMALS OF THE SUNDA ISLANDS. 37


foes. This he manages by the ingenious expedient of
rolling over and over in the thick mud and slime on the
banks of the river, the effect of which proceeding is to
cover him with a suit of mail that guards him very
completely. In. the evening he will go away into the
woods to graze, for he is a thoroughly herbivorous
animal. The female tapir guards her young very care-
fully, and bites fiercely when the little ones are attacked
or molested.
From the trees around, the shrill scream of the toucan is
heard resounding. These birds are remarkable for the great
size of their beaks. At first it seems a wonder how the
toucan can support the enormous weight, and carry its head
without support, so utterly disproportionate does this pre-
posterous beak appear to be. But the beak is thin and
cellular, and very much lighter than its size would appear to
denote. The toucan picks the berries on which it feeds, with
the tip of its beak, from the plants on which they grow, and
then, throwing back its head, jerks them into its throat with
. a comical movement. The female lays only one egg, in the
hollow of a tree. The male toucan evidently has a great
idea of keeping his wife at home, for when the lady is fairly
seated on her egg, and has settled down to the duty of
hatching it, he closes up the hole in the tree with mud and
sand, leaving only an orifice, through which the mother bird
can thrust her beak to be fed. It is only due to the male,
however, to state that he, is a most affectionate and attentive
husband, indefatigable in flying abroad to procure berries and
other food for his wife, and passing the supplies in to her
through the small hole he has left for that purpose. Occa-
sionally he also catches mice, frogs, and other small animals.
He can bite famously with that long beak of his-a fact
which our young friends, who undertake to feed him when


they make his acquaintance in the Zoological Gardens, will
do well to remember.
A very different kind of creature is the cassowary. This
great heavy bird grows almost to the size of its African
cousin, the ostrich. It is unable to fly, but can run ex-
ceedingly fast. The feathers are very narrow and pointed.
The cassowary feeds on soft fruits and small animals, but
avoids eating hard seeds. The female lays from four to six
eggs in a rude kind of nest constructed in the grass, but,
unlike the toucan, she leaves to the male the chief care of
hatching them, and he is also the principal guardian of the
young birds. The young cassowaries are funny little things,
but they become exceedingly spiteful as they grow older.
On. the approach of danger they run nimbly away, and
conceal themselves in the long grass. Cassowaries are much
more intelligent and cunning than ostriches; but the bad
temper of this bird prevents it from being tamed, or be-
coming useful as a domestic fowl.
In the Sunda Islands, Borneo, and Sumatra, we are also
likely to meet with one of the largest of the ape tribe, the
greatest of all indeed, with the exception of the formidable
gorilla. This ape is called the ourang-outang, two words
which signify "man of the woods." It attains a height of
nearly six feet, and can walk in an almost erect posture,
helping itself along by means of a thick staff. The arms of
the ourang-outang are exceedingly long and powerful. It
can flourish a club or a stake, with which it deals tremendous
blows at its adversaries. The hinder limbs are, however,
not nearly so long or strong as the arms; and the soles of
the feet, or rather hind hands, are bent inward, so that the
ourang treads not on the soles or palms in walking, but on
the outer edge. This gives it a shuffling and unsteady gait,
and it is far more adapted for climbing than for moving on


I






38 ANIMALS OF THE

the ground. Accordingly, it passes almost its whole life in the
trees, swinging from branch to branch by means of its fore
hands and arms, which it uses far more than the weaker hind
limbs. The colour of the ourang-outang is a rusty red. It
is covered with long hair. The females and the younger
males wander about in troops; but the older males become
very morose and savage, and lead a solitary life, avoiding all
intercourse with the rest. The muzzle of the old ourang-
outang becomes very prominent. Young ourangs have
sometimes been caught and tamed, and more than one
specimen has been brought to Europe; but they are so
entirely formed for living in a hot climate that they have
invariably died after a very short residence in Europe. In
spite of every precaution in heating the houses in which
they were kept, and excluding the cold air, they were
quickly attacked by disease of the lungs, which proved fatal
to them. The young ourang-outang is intelligent, and, like
almost all apes, exceedingly imitative; and those that were
brought to Europe were generally on very good terms with
the sailors during the voyage. One in particular, that had
been consigned to the London Zoological Gardens, became
quite famous for its pranks, and caused much amusement on
board. It soon learned to sit up at table, and to eat with a
spoon, and even advanced so far in culture that it would
wait till its turn came for being served, without manifesting
any signs of impatience, unless it happened to be particu-
larly hungry. Unfortunately the sailors insisted on teach-
ing it the art of drinking grog, a practice to which it
became much addicted, and which had a very bad effect on
its constitution. As the ship came into colder latitudes, it
began to feel the change of climate, and soon lost its brisk-
ness and vivacity. On chilly days it would sit shivering,
closely wrapped round in a blanket, with a most piteous


SUNDA ISLANDS.


look upon its face. It did not live long after reaching its
destination.
The food of the ourang-outang consists of all kinds of
fruit, which it finds in abundance in its native woods. It
also looks out sharply for birds' nests, and is very fond of
stealing and sucking the eggs.
The bread-fruit tree is the most important of the vegeta-
ble productions of this part of the world. This useful tree
grows to a height of fifty feet. The natives fashion their
boats out of the trunk, which they sometimes hollow out with
axes, and sometimes by means of fire. The hard, knotty
fibrous stalks that surround the foot of the tree are used
as tires for wheels, and last a considerable time on the soft
spongy ground of Sumatra. The fruit of the tree resem-
bles a cocoanut in form, and, when full-grown, weighs nearly
four pounds: the rind is of a brown colour, hard and fibrous.
When this hard rind is broken open, there appears a white
pulpy substance, which cannot be eaten raw, but which,
when cooked, resembles new white bread in taste, and can be
prepared in a variety of ways. The bread-fruit constitutes
a very important article of food not only in the Sunda
Islands and Sumatra, but in many other parts of the tropical
world. The tree has also other uses. The bark is cut into
strips and plaited; and a kind of coarse matting or cloth is
obtained, of which sails and other articles can be made.
The leaves are dried and manufactured into hats by the
natives.
The bread-fruit tree was found by the celebrated navigator
Captain Cook in many of the islands of the Pacific. The
naturalists, Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Solander, and others, who
accompanied the Captain, reported highly of its usefulness
and importance as one of the most remarkable food-producing
trees. It was accordingly determined by the English


Y^ <


Tr


*T


4-4






ANIMALS OF THE


-39
39


SUNDA ISLANDS.


Government, some years afterwards, that the bread-fruit tree
should be introduced into the West Indies, where it was
conjectured the climate would be very favourable to its
growth. Accordingly, a meritorious officer, Lieutenant
Bligh, was despatched to Tahiti, in a brig called the Bounty,
with orders to procure a number of young bread-fruit trees,
which were extensively cultivated in that island, and carry
them to the West Indies. But a number of the crew of the
Bounty forgot their duty to their country and their com-
mander. Chiefly through the bad advice and example of a
bad man named Fletcher Christian, they broke out in mutiny
or revolt. One morning, not long after the ship's depar-
ture from Tahiti, they broke into Commander Bligh's cabin,
and forced him, and a number of the crew who would not
join in their evil design, to get into an open boat; and
in spite of all the commander could say, they sailed away,
leaving the boat in the wide ocean, thousands of miles from
the nearest land. There were hardly any provisions in the
boat, and the weather soon became so stormy, that only the
greatest skill could keep it afloat. But Bligh was a brave
man, and exerted himself nobly. By his courage and cheer-
fulness he set an example which inspired all his poor forlorn
companions with new hope. He pointed out the necessity
of husbanding their little stock of provisions to the utter-
most, that the food might last until they could reach a
country inhabited by Europeans. With two halves of a
cocoanut shell lie made a pair of scales, that each man's
daily allowance of food might be accurately measured out,
and that none might have more than his neighbour; and he


himself took rather less than his share of food, and much
more than his share of watching and hardship. More than
a month were these brave men tossed about on the ocean.
But at last their fortitude and perseverance were rewarded,
and they reached a European settlement, where they were
well received, and whence they were sent back to England.
As for the mutineers, they took the ship back to Tahiti,
where some of them remained, and whence several were at
last carried away as prisoners to England, to be punished for
their misdeeds. The rest sailed away, and were not heard
of for many years; until at length the last survivor, a man
named John Adams, was discovered living on a small island
not very far from Tahiti, called Pitcairn's Island. Adams
had had the grace to repent of his wicked ways before he
grew old, and had become a pious man and a Christian. He
and several of his companions had married Tahitian wives;
and when the English ship that found him came to Pitcairn's
Island, he was at the head of a flourishing little colony, the
members of which cultivated farms, and spoke English, and
had been taught to read the Bible and to pray. Lieutenant
Bligh, on his return to England, was rewarded for the
courage and fortitude he had shown. Such is the story of
the famous mutiny of the Bounty.
In Sumatra and the Sunda Islands a very remarkable
flower is also found. It is called the Rafflesia, from the
name of its first discoverer, Sir Stamford Raffles. It is of a
red colour, and, when fully opened, measures nearly three feet
across. It has no root or leaves, but grows from a seed
dropped on another plant. Its scent is very disagreeable.


--- t






T.


A TOUR IN THE GREAT AFRICAN DESERT.


Y young friends must now be prepared to follow me
to a country very different in its nature from the
region we last visited together. In the Sunda
Islands and Sumatra, we found a land where too abundant
moisture was frequently the cause of sickness and death.
We have now before us a country rendered almost uninhabit-
able by the want of moisture, where the burning sun shines
pitilessly down, day after day and year after year, to a rain-
less region, where there can be little vegetation, and where
no harvest gladdens the eyes and rewards the toil of the
thrifty peasant. We are going to visit the Great Sahara,
or desert of Northern Africa.
This vast desert extends throughout nearly the whole
breadth of the great continent. It may be divided into the
stony and the sandy desert. The former consists of rock,
with ranges of hills here and there; the latter is formed of
loose sand or of stones. In the stony desert the nights are
cool, though in the daytime it is so hot that no one can
walk over the ground with naked feet; the sandy desert is
more uniformly sultry, days and nights being alike oppressive.
The desert would be impassable but for the existence of the
camel. This useful animal is as important to the Arab as
the reindeer to the Kamtschatkan or Laplander, or the
horse to the Tartar of the Asiatic steppes. Its nature
peculiarly fits it for a beast of burden. Its large spongy
feet do not sink in the soft sand, even when it is heavily


laden. It can live on the hard bitter plants that grow even
in the desert. With remarkable endurance and strength, it
will continue a journey for many days on the scantiest fare,
and contains a receptacle in which it can store up a supply
of water, so that at one drinking it can take in a quantity
sufficient for a long time. Sometimes, when the traveller
has been detained for a long time in the burning desert,
when his supply of water has utterly failed, and he is.
reduced to extremity from thirst, he makes up his mind, as
a last resource, to kill the faithful camel for the sake of the
few pints of water to be found in its body. But this is a
desperate remedy; for, deprived of his camel, the unfortunate
wanderer has less chance than before of reaching the wished-
for resting-place, where the priceless fountain of water wells
upward from the ground. Very rightly has the camel been
called the ship of the desert," for in that sea of sand the
traveller depends almost as much upon the faithful beast
that carries him and his provisions and merchandise, as
the voyager upon the ocean trusts to the good ship that
bears him from shore to shore.
There are two varieties of this creature, namely, the Bac-
trian, or two-humped, and the dromedary, or one-humped
camel. The Bactrian camel is heavily built, and formed
rather for strength than speed. It can carry a burden of a
thousand to twelve hundred pounds on its back, while a
dromedary is quite sufficiently loaded with five hundred. As





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., : .. ..1.

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The great African desert. Caravan of Camels, horses and asses, overtaken by the Simoom. -
Frightened Gazelles.


