Page images
PDF
EPUB

he gave a loud whistle, and the dogs came running to him from their several hiding-places!

Peltier, in his Annals of Paris, No. 164, for December, 1798, records the following anecdote:-At the beginning of the Revolution, a dog went daily to the parade before the palace of the Thuilleries, thrust himself between the legs of the musicians, marched with them, halted with them, and after the parade, disappeared until the next morning, when he resumed his occupation. The constant appearance of this dog, and the pleasure which he seemed to take in the music, made him a favourite with the band, who nicknamed him, Parade. One gave him food to-day, another to-morrow; and he understood, by a slight signal, and a word or two, whom he was to follow for his dinner; after which, faithful to his independence, the dog always withdrew, in spite of any caresses or threats. Sometimes he went to the opera, sometimes to the Comedie Italienne, and sometimes to the Theatre Feydeau; in each of which houses he found his way to the orchestra, and would lie down silently in one corner of it, until the performance was over. "I know not, (says Peltier) whether this dog be now alive but I know many musicians, to whom his name, his figure, and the singularity of his habits, are perfectly familiar."

་་

In Petit's Campaign of Italy, under the chief consul Buonaparte, published in 1800, we have the following anecdote, which places this animal in the most engaging light: "In traversing the Alps over the mountain Great St. Bernard, many people perish among the almost inaccessible rocks, whose summits are covered with eternal snow. At the time we crossed them, the chapel of the monastery of St. Bernard was filled with dead bodies, which their dogs had discovered suffocated and benumbed under the snow. With what emotions of pleasure did I caress these dogs, so useful to travellers! how can one speak of them without being moved by their charitable instinct! Notwithstanding the paucity of our eatables, there was not a French soldier who did not manifest an eagerness to give them some biscuit, some bread, and even a share of their meat. Morning and evening, these dogs go out on discovery; and if in the midst of their wandering courses the echo of some unfortunate creature ready to perish reaches their attentive ears, they run towards those who call out, express their joy, and seem to bid the sufferer take courage, till they have been to procure assistance; in fact, they hasten back to the convent, and, with an air of inquietude and sadness, announce in a very discernible manner what they have seen. In that case, a small basket is fastened round the dog's neck, filled with food proper for re-animating life almost exhausted; and, by following the benevolent mes

senger, an unhappy creature is thus frequently snatched from impending destruction."

A Florentine nobleman possessed a dog, v hich would attend his table, change his plates, and carry his wine to him, with the utmost steadiness, and the most accurate attention to his master's notices.

It is related by the illustrious Leibnitz, that a Saxon peasant was in possession of a dog of the middling size, then about three years of age. The peasant's son, perceiving accidentally, as he imagined, some resemblance in its sounds to those of the human voice, attempted to teach it to speak. By the perseverance of the lad, the dog acquired the power, we are told, of pronouncing about thirty words. It would, however, exercise this extraordinary faculty only with reluctance, the words being always first spoken by the preceptor, and then echoed by the pupil. This circumstance is attested by Leibnitz, who himself heard it speak; and it was communicated by him in a memoir to the Royal Academy of France.

will

In the theatre of Marcellus, a case occurred, which many consider more probable, but which is almost as extraordinary, as mentioned by Plutarch." A dog was here exhibited which excelled in various dances of great complication and difficulty, and represented also the effects of disease and pain upon the frame, in all the contortions of countenance and writhings of the body, from the first access, to that paroxysm which often immediately precedes dissolution. Having thus apparently expired in agony, he would suffer himself to be carried about motionless, as in a state of death; and after a sufficient continuance of the jest, he would burst upon the spectators with an animation and sportiveness, which formed a very ir teresting conclusion of this curious interlude, by which the animal seemed to enjoy the success of his scenic efforts, and to be delighted with the admiration which was liberally and universally bestowed upon him."

"A tinker (says Pezelius) brought a wonderful dog to Constantinople; and a number of people being assembled tc behold him, many of them laid their rings in a heap confusedly before him. At the command of his master, he would restore to every man his own, without any mistake. Also, when his master asked him which of the company was a captain, which a poor man, which a wife, which a widow, and the like, he would discover all this without error, by taking the garment of the party inquired after in his mouth."

CHAP. XVI.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING FISHES,

The Frog-fish-Bird-catching Fish-The Nautilus-The Airbladder in Fishes-Respiration in Fishes-Shower of Fishes.

-The scaly brood

In countless myriads cleave the crystal flood."

"Who can old Ocean's pathless bed explore,

And count her tribes that people ev'ry shore."

THE FROG-FISH.-There is a very singular animal of Surinam, bearing this name, of which a figure is given by Mr. Edwards, in his History of Birds, vol. I. but of which no specimen is to be found either in the British Museum, or in any private collection, except that of Dr. Fothergill. It was brought from Surinam, in South America.

Frogs, both in Asia and Africa, according to Merian, change gradually from fishes to frogs, as those in Europe; but after many years, revert again into fishes, though the manner of their change has never been investigated. In Surinam these fishes are called Jakjes: they are cartilaginous, of a substance like our mustela, and exquisite food; they are formed with regular vertebræ, and small bones all over the body, divided into equal parts; are first darkish, and then gray; and their scales make a beautiful appearance. Whether this animal is, in its perfect state, a species of frog with a tail, or a kind of water-lizard, Mr. Edwards does not pretend to determine; but he observes, that when its size is considered, if it should be deemed a tadpole, at first produced from spawn, and in its progress towards a frog, such an animal, when full-grown; if it bears the same proportion to its tadpole state that those in Europe do to theirs, it must be of enormous size; for our fullgrown frogs exceed the tadpoles at least fifty times.

Another curiosity is, THE BIRD-CATCHING FISH.-This fish is called by the natives of Canada, Chaousaron; its body is nearly the shape of a jack or pike, but is covered with scales that are proof against the stab of a dagger; its colour is a silver gray, and there grows under its mouth a fin that is flat, jagged at the edges, and pierced at the end, which gives reason to conjecture that it breathes by that part. This fish is about five feet in length, and as thick as a man's thigh; but some of them, it is said, are eight or ten feet long. In order to catch birds, it hides itself among the reeds in such a manner, that no part of it can be seen but the fin just mentioned; this

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

-a,Male of Argonauta argo, with the hectocotylized arm still contained in its enveloping cyst, four times enlarged (after H. Müller). 6, Hectocotylus of Tremoctopus violaceus (after Kölliker).

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

-A. Loligo vulgaris; a, arms; t, tentacles. B, pen of the same reduced in size; C, side-view of one of the suckers, showing the horny hooks surrounding the margin; D, view of the head from in front, showing the arms (a), the tentacles (), the mouth (m), and the funnel (f).

[ocr errors]

-Argonauta argo, the "Paper Nautilus, Temale. The animal is represented in its shell, but the webbed dorsal arms are separated from the abell, which they ordinarily embrace.

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »