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shot, as the boat had grounded within two hundred yards of the animals. Lord David fired, and struck the old bear in the back, paralyzing her; we then scrambled through the icy mud up to where she lay, and despatched her. The cubs, quite black with mud and shivering with cold, lay upon the body of their mother, growling viciously, and would not allow us to touch them, until the men, bringing a couple of walrus-lines from the boat, threw nooses over their heads and secured them tightly, coupling them together like a brace of dogs. They were about the size of colleydogs, and no sooner did they feel themselves fast, than, quite regardless of our presence, they began a furious combat with one another, and rolled about amongst the mud, biting, struggling, and roaring, till quite exhausted.”
Willingly would I here leave the question as regards the affection displayed even by grim polar bears one to the other, but justice compels me to state a shameful fact in the case of the two little bears above discussed. Let the narrator of the generous she-bear's story himself furnish the reader with the scandalous termination to the Arctic tragedy as witnessed by him.
“I am sorry to have to record the most horrible case of filial ingratitude that ever fell under my observation. Without doubt, the old bear had sacrificed her life to her cubs; she could have escaped without difficulty if she had not so magnanimously remained to help them. When, however, we proceeded to open the old bear for the purpose of skinning her, the two young demons of cubs—having by this time settled their differences with each other-began to devour their unfortunate and too devoted parent, and actually made a hearty meal off her. When we finished skinning her, the cubs sat down upon the skin, and resolutely refused to leave it; so we dragged the skin, with the cubs sitting on it, like a sledge to the boat, and after another tussle with them, in the course of which they severely bit and scratched some of the men, we got them tied down under the thwarts of the boat, and conveyed them on board the sloop. In the course of the day we got a sort of crib made for them on deck out of some spare spars and pieces of drift-wood, and while they were being thrust into it they resisted so furiously, that one could almost imagine that they knew they were bidding adieu for ever to the fresh breezes and icy waters of Spitzbergen."
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS (RIVER HORSE).
THE hippopotamus is & native exclusively of Africa, where, though much more limited than formerly in the range of its habitat, it tenants the banks and beds of the larger rivers, and of the inland lakes from the Gariep to the Upper Nile and its tributary branches. It is, however, not restricted to these, for it is difficult to decide whether it gives preference to the river or the sea for its abode during the day.
It is scarcely, if at all, inferior to the elephant in bulk, but much lower in stature from the shortness of its limbs. Its body, like an enormous barrel supported on four thick pillars, almost touches the ground; the head is ponderous; the muzzle is swollen; and the great thick lips, studded with wire-like bristles, entirely conceal the teeth; the mouth is wide; the nostrils open on the top of the swollen muzzle; and the eyes, which are very small, are situated high on the head; hence, when in the water, the animal, by raising merely a small upper section of the head above the surface, can both look around and breathe, the body remaining submerged. The hide is naked, coarse, and of great thickness, being two inches deep on the back and sides. It is made into shields, whips, walking-sticks, &c. Between the skin and the flesh is a layer of fat, which is salted and eaten as a delicacy by the Dutch colonists of Southern Africa; indeed, the epicures of Cape Town, as Dr. Smith says, do not disdain to use their influence with the country farmers to obtain a preference in the matter of Seacow's speck, as this fat is termed when salted and dried. The flesh also is excellent and in much request. The general colour of the hippopotamus is dusky brownish-red, passing on the sides and limbs into a light purple red or brown. The hippopotamus is gregarious in its habits, sagacious, wary, and cautious. It has been long driven away from the rivers within the limits of the Cape colony; but in remoter districts, where the sound of the musket is seldom heard, it abounds in every large river, and is comparatively fearless of man.
The hippopotami, according to Dr. Smith, feed chiefly on grass, resorting to situations near the banks of rivers which supply that food. “In districts fully inhabited by man,” says the same traveller, " they generally pass the day in the water, and seek their nourishment during the night; but in places differently circumstanced they often pass a portion of the day as well as the night upon dry land. In countries in which the night-time constitutes the only safe period for their leaving the water, they are generally to be seen effecting their escape from it immediately before dark, or are to be heard doing so soon after the day has closed, and according to the state of the surrounding country; they then either directly commence feeding, or begin a journey towards places where food may exist. When previous to nightfall they may have been in pools or rivers, they are generally at once enabled to commence feeding on reaching the dry land; but when they may have passed the day in the sea, they require commonly to proceed some distance after leaving it before they find the grass which appears congenial to their palate. It is not every description of grass that hippopotami seem to relish
It has generally been asserted that this huge, powerful, and, it should seem, inoffensive animal, has no enemy in the brute creation audacious enough to contend with it. Some travellers, however, have attributed this boldness to the crocodile, describing combats between them, which in truth never take place, no enmity subsisting between the two animals.
