Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Book of Curiosities
Author: Platts, I.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of Curiosities" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: GROTTO DEL CANI.]

[Illustration: _Engraved for the Book of Curiosities. p. 877_]



  THE BOOK OF CURIOSITIES:

  CONTAINING TEN THOUSAND
  WONDERS AND CURIOSITIES
  OF NATURE AND ART;

  AND OF

  Remarkable and Astonishing PLACES, BEINGS, ANIMALS,
  CUSTOMS, EXPERIMENTS, PHENOMENA, etc., of both Ancient
  and Modern Times, on all Parts of the GLOBE: comprising
  Authentic Accounts of the most WONDERFUL FREAKS of
  NATURE and ARTS of MAN.


  BY THE REV. I. PLATTS.


  FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.

  COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.


  PHILADELPHIA:
  PUBLISHED BY LEARY & GETZ.
  1854.



CONTENTS.


Abderites, or inhabitants of Abdera, curious account of, 45

Abstinence, wonders of, 67

Act of faith, 638

Adansonia; or, African calabash tree, 378

Agnesi, Maria Gaetana, account of, 120

Agrigentum, in Sicily, ruins of, 540

Air, its pressure and elasticity, 839

Alarm bird, 243

Alexandria, buildings and library of, 549

Alhambra, 559

Alligators, 164

American natural history, 182

Anagrams, 450

Andes, 415

Androides, 701

Anger, surprising effects of, 82

Animalcules, 357

Animal generation, curiosities respecting, 139

Animals, formation of, 142

Animals, preservation of, 144

Animals, destruction of, 150

Animal reproductions, 154

Animals and plants, winter sleep of, 808

Animals, remarkable strength of affection in, 184

Animals, surprising instances of sociality in, 185

Animals, unaccountable faculties possessed by some, 187

Animals, remarkable instances of fasting in, 189

Animal flower, 392

Anthropophagi, or men-eaters, account of, 75

Ants, curiosities of, 290

Ants, green, 311

Ants, white, or termites, 301

Ant, lion, 312

Ants, visiting, 312

Aphis, curiosities respecting, 331

Aqueducts, remarkable, 795

Arc, Joan of, 927

Ark of Noah, 582

Artificer, unfortunate, 745

Artificial figure to light a candle, 830

Asbestos, 402

Athos, mount, 423

Attraction, examples of, 837

Augsburg, curiosities of, 576

Aurora borealis, 684

Automaton, description of, 700


B

Babylon, 557

Bacon flitch, custom at Dunmow, Essex, 605

Balbeck, ancient ruins of, 538

Bannian tree, 374

Baptism, a curious one, 642

Baratier, John Philip, premature genius of, 125

Barometer, rules for predicting the weather by it, 864

Beards, remarks concerning, 31

Beaver, description of, 156

Beavers, habitations of the, 158

Bee, the honey, 265

Bees, wild, curiosities of, Clothier Bee, Carpenter Bee, Mason Bee,
Upholsterer Bee, Leaf-cutter Bee, 277, 278, 279, 280

Bees, account of an idiot-boy and, 283

Bees, Mr. Wildman's curious exhibitions of, explained, 283

Bells, baptism of, 639

Benefit of clergy, origin and history of, 623

Bird of Paradise, 230

Bird, singular account of one inhabiting a volcano in Guadalope, 246

Bird-catching fish, 196

Bird-catching, curious method of, 260

Birds, method of preserving, 865

Birds, hydraulic, 713

Birds, song of, 261

Birds' nests, 251

Bisset, Samuel, the noted animal instructor, 124

Bletonism, 95

Blind clergyman of Wales, 903

Blind persons, astonishing acquisitions made by some, 46

Blind Jack of Knaresborough, 900

Blood, circulation of, 24

Blunders, book of, 761

Boa Constrictor, 217

Boat-fly, 342

Body, human, curiosities of the, 13

Bolea, Monte, 418

Books, curious account of the scarcity of, 757

Borrowdale, 458

Bottles, to uncork, 836

Boverick's curiosities, 713

Bowthorpe oak, 382

Bread-fruit tree, 372

Bread, old, curious account of, 807

Brine, to ascertain the strength of, 839

Brown, Simon, and his curious dedication to queen Caroline, 108

Bunzlau curiosities, 714

Buonaparte, principal events in the life of, 126

Burning spring in Kentucky, 493

Burning and hot springs, 494, 495, 496, 497

Burning, extraordinary cures by, 792

Burning-glasses, 717

Bustard, the great, 243

Butterflies, beauty and diversities of, 344

Butterflies, to take an impression of their wings, 866


C

Camera obscura, to make, 830

Candiac, John Lewis, account of, 113

Candlemas-day, 632

Cannon, extraordinary, 807

Cards, origin of, 767

Carrier, or courier pigeon, 244

Carthage, ancient grandeur of, 542

Case, John, celebrated quack doctor, 113

Catching a hare, curious custom respecting, 601

Caterpillar, 219

Caterpillar-eaters, 220

Cave of Fingal, 452

Cave near Mexico, 457

Centaurs and Lapithæ, 785

Chameleon, particulars respecting, 175

Changeable flower, 387

Cheese-mite, curiosities respecting, 358

Chemical illuminations, 844

Chick, formation of in the egg, 249

Child, extraordinary arithmetical powers of a, 88

Chiltern hundreds, 634

China, great wall of, 579

Chinese, funeral ceremonies of the, 610

Christmas-boxes, origin of, 633

Cinchona, or Peruvian bark, curious effects of, 390

Clepsydra, 706

Clock-work, extraordinary pieces of, 704

Clouds, electrified, terrible effects of, 656

Coal-pit, visit to one, 469

Cocoa-nut tree, 371

Coins of the kings of England, 814

Cold, surprising effects of extreme, 659

Colossus, 570

Colours, experiments on, 867

Colours, incapacity of distinguishing, 56

Combustion of the human body by the immoderate use of spirits, 97

Common house-fly, curiosities of the, 337

Company of Stationers, singular custom annually observed by the, 766

Conscience, instances of the power of, 84

Cormorant, 242

Coruscations, artificial, 849

Cotton wool, curious particulars of a pound weight of, 391

Countenance, human, curiosities of the, 18

Cromwell, A. M. of Hammersmith, a rich miser, 897

Creeds of the Jews, 775

Crichton, the admirable, 911

Crichup Linn, 797

Crocodile, 163

Crocodile, fossil, curiosity of, 165

Cuckoo, curiosities respecting, 240

Curfew bell, why so called, 635

Curious historical fact, 744


D

Dancer, Daniel, account of, 104

Dajak, inhabitants of Borneo, curious funeral ceremonies of, 612

Deaf, to make the, perceive sounds, 828

Deaths, poetical, grammatical, and scientific, 73

Death-watch, 347

Diamond mine, on the river Tigitonhonha, in the Brazilian territory, 460

Diamond, wonderful, 405

Diana, temple of, at Ephesus, 554

Dictionary, modern, 950

Dimensions, &c. of some of the largest trees growing in England, 382

Diseases peculiar to particular countries, 789

Dismal swamp, 798

Dog, remarkable, 194

Dog, curious anecdotes of a, 195

Dogs, sagacity of, 193

Dreams, instances of extraordinary, 70

Dwarfs, extraordinary, 40


E

Eagle, the golden, 237

Ear, curious structure of the, 22

Earl of Pembroke, curious extracts from the will of an, 773

Earth-eaters, 908

Earthquakes, and their causes, 499

Eating, singularities of different nations in, 595

Eclipses, 676

Eddystone rocks, 797

Egg, to soften an, 851

Electricity, illumination by, 793

Electrical experiments, 841

Elephant, account of an, 168

Elephant, docility of the, 170

Elwes, John, account of, 104

English ladies turned Hottentots, 744

Ephemeral flies, 343

Ephesus, temple of Diana at, 554

Escurial, 577

Etna, 443

Extraordinary custom, 601

Eye, curious formation of the, 20


F

Fact, the most extraordinary on record, 744

Fairy rings, 667

Falling stars, 681

Faquirs, travelling, 940

Fasting, extraordinary instances of, 65

Fata Morgana, 665

Feasts, among the ancients of various nations, 614

Female beauty and ornaments, 596

Fiery fountain, 844

Fire-balls, 655

Fire of London, 748

Fire, perpetual, 806

Fisher, Miss Clara, 905

Fishes, air bladder in, 201

Fishes, respiration in, 202

Fishes, shower of, 203

Flea, account of a, 325

Flea, on the duration of the life of a, 328

Florence statues, 579

Fly, the common house, 337

Fly, the Hessian, 336

Fly, the May, 340

Fly, the vegetable, 341

Fly, the boat, 342

Flying, artificial, 716

Fountain trees, 375

Freezing mixture, to form, 859

Freezing, astonishing expansive force of, 661

Friburg, curiosities of, 575

Friendship, curious demonstrations of, 594

Friendship, true Roman, recipe for establishing, 951

Fright, or terror, remarkable effects of, 82

Frog, the common, 160

Frog-fish, 196

Frosts, remarkable, 533

Flower, the animal, 392

Fruits, injuries from swallowing the stones of, 791

Funeral ceremonies of the ancient Ethiopians, 609

Fungi, 395


G

Galley of Hiero, 584

Galvanism, 689

Gardens, floating, 580

Gardens, hanging, 558

Garter, origin of the order of the, 623

Gas lights, miniature, 836

Gauts, or Indian Appenines, 421

Giants, curious account of, 39

Giant's causeway, 590

Gipsies, 732

Glaciers, 529

Glass, ductility of, 720

Glass, to cut, without a diamond, 833

Glass, to write on, by the sun's rays, 858

Gluttony, instances of extraordinary, 64

Gold, remarkable ductility and extensibility of, 721

Graham, the celebrated Dr. 909

Gravity, experiments respecting the, 838

Great events from little causes, 746

Grosbeak, the social, 234

Grosbeak, the Bengal, 235

Grotto in South America, 445

Grotto del Cani, 446

Grotto of Antiparos, 447

Grotto of Guacharo, 450

Growth, extraordinary instances of rapid, 37

Guinea, explanation of all the letters on a, 768

Gulf stream, 490


H

Hagamore, Rev. Mr. a most singular character, 896

Hail, surprising showers of, 518

Hair of the head, account of, 28

Hair, instances of the internal growth of, 30

Hair, ancient and modern opinions respecting the, 29

Halo, or corona, and similar appearances, 680

Hand-fasting, 609

Harmattan, 511

Harrison, a singular instance of parsimony, 903

Heat, diminished by evaporation, 839

Hecla, 442

Heidelberg clock, 705

Heinecken, Christian Henry, account of, 114

Hell, opinions respecting, 812

Henderson, John, the Irish Crichton, 883

Henry, John, singular character of, 107

Herculaneum and Pompeii, 536

Herschel's grand telescope, 713

Hessian fly, 339

Hobnails, origin of the sheriff's counting, 622

Holland, North, curious practice in, 630

Honour, extraordinary instances of, 80

Horse, remarkable instances of sagacity in a, 192

Human heart, structure of the, 24

Humming bird, 236

Huntingdon, William, eccentric character of, 134

Hurricane, curious particulars respecting a, 511

Husband long absent, returned, 741

Hydra, or polypes, account of, 359


I

Ice, Greenland or polar, 525

Ice, tremendous concussions of fields of, 528

Ice, showers of, 533

Ignis Fatuus, 644

Improvement of the learned, 765

Incubus, or nightmare, 941

Indian jugglers, 897

Individuation, 780

Indulgences, Romish, 636

Ingratitude, shocking instances of, 78

Inks, various sympathetic, 853 to 857

Insects, metamorphoses of: the butterfly, the common fly, the grey-coated
gnat, the shardhorn beetle, 345

Insects blown from the nose, --

Integrity, striking instances of, 77

Inverlochy castle, 574

Island, new, starting from the sea, 491


J

Jew's harp, 795

John Bull, origin of the term of, 634


K

Killarney, the lake of, 487

Kimos, singular nation of dwarfs, 43

Knout, 804

Kraken, 210


L

Labrador stone, 402

Lady of the Lamb, 601

Lama, 810

Lambert, Daniel, account of, 887

Lamps, remarkable, 805

Lamp, phosphoric, 844

Lanterns, feast of, 621

Laocoon, monument of, 556

Leaves, to take an impression of them, 866

Letter, curious, from Pomare, king of Otaheite, to the Missionary Society,
773

Libraries, celebrated, 760

Light produced under water, 850

Lightning, extraordinary properties and effects of, 651

Lightning, to produce artificial, 844

Liquids, to produce changeable-coloured, 858

Liquids, to exchange two in different bottles, 872

Literary labour and perseverance, 756

Lizard, imbedded in coal, 225

Locusts, and their uses in the creation, 349

London, compendious description of, 813

London, intellectual improvement in, 761

Longevity, extraordinary instances of, 96

Louse, 328

Love-letter, and answer, curious, 774

Luminous insects, 319


M

M'Avoy, Miss Margaret, 919

Maelstrom, 489

Magdalen's hermitage, 575

Magic oracle, 845

Magical bottle, 851

Magical drum, 806

Magnetism, 693

Magnetic experiments, 848

Magnify, to, small objects, 882

Mahometan paradise, 811

Maiden, 599

Mammoth, or Fossil Elephant, found in Siberia, 170

Man with the iron mask, 727

Mandrake, 387

Marmot, or the Mountain Rat of Switzerland, 167

Marriage custom of the Japanese, 604

Marriage ceremonies, curious, in different nations, 602

Masons, free and accepted, 737

Mathematical talent, curious instance of, 93

Matrimonial ring, 608

Matter, divisibility of, 793

May-fly, 340

May poles and garlands, the origin of, 629

Memnon, palace of, 552

Memory, remarkable instance of, 86

Metals, different, to discover, 828

Metals, mixed, to detect, 871

Metcalf, John, alias Blind Jack of Knaresborough, 900

Microscopic experiments, 859

Migration of birds, 253

Mills, remarkable, 799

Mint of Segovia, 799

Miraculous vessel, 852

Mirage, account of, 521

Miners, curious effects of, 833

Mite, the cheese, curiosities respecting, 358

Mock suns, 673

Mocking bird of America, 233

Mole, the common, 159

Money, test of good or bad, 834

Monkey, sagacity of a, 192

Monsoons, or trade winds, 512

Monster, 777

Montague, Edward Wortley, 110

Mont Blanc, in Switzerland, 427

Moon, account of three volcanoes in the, 682

Morland, George, account of, 114

Moscow, great bell of, 726

Mosquitoes, and their uses, 355

Mourning, ancient modes of, 613

Mountains, natural descriptions of, 406

Mountains Written, Mountains of Inscription, or Jibbel El Mokatteb, 422

Mount Snowden, excursion to the top of, 412

Mud and Salt, volcanic eruptions of, in the island of Java, 467

Murdering statue, 801

Museum, 566

Mushroom, 395

Mushroom-stone, 402


N

Names, curious, adopted in the civil war, 772

Naphtha springs, 492

National debt, singular calculation respecting, 816

Natural productions, resembling artificial compositions, 804

Natural history, curious facts in, 247

Nautilus, 197

Navigation, perfection of, 481

Needles, 722

Needle's eye, 459

News, origin of the word, 762

Newspapers, origin of, 762

New studies in old age, instances of, 763

New year's gifts, origin of, 633

Niagara, and its falls, 485

Nicholas Pesce, 117

Nitre caves of Missouri, 457

Nokes, Edward, a miser, 888

Numbers, remarkable instance of skill in, 86

Numbers, curious arrangements of, 868, 871

Nuns, particulars respecting, 811

Nuovo, Monte, 419


O

Oak-tree, remarkable account of, 380

Oakham, custom at, 630

Obelisk, remarkable, near Forres, in Scotland, 573

Okey Hole, 458

Orang-Outang, 178

Origin of 'That's a Bull,' 635

Origin of the old adage respecting St. Swithin, and rainy weather, 635

Ornithorhynchus paradoxus, 166

Ostrich, curiosities of the, 231

Owl, adventure of an, 247


P

Pausilippo, 419

Peacock, the common, 226

Peak in Derbyshire, description of, 409

Peeping Tom of Coventry, 740

Peg, to make a, to fit three differently shaped holes, 872

Pelican, the great, 229

Penance, curious account of a, 643

Performances of a female, blind almost from her infancy, 53

Persons born defective in their limbs, wonderful instances of adroitness
of, 54

Peruke, 783

Peru, mines of, 465

Pesce, Nicholas, extraordinary character of, 117

Pharos of Alexandria, 549

Phosphoric fire, sheet of, 669

Phosphorus, 670

Pichinca, 415

Pico, 422

Pigeon, wild, its multiplying power, 245

Pigeon, carrier, or courier, 244

Pin-making, 721

Pitch-wells, 468

Plague, dreadful instances of the, in Europe, 747

Plant, curious, 386

Plants, curious dissemination of, 366

Plants upon the earth, prodigious number of, 367

Plough-Monday, origin of, 632

Poison-eater, remarkable account of, 94

Pompey's pillar, 547

Pope Joan, 931

Portland vase, 800

Praxiteles' Venus, 712

Praying machines of Kalmuck, 642

Price, Charles, the renowned swindler, 889

Prince Rupert's drops, 853

Prolificness, extraordinary instances of, 37

Psalmanazar, George, noted impostor, 112

Pulpit, curious, 801

Pyramids of Egypt, 544


Q

Quaint lines, 772

Queen Charlotte, curious address to, 769

Queen, a blacksmith's wife become a, 749

Queen Elizabeth's dinner, curious account of the ceremonies at, 749

Queen Elizabeth, quaint lines on, 772


R

Recreations, amusing, in optics, &c. 873 to 882

Recreations, amusing, with numbers, 820 to 827

Religion, celebrated speech on, 944

Reproduction, 781

Repulsion, examples of, 837

Respiration, interesting facts concerning, 26

Revivified rose, 858

Rhinoceros, 162

Rings, on the origin of, 606

Rosin bubbles, 851

Royal progenitors, 744

Ruin at Siwa in Egypt, 534


S

Salutation, various modes of, 598

Sand-floods, account of, 521

Savage, Richard, extraordinary character of, 128

Scaliot's lock, 712

Scarron, Paul, account of, 119

Schurrman, Anna Maria, 123

Scorpion, 213

Sea, curiosities of the, 471

Sea, on the saltness of, 476

Sea, to measure the depth of the, 829

Sea serpent, American, 218

Seal, common account of, 180

Seal, ursine, 181

Seeds, germination of, 365

Sensibility of plants, 368

Sensitive plant, 369

Seraglio, 564

Serpents, fascinating power of, 219

Sexes, difference between the, 34

Sexes at birth, comparative number of the, 36

Shark, 198

Sheep, extraordinary adventures of one, 190

Shelton oak, description of, 382

Ship worm, 224

Ship at sea, to find the burden of a, 829

Shoes, curiosities respecting, 724

Shoe-makers, literary, 764

Shower of gossamers, curious phenomenon of a, 523

Shrovetide, 630

Silk-mill at Derby, 800

Silk stockings, electricity of, 842

Silkworm, 220

Singular curiosity, 405

Skiddaw, 414

Sleep-walker, 69

Sleeping woman of Dunninald, 70

Smeaton, John, 113

Sneezing, curious observations on, 33

Snow grotto, 451

Solfatara, the lake of, 488

Sound, experiments on, 840

Spectacle of a sea-fight at Rome, 711

Spectacles, a substitute for, 807

Spectre of the Broken, 420

Spider, curiosities of the, 314

Spider, tamed, 316

Spider, ingenuity of a, 316

Spider, curious anecdote of a, 318

Spirits of wine, to ascertain the strength of, 839

Spontaneous inflammations, 786

Sports, book of, 766

'Squire, old English, 925

Stalk, animated, 392

Star, falling or shooting, 401

Stephenson, the eccentric, 895

Steel, to melt, 830

Stick, to break a, on two wine-glasses, 871

Stone, the meteoric, 401

Stone, the Labrador, 402

Stone, the changeable, 404

Stone-eater, remarkable account of, 94

Stonehenge, 592

Storks, 229

Storm, singular effects of a, 519

Strasburg clock, 705

Sugar, antiquity of, 390

Sulphur mountains, 424

Sun, diminution of the, 673

Sun, spots in the, 671--to shew ditto, 852

Surgical operation, extraordinary, 791

Swine's concert, 750

Sword-swallowing, 62

Sympathetic inks, 853 to 857


T

Tallow-tree, 378

Tantalus' cup, 852

Tape-worm, 222

Tea, Chinese method of preparing, 388

Telegraph, 708

Temple of Tentira, in Egypt, 550

Tenures, curious, 628

Thermometrical experiments, 863

Thermometer, moral and physical, 817

Thread burnt, not broken, 844

Thunder powder, 836

Thunder rod, 654

Tides, 479

Titles of books, 755

Toad, common, description of, 161

Topham, Thomas, character of, 115

Tornado, description of a, 510

Torpedo, 200

Tortoise, the common, 176

Tree of Diana, 852

Trees, account of a country, in which the inhabitants reside in, 45


U

Unbeliever's creed, 776

Unfortunate artificer, 745

Unicorn, 179

Upas, or poison tree, 383


V

Valentine's-day, origin of, 632

Van Butchell, Mrs. preservation of her corpse, 902

Vegetable kingdom, curiosities in the, 363

Vegetables, number of known, 367

Vegetable fly, 341

Velocity of the wind, 517

Ventriloquism, 58

Vesuvius, 434, 947

Vicar of Bray, 748

Voltaic pile, to make a cheap, 847

Vulture, Egyptian, 228

Vulture, secretary, 228


W

Wasp, curiosities respecting the, 285

Watch, the mysterious, 835

Watches, invention of, 707

Water, to boil without heat, 835

Water, to weigh, 834

Water, to retain, in an inverted glass, 835

Waterspout, 663

Waves stilled by oil, 480

Weaving engine, 712

Whale, great northern, or Greenland, 204

Whale fishery, 208

Whig and Tory, explanation of the terms, 776

Whirlpool near Sudero, 489

Whirlwinds of Egypt, 509

Whispering places, and extraordinary echoes, 802

Whitehead's ship, 712

Whittington, Sir Richard, 932

Wild man, account of a, 76

Wind, velocity of, 517

Winds, remarkable, in Egypt, 507

Wine cellar, curious, 799

Winter in Russia, 524

Wolby, Henry, extraordinary character of, 105

Women with beards, curious account of, 32

Wooden eagle, and iron fly, 711

Writing, origin of the materials of, 751

Writing, minute, 753


X

Xerxes' bridge of boats over the Hellespont, 586


Z

Zeuxis, celebrated painter, 116.



INTRODUCTION.

  "Ye curious minds, who roam abroad,
  And trace Creation's wonders o'er!
  Confess the footsteps of the God,
  And bow before him, and adore."


It was well observed by Lord Bacon, that "It would much conduce to the
magnanimity and honour of man, if a collection were made of the
extraordinaries of human nature, principally out of the reports of
history; that is, what is the last and highest pitch to which man's
nature, of itself, hath ever reached, in all the perfection of mind and
body. If the wonders of human nature, and virtues as well of mind as of
body, were collected into a volume, they might serve as a calendar of
human triumphs."

The present work not only embraces the Curiosities of human nature, but of
Nature and Art in general, as well as Science and Literature. Surrounded
with wonders, and lost in admiration, the inquisitive mind of man is ever
anxious to know the hidden springs that put these wonders in motion; he
eagerly inquires for some one to take him by the hand, and explain to him
the curiosities of the universe. And though the works of the Lord, like
his nature and attributes, are great, and past finding out, and we cannot
arrive at the perfection of science, nor discover the secret impulses
which nature obeys, yet can we by reading, study, and investigation,
dissipate much of the darkness in which we are enveloped, and dive far
beyond the surface of this multifarious scene of things--The noblest
employment of the human understanding is, to contemplate the works of the
great Creator of the boundless universe; and to trace the marks of
infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, throughout the whole. This is the
foundation of all religious worship and obedience; and an essential
preparative for properly understanding, and cordially receiving, the
sublime discoveries and important truths of divine revelation. "Every
man," says our Saviour, "that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father,
cometh unto me." And no man can come properly to Christ, or, in other
words, embrace the christian religion, so as to form consistent views of
it, and enter into its true spirit, unless he is thus drawn by the Father
through a contemplation of his works. Such is the inseparable connection
between nature and grace.

A considerable portion of the following pages is devoted to Curiosities in
the works of Nature, or, more properly, the works of God, for,

  "Nature is but an effect, and God the cause."

The Deity is the

  "Father of all that is, or heard, or hears!
  Father of all that is, or seen, or sees!
  Father of all that is, or shall arise!
  Father of this immeasurable mass
  Of matter multiform; or dense, or rare;
  Opaque, or lucid; rapid, or at rest;
  Minute, or passing bound! In each extreme
  Of like amaze, and mystery, to man."

The invisible God is seen in all his works.

  "God is a spirit, spirit cannot strike
  These gross material organs: God by man
  As much is seen, as man a God can see.
  In these astonishing exploits of power
  What order, beauty, motion, distance, size!
  Concertion of design, how exquisite!
  How complicate, in their divine police!
  Apt means! great ends! consent to general good!"

This work also presents to the reader, a view of the great achievements of
the human intellect, in the discoveries of science; and the wonderful
operations of the skill, power, and industry of man in the invention and
improvement of the arts, in the construction of machines, and in the
buildings and other ornaments the earth exhibits, as trophies to the glory
of the human race.

But we shall now give the reader a short sketch of what is provided for
him in the following pages. The work is divided into eighty-seven
chapters. The Curiosities respecting Man occupy eleven chapters. The next
four chapters are devoted to Animals; then two to Fishes; one to Serpents
and Worms; three to Birds; eleven to Insects; six to Vegetables; three to
Mountains; two to Grottos, Caves, &c.; one to Mines; two to the Sea; one
to Lakes, Whirlpools, &c.; one to Burning Springs; one to Earthquakes; one
to Remarkable Winds; one to Showers, Storms, &c.; one to Ice; one to
Ruins; four to Buildings, Temples, and other Monuments of Antiquity; and
one to Basaltic and Rocky Curiosities. The fifty-eighth chapter is devoted
to the Ark of Noah--the Galley of Hiero--and the Bridge of Xerxes. The
next six chapters detail at length the various Customs of Mankind in
different parts of the World, and also explain many Old Adages and
Sayings. The next five chapters exhibit a variety of curious phenomena in
nature, such as the Ignis Fatuus; Thunder and Lightning; Fire Balls; Water
Spouts; Fairy Rings; Spots in the Sun; Volcanoes in the Moon; Eclipses;
Shooting Stars; Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights; &c. &c. The
seventieth chapter is on Galvanism. The seventy-first on Magnetism. The
next three chapters delineate the principal Curiosities respecting the
Arts. Then follow five chapters on some of the principal Curiosities in
History; three on the Curiosities of Literature; and five on Miscellaneous
Curiosities. An Appendix is added, containing a number of easy, innocent,
amusing Experiments and Recreations.

This is "A New Compilation," inasmuch as not one article is taken from any
book bearing the title of Beauties, Wonders, or Curiosities. The Compiler
trusts the work will afford both entertainment and instruction for the
leisure hour, of the Philosopher or the Labourer, the Gentleman or the
Mechanic. In short, all classes may find in the present work something
conducive to their pleasure and improvement, in their hours of
seriousness, as well as those of gaiety; and it will afford a constant
source of subjects for interesting and agreeable conversation.



THE BOOK OF CURIOSITIES.



CHAP. I.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.

    _The Human Body--the Countenance--the Eye--the Ear--the Heart--the
    Circulation of the Blood--Respiration--the Hair of the Head--the
    Beard--Women with Beards--Sneezing._

    "Come, gentle reader, leave all meaner things
    To low ambition, and the pride of kings.
    Let us, since life can little more supply
    Than just to look about us, and to die;
    Expatiate free o'er all this scene of Man,
    A mighty maze! but not without a plan.
    A wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot;
    Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.
    Together let us beat this ample field,
    Try what the open, what the covert yield;
    The latent tracts, the giddy heights, explore,
    Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar:
    Eye nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,
    And catch the manners living as they rise;
    Laugh where we must, be candid where we can,
    But vindicate the ways of God to man."


We shall, in the first place, enter on the consideration of THE
CURIOSITIES OF THE HUMAN BODY.--The following account is abridged from the
works of the late Drs. Hunter and Paley.

Dr. Hunter shows that all the parts of the human frame are requisite to
the wants and well-being of such a creature as man. He observes, that,
first the mind, the thinking immaterial agent, must be provided with a
place of immediate residence, which shall have all the requisites for the
union of spirit and body; accordingly, she is provided with the _brain_,
where she dwells as governor and superintendant of the whole fabric.

In the next place, as she is to hold a correspondence with all the
material beings around her, she must be supplied with organs fitted to
receive the different kinds of impression which they will make. In fact,
therefore, we see that she is provided with the _organs of sense_, as we
call them: the eye is adapted to light; the ear to sound; the nose to
smell; the mouth to taste; and the skin to touch.

Further, she must be furnished with _organs of communication_ between
herself in the brain, and those organs of sense; to give her information
of all the impressions that are made upon them; and she must have organs
between herself in the brain, and every other part of the body, fitted to
convey her commands and influence over the whole. For these purposes the
_nerves_ are actually given. They are soft white chords which rise from
the brain, the immediate residence of the mind, and disperse themselves in
branches through all parts of the body. They convey all the different
kinds of sensations to the mind in the brain; and likewise carry out from
thence all her commands to the other parts of the body. They are intended
to be occasional monitors against all such impressions as might endanger
the well-being of the whole, or of any particular part; which vindicates
the Creator of all things, in having actually subjected us to those many
disagreeable and painful sensations which we are exposed to from a
thousand accidents in life.

Moreover, the mind, in this corporeal system, must be endued with the
power of moving from place to place; that she may have intercourse with a
variety of objects; that she may fly from such as are disagreeable,
dangerous, or hurtful; and pursue such as are pleasant and useful to her.
And accordingly she is furnished with limbs, with _muscles_ and _tendons_,
the instruments of motion, which are found in every part of the fabric
where motion is necessary.

But to support, to give firmness and shape to the fabric; to keep the
softer parts in their proper places; to give fixed points for, and the
proper directions to its motions, as well as to protect some of the more
important and tender organs from external injuries, there must be some
firm _prop-work_ interwoven through the whole. And in fact, for such
purposes the _bones_ are given.

The prop-work is not made with one rigid fabric, for that would prevent
motion. Therefore there are a number of bones.

These pieces must all be firmly bound together, to prevent their
dislocation. And this end is perfectly well answered by the _ligaments_.

The extremities of these bony pieces, where they move and rub upon one
another, must have smooth and slippery surfaces for easy motion. This is
most happily provided for, by the _cartilages_ and _mucus_ of the joints.

The interstices of all these parts must be filled up with some soft and
ductile matter, which shall keep them in their places, unite them, and at
the same time allow them to move a little upon one another; these purposes
are answered by the _cellular membrane_, or edipose substance.

There must be an outward covering over the whole apparatus, both to give
it compactness, and to defend it from a thousand injuries; which, in fact,
are the very purposes of the _skin_ and other integuments.

  Say, what the various bones so wisely wrought?
  How was their frame to such perfection brought?
  What did their figures for their uses fit,
  Their numbers fix, and joints adapted knit;
  And made them all in that just order stand,
  Which motion, strength, and ornament, demand?
                                        _Blackmore._

Lastly, the mind being formed for society and intercourse with beings of
her own kind, she must be endued with powers of expressing and
communicating her thoughts by some sensible marks or signs, which shall be
both easy to herself, and admit of great variety. And accordingly she is
provided with the _organs_ and faculty of _speech_, by which she can throw
out signs with amazing facility, and vary them without end.

Thus we have built up an animal body, which would seem to be pretty
complete; but as it is the nature of matter to be altered and worked upon
by matter, so in a very little time such a living creature must be
destroyed, if there is no provision for repairing the injuries which she
must commit upon herself, and those which she must be exposed to from
without. Therefore a treasure of blood is actually provided in the heart
and vascular system, full of nutritious and healing particles; fluid
enough to penetrate into the minutest parts of the animal; impelled by the
heart, and conveyed by the arteries, it washes every part, builds up what
was broken down, and sweeps away the old and useless materials. Hence we
see the necessity or advantage of the _heart_ and _arterial system_.

What more there was of the blood than enough to repair the present damages
of the machine, must not be lost, but should be returned again to the
heart; and for this purpose the _venous_ system is provided. These
requisites in the animal explain the circulation of the blood, _a
priori_.[1]

All this provision, however, would not be sufficient; for the store of
blood would soon be consumed, and the fabric would break down, if there
was not a provision made by fresh supplies. These, we observe, in fact,
are profusely scattered round her in the animal and vegetable kingdoms;
and she is furnished with hands, the fittest instruments that could be
contrived for gathering them, and for preparing them in their varieties
for the mouth.

But these supplies, which we call food, must be considerably changed; they
must be converted into blood. Therefore she is provided with teeth for
cutting and bruising the food, and with a stomach for melting it down; in
short, with all the organs subservient to digestion: the finer parts of
the aliments only can be useful in the constitution; these must be taken
up and conveyed into the blood, and the dregs must be thrown off. With
this view, the intestinal canal is provided. It separates the nutritious
parts, which we call chyle, to be conveyed into the blood by the system of
the absorbent vessels; and the coarser parts pass downwards to be ejected.

We have now got our animal not only furnished with what is wanting for
immediate existence, but also with powers of protracting that existence to
an indefinite length of time. But its duration, we may presume, must
necessarily be limited; for as it is nourished, grows, and is raised up to
its full strength and utmost perfection; so it must in time, in common
with all material beings, begin to decay, and then hurry on into final
ruin.

Thus we see, by the imperfect survey which human reason is able to take of
this subject, that the animal man must necessarily be complex in his
corporeal system, and in its operations.

He must have one great and general system, the vascular, branching through
the whole circulation: another, the nervous, with its appendages--the
organs of sense, for every kind of feeling: and a third, for the union and
connection of all these parts.

Besides these primary and general systems, he requires others, which may
be more local or confined: one, for strength, support, and
protection,--the bony compages: another, for the requisite motions of the
parts among themselves, as well as for moving from place to place,--the
muscular system: another to prepare nourishment for the daily recruit of
the body,--the digestive organs.

Dr. Paley observes, that, of all the different systems in the human body,
the use and necessity are not more apparent, than the wisdom and
contrivance which have been exerted, in putting them all into the most
compact and convenient form: in disposing them so, that they shall
mutually receive from, and give helps to one another: and that all, or
many of the parts, shall not only answer their principal end or purpose,
but operate successfully and usefully in a variety of secondary ways. If
we consider the whole animal machine in this light, and compare it with
any machine in which human art has exerted its utmost, we shall be
convinced, beyond the possibility of doubt, that there are intelligence
and power far surpassing what humanity can boast of.

One superiority in the natural machine is peculiarly striking.--In
machines of human contrivance or art, there is no internal power, no
principle in the machine itself, by which it can alter and accommodate
itself to injury which it may suffer, or make up any injury which admits
of repair. But in the natural machine, the animal body, this is most
wonderfully provided for, by internal powers in the machine itself; many
of which are not more certain and obvious in their effects, than they are
above all human comprehension as to the manner and means of their
operation. Thus, a wound heals up of itself; a broken bone is made firm
again by a callus; a dead part is separated and thrown off; noxious juices
are driven out by some of the emunctories; a redundancy is removed by some
spontaneous bleeding; a bleeding naturally stops of itself; and the loss
is in a measure compensated, by a contracting power in the vascular
system, which accommodates the capacity of the vessels to the quantity
contained. The stomach gives intimation when the supplies have been
expended; represents, with great exactness, the quantity and quality, of
what is wanted in the present state of the machine; and in proportion as
she meets with neglect, rises in her demand, urges her petition in a
louder tone, and with more forcible arguments. For its protection, an
animal body resists heat and cold in a very wonderful manner, and
preserves an equal temperature in a burning and in a freezing atmosphere.

A farther excellence or superiority in the natural machine, if possible,
still more astonishing, more beyond all human comprehension, than what we
have been speaking of, is the distinction of sexes, and the effects of
their united powers. Besides those internal powers of self-preservation in
each individual, when two of them, of different sexes, unite, they are
endued with powers of producing other animals or machines like themselves,
which again are possessed of the same powers of producing others, and so
of multiplying the species without end. These are powers which mock all
human invention or imitation. They are characteristics of the _Divine
Architect_.--Thus far Paley.

Galen takes notice, that there are in the human body above 600 muscles, in
each of which there are, at least, 10 several intentions, or due
qualifications, to be observed; so that, about the muscles alone, no less
than 6000 ends and aims are to be attended to! The bones are reckoned to
be 284; and the distinct scopes or intentions of these are above 40--in
all, about 12,000! and thus it is, in some proportion, with all the other
parts, the _skin_, _ligaments_, _vessels_, and _humours_; but more
especially with the several vessels, which do, in regard to their great
variety, and multitude of their several intentions, very much exceed the
homogeneous parts.

  --------------------How august,
  How complicate, how wonderful, is man!
  How passing wonder He who made him such!--
  From different natures marvellously mixt;--
  Though _sully'd_ and _dishonour'd_, still DIVINE!
                                        _Young._

  "Come! all ye nations! bless the LORD,
    To him your grateful homage pay:
  Your voices raise with one accord,
    JEHOVAH'S praises to display.

  From clay our complex frames he moulds,
    And succours us in time of need:
  Like sheep when wandering from their folds,
    He calls us back, and does us feed.

  Then thro' the world let's shout his praise,
    Ten thousand million tongues should join,
  To heav'n their thankful incense raise,
    And sound their MAKER'S love divine.

  When rolling years have ceas'd their rounds,
    Yet shall his goodness onward tend;
  For his great mercy has no bounds,
    His truth and love shall never end!"

So curious is the texture or form of the human body in every part, and
withal so "fearfully and wonderfully made," that even atheists, after
having carefully surveyed the frame of it, and viewed the fitness and
usefulness of its various parts, and their several intentions, have been
struck with wonder, and their souls kindled into devotion towards the
all-wise Maker of such a beautiful frame. And so convinced was Galen of
the excellency of this piece of divine workmanship, that he is said to
have allowed Epicurus a hundred years to find out a more commodious shape,
situation, or texture, for any one part of the human body! Indeed, no
understanding can be so low and mean, no heart so stupid and insensible,
as not plainly to see, that nothing but Infinite Wisdom could, in so
wonderful a manner, have fashioned the body of man, and inspired into it a
being of superior faculties, whereby He teacheth us more than the beasts
of the field, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of the heaven.

  --------------Thrice happy men,
  And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanc'd;
  Created in his image, here to dwell,
  And worship him; and, in return, to rule
  O'er all his works.
                                        _Milton._


We now proceed to consider THE CURIOSITIES OF THE HUMAN COUNTENANCE.--On
this subject we shall derive considerable assistance from the same German
philosopher that was quoted in the last section. Indeed, we shall make a
liberal use of Sturm's Reflections in our delineations of the Curiosities
of the human frame.

The exterior of the human body at once declares the superiority of man
over all living creatures. His _Face_, directed towards the heavens,
prepares us to expect that dignified expression which is so legibly
inscribed upon his features; and from the countenance of man we may judge
of his important destination, and high prerogatives. When the soul rests
in undisturbed tranquillity, the features of the face are calm and
composed; but when agitated by emotions, and tossed by contending
passions, the countenance becomes a living picture, in which every
sensation is depicted with equal force and delicacy. Each affection of the
mind has its particular impression, and every change of countenance
denotes some secret emotion of the heart. The _Eye_ may, in particular, be
regarded as the immediate organ of the soul; as a mirror, in which the
wildest passions and the softest affections are reflected without
disguise. Hence it may be called with propriety, the true interpreter of
the soul, and organ of the understanding. The colour and motions of the
eye contribute much to mark the character of the countenance. The human
eyes are, in proportion, nearer to one another than those of any other
living creatures; the space between the eyes of most of them being so
great, as to prevent their seeing an object with both their eyes at the
same time, unless it is placed at a great distance. Next to the eyes, the
eye-brows tend to fix the character of the countenance. Their colour
renders them particularly striking; they form the shade of the picture,
which thus acquires greater force of colouring. The eye-lashes, when long
and thick, give beauty and additional charms to the eye. No animals, but
men and monkeys, have both eye-lids ornamented with eye-lashes; other
creatures having them only on the lower eye-lid. The eye-brows are
elevated, depressed, and contracted, by means of the muscles upon the
forehead, which forms a very considerable part of the face, and adds much
to its beauty when well formed: it should neither project much, nor be
quite flat; neither very large, nor small; beautiful hair adds much to its
appearance. The _Nose_ is the most prominent, and least moveable part of
the face; hence it adds more to the beauty than the expression of the
countenance. The _Mouth_ and _Lips_ are, on the contrary, extremely
susceptible of changes; and, if the eyes express the passions of the soul,
the mouth seems more peculiarly to correspond with the emotions of the
heart. The rosy bloom of the lips, and the ivory white of the teeth,
complete the charms of the human face divine.

Another Curiosity on this subject is, the wonderful diversity of traits in
the human countenance. It is an evident proof of the admirable wisdom of
God, that though the bodies of men are so similar to each other in their
essential parts, there is yet such a diversity in their exterior, that
they can be readily distinguished without the liability of error. Amongst
the many millions of men existing in the universe, there are no two that
are perfectly similar to each other Each one has some peculiarity
pourtrayed in his countenance, or remarkable in his speech; and this
diversity of countenance is the more singular, because the parts which
compose it are very few, and in each person are disposed according to the
same plan. If all things had been produced by blind chance, the
countenances of men might have resembled one another as nearly as balls
cast in the same mould, or drops of water out of the same bucket: but as
that is not the case, we must admire the infinite wisdom of the Creator,
which, in thus diversifying the traits of the human countenance, has
manifestly had in view the happiness of men; for if they resembled each
other perfectly, they could not be distinguished from one another, to the
utter confusion and detriment of society. We should never be certain of
life, nor of the peaceable possession of our property; thieves and robbers
would run little risk of detection, for they could neither be
distinguished by the traits of their countenance, nor the sound of their
voice. Adultery, and every crime that stains humanity, might be practiced
with impunity, since the guilty would rarely be discovered; and we should
be continually exposed to the machinations of the villain, and the
malignity of the coward: we could not shelter ourselves from the confusion
of the mistake, nor from the treachery and fraud of the deceitful; all the
efforts of justice would be useless, and commerce would be the prey of
error and uncertainty: in short, the uniformity and perfect similarity of
faces would deprive society of its most endearing charms, and destroy the
pleasure and sweet gratification of individual friendship.

We may well exclaim with a celebrated writer,--

    "What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in
    faculties! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action,
    how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god!"


The next subject is, THE CURIOUS FORMATION OF THE EYE.--The _Eye_
infinitely surpasses all the works of man's industry. Its structure is one
of the most wonderful things the human understanding can become acquainted
with; the most skilful artist cannot devise any machine of this kind which
is not infinitely inferior to the eye; whatever ability, industry, and
attention he may devote to it, he will not be able to produce a work that
does not abound with the imperfections incident to the works of men. It is
true, we cannot perfectly become acquainted with all the art the Divine
Wisdom has displayed in the structure of this beautiful organ; but the
little that we know suffices to convince us of the admirable intelligence,
goodness, and power of the Creator. In the first place, how fine is the
disposition of the exterior parts of the eye, how admirably it is
defended! Placed in durable orbits of bone, at a certain depth in the
skull, they cannot easily suffer any injury; the over-arching eye-brows
contribute much to the beauty and preservation of this exquisite organ;
and the eye-lids more immediately shelter it from the glare of light, and
other things which might be prejudicial; inserted in these are the
eye-lashes, which also much contribute to the above effect, and also
prevent small particles of dust, and other substances, striking against
the eye.[2] The internal structure is still more admirable. The globe of
the eye is composed of tunics, humours, muscles, and vessels; the coats
are the cornea, or exterior membrane, which is transparent anteriorly, and
opake posteriorly; the charoid, which is extremely vascular; the uvea,
with the iris, which being of various colours, gives the appearance of
differently coloured eyes; and being perforated, with the power of
contraction and dilatation, forms the pupil; and, lastly, the retina,
being a fine expansion of the optic nerve, upon it the impressions of
objects are made. The humours are the aqueous, lying in the forepart of
the globe, immediately under the cornea; it is thin, liquid, and
transparent; the crystalline, which lies next to the aqueous, behind the
uvea, opposite to the pupil, it is the least of the humours, of great
solidity, and on both sides convex; the vitreous, resembling the white of
an egg, fills all the hind part of the cavity of the globe, and gives the
spherical figure to the eye. The muscles of the eye are six, and by the
excellence of their arrangement it is enabled to move in all directions.
Vision is performed by the rays of light falling on the pellucid and
convex cornea of the eye, by the density and convexity of which they are
united into a focus, which passes the aqueous humours, and pupil of the
eye, to be more condensed by the crystalline lens. The rays of light thus
concentrated, penetrate the vitreous humour, and stimulate the retina upon
which the images of objects, painted in an inverse direction, are
represented to the mind through the medium of the optic nerves.

  ------------------The _visual orbs_
  Remark, how aptly station'd for their task;
  Rais'd to th' imperial head's high citadel,
  A wide extended prospect to command.
  See the arch'd outworks of impending lids,
  With hairs, as palisadoes fenc'd around
  To _ward annoyance_ from without.
                                      _Bally._

Again:--

  Who form'd the curious organ of the _eye_,
  And cloth'd it with its various tunicles,
  Of texture exquisite; with crystal juice
  Supply'd it, to transmit the rays of light;
  Then plac'd it in its station eminent,
  Well _fenc'd_ and _guarded_, as a _centinel_
  To watch abroad, and needful caution give?
                                      _Needler._


The next subject is, THE CURIOUS STRUCTURE OF THE EAR.

  The channel'd ear, with many a winding maze,
  How artfully perplex'd, to catch the sound.
  And from her repercussive caves augment!
                                      _Bally._

  Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
  The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
  Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
  It pays the HEARING--_double recompense_.
                                      _Shakspeare._

Although the ear, with regard to beauty, yields to the eye, its
conformation is not less perfect, nor less worthy of the Creator. The
position of the ear bespeaks much wisdom; for it is placed in the most
convenient part of the body, near to the brain, the common seat of all the
senses. The exterior form of the ear merits considerable attention; its
substance is between the flexible softness of flesh, and the firmness of
bone, which prevents the inconvenience that must arise from its being
either entirely muscular or wholly formed of solid bone. It is therefore
cartilaginous, possessing firmness, folds, and smoothness, so adapted as
to reflect sound; for the chief use of the external part is to collect the
vibrations of the air, and transmit them to the orifice of the ear. The
internal structure of this organ is still more remarkable. Within the
cavity of the ear is an opening, called the meatus auditorius, or auditory
canal, the entrance to which is defended by small hairs, which prevent
insects and small particles of extraneous matter penetrating into it; for
which purpose there is also secreted a bitter ceruminous matter, called
ear-wax. The auditory canal is terminated obliquely by a membrane,
generally known by the name of drum, which instrument it in some degree
resembles; for within the cavity of the auditory canal is a kind of bony
ring, over which the membrana tympani is stretched. In contact with this
membrane, on the inner side, is a small bone (malleus) against which it
strikes when agitated by the vibrations of sound. Connected with these
are two small muscles: one, by stretching the membrane, adapts it to be
more easily acted upon by soft and low sounds; the other, by relaxing,
prepares it for those which are very loud. Besides the malleus, there are
some other very small and remarkable bones, called incus, or the anvil, as
orbiculare, or orbicular bone, and the stapes, or stirrup: their use is,
to assist in conveying the sounds received upon the membrana tympani.
Behind the cavity of the drum, is an opening, called the Eustachian tube,
which begins at the back part of the mouth with an orifice, which
diminishes in size as the tube passes towards the ear, where it becomes
bony; by this means, sounds may be conveyed to the ear through the mouth,
and it facilitates the vibrations of the membrane by the admission of air.
We may next observe the cochlea, which somewhat resembles the shell of a
snail, whence its name; its cavity winds in a spiral direction, and is
divided into two by a thin spiral lamina: and lastly is the auditory
nerve, which terminates in the brain. The faculty of hearing is worthy of
the utmost admiration and attention: by putting in motion a very small
portion of air, without even being conscious of its moving, we have the
power of communicating to each other our thoughts, desires, and
conceptions. But to render the action of air in the propagation of sound
more intelligible, we must recollect that the air is not a solid, but a
fluid body. Throw a stone into a smooth stream of water, and there will
take place undulations, which will be extended more or less according to
the degree of force with which the stone was impelled. Conceive then, that
when a word is uttered in the air, a similar effect takes place in that
element, as is produced by the stone in the water. During the action of
speaking, the air is expelled from the mouth with more or less force; this
communicates to the external air which it meets, an undulatory motion; and
these undulations of the air entering the cavity of the ear, the external
parts of which are peculiarly adapted to receive them, strike upon the
membrane, or drum, by which means it is shaken, and receives a trembling
motion: the vibration is communicated to the malleus, the bone immediately
in contact with the membrane, and from it to the other bones; the last of
which, the stapes or stirrup, adhering to the fenestra ovalis, or oval
orifice, causes it to vibrate; the trembling of which is communicated to a
portion of water contained in the cavity called the vestibulum, and in the
semicircular canals, causing a gentle tremor in the nervous expansion
contained therein, which is transmitted to the brain; and the mind is thus
informed of the presence of sound, and feels a sensation proportioned to
the force or to the weakness of the impression that is made. Let us
rejoice that we possess the faculty of hearing; for without it, our state
would be most wretched and deplorable; in some respects, more sorrowful
than the loss of sight; had we been born deaf, we could not have acquired
knowledge sufficient to enable us to pursue any art or science. Let us
never behold those who have the misfortune to be deaf, without endeavoring
better to estimate the gift of which they are deprived, and which we
enjoy; or without praising the goodness of God, which has granted it to
us: and the best way we can testify our gratitude is, to make a proper use
of this important blessing.


We now proceed to a more particular description of THE CURIOSITIES OF THE
HUMAN HEART; AND THE CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD.

  ------Though no shining sun, nor twinkling star
  Bedeck'd the crimson curtains of the sky;
  Though neither vegetable, beast, nor bird,
  Were extant on the surface of this ball,
  Nor lurking gem beneath; though the great sea
  Slept in profound stagnation, and the air
  Had left no thunder to pronounce its Maker:
  Yet Man at home, _within himself_ might find
  The Deity immense, and in that frame
  _So fearfully, so wonderfully made_!
  See and adore his providence and power.
                                        _Smart._

With what admirable skill and inimitable structure is formed that muscular
body, situated within the cavity of the chest, and called the human heart!
Its figure is somewhat conical, and it is externally divided into two
parts: the base, which is uppermost, and attached to vessels; and the
apex, which is loose and pointing to the left side, against which it seems
to beat. Its substance is muscular, being composed of fleshy fibres,
interwoven with each other. It is divided internally into cavities, called
auricles and ventricles; from which vessels proceed to convey the blood to
the different parts of the body. The ventricles are situated in the
substance of the heart, and are separated from each other by a thick
muscular substance; they are divided into right and left, and each
communicates with its adjoining auricle, one of which is situated on each
side the base of the heart. The right auricle receives the blood from the
head and superior parts of the body, by means of a large vein; and in the
same manner the blood is returned to it from the inferior parts, by all
the veins emptying their stores into one, which terminates in this cavity;
which, having received a sufficient portion of blood, contracts, and by
this motion empties itself into the right ventricle, which also
contracting, propels the blood into an artery, which immediately conveys
it into the lungs, where it undergoes certain changes, and then passes
through veins into the left auricle of the heart, thence into the left
ventricle, by the contraction of which it is forced into an artery,
through whose ramifications it is dispersed to all parts of the body, from
which it is again returned to the right auricle; thus keeping up a
perpetual circulation, for, whilst life remains, the action of the heart
never ceases. In a state of health the heart contracts about seventy times
in a minute, and is supposed, at each contraction, to propel about two
ounces of blood; to do which, the force it exerts is very considerable,
though neither the quantity of force exerted, nor of blood propelled, is
accurately determined. The heart comprises within itself a world of
wonders, and whilst we admire its admirable structure and properties, we
are naturally led to consider the wisdom and power of Him who formed it,
from whom first proceeded the circulation of the blood, and the pulsations
of the heart; who commands it to be still, and the functions instantly
cease to act.

This important secret of the circulation of blood in the human body was
brought to light by William Harvey, an English physician, a little before
the year 1600: and when it is considered thoroughly, it will appear to be
one of the most stupendous works of OMNIPOTENCE.

  _The blood_, the fountain whence the spirits flow,
  The generous stream that waters every part,
  And motion, vigour, and warm life conveys
  To every particle that moves or lives,
  ----------------through unnumber'd tube.
  _Pour'd by the heart_, and _to the heart again
  Refunded_.----------
                                        _Armstrong._

  Who in the dark the vital flame illum'd,
  And from th' impulsive engine caused to flow
  Th' ejaculated streams through many a pipe
  _Arterial_ with meand'ring lapse, then bring
  Refluent their _purple tribute_ to their fount:
  Who spun the _sinews'_ branchy thread, and twin'd
  The azure _veins_ in spiral knots, to waft
  Life's tepid waves all o'er; or, who with _bones_
  Compacted, and with nerves the fabric strung:
  Their specious form, their fitness, which results
  From figure and arrangement, all declare
  Th' Artificer Divine!
                                        _Bally._

Again:--

  ------The nerves, with equal wisdom made.
  Arising from the tender brain, pervade
  And secret pass in pairs the channel'd bone.
  And thence advance through paths and roads unknown.
  Form'd of the finest complicated thread,
  The num'rous cords are through the body spread.
  These subtle channels, such is every nerve,
  For vital functions, sense, and motion serve;--
  They help to labour and concoct the _food_,
  Refine the _chyle_, and animate the _blood_.
                                        _Blackmore._


We now proceed to some CURIOUS AND INTERESTING FACTS CONCERNING
RESPIRATION, OR THE ACT OF BREATHING.

Anatomists have, not unaptly, compared the lungs to a sponge; containing,
like it, a great number of small cavities, and being also capable of
considerable compression and expansion. The air cells of the lungs open
into the windpipe, by which they communicate with the external atmosphere:
the whole internal structure of the lungs is lined by a transparent
membrane, estimated by Haller at only the thousandth part of an inch in
thickness; but whose surface, from its various convolutions, measures
fifteen square feet, which is equal to the external surface of the body.
On this extensive and thin membrane innumerable branches of veins and
arteries are distributed, some of them finer than hairs; and through these
vessels all the blood in the system is successively propelled, by an
extremely curious and beautiful mechanism, which will be described in some
future article.

The capacity of the lungs varies considerably in different individuals.[3]
On a general average, they may be said to contain about 280 cubic inches,
or nearly five quarts of air. By each inspiration about forty cubic inches
of air are received into the lungs, and at each expiration the same
quantity is discharged. If, therefore, we calculate that twenty
respirations take place in a minute, and forty cubic inches to be the
amount of each inspiration, it follows, that in one minute, we inhale 800
cubic inches; in an hour, the quantity of air inspired will be 48,000
cubic inches; and in the twenty-four hours, it will amount to 1,152,000
cubic inches. This quantity of air will almost fill 78 wine hogsheads, and
would weigh nearly 53 pounds. From this admirable provision of nature, by
which the blood is made to pass in review, as it were, of this immense
quantity of air, and over so extensive a surface, it seems obvious, that
these two fluids are destined to exert some very important influence on
each other; and it has been proved, by a very decisive experiment of Dr.
Priestley's, that the extremely thin membrane, which is alone interposed,
does not prevent the exercise of the chemical affinity which prevails
between the air which is received in the lungs, and the blood which is
incessantly circulating through them. It must surely, therefore, be of the
first importance to health, that the fluid of which we hourly inhale, at
least, three hogsheads, should not be contaminated by the suspension of
noxious effluvia.

The purity of the atmosphere may be impaired either by the operation of
what some denominate natural causes, or by the influence of circumstances
resulting from our social condition. Its chemical constitution is changed
by respiration; the vital principle is destroyed, and its place supplied
by a highly poisonous gas.

The emanations from the surface of our bodies contribute, in a still
greater degree, to vitiate the atmosphere, and to render it less fit for
the healthful support of life. Many of the organs which compose our
wonderfully complicated frame are engaged in discharging the constituent
parts of our bodies, which, by the exercise of the various animal
functions, are become useless, and, if retained, would become noxious.
Physiologists have instituted a variety of experiments, to ascertain the
amount of the exhalations from the surface of the body. Sanctorius, an
eminent Italian physician, from a series of experiments performed during a
period of thirty years, estimates it as greater than the aggregate of all
our other discharges. From his calculations it would appear, that if we
take of liquid and solid food eight pounds in the twenty-four hours, that
five pounds are discharged by perspiration alone, within that period; and
of this, the greater part is what has been denominated insensible
perspiration, from its not being cognizable to the senses. We may estimate
the discharge from the surface of the body, by sensible and insensible
perspiration, as from half an ounce to four ounces per hour.

The exhalations from the lungs and the skin are, to a certain extent,
offensive even in the most healthy individuals; but when proceeding from
those labouring under disease, they are in a state very little removed
from putrefaction.

Animal miasmata, like all other poison, become more active in proportion
to the quantity which we imbibe. When, therefore, the air is stagnant, and
when many individuals contribute their respective supplies of effluvia to
vitiate it, the atmosphere necessarily becomes satured with the poison;
and when inhaled, conveys it in a more virulent and concentrated state to
the extensive and delicate surface of the lungs.

The collection of animal effluvia in confined places, is the source of the
generation and diffusion of febrile infection: but when the miasmata are
respired, in a diluted state, the ill effects which they produce, though
slower in their operation, are equally certain. They, to a certain extent,
pollute the fountain of life, and ultimately break down the vigour of the
most robust frame; impairing the action of the digestive organs,
engendering the whole train of nervous disorders, and rendering the body
more susceptible of disease.

The lungs and the skin may equally become the means of introducing
poisonous or infectious matter into the constitution. The venom of a
poisonous animal, the matter of small-pox, and many other contagions,
produce their influence through the medium of the skin. Infectious
diseases are communicated by the reception of air in our lungs,
impregnated with contagious matter. The influence of the constant
respiration of air in any degree impure, is fully evinced in the pallid
countenances and languid frames of those who live in confined and
ill-ventilated places; and the health of all classes of society suffers
precisely in proportion to the susceptibility of their constitutions, and
according to the greater or less impurities of the air which they
habitually respire.

Of the offensive nature of animal effluvia, the senses of every one who
enters a crowded assembly, must immediately convince him. When, therefore,
we reflect on the state of the air which we breathe in churches, theatres,
schools, and all crowded assemblies; and when we consider the amount of
the exhalations emitted by each individual, and the very offensive nature
of those emitted by many; and when, on the other hand, we take into
consideration the importance of air to life, and the great quantity of
this fluid which we daily respire, we must be naturally led to the
adoption of such measures as would secure in our private dwellings, as
well as in our public buildings, a full and unintermitting supply of fresh
atmospheric air.

It is curious to observe the influence of habit, in reconciling us to many
practices which would otherwise be considered in the highest degree
offensive. Thus, while, with a fastidious delicacy, we avoid drinking from
a cup which has been already pressed to the lips of our friends, we feel
no hesitation in receiving into our lungs an atmosphere contaminated by
the breath and exhalations of every promiscuous assembly.

  "Were once the energy of air deny'd,
  The heart would cease to pour its purple tide
  The purple tide forget its wonted play,
  Nor back again pursue its curious way."


The next Subject of Curiosity we shall consider, is, THE HAIR OF THE HEAD.

If we consider the curious structure, and different uses of the hair of
our heads, we shall find them very well worth our attention, and discover
in them proofs of the wisdom and power of God.

In each entire hair we perceive with the naked eye, an oblong slender
filament, and a bulb at the extremity thicker and more transparent than
the rest of the hair. The filament forms the body of the hair, and the
bulb the root. The large hairs have their root, and even part of the
filament, enclosed in a small membraneous vessel or capsule. The size of
this sheath is proportionate to the size of the root, being always rather
larger, that the root may not be too much confined, and that some space
may remain between it and the capsule. The root or bulb has two parts, the
one external, the other internal. The external is a pellicle composed of
small laminæ; the internal is a glutinous fluid, in which some fibres are
united; it is the marrow of the root. From the external part of the bulb
proceed five, and sometimes, though rarely, six small white threads, very
delicate and transparent, and often twice as long as the root. Besides
these threads, small knots are seen rising in different places; they are
viscous, and easily dissolved by heat. From the interior part of the bulb
proceeds the body of the hair, composed of three parts; the external
sheath, the interior tubes, and the marrow.

When the hair has arrived at the pore of the skin through which it is to
pass, it is strongly enveloped by the pellicle of the root, which forms
here a very small tube. The hair then pushes the cuticle before it, and
makes of it an external sheath, which defends it at the time when it is
still very soft. The rest of the covering of the hair, is a peculiar
substance, and particularly transparent at the point. In a young hair this
sheath is very soft, but in time becomes so hard and elastic, that it
springs back with some noise when it is cut. It preserves the hair a long
time. Immediately beneath the sheath are several small fibres, which
extend themselves along the hair from the root to the extremity. These are
united amongst themselves, and with the sheath that is common to them, by
several elastic threads; and these bundles of fibres form together a tube
filled with two substances; the one fluid, the other solid; and these
constitute the marrow of the hair.

The wonders of creating power are seen in every thing, even in the hair
that adorns our surface.

  All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
  Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
  That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same;
  Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame;
  Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
  Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
  Lives thro' all life, extends thro' all extent,
  Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
  Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
  As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
  As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
  As the rapt seraph that adores and burns:
  To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
  He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
                                          _Pope._

We shall now introduce to our readers some _Ancient and Modern Opinions
respecting the Hair_.

The ancients held the hair a sort of excrement, fed only with
excrementitious matters, and no proper part of a living body. They
supposed it generated of the fuliginous parts of the blood, exhaled by the
heat of the body to the surface, and then condensed in passing through the
pores. Their chief reasons were, that the hair being cut, will grow again,
even in extreme old age, and when life is very low; that in hectic and
consumptive people, where the rest of the body is continually emaciating,
the hair thrives; nay, that it will even grow again in dead carcases. They
added, that hair does not feed and grow like the other parts, by
introsusception, i. e. by a juice circulating within it, but, like the
nails, by juxtaposition. But the moderns are agreed, that every hair
properly and truly lives, and receives nutriment to fill it, like the
other parts; which they prove hence, that the roots do not turn grey in
aged persons sooner than the extremities, but the whole changes colour at
once; which shews that there is a direct communication, and that all the
parts are affected alike. In strict propriety, however, it must be
allowed, that the life and growth of hairs is of a different kind from
that of the rest of the body, and is not immediately derived therefrom, or
reciprocated therewith. It is rather of the nature of vegetation. They
grow as plants do, or as some plants shoot from the parts of others; from
which, though they draw their nourishment, yet each has, as it were, its
distinct life and economy. They derive their food from some juices in the
body, but not from the nutritious juices of the body; whence they may
live, though the body be starved. Wulferus, in the _Philosophical
Collections_, gives an account of a woman buried at Nurenberg, whose grave
being opened forty-three years after her death, hair was found issuing
forth plentifully through the clefts of the coffin. The cover being
removed, the whole corpse appeared in its perfect shape; but, from the
crown of the head to the sole of the foot, covered over with thick-set
hair, long and curled. The sexton going to handle the upper part of the
head with his fingers, the whole fell at once, leaving nothing in his hand
but a handful of hair: there was neither skull nor any other bone left:
yet the hair was solid and strong. Mr. Arnold, in the same collection,
gives a relation of a man hanged for theft, who, in a little time, while
he yet hung upon the gallows, had his body strangely covered over with
hair.

Before we dismiss this subject, we shall give the following curious
_Instances of the Internal Growth of Hair_.

Though the external surface of the body is the natural place for hairs, we
have many well-attested instances of their being found also on the
internal surface. Amatus Lusitanus mentions a person who had hair upon his
tongue. Pliny and Valerius Maximus say, that the heart of Aristomenes the
Messenian, was hairy. Cællus Rhodiginus relates the same of Hermogenes the
rhetorician; and Plutarch, of Leonidas king of Sparta. Hairs are said to
have been found in the breasts of women, and to have occasioned the
distemper called _trichiasis_; but some authors are of opinion, that these
are small worms, and not hairs. There have been, however, various and
indisputable evidences of hairs found in the kidneys, and voided by
natural discharge. Hippocrates says, that the glandular parts are the most
subject to hair; but bundles of hair have been found in the muscular parts
of beef, and in parts of the human body equally firm. Hair has been often
found in abscesses and imposthumations. Schultetus, opening the abdomen of
a human body, found twelve pints of water, and a large lock of hair
swimming loosely in it. It has, however, been found on examination, that
some of the internal parts of the body are more subject to an unnatural
growth of hair than others. This has long been known to anatomists; and
many memorable instances have been recorded by Dr. Tyson, and others. In
some animals, hairs of a considerable length have been discovered growing
in the internal parts; and on several occasions, they have been found
lying loosely in the cavities of the veins. There are instances of mankind
being affected in the same manner. Cardan relates, that he found hair in
the blood of a Spaniard; Slonatius, in that of a gentlewoman of Cracovia;
and Schultetus declares, from his own observation, that those people, who
are afflicted with the plica polonica, have very often hair in their
blood.