,,^^
?*'** "*
*. '-






A TOUR IN THE GREAT AFRICAN DESERT.


it inhabits a colder climate than that in which the dromedary
is at home, it has a thicker coat of hair. When it has to
endure hunger for a long time, it derives nourishment from
its humps. These consist almost entirely of fatty matter,
and at the end of a journey are considerably smaller than
when the camel started. The speed and endurance of the
dromedary are remarkable. When it has once started it can
continue its course for twenty-four hours at a stretch, travel-
ling all the time at a round trot; and then, if slightly
refreshed with a bowl of camel's milk and a cake made of
barley-meal or of date-kernels, will resume its march, and
travel for another twenty-four hours without much apparent
fatigue or distress. In fact, the rider becomes much sooner
exhausted than does the beast that bears him. Every part of
the camel is useful to the Arab. The skin forms the material
of which he makes his tent; with the hair he makes various
kinds of manufactured stuffs; camel's flesh serves him for
food; and the milk of the camel is his ordinary drink. In tem-
per, too, the camel is well fitted for his position as a domestic
animal. It is exceedingly docile, and can be readily taught
to lie down to receive its burden. But, when overloaded, the
poor creature's patience sometimes gives way, and it resolutely
refuses to rise until a part of the load has been removed.
Mr. Morgan, an African traveller, relates the following
particulars, which strikingly show the superiority of the
camel over the horse for desert travelling. This gentleman,
with some friends, mounted onm excellent horses of African
breed, once tried the speed and endurance of their steeds
against a dromedary, with the following result:-" We all
started," he tells us, "like racers; and at first some of the
best mounted among us kept pace pretty well. But our
grass-fed horses soon flagged. Several of the Libyan and
Numidian coursers kept pace, till we, who followed upon a


good round hard gallop, could no longer discern them.
After the dromedary had been out of sight about half an
hour, we again spied it flying towards us with an amazing
velocity; and in a few moments it was amongst us, seemingly
nothing concerned, whilst the horses and mares were all in
foam, and scarcely able to breathe, as was also a tall and
fleet greyhound that had followed."
As the desert offers little food, and water is only to be
had at certain spots far distant from each other, the animals
to be found there are few, and only such as can move
quickly from place to place. Herds of fleet gazelles roam
across the sandy waste, and find subsistence even there.
They generally frequent the neighbourhood of the fertile
tracts or oases which occur here and there, and whose
existence renders it possible to cross the burning desert.
For here fresh water is to be found, and the weary
traveller can repose beneath the shadow of the palm-tree,
and gain fresh strength for his further journey. The oases
were formerly inhabited by negroes; but these have been
driven away partly by the Berbers or Tibbos, a fierce race,
half-shepherds, half-robbers, and partly by the Bedouin
Arabs. Some of the oases are especially rich in dates, a fruit
peculiarly useful to the Arabs, with whom it is a chief
article of food. In the desert it supplies the place of bread
to a great extent; and, as we have seen, even the hard stones
are ground and made into a kind of cake for feeding the
camels.
The gazelle of the desert. is hunted by the Bedouin Arab,
for its flesh is very tender and palatable. As it can run
with a speed that resembles the flight of a bird, the
hunter pursues it on his fleetest horse. The Arab horses
are noted for their beauty of form, and their fleetness and
endurance. They are also very good-tempered and gentle;


G


I


-fS_---------------------------------------Ilia-<---------------------- --


41






A TOUR IN THE GREAT AFRICAN DESERT.


for the Arabs use them well, and hardly ever beat them, and
kindness is seldom thrown away, even upon animals. The
mares are preferred to the horses, as being better tempered;
and, moreover, mare's milk is an important article in the
simple kitchen of the Arab. In the Bedouin's tent in the
desert, the horse or mare is often to be seen, loosely tethered
to a cord, or sometimes completely at liberty. The little
brown children, who are not at all afraid of it, and look upon
the useful creature as their friend and playfellow, are seen
rolling about on the ground and playing close to its heels;
and their sense of security is as perfect as if the horse were
made of stone. For travelling short distances with great
speed, and for warlike expeditions, the horse is unrivalled;
but, on longer journeys, the dromedary must be employed, for
the horse cannot endure thirst long, and water must, there-
fore, be taken in skins for his use. The most beautiful
among the Arab horses are sold for very high prices; but
even when a large sum is offered, the Arabs are very unwil-
ling to part with them.
When the Bedouins hunt the gazelle, they frequently use
heavy cudgels, with which they break the poor creature's
legs, when they have approached sufficiently near to throw
their weapon. These Bedouins are wandering tribes, and are
true descendants of that Ishmael of whom it was said that
his hand should be against every man, and every man's hand
against him. Until lately they used to roam in companies
through the desert, from one oasis to another, generally
lurking somewhere near the track of the caravans that crossed
the desert. They never failed to attack a company whose
numbers were weak, and often cruelly plundered their victims
of all their property, and even of their stock of provisions
and water, and then left them to perish miserably in the
desert. As they were generally mounted on swift drome-


diaries, pursuit became useless, and thus these wandering
tribes of Bedouins became the terror of the caravans. But now
that the French have conquered Algeria to the north of the
Great Desert, and have founded a great colony, or rather a
great province there, even the Bedouins are kept in some kind
of order, and find that the law is stronger than they, and
that they can be called to account for their misdeeds, so their
depredations are gradually ceasing, and they are beginning to
live as peaceable subjects of the French.
In spite of the useful camel and dromedary, and the fleet
horse, and the tame enduring ass, which is also sometimes
used here, the travellers across the desert encounter many
dangers and hardships. Sometimes pestilence breaks out
among the company, and sometimes the terrible Eastern plague
has carried off two-thirds of a caravan in a few days. Some-
times the journey is retarded by the excessive heat, or by the
weakness of some of the men or-animals; and then the sup-
plies of provisions and water fail, and there comes great and
terrible distress. Perhaps the weaker part of the company
have struggled on for days, battling manfully against the
deadly faintness that has been increasing upon them; per-
haps the desperate resource has been adopted of killing some
camels for the sake of the small supply of water in their
stomachs; and at last the time has come when several of the
company can struggle onward no longer. Then the rest are
obliged to consult their own safety, lest all should perish
together. The camels belonging to the poor weak travellers
are left behind, and if the owners are too weak to move, the
legs of the animals are tied, so that they may not stray away,
in case their unhappy proprietors should recover, and make
another effort to continue their journey. Farewells are
exchanged, and messages given to be delivered to distant
friends; and then the main body of the caravan moves on,


.3 r.


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42


1


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4-


A TOUR IN THE GREAT AFRICAN DESERT.


and the poor sick members are left to their fate. The track
of caravans through the desert is strewn with skeletons of
camels, and not unfrequently human bones are found strewn
on the sand-the last relics of some ill-fated traveller who
has perished in the horrible burning waste.
Among the dangers of the desert, the Simoom must not be
forgotten. This is a hot dry wind, rises suddenly, and blows
with great violence. Its breath has been compared to the
hot blast that comes from an oven when the door is suddenly
opened, that the bread may be taken out. Its effect upon
men and animals is to parch them, and fill the lungs with


small particles of sand; so that frequently it proves fatal, if
it lasts any time. The Arabs try to combat it by wrapping
their heads closely in cloaks and turbans; the camels throw
themselves down with their noses close to the ground, and
lie thus motionless till the poisonous wind has passed away.
Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller, speaks of the sufferings of
his company from this deadly wind. The poisonous
Simoom," he says, "blew as if it came from an oven; our
eyes were dim, our lips cracked, our knees tottering, our
throats perfectly dry, and no relief was found from drinking
immoderate quantities of water,"


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43


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THE NILE; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


ORTHWARD through Eastern Africa, from the lofty
mountains of Abyssinia to the Mediterranean Sea,
runs a mighty river, which may justly be considered
one of the wonders of the world. This river is the Nile.
For thousands of years no one knew whence this wonderful
stream flowed, for no traveller had ever penetrated to its
source. It was only a few years ago that two Englishmen,
Captains Speke and Grant, travelled to the very fountain-
head of this great river. The source of one of its branches
had already been reached, nearly a hundred years ago, by
the brave traveller Bruce.
On the river Nile depends the very existence of the great
land of Egypt. But for the river the whole country would
be a hard sandy desert, almost as barren of vegetation and
as empty of animals as the Great Sahara itself. But, at a
certain season of the year, the Nile is filled with huge
volumes of water that have descended in rain upon the
lofty mountain ranges of Abyssinia; and in a very short
time the river begins to swell, and to overflow its banks.
Then there is great rejoicing among the poor peasants who
inhabit the broad valley that spreads out for many miles on
both sides of the river ; for they know that the higher the
river rises, and the more completely it covers their fields, the
better will be the prospects of an abundant harvest. The
waters roll onward, and soon the plain, lately so dry and
parched up, is covered by a vast lake, on which boats with


huge sails travel to and fro. After a time the waters begin
to retire; and as they shrink back into their bed, a thick
mud is left on the ground they had covered. The husband-
man now joyfully sows his seed, and waits patiently till the
blessing of Heaven shall descend upon the corn he has sown,
and make it bloom forth into a harvest.
At the season when the Nile begins to swell, there come
down from the mountains of Upper Egypt flocks of birds
which are as joyfully welcomed by the Egyptians as are the
returning storks in Europe; for just as the return of the
stork tells us that spring is coming, so does the arrival of
the Egyptian ibis tell the inhabitants of those regions that
the welcome rising of the Nile will soon begin, and that
their dry land will be watered and rendered fertile. The
ibis is something like the stork in appearance. Its plumage
is mingled black and white. It keeps in advance of the
rising flood, and feeds upon the snails and insects that are
driven out of their places of refuge by the advancing tide.
When the overflow has ceased, and the waters of the Nile
retire into their usual channel, the ibis withdraws to its
former haunts among the upper mountains.
In the waters of the Upper Nile, and on the banks of the
river, various large and powerful animals have their dwelling-
places. First among these creatures we have to notice the
river-horse, or hippopotamus. This great quadruped is
supposed to be the one alluded to in Scripture under the


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By the Nile in Nubia. The Ibis, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Crocodiles and Baboons.






THE NILE; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


name of behemoth, or the beast." It is a creature of vast
size and bulk, sometimes attaining a length, from mouth to
tail, of fifteen feet, and weighing five or six thousand pounds.
Its height is not in proportion to its length ; for its huge body
is supported on very short, thick legs, and nearly touches
the ground when it walks. The hippopotamus belongs to
the pachydermatous or thick-skinned animals. In some
places his grey hide is nearly two inches thick, but under-
neath this hide is a layer of fat some inches in depth, which
increases the bulk of its body, and enables the creature to
swim. The hippopotamus passes much of his time in the
water, and travellers in boats have described it walking along
in the bed of the river twenty feet below the surface; for it
can remain for some time without rising to breathe. Its
jaws are enormously strong, and furnished with great tusks
of the hardest and finest ivory. It lives upon grasses and
corn plants, which it devours in great quantities; and when
it breaks into plantations or cornfields it occasions great
damage, devouring much, and trampling down still more.
Like all herbivorous animals, it is not ferocious in disposition,
and, unless roused to fury, will seldom attack man or animals;
but if pursued or wounded, it becomes very fierce, and its
great strength makes it a very formidable antagonist.
With its huge jaws it will seize a boat, and pull it over,
crushing in the side like paper, or it will, perhaps, pierce a
large hole with its tusks through the bottom. The natives
pursue the hippopotamus with sharp harpoons, and some-
times dig pits covered with a thin layer of earth, into which
the animal falls ; and its great bulk and the shortness of its
legs render fruitless all its efforts to struggle out. Another
very ingenious method of capturing the hippopotamus is the
following :-A heavy harpoon, weighted with a couple of
great stones, is suspended from between two trees, with the


point downwards, and fastened to a rope in such a manner
that a sudden jerk will cause it to fall. The other end of
this rope is passed from the trunk of one of the trees to that
of the other, seven or eight inches above the ground. When
a hippopotamus comes along and passes between the two
trees, he stumbles over the rope, and the javelin falls from
its resting-place above and pierces him in the back. An
ordinary musket-bullet would make little impression upon
his thick hide.
The Nubians consider the flesh of the hippopotamus a
great delicacy. The ivory of his teeth is an article of com-
merce, and his thick hide is used for various purposes, as it
furnishes the very strongest and toughest leather. Strips of
the hide are often cut into thongs for whips.
Another animal of the regions of the INile is the crocodile.
This formidable reptile is often seen basking on the sand-
banks in the river. In shape it exactly resembles a gigantic
lizard, with its long tapering body and short legs. The
upper part of its body is defended by a hard coat of mail, like
a suit of armour, but the lower parts are softer. The for-
midable teeth of the crocodile have in all times rendered
this creature the terror of the inhabitants of the Nile coun-
try. Its general food consists of fish; but it frequently
thrusts its ugly head suddenly from the river, and snatches
any animal that may be loitering on the river's brink. Even
men venturing into the water have become the victims of the
greedy crocodile. Many of my young friends may remember
the fable of ,Esop on this subject, but, for the benefit of those
who do not know it, I will tell the story, as related by
Ph~edrus, the Roman fabulist. He says :-
The dogs, on the banks of the Nile, are said to quench
their thirst as they run along the bank, for fear of being
seized by the crocodiles. A dog was thus lapping the water


T


45


. 41





__


46 THE NILE; ITS AN

as he trotted along, when a crocodile, hailing him from the
river, inquired why he was afraid, and politely invited him
to stop and drink as much of the water as he liked. 'I
would do so with pleasure,' said the dog, if I did not know
how very fond you are of my flesh.' Thus do those cunning
people lose their pains who give advice with a malicious
intent."
The female crocodile lays eggs in the sand. The great
heat of the sun hatches these eggs, from each of which, in
due time, a young crocodile crawls forth. Many of the eggs
are, however, devoured by a small quadruped, called the
ichneumon, which does good service by preventing the
undue increase of this dangerous animal. The Nubians eat
the flesh of the crocodile, and anoint themselves with the
musk which the animal yields. This musk is contained in
three or four small pouches. There is an old story, to the
effect that the crocodile imitates the crying of a young
child, to lure his victims within his reach; and that he
even weeps plentifully on these occasions. From this idea,
deceitful tears, that counterfeit sorrow, have been called
" crocodile tears." There is no truth in this story.
The Nubians hunt the crocodile in the following way:-
The hunter conceals himself on the bank of the river,
whither the crocodiles come to bask and sleep in the sun, in
the heat of the day. While the crocodile lies placidly
asleep, a sharp harpoon, with a barb to make it stick, is
suddenly thrust into it. The frightened reptile, on feeling
itself wounded, at once makes for the water; but a long rope
is fastened to the harpoon, with a log of wood at the other
end, which floats on the surface, and shows whereabouts the
crocodile has taken refuge. After a time, when the animal
has exhausted itself with struggling, it is drawn to the bank
by the rope and killed with many wounds. The ancient


IMALS AND PLANTS.


Egyptians used to look upon the crocodile as the emblem
of a wicked god, and paid honour to it; and many stuffed
bodies of crocodiles have been found in Egyptian tombs.
In the highlands of Nubia, and also on the banks of the
Upper Nile, are found large companies of a kind of baboon.
These creatures are amongst the fiercest and most mis-
chievous of the fourhanded animals; they differ from the
apes and monkeys in having short tails, and in being draped
more like quadrupeds than any other animals of the monkey
tribe. During the night they sit on ledges of rock, whither
neither man nor beast can follow them, but in the daytime
they come down to the valleys, and frequent the banks of the
river. They are very cunning and strong, exceedingly given
to robbing fields, and committing all manner of thievish
deeds; and as they travel about in large companies, their
numbers make them so bold that they often attack women
and children, and sometimes even men. The crocodile often
manages to seize a member of one of these bands, as the
creatures resort to the river bank to drink. One of their
most mischievous tricks, and a very formidable means of
defence, is in throwing stones, a practice in which they are
exceedingly expert. Their food consists chiefly in roots and
succulent plants, and in insects of various kinds, in search of
which they carefully turn over the stones on the river's
bank.
In Nubia and on the borders of the Upper Nile, the giraffe
is also found. This is the tallest of quadrupeds, the great
length of its fore legs and its long neck sometimes giving
it a height of from fifteen to eighteen feet. The ancients
used to call it the camelopard, as its spotted skin resembled
that of the leopard, while its long flexible neck reminded
them of that of the camel.
The legs and feet of this creature resemble those of the


4_






THE NILE; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


deer, while its head is shaped like that of the horse. The
fore legs are so much longer than the hind legs, that the
back of the giraffe slopes downwards. It is a very fleet
creature, and can run for many miles without stopping.
Gentle and inoffensive in disposition, it can yet inflict tre-
mendous kicks with its hind feet, which it uses with great
effect when attacked. During the fruitful season it finds
plenty of food, as it lives upon all kinds of grasses, and can
eat the young shoots of trees; but when the dry season has
withered the herbage, and dried up the leaves, it often
suffers much from want; and thirst drives it down to the
water, where crocodiles and other enemies are lurking. The
giraffe is hunted for the sake of its skin, and of its flesh,
which is very wholesome and palatable.
Among the plants and trees which adorn the country of
the Nile may be enumerated the mimosa, with its trembling
leaves, on which the giraffe loves to browse; the beautiful
lotus, or water-lily, whose broad leaves in some places cover


the surface of the river; the heather and juniper shrubs
that grow on the slopes of the mountains; and the wild
roses and thorns, that remind us, in these distant regions, of
the shrubs of Europe.
In the dry season men avoid the banks of the river as
much as possible; for swarms of flies and gnats infest the
air, and recall to the recollection of the traveller that
" plague of flies which, thousands of years ago, was sent
as a punishment upon the stiff-necked and rebellious king
who refused to let the Israelites go, at the command of
the Lord. Fever and death lurk in the marshy banks,
and the mists that rise from the river are fatal to many,
in the pestiferous marshes that extend for miles around.
But just when men fly the neighbourhood of the great
river, is the time when the animals are to be found there
in the greatest abundance; for the drought has deprived
them of their usual food, and they are compelled to seek
the Nile, to avoid death by starvation.


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47


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ANIMAL LIFE IN CENTRAL AFRICA.


NTIL lately every map of Africa had in the centre a
large blank space, on which no towns, rivers, moun-
tains, or lakes were marked, but across which was
written the inscription Unexplored region." It was known
that south of the Great Desert a vast region extended,
inhabited by many black tribes, and producing abundant
vegetable and animal life; but of the nature of these black
kingdoms, of the monarchs who ruled and the natives that
inhabited them, we knew next to nothing. The dangers
and difficulties of travelling there were so great as to deter
even the most enterprising explorers; and thus year after
year went by without adding anything material to our
knowledge of the great African continent.
In these last years, however, several great travellers have,
by their untiring industry and zeal, raised the veil that until
now hung over Africa. The greatest and most persevering
of these, Dr. Livingstone, has made several journeys into
the interior of the continent, and each time has penetrated
where no traveller had been before. From his journals, and
those of other explorers, we can now tell what the interior
of Africa is like; and I now invite my young friends to
accompany me to no less a place than the recently discovered
region to the south of Nubia, and beyond the sources of the
Nile, and to admire with me the plant life and animal life of
the kingdom of Soudan.
We stand beside one of the great lakes of Central Africa.


Around us is a region covered with rich vegetation, and
teeming with animals and plants of the most various kinds.
Whither do the birds fly-the pretty swallows and other
birds that leave our cold northern countries before the bleak
autumn winds have begun to blow, returning to their old
haunts and nests when spring has again spread its green
mantle over the earth? Hither they come, to Central Africa,
to disport themselves on the borders of such inland seas as
Lake Nyanza; and here they fly to and fro, enlivening the
traveller by their plumage and voices. Many native birds
of Africa also, like the black stork and the bee-eater, journey
to Central Africa in the dry season, to exchange the parched-
up regions in which they have dwelt for a region rich in
streams and verdure, where they find abundance of food. In
the rainy season, the numerous lakes which are found in this
region, swollen by the heavy rains from the mountains, over-
flow their banks, and wide seas are formed, in and around
which dwell myriads of birds of various kinds. On the
margin of this country of lakes dwell communities of
negroes, who cultivate a native grain called durra, the oily
sesame, earth-nuts, cotton, and several other plants, and who
are rich in oxen, which they use for riding as well as for
provisions. They have also flocks of native sheep, covered
with hair instead of wool.
The forest is rendered almost impassable- by the prickly
plants and shrubs which grow so close, and in places form


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Various African Birds. The Flamingo. The Stork. The, Pelican. the grey Heron.
and. Cranes on a Tamarind tree.


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ANIMAL LIFE IN CENTRAL AFRICA.


such a wall that even the thick-skinned elephant can scarcely
force his way through. Here is the home of the African
elephant, which is found roaming through these forests and
plains in herds of more than a hundred. The two-horned
rhinoceros, the buffalo, lion, and hippopotamus are also to be
found in this paradise of animals.
Insect life swarms here in equal variety. The mosquitoes
rise in millions from the marshes, and are a plague to man
and beast, who vainly endeavour to escape from their attacks.
But to numerous insect-eating birds, on the other hand, these
little creatures afford a very welcome feast. Other insects
are far more dangerous than the mosquitoes. The Guinea-
worm, for instance, inserts itself under the skin of the leg,
and causes painful festering wounds. The sand-flea fixes
itself beneath the nail of the toe, and sometimes destroys
the last joint. More hurtful than both is the fierce tsetze-
fly, whose bite is so fatal to oxen that cattle cannot be kept
in the regions frequented by this terrible pest. Many poi-
sonous snakes increase the dangers of these wildernesses,
where the scorpion also lurks with his venomous sting.
The ant is generally looked upon as the emblem of industry;
but in Africa it represents a very destructive kind of energy
indeed. The white ants, or termites, and the great black
ant, are alike famous for the depredations they commit. A
traveller tells how he once sat in a rude hut, where a piece
of roasted beef was on the block of wood that served as a
table. Suddenly our traveller saw a long black line advanc-
ing, in most soldierly fashion, from the entrance of the hut
towards the rustic table. The vanguard quickly scaled the
block of wood, and threw itself upon the plunder. The rest
of the army followed. In a few moments the white bones
appeared through the meat they were devouring, and in five
minutes not a scrap of the beef was left. The ants in Central


Africa eat up all that is made of wood, from the legs of the
table to the beam that supports the roof of the wooden
house.
Among the trees, one of the most beautiful and useful is
the great tamarind-tree, which at one season is gay with
yellow blossoms, and at another blushes with crimson fruit,
from which a refreshing and wholesome drink can be pre-
pared. The tamarinds are also preserved in sugar, and eaten
as a sweetmeat. The papyrus, a kind of reed, grows in
abundance on the margin of the swamps and lakes. Among
the ancient Egyptians, and some other nations, the papyrus
fulfilled the office of paper. The rind was peeled in long
slips from the slender stems of the plant; and these strips,
after being plaited crosswise, closely pressed together, and
carefully smoothed, formed a surface on which the books
of ancient times were written or painted. In the British
Museum, among the Egyptian antiquities, are many rolls
of papyrus ; and on some of these are depicted very comical
scenes. In one case a long roll of papyrus displays many
funny animals. The hippopotamus stands by a great cauldron,
in which he is stewing down a number of other animals with
evident delight; and the fox, with a very cunning look on
his face, is taking the geese out for a walk. Among the reeds
climbing and creeping plants are so closely intertwined, that
in some districts it is almost impossible for the traveller to
make his way through them; and the difficulty is increased
that almost all these plants have thorns, or hooks, or prickles;
and even the grasses have very sharp cutting edges.
But who shall describe the number and variety of birds of
bright plumage that run, and fly, and swim through the
solitudes of these lake districts, filling the air with their
discordant cries ? The wanderer by the shores of Lake
Nyanza may chance to witness the arrival of a flock of


H


_Z_4 1


WB -- -- ----------------------------- ----- ---------------------------------


49







ANIMAL LIFE IN CENTRAL AFRICA.


pelicans. These great white birds come in swarms of
thousands, and the noise and whirring of their wings as they
approach resembles the beating of drums heralding the march
of an army. They wheel in great circles around the lake.
Suddenly one or other of the company darts downwards with
closed wings, and disappears beneath the surface of the lake
with a splash, the foam flying up around him as if a huge
stone had been thrown into the water : presently he reap-
pears, and, shooting upwards as swiftly as he had descended,
soars onward with his companions. The fish that has been
caught in the sudden downward plunge is swallowed whole
by the bird as it flies onward. The pelican has been taken
as an emblem of parental affection, from an absurd story
that it feeds its young with its own blood. The truth is, that
it cares for them neither more nor less than the majority of
birds : nearly all are careful and affectionate towards their
nestlings, feeding and tending them with remarkable zeal
and kindness.
The frogs and other small animals in the marshes seem
likely to have a hard time of it-for, see a great colony of
storks has just arrived, and the long-beaked, long-legged,
long-winged companions seem in a mighty hurry to descend
upon the swampy bank of the lake, and begin the season's
hunting and fishing. And, indeed, many of them have come
a weary way. Some of these very storks we see here may
have nests on lofty roofs as far off as Strasburg in Germany-
nests in which they are never molested, and to which they
return as regularly as the month of February comes round.
Others have travelled farther still,-from Denmark and
Holland; and among them may be some of the very storks
that Hans Christian Andersen has described in his charming
stories.
The dark grey cranes, with their bushy tails, clustered on


the tamarind-tree,have also had along journeyfrom theNorth..
They fly in the form of a triangle, one of the largest and
strongest birds invariably going foremost. They are very
cautious birds, and even while enjoying themselves to the
utmost, amid the plentiful fare Nature has spread out
before them, they do not neglect the precaution of placing
sentinels to give warning of any approaching danger. Their
unerring instinct will tell them when the time has come for
them to marshal their armies, and wing their way once
more to the North.
Conspicuous by the inordinate length of their red legs,
and by their carved pink beaks, with the upper mandible
smaller than the lower, and fitting into it like a lid into a
box, come troops of flamingoes to swell the general crowd.
They wade far into the water, and scratch up the mud with
their claws. Then, retiring a few steps backward towards
the bank, they turn their heads downwards, so that the upper
mandible of the beak touches the ground, and thus pick up
the snails and other mollusca on which they feed. The flesh
of the flamingo is eaten, and its tongue is considered an
especial delicacy; but the birds are so shy, that the hunter
finds it almost impossible to capture one during the day. He
therefore is obliged to sally forth at night, and surprise the
flamingo as it sits sleeping on its nest, with its long legs
tucked under it. The nest of the flamingo is generally built
in the midst of the swamp, in spots as far as possible from
the haunts of other animals, and especially from the dwelling-
places of men.
The crowd of feathered denizens of lake and swamp is
increased by swarms of all the birds of passage from Europe,
such as wild ducks and geese, falcons, and many others.
They sit beside the lake, and eat their fill at Nature's table,
but do not build nests, for the business of rearing their


50
1 50


}


T4 .






ANIMAL LIFE IN CENTRAL AFRICA.


young is performed in the northern regions, whence they
have made their way to these solitudes.
The Koodoo, a large species of antelope, with long pointed
horns, is also found in these latitudes. It can inflict very
severe wounds with its horns, and instances have been
known when it has even killed large animals of the cat tribe
with these formidable weapons. It never uses them, how-
ever, when it can seek safety in flight, and they are strictly
weapons of defence, and not of attack.
The horrible slave trade, which has been the curse of Africa
for centuries, and to abolish which all the efforts of Great
Britain and other nations have not yet been successful, has
given these marshy regions a human population. As man-
hunting" is a common pursuit in Soudan, and the more power-
ful and larger tribes are continually seeking to capture their
weaker brethren to sell them as slaves, several of the weaker
tribes have retired into these remote districts, in the hope that


here they will be allowed to live unmolested. They take up
their abode on the numerous islands in the lake, and live
principally upon fish, of which the Nyanza and other inland
seas offer an inexhaustible supply. The soft pith of a kind of
reed, and the seeds of the lotos, are also eaten by them; and
in a region abounding as this does with animals and plants,
they are very seldom straitened for provisions. Yet these
tribes are in such a state of utter barbarism, that many of
them devour the bodies of their fallen foes. This practice
proceeds not from want, but from the wickedness of man in
his natural state.
But already missionary enterprise has penetrated into
many a benighted region in Africa, and we may hopefully
look forward to the happy time when even among these poor
benighted people the knowledge of the truth shall have
penetrated, and when even on the banks of the distant
Nyanza, Christian communities shall be found.


51


I44


I


-7-----




&4.


THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.


