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will try to get into the water; but if you come between it and the water-beware, beware! With a growl it will turn upon you and fight for its life. IIow knowing seals are! When they lie asleep on the shore they are sure to set one to watch on the high rocks. Up goes his head as you draw near: he smells, he scents you afar off, and gives the alarm; then flap, flap, flap, go his companions into the water one after the other.
The seal is hunted for its skin and its fat. The common seal is from four to five feet in length. The grey seal will yield twenty gallons of oil. A very fine sense of ear, a sense of wild delight at musical sounds, has the seal. Mr. Laing, a traveller, was voyaging once to Spitzbergen in a ship in which a sailor played upon the fiddle, and all round the ship came the seals flocking, following it many miles. Sir Walter Scott seems to refer to the seal's love of music when he says
“ Rude Heiskar's seal, through surges dark,
Will long pursue the minstrel's bark.” Having given in few words all the knowledge I have of seals, I shall now place before the reader the following sad story, which I name. The Blind Seal :'
About forty years ago a young seal was taken in Clew Bay, and domesticated in the kitchen of a gentleman whose house was situated on the sea-shore. It grew apace, became familiar with the servants, and attached to the house and family; its habits were innocent and gentle, it played with the children, came at its master's call, and, as the old man described it to me, fond as a dog, and playful as a kitten."
Daily the seal went out to fish, and, after providing for its own wants, frequently brought in a salmon or a turbot to its master. Its delight in summer was to bask in the sun, and in winter to lie before the fire, or, if permitted, creep into the large oven, which at that time formed the regular appendage of an Irish kitchen.
For four years the seal had been thus domesticated, when, unfortunately, a disease, called in Ireland the crippawn—a kind of paralytic affection of the limbs which generally ends fatallyattacked some black cattle belonging to the master of the house; some died, others became infected, and the customary cure produced by changing them to drier pasture failed. A “wise
was consulted, the witch assured the credulous owner that the mortality among his cows was occasioned by his retaining an unclean beast about his habitation-the harmless and
amusing seal. It must be made away with directly, or the crippawn would continue, and her charms be unequal to avert the malady. The superstitious owner consented to the witch's proposal; the seal was put on board a boat, carried out beyond Clare Island, and there committed to the deep, to manage for itself as it best could. The boat returned, the family retired to rest, and the next morning a servant awakened her master to tell him that the seal was quietly sleeping in the oven. The poor animal over night came back to its beloved home, crept through an open window, and took possession of its favourite resting-place.
Next morning another cow was reported to be unwell. The seal must now be finally removed; a Galway fishing-boat was leaving Westport on its return home, and the master undertook to carry off the seal, and not put it overboard until he had gone leagues beyond Innis Boffin. It was done-a day and a night passed; the second evening closed—the servant was raking the fire for the night-something scratched gently at the door—it was of course the house-dog-she opened it, and in came the seal! Wearied with its long and unusual voyage, it testified by a peculiar cry, expressive of pleasure, its delight to find itself at home, then stretching itself before the glowing embers of the hearth it fell into a deep sleep.
The master of the house was immediately apprised of this unexpected and unwelcome visit. In the exigency, the witch was awakened and consulted; she averred that it was always unlucky to kill a seal, but suggested that the animal should be deprived of sight, and a third time carried out to sea. To this cruel proposition the master who owned the house consented, and the affectionate and confiding creature was cruelly robbed of sight, on that hearth for which it had resigned its native element! Next morning, writhing in agony, the mutilated seal was embarked, taken outside Clare Island, and for the last time committed to the waves.
A week passed over: things became worse instead of better; the cattle died fast, and the “wise woman "gave the owner the tidings that her arts were useless, and that the destructive visitation upon his cattle exceeded her skill and cure.
On the eighth night after the seal had been devoted to the Atlantic, the wind blew tremendously. In the pauses of the storm a wailing noise at times was faintly heard at the door; the servants, who slept in the kitchen, concluded that the Banshee came to forewarn them of an approaching death, and buried
their heads in the bed-coverings. When morning broke the door was opened—the seal was there lying dead upon the threshold.—John Flint, in ‘Pleasant Hours.'