We shall, in the next place, call the reader's attention to some CURIOUS
REMARKS CONCERNING THE BEARD.

A beard gives to the countenance a rough and fierce air, suited to the
manners of a rough and fierce people. The same face without a beard
appears milder; for which reason, a beard becomes unfashionable in a
polished nation. Demosthenes, the orator, lived in the same period with
Alexander the Great, at which time the Greeks began to leave off beards. A
bust, however, of that orator, found in Herculaneum, has a beard, which
must either have been done for him when he was young, or from reluctance
in an old man to a new fashion. Barbers were brought to Rome from Sicily,
the 454th year after the building of Rome. And it must relate to a time
after that period, what Aulus Gellius says, that people accused of any
crime were prohibited to shave their beards till they were absolved. From
Hadrian downward, the Roman emperors wore beards. Julius Capitolinus
reproaches the Emperor Verus for cutting his beard at the instigation of a
concubine. All the Roman generals wore beards in Justinian's time. The
pope shaved his beard, which was held a manifest apostasy by the Greek
church, because Moses, Jesus Christ, and even God the Father, were always
drawn with beards by the Greek and Latin painters. Upon the dawn of smooth
manners in France, the beaus cut the beards into shapes, and curled the
whiskers. That fashion produced a whimsical effect: men of gravity left
off beards altogether. A beard, in its natural shape, was too fierce even
for them; and they could not, for shame, copy after the beaus. This
accounts for a regulation, anno 1534, of the University of Paris,
forbidding the professors to wear a beard.


Now follows, _A curious account of_ WOMEN _with Beards_.

Of women remarkably bearded we have several instances. In the cabinet of
curiosities at Stutgard, in Germany, there is the portrait of a young
woman, called _Bartel Graetje_, whose chin is covered with a very large
beard. She was drawn in 1787, at which time she was but twenty-five years
of age. There is likewise, in another cabinet, the same portrait of her
when she was more advanced in life, but likewise with a beard. It is said,
that the Duke of Saxony had the portrait of a poor Swiss woman taken,
remarkable for her long bushy beard; and those who were at the carnival of
Venice in 1726, saw a female dancer astonish the spectators, not more by
her talents, than by her chin covered with a black bushy beard. Charles
XII. had in his army a female grenadier, who wanted neither courage nor a
beard to be a man. She was taken at the battle of Pultowa, and carried to
Petersburg, where she was presented to the czar, in 1724: her beard
measured a yard and a half. We read in the Trevoux Dictionary, that there
was a woman seen at Paris, who had not only a bushy beard on her face, but
her body likewise covered all over with hair. Among a number of other
examples of this nature, that of the great Margaret, the governess of the
Netherlands, is very remarkable. She had a very long stiff beard, which
she prided herself on: and being persuaded that it contributed to give her
an air of majesty, she took care not to lose a hair of it. It is said,
that the Lombard women, when they were at war, made themselves beards with
the hair of their heads, which they ingeniously arranged on their cheeks,
that the enemy, deceived by the likeness, might take them for men. It is
asserted, after Suidas, that in a similar case the Athenian women did as
much. These women were more men than our _Jemmy-Tessamy_ countrymen. About
a century ago, the French ladies adopted a mode of dressing their hair in
such a manner, that curls hung down their cheeks as far as their bosom.
These curls went by the name of _whiskers_. This custom, undoubtedly, was
not invented after the example of the Lombard women, to fight men.


We shall close this chapter with some curious observations ON SNEEZING.

The practice of saluting the person who sneezed existed in Africa, among
nations unknown to the Greeks and Romans. Strada, in his _Account of
Monomotapa_, informs us, (_Prol. Acad._) that when the prince sneezes, all
his subjects in the capital are advertised of it, that they may offer up
prayers for his safety. The author of the conquest of Peru assures us,
that the cacique of Gachoia having sneezed in the presence of the
Spaniards, the Indians of his train fell prostrate before him, stretched
forth their hands, and displayed to him the accustomed marks of respect,
while they invoked the sun to enlighten him, to defend him, and to be his
constant guard. The ancient Romans saluted each other on these occasions:
and Pliny relates, that Tiberius exacted these signs of homage when drawn
in his chariot. Superstition, whose influence debases every thing, had
degraded this custom for several ages, by attaching favourable or
unfavourable omens to sneezing, according to the hour of the day or night,
according to the signs of the zodiac, according as a work was more or less
advanced, or according as one had sneezed to the right or to the left. If
a man sneezed at rising from table, or from his bed, it was necessary for
him to sit or lie down again. 'You are struck with astonishment,' said
Timotheus to the Athenians, who wished to return into the harbour with
their fleet, because he had sneezed; 'you are struck with astonishment,
because among ten thousand there is one man whose brain is moist.' It is
singular enough, that so many ridiculous, contradictory, and superstitious
opinions, have not abolished those customary civilities which are still
preserved equally among high and low. The reason is obvious: they are
preserved, because they are esteemed civilities, and because they cost
nothing. Among the Greeks, sneezing was almost always a good omen. It
excited marks of tenderness, of respect, and attachment. The young
Parthenis, hurried on by her passion, resolved to write to Sarpedon an
avowal of her love; she sneezes in the most tender and impassioned part of
her letter: this is sufficient for her; this incident supplies the place
of an answer, and persuades her that Sarpedon is her lover. Penelope,
harassed by the vexatious courtship of her suitors, begins to curse them
all, and to pour forth vows for the return of Ulysses. Her son Telemachus
interrupts her by a loud sneeze. She instantly exults with joy, and
regards this sign as an assurance of the approaching return of her
husband. (_Hom. Odyss._ lib. xvii.). Xenophon was haranguing his troops; a
soldier sneezed in the moment when he was exhorting them to embrace a
dangerous but necessary resolution. The whole army, moved by this presage,
determined to pursue the project of their general; and Xenophon orders
sacrifices to Jupiter the preserver. This superstitious reverence for
sneezing, so ancient, and so universal even in the times of Homer, excited
the curiosity of the Greek philosophers, and of the rabbins. These last
have a most absurd tradition respecting it. Aristotle remounts likewise to
the sources of natural religion, because the brain is the origin of the
nerves, of our sentiments, sensations, &c. Such were the opinions of the
most ancient and sagacious philosophers of Greece; and mythologists
affirmed, that the first sign of life Prometheus's artificial man gave,
was by sternutation.



CHAP. II.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _Difference between the Sexes--Comparative Number of the Sexes at a
    Birth--Extraordinary Prolification--Extraordinary Instances of Rapid
    Growth--Giants--Dwarfs--Kimos--Curious Account of the
    Abderites--Account of a Country in which the Inhabitants reside in
    Trees._


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SEXES.

  O woman, lovely woman! Nature made you
  To temper man!------------
  Angels are painted fair to look like you.
  There's in you all that we believe of heav'n,
  Amazing brightness, purity, and truth,
  Eternal joy, and everlasting love!
                                        _Otway._

  Under his forming hands a creature grew;
  --------------------------------adorn'd
  With what all earth or heaven could bestow,
  To make her amiable.----
  Grace was in all her steps, heav'n in her eye,
  In every gesture dignity and love.
                                        _Milton._

Lavater has drawn the following characteristic distinctions between the
male and female of the human species. The primary matter of which women
are constituted, appears to be more flexible, irritable, and elastic, than
that of man. They are formed to maternal mildness and affection; all their
organs are tender, yielding, easily wounded, sensible, and receptible.
Among a thousand females, there is scarcely one without the generic
feminine signs,--the flexible, the circular, and the irritable. They are
the counterpart of man, taken out of man, to be subject to man; to
comfort him like angels; and to lighten his cares. This tenderness, this
sensibility, this light texture of their fibres and organs, this
volatility of feeling, render them so easy to conduct and to tempt, so
ready of submission to the enterprise and power of the man; but more
powerful, through the aid of their charms, than man with all his strength.
The female thinks not profoundly; profound thought is the power of the
man. Women feel more. SENSIBILITY is the power of woman: they often rule
more effectually, more sovereignly, than man. They rule with tender looks,
tears, and sighs, but not with passion and threats; for if, or _when_,
they so rule, they are no longer _women_ but _abortions_. They are capable
of the sweetest sensibility, the most profound emotion, the utmost
humility, and the excess of enthusiasm. In their countenance are the signs
of sanctity and inviolability, which every feeling man honours, and the
effects of which are often miraculous. Therefore, by the irritability of
their nerves, their incapacity for deep inquiry and firm decision, they
may easily, from their extreme sensibility, become the most irreclaimable,
the most rapturous enthusiasts. Their love, strong and rooted as it is, is
very changeable; their hatred almost incurable. Men are most profound;
women are more sublime. Man hears the bursting thunder, views the
destructive bolt with serene aspect, and stands erect amidst the fearful
majesty of the streaming clouds; woman trembles at the lightning, and the
voice of distant thunder; and sinks into the arms of man. Woman is in
anguish when man weeps, and in despair when man is in anguish; yet has she
often more faith than man. Man, without religion, is a diseased creature,
who would persuade himself he is well, and needs not a physician; but
women without religion are monstrous. A woman with a beard is not so
disgusting as a woman who is a free-thinker; her sex is formed to piety
and religion: to them Christ first appeared. The whole world is forgotten
in the emotion caused by the presence and proximity of him they love. They
sink into the most incurable melancholy, as they also rise to the most
enraptured heights. Male sensations is more imagination, female more
heart. When communicative, they are more communicative than man; when
secret, more secret. In general they are more patient, long-suffering,
credulous, benevolent, and modest. They differ also in their interior form
and appearance. Man is the most firm; woman is the most flexible. Man is
the straightest; woman the most bending. Man is serious; woman is gay. Man
is the tallest and broadest; woman the smallest and weakest. Man is rough
and hard; woman smooth and soft. Man is brown; woman is fair. Man is
wrinkly; woman is not. The hair of man is more strong and short; of woman
more long and pliant. The eye-brows of man are compressed; and of woman
less frowning. Man has most convex lines; woman most concave. Man has most
straight lines; woman most curved. The countenance of man, taken in
profile, is more seldom perpendicular than that of woman. Man is most
angular; woman most round.

In determining the comparative merit of the two sexes, if it should be
found (what is indeed the fact) that women fill up their appointed circle
of action with greater regularity than men, the claim of preference must
decide in their favour. In the prudential and economical parts of life,
they rise far above us.


The following is a very curious calculation of THE COMPARATIVE NUMBER OF
THE SEXES AT A BIRTH.

The celebrated M. Hufeland, of Berlin, has inserted in his Journal of
Practical Medicine, some interesting observations in illustration of the
comparative numbers of the sexes at a birth. The number of males born, to
that of females, observes the learned Professor, seems to be 21 to 20 over
the whole earth; and before they reach the age of puberty, the proportion
of the sexes is reduced to perfect equality; more boys than girls die
before they are fourteen. After extending his interesting comparison over
animated nature in general, Professor Hufeland enters into an inquiry,
peculiar to himself, in endeavouring to ascertain the principles and
commencement of the equality of the sexes. In some families, says he,
equality evidently does not hold. In some, the children are all boys; in
others, all girls. He next proceeds to take several families, as 20, 30,
40, or 50, in one place, in conjunction; or small villages of 150 or 300
inhabitants. But even then, the just proportion was not yet established.
In some years, only boys, in others only girls were born; nay, this
disproportion continued for a series of a year or two; but by uniting ten
or fifteen years together, the regular equality appeared. He next
considered, that what took place in small populations must take place
every year in larger societies; and he accordingly found it confirmed by
actual enumeration. He went so far as, by the aid of the minister of
state, Schackman, to ascertain the comparative number of boys and girls
born in one day over the whole Prussian dominions, and the result
corresponded with his anticipations. The general conclusions arrived at by
M. Hufeland, are as follow:--

1st. There is an equal number of males and females born in the human
race.--2d. The equality occurs every day in a population of ten
millions.--3d. Every week in 100,000.--4th. Every month in 50,000.--5th.
Every year in 10,000.--6th. And in small societies of several families,
every ten or fifteen years.--7th. That it does not occur in individual
families.


The reader will be amused by the following instances of EXTRAORDINARY
PROLIFICATION.

The prolific powers of some individuals among mankind are very
extraordinary. Instances have been found where children, to the number of
six, seven, eight, nine, and sometimes sixteen, have been brought forth at
one birth. The wife of Emmanuel Gago, a labourer near Valladolid, was
delivered, the 14th of June, 1799, of five girls. The celebrated Tarsin
was brought to bed in the seventh month, at Argenteuil near Paris, 17th of
July, 1779, of three boys, each fourteen inches and a half long, and of a
girl thirteen inches: they were all baptized, but did not live twenty-four
hours. In June, 1799, one Maria Ruiz, of Lucena in Andalusia, was
successively delivered of sixteen boys, without any girls: seven of them
were alive on the 17th of August following. In 1535, a Muscovite peasant,
named James Kyrloff, and his wife, were presented to the Empress of
Russia. This peasant had been twice married, and was then seventy years of
age. His first wife was brought to bed twenty-one times; namely, four
times of four children each time, seven times of three, and ten times of
two; making in all fifty-seven children, who were then alive. His second
wife, who accompanied him, had been delivered seven times, once of three
children, and six times of twins. Thus he had seventy-two children by his
two marriages.


We now proceed to narrate some EXTRAORDINARY INSTANCES OF RAPID GROWTH.

A remarkable instance of rapid growth in the human species was noticed in
France, in 1729, by the Academy of Sciences. It was a lad, then only seven
years old, who measured four feet eight inches and four lines high,
without his shoes. His mother observed his extraordinary growth and
strength at two years old, which continued to increase with such rapidity,
that he soon arrived at the usual standard. At four years old he was able
to lift and throw the common bundles of hay in stables into the horses'
racks; and at six years old, he could lift as much as a sturdy fellow of
twenty. But although he thus increased in bodily strength, his
understanding was no greater than is usual with children of his age; and
their playthings were also his favourite amusements.

Another boy, a native of Bouzanquet, in the diocese of Alais, though of a
strong constitution, appeared to be knit and stiff in his joints, till he
was about four years and a half old. During this time, nothing farther was
remarkable respecting him, than an extraordinary appetite, which nothing
could satisfy, but an abundance of the common aliments of the inhabitants
of the country, consisting of rye bread, chesnuts, bacon, and water. His
limbs, however, soon becoming supple and pliable, and his body beginning
to expand itself, he grew up in such an extraordinary manner, that at the
age of five years he measured four feet three inches. Some months after,
he was four feet eleven inches; and at six, five feet, and bulky in
proportion. His growth was so rapid, that every month his clothes required
to be made longer and wider; yet it was not preceded by any sickness, nor
accompanied with any pain. At the age of five years his voice changed, his
beard began to appear; and at six, he had as much as a man of thirty; in
short, all the unquestionable marks of maturity were visible in him.
Though his wit was riper than is commonly observable at the age of five or
six, yet its progress was not in proportion to that of his body. His air
and manner still retained something childish, though by his bulk and
stature he resembled a complete man, which at first sight produced a very
singular contrast. His voice was strong and manly, and his great strength
rendered him already fit for the labours of the country. At five, he could
carry to a great distance, three measures of rye, weighing eighty-four
pounds; when turned of six, he could lift up easily to his shoulders, and
carry loads of one hundred and fifty pounds weight to a great distance;
and these exercises were exhibited by him as often as the curious engaged
him thereto by some liberality. Such beginnings made people think that he
should soon shoot up into a giant. A mountebank was already soliciting his
parents for him, and flattering them with hopes of putting him in a way of
making a great fortune. But all these hopes suddenly vanished. His legs
became crooked, his body shrunk, his strength diminished, his voice grew
sensibly weaker, and he at last sunk into a total imbecility;--thus his
rapid maturity was followed by as swift decay.

In the _Paris Memoirs_, there is an account of a girl, who, when four
years old, was four feet six inches in height, and had her limbs well
proportioned, and her breasts fully expanded, like those of a girl of
eighteen. These things are more singular and marvellous in the northern
than in the southern climates, where females come sooner to maturity. In
some places of the East Indies, they have children at nine years of age.
It seems at first view astonishing, that children of such early and
prodigious growth do not become giants; but it appears evident, that the
whole is only a premature expansion of the parts; and accordingly, such
children, instead of becoming giants, always decay and die apparently of
old age, long before the natural term of human life.


As it is our intention in this work to keep as close as possible to facts,
we shall not, knowingly, deal in fiction or fable. It is from a most
respectable source that we have derived the following CURIOUS ACCOUNT OF
GIANTS.

M. Le Cat, in a memoir read before the Academy of Sciences at Rouen, gives
the following account of giants that are said to have existed in different
ages. Profane historians have given seven feet of height to Hercules,
their first hero; and in our days we have seen men eight feet high. The
giant, who was shown in Rouen, in 1735, measured eight feet some inches.
The emperor Maximin was of that size. Shenkins and Platerus, physicians of
the last century, saw several of that stature; and Goropius saw a girl who
was ten feet high. The body of Orestes, according to the Greeks, was
eleven feet and a half; the giant Galbara, brought from Arabia to Rome,
under Claudius Cæsar, was near ten feet; and the bones of Secondilla and
Pusio, keepers of the gardens of Sallust, were but six inches shorter.
Funnam, a Scotsman, who lived in the time of Eugene II. king of Scotland,
measured eleven feet and a half; and Jacob Le Maire, in his voyage to the
Straits of Magellan, reports, that on the 17th of December, 1615, they
found at Port Desire, several graves covered with stones; and having the
curiosity to remove the stones, they discovered human skeletons of ten and
eleven feet long. The Chevalier Scory, in his voyage to the Peak of
Teneriffe, says, that they found, in one of the sepulchral caverns of that
mountain, the head of a gaunche, which had eighty teeth, and that the body
was not less than fifteen feet long. The giant Ferragus, slain by Orlando,
nephew of Charlemagne, was eighteen feet high. Rioland, a celebrated
anatomist, who wrote in 1614, says, that some years before, there was to
be seen, in the suburbs of St. Germain, the tomb of the great giant
Isoret, who was twenty feet high. In Rouen, in 1509, in digging in the
ditches near the Dominicans, they found a stone tomb, containing a
skeleton whose skull held a bushel of corn, and whose shin bone reached up
to the girdle of the tallest man there, being about four feet long; and,
consequently, the body must have been seventeen or eighteen feet high.
Upon the tomb was a plate of copper, whereon was engraved, "In this tomb
lies the noble and puissant lord, the Chevalier Ricon De Vallemont, and
his bones." Platerus, a famous physician, declares, that he saw at
Lucerne, the true human body of a subject which must have been at least
nineteen feet high. Valence, in Dauphiné, boasts of possessing the bones
of the giant Bucart, tyrant of the Vivarias, who was slain with an arrow
by the Count De Cabillon, his vassal. The Dominicans had a part of the
shin bone, with the articulation of his knee, and his figure painted in
fresco, with an inscription, showing "that this giant was twenty-two feet
and a half high, and that his bones were found in 1705, near the banks of
the Morderi, a little river at the foot of the mountain of Crusal, upon
which (tradition says) the giant dwelt." M. Le Cat adds, that skeletons
have been discovered of giants, of a still more incredible height, viz. of
Theutobochus, king of the Teutones, found on the 11th of January, 1613,
twenty-five feet and a half high; of a giant near Mazarino, in Sicily, in
1516, thirty feet; of another, in 1548, near Palermo, thirty feet; of
another, in 1550, of thirty-three feet; of two found near Athens,
thirty-three and thirty-six feet; and of one at Tuto, in Bohemia, in 1758,
whose leg bones alone measured twenty-six feet! But whether these accounts
are credited or not, we are certain that the stature of the human body is
by no means fixed. We are ourselves a kind of giants, in comparison of the
Laplanders; nor are these the most diminutive people to be found upon the
earth.

The Abbé La Chappe, in his journey into Siberia, to observe the last
transit of Venus, passed through a village inhabited by people called
Wotiacks, who were not above four feet high. The accounts of the
Patagonians likewise, which cannot be entirely discredited, render it very
probable, that somewhere in South America there is a race of people very
considerably exceeding the common size of mankind; and consequently that
we cannot altogether discredit the relations of giants, handed down to us
by ancient authors, though what degree of credit we ought to give them, is
not easy to be determined.


No less true than remarkable is the following CURIOUS ACCOUNT OF DWARFS.

Jeffery Hudson, the famous English dwarf, was born at Oakham in
Rutlandshire, in 1619; and about the age of seven or eight, being then but
eighteen inches high, was retained in the service of the Duke of
Buckingham, who resided at Burleigh on the Hill. Soon after the marriage
of Charles I. the king and queen being entertained at Burleigh, little
Jeffrey was served up to table in a cold pie, and presented by the duchess
to the queen, who kept him as her dwarf. From seven years till thirty, he
never grew taller; but after thirty he shot up to three feet nine inches,
and there fixed. Jeffery became a considerable part of the entertainment
of the court. Sir William Davenant wrote a poem called _Jeffreidos_, on a
battle between him and a turkey cock; and in 1638 was published a very
small book, called the _New Year's Gift_, presented at court by the Lady
Parvula to the Lord Minimus, (commonly called _Little Jeffery_,) her
majesty's servant, written by Microphilus, with a little print of Jeffery
prefixed. Before this period, Jeffery was employed on a negociation of
great importance: he was sent to France to fetch a midwife for the queen;
and on his return with this gentlewoman, and her majesty's dancing-master,
and many rich presents to the queen from her mother Mary de Medicis, he
was taken by the Dunkirkers. Jeffery, thus made of consequence, grew to
think himself really so. He had borne with little temper the teazing of
the courtiers and domestics, and had many squabbles with the king's
gigantic porter. At last, being provoked by Mr. Crofts, a young gentleman
of family, a challenge ensued: and Mr. Crofts coming to the rendezvous
armed only with a squirt, the little creature was so enraged, that a real
duel ensued; and the appointment being on horseback, with pistols, to put
them more on a level, Jeffery, at the first fire, shot his antagonist
dead. This happened in France, whither he had attended his mistress during
the troubles. He was again taken prisoner by a Turkish rover, and sold
into Barbary. He probably did not remain long in slavery, for, at the
beginning of the civil war, he was made a captain in the royal army; and
in 1644, attended the queen to France, where he remained till the
Restoration. At last, upon suspicion of his being privy to the Popish
plot, he was taken up in 1682, and confined in the Gate-house of
Westminster, where he ended his life in the sixty-third year of his age.

[Illustration: THE ORANG-OUTANG, Satyr, Great Ape, or Man of the
Woods.--Page 178.]

[Illustration: JEFFREY HUDSON.--Page 40.

A remarkable English dwarf who flourished in the reigns of Charles the
First and Charles the Second. The female figure is the midwife whom he
brought from France for the Queen.]

In the memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences, a relation is given by
the Count de Tressau, of a dwarf, called _Bebe_, kept by Stanislaus III.
king of Poland; who died in 1764, aged twenty-three, when he measured only
thirty-three inches. At his birth, he measured only between eight and nine
inches. Diminutive as were his dimensions, his reasoning faculties were
not less scanty; appearing indeed not to have been superior to those of a
well-taught pointer: but, that the size and strength of the intellectual
powers are not affected by the diminutiveness or tenuity of the corporeal
organs, is evident from a still more striking instance of littleness,
given us by the same nobleman, in the person of Monsieur Borulawski, a
Polish gentleman, whom he saw at Luneville, whence he visited Paris, and
who, at the age of twenty-two, measured only twenty-eight inches. This
miniature of a man, considering him only as to his bodily dimensions,
appears a _giant_ with _regard_ to his mental powers and attainments. He
is described by the count as possessing all the graces of wit, united with
a sound judgment and an excellent memory; so that we may with justice say
of M. Borulawski, in the words of Seneca, and nearly in the order in which
he has used them, "_Posse ingenium, fortissimum ac beatissimum, sub
quolibet corpusculo latere_." Epist. 66. Count Borulawski was the son of a
Polish nobleman attached to the fortunes of King Stanislaus, who lost his
property in consequence of that attachment, and who had six children;
three dwarfs, and three well grown. What is singular enough, they were
born alternately, a big one and a little one, though both parents were of
the common size. The little count's youngest sister was much less than
him, but died at the age of twenty-three. The count continued to grow till
he was about thirty, when he had attained the height of three feet two
inches: he lived to see his fifty-first year. He never experienced any
sickness, but lived in a polite and affluent manner, under the patronage
of a lady, a friend of the family, till love, at the age of forty-one,
intruded into his little peaceful bosom, and involved him in matrimony,
care, and perplexity. The lady he chose was of his own country, but of
French extraction, and the middle size. They had three children, all
girls, and none of them likely to be dwarfs. To provide for a family now
became an object big with difficulty, requiring all the exertion of his
powers (which could promise but little) and his talents, of which music
alone afforded any view of profit. He played extremely well upon the
guitar; and by having concerts in several of the principal cities in
Germany, he raised temporary supplies. At Vienna he was persuaded to turn
his thoughts to England, where, it was believed, the public curiosity
might in a little time benefit him sufficiently to enable him to live
independent in so cheap a country as Poland. He was furnished by very
respectable friends with recommendations to several of the most
distinguished characters in this kingdom, as the Duchess of Devonshire,
Rutland, &c. whose kind patronage he was not backward to acknowledge. He
was advised to let himself be seen as a curiosity, and the price of
admission was fixed at a guinea. The number of his visitors, of course,
was not very great. After a pretty long stay in London, he went to Bath
and Bristol; visited Dublin, and some other parts of Ireland; whence he
returned by way of Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham, to London. He
also visited Edinburgh, and some other towns in Scotland. In every place
he acquired a number of friends. In reality, the ease and politeness of
his manners and address pleased no less than the diminutive yet elegant
proportions of his figure, astonished those who visited him. His person
was pleasing and graceful, and his look manly and noble. He spoke French
fluently, and English tolerably. He was remarkably lively and cheerful,
though fitted for the most serious and rational conversation. Such was
this wonderful little man--an object of curiosity really worthy the
attention of the philosopher, the man of taste, and the anatomist. His
life has been published, written by himself.


The following account of a singular nation of dwarfs, is taken from the
Monthly Review for 1792, being Vol. 7, of the new series. The subject is a
review of "A Voyage to Madagascar; by the Abbé Rochon." They are called
THE KIMOS.

The Kimos are a nation of pigmies, said to inhabit the mountains in the
interior part of the island of Madagascar, of whom tradition has long
encouraged the belief:--but Flacourt, in the last century, treated the
stories then in circulation with great contempt. The Abbé Rochon, however,
has revived them; and has not only given them the sanction of his own
belief, but that of _M. Commerson_, and of _M. de Modave_, the late
Governor of Fort Dauphin. As their opinions are of weight, and as the
subject is curious, we shall present our readers with an epitome of the
memoirs which these gentlemen drew up concerning the _Kimos_, and which
our author has inserted entire in the body of his work.

"Lovers of the marvellous, (says _M. Commerson_,) who would be sorry to
have the pretended size of the Patagonian giants reduced to six feet, will
perhaps be made some amends by a race of pigmies, who are wonderful in the
contrary extreme. I mean those half men, who inhabit the interior part of
the great island of Madagascar, and form a distinct nation, called, in the
language of the country, _Kimos_. These little men are of a paler colour
than the rest of the natives, who are in general black. Their arms are so
long, that when stretched out, they reach to the knees, without stooping.
The women have scarcely breasts sufficient to mark their sex, except at
the time of lying-in; and even then they are obliged to have recourse to
cow's milk, to feed their children.

"The intellectual faculties of this diminutive race are equal to those of
the other inhabitants of the island, who are by no means deficient in
understanding, though extremely indolent. Indeed, the Kimos are said to be
much more active and warlike, so that their courage being in a duplicate
ratio of their size, they have never suffered themselves to be oppressed
and subdued by their neighbours, who have often attempted it. It is
astonishing, that all we know of this nation is from the neighbouring
people; and that neither the governors of the Isle of France, of Bourbon,
nor the commanders of our forts on the coast of Madagascar, have ever
endeavoured to penetrate into this country. It has indeed been lately
attempted, but without success.

"I shall however attest, as an eye-witness, that in a voyage which I made
in 1770 to Fort Dauphin, _M. de Modave_, the last governor, gratified my
curiosity, by shewing me, among his slaves, a female of the Kimos tribe,
about thirty years of age, and three feet seven inches high. She was of a
much paler colour than any other natives of Madagascar that I had seen,
was well-made, and did not appear misshapen, nor stinted in her growth, as
accidental dwarfs usually are. Her arms were indeed too long, in
proportion to her height, and her hair was short and woolly: but her
countenance was good, and rather resembled that of an European than an
African. She had a natural habitual smile on her face, was good-humoured,
and seemed, by her behaviour, to possess a good understanding. No
appearance of breasts was observable, except nipples: but this single
instance is not sufficient to establish an exception so contrary to the
general law of nature. A little before our departure from Madagascar, the
desire of recovering her liberty, joined to the fear of being carried into
France, stimulated this little slave to run away into the woods.

"On the whole, I conclude, in firmly believing the existence of this
diminutive race of human beings, who have a character and manners peculiar
to themselves. The Laplanders seem to be the medium between men of the
common size and these dwarfs. Both inhabit the coldest countries and the
highest mountains upon the earth. These of Madagascar, on which the
_Kimos_ reside, are sixteen or seventeen hundred toises, or fathoms, above
the level of the sea. The plants and vegetables which grow on these
heights, are naturally dwarfs."

_M. de Modave_ says,--"When I arrived at Fort Dauphin, in 1768, I had a
memoir put into my hands, which was ill drawn up, giving an account of a
pigmy race of people, called _Kimos_, who inhabit the middle region of
Madagascar, in latitude 22°. I tried to verify the fact, by preparing for
an expedition into the country which is said to be thus inhabited: but by
the infidelity and cowardice of the guides, my scheme failed. Yet I had
such indisputable information of this extraordinary fact, that I have not
the least doubt of the existence of such a nation. The common size of the
men is three feet five inches. They wear long round beards. The women are
some inches shorter than the men, who are thick and stout. Their colour is
less black and swarthy than that of the natives; their hair is short and
cottony. They forge iron and steel, of which they make their lances and
darts; the only weapons that they use. The situation of their country is
about sixty leagues to the north-west of Fort Dauphin. I procured a female
of this nation, but she was said to be much taller than usual among the
_Kimos_, for she was three feet seven inches in height. She was very thin,
and had no more appearance of breasts than the leanest man."

To these relations, the _Abbé Rochon_ says, he might add that of an
officer who had procured a _Kimos_ man, and would have brought him to
Europe, but M. de Surville, who commanded the vessel in which he was to
embark, refused to grant his permission.


Respectable historians have presented us with the following curious
account of the ABDERITES, or INHABITANTS OF ABDERA.

It is reported, that in the reign of Cassander, king of Macedon, they were
so pestered with frogs and rats, that they were obliged to desert their
city for some time: and Lucian tells us, that in the reign of Lysimachus,
they were for some months afflicted with a fever of a most extraordinary
nature, whose crisis was always on the seventh day, and then it left them;
but it so distracted their imaginations, that they fancied themselves
players. After this, they were ever repeating verses from some tragedy,
and particularly out of the Andromeda of Euripides, as if they had been
upon the stage; so that many of these pale, meagre actors, were pouring
forth tragic exclamations in every street. This delirium continued till
the winter following; which was a very cold one, and therefore fitter to
remove it. Lucian, who has described this disease, endeavours to account
for it in this way:--Archelaus, an excellent player, acted the Andromeda
of Euripides before the Abderites, in the height of a very hot summer.
Several had a fever at their coming out of the theatre, and as their
imaginations were full of the tragedy, the delirium, which the fever
raised, perpetually represented Andromeda, Perseus, Medusa, &c. and the
several dramatic incidents, and called up the ideas of those objects, and
the pleasure of the representation, so strongly, that they could not
forbear imitating Archelaus' action and declamation: and from these the
fever spread to others by infection.


A most respectable writer (Madame De Genlis) has given us the following
curious account of a COUNTRY, THE INHABITANTS OF WHICH RESIDE IN TREES.

A young Spanish adventurer, of the name of Vasco Nugnez, whom a handsome
figure, united to a natural wit and courage, advanced to the highest
eminence of glory and fortune; pursuing his researches over the Darien, a
region abounding in lakes and marshes, arrived in a country where the
houses were of a very singular contrivance, being built in the largest
trees, the branches of which enveloped the sides, and formed the roof.
They contained chambers and closets of a tolerable construction. Each
family was separately lodged. Every house had two ladders, one of which
reached from the foot to the middle of the tree, and the other from thence
to the entrance of the highest chamber: they were composed of cane, and so
light as to be easily lifted up, which was done every night, and formed a
security from the attacks of tigers and other wild beasts, with which this
province abounds. The chief of the country was in his palace, that is to
say--his tree, when the Castilians came among them. On seeing the
strangers, he hastened to draw up his ladders, while the Spaniards called
to him aloud to descend without fear. He replied, that being unconscious
of having offended any one, and having no concern with strangers, he
begged he might be suffered to remain undisturbed in his habitation. On
this they threatened to cut down or set fire to his tree, and at length
obliged him to descend with his two sons. To their inquiries, 'if he had
any gold,' he replied, that he had none there, because it was of no use to
him; but, if they would suffer him to go, he would fetch them some from a
neighbouring mountain. The Castilians the more readily believed the
promise, as he consented to leave with them his wife and children. But
after having waited some days for his return, they discovered that this
pretence was only a stratagem to withdraw himself from their hands; that
their hostages likewise, during the night, had found an opportunity of
escaping by means of their ladders, and that the inhabitants of every
neighbouring tree had, in the same manner, fled.



CHAP. III.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _Astonishing Acquisitions made by Blind Persons--Wonderful
    Performances of a Female, blind almost from Infancy--Wonderful
    Instances of Adroitness of Persons born defective in their
    Limbs--Curious Account of Incapacity of distinguishing
    Colours--Ventriloquism--Sword-swallowing._


ASTONISHING ACQUISITIONS MADE BY BLIND PERSONS.

We find various recompenses for blindness, or substitutes for the use of
the eyes, in the wonderful sagacity of many blind persons, recited by
Zahnius, in his 'Oculus Artificialis,' and others. In some, the defect has
been supplied by a most excellent gift of remembering what they had seen;
in others, by a delicate nose, or the sense of smelling; in others, by an
exquisite touch, or a sense of feeling, which they have had in such
perfection, that, as it has been said of some, they learned to hear with
their eyes, so it may be said of these, that they taught themselves to see
with their hands. Some have been enabled to perform all sorts of curious
and subtle works in the nicest and most dexterous manner.--Aldrovanus
speaks of a sculptor who became blind at twenty years of age, and yet, ten
years after, made a perfect marble statue of Cosmo II. de Medicis; and
another of clay, like Urban VIII. Bartholin tells us of a blind sculptor
in Denmark, who distinguished perfectly well, by mere touch, not only all
kinds of wood, but all the colours; and F. Grimaldi gives an instance of
the like kind; besides the blind organist, living in Paris, who is said to
have done the same. The most extraordinary of all is a blind guide, who,
according to the report of good writers, used to conduct the merchants
through the sands and deserts of Arabia.

James Bernouilli contrived a method of teaching blind persons to write. An
instance, no less extraordinary, is mentioned by Dr. Bew, in the
"Transactions of the Manchester Society." It is that of a person, whose
name is John Metcalf, a native of the neighbourhood of Manchester, who
became blind at so early an age as to be altogether unconscious of light,
and its various effects. His employment in the younger period of his life
was that of a waggoner, and occasionally as a guide in intricate roads
during the night, or when the common tracks were covered with snow.
Afterwards he became a projector and surveyor of highways in difficult and
mountainous parts; and, in this capacity, with the assistance merely of a
long staff, he traverses the roads, ascends precipices, explores valleys,
and investigates their several extents, forms, and situations, so as to
answer his purpose in the best manner. His plans are designed, and his
estimates formed, with such ability and accuracy, that he has been
employed in altering most of the roads over the Peak in Derbyshire,
particularly those in the vicinity of Buxton; and in constructing a new
one between Wilmslow and Congleton, so as to form a communication between
the great London road, without being obliged to pass over the mountain.

Although blind persons have occasion, in a variety of respects, to deplore
their infelicity, their misery is in a considerable degree alleviated by
advantages peculiar to themselves. They are capable of a more fixed and
steady attention to the objects of their mental contemplation, than those
who are distracted by the view of a variety of external scenes. Their want
of sight naturally leads them to avail themselves of their other organs of
corporeal sensation, and with this view to cultivate and improve them as
much as possible. Accordingly, they derive relief and assistance from the
quickness of their hearing, the acuteness of their smell, and the
sensibility of their touch, which persons who see are apt to disregard.

Many contrivances have also been devised by the ingenious, for supplying
the want of sight, and for facilitating those analytical or mechanical
operations, which would otherwise perplex the most vigorous mind, and the
most retentive memory. By means of these, they have become eminent
proficients in various departments of science. Indeed, there are few
sciences in which, with or without mechanical helps, the blind have not
distinguished themselves. The case of Professor Saunderson at Cambridge,
is well known. His attainments and performances in the languages, and also
as a learner and teacher in the abstract mathematics, in philosophy, and
in music, have been truly astonishing; and the account of them appears to
be almost incredible, if it were not amply attested and confirmed by many
other instances of a similar kind, both in ancient and modern times.

Cicero mentions it as a fact scarcely credible, with respect to his master
in philosophy, Diodotus, that "he exercised himself in it with greater
assiduity after he became blind; and, which he thought next to impossible
to be performed without sight, that he professed geometry, and described
his diagrams so accurately to his scholars, as to enable them to draw
every line in its proper direction."

Jerome relates a more remarkable instance of Didymus in Alexandria, who
"though blind from his infancy, and therefore ignorant of the letters,
appeared so great a miracle to the world, as not only to learn logic, but
geometry also to perfection; which seems (he adds) the most of any thing
to require the help of sight."

Professor Saunderson, who was deprived of his sight by the small-pox when
he was only twelve months old, seems to have acquired most of his ideas by
the sense of feeling; and though he could not distinguish colours by that
sense, which, after repeated trials, he said was pretending to
impossibilities, yet he was able, with the greatest exactness, to
discriminate the minutest difference between rough and smooth on a
surface, or the least defect of polish. In a set of Roman medals, he could
distinguish the genuine from the false, though they had been counterfeited
in such a manner as to deceive a connoisseur, who judged of them by the
eye. His sense of feeling was so acute, that he could perceive the least
variation in the state of the air; and, it is said, that in a garden where
observations were made on the sun, he took notice of every cloud that
interrupted the observation, almost as justly as those who could see it.
He could tell when any thing was held near his face, or when he passed by
a tree at no great distance, provided the air was calm, and there was
little or no wind; this he did by the different pulse of air upon his
face. He possessed a sensibility of hearing to such a degree, that he
could distinguish even the fifth part of a note; and, by the quickness of
this sense, he not only discriminated persons with whom he had once
conversed so long as to fix in his memory the sound of their voice, but he
could judge of the size of a room into which he was introduced, and of his
distance from the wall; and if he had ever walked over a pavement in
courts, piazzas, &c. which reflected a sound, and was afterwards conducted
thither again, he could exactly tell in what part of the walk he was
placed, merely by the note which it sounded.

Sculpture and painting are arts which, one would imagine, are of very
difficult and almost impracticable attainment to blind persons; and yet
instances occur, which shew, that they are not excluded from the pleasing,
creative, and extensive regions of fancy.

De Piles mentions a blind sculptor, who thus took the likeness of the Duke
de Bracciano in a dark cellar, and made a marble statue of King Charles I.
with great justness and elegance. However unaccountable it may appear to
the abstract philosopher, yet nothing is more certain in fact, than that a
blind man may, by the inspiration of the Muses, or rather by the efforts
of a cultivated genius, exhibit in poetry the most natural images and
animated descriptions even of visible objects, without deservedly
incurring the charge of plagiarism. We need not recur to Homer and Milton
for attestations to this fact; they had probably been long acquainted with
the visible world before they had lost their sight, and their descriptions
might be animated with all the rapture and enthusiasm which originally
fired their bosoms, when the grand and delightful objects delineated by
them were immediately beheld. We are furnished with instances in which a
similar energy and transport of description, at least in a very
considerable degree, have been exhibited by those on whose minds visible
objects were never impressed, or have been entirely obliterated.

Dr. Blacklock affords a surprising instance of this kind; who, though he
had lost his sight before he was six months old, not only made himself
master of various languages, Greek, Latin, Italian, and French; but
acquired the reputation of an excellent poet, whose performances abound
with appropriate images and animated descriptions.

Dr. Nicholas Bacon, a blind gentleman, descended from the same family with
the celebrated Lord Verulam, was, in the city of Brussels, with high
approbation created LL. D. He was deprived of sight at nine years of age
by an arrow from a cross-bow, whilst he was attempting to shoot it. When
he had recovered his health, which had suffered by the shock, he pursued
the same plan of education in which he had been engaged; and having heard
that one Nicasius de Vourde, born blind, who lived towards the end of the
fifteenth century, after having distinguished himself by his studies in
the university of Louvain, took his degree as D. D. in that of Cologne, he
resolved to make the same attempt. After continuing his studies in
learning philosophy and law a sufficient time, he took his degree,
commenced pleading as counsellor or advocate in the council of Brabant,
and has had the pleasure of terminating almost every suit in which he has
been engaged to the satisfaction of his clients.

Another instance, which deserves being recorded, is that of Dr. Henry
Moyes, in our own country; who, though blind from his infancy, by the
ardour and assiduity of his application, and by the energy of native
genius, not only made incredible advances in mechanical operations, in
music, and in the languages; but acquired an extensive acquaintance with
geometry, optics, algebra, astronomy, chemistry, and all other branches of
natural philosophy.

From the account of Dr. Moyes, who occasionally read lectures on
philosophical chemistry at Manchester, delivered to the Manchester Society
by Dr. Bew, it appears, that mechanical exercises were the favourite
employment of his infant years: and that at a very early age he was so
well acquainted with the use of edge-tools, as to be able to construct
little windmills, and even a loom. By the sound, and the different voices
of the persons that were present, he was directed in his judgment of the
dimensions of the room in which they were assembled; and in this respect
he determined with such a degree of accuracy, as seldom to be mistaken.
His memory was singularly retentive; so that he was capable of recognizing
a person on his first speaking, though he had not been in company with him
for two years. He determined with surprising exactness the stature of
those with whom he conversed, by the direction of their voices; and he
made tolerable conjectures concerning their dispositions, by the manner in
which they conducted their conversation. His eyes, though he never
recollected having seen, were not totally insensible to intense light: but
the rays refracted through a prism, when sufficiently vivid, produced
distinguishable effects upon them. The red produced a disagreeable
sensation, which he compared to the touch of a saw. As the colours
declined in violence, the harshness lessened, until the green afforded a
sensation that was highly pleasing to him, and which he described as
conveying an idea similar to that which he gained by running his hand over
smooth polished surfaces. Such surfaces, meandering streams, and gentle
declivities, were the figures by which he expressed his ideas of beauty;
rugged rocks, irregular points, and boisterous elements, furnished him
with expressions for terror and disgust. He excelled in the charms of
conversation; was happy in his allusions to visual objects, and discoursed
on the nature, composition, and beauty of colours, with pertinence and
precision.

This instance, and some others which have occurred, seem to furnish a
presumption, that the feeling or touch of blind persons may be so improved
as to enable them to perceive that texture and disposition of coloured
surfaces by which some rays of light are reflected, and others absorbed;
and in this manner to distinguish colours.

In music, there are at present living instances of how far the blind may
proceed. In former periods we shall find illustrious examples, how amply
nature has capacitated the blind to excel, both in the scientific and
practical departments of music.

In the sixteenth century, when the progress of improvement both in melody
and harmony was rapid and conspicuous, FRANCIS SALINAS was eminently
distinguished. He was born A. D. 1513, at Burgos in Spain; and was son to
the treasurer of that city. Though afflicted with incurable blindness, he
was profoundly skilled both in the theory and practice of music. As a
performer, he is celebrated by his contemporaries with the highest
encomiums. As a theorist, Sir John Hawkins says, his book is equal in
value to any now extant in any language. Though he was deprived of sight
in his earliest infancy, he did not content himself to delineate the
various phenomena in music, but the principles from whence they result,
the relations of sound, the nature of arithmetical, geometrical, and
harmonical ratios, which were then esteemed essential to the theory of
music, with a degree of intelligence which would have deserved admiration,
though he had been in full possession of every sense requisite for these
disquisitions. He was taken to Rome in the retinue of Petrus Sarmentus,
archbishop of Compostella, and having passed twenty years in Italy, he
returned to Salamanca, where he obtained the professorship of music, an
office at that time equally respectable and lucrative. Having discharged
it with reputation and success for some time, he died at the venerable age
of seventy-seven.

In the same period flourished CASPAR CRUMBHOM, blind from the third year
of his age; yet he composed several pieces in many parts with so much
success, and performed both upon the flute and violin so exquisitely, that
he was distinguished by Augustus, elector of Saxony. But preferring his
native country, Silesia, to every other, he returned to it, and was
appointed organist of the church of St. Peter and Paul in Lignitz, where
he had often the direction of the musical college, and died June 11,
1621.

To these might be added MARTIN PESENTI of Venice, a composer of vocal and
instrumental music almost of all kinds, though blind from his nativity;
with other examples equally worthy of public attention. But if vulgar
prejudice is capable of blushing at its own contemptible character, or of
yielding to conviction, those already quoted are more than sufficient to
shew the musical jugglers of our time that their art is no monopoly, with
which those alone who see are invested, by the irrevocable decree of
heaven.

In the _Annual Register_ for 1762, the following narrative of the
surprising acquisitions of a blind lady is inserted. "A young gentlewoman
of a good family in France, now in her eighteenth year, lost her sight
when only two years old, her mother having been advised to lay some
pigeon's blood on her eyes, to preserve them in the small-pox; whereas, so
far from answering the end, it eat into them. Nature, however, may be said
to have compensated for the unhappy mistake, by beauty of person,
sweetness of temper, vivacity of genius, quickness of conception, and many
talents which certainly much alleviate her misfortune. She plays at cards
with the same readiness as others of the party. She first prepares the
pack allotted to her, by pricking them in several parts; yet so
imperceptibly, that the closest inspection can scarce discern her indexes:
she sorts the suits, and arranges the cards in their proper sequence, with
the same precision, and nearly the same facility, as they who have their
sight. All she requires of those who play with her, is to name every card
as it is played; and these she retains so exactly, that she frequently
performs some notable strokes, such as shew a great combination and strong
memory. The most wonderful circumstance is, that she should have learned
to read and write; but even this is readily believed on knowing her
method. In writing to her, no ink is used, but the letters are pricked
down on the paper, and by the delicacy of her touch, feeling each letter,
she follows them successively, and reads every word with her finger ends.
She herself in writing makes use of a pencil, as she could not know when
her pen was dry; her guide on the paper is a small thin ruler, and of the
breadth of the writing. On finishing a letter, she wets it, so as to fix
the traces of her pencil, that they are not obscured or effaced; then
proceeds to fold and seal it, and write the direction; all by her own
address, and without the assistance of any other person. Her writing is
very straight, well cut, and the spelling no less correct. To reach this
singular mechanism, the indefatigable cares of her affectionate mother
were long employed, who accustomed her daughter to feel letters cut in
cards of pasteboard, brought her to distinguish an A from a B, and thus
the whole alphabet, and afterwards to spell words; then, by the
remembrance of the shape of the letters, to delineate them on paper; and,
lastly, to arrange them so as to form words and sentences. She has learned
to play on the guitar, and has even contrived a way of pricking down the
tunes, as an assistance to her memory. So delicate are her organs, that in
singing a tune, though new to her, she is able to name the notes. In
figured dances she acquits herself extremely well, and in a minuet, with
inimitable ease and gracefulness. As for the works of her sex, she has a
masterly hand; she sews and hems perfectly well; and in all her works she
threads her needles for herself, however small. By the watch her touch
never fails telling her exactly the hour and minute."


Diderot gives a very curious account of a blind lady. It is so remarkable,
that we shall distinguish it by the separate title of WONDERFUL
PERFORMANCES OF A FEMALE, BLIND ALMOST FROM INFANCY.

The name of this remarkable person was, Mademoiselle Melanie de Salignac,
a young lady, who had been blind almost from her birth. Her feeling,
hearing, and smell, were exquisite. She could distinguish, by the
impression of the air, whether it was fine or cloudy, whether she was in
an open place or a street, and whether the street was open at the
end;--also, whether she was in a room or not, and of what size it was.
Having once gone over a house, she became so well acquainted with the
different parts, as to be able to warn others of any danger they were
exposed to, by the existence of a step, or the lowness of a door. She
could thread the smallest needle, with the greatest dexterity; and could
execute every sort of needle-work. She played very well at many games at
cards, which she distinguished by some little mark, known to herself by
the touch, but imperceptible to the sight of any other person. She had
learnt, and understood very well, music, geography, geometry, and dancing.
She was, indeed, extremely clever; what made her more interesting, she was
modest, mild, cheerful, and affectionate. She wrote with a pin, by
pricking a sheet of paper, stretched on a frame, and read what she had
written, by feeling the pin-marks on the other side of the paper. She
could read a book, printed on one side only; some were printed expressly
for her, in this manner. In a piece of twelve or fifteen lines, if the
number of letters in each word, together with the letter which it began
with, was given her, she could tell every word, however oddly composed.
"This fact," says Diderot, "was attested by every one of her family, by
myself, and twenty other persons, still alive. She died at the age of
twenty-two. She was the daughter of Madame de Blacy, a woman
distinguished for the eminence of her moral qualities," and moving in a
respectable sphere of life.--See _Grimn's Memoirs_.


We now proceed to detail the following WONDERFUL INSTANCES OF ADROITNESS
OF PERSONS BORN DEFECTIVE IN THEIR LIMBS.

Several instances of such births have occurred, and the wonderful
acquirements of persons thus maimed by nature have often been the subject
of public astonishment, and proved a source of gain to themselves or their
relations.

Giraldus Cambriensis speaks of a young woman born without arms, whom he
saw at Chester, in the reign of Henry II. He mentions her working very
dexterously with her needle.

Stowe gives an account of a Dutchman born without arms, who in 1581,
exhibited surprising feats of activity in London; such as flourishing with
a rapier, shooting an arrow near a mark, &c.

Bulwer, in his Artificial Changeling, speaks of John Simons, a native of
Berkshire, born without arms or hands, who could write with his mouth;
thread a needle; tie a knot; shuffle, cut, and deal a pack of cards, &c.
He was shewn in public in 1653.

John Sear, a Spaniard, born without arms, was shewn in London in King
William's reign, who could comb and shave himself, fill a glass, thread a
needle, embroider, write six sorts of hands, and play on several
instruments of music.

Matthew Buckinger, a German, born without arms or legs, who came to
England, wrote a good hand, (many specimens of which are extant,) and
performed several wonderful feats. He died in 1722, aged forty-eight.

Thomas Pinnington, a native of Liverpool, born without legs or arms,
performed much the same feats as Sear, in 1744, and several years ensuing;
since which, a Miss Hawtin, from Coventry, born without arms, and others
whose names have not been mentioned, have exhibited themselves at
Bartholomew Fair and other places.

Thomas Inglefield, born without arms or legs, at Hook, in Hampshire, (anno
1769) died a few years ago in London. He was not publicly shewn, but got
his bread by writing and drawing. There are two portraits of him, one of
which was etched by himself.

There was, a short time since, a farmer living at Ditch-heat in
Somersetshire, born without arms,--William Kingston, of whom frequent
mention has been made in the public papers. He surpasses, according to
accounts which seem very well attested, all that have been yet spoken of.

The following account was given a few years since, in the papers, by a
person who visited him. "In order to give the public a satisfactory
account of William Kingston," says the writer, "I went to Ditcheat and the
next morning got him to breakfast with me at Mrs. Goodfellow's, and had
ocular proof of his dexterity. He highly entertained us at breakfast, by
putting his half-naked feet upon the table as he sat, and carrying his tea
and toast between his great and second toe to his mouth, with as much
facility as if his foot had been a hand, and his toes fingers. I put half
a sheet of paper upon the floor, with a pen and ink-horn. He threw off his
shoes as he sat, took the ink-horn in the toes of his left foot, and held
the pen in those of his right. He then wrote three lines as well as most
ordinary writers, and as swiftly. He writes all his own bills and other
accounts. He then shewed me how he shaves himself with the razor in his
toes; and he can comb his own hair. He can dress and undress himself,
except buttoning his clothes. He feeds himself, and can bring both his
meat or his broth to his mouth, by holding the fork or spoon in his toes.
He cleans his own shoes, lights the fire, and does almost any domestic
business as well as any other man. He can make hen-coops. He is a farmer
by occupation. He can milk his cows with his toes, and cuts his own hay,
binds it up in bundles, and carries it about the field for his cattle.
Last winter he had eight heifers constantly to fodder. The last summer he
made all his hay-ricks. He can do all the business of the hay-field
(except mowing) as fast and as well with his feet as others can with rakes
and forks. He goes to the field, and catches his horse. He saddles and
bridles him with his teeth and toes. If he has a sheep among his flock
that ails any thing, he can separate it from the rest, and drive it into a
corner when nobody else can: he then examines it, and applies a remedy to
it. He is so strong in his teeth, that he can lift ten pecks of beans with
them. He can throw a great sledge-hammer as far with his feet, as other
men can with their hands. In a word, he can nearly do as much without as
others can with their arms.

"He began the world with a hen and chickens. With the profit on these he
procured a ewe. The sale of these procured a ragged colt (as he termed it)
and a sheep, and he now occupies a small farm."

"Necessity is the mother of invention." This proverb was never more fully
exemplified than in the cases above mentioned. Habit, early acquired and
long practised, may render the toes almost as useful as the fingers: the
lips are also endued with acute feeling and great flexibility, and may
become powerful assistants where the hands are wanting. One lesson, at
least, may be taught by this maimed tribe:--that few things are so
difficult, that they cannot be acquired by perseverance and application.


While some persons are noted for their extraordinary and wonderful
faculties, others are remarkable for defects in natural capacities. The
reader will feel interested in the following CURIOUS ACCOUNT OF INCAPACITY
OF DISTINGUISHING COLOURS.

Of this extraordinary defect in vision, we have the following instances in
the Philosophical Transactions for 1777. One of the persons lived at
Maryport in Cumberland. The account was communicated by Mr. Huddart to Dr.
Priestley; and is as follows:--"His name was Harris; by trade a shoemaker.
I had often heard from others that he could discern the form and magnitude
of all objects very distinctly, but could not distinguish colours. This
report had excited my curiosity; I conversed with him frequently on the
subject. The account he gave was this: That he had reason to believe other
persons saw something in objects which he could not see: that their
language seemed to mark qualities with precision and confidence, which he
could only guess at with hesitation, and frequently with error. His first
suspicion of this arose when he was about four years old. Having by
accident found in the street, a child's stocking, he carried it to a
neighbouring house to inquire for the owner: he observed the people called
it a _red_ stocking, though he did not understand why they gave it that
denomination, as he himself thought it completely described by being
called _a stocking_. This circumstance, however, remained in his memory,
and together with subsequent observations, led him to the knowledge of
this defect. He also observed, that when young, other children could
discern cherries on a tree by some pretended difference of colour, though
he could only distinguish them from the leaves, by the difference of their
size and shape. He observed also, that by means of this difference of
colour they could see the cherries at a greater distance than he could,
though he could see other objects at as great a distance as they, that is,
where the sight was not assisted by the colour. Large objects he could see
as well as other persons; and even the smaller ones, if they were not
enveloped in other things, as in the case of cherries among the leaves. I
believe he could never do more than guess the name of any colour; yet he
could distinguish white from black, or black from any light or bright
colour. Dove or straw colour he called _white_, and different colours he
frequently called by the same name; yet he could discern a difference
between them when placed together. In general, colours of an equal degree
of brightness, however they might otherwise differ, he confounded
together. Yet a striped ribbon he could distinguish from a plain one; but
he could not tell what the colours were with any tolerable exactness. Dark
colours, in general, he often mistook for black; but never imagined white
to be a dark colour, nor dark to be a white colour. He was an intelligent
man, and very desirous of understanding the nature of light and colours,
for which end he had attended a course of lectures in natural philosophy.
He had two brothers in the same circumstances as to sight; and two others
(brothers and sisters) who, as well as their parents, had nothing of this
defect. One of the first mentioned brothers, who is now living, I met with
at Dublin, and wished to try his capacity to distinguish the colours in a
prism; but not having one by me, I asked him, whether he had ever seen a
rainbow? he replied, he had often; and could distinguish the different
colours; meaning only, that it was composed of different colours, for he
could not tell what they were. I then procured, and shewed him a piece of
ribbon: he immediately, and without any difficulty, pronounced it a
striped, and not a plain, ribbon. He then attempted to name the different
stripes: the several stripes of white he uniformly, and without
hesitation, called white: the four black stripes he was deceived in; for
three of them he thought brown, though they were exactly of the same shade
with the other, which he properly called black. He spoke, however, with
diffidence, as to all those stripes; and it must be owned, that the black
was not very distinct: the light green he called yellow; but he was not
very positive: he said, "I think this what you call yellow." The middle
stripe, which had a slight tinge of red, he called a sort of blue. But he
was most of all deceived by the orange colour: of this he spoke very
confidently, saying, "This is the colour of grass, this is green." I also
shewed him a great variety of ribbons, the colour of which he sometimes
named rightly, and sometimes as differently as possible from the true
colour. I asked him, whether he imagined it possible for all the various
colours he saw to be mere difference of light and shade; and that all
colours could be composed of these two mixtures only? With some hesitation
he replied, No, he did imagine there was some other difference. It is
proper to add, that the experiment of the striped ribbon was made in the
day-time, and in a good light."

Incredible as the above phenomena may appear, we can add the following
fact in confirmation of them, from personal knowledge. There is a
gentleman now living in Edinburgh, whose optical nerves have laboured
under a defect perfectly similar, since his infancy; but whose powers of
vision are in other respects so much superior to those of most other
people, that he draws the most striking likenesses, being a limner by
profession, and requires for this purpose only once to see the person
whose portrait is intended to be drawn, scarcely desiring a single
sitting, much less repeated visiting. And what is still more
extraordinary, he can, from such a momentary glance, retain the idea of
the features, and even the gait and manner of the person, for years
afterwards, so exactly as to be able to finish either a miniature head, or
full portrait, at that distant period, as well as if the person were
present. His friends, incredulous of this phenomenon, have, by placing his
colours out of the order in which he keeps them, sometimes made him give a
gentleman a _green beard_, and paint a beautiful young lady with a pair of
_blue cheeks_.


We now proceed to the consideration of a very remarkable acquirement of
man, called VENTRILOQUISM.

This is an art of speaking, by means of which the human voice and other
sounds are rendered audible, as if they proceeded from several different
places; though the utterer does not change his place, and in many
instances does not appear to speak. It has been supposed to be a natural
peculiarity; because few, if any persons, have learned it by being taught,
and we have had no rules laid down for acquiring it. It seems to have been
in consequence of this notion, that the name 'Ventriloquism' has been
applied to it, from a supposition that the voice proceeds from the thorax
or chest. It has seldom been practised but by persons of the lower classes
of society; and as it does not seem to present any advantages beyond that
of causing surprise and entertainment, and cannot be exhibited on an
extended theatre, the probability is, that it will continue amongst them.

Mr. Gough, in his Manchester Memoirs, and in various parts of Nicholson's
Journal, has entertained the opinion that the voice of ventriloquists is
made to proceed, in appearance, from different parts of a room, by the
management of an echo. But the facts themselves do not support this
hypothesis, as a great and sudden variety and change of echoes would be
required; and his own judicious remarks, in the same work, on the facility
with which we are deceived as to the direction of sound, are adverse to
his theory. From numerous attentive observations, it appears manifest that
the art is not peculiar to certain individuals, but may with facility be
acquired by any person of accurate observation. It consists merely in an
imitation of sounds, as they occur in nature, accompanied with appropriate
action, of such a description as may best concur in leading the minds of
the observers to favour the deception.

Any one who shall try, will be a little surprised to find how easy it is
to imitate the noise made by a saw, or by a snuff-box when opened and
shut, or by a large hand-bell, or cork-cutter's knife, a watch while
going, and numberless other inanimate objects; or the voices of animals,
in their various situations and necessities, such as a cat, a dog, or a
hen enraged, intimidated, confined, &c.; or to vary the character of the
human voice by shrillness or depth of tone, rapidity or drawling of
execution, and distinctness or imperfection of articulation, which may be
instantly changed by holding the mouth a little more opened or more closed
than usual, altering the position of the jaw, keeping the tongue in any
determinate situation, &c. And every one of the imitations of the
ventriloquist will be rendered more perfect by practising them at the very
time the sounds are heard, instead of depending on the memory. The leading
condition of performance is, that the voices and sounds of the dramatic
dialogue to be exhibited, should succeed each other so rapidly that the
audience should lose sight of the probability that one actor gives effect
to the whole, and that where the business is simple, the aid of scenery or
local circumstance should be called in.

We have seen an eminent philosopher of our own time, who had no previous
practice of this art, but when speaking on the subject in a mixed company,
took up a hat, and folding the flaps together, said, by way of example,
"Suppose I had a small monkey in this hat;" and then cautiously putting
his hand in, as if to catch it, he imitated the chatter of the supposed
struggling animal, at the same time that his own efforts to secure it had
a momentary impression on the spectators, which left no time to question
whether there was a monkey in it or not: this impression was completed
when, the instant afterwards, he pulled out his hand as if hurt, and
exclaimed, "He has bit me!" It was not till then that the impression of
the reality gave way to the diversion arising from the mimic art; and one
of the company, even then, cried out, "Is there really a monkey in the
hat?"

In this manner it was that, at the beginning of the last century, the
famous Tom King, who is said to have been the first man who delivered
public lectures on experimental philosophy in the country, was attended by
the whole fashionable world, for a succession of many nights, to hear him
"kill a calf." This performance was done in a separated part of the place
of exhibition, into which the exhibiter retired alone; and the imagination
of his polite hearers was taxed to supply the calf and three butchers,
besides a dog who sometimes raised his voice, and was checked for his
unnecessary exertions. It appears, from traditional narrative, that the
calf was heard to be dragged in, not without some efforts and conversation
on the part of the butchers, and noisy resistance from the calf; that they
conversed on the qualities of the animal, and the profits to be expected
from the veal; and that, as they proceeded, all the noises of knife and
steel, of suspending the creature, and of the last fatal catastrophe,
were heard in rapid succession, to the never-failing satisfaction of the
attendants; who, upon the rise of the curtain, saw that all these
imaginary personages had vanished, and Tom King alone remained to claim
the applause.

A similar fact may be quoted in the person of that facetious gentleman,
who has assumed and given celebrity to the name of Peter Pindar. This
great poet, laughing at the proverbial poverty of his profession, is
sometimes pleased to entertain his friends with singular effusions of the
art we speak of. One of these is managed by a messenger announcing to the
Doctor (in the midst of company) that a person wants to speak with him: he
accordingly goes out, leaving the door a-jar, and immediately a female
voice is heard, which, from the nature of the subject, appears to be that
of the Poet's laundress, who complains of her pressing wants, disappointed
claims, and of broken promises no longer to be borne with patience. It is
more easy to imagine than describe the mixed emotions of the audience. The
scene, however, goes on by the Doctor's reply; who remonstrates, promises,
and is rather angry at the time and place of this unwelcome visit. His
antagonist unfortunately is neither mollified nor disposed to quit her
ground. Passion increases on both sides, and the Doctor forgets himself so
far as to threaten the irritated female; she defies him, and this last
promise, very unlike the former ones, is followed by payment; a severe
smack on the face is heard; the poor woman falls down stairs, with horrid
outcries; the company, of course, rises in alarm, and the Doctor is found
in a state of perfect tranquillity, apparently a stranger to the whole
transaction.

A very able ventriloquist, Fitz-James, performed in public, in
Soho-square, about four years ago. He personated various characters by
appropriate dresses; and by a command of the muscles of his face he could
very much alter his appearance. He imitated many inanimate noises, and
among others, a repetition of noises of the water machine at Marli. He
conversed with some statues, which replied to him; and also with some
persons supposed to be in the room above, and on the landing-place; gave
the watchman's cry, gradually approaching, and when he seemed opposite the
window, Fitz-James opened it and asked what the time was, received the
answer, and during his proceeding with his cry, Fitz-James shut the
window, immediately upon which the sound became weaker, and at last
insensible. In the whole of his performance, it was clear that the notions
of the audience were governed by the auxiliary circumstances, as to
direction, &c. This mimic had, at least, six different habitual modes of
speaking, which he could instantly adapt one after the other, and with so
much rapidity, that when in a small closet, parted off in the room, he
gave a long, confused, and impassioned debate of democrats (in French, as
almost the whole of his performance was;) it seemed to proceed from a
multitude of speakers: and an inaccurate observer might have thought that
several were speaking at once. A ludicrous scene of drawing a tooth was
performed in the same manner.