T was in the year 1486 that Bartholomew Diaz, a
Portuguese captain, succeeded in discovering the
great cape that forms the southern extremity of the
continent of Africa. For many years the Portuguese had
been occupied in sending out expeditions to explore the
unknown coasts of Africa, with the hope of finding a way
round by sea to the rich country of India. Piece by piece
they had explored the long stretch of coast which forms the
western boundary of Africa; and now at last the valiant
Bartholomew Diaz found himself in a region of storms, where
the wind blew so loud, and the waves ran so high, that he
had a sore task to keep his weatherbeaten vessel afloat-for
in those days, be it remembered, the navigators put to sea in
ships that would not now be thought fit for a coasting
voyage; and of the ships with which Columbus discovered
America, only one was completely decked, the others being
open to the waves in the centre, and only covered at prow
and stern. Bartholomew Diaz appropriately named the cape
where his vessel was so handsomely tossed about, the Cabo
Tormentoso, or Cape of Storms; but when it became clear
that on the other side of this cape the land ran up towards
the north-west, and that the southern point of the great
African continent had really been reached at last, the name
was altered to that of the Cape of Good Hope, for now there
was good hope that the chief difficulty had been over-
come, and that the great problem of a passage to India by


sea would soon be solved. And in truth the route by sea
to the great and wealthy Hindostan was soon afterwards
discovered, and within a few years the valiant Yasco di
Gama landed at Calicut.
In time a colony was established at the Cape of Good
Hope, and Europeans began to live, scattered over a large
space of ground, in the regions near the coast. Farms were
established, and large herds of cattle were kept by the
colonists, who increased in number and in substance. The
country itself passed through various hands. At one time
it belonged to the Dutch, whose thrifty farmers, or boers,
throve exceedingly and became wealthy. Afterwards it
came into the possession of the British, who hold it at the
present day. Gradually the colonists spread themselves
farther back in the country, and many districts once
inhabited only by Hottentots and Bushmen, the original
native races, became the dwelling-places of civilized men.
Some way up on the eastern coast a new colony, called Natal,
was founded, and in South Africa European communities are
spreading day by day. But the country is so vast that the
population has not extended far from the coasts. In the
interior, at the back of the Cape Colony, is a region called
the Karroo. This Karroo is an elevated plain between the
ranges of mountains that skirt the coast, and it is inhabited
by countless herds of animals of various kinds. They gene-
rally live in herds, and roam over the Karroo in search of


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Kaffirs driving animals into a pit.


Various Antelopes, the Hartebeest, Zebra, Ostrich etc.


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pasture; but their freedom is frequently interfered with by
the hunters, for both natives and colonists are great lovers
of the chase, though they follow it in very different ways.
An animal peculiarly belonging to these regions is the
Zebra. It resembles the wild ass, and is noted for its fleet-
ness, and for its stubborn temper. The beautifully regular
stripes of black with which the skin of the zebra is covered,
render it one of the handsomest of quadrupeds. Zebras
generally keep together in herds for safety. They are very
watchful, and are up and away at the slightest appearance of
danger. When compelled to defend themselves, they fight
valiantly with teeth and hoofs, and even the leopard cannot
always get the better of them. It was once thought that
the zebra could not be tamed; but when taken young, and
kindly treated, it can be trained to work in a cart or carriage,
and shows no signs of insubordination.
Many different kinds of antelopes are found in the Great
Karroo. The smallest of these is the Springbok, a little
creature not much larger than a kid, but gifted with an
extraordinary power of jumping; the Hartbeest, or cow
antelope, a large handsome creature, that grows to the size
of a large stag; and the Eland, still larger and stronger, and
sometimes weighing seven or eight hundredweight. The
eland, like all antelopes, lives in large herds; its flesh is
especially esteemed, and therefore the hunters of the Cape
pursue this creature most indefatigably. Another species is
the grey Gemsbok, which generally is found in smaller
flocks than the eland; its spiral horns are so sharp, that the
natives often use them as points to their lances.
The Gnu is a very turbulent and unmanageable creature.
It has a fat round body, something like that of a well-fed
pony, and its neck is very thick and strong. Its horns are
:pointed forwards, and are almost as sharp as those of the


gemsbok. It may be looked upon as an animal occupying a
middle station between the antelope and the horse, for it has
some of the characteristics of each. The gnu is said to be
quite untameable.
Among the herds that roam over the Karroo, and living
with them in great harmony and union, is found the great
Ostrich, whose feathers have been at all times very highly
valued as articles of ornament. The great bulk of the
ostrich, and the comparatively small size of its wings, pre-
vent it from flying; but when it spreads out its wings like
sails, and runs before the wind, its speed is very remarkable,
for it has very powerful feet and legs. One male ostrich
generally consorts with three or four female birds. The nest
they make is merely a shallow hole scratched in the sand;
and in this rude nest the hens lay eighteen or twenty eggs,
which are hatched partly by the female birds, and partly by
the heat of the sun. In the night-time the male bird
valiantly defends the eggs from the jackals and other small
beasts of prey, which are very fond of stealing them. The
ostrich is considered, a7 little unjustly, as a very stupid bird;
and a story was long told to the effect that it was accustomed,
on the approach of the hunters, to hide its head in a bush
or in the sand, fancying because it could not see its pursuer,
that its pursuer could not see it; but this, like many other
" travellers' tales," has no foundation in truth. So far from
hiding its head in a bush, the ostrich is very watchful, and
distinguishes the hunter at a great distance. It imme-
diately takes to flight, and runs with such speed, that it very
frequently escapes. As the ostrich drinks very largely, it
generally keeps in the neighbourhood of water.
The Great Karroo presents a very different appearance in
various years, according as the season happens to have been wet
or dry. When rain has been falling copiously for some time,


*^.4'.


T.


53


THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.


T




.1


THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.


54


and the watercourses are full, the whole country blooms like
a garden with beautiful plants of the lily, the tulip, and other
kinds. Pelargoniums, geraniums, and various kinds of bloom-
ing heath, also burst into full flower within a few days; and
in many places the grass grows to a height of five or six feet.
Some of the flowers and plants are very rich in honey; and
bright little honey-birds, which resemble the humming-bird
of Central America, and variegated butterflies, are fluttering
about all day long. Even some of the trees create a kind of
sweet gum, which is broken off and eaten as sugar. But in
some years, when little rain falls, the whole face of the country
becomes dry and parched, and the very places on which the
grass grew so high appear as a bare sandy desert. Many
animals die for want of water, and it is a hard time for the
herds ; a great number of oxen perish, and among the natives,
who are not of a provident nature, a famine often ensues.
Even dew sometimes ceases to fall at night during a long
period. In other times the grasshoppers or locusts appear in
vast numbers, and, as in Egypt in the days of Pharaoh, they
seem determined to eat every green thing. They fly from
place to place in such vast numbers, that they darken the air
like a cloud; and where they alight all verdure is destroyed.
A great number of these locusts are eaten by flocks of small
birds, which pursue these insects from place to place, and to
which their advent is a time of feasting, whatever it may be
to the human denizens of the land.
The natives of the South African colony differ very much
irom each other. The Bushmen are a very degraded race.
They have hardly more intelligence than dogs, and are
diminutive in size, and very weak and miserable. The Hot-
tentots, on the other hand, are a strong sturdy race of men,
though exceedingly hideous in feature. The Dutch settlers
found them very useful as servants, but are said to have treated


them very cruelly. The Namaquas, Ovambos, and Damaras
are different tribes of the interior. They possess herds of
cattle, and have made some advance towards civilization, but
are cunning and treacherous. The Kaffirs of the east coast
are undoubtedly the most warlike and the most intelligent
of the native races. They are generally tall and slender in
frame, but very strong and cunning. They fight with bows
and arrows, and also use a long javelin called an assegai, which
they can throw with much skill to a great distance. They
have frequently given great trouble to the English, against
whom they have carried on more than one war.
The wife of a British officer at the Cape gives an amusing
instance of the intelligence with which the Kaffirs can over-
come difficulties. It appears that one day, shortly after the
conclusion of the last Kaffir war, two English soldiers
wished to ford a shallow but rapid stream. They made
various attempts; but so soon as they approached the
middle of the river, the rapid current swept them off their
legs, and they were compelled to scramble back to the bank,
wet to the skin and much discomfited. A Kaffir had sat by
the bank for some time, watching the useless efforts of the
soldiers, with a sardonic grin on his black face. Suddenly,
when they were about to give up the attempt as vain, he
rose up, took a heavy fragment of rock that lay beside him,
and, carrying this-which nearly doubled iis weiy/it-on his
shoulder, walked several times to and fro through the
stream, thus showing the soldiers that, if they only made
themselves heavy enough, their weight would be stronger
than the current.
Sometimes a whole tribe will unite for a grand hunt, or
"hoppo." A strong double fence is first formed of the
trunks of trees. It is very broad at one end, but gradually
narrows throughout its whole extent. At the narrow end


Vf


4.







THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.


a deep and wide pit is dug, and now the preparations are
completed. The natives hereupon disperse over a wide
tract of country, and drive the animals they encounter
toward the space between the fence, following them up as
they run. Thoroughly frenzied with fear, the motley herd
rushes along through the enclosed passage, followed by the
Kaffirs, who hurl their assegais at them as they run. At
last the whole terrified crowd rush into the pit at the end of
the fence, and are put to death as they lie struggling below
among the animals thus taken; lions and leopards are occa-
sionally found, but in general, the great mass of the game
consists of antelopes of various kinds, zebras, quaggas (an
animal closely resembling the zebra), and here and there
an ostrich or a giraffe. Even in ancient times the last
of these animals attracted considerable attention; and
though I have already spoken of the giraffe, my young
friends may be amused with the following account, which
shows how that creature appeared to the ancients :-
The ambassadors from the Axiomitae," writes Heliodorus,
"brought presents to Hydaspes; and, among other things,
there was an animal of a strange and wonderful species,


about the size of a camel, which had its skin marked with
florid spots. The hinder parts, from the loins, were low, like
those of a lion; but the shoulders, fore feet, and breast
were elevated above the proportion to the other parts. The
neck was small, and lengthened out from its large body like
that of a swan. The head, in form, resembled that of a
camel, but it was in size about twice that of the Lybian
ostrich; and it rolled the eyes, which had a film over them,
very frightfully. It differed in its gait from any other land
or water animal, and waddled in a remarkable manner.
Each leg did not move alternately; but those on the right
side moved together, independently of the others, and those
on the left side in the same manner, so that each side was
alternately elevated. This animal was so tractable as to be
led by a small string fastened to its head, and the keeper
could conduct it wherever he chose, as if with the strongest
chain. When the animal appeared, it struck the whole
multitude with terror; and it took its name from the prin-
cipal parts of its body, being called by the people, extempore,
camelopardalis."


1-1-


55


4it -





{
4--------------------^


THE LION OF SOUTH AFRICA.


S the territory of South Africa is very large, extend-
ing far into the interior of the great continent, the
variety it presents, both of animals and plants, is
very great. Different trees and plants grow in various parts,
according to the height above the sea and the nature of the
soil. Among the vegetable productions of South Africa
may be mentioned nearly two hundred sorts of the aloe, the
shrub from whose dark leaves the exceedingly bitter drug is
prepared that forms a very necessary but very nauseous
ingredient in our medicine. A great many heaths or briers
are also found, some of them rising almost to the height
of trees. In the sandy wastes grow plants with a milky
juice, like the hemlock; and the sap of these plants is used
by the natives for poisoning their arrows, the meat with
which they bait their traps, and even the pools to which the
animals resort to drink.
As we go northward, and approach the tropic of Capricorn,
the character of the trees and plants begins to change. Here
the monkey bread-fruit tree flourishes, a very remarkable
tree, whose stem attains an immense thickness, and divides
into many great limbs not far above the ground. Many animals
dwell in the branches of this monkey bread-fruit tree, or
baobab, which is also reckoned among the trees that attain
the greatest age. Climbing to and fro among its branches
may sometimes be seen the surly baboon; for there are many
of these great apes in the interior of Africa, where, in the


thick woods, they find abundant food, and few enemies to
molest them.
Not only in the daytime does the animal life of the
African forest bestir itself. When the hot sun has
sunk in the West, and the moon, which many of
the native tribes worship as a deity, is slowly rising,
a new activity begins amid the wild denizens of the
woods.
Forth from the shady covert where he has lain hidden
from the heat of- the day, with its accompanying torments
of insects, comes the great Cape buffalo, to drink at the
pool. The buffalo of South Africa is a creature of vast
size and strength, and its boldness corresponds with its
power. It will defend itself successfully against the most
formidable animals. The thrust of its large horns is
tremendous, and the great strength of its head and neck
enables it to fling its adversary high in the air. When it
goes to the water to drink, the buffalo generally takes care to
advance against the wind, that it may become aware, by the
scent, of the presence of any great beast of prey, and
especially that it may know if its chief enemy, the- lion, is
anywhere in the neighbourhood. If this precaution is
neglected, the buffalo often falls a victim to the great African
lion; for the King of the Beasts often lies crouching in the
reeds or the underwood, by the brink of the river or pool,
waiting till the animals shall come down to slake their


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Animals of the Cape of Good Hope. The Vulture, Lion, 'Jackal, Hyenas, Cape Buffalo.

Stem of the Monkey Breadfruit Tree.


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THE LION OF SOUTH AF A
THE LION OF SOUTH- AFRICA.


THE LION OF SOUTH AFRICA. 57


thirst; and his chief hunting time is late in the evening, or
in the early morning.
Forty or fifty years ago, the number of settlers at the
Cape was small, and immense tracts of country, never
trodden by the foot of civilized man, were entirely aban-
doned to the beasts of the forests, except when at rare
intervals they were crossed by hunting parties of the native
tribes. In those days lions were to be met with in the
Karroo by thousands. But of late years the reign of the
monarch of beasts has been but a disturbed one in South
and in North Africa. Mighty hunters, like the Frenchman
Jules Gerard, the lion-killer in the North, and Gordon
Cumming in the South, have gone out against him,
armed, not with bow and spear-inadequate weapons to
encounter his fierce strength-but with the deadly
rifle. As farms and settlements were established in
the wilderness, the advance of civilization drove the
lion farther back, for, like the wolf in Britain in the
old days, he was far too dangerous to be tolerated as a
neighbour.
His strength is tremendous. He will move away briskly
dragging the carcase of an ox with him. He is a great
eater, and consumes a large quantity of prey; and the parts
he leaves uneaten are very speedily devoured by other
animals. The hungry vultures sit aloof, impatient to fall
upon the carcase directly he shall have abandoned it; the
hyena lurks as near as he dare approach, likewise waiting
for his share; and even the little jackals hover on the out-
skirts ready to snap up the fragments of the feast. With
his tremendous teeth the lion crunches the great bones of
the buffalo as a common cat would crunch the bones of a
fowl. He sometimes brings his lioness, to whom he is very
faithfully attached, to share the feast with him; and when


there is a company of cubs at home in the den, he hunts for
the whole family.
Dr. Livingstone, the celebrated African missionary and
traveller, once had the narrowest possible escape from being
devoured by a lion. The beast had been rendered furious
by wounds, and seizing the Doctor in its great jaws, shook
him," to use his own expression, as a terrier would a rat."
A well-directed shot from one of Livingstone's companions
induced the lion to leave his prey; and the Doctor escaped
with thirteen wounds from the lion's teeth and claws, and an
injured shoulder-blade. Fortunately, the thick tartan plaid
he wore had prevented the venomous saliva on the lion's
teeth from entering the wounds, which healed quickly. Not
so fortunate was one of Livingstone's companions who was
hurt at the same time. His wounds broke out afresh a year
afterwards, when the month came round in which he had
received them.
Gordon Cumming, a mighty hunter, who traversed these
regions in pursuit of wild animals, killed many lions in
South Africa, and exhibited their skins in a large museum
or collection of hunting spoils, which he gathered in the
course of his travels. He gives an interesting account of
the killing of one of these lions. One evening he had shot
a buffalo, and the next morning sent some of his Hottentot
servants to bring the carcase into the camp. They returned
with a report that a lion had already been feasting upon the
dead buffalo, and was still lurking about the neighbourhood.
Thereupon Gordon Cumming determined to add the lion's
skin to his collection of hunting spoils; and here is his
story of the killing of the lion. He went out with a
number of dogs, to rouse up the lion. He says:-
"As we drew near the spot, I observed the lion sitting on
the top of the bank, exactly where he had been last seen by


I


fi-l .


T


57






THE LION OF SOUTH AFRICA.


my people. When he saw us coming, he overhauled us for
a moment, and then slunk down the bank for concealment.
Being well to leeward of him, I ordered the dogs to be
slipped, and galloped forward. On finding that he was
attacked, the lion made a most determined bolt of it,
followed by all the dogs at a racing pace; but when they
came up to him he would not turn to bay, but continued his
course down the bank of the river, keeping in close beside
the reeds, and growling terribly at the dogs, which kept up
an angry barking. The bank of the river was intersected
by deep watercourses, and the ground being extremely
slippery from the rain which had fallen during the night,
I was unable to overtake him until he came to bay in a
patch of dense reeds, which grew on the river-bank. I had
brought out eleven of my dogs, and before I came up three
of them were killed. On reaching the spot I found it
impossible to obtain the smallest glimpse of the lion,
although the ground favoured me, I having the upper bank
to stand on; so, dismounting from my horse, I tried to
make out from the lion's horrid growling his exact position,
and fired several shots by chance; but none of these hit him.
I then commenced pelting him with lumps of earth and
sticks, there being no stones at hand. This had the effect
of making him shift his position; but he still kept in the
densest part of the reeds, where I could do nothing with
him.
"Presently my followers came up, and, as a matter of
course, established themselves in safety in the tops of the
thorn-trees. After about ten minutes bullying, the lion
seemed to consider his quarters were growing too hot for him,
and suddenly made a rush to escape from his persecutors, con-
tinuing his course down along the edge of the river. The
dogs, however, again gave him chase, and soon brought him


to bay in another patch of reeds, just as bad as the first.
Out of this, in a few minutes, I managed to start him, when
he bolted up the river, and lay close in a narrow strip of
reeds; presently, however, he made a charge amongst the
dogs, and for the first time I was enabled to give him a
shot, the ball entering his body just behind the shoulder.
On receiving it he charged, growling after the dogs, but not
farther than the edge of the reeds, out of which he was
extremely reluctant to move. I gave him a second shot,
firing for his head: my ball entered at the edge of his eye,
and passed through the back of his mouth.
The lion then sprang up, and facing about, dashed
through the reeds, making for the river, and dyeing the
water with his blood, one of my dogs following him. At-
tracted by the blood, a huge crocodile suddenly made his
appearance, and followed in their wake, but fortunately did
not take my dog, as I expected he would. One of my men
fired at the lion as he swam, but missed him; but before the
bold swimmer could gain the opposite bank-just, indeed, as
he planted his fore feet on the shore-I planted a shot in his
neck, and turned him over dead on the spot."
In the cruel days of old Rome, when the people used to
look upon a fight between wild beasts as a great and agree-
able show, lions were caught and sent to Rome, that they
might be exhibited in the circus. There they were made
to fight, sometimes among themselves, and sometimes with
unhappy men called Bestiani, who were armed each with a
long sharp sword, but who had little chance against the lion's
terrible teeth and claws. On one grand occasion no fewer
than a hundred lions were turned into the circus, or, as it was
called, the arena, at the same time.
The spotted hyena of South Africa is larger than the
striped hyena of the North. It is a disagreeable animal, and


58




I
41+-


the disproportionate length of the fore legs gives it a strange
slinking appearance. It is useful in clearing away the
remains of the prey that the lion and other beasts have left;
it also devours the carcases of animals that have died by
accident or disease; and thus does the good office of a
scavenger to the towns and settlements round which it
prowls, by eating the garbage which might otherwise pro-
duce fever and pestilence. Its habits are disgustingly
greedy. It will gorge itself till it can hardly move, and
leaves nothing but the skull and one or two of the largest
bones of any animal it devours, skin, hair, hoofs-all is
eaten up by the insatiable hyena. It is not a very fierce
creature, and has frequently been tamed. Some of the
Dutch settlers in South Africa keep tame hyenas to act
as watch-dogs and look after the cattle; and these strange
guardians of the fold are said to do their duty remarkably


well. Many a beast, like many a man, is better than he
looks; and there may be good even in a hyena.
The jackal is an animal resembling the fox in size, form,
and habits. Jackals generally remain concealed in the
thickets during the day, and go out hunting at night, in
companies of thirty or forty. They are very lively and
cunning, and, like the fox, avoid the neighbourhood of man
as much as possible. In times of dearth, however, hunger
makes them bold, and they pay thievish visits to the
poultry-yard, and even to the sheepfold. The jackal has
been called the lion's provider, from an idea that he points
out to the king of beasts where prey may be found. The
truth is, however, that he may rather be called the lion's
follower; for he prowls about in search of any scraps that
may remain of the lion's meal, which he has not in any way
assisted in providing.


((Q)

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-4-


59


THE LION OF SOUTH AFRICA.














THE COLD REGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA.


THE great continent of America, extending from the
icy regions near the North Pole, across the Equator
to the Southern Hemisphere, and stretching far away
towards the Antarctic Circle, naturally offers a great variety
of animals and plants. Every climate, from the most biting
cold to the most fervent tropical heat, is to be found in the
various parts of this immense expanse, and each separate
clime is marked by its own animal and vegetable life. In
general, the aspect of nature is larger and grander in the
New World than in Europe. Everything seems on a larger
scale. The rivers are longer and broader; the mountain
ranges are higher, and cover a greater extent of land; the
forest trees are more lofty; and the forests themselves cover a
far greater extent of ground than in the Old World. In many
respects, however, the animals and plants of North America,
especially those of the central parts of the northern con-
tinent, resemble those of corresponding parts of Europe, and
even of our own country.
With the exception of a comparatively small tract,
known as Russian America, which has lately been sold by
the Russian Government to the United States, the whole of
that portion of North America which is situated in the cold
northern zone belongs to Great Britain. It is known by
the name of the Hudson's Bay Territory, and is in the
hands of a great and rich company of merchants, who
deal in furs. The Hudson's Bay Company have a number

-1k---------------------


of hunters in their service. Some of these are Americans,
some Europeans, and others are of the Red Indian race.
They wander through the cold bleak plains, and across the
icy mountains, in pursuit of the furred animals-the ermines,
sea-otters, beavers, and many others which inhabit these
frozen regions. Many of these hunters catch their game in
traps, and are accordingly called trappers. Sometimes they
wander about for weeks, and even for months together, by
the banks of the great rivers, living on the fish they catch,
and on the flesh of wild birds and animals which fall
victims to their unerring rifles. At times, for months
together, they are not gladdened by the sight of a human
face. At stated periods they sell their furs to the agents
of the Company, who give them a certain price for each,
sometimes paying them part of their earnings in the shape
of powder and bullets, warm flannel shirts, and other neces-
saries. Thus provided, the hardy hunter, after a short
holiday passed at some small town or settlement, goes forth
once more into the forest in quest of fresh game; and, hard
and toilsome as his way of living undoubtedly is, he gene-
rally becomes so attached to it, that he would exchange it for
no other.
To the south of cold Hudson's Bay Territory, and to the
north of the great United States, extend the two provinces
of Upper and Lower Canada. This region likewise belongs
to the British. It was formerly in the possession of the


J-l .












4."


^ .. -^ "* E. _.-'-., ;..Ak :... _
_^ ^ *, .-' *, ,. -. ,_a ,-.eir1 -,*** **
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A. scene in Northern Canada. The Racoon, the Beaver, wild Turkeys, the Elk.
the Passenger Pigeon.


I- / -






THE -COLD REGIONS

French, who ceded it to the English after the capture of
Quebec, the capital of Canada, by the brave General Wolfe,
in 1759. Canada is in many respects a fine country, and a
great many Englishmen and Scotchmen, who wished to
found new homes for themselves, have gone out there and
settled in the new country. So that by many rivers which
used to run through an almost uninhabited country, pleasant
farms have arisen, where English is spoken and Christian
truth is taught; and many villages, and even towns, have been
built, the names of some of them recalling to the memory
of the emigrant spots in the old country which he still
considers as his home. The climate of Canada is hotter in
summer, and colder in winter, than that of England, but
the weather is generally fine and dry; and, except to those
people who have delicate chests, a Canadian winter, severe as
it may be, is not without its pleasures. There is plenty of
skating and sliding, you may be sure, and many a ride to be
had in a swift sledge, which skims, light as a bird, over the
surface of the frozen snow.
Various kinds of grain thrive well in Canada; and this
renders the country a good home for the farmer. As the
products of one part of the world are being conveyed more
and more to other regions, as trade and commerce between
countries increase, we may hope some day to see Canadian
corn sold in large quantities in England, in exchange for
many things that are made here, and which the colonists
find very useful. There are still a great many forests in
the country; and the colonist who lays out his farm on the
land he has purchased, finds no small difficulty in clearing
the ground, and getting rid of the huge trees which must
be felled and put out of the way before seed can be placed
in the ground. Some of the Canadian trees grow to a
great height, and a large quantity of timber is brought


OF NORTH AMERICA.


61


from that country to Europe every year; for wood is so
much wanted in Europe for building and many other
purposes, that we send all the way across the wide Atlantic
for it; and can scarcely imagine how any nation can
possibly have too much of such a useful thing.
Various animals roam wild in the vast Canadian woods, or
live by the great rivers. Foremost amongst these, for size and
strength, is the elk. This huge stag sometimes grows to the
enormous length of twelve feet. In former times it was met
with in various parts of Europe, and a few specimens are still
to be found in the Russian forests; but it is never met with in
any numbers except in Canada. The colour of the elk is gene-
rally a dark grey, sometimes shading off into a brown tint.
The head is very large and heavy, and the nose so long as
almost to resemble a trunk. The upper lip is especially
extended; and with this long upper lip the elk seizes and
bends down the small twigs of trees, on which it principally
lives. Its neck is short and thick, and its fore legs are
longer than the hind legs; consequently the elk generally
chooses a bank on which to graze. When it browses on
leaves and shoots of plants near the ground, it walks with
its fore legs wide apart. The ungainly stiffness of its
movements led to an old idea that the elk had no joints in
its knees, and that it slept in an erect posture, leaning
against a tree, and might be taken by quietly cutting down
the tree, and causing it to fall over upon the ground, when
it would be unable to rise; but this is a fable, for the elk
has joints, though they are not very flexible. Though it
shuffles along in an awkward and clumsy manner, the elk
can run very swiftly. Its scent is very keen, and this
faculty enables it to become soon aware of an enemy's
approach. When it runs, it stretches its nose straight out,
so that the weight of the heavy horns rests on the shoulders.


- .------------------------ --------------------------- ---- .. .. -------------------------------- **** ---------------r-----*t *


7---


A







THE COLD REGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA.


The Canadian hunter, and likewise the Red Indian, pursues
the elk with great perseverance, for it is a very useful
animal. Its flesh is nourishing and palatable, though some-
times rather tough; and the tongue is looked upon as an
especial delicacy. The skin of the elk is made into leather,
of so tough and thick a quality, that a coat of it protects the
wearer almost as well as an iron breastplate. The Canadians
often use this leather for covering their canoes. The horns
are made into handles for knives, and various other articles.
Like other animals of the deer tribe, the elk becomes
dangerous when wounded; for it turns fiercely upon its
enemies, and can inflict very severe wounds with its horns
and hoofs. The Canadians endeavour, in hunting this
creature, to drive it on the surface of a frozen lake; for
on the ice its footing is not sure, and it is then easily
overtaken.
The beaver has long been famous for the ingenuity and
perseverance with which it constructs its dwelling. This
clever little creature was formerly found in great numbers in
Canada, and by the great rivers of the northern and western
districts of the United States; but it has been so persever-
ingly hunted and trapped that its numbers have considerably
diminished. Until lately the fashion of wearing hats covered
with beavers' fur was almost universal throughout Western
Europe. Even the well-to-do countryman thought his
Sunday equipment incomplete unless it included a real
beaver hat-the fluffier the better. And at one time ladies
actually wore beaver bonnets of huge dimensions. Though
silk has superseded beaver as a material for the hat manu-
facture, beavers' skins are sufficiently valued to render the
pursuit of the ingenious little creature almost as hot as
ever; and consequently the beaver is becoming more and
more rare every year. It is about two feet in length, and a

I^-------------------


foot in height. The fur is of a light brown. The hind feet
of the beaver are webbed; and this enables the little creature
to swim very fast. It can, moreover, remain two or three
minutes under water, without coming to the surface to
breathe. The tail is covered with hard horny scales, and
serves as a rudder when the animal swims, and as a trowel
to spread the clay used by the beaver in building his
habitation.
A beaver village is one of the most interesting sights the
naturalist can enjoy; and it is impossible not to wonder at
the ingenuity and cleverness of the little architects, who
construct it without plan or design, following only that
instinct which a kind Providence has implanted in every
animal, to enable it to provide for its wants. The beaver
village is built by the side of a lake or river; or sometimes
it may be situate on an island in the midst of the stream.
The beavers take care to choose a spot where the current
runs tolerably fast, and where they are consequently not
likely to be frozen out" in winter. They require a certain
depth of water, and consequently construct a kind of fence
or dam across the stream, to keep the water at a uniform
height. This dam is built of trunks and branches of young
trees; for with its sharp teeth the beaver can gnaw a young
stem in two. When the dam has been built, the beavers
construct houses or huts of branches of trees. These houses
are bell-shaped, and sometimes nearly six feet in height.
Each house is inhabited by a community of from twenty to
thirty beavers. The entrance is under the surface of the
water, and the cunning little fellows take care to have extra
hiding-places in the banks, to which they can retire in case
of danger. The food of the beaver consists chiefly of the
bark of trees; and the careful little citizens lay up a store of
bark in their villages for winter use. Many a beaver dam is


4H --


62


"r





THE COLD REGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA.


so firmly built, that a man may walk across it in safety.
The great fish-otter is, next to man himself, the beaver's
greatest enemy.
A very comical little creature, and not at all ferocious,
though it is a beast of prey, is the racoon. This animal is
about the size of a very large domestic cat. The Germans
call it the Wash-bear, from the singular habit it has of
washing or moistening its food in water. In the London
Zoological Gardens a pair of racoons are kept in a large cage,
in which a small reservoir of water is provided. They are
indefatigable beggars; and it is amusing to see one of
them, when it has obtained a contribution of bun from a
visitor, run and dip the prize in the water-tank before eating
it. The racoon lives in the woods, and is very agile in
climbing trees. It often steals birds' eggs out of the nests,
and sometimes seizes the young birds themselves. In hard
winters, when provisions run very short, it sometimes finds
its way into the poultry-yard, with an eye to any young
ducks or chickens that may be straying. It also feeds on


craw-fish, shell-fish, and sometimes on roots and berries,
though its preference is always for animal food. The Red
Indians and negroes cook and eat the racoon, though its flesh
is not good. In captivity it is very lively, and plays many
amusing tricks; but a captive racoon should be well looked
after, as he is very mischievous, and much given to breaking
anything on which he can lay his paws.
Wild turkeys are sometimes seen in .the Canadian woods.
They fly about in flocks and nestle on the trees; and during
part of the year they are very fat. The wild turkey is a
stupid bird, and is easily captured in traps; or may be shot,
as it sits on the tree, by any hunter who can imitate the cry
of the bird. On hearing this sound, the turkey stretches its
neck out, and remains immovable, listening for a repetition
of the noise; and the hunter seizes the opportunity of
taking deliberate aim at it.
Vast flights of pigeons are also found in the woods of
Canada. Sometimes hundreds of thousands of them travel
in company, darkening the air until they have passed by.


1'


63


--l.-




y
A^r


ANIMAL LIFE IN THE PRAIRIES.


JOURNEY through the immense tract of territory
known as the United States of America will make
us acquainted with various kinds of animals and
plants. The enormous extent of land covered by the Great
Republic renders the climate very various. In the South
we find ourselves in an almost tropical region, and are
surrounded with the rich abundance of tropical vegetation,
and a corresponding kind of animal life; while in the
Northern, or New England States, we are often reminded
of the old dominion by the similarity of the types
exhibited in plants and animals to those of Central and
Northern Europe. In some regions the German emigrant
may fancy himself surrounded by the trees and animals
of the Black Forest of his native land; and the corn-
fields and orchards he cultivates in his new home will yield
him harvests at least equal to those he derived from his old
dwelling-place, with a freedom and a scope for improvement
and advance which he might look for in vain in Europe.
Within forty years the hunter who shouldered his rifle, took
his rolled blanket on his shoulder, and started off, with no
companion but his dog, on a hunting trip in the Ozark
Mountains, or through the wide forests of Arkansas,
might be sure of meeting many a noble deer, and even
many a surly bear, not to speak of smaller game in the shape
of hares and turkeys innumerable; and taking one day with
another he could never want food; but now the case is


widely different, for, in the United States, as elsewhere, the
rapid increase of population, and the establishment of
civilized communities-a process that has been proceeding
with unexampled rapidity in those favoured regions-
has thinned the numbers of the wild denizens of the
forests and plains, and driven the survivors into the desolate
and inaccessible parts of the land. Emigration to the
United States has produced the best results, for many a
man has attained to comfort and independence in America.
who would have starved in Europe. But there is another
side to the picture; and we will listen to the words of the
German traveller and hunter, Gerstaecker, who, some years
ago, wandered through the United States, rifle on shoulder,
and speaks honestly and faithfully of what he has seen. He
says :-
"I have faithfully portrayed the circumstances of my
brethren in America, so far as I came in contact with them,
and many a reader who turns over this little book will be
surprised to find no glowing accounts of the plenty and
wealth amid which the inhabitants there are said to dwell.
It is quite true that the agriculturist who begins in a
moderate way, and works hard, very hard, can sooner and
more easily acquire property of his own than he could
possibly do in his old over-crowded country; but then he
must go without many things to which his heart clung in
his native land; and will soon find that it is not quite so


'K<__











































Animals of the American prairies. The Grizzly Bear, the Bison or American Buffalo.
Prairie Dogs, and Rattlesnake.






ANIMAL LIFE IN THE PRAIRIES. 65 1


easy as he at first imagined, to do without many little
comforts to which he has been accustomed from his youth,
and to withdraw from all intercourse with the cultivated
world. In a strange land he leads a life of liberty, but at
the same time of solitude, accompanied by privations which
not every man is strong enough to endure without a
murmur."
Gerstaecker also gives a picture of the hunter's life in the
backwoods, and shows that many things which are very
agreeable to read about, are far from pleasant in actual
experience. Speaking of his own doings as a hunter,
he tells us, Should any lover of the chase, excited by the
hunting scenes, and perhaps attracted by the idea of the
dangers and privations, of a hunter's life, feel tempted to
proceed to the far West, and try for himself what a hunter's
life is like, let him pause. When, perhaps, having lost his
way, he crouches, half-famished, wet, and solitary, and
tormented by mosquitoes, in the untrodden forest; when he
longs for food to eat and for the society of men, and for a
warm fire; when he has been for days following the trace of
the game, without having a chance of a single shot; when
the whole forest looks dead and desolate, and it seems to him
as if all the stories of game, and of hunting, that he has
heard, had never had any existence except in the imagina-
tion of the Indians of former days-let him remember, I
say, that I have faithfully described all this; and that these
privations and hardships are very well as matters of former
experience, but are anything but romantic when they are to
be actually endured. Moreover, in the United States, hunt-
ing is becoming more and more difficult; for the American
hunter spares nothing that comes within reach of his rifle,
and for years, ever since furs have been paid for in hard
cash, has been carrying on a war of extermination against


the poor stags and bears; so that in five years a man who
wishes to hunt, and is not satisfied with small game, will
hardly be able to gratify his inclination in the United
States, unless he chooses to betake himself to the Rocky
Mountains, and to the territories of the Indians, where alone
he has a chance of coming upon the traces of a bear."
We will follow the advice of the veteran hunter, and
betake ourselves, in imagination, to the vast rolling prairies
of the back States. These prairies are plains thousands of
square miles in extent, lying between the lofty Rocky
Mountains and the more cultivated and populous parts of
the States. Some portions still present vast tracts that are
uninhabited, save by wandering tribes of Red Indians, wild
hunters who career across them on their hardy rough little
horses, and at certain times institute a general chase, for the
purpose of supplying themselves with buffalo-meat, which
they dry in strips for winter provision. For many miles
not a tree, and scarcely a shrub, is to be seen. In the
summer time the prairies are covered with grass, and bloom
bright with various Aflowers-lilies, golden-rods, and asters.
In the heat of the summer a mist, like the mirage of the
desert, frequently hovers over them. At the western ex-
tremity of the prairies rise the bold ridges of the Rocky
Mountains, clothed here and there with trees, chiefly of the
fir and pine tribe.
Chief among the animals that dwell in the pathless prairie
we find the bison, or American buffalo. This is a very strong
powerful creature, its strength lying especially in the head
and shoulders, which are covered with a thick shaggy mane.
Bisons live together in great herds, and range over the
prairies from place to place in search of pasture. They are
very fierce and intractable, and are seldom tamed; nor,
indeed, is the improvident Indian disposed to keep flocks and


K


1


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*ANIMAL LIFE IN THE PRAIRIES.


I


herds. He looks upon the wild bisons as cattle belonging
to him, which give him no trouble, but provide for them-
selves; while he has only to chase them over the prairie,
and kill as many as he chooses, at his need. There is much
more of the hunter than of the shepherd in the Indian
character; and many are the arts by which the red man
entraps the unsuspecting buffalo to its destruction. Among
the most notable of these arts is the trick of wrapping
himself from head to foot in the skin of an animal, gene-
rally that of a buffalo. The bisons, which are ranging
about, mark the strange object, and come up, curious to see
what it may be; when suddenly the Indian throws off his
disguise, and shoots his arrows with deadly aim among the
flying herd.
In the autumn, when the grass fails upon the northern
prairies, the buffaloes undertake a migration from the
northern towards the southern steppes. They travel in vast
herds, led by a few old experienced bulls ;-and with their
hoofs tread out those long paths which traverse the
prairies for hundreds of miles, and are known by the name
of buffalo tracks. They generally travel in a straight line,
swimming across any rivers that come in their way, and
turning aside neither to the right nor to the left.
Prairie wolves follow these migratory hordes; and any
buffalo that falls sick, or from weariness lags behind the
others, runs the risk of being cut off from his companions,
and devoured. The Indians have for years hunted the
buffalo, not only to obtain food and clothing for themselves,
but also to dispose of its hoofs, horns, and hide to white
traders. Consequently the bisons have been slain in such
vast numbers, that they are becoming rare on the prairies,
more especially as the white settlers, who are beginning to
cover the prairie with their farms and homesteads, join in


.td


the work of destruction with their rifles. An old bison bull
weighs nearly a ton, and some have been found nine feet in
length.
A formidable tenant of the Rocky Mountains, that border
the steppe, is the grizzly bear. This animal is larger and
fiercer than the brown or black bear, and will frequently
attack travellers without being first molested. The grizzly
bear is partly carnivorous, and is very partial to fresh buffalo-
meat. It can generally gain the victory over a single bison,
but is in bad case when opposed by several of those
unwieldy creatures. The grizzly bear has talons four or
five inches long, with which it can inflict desperate wounds.
When wounded itself, it rushes upon its enemies, and fights
furiously to the death, standing erect on its hind feet, and
striving to clasp its foes in its deadly hug. The flesh of
the grizzly bear is eatable, and the paws are considered
great delicacies by the Indians. Among the red tribes, the
killing of a grizzly bear is looked upon as a notable achieve-
ment. The warrior who has slain one of these animals
makes himself a necklace of its teeth, and wears that
decoration with great pride and satisfaction. After a
successful bear-hunt there is great feasting and rejoicing in
an Indian village, and many songs are sung in praise of the
hunters and of the bear.
Comical fellows are the little prairie dogs. They obtain
their name from their yelping bark, though they are more
like marmots than dogs. They burrow in the ground, and
live in holes, to which long passages lead. The earth
thrown out in making these passages is piled into a mound
round the entrance, so that each of these dwellings appears
surrounded by a little hill, on which grow the grasses and
herbs which form the food of the inhabitant. The harmless
merry little animals seem to live in great harmony among


o


66


I


-?





T


themselves. When any danger threatens, one of the
number gives notice of its approach by a sharp bark; where-
upon the whole community rush headlong to their burrows,
whose depth renders them safe. They do not lay up any
provision for the winter, but when the cold season begins,
they stop up the entrances to the long passages that lead
to their underground homes, and sleep away the days and
nights till spring-time, as best they may. Sometimes the
prairie owl, or the great horned frog, comes, as an unwelcome
intruder, to dispute possession of their underground dwell-
ings. But their greatest enemy is the rattlesnake.
This poisonous serpent is frequently found in the prairies.
Its bite is deadly, and will kill a small animal in a couple of
minutes; and to a man it proves fatal in a few hours, unless
immediate remedies are applied. The rattlesnake grows to
a length of four or five feet. It generally frequents solitary
spots, where it lies coiled up among dry grass and under-
wood. Except when frightened or made angry, it seldom
attacks man or the larger animals, and, when disturbed, will
generally seek to escape into the thicket. The last joints of
the tail consist of rings of hard dry skin, which, when the.
creature moves, make a noise like the rattling of peas in a
bladder; and from this noise the snake takes its name. The
noise of the rattle generally warns any intruder of the


neighbourhood of the snake, and very few persons, compara-
tively, are bitten. When the snake is made thoroughly
angry, it coils its body into a circle, like a rope coiled down
on the deck of a ship. The head is raised threateningly
from the centre of the coil, and the tail, at its outer
extremity, sounds the warning rattle. As is the case with
all poisonous serpents, the rattlesnake's venom is situated in
a small receptacle at the base of the hollow fangs, and is
spurted downward into the wound when the animal bites.
The American hunter who has been bitten by a rattlesnake
finds the only remedy a very painful one., He cuts out the
part wounded, if possible, or at any rate cuts it so as to make
it bleed copiously, and then burns some grains of gun-
powder on the place. By this means the venom is generally
dispersed and rendered harmless.
Sometimes a great tract of the prairie is seen to be on fire.
Many of these prairie burnings are caused by the Indians,
who set the dry grass on fire purposely, because, when it has
been burnt off, new and tender grass, fitter for pasture,
springs up in its place. The animals on the prairie fly in
wild affright before the pursuing cloud of smoke and flame,
and many perish in their headlong flight. But after each
fire the prairie blooms with new fragrance, and with fresh
fulness of animal and vegetable life.


k-4-0


1-


ANIMAL LIFE IN THE PRAIRIES.


67





-J.- i-,-------------


HE greater part of South America lies within the hot
region of the earth; and consequently the majority
of the animals and plants found there are those of
tropical climes. The broadest part of the continent is that
which lies nearest to the equator; and in this region are found
the boundless forests, so thick and dense that in most parts
they are absolutely impenetrable, and most of the animals
inhabiting them pass their lives in the trees.
In other parts vast plains, extending for many thousands
of square miles, are found. Such are the vast llanos that
extend from Caraccas to Guiana. The traveller in these
plains sees one level expanse stretching far away to the
horizon on every side, unbroken by anything like a hill
or cliff. Even the vast prairies of North America are
insignificant in extent when compared with the enormous
llanos.
Twice in every year the aspect of the steppe or plain
changes completely. During the dry season, the surface is
parched and arid; the burning tropical sun beats down directly
upon the earth, and dries up the pools and lakes; and even
the great rivers shrink, and part of the channel of each is laid
bare. The wild animals that roam over the plain then suffer
terribly from thirst. Enormous herds of wild cattle, horses,
and mules are seen hurrying hither and thither, in evident
distress, seeking for some pool that is not yet quite dried up,
where they may find water for their parched throats. The


mule, a cunning clever creature, has an ingenious method of
quenching its thirst. In the steppe grows a kind of prickly
cactus, shaped like a melon, and within the hard rind there
is a milky juice. The mule carefully opens the melo-cactus
with its fore paws; and then applying its lips to the opening,
sucks the refreshing pulp. Travellers have frequently found
in the steppe mules which had been lamed by thorns, in
breaking open the melo-cactus.
The great crocodile buries itself in the sand, and dozes
through the dry season in a torpid condition. Many great
serpents hide themselves in the same way. Numbers of
horses and oxen perish; and those that live through this
terrible hot season are tormented, not only by thirst, but by
the attacks of numberless insects, which hover in clouds
above the dry earth, and fastening on the poor creatures,
torment them almost to madness. The sun is half-hidden
in a dull red mist, and the wind blows hotly over the surface
of the earth, as if it breathed from the mouth of a furnace.
Suddenly a great and mighty change takes place. A
cloud is seen to rise on the horizon, at first no bigger
than a man's hand," like that which announced the end
of the great drought, and the arrival of the welcome rain,
in the days of King Ahab, in Palestine. As the cloud
comes rapidly onward, rising towards the zenith, it spreads
on all sides. Then loud claps of thunder are heard, and
the forked lightning flashes till the whole sky is ablaze;


TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS. (GUIANA.)


-9


If











































A forest in Guiana, showing the Victoria Regia and other plants. Jaguar carrying
a Capybara. Tapirs. Toucan, Armadillo.






TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


and the rain begins to descend, not in drops, but in sheets
and streams of water. In an incredibly short space of time
the land, lately so parched and dry, is transformed into the
aspect of a country of lakes, the higher parts appearing as
islands peering forth from the watery expanse. The animals,
which a short time since were driven to extremity for a
draught of water, are now obliged to swim from one island
to another, and are soon crowded together on the few spots
left above the surface of the submerged steppe. Many are
drowned in their efforts to swim from one island to another.
Nor do their perils end here. Gigantic water-snakes and
scaly crocodiles, awaking from the torpor in which they have
lain for months, pursue the unhappy creatures as they swim
to and fro. Many horses and oxen that have escaped with
life, but not without hurt, from the pursuit of the crocodile,
have been found, bearing on their limbs and bodies the marks
of the monster's formidable teeth. In many a deep pool,
moreover, lurks the dreaded gymnotus, or electric eel. This
creature has the faculty of giving an electric shock to the
animal it attacks; and so severe is this shock, that the
victim often sinks down quite powerless and exhausted, and
is drowned before it can rise.
After a time the violence of the rain abates; the waters
are partly assuaged; and the steppe, cooled and refreshed by
its thorough submersion, blooms with grasses and flowers,
while the great herds course through it, and enjoy the new
.life with which nature smiles around them.
The forest districts, and the regions on the banks of the
great rivers and near the sea, are inhabited by wandering tribes
.of Indians; and, strange to say, though the country is large
-enough to give dwelling-places and sustenance to a popula-
tion a hundred times more numerous than that which it
contains, these tribes look upon one another with the most


unmitigated enmity, and never meet except as deadly foes,
to inflict injury and woe. They occupy a very low station
in the scale of humanity; they have no arts or devices to
render life more agreeable and to increase its comforts; and
all the intelligence they possess is turned to the work of
finding means for one another's destruction. They possess
a horrible knowledge of the properties of poisonous plants,
and prepare an especially deadly poison called Wourali.
With this poison they anoint the small arrows which they
shoot out of long blow-pipes; and so deadly is the prepara-
tion, that a very slight wound from a weapon dipped in this
poison quickly becomes fatal, like the bite of the cobra de
capella, or of the rattlesnake. Some of them even allow the
thumb-nail on the right hand to grow, and anoint it with
poison, so that a scratch inflicted on an enemy causes his
death. So suspicious are the various tribes of one another,
that when a party passes through a sandy part of the coun-
try, the men march in single file, treading in each other's
footsteps; and the last-comers carefully efface the traces of
those who have gone before, that they may not be pursued.
One tribe, that of the Otomacs, has the singular practice
of eating earth. The Otomac is fond of an unctuous fat kind
of clay. He makes this clay into balls, which he devours
with a terrible kind of relish. The traveller who first
noticed this practice was, in the beginning, inclined to think
that the Otomacs merely ate the earth to still the cravings
of hunger, when nothing better could be procured to eat;
but he soon found that even in the season when provisions
were plentiful, they were in the habit of eating one or two
of their clay dumplings after an ordinary meal. When an
Otomac is asked what are his winter provisions, he points to
the heap of clay balls piled up in his hut.
Some of the tribes are more civilized than those that slink







I 70


furtively through the wilderness. They build light houses
of branches of trees and clay, and cultivate patches of land,
on which they rear vegetables and fruits of different kinds.
The tropical regions of South America are rich in various
useful plants. Nearly all the products of hot climes are
here to be found-the sugar-cane flourishes, and the coffee
plant and cotton shrub. The maize, or Indian corn, grows
luxuriantly, and bunches of bananas are to be had in abun-
dance. From the root of a plant called manioc the natives
prepare a kind of bread. Pepper, ginger, tobacco, the cocoa
bean, from which chocolate is prepared, and other spices,
also flourish. The mahogany-tree, and several kinds of wood
used in dyeing, are among the larger vegetable products.
Amid the trees the Mauritius palm, with its broad screen
of leaves, is remarkable. From tree to tree a network of
blooming orchideme and other flowering plants is often found.
The feathery-leaved Aaron's staff is conspicuous among
these.
Another plant is especially deserving of mention; it is
the gigantic water-flower, the Victoria Regia, which is seen
growing on the surface of the stream, the great leaves rest-
ing on the water like the leaves of the water-lily in England.
These great leaves measure from five to seven feet across ;
they are surrounded by a raised rim, and thus resemble huge
round trays. The flower is more than a foot in circum-
ference. The stems of the leaves and of the flowers are
covered with sharp prickles ; but this does not hinder the
Indian from gathering the seeds of the plant, which he
pounds into meal and eats.
Though not especially rich in game animals, the forests
of Guiana are by no means deserted. Among the animals to
be found here are whole herds of peccaries, many agoutis
and small rodentia, or gnawing animals, various kinds of


stags, the sloth, the ant-eater, the armadillo, and many others,
some of which we shall have to notice more particularly in
their turn. The trees are alive with various kinds of apes,
parrots, squirrels, and other lively denizens. The cat tribe
is represented by the jaguar, the puma, the lynx, the ocelot,
and by smaller wild cats; nor are species of the wolf, bear
and fox wanting; and, to the sorrow of the inhabitants, the
forests abound with serpents, many of them venomous.
The capybara, or cavy, is found in these forests. From
its appearance and habits it is often called the river-hog. It
grows to a height of about twenty inches or two feet, and
attains a length of between two and three feet. A lazy
peaceable creature, it does harm to none, and on being
attacked makes at once for the water, into which it plunges
with a great souse. It also takes pleasure, like another pig,
in rolling in the mud. The Indians eat the flesh of the
capybara, though it has a very disagreeable flavour.
A much larger animal is the tapir, which in many respects
resembles the Asiatic tapir that has been already described.
This creature grows to a length of more than six feet, and
is three feet high. It generally lies concealed in the day,
and comes out in the cool of the evening to feed on the
shoots and leaves of plants and trees that overhang the
water. These it bites off with its trunk-like snout. The
tapir makes tracks or paths for itself through the wilderness,
by which it approaches the water; and these paths have
sometimes led astray travellers, who, supposing them to have
been made by Indians, have followed them for miles through
the woods, only to find them terminating at last in some
dismal swamp, the haunt of the wild animals of the forest.
The flesh of the tapir is said to be very palatable and whole-
some; and accordingly the creature is zealously hunted by
the Indians.


TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


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TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


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71


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1


The jaguar is the tiger of America. It is a very formid-
able representative of the cat tribe, and is frequently found
roaming in the forests of Guiana. Like most of the mem-
bers of the family to which it belongs, the jaguar is fond
of lurking by the banks of a river, watching for any animal
that may come down to drink. The poor little capybara
is the chief prey of the jaguar in these regions, though
nothing comes amiss to the American tiger, from a big burly
tapir to one of the slender little monkeys called sapajous.
The skin of the jaguar is something like that of the
tiger in colour and general appearance. It is beautifully
marked, and is considered valuable as a fur. The skin is
spotted, very much like that of the leopard, except that
it has a dark spot in the centre of each of the round
patches. A broad dark line on the jaguar's breast is also
a distinguishing mark. The jaguar has a rapid and merciful
way of putting his victims to death, by at once crushing
their heads or breaking their necks if they are small animals,
and by tearing open their throats if they are large. Like
the tiger, it will avoid an encounter with human foes if
possible, and endeavours to slink away when pursued; but
once wounded, or driven into a corner, it fights des-
perately; and being larger and more strongly built than
the leopard, it becomes hardly a less formidable antagonist
than the tiger himself. Yet there are some hardy hunters
who do not dread a personal encounter with the brute.
One of these hunters, with his left arm wrapped completely
in tough thick leather, advances boldly against the brute.
The latter, finding itself thus defied, fastens with teeth and
claws upon the cuirassed arm, which the hunter takes care
to hold well before him. While the savage beast is clutch-
ing and tearing at the slippery leather, the hunter thrusts a.
long keen dagger into the jaguar's breast; and if the blow is


rightly directed at the heart, the beast falls dead at once.
This is, however, a very dangerous method of hunting; and
the hunter who follows it ought to possess nerves of steel,
and a heart of iron.
Some years ago a fine young jaguar was brought from South
America to England by Captain Inglefield, of the Royal
Navy, to be deposited in the London Zoological Gardens. The
creature went by the name of Doctor," and was a favourite
with all on board. It certainly exhibited no evidences of
ferocity; but perhaps this was due to the fact that it was
fed exclusively on cooked provisions, excepting on one or two
occasions, when it managed feloniously to appropriate some
raw meat. "Doctor" was even good-humoured enough to
allow his dinner to be taken from him, only protesting with
some very natural growls against so unjust a proceeding.
IHe was allowed to walk freely about the deck, and was as
tame as any dog could be. Captain Inglefield had sufficient
confidence in him frequently to use his tawny back as a pillow.
He w as led through the streets of a South American town
by a chain, and seemed perfectly subordinate. The only
thing that seemed to 'excite him and to call out the cat-like
nature within him, was the presence of young children or
dogs, with whom he was not to be trusted. After Doctor "
had been in the Zoological Gardens two years, he knew
Captain Inglefield again, and allowed his old protector to pat
his head and open his mouth.
Another noteworthy animal of the South American forest
is the armadillo. This little creature may not unaptly be
compared to a sucking-pig in a suit of mail. Its body is
covered with a thick horny shell of great strength, arranged
in belts that pass round the animal's back. The armadillo
can run very fast: it burrows in the ground, and is fond of
making a cavern under the nest of the great termite ants.




















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TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS; (THE AMAZON.)


