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quick pace of the dromedary, and if allowed to persevere in it, the animal will carry its rider an uninterrupted journey of several days and nights.
The soil best adapted to the camel's foot is a dry and hard, but fine and gravelly plain; where the sand is deep and soft, the loaded animal sinks at every step, and becomes rapidly exhausted. It can also ascend steep and rugged mountain-paths with considerable ease.
LIONS were common in Syria, as we gather from numerous passages in Holy Scripture. At present the lion is confined to the interior wilds of Africa, to some of the districts of Arabia and Persia, to the country bordering the Euphrates, and to some parts of India.
The habits and manners of the lion have been described by various travellers, and no one can doubt its strength, its daring, and ferocity. Near the precincts of colonization in southern Africa and elsewhere, where firearms are in use, it has learned by experience their fatal effects, and gained a knowledge that its powers avail but little against such weapons of destruction.
The king of the forest is a term misapplied to this noble beast; forests are not his haunts, but burning desert plains and wide karroos covered only with shrubby vegetation, or interspersed with tracts of low brushwood. In India it frequents the jungles and the luxuriant borders of rivers, among which it makes its lair.
During the day the lion usually slumbers in his retreat; as night sets in he rouses from his lair and begins his prowl. The tempests of rain and lightning, which in southern Africa are of common occurrence, are to him seasons of joy: his voice mingles with the roar of the thunder, and adds to the confusion and terror of the timid beasts upon which he preys, and upon which he now advances with less caution and a bolder step. In general, however, he waits in ambush or creeps towards his victim, which with a bound and a roar he dashes to the earth.
Of the strength of the lion we have most extraordinary examples on record. To carry off a man--and this has often happenedis a feat of no difficulty to this powerful brute. Indeed when we find that a Cape lion seized a heifer in his mouth, and, though the legs dragged upon the ground, carried it off with apparently the same ease as a cat does a rat, leaping a broad dyke with it without the least difficulty—that another, a young one, conveyed a horse about a mile from the spot where he had killed it—that a third, which had carried off a two-yearold heifer, was followed on the track for five hours by horsemen, who observed that throughout the whole distance the carcase of the heifer had only once or twice touched the ground,-we may conceive that a man would be an insignificant burden. Such a powerful animal, however, we must not expect to see in the confined dens of a menagerie: there their limbs become cramped, their muscular system undeveloped, their bones often distorted, and their daring and ferocity subdued.
The Indian lion displays the same courage as its African relative. Instead of retreating on the hunter's approach, he stands his ground, or rushes to meet him open-mouthed on the plain. Lions are thus easily shot; but if they be missed or only slightly wounded, they prove very formidable. They will spring on the largest elephants, and have often pulled them to the earth, riders and all.
In the defence of her cubs the lioness is resolute in the extreme, and is doubly savage during the time they remain under her care. Her mate participates in her feelings. The lioness generally produces from two to four young at a birth. They are born blind. For several months their fur is obscurely striped or brindled, the markings reminding us of those of the tiger. Their voice is a cat-like mew. Gradually the uniform colour is assumed, and about the end of twelve months the mane begins to appear: this increases, and the voice deepens into a roar.
The lion attains to maturity about the fifth year: its term of life is of considerable extent. Pompey, which died in the Tower of London in 1760, had been there for seventy years, and one from the Gambia died there at the age of sixty-three.
Christians in early days were often put to death on account of their faith, by being thrown to lions.
Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, was one of the most remarkable of these Christian martyrs who came to death by the lion's jaws. Accused of entertaining Christian belief, he was carried before the Emperor Trajan and by him questioned. After a long conference, Trajan asked of the bishop the direct question, “Dost thou, then, carry Him who was crucified within thee?” “I do," replied Ignatius, “ for it is written, ‘I dwell in them and walk in
them.' Then Trajan pronounced this sentence against him: “Since Ignatius confesses that he carries within himself Him that was crucified, we command that he be carried, bound, by soldiers to great Rome, there to be thrown to the wild beasts for the entertainment of the people.”
Ignatius was nowise averse to the sentence-indeed, he gloried in it; and when certain Roman Christians, who were high in power, offered to intercede for him with a view to obtaining his pardon, he implored them not to interfere, but to allow the emperor's will to be executed, at the same time expressing a fervent desire that the lions might consume him utterly and so make a worldly end of him. When he was led to execution he was attended by a number of the brethren, and was allowed to join in prayer with them. And he prayed to the Son of God in behalf of the churches, that He would put a stop to the persecution and continue the love of the brethren towards each other. He was then led into the amphitheatre, and speedily thrown to the wild beasts. He had here also his wish. The beasts were his grave. A few bones only were left, which the deacons gathered, carefully preserved, and afterwards buried at Antioch.”
THE TIG ER.