These examples, and many more which might be added, are sufficient, in
proof that ventriloquism is the art of mimicry, an imitation applied to
sounds of every description, and attended with circumstances which produce
an entertaining deception, and lead the hearers to imagine that the voice
proceeds from different situations. When distant low voices are to be
imitated, the articulation may be given with sufficient distinctness,
without moving the lips, or altering the countenance. It was by a supposed
supernatural voice of this kind, from a ventriloquist, that the famous
musical small-coal man, Thomas Britton, received a warning of his death,
which so greatly affected him, that he did not survive the affright.

The following quotation from Richerand's Physiology will be sufficient to
give the reader a further idea of the mechanism of this singular art. "At
first," says Richerand, "I had conjectured that a great portion of the air
driven out by expiration did not pass out by the mouth and nostrils, but
was swallowed and carried into the stomach, reflected in some part of the
digestive canal, and gave rise to a real echo; but after having
attentively observed this curious phenomenon, in Mr. Fitz-James, who
represents it in its greatest perfection, I was enabled to convince myself
that the name ventriloquism is by no means applicable, since the whole of
its mechanism consists in a slow gradual expiration, drawn in such a way
that the artist either makes use of the influence exerted by volition over
the muscles or parietis of the thorax, or that he keeps the epiglottis
down by the base of the tongue, the apex of which is not carried beyond
the dental arches.

"He always makes a strong inspiration just before this long expiration,
and thus conveys a considerable mass of air into the lungs, the exit of
which he afterwards manages with such address. Therefore, repletion of the
stomach greatly incommodes the talent of Mr. Fitz-James, by preventing the
diaphragm from descending sufficiently to admit of a dilatation of the
thorax, in proportion to the quantity of air that the lungs should
receive. By accelerating or retarding the exit of the air, he can imitate
different voices, and induce his auditors to a belief that the
interlocutors of a dialogue, which is kept up by himself alone, are placed
at different distances; and this illusion is the more complete in
proportion to the perfection of his peculiar talent. No man possesses, to
such a degree as Mr. Fitz-James, the art of deceiving persons who are
least liable to delusion, he can carry his execution to five or six
different tones, pass rapidly from one to another, as he does when
representing an animated dispute in the midst of a popular assembly."

Some persons are of opinion that the witch of Endor was a ventriloquist,
and that she practised this art before King Saul, and deceived him in the
resurrection of Samuel; the present writer, however, does not vouch for
this opinion.


Another very extraordinary acquirement, and which the present writer has
been witness to, is, SWORD-SWALLOWING.

This surprising act is performed by the Indian Jugglers; the following
account of which, is extracted from Forbes's Oriental Memoirs.

"I have elsewhere mentioned some feats of the Indian Jugglers: at Zinore I
saw one which surpassed every thing of the kind I had before witnessed, I
mean the swallowing a sword up to the hilt. Had I not afterwards met with
the same set on the island of Salsette, exhibiting before the English
chief at Tannah, I should have doubted the evidence of my senses. I
witnessed the fact more than once, and am convinced there was no
deception. Finding my tale generally disbelieved in Europe, I suppressed
it; but having since read a clear and satisfactory account of this
extraordinary transaction, drawn up by Mr. Johnson, surgeon in the navy,
who, in the year 1804, was an eye-witness of this performance, and having
described it as a professional man, I shall transcribe the account from
his memoir:--

"'Having been visited by one of these conjurers, I resolved to see clearly
his mode of performing this operation; and for that purpose ordered him to
seat himself on the floor of the veranda. The sword he intended to use has
some resemblance to a common spit in shape, except at the handle, which is
merely a part of the blade itself, rounded and elongated into a little
rod. It is from twenty-two to twenty-six inches in length, about an inch
in breadth, and about one-fifth of an inch in thickness; the edges and
point are blunt, being rounded, and of the same thickness as the rest of
the blade; it is of iron or steel, smooth, and a little bright. Having
satisfied himself with respect to the sword, by attempting to bend it; and
by striking it against a stone, I firmly grasped it by the handle, and
ordered him to proceed. He first took a small phial of oil, and with one
of his fingers rubbed a little of it over the surface of the instrument;
then, stretching up his neck as much as possible, and bending himself a
little backwards, he introduced the point of it into his mouth, and pushed
it gently down his throat, until my hand, which was on the handle, came
in contact with his lips. He then made a sign to me with one of his hands,
to feel the point of the instrument between his breast and navel: which I
could do, by bending him a little more backwards, and pressing my fingers
on his stomach, he being a very thin and lean fellow. On letting go the
handle of the sword, he instantly fixed on it a little machine that spun
round, and disengaged a small fire-work, which encircling his head with a
blue flame, gave him, as he then sat, a truly diabolical appearance. On
withdrawing the instrument, several parts of its surface were covered with
blood, which shewed that he was still obliged to use a degree of violence
in the introduction.

"'I was at first a good deal surprised at this transaction altogether; but
when I came to reflect a little upon it, there appeared nothing at all
improbable, much less impossible, in the business. He told me, on giving
him a trifle, that he had been accustomed, from his early years, to
introduce at first small elastic instruments down his throat, and into his
stomach; that by degrees he had used larger ones, until at length he was
able to use the present iron sword.'" Oriental Memoirs, vol. ii. pp.
515-517.

Two of these jugglers have lately visited England, and performed the above
exploit, with many others, almost equally surprising, to the satisfaction
of crowded audiences.

We may learn from various instances in this chapter the value of
perseverance; this will overcome difficulties, which at first appear
insuperable; and it is amazing to consider, how great and numerous
obstacles may be removed by a continual attention to any particular point.
By such attention and perseverance, what may not man effect! Any man,
unless he be an absolute idiot, may by these means raise himself to
excellence in some branch or other; and what is best of all, by divine
assistance, and by unwearied and keen application, he may resist
temptation, conquer the evil principle, rise superior to all the
difficulties and trials of life, excel in wisdom and goodness, and thus be
fitted for a better country, when death summons him away from the present
world.

  --------------------------------Man must soar.
  An obstinate activity within,
  An insuppressive spring, will toss him up,
  In spite of fortune's load. Not kings alone,
  Each villager has his ambition too;
  No sultan prouder than his fetter'd slave.
  Slaves build their little Babylons of straw,
  Echo the proud Assyrian, in their hearts,
  And cry--"Behold the wonders of my might!"
  And why? Because immortal as their lord;
  And souls immortal must for ever heave
  At something great; the glitter, or the gold;
  The praise of mortals, or the praise of heav'n.
                                        _Young._



CHAP. IV.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _Instances of Extraordinary Gluttony--Instances of Extraordinary
    Fasting--Wonders of Abstinence--Sleep Walking--Sleeping Woman of
    Dunninald--Instances of Extraordinary Dreams--Poetical, Grammatical,
    and Scientific Deaths--Anthropophagi, or Men-Eaters--Account of a Wild
    Man._


INSTANCES OF EXTRAORDINARY GLUTTONY.

Habitual gluttons may be reckoned among the monsters of nature, and even
punishable for endeavouring to bring a famine into the places where they
live. King James I. when a man was presented to him who could eat a whole
sheep at one meal, asked, "What work could he do more than another man?"
and being answered, "He could not do so much," said, "Hang him, then; for
it is unfit a man should live, that eats as much as twenty men, and cannot
do so much as one."

The emperor Clodius Albinus devoured more than a bushel of apples at once.
He ate 500 figs to his breakfast, 100 peaches, 10 melons, 20lbs. of
grapes, 100 gnat-snappers, and 400 oysters.

Hardi Canute, the last of the Danish kings in England, was so great a
glutton, that an historian calls him Bocca di Porco, "Swine's-mouth." His
tables were covered four times a day with the most costly viands that
either the air, sea, or land, could furnish; and as he lived he died; for,
revelling at a banquet at Lambeth, he fell down dead.

One Phagon, in the reign of Aurelianus, at one meal, ate a whole boar, 100
loaves of bread, a sheep, and a pig, and drank above three gallons of
wine.

One Mallet, a counsellor at law, in the reign of Charles I. ate at one
time a dinner provided in Westminster for 30 men. His practice not being
sufficient to supply him with better meat, he fed generally on offals, ox
livers, hearts, &c. He lived to near 60 years of age, but during the seven
last years of his life ate as moderately as other men.

Among the many accounts of extraordinary eaters, there are, perhaps, none
that have exceeded those of Nicholas Wood, of Harrison, in Kent, related
in Fuller's Worthies, p. 86, whose enormous appetite appears to exceed all
probability.

He ate at one meal a whole sheep, of sixteen shillings price, raw; at
another time, thirty dozen of pigeons. At Sir William Sidley's, in the
same county, he ate as much victuals as would have sufficed thirty men.
At Lord Wotton's mansion-house, in Kent, he devoured, at one dinner, 84
rabbits, which, at the rate of half a rabbit a man, would have served 168
men. He ate to his breakfast 18 yards of black-pudding. He devoured at one
meal a whole hog; and after it, being accommodated with fruit, he ate
three pecks of damsons.

Gluttony is a most degrading vice. Be sober; be temperate; be virtuous;
for

  Health consists with temperance alone.
  And peace, O Virtue! peace is all thy own.
                                        _Pope._


We shall, with the readers permission, now introduce some EXTRAORDINARY
INSTANCES OF FASTING.

A full account of a very uncommon case is given in the Phil. Trans, vol.
lxvii. part I. _Janet M'Leod_, an inhabitant in the parish of Kincardine,
in Ross-shire, continued healthy till she was fifteen years of age, when
she had a pretty severe epileptic fit; after this she had an interval of
health for four years, and then another epileptic fit, which continued a
whole day and a night. A few days afterwards she was seized with a fever,
which continued with violence several weeks, and from which she did not
perfectly recover for some months. At this time she lost the use of her
eyelids; so that she was under the necessity of keeping them open with the
fingers of one hand, whenever she wanted to look about her. In other
respects she continued in pretty good health; only she periodically spit
up blood in pretty large quantities, and at the same time it flowed from
the nose. This discharge continued several years; but at last it ceased;
and soon after she had a third epileptic fit, and after that a fever, from
which she recovered slowly. Six weeks after the crisis, she stole out of
the house unknown to her parents, who were busied in their harvest work,
and bound the sheaves of a ridge before she was observed. In the evening
she took to her bed, complaining much of her _heart_ (probably meaning her
_stomach_) and her head. From that time she never rose for five years, but
was occasionally lifted out of bed. She seldom spoke a word, and took so
little food, that it seemed scarcely sufficient to support a sucking
infant. Even this small quantity was taken by compulsion; and at last,
about Whitsunday, 1763, she totally refused every kind of food or drink.
Her jaws now became so fast locked, that it was with the greatest
difficulty her father was able to open her teeth a little, in order to
admit a small quantity of gruel or whey; but of this so much generally run
out at the corners of her mouth, that they could not be sensible any had
been swallowed. About this time they got some water from a noted medical
spring in Brae-Mar, some of which they attempted to make her swallow, but
without effect. They continued their trials, however, for three mornings;
rubbing her throat with the water which ran out at the corners of her
mouth. On the third morning, during the operation, she cried out, "Give me
more water;" and swallowed with ease all that remained in the bottle. She
spoke no more intelligibly for a year, though she continued to mutter some
words, for 14 days, which her parents only understood. She continued to
reject all kinds of food and drink till July, 1765. At this time her
sister thought, by some signs she made, that she wanted her jaws opened;
and this being done, not without violence, she called intelligibly for
some liquid, and drank with ease about an English pint of water. Her
father then asked why she would not make some signs when she wanted to
drink? To which she answered,--why should she, when she had no desire? It
was now supposed that she had regained the faculty of speech; and her jaws
were kept open for about three weeks, by means of a wedge. But in four or
five days she became totally silent, and the wedge was removed, because it
made her lips sore. She still, however, continued sensible; and when her
eyelids were opened, knew every body. This could be guessed from the signs
she made. By continuing their attempts to force open her jaws, two of the
under fore teeth were driven out; and of this opening her parents
endeavoured to avail themselves, by putting some thin nourishing drink
into her mouth, but without effect, as it always returned by the corners.
Sometimes they thought of thrusting a little dough of oatmeal through this
gap of the teeth, which she would retain a few seconds, and then return
with something like a straining to vomit, without one particle going down.
Nor were the family sensible of any thing like swallowing for four years,
excepting the small draught of Brae-Mar water, and an English pint of
common water. For the last three years she had no natural discharge,
except that once or twice a week she passed a few drops of water.

In this situation she was visited by Dr. Mackenzie, who communicated the
account to the Royal Society. He found her not at all emaciated; her knees
were bent, and the hamstrings tight, so that her heels were drawn up
behind her body. She slept much, and was very quiet; but when awake, kept
a constant whimpering like a new-born weakly infant. She never could
remain a moment on her back, but always fell to one side or another; and
her chin was drawn close to her breast, nor could it by any force be moved
backwards. The Doctor paid his first visit in October, 1767; and five
years afterwards, viz, in October, 1772, was induced to pay her a second
visit, by hearing that she was recovering, and had begun to eat and drink.
The account given him was most extraordinary.

Her parents one day returning from their country labours, (having left
their daughter fixed to her bed as usual,) were greatly surprised to find
her sitting upon her hams, in a part of the house opposite to her
bed-place, spinning with her mother's distaff. All the food she took at
that time was only to crumble a little oat or barley cake in the palm of
her hand, as if to feed a chicken. She put little crumbs of this into the
gap of her teeth; rolled them about for some time in her mouth; and then
sucked out of the palm of her hand a little water, whey, or milk; and this
only once or twice a day, and even that by compulsion. She never attempted
to speak; her jaws were fast locked, and her eyes shut. On opening her
eyelids, the balls were found to be turned up under the edge of the os
frontis; her countenance was ghastly, her complexion pale, and her whole
person emaciated. She seemed sensible and tractable, except in taking
food. This she did with the utmost reluctance, and even cried before she
yielded. The great change of her looks, Dr. Mackenzie attributed to her
spinning flax on the distaff, which exhausted too much of the saliva; and
therefore he recommended to her parents to confine her totally to the
spinning of wool. In 1775, she was visited again, and found to be greatly
improved in her looks as well as strength; her food was also considerably
increased in quantity; though even then she did not take more than would
be sufficient to sustain an infant of two years of age.

In the _Gentleman's Magazine_, for 1789, p. 1211, is recorded the death of
one Caleb Elliot, a visionary enthusiast, who meant to have fasted 40
days, and actually survived 16 without food, having obstinately refused
sustenance of every kind.


At the same time that we should guard against superstitious fasting, we
should be cautious not to transgress the bounds of temperance. Occasional
abstinence is useful and praiseworthy, and we shall now give some
instances of The WONDERS OF ABSTINENCE.

Many wonders are related of the effects of abstinence, in the cure of
several disorders, and in protracting the term of life. The noble
Venetian, Cornaro, after all imaginable means had proved vain, so that his
life was despaired of at 40, recovered, and lived to near 100, by mere
dint of abstinence; as he himself gives account. It is indeed surprising
to what a great age the primitive Christians of the East, who retired from
the persecutions into the deserts of Arabia and Egypt, lived, healthful
and cheerful, on a very little food. Cassian assures us, that the common
rate for 24 hours was 12 ounces of bread, and mere water; with this, St.
Anthony lived 105 years; James the hermit, 104; Arsenius, tutor of the
Emperor Arcadius, 123; S. Epiphanius, 115; Simeon, the Stylite, 112; and
Romauld, 130. Indeed, we can match these instances of longevity at home.
Buchanan writes, that one Lawrence preserved himself to 140, by force of
temperance and labour; and Spottiswood mentions one Kentigern, afterwards
called St. Mongah, or Mungo, who lived to 185, by the same means.
Abstinence, however, is to be recommended only as it means a proper
regimen; for in general it must have bad consequences, when observed
without a due regard to constitution, age, strength, &c.

According to Dr. Cheyne, most of the chronical diseases, the infirmities
of old age, and the short lives of Englishmen, are owing to repletion; and
may be either cured, prevented, or remedied, by abstinence: but then the
kinds of abstinence which ought to obtain, either in sickness or health,
are to be deduced from the laws of diet and regimen. Among the brute
creation, we see extraordinary instances of long abstinence. The serpent
kind, in particular, bear abstinence to a wonderful degree. Rattlesnakes
are reported to have subsisted many months without any food, yet still
retained their vigour and fierceness. Dr. Shaw speaks of a couple of
cerastes, (a sort of Egyptian serpents,) which had been kept five years in
a bottle close corked, without any sort of food, unless a small quantity
of sand, wherein they coiled themselves up in the bottom of the vessel,
may be reckoned as such: yet when he saw them, they had newly cast their
skins, and were as brisk and lively as if just taken.

But it is even natural for divers species of creatures to pass four, five,
or six months' every year, without either eating or drinking. Accordingly,
the tortoise, bear, dormouse, serpent, &c. are observed regularly to
retire, at those seasons, to their respective cells, and hide
themselves,--some in the caverns of rocks or ruins; others dig holes under
ground; others get into woods, and lay themselves up in clefts of trees;
others bury themselves under water, &c. And yet these animals are found as
fat and fleshy after some months' abstinence as before.--A gentleman
(_Phil. Trans._ No. 194.) weighed his tortoise several years successively,
at its going to earth in October, and coming out again in March; and found
that, of four pounds four ounces, it only used to lose about one
ounce.--Indeed, we have instances of men passing several months as
strictly abstinent as other creatures. In particular, the records of the
Tower mention a Scotchman imprisoned for felony, and strictly watched in
that fortress for six weeks; in all which time he took not the least
sustenance; for which he had his pardon. Numberless instances of
extraordinary abstinence, particularly from morbid causes, are to be found
in the different periodical Memoirs, Transactions, Ephemerides, &c. It is
to be added, that, in most instances of extraordinary human abstinence
related by naturalists, there were said to have been apparent marks of a
texture of blood and humour, much like that of the animals above
mentioned; though it is not an improbable opinion, that the air itself may
furnish something for nutrition. It is certain, there are substances of
all kinds, animal, vegetable, &c. floating in the atmosphere, which must
be continually taken in by respiration. And that an animal body may be
nourished thereby, is evident from the instance of vipers, which, if taken
when first brought forth, and kept from every thing but air, will yet grow
very considerably in a few days. The eggs of lizards, also, are observed
to increase in bulk after they are produced, though there be nothing to
furnish the increment but air alone, in like manner as the eggs or spawn
of fish grow and are nourished by the water. And hence, say some, it is,
that cooks, turnspit dogs, &c. though they eat but little, yet are usually
fat.


We shall next offer the reader a few remarks on SLEEP-WALKING.

Many instances are related of persons who were addicted to this practice.
A very remarkable one has been published from a report made to the
Physical Society of Lausanne, by a committee of gentlemen appointed to
examine a young man who was accustomed to walk in his sleep.

The disposition to sleep-walking seems, in the opinion of this committee,
to depend on a particular affection of the nerves, which both seizes and
quits the patient during sleep. Under the influence of this affection, the
imagination represents to him the objects that struck him while awake,
with as much force as if they really affected his senses; but it does not
make him perceive any of those that are actually presented to his senses,
except in so far as they are connected with the dreams which engross him
at the time. If, during this state, the imagination has no determined
purpose, he receives the impression of objects as if he were awake; only,
however, when the imagination is excited to bend its attention towards
them. The perceptions obtained in this state are very accurate, and, when
once received, the imagination renews them occasionally with as much force
as if they were again acquired by means of the senses. Lastly, these
academicians suppose, that the impressions received during this state of
the senses, disappear entirely when the person awakes, and do not return
till the recurrence of the same disposition in the nervous system.


Our next article is, A CURIOUS ACCOUNT OF THE SLEEPING WOMAN OF DUNNINALD,
NEAR MONTROSE.

The following narrative was communicated to the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, by Dr. Brewster.

Margaret Lyall, aged 21, daughter of John Lyall, labourer at Dunninald,
was first seized with a sleeping fit on the 27th of June, 1815, which
continued to the 30th of June; next morning she was again found in a deep
sleep: in this state she remained for seven days, without motion, food, or
the use of any animal function. But at the end of this time, by the moving
of her left hand, and by plucking at the coverlet of the bed and pointing
to her mouth, a wish for food being understood, it was given her. This she
took; but still remained in her lethargic state till Tuesday the 8th of
August, being six weeks from the time she was seized with the lethargy,
without appearing to be awake, except on the afternoon of Friday the 30th
of June. During the first two weeks, her pulse was generally about 50, the
third week about 60, and previous to her recovery, at 70 to 72. Though
extremely feeble for some days after her recovery, she gained strength so
rapidly, that before the end of August, she began to work at the harvest,
on the lands of Mr. Arkley, and continued without inconvenience to perform
her labour.

The account is drawn up by the clergyman of the parish, and is accompanied
with the medical report of the surgeons who attended; to whose
attestations are added those of Mr. Arkley, the proprietor of Dunninald,
and Lyall, the father; and the statement is, in every respect, entitled to
the fullest credit.


We shall proceed to some INSTANCES OF EXTRAORDINARY DREAMS.