DER the equator, flowing westward across the whole tree-frogs. Among the poisonous serpents, the coral-snake,
tent of South America at the broadest part of the which in some respects resembles the rattlesnake, is con-
ntinent, widening and deepening as it approaches the sidered the most formidable.
Ocean, rolls the great river Amazon. The mightiest Equally abundant and various is the plant life of Brazil.
a the world, it pours an enormous mass of water Besides many species of palms, there are various great trees,
Atlantic, tingeing the water of the ocean for many whose wood is used in dyeing, and others that yield valuable
lh the clay it has brought down. In some parts of gums. The caoutchouc tree, whose milky sap, when hard-
e it rolls through widespread steppes or llanos, in ened, is converted into the substance we call indiarubber, is
;s path lies through primeval forests. The great now far more important than it was a few years ago. To rub
3razil, through which part of its course lies, is the out lines made by lead pencils on drawing paper was almost
forest country in the world, and its woods are the only use to which indiarubber was applied, till within our
r rich in many forms of animal life. All the forest own time; but since the discovery of a method by which it
ith birds of bright plumage, from the splendid red can be mixed with other substances without losing its pecu-
nd the great macaw to the little humming-bird that liar properties, caoutchouc is become a very valuable and
id fro among the boughs like a flash of fire. Tree- important article of commerce. The splendid and graceful
numerable hop about among the boughs, which tree-fern grows here in great plenty, among the gigantic
large population in the shape of various kinds of trunks of ancient trees. The younger leaves are rolled
The jaguar, the puma or cougar, called also the together like watch-springs, and gradually unfold themselves
American lion, the stag, the tapir, the peccary, in the hot, moist, noonday air. Climbing and clinging
ti, the ant-eater, the sloth, and scores of other plants attach themselves to the trees, and sometimes form a
dwell in the great primeval forests. The waters are kind of tackle resembling the rigging of a ship, on which
fish, alligators, and fresh-water tortoises. Bright flocks of monkeys are seen disporting themselves, swinging
is flutter among the gorgeous orchidese and other to and fro, and running up and down. One species of these
, plants; and countless insects hover in the air. plants is deadly in its effect on the tree to which it clings;
lakes, of the boa kind, lie in wait for the larger for it not only climbs up the tree, but stretches round the
eds, and small tree-snakes feed on the lizards and trunk, and the fibres interlacing, form a tight ring, which



































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The Red Macaw; Puma attacking an Anteater; Howling Monkeys.


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A forest, in Brazil.







TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


prevents the trunk from thickening, and ultimately kills the
tree. Among the orchidaceous plants, the most valuable is
the vanille plant. Its pods yield the fragrant substance
called vanille, which is largely used in flavouring confec-
tionery. Many plants in the Brazilian forests derive their
nourishment entirely from the warm damp air, by means of
bunches of fibres, that act in the air as roots would act in
the ground.
Next to the jaguar, the most powerful animal of the
cat tribe in Brazil is the before-mentioned puma, or cougar.
This creature is maneless, and in colour and shape greatly
resembles the lioness, though it is more slender in form,
and better adapted for hunting its prey in trees. The puma
generally preys upon the smaller quadrupeds; and in the
inhabited districts of Brazil it frequently breaks into the
sheepfolds, and commits great ravages, for which reason it
is an object of great hatred to the shepherd. The puma
can spring from fifteen to twenty feet at a bound-a faculty
which enables it successfully to pursue the agile monkeys in
the trees. But it is far less courageous than the jaguar;
and when attacked by man will hardly wage a. combat
with him, even when wounded, while there is a chance of
escape by flight. The following anecdote, told by Sir
Francis Head in his Journey across the Pampas," illustrates
this reluctance of the puma to fight with a man. The
author says:-
"As a singular proof of the fear which all wild animals
in America have of man, I will venture to relate a circum-
stance which a man sincerely assured me had happened to
him in South America. He was trying to shoot some wild
ducks, and in order to approach them unperceived, he put
the corner of his poncho (which is a sort of long narrow
blanket) over his head; and as he crawled along upon his


hands and knees, the poncho not only covered his body, but
trailed along the ground behind him. As he was thus
creeping by a large bush of reeds, he heard a loud sudden
noise, between a bark and a roar. He felt something heavy
strike his feet; and instantly jumping up, he saw, to his
astonishment, a large puma actually standing on his poncho ;
and perhaps the animal was equally astonished to find itself
in the presence of so athletic a man. The man told me he
was unwilling to fire, as the gun was loaded with very small
shot; and he therefore remained motionless, the puma
standing on his poncho for many seconds. At last the
creature turned its head, and after walking very slowly
away about ten yards, it stopped and turned again. The
man still maintained his ground; upon which the puma
tacitly acknowledged his supremacy, and walked off."
The female puma has two or three cubs, which she con-
ceals in a hollow tree till they are old enough to go out
hunting with her. The little pumas can easily be tamed,
and are full of tricks and fun; but as even a domestic cat
has a habit, when well pleased, of trampling with her talons
unsheathed, and as the playful kitten is not unaccustomed,
in the midst of its sporting, to bestow a scratch upon its
playfellow, so the young pumas, in fun and frolic, make
great use of their sharp claws, and any one who plays
with them is likely to bear away a memento in the shape
of severe scratches. The Brazilian farmers, who hate the
puma on account of the ravages it commits in the sheepfold,
hunt the creature with long ropes of plaited leather, with a
noose at the end, called a lasso, and also with bolas, or balls
fastened together with rope, which they throw round the
animal's legs, and thus very dexterously entangle it.
A very curious animal is the ant-eater. This creature is
one of the many inhabitants of the Brazilian forests; and


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73







TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS.


it does very good service in a country where the great black
and white ants become a complete pest through the ravages
they commit. The ant-eater has a dark grey fur, sometimes
striped with black and white. It is a long-haired animal,
and generally grows to a length of four feet. The fore
feet are armed with very long and strong claws; and as in
walking the creature is obliged to bend these claws down-
wards, it can advance but slowly. The head of the ant-eater
is very curiously formed. Its muzzle is exceedingly long
and narrow, and looks almost like a proboscis or trunk, at
the end of which is a mouth so small that a finger can
hardly be inserted in it. But within this mouth the ant-
eater has a remarkably long tongue, which it can stretch out
to an extent of eighteen inches, and with this tongue it
catches its prey. The ant-eater proceeds to a nest of the
termite, or some other kind of large ant, and with its long
claws scratches up the earth round the foundation. The
angry ants rush forth to find out the cause of the disturb-
ance, and the ant-eater catches them by scores with its
glutinous tongue, and draws them into its mouth. It is a
comparatively defenceless animal; for, being toothless, it has
no weapons but its claws, and thus is easily killed with sticks
by the Indians, who eat its flesh, and find its hairy coat very
useful.
For beauty of plumage none of the larger birds of Brazil
can vie with the red macaw. This bird is sufficiently well
known in England; and most of my young friends have
doubtless met with it frequently in captivity, sitting on his
perch, with a short chain fastened to its grey foot. In the
parrot-house at the Zoological Gardens the display of macaws
is most gorgeous; and the din made by the birds when
they begin screaming in chorus must be heard to be properly
appreciated. The natives of Brazil are fond of keeping tame
t^-------------------


macaws. They frequently take the bird on its nest in the
hollow of a tree; for the macaw's long tail protrudes through
the opening, and betrays the spot where the bird is sitting
on its two white eggs. The flesh of the macaw is said to
resemble beef in flavour, but the bird is far too valuable to
be eaten in England. Its temper is uncertain and spiteful,
and its bite exceedingly sharp-two circumstances frequently
noticed by those who attempt to feed or to caress it.
Some of the Brazilian monkeys-the sapajous, for instance
-are very diminutive in size. They utter shrill piping cries
as they sit on the trees, especially when alarmed by the
approach of a serpent or some other enemy. Others are
tolerably large, and, like the howling monkeys, move delibe-
rately and sluggishly from branch to branch, seeming incapable
of, or disinclined to, anything like swift motion. They hook
their long prehensile tails round the branch of a tree, and
then swing gravely, head downwards, till they grasp a branch
of the next tree; and thus continue their way through the
forest. In case of need, however, they can flee with astonish-
ing agility and speed. The natives eat the flesh of these
monkeys, and pronounce its flavour exceedingly good; but
the meat is generally somewhat hard and tough; and to an
European there is something unpleasantly human in the
appearance of a roasted monkey. But the true traveller has
to overcome all prejudices and fancies of this kind.
In the most extended sense, he is obliged to follow the
precept which tells us to do at Rome as Rome does;" and
sometimes want of provisions forces the explorer to have
recourse to a monkey diet. Here is the opinion of an emi-
nent traveller on the subject of the monkey as an article of
food: We lived upon them during all the time we re-
mained there, because we could procure no other food; and
the hunters supplied us daily with as many as we could eat.


74






TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA; ITS ANIMALS AND PLANTS. 75


I went to see this species of hunting, and was surprised a.t
the sagacity of those animals, not only in distinguishing
particularly those who make war upon them, but also in
defending themselves when attacked. When we approached
they all assembled together, uttered loud and frightful cries,
and threw at us dried branches, which they broke off from
the trees. They never abandoned one another; they leaped
from tree to tree with incredible agility, and flung themselves
headlong from branch to branch without ever falling to the
ground; so that, if not shot dead at once, they could not
be laid hold of; for, even mortally wounded, they remain
clinging to the trees, where they often die."
The great traveller, Alexander von Humboldt, devoted
some years, at the beginning of the present century, to a
thorough exploration of these regions. With his friend
Bonpland, an eminent French naturalist, he navigated the
Orinoco and its branches for many hundreds of miles in a
canoe, and frequently slept in the woods, on the bank of the
river. He gives the following account of the nocturnal life
of animals in the forests of South America:-
"Below the mission of Santa Barbara de Arichuna, we
passed the night as usual in the open air, on a sandy flat on
the banks of the Apure, skirted by the impenetrable forest.
We had some difficulty in finding dry wood to kindle the
fires, with which it is here customary to surround the bivouac
as a safeguard against the attacks of the jaguar. The air was
bland and soft, and the moon shone brightly. Several croco-
diles approached the bank; and I have observed that fire


attracts these creatures as it does our crabs and many
other aquatic animals. The oars of our boats were fixed
upright in the ground, to support our hammocks. Deep
stillness prevailed, broken only at intervals by the blowing
of the fresh-water dolphins, which are peculiar to the river
network of the Orinoco. They followed each other in long
tracks. After eleven o'clock such a noise began in the
contiguous forest, that for the remainder of the night all
sleep was impossible. The wild cries of animals rang
through the woods. Among the many voices which resounded
together, the Indians could only recognize those which, after
short pauses, were heard singly. There was the monotonous,
plaintive cry of the aluates, or howling monkeys, the whining
flute-like tones of the little sapajous, the grunting murmur
of the striped nocturnal ape, the fitful roar of the great
tiger or jaguar, the voices of the cuguar or maneless Ameri-
can lion, the peccary, and the sloth, and the voices of a host
of parrots, parraquas, and other pheasant-like birds. When-
ever the tigers approached the edge of the forest, our dog,
who before had barked incessantly, came howling to seek
protection under the. hammocks. Sometimes the cry of a
tiger resounded from the branches of a tree, and was then
always accompanied by the plaintive piping tones of the apes,
who were endeavoring to escape from the unwonted pursuit.
If any one asks the Indians why such a continuous noise is
heard on certain nights, they answer, with a smile, that 'the
animals are rejoicing in the beautiful moonlight, and cele-
brating the return of the full moon.' "


|




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ANIMAL LIFE IN THE ANDES MOUNTAINS.


S the Amazon is the greatest-of rivers, so the Andes
range is the longest mountain chain in the world.
From the Arctic regions of the north this mighty
granite range extends all along the western side of the
North American continent, running parallel with the coast.
At the back of the United States and Canada, it is known
under the name of the Rocky Mountains. It forms the
eastern boundary of Mexico, and in the isthmus of Panama
separates the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean. Then, with a
parallel range of the Cordilleras, it rises to an enormous
height, and contains the sources whence the mighty rivers
of Venezuela, Brazil, and the other countries of the South
American continent take their course towards the Atlantic.
Still skirting the western coast, it' extends southward to
bleak desolate Patagonia, where the cold of the Antarctic
regions already stunts vegetable and animal life; and at
length it terminates in the desolate peak of Cape Horn, or
Terra del Fuego, forming the southern extremity of the New
World. It is in Peru that the Andes range has most
influence on the climate, and consequently on plants and
animals; and it is to Peru that I wish to take my young
readers to-day.
'Elevation, or height above the sea-level, has much to do
with the degree of heat and cold in any particular spot.
Those who have lived in India well know how refreshing
and invigorating a visit to the hills always is, after a long


sojourn in the burning stifling heat of the plains; and many
dwellers in Northern India have seen the snow-covered peaks
of the Himalaya range rising above the distant horizon. The
air grows thinner in the higher regions of the atmosphere,
and the thinner the air is, the less warmth does it receive
from the sun. Thus, in Peru, where the Cordilleras, great
mountain terraces, rise like steps from the plains, there are
several climates, according to the height of each place above
the sea. The strip of land along the coast, being low and
near the level of the sea, is a region of stifling heat, and the
ground is sandy and barren in many parts. Where artificial
irrigation, or watering of the earth, is possible, the heat is
sufficient to ripen the products of tropical lands, and sugar,
coffee, and similar useful plants can be cultivated with very
good results. But as rain seldom falls on the eastern side of
the Andes, and the streams are few and insignificant, large
tracts are quite unfit for agriculture, and produce hardly any
animals and plants. Some of the islands near the coast
have been for many centuries the haunt of millions of sea-
birds, and from these islands is dug the substance called
guano, which has been employed with great effect as a
manure to fertilize our fields. On the east of the Cordilleras
quite another state of things exists. There, on the sloping
terraces that shelve gradually towards the east, are to be
found all the animals and plants that are met with in Brazil,
and of which we have already spoken. Indeed, as we pro-


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