THE ADAPTATION OF PLANTS TO THEIR RESPECTIVE
" A HUNDRED thousand species of plants upon the surface of the earth!” you exclaim. Yes: and, what is more surprising still, every one of these species has its native country. The wisdom and goodness of God are indeed no less manifested in the geographical distribution, than in the curious process observed in the vegetation, the wonderful structure, and other striking peculiarities of plants. We have not room to multiply instances. But where, it may be asked, could the dense woods which constitute the Brazilian forest be more appropriately situated ? Where could the delightful vistas, and pleasant walks, and refreshing arbours, of the many-trunked Banian-tree, be better placed? Where could that numerous host of natural umbrellas, the family of the palms, which overshadow, with their luxuriant and projecting foliage, almost every island, rock, and sand-bank, between the tropics, display their cooling shades with better effect? Where, in short, could that wonderful exuberance of the earth’s bounty, the Bread-Fruit Tree, by which, in the words of Captain Cook, “if a man plant but ten trees in his whole lifetime” (and that he may do in an hour)," he will as completely fulfil his duty to his own, and to future generations, as the natives of our less temperate climate can do, wy ploughing in the winter's cold, and reaping in the summer's . heat, as often as these seasons return :"_where, I say, can this exuberance be more beneficially manifested, than in those regions where “the same glowing beams of the sun that raise the plant into a shrub, and the shrub into a tree," render the gloom of the forest, and the intervening screen of the overhanging foliage, so desirable, -where the least exertion becomes oppressive, and coolness and ease may be said to constitute the principal wants of the inhabitants ? And where, it may be further inquired, could those immense fields, upon which are raised our various crops of corn, be better made to expand their extensive surfaces, and lay open their treasures to the influence of the sun, than in those temperate regions of the globe, where, instead of being
hurtful, a moderate degree of labour is conducive to health, and the agricultural labourer goes forth to his work in the morning, and returns in the evening, rather invigorated, than exhausted, by the ordinary occupations of the day? If we extend our views much farther to the north, we may in vain look for the spontaneous luxuriance of the torrid zone, or the golden-coloured fields of the intervening climates: but here we shall find, what is at once more suitable to the climate and the wants of its inhabitants, a plentiful supply of the Rein-deer lichen, which, being formed by Nature to vegetate beneath the snow, is there found out, in requisite abundance, by that useful creature whose name it bears, and which is of itself a treasure to the inhabitants of those regions. The esculent properties of the Iceland moss are now beginning to be better understood; and in what part of the habitable world could this singularly nutritious vegetable have been more judiciously and mercifully made to abound, than in that island of wonderful contrasts, where the variable climate is often -80 unfavourable to vegetation of a larger growth, and the hopes of the husbandman are so repeatedly disappointed by unwelcome visitants, in the form of icy particles floating in the air ? The Pitcher-plant of the eastern, and the Milk or Cow Tree of the western world, may each of them be reckoned among Nature's wonderful contrivances, and be justly regarded as evidences of the wisdom and goodness of the Being who knows so well how to proportion the acts of his bounty to the necessities and wants of his creatures. The singular appendages which form the extremities of the Pitcherplant are so many urns, containing a clear, wholesome, and well-tasted water. In the morning the lid is closed, but it opens during the day, when a portion of the water evaporates : this, however, is replenished in the night, and each morning the vessel is full, and the lid shut. As this plant grows in sultry climates, and is found in the island of Java in the most stony and arid situations, how welcome and exhilarating must the sight of it be often to the weary traveller; and, from the marks of teeth upon the vessel, it has been narrated, that “it is evident that beasts often supply their wants at the same plenteous source.” The Milk-tree or Cow-tree, so called on account of the resemblance its singular juice bears to the milk of animals, in the place of which M. Humboldt has seen it used for every domestic purpose, is thus described by that enterprising traveller : “I confess that, among the great number of curious phenomena I have observed, in the course of my travels, there are few which have made a stronger impression on my mind than the Cow-tree. On the barren declivities of a rock grows a tree, whose leaves are dry and coriaceous; its thick ligneous roots scarcely enter the rock; for several months in the year rain scarcely waters its fan-shaped leaves; the branches appear dry and dead; but, when an incision is made in the trunk, a sweet and nutritious milk flows from it. It is at the rising of the sun that the vegetable liquid runs most abundantly,—then the natives and negroes are seen to come from all parts, provided with vessels to receive the milk, which becomes yellow, and thickens at the surface. Some empty their vessels under the same tree; others carry them home to their children. It is like a shepherd distributing to his family the milk of his flock. If those who possess these precious trees near their habitation drink with so much pleasure their beneficent juice, with what delight will the traveller who penetrates these moun. tains appease with it his hunger and thirst! The few instances here recorded may serve as general specimens of that wise ordination, universally to be observed, if duly attended to, in the geographical arrangement and distribution of vegetables. - From ‘Popular Philosophy.'
PLANTS WHICH FORM THE LINK BETWEEN THE
VEGETABLE AND ANIMAL KINGDOMS.
What a near approach do some plants make to that superior order of creation immediately above them in the scale of existence! The Sensitive-plant, when slightly touched, evinces something like the timidity of our harmless animals. The Hedysarum gyrans, or moving plant of the East, exhibits an incessant and spontaneous movement of its leaves during the day, in warm and clear weather; but in the night season, and in the absence of light and heat, its motions cease, and it remains, as it were, in a state of quiescence. The American Venus Fly-trap, like an animal of prey, seems to lie in wait to catch the unwary insect. The leaves of this plant are jointed, and furnished with two rows of prickles. Their surfaces are covered with a number of minute glands, which secrete a sweet liquor, and allure the approach of flies. When these parts are touched by the legs