TAE Royal Tiger, as it is often called to distinguish it from the smaller tiger-cats, is far more limited in its range of country than the lion. It is exclusively Asiatic. Hindostan may be considered as its headquarters, but it is common in the larger islands, as Sumatra, where it is a fearful scourge. It is said to' be found in the south of China, and also in the deserts which separate China from Siberia, and as far as the banks of the Oby.
The tiger is equal in size to the lion, but of a more elongated form, and pre-eminently graceful. The head also is shorter and more rounded. Occasionally specimens are seen exceeding any lion we have contemplated in menageries ; but the average height is from three feet six inches to four feet.
Active, powerful, and ferocious, the tiger is more to be dreaded than the lion, because it is more insidious in its attack, and also prowls abroad by day as well as by night. In some districts of India and in Sumatra its ravages are frightful. We are informed
by Colonel Sykes that in the province of Kandesh alone one thousand and thirty-two tigers were killed from the year 1825 to 1829 inclusive, according to the official returns. In Sumatra the infatuated natives seldom attempt their destruction, having a notion that they are animated by the souls of their ancestors. Tiger-hunting is one of the favourite field-sports of the East, and as the chase is not unattended with danger it is productive of proportionate excitement. Though horsemen as well as persons on foot attend on these occasions, it is more for the sake of “ being in at the death” than of taking a decided part, for the horse will seldom stand steadily when near this dreaded beast. It is to the armed riders on elephants that the dangerous work of rousing up the tiger from the jungle-covert is left, and of firing at him as he bounds along. The tiger's first object is to escape under covert of the long grass or jungle; but, when wounded or hard pressed, he will turn with great fury, and by springing on the elephant's head or shoulder endeavour to reach his antagonists. The agitation of the elephants is so great that they often lose all obedience to control at such a moment.
Those who have represented the tiger as untameable have no ground for the assertion. It is as capable of being tamed, and of attachment to its keeper, as any other animal of its kind. Yet with the tiger, the lion, and others of the race, caution should be used. Their natural disposition is ever ready to break out, and the mildest will, however tame they be, often show “the wild trick of their ancestors."
Neither tigers nor lions are capable of climbing trees, as are most of the lighter of the feline or cat-like race: their prey is therefore exclusively confined to antelopes, deer, oxen, horses, and the like; while monkeys, and even birds, are among the prey of the leopard, and the panther.
Some years ago, some English officers went out tiger-hunting, and bagged a splendid tigress. Whilst returning home with the trophy, they found in a secluded spot in the lee of a jagged rock, what evidently was the lair of a tiger, for there lay bones of both human and brute kind, and shreds and rags of clothing. More interesting than all, however, was the discovery of a tiny kitten not more than a fortnight old, coiled in a corner, winking and blinking, and gaping at the intruders. The hunters at once decided that this must be the cub of the beast they had slain, and willingly took charge of the little orphan.
Tiger kittens are not captured every day, so when the hunters returned to their quarters, the excitement in their tent was considerable. The newly acquired kitten was provided with a tiny dog collar and chain, and attached to the tent-pole, round which it gambolled to the delight of an audience, numbering nearly twenty. About two hours after the capture, however, and just as it was growing dusk, the good people in the tent were checked in the midst of their hilarity, by a sound that caused the bravest heart there to beat rather irregularly. It was the roar, or rather the combination of shriek and roar peculiar to the tiger when driven mad with rage. In an instant the gambolling kitten became every inch a tiger, and strained with all its baby strength at the tether, while it replied with a loud wail to the terrible voice outside. The company were panic-stricken. There was something so sudden and unearthly in the roar, that it seemed as though the great tiger brought in an hour or so before, had come to life again. Certainly the tiger in question was already flayed, but the picture conjured up became not the more pleasant for that. There was, however, not nearly so much time allowed for speculation to the scared company as writing these lines has cost; for, almost simultaneous with the roar, there leapt sheer into the centre of the tent a bold tigress, and without deigning to notice a single man there, she caught her kidnapped baby by the nape of its neck, and giving it a jerk, snapped the little chain, and then, turning for the tent door, trotted off at full speed. After all, it appeared that the little thing did not belong to the tiger that was slain, but to the brave mother that had tracked and recovered it. Sanguinary man-eater as she may have been, one can be scarcely sorry to hear that not a gun was levelled at the great rejoicing creature as she bore off her young one, and that she got clear off.
I SPEAK of the seal, of the kind playful seal. I tell a true story of a seal that was blind. But first, I say somewhat of seals in general. Of these there are many kinds. There are elephant seals, harp seals, crested seals, and ursine seals; and all live in
The common seal is found along the shores of temperate Europe. It is common on many parts of the Scottish and Irish coasts. It generally has two young ones, of which it is very fond. Surprise it, as on a shore it lies in the sun basking, and it