Quiet and inoffensive, it is only when attacked that the hippopotamus becomes furious, and if hard pressed on land, he rushes open-mouthed with the utmost desperation on his aggressor. If the person attacking the animal in his watery domicile be in a boat, his danger is extreme. Captain Owen says that while examining a branch of the Temby River, in Delagoa Bay, a violent shock was suddenly felt from underneath the boat, and “in another moment a monstrous hippopotamus reared itself up from the water, and in a most ferocious attitude rushed openmouthed at the boat, and with one grasp of its tremendous jaws seized and tore seven planks from her side; the creature disappeared for a few seconds, and then rose again, apparently intending to repeat the attack, but was fortunately deterred by the contents of a musket discharged in its face. The boat rapidly filled, but as she was not more than an oar's length from the shore, the crew succeeded in reaching it before she sank. The keel, in all probability, had touched the back of the animal, which, irritating him, occasioned this furious attack; and had he got his upper jaw above the gunwale, the whole broadside must have been torn out. The force of the shock from beneath, previously to the attack, was so violent, that the stern was
almost lifted out of the water, and the midshipman steering was thrown overboard, but fortunately rescued before the irritated animal could seize him.
THERE are two species of this animal,—the Bactrian and the Arabian.
The Arabian camel is distinguished from the Bactrian by having only one large fatty hump upon the back, and in being of a somewhat slighter make. It is not known in a wild condition, but most probably was indigenous in Arabia and the adjacent regions, the whole of its structure proclaiming the desert as its destined abode. Its history is interwoven with that of the patriarchs of old : from time immemorial it has been the bondslave of man; and under his mastership is spread over the whole of northern Africa as far as Nubia, and from Syria, throughout Arabia, Persia, and India, being valued in all these regions as a beast of burden.
It is the unwearied patience, the strength, the docility, the power of maintaining long journeys on scanty fare, that render the camel in its own country of intrinsic importance. By its means the merchant transports his merchandise from Aleppo or Baghdad to Mekkah or El-Basrah. Long strings of camels, or caravans, as they are called, venture across the desert, each animal bearing a load of 500 or even 600 pounds' weight, and the procession moves at the rate of nearly three miles an hour, regular as clockwork, day after day for eight hours daily. A caravan of camels thus wending their way over the plain, their footsteps falling noiselessly, so that the ear cannot catch the sound of their approach, whether on hard ground or sand, strongly impresses those who for the first time witness this truly Eastern spectacle, which indeed calls to mind the days when
a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels, bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt."
Hard and scanty is the desert fare upon which this animal subsists; but the fertile meads and flowery vales of our climate would afford it no temptation. Thorny shrubs, date-leaves, and the leaves and branches of the tamarisk, are its staple diet; and dates, beans, the hard kernels of which it crushes to powder, with cakes of barley, provided by its master, suffice to refresh it on its wearisome pilgrimage. Hard and scanty, we have said, is the desert fare of the camel, but oftentimes the supply fails for days, or is to be obtained only in small quantities, and the travelworn beast is put upon short allowance; then it is that we recognise the utility of that hump which seemed at first a deformity. The fatty mass is gradually absorbed into the system, which thus receives nutriment. The hump gradually lessens in size, being a provision against a time of want, to which the system has recourse when other supplies are inadequate.
The senses of sight, hearing, and smell are exquisitely acute in the camel: it is said to delight in the jingle of the bells hung about its neck, for it is often thus ornamented, as in ancient days, and as pack-horses formerly were in England, perhaps in order that stragglers may be enabled to rejoin the caravan.
During a journey it is customary to halt about four o'clock, to remove the loads and permit the camels to feed. If the Arabs are desirous of preventing them from straying too far, they tie their fore-legs together, or bind the fetlock to the upper joint by a cord. Towards evening they are called in for their evening meal, and placed in a kneeling posture round the baggage. They do not browse after dark, and seldom attempt to rise, but continue the process of rumination for the greater portion of the night. Amongst themselves they are sometimes very quarrelsome, and after the hardest day's journey, no sooner is the baggage removed, than they begin to fight, and are prone to give each other the most savage bites, and are not to be separated without danger.
When a camel, loaded or unloaded, fails, from hunger and excessive fatigue, and sinks down, it seldom gets on its legs again, and is left to perish. When death approaches the poor solitary beast, vultures collect around, and, eager for food, commence their repast even before life is extinct.
The Arabian or one-humped camel is usually called, by way of distinction, the Dromedary, but erroneously. The dromedary is a slight variety of this species. It is used principally for journeys of despatch, carrying single rider, or but a very light burden; and it will perform very long journeys in a very short space of time. Urged to a gallop, it cannot maintain its pace for half an hour, and is easily distanced by the horse: but it can sustain a forced trot for several hours together. A gentle and easy amble of five or five miles and a half an hour is, however, the favourite