The following account is by no means intended either to restore the reign
of superstition, or to induce the reader to put faith in the numberless
ridiculous interpretations, given by some pretenders to divination, of the
ordinary run of dreams. The absurdity of the many traditional rules, laid
down by such persons; such as, that dreaming of _eggs_ prognosticates
_anger_; of the _washing_ of linens, forebodes _flitting_; of green
fields, _sickness_; of hanging, _honour_; of death, _marriage_; of fish,
_children_; and of raw flesh, _death_, &c. &c. can only be exceeded by the
folly of those who put faith in such fooleries. But instances have
occurred of particular persons, whose veracity cannot be doubted, having
dreams of so singular a nature, and so literally and exactly fulfilled,
that it may be well to mention one or two of them, for the entertainment,
at least, of the reader, if they should not contribute to his
improvement.--

Mr. Richard Boyle, manufacturer, residing in Stirling, about 1781, dreamed
that he saw a beautiful young woman, with a winding sheet over her arm,
whose image made a deep impression on his mind. Upon telling his mother
the dream, she said, you will probably marry that woman, and if you do,
she will bury you. Going to Glasgow in 1783, he met with a young woman in
a friend's house, exactly resembling the person he had dreamed of; and
notwithstanding the disheartening interpretation he had got, and the
additional discouraging circumstance told him, that she was already
engaged with another young man, was sure she was to be his wife, and did
not give up his pursuit till he made her his own. The melancholy part of
his dream was soon fulfilled. He lived only 15 months with her; a short,
but happy period. His widow, during his life, dreamed with equal exactness
of her second husband, whom she did not see till three years afterwards,
when the sight of him, at church, in Montrose, disturbed her devotion so
much, upon recollecting her dream, that she hardly knew a word the
minister said afterwards. Within less than two months, they were
introduced to each other; and within four, were married.--Another young
lady had dreamed so often, and so particularly, about the gentleman who
afterwards married her, that at their first meeting, she started back, as
if she had seen a ghost.--The editors of the Encyclopedia Perthensis
declare they knew the parties concerned in the foregoing relations. But
these instances of prophetic dreams, they observe, are trifling, compared
to one narrated in the _Weekly Mirror_, printed at Edinburgh, in 1781, and
signed _Verax_; and which, they say, they quote the more readily, as also,
from personal acquaintance with the parties, they know the narrative to be
true:

"In June, 1752, Mr. Robert Aikenhead, farmer, in Denstrath, of Arnhall, in
the Mearns, about 5 miles north of Brechin, and 7 from Montrose, went to a
market called _Tarrenty-fair_, where he had a large sum of money to
receive. His eldest son, Robert, a boy about 8 years of age, was sent to
take care of the cattle, and, happening to lie down upon a grassy bank
before sun-set, fell fast asleep. Although the boy had never been far from
home, he was immediately carried in his imagination to Tarrenty market,
where, he dreamed, that his father, after receiving the money, set out on
his return home, and was followed all the way by two ill-looking fellows,
who, when he had got to the western dykes of Inglis-Mauldy, (the seat of
the then Lord Halkerton, afterwards Earl of Kintore,) and little more than
a mile from home, attacked and attempted to rob him. Whereupon the boy
thought he ran to his assistance, and, when he came within a gun-shot of
the place, called out some people, who were just going to bed, who put the
robbers to flight. He immediately awoke in a fright, and, without waiting
to consider whether it was a vision or a reality, ran as fast as he could
to the place he had dreamed of, and had no sooner reached it, than he saw
his father in the very spot and situation he had seen in his dream,
defending himself with his stick against the assassins. He therefore
immediately realized his own part of the visionary scene, by roaring out,
_Murder!_ which soon brought out the people, who running up to Mr.
Aikenhead's assistance, found him victor over one of the villains, whom he
had previously knocked down with a stone, after they had pulled him off
his horse; but almost overpowered by the other, who repeatedly attempted
to stab him with a sword; against which he had no other defence than his
stick and his hands, which were considerably mangled by grasping the
blade. Upon sight of the country people, the villain who had the sword ran
off; but the other not being able, was apprehended and lodged in gaol.
Meantime there was no small hue and cry after young Robert, whose mother
missing him, and finding the cattle among the corn, was in the utmost
anxiety, concluding that he had fallen into some water or peat moss. But
her joy and surprise were equally great, when her husband returned with
the boy, and told her how miraculously both his money and life had been
preserved by his son's dream; although she was at first startled at seeing
her husband's hands bloody.

"To those who deny the existence of a God, (adds the writer,) or the
superintendence of a divine providence, the above narrative will appear as
fabulous as any story in Ovid. To those who measure the greatness and
littleness of events by the arbitrary rules of human pride and vanity, it
will perhaps appear incredible that such a miracle should have been
wrought for the preservation of the life of a country farmer. But all who
found their opinions upon the unerring rule of right and truth, which
assures us that a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the permission
of our heavenly Father, (and who know, that in the sight of Him, with whom
there is no respect of persons or dignities, the life of the greatest
monarch on earth, and that of the lowest of his subjects, are of equal
value,) will laugh at such silly objections, when opposed to well-attested
facts. That the above is one, could be attested upon oath, were it
necessary, by Mr. and Mrs. Aikenhead, from whom I had all the particulars
above narrated about 15 months ago.--Edinburgh, March 12, 1781."--Indeed,
whoever can persuade himself that such facts as are stated above, can
happen by chance, may easily adopt the system of those philosophers, who
tell us that the universe was formed by the fortuitous concourse of atoms.


The title of our next subject is curious,--POETICAL, GRAMMATICAL, AND
SCIENTIFIC DEATHS.

The Emperor Adrian, dying, made that celebrated address to his soul, which
is so happily translated by Pope, in the following words:

    Vital spark of heav'nly flame,
    Quit, oh quit this mortal frame.
    Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
    Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
  Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
  And let me languish into life.

    Hark! they whisper; angels say,
    Sister spirit, come away.
    What is this absorbs me quite?
    Steals my senses, shuts my sight?
    Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
    Tell me, my soul, can this be death!

  The world recedes; it disappears!
  Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
      With sounds seraphic ring:
  Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
  O Grave! where is thy victory?
      O Death! where is thy sting?

Lucan, when he had his veins opened by order of Nero, expired reciting a
passage from his Pharsalia, in which he has described the wound of a dying
soldier. Petronius did the same thing on the same occasion.

Patris, a poet of Caen, perceiving himself expiring, composed some verses
which are justly admired. In this little poem he relates a dream, in which
he appeared to be placed next to a beggar, when, having addressed him in
the haughty strain he would probably have employed on this side of the
grave, he received the following reprimand:

  "Here all are equal; now thy lot is mine!
  I on my dunghill, as thou art on thine."

Des Barreaux, it is said, wrote, on his death-bed, that sonnet which is
well known, and which is translated in the "Spectator."

Margaret of Austria, when she was nearly perishing in a storm at sea,
composed for herself the following epitaph in verse:

  "Beneath this tomb is high-born Margaret laid,
  Who had two husbands, and yet died a maid."

She was betrothed to Charles VIII. of France, who forsook her. Being next
intended for the Spanish Infant, in her voyage to Spain she wrote these
lines in a storm.

Roscommon, at the moment he expired, with an energy of voice (says his
biographer) that expressed the most fervent devotion, uttered two lines of
his own version of "Dies Iræ!"

Waller, in his last moments, repeated some lines from Virgil: and Chaucer
took his farewell of all human vanities by a moral ode, entitled, "A
ballad made by Geffrey Chauycer upon his dethe-bedde lying in his grete
anguysse."

"The muse that has attended my course (says the dying Gleim, in a letter
to Klopstock[4]) still hovers round my steps to the very verge of the
grave." A collection of songs, composed by old Gleim on his death-bed, it
is said, were intended to be published.

Chatellard, a French gentleman, beheaded in Scotland, for having loved the
Queen, and even for having attempted her honour, Brantome says, would not
have any other viaticum than a poem of Ronsard. When he ascended the
scaffold, he took the hymns of this poet, and for his consolation read
that on death; which, he says, is well adapted to conquer its fear. He
preferred the poems of Ronsard to either a prayer-book or his confessor:
such was his passion.

The Marquis of Montrose, when he was condemned by his judges to have his
limbs nailed to the gates of four cities, the brave soldier said that, "he
was sorry he had not limbs sufficient to be nailed to all the gates of the
cities in Europe, as monuments of his loyalty." As he proceeded to his
execution, he put this thought into beautiful verse.

Philip Strozzi, when imprisoned by Cosmo the First, great Duke of Tuscany,
was apprehensive of the danger to which he might expose his friends, (who
had joined in his conspiracy against the duke,) from the confessions which
the rack might extort from him. Having attempted every exertion for the
liberty of his country, he considered it no crime therefore to die. He
resolved on suicide. With the point of the sword, with which he killed
himself, he first engraved on the mantle-piece of the chimney, this verse
of Virgil:

  Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor.
  _Rise, some avenger, from our blood!_

Such persons realize that beautiful fiction of the ancients, who represent
the swans of Cayster singing at their death; and have been compared to the
nightingale singing with a thorn on its breast.


The following anecdotes are of a different complexion: they may perhaps
excite a smile. We have given them the title of GRAMMATICAL DEATHS.

Pere Bouhours was a French grammarian, who had been justly accused of
paying too scrupulous an attention to the minutiæ of letters. He was more
solicitous of his _words_ than his _thoughts_. It is said, that when he
was dying, he called out to his friends (a correct grammarian to the
last,) "_Je_ VAS, _ou je_ VAIS _mourir; l'un ou l'autre se dit!_"

When Malherbe was dying, he reprimanded his nurse for making use of a
solecism in her language! And when his confessor represented to him the
felicities of a future state in low expressions, the dying critic
interrupted him: "Hold your tongue," he said, "your wretched style only
makes me out of conceit with them!"

Several persons of science have died in a scientific manner.--Haller, the
greatest of physicians, beheld his end approach with the utmost composure.
He kept feeling his pulse to the last moment, and when he found that life
was almost gone, he turned to his brother physician, and observed, "My
friend, the artery ceases to beat,"--and almost instantly expired.

De Lagny, who was intended by his friends for the study of the law, having
fallen on an Euclid, found it so congenial to his disposition, that he
devoted himself to mathematics. In his last moments, when he retained no
further recollection of the friends who surrounded his bed, one of them,
perhaps to make a philosophical experiment, thought proper to ask him the
square of 12; the dying mathematician instantly, and perhaps without
knowing that he answered it, replied, "144."

The following lines, from the pen of Mrs. Barbauld, in an address to the
Deity, express the desires and hopes of a real Christian in the
contemplation of death:

  "O when the last, the closing hour draws nigh,
  And earth recedes before my swimming eye;
  When trembling on the doubtful edge of fate,
  I stand, and stretch my view to either state;
  Teach me to quit this transitory scene
  With decent triumph and a look serene;
  Teach me to fix my ardent hopes on high,
  And, having liv'd to thee, in thee to die!"


The following article is not of a pleasing description, but nevertheless
proper to be inserted in "The Book of Curiosities." It is ANTHROPOPHAGI,
OR MEN-EATERS:

The Cyclops, the Lestrygons, and Scylla, are all represented in Homer as
Anthropophagi, or man-eaters, and the female phantoms, Circe and the
Syrens, first bewitched with a show of pleasure, and then destroyed. This,
like the other parts of Homer's poetry, had a foundation in the manners of
the times preceding his own. It was still in many places the age spoken of
by Orpheus,

  "When men devour'd each other like the beasts,
  Gorging on human flesh."

History gives us divers instances of persons driven by excess of hunger to
eat their own relations. And also out of revenge and hatred, where
soldiers, in the heat of battle, have been known to be carried to such an
excess of rage, as to tear their enemies with their teeth.

The violence of love has sometimes produced the same effect as the excess
of hatred.

Among the Essedonian Scythians, when a man's father died, his neighbours
brought him several beasts, which they killed, mixed up their flesh with
that of the deceased, and made a feast.

Among the Massageti, when any person grew old, they killed him, and ate
his flesh; but if the party died of sickness, they buried him, esteeming
him unhappy.

Idolatry and superstition have caused the eating more human flesh, than
both love and hatred put together.

There are few nations but have offered human victims to their deities; and
it was an established custom to eat part of the sacrifices they offered.

It appears pretty certain, from Dr. Hawkesworth's account of the voyages
to the South Seas, that the inhabitants of New Zealand ate the bodies of
their enemies. Mr. Petit has a learned dissertation on the nature and
manners of the Anthropophagi. Among other things, he disputes whether or
no the Anthropophagi act contrary to nature? The philosophers, Diogenes,
Chrysippus, and Zeno, followed by the whole body of Stoics, held it a very
reasonable thing for men to eat each other.

According to Sextus Empiricus, the first laws were those made to prevent
men from eating each other, as had been done until that time.

The Greek writers represent Anthropophagi as universal before Orpheus.

Leonardus Floroventius informs us, that having fed a hog with hog's flesh,
and a dog with dog's flesh, he found a repugnance in nature to such food;
the former lost all his bristles; the latter its hair, and the whole body
broke out in blotches.

If even this horrid practice of eating human flesh originates from hunger,
still it must be perpetuated from revenge: as death must lose much of its
horror among those who are accustomed to eat the dead; and where there is
little horror at the sight of death, there must be less repugnance to
murder.


We shall conclude this chapter with AN ACCOUNT OF A WILD MAN, given by M.
Le Roy.

In 1774, a wild man was discovered in the neighbourhood of Yuary. This
man, who inhabited the rocks near a forest, was very tall, covered with
hair like a bear, very nimble, and of a gay humour. He neither did, nor
seemed to intend, harm to any body. He often visited the cottages,
without ever attempting to carry off any thing. He had no knowledge of
bread, milk, or cheese. His greatest amusement was to see the sheep
running, and to scatter them; and he testified his pleasure at this sight
by loud fits of laughter, but never attempted to hurt them. When the
shepherds (as was frequently the case) let loose their dogs at him, he
fled with the swiftness of an arrow, and never allowed the dogs to come
too near him. One morning he came to the cottage of some workmen, and one
of them endeavouring to catch him by the leg, he laughed heartily, and
then made his escape. He seemed to be about thirty years of age. As the
forest is very extensive, and had a communication with a vast wood that
belongs to the Spanish territories, it is natural to suppose that this
solitary, but cheerful creature, had been lost in his infancy, and
subsisted on herbs.



CHAP. V.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _Striking Instances of Integrity--Shocking Instances of
    Ingratitude--Extraordinary Instances of Honour--Surprising Effects of
    Anger--Remarkable Effects of Fright, or Terror--Notable Instance of
    the Power of Conscience._


STRIKING INSTANCES OF INTEGRITY.

A man of integrity will never listen to any reason, or give way to any
measure, or be misled by any inducement, against conscience. The
inhabitants of a great town offered Marshal de Turenne 100,000 crowns,
upon condition he would take another road, and not march his troops their
way. He answered them, "As your town is not on the road I intend to march,
I cannot accept the money you offer me."--The Earl of Derby, in the reign
of Edward III. making a descent in Guienne, carried by storm the town of
Bergerac, and gave it up to be plundered.--A Welsh Knight happening to
light upon the receiver's office, found such a quantity of money, that he
thought himself obliged to acquaint his general with it, imagining that so
great a booty belonged to him. But he was agreeably surprised, when the
Earl wished him joy of his good fortune, and said he did not make the
keeping of his word depend on the great or little value of what he had
promised.--In the siege of Falisci, by Camillus, General of the Romans,
the schoolmaster of the town, who had the children of the senators under
his care, led them abroad, under the pretext of recreation, and carried
them to the Roman camp; saying to Camillus, that, by this artifice, he
had delivered Falisci into his hands. Camillus, abhorring his treachery,
said, "That there were laws for war as well as for peace; and that the
Romans were taught to make war with integrity, not less than with
courage." He ordered the schoolmaster to be stripped, his hands to be
bound behind his back, and to be delivered to the boys, to be lashed back
into the town. The Falerians, hitherto obstinate in resistance, struck
with an act of justice so illustrious, delivered themselves up to the
Romans; convinced that they would be far better to have the Romans for
their allies, than their enemies.


SHOCKING INSTANCES OF INGRATITUDE.--Herodotus informs us, that when
Xerxes, king of Persia, was at Celene, a city of Phrygia, Pythius, a
Lydian, who resided there, and, next to Xerxes, was the most opulent
prince of those times, entertained him and his whole army with an
incredible magnificence, and made him an offer of all his wealth towards
defraying the expenses of his expedition. Xerxes, surprised at so generous
an offer, inquired to what sum his riches amounted. Pythius answered, that
having the design of offering them to his service, he had taken an exact
account of them, and that the silver he had by him, amounted to 2000
talents, (about £255,000 sterling), and the gold to 3,993,000 darics
(about £1,700,000 sterling). All this money he offered him, telling him,
that his revenue was sufficient for the support of his household. Xerxes
made him very hearty acknowledgments, and entered into a particular
friendship with him, and declined accepting his present. Some time after
this, Pythius having desired a favour of him, that out of his five sons,
who served in his army, he would be pleased to leave him the eldest, to
comfort him in his old age; Xerxes was so enraged at the proposal, though
so reasonable in itself, that he caused the eldest son to be killed before
his father's eyes, giving the latter to understand, that it was a favour
he spared him and the rest of his children. Yet, this is the same Xerxes
who is so much admired for his humane reflection at the head of his
numerous army.--The emperor Basilius I. exercised himself in hunting: a
great stag running furiously against him, fastened one of the branches of
his horns in the emperor's girdle, and, pulling him from his horse,
dragged him a good distance, to the imminent danger of his life; which a
gentleman of his retinue perceiving, drew his sword, and cut the emperor's
girdle asunder, which disengaged him from the beast, with little or no
hurt to his person. But, observe his reward! "He was sentenced to lose his
head for putting the sword so near the body of the emperor; and suffered
death accordingly." (_Zonor. Annal._ _tom._ 3. p. 155.)--In a little work
entitled _Friendly Cautions to Officers_, the following atrocious instance
is related. An opulent city, in the west of England, had a regiment sent
to be quartered there: the principal inhabitants, glad to shew their
hospitality and attachment to their sovereign, got acquainted with the
officers, invited them to their houses, and shewed them every civility in
their power. A merchant, extremely easy in his circumstances, took so
prodigious a liking to one officer in particular, that he gave him an
apartment in his own house, and made him in a manner master of it, the
officer's friends being always welcome to his table. The merchant was a
widower, and had two favourite daughters: the officer cast his wanton eyes
upon them, and too fatally ruined them both. Dreadful return to the
merchant's misplaced friendship! The consequence of this ungenerous action
was, that all officers ever after were shunned as pests to society; nor
have the inhabitants yet conquered their aversion to a red coat.--We read
in Rapin's History, that during Monmouth's rebellion, in the reign of
James II. a certain person, knowing the humane disposition of one Mrs.
Gaunt, whose life was one continued exercise of beneficence, fled to her
house, where he was concealed and maintained for some time. Hearing,
however, of the proclamation, which promised an indemnity and reward to
those who discovered such as harboured the rebels, he betrayed his
benefactress: and such was the spirit of justice and equity which
prevailed among the ministry, that he was pardoned, and recompensed for
his treachery, while she was burnt alive for her charity!--The following
instance is also to be found in the same history. Humphrey Bannister and
his father were both servants to, and raised by, the Duke of Buckingham;
who being driven to abscond by an unfortunate accident befalling the army
he had raised against the usurper Richard III. he retired to Bannister's
house near Shrewsbury, as to a place where he might be quite safe.
Bannister, however, upon the king's proclamation promising 1000l. reward
to him that should apprehend the duke, betrayed his master to John Merton,
high sheriff of Shropshire, who sent him under a strong guard to
Salisbury, where the king then was; and there, in the market-place, the
duke was beheaded. But Divine vengeance pursued the traitor Bannister;
for, demanding the 1000l. that was the price of his master's blood,
Richard refused to pay it him, saying, "He that would be false to so good
a master, ought not to be encouraged." He was afterwards hanged for
manslaughter; his eldest son went mad, and died in a hog-sty; his second
became deformed and lame; and his third son was drowned in a small puddle
of water; his eldest daughter became pregnant by one of his carters, and
his second was seized with a leprosy whereof she died. _Hist. of Eng._ i.
p. 304. Let us guard against this odious vice, ingratitude, being assured
that sooner or later the bitter effects of this, as well as of all other
sins, will find us out.


Our following article consists of some EXTRAORDINARY INSTANCES OF HONOUR.

The Spanish historians relate a memorable instance of inviolable regard to
the principles of honour and truth. A Spanish cavalier, in a sudden
quarrel, slew a Moorish gentleman, and fled. His pursuers soon lost sight
of him, for he had, unperceived, leaped over a garden wall. The owner, a
Moor, happening to be in his garden, was addressed by the Spaniard on his
knees, who acquainted him with his case, and implored concealment. "Eat
this," said the Moor (giving him half a peach), "you now know that you may
confide in my protection." He then locked him up in his garden, telling
him, as soon as it was night he would provide for his escape to a place of
greater safety. The Moor then went into his house, where he had but just
seated himself, when a great crowd, with loud lamentations, came to his
gate, bringing the corpse of his son, who had just been killed by a
Spaniard. When the first shock of surprise was a little over, he learned,
from the description given, that the fatal deed was done by the very
person then in his power. He mentioned this to no one; but, as soon as it
was dark, retired to his garden, as if to grieve alone, giving orders that
none should follow him. Then accosting the Spaniard, he said, "Christian,
the person you have killed is my son, his body is now in my house. You
ought to suffer; but you have eaten with me, and I have given you my
faith, which must not be broken." He then led the astonished Spaniard to
his stables, mounted him on one of his fleetest horses, and said, "Fly far
while the night can cover you; you will be safe in the morning. You are
indeed guilty of my son's blood; but God is just and good; and thank him,
I am innocent of your's, and that my faith given is preserved." This point
of honour is most religiously observed by the Arabs and Saracens, from
whom it was adopted by the Moors of Africa, and by them was brought into
Spain.--The following instance of Spanish honour may still be in the
memory of many living, and deserves to be handed down to the latest
posterity. In 1746, when Britain was at war with Spain, the Elizabeth of
London, captain William Edwards, coming through the gulf from Jamaica,
richly laden, met with a most violent storm, in which the ship sprung a
leak, that obliged them to run into the Havannah, a Spanish port, to save
their lives. The captain went on shore, and directly waited on the
governor, told the occasion of his putting in, and that he surrendered the
ship as a prize, and himself and his men as prisoners of war, only
requesting good quarter. "No, Sir," replied the Spanish governor, "if we
had taken you in fair war at sea, or approaching our coast with hostile
intentions, your ship would then have been a prize, and your people
prisoners; but when, distressed by a tempest, you come into our ports for
the safety of your lives, we, though enemies, being men, are bound, as
such, by the laws of humanity, to afford relief to distressed men who ask
it of us. We cannot, even against our enemies, take advantage of an act of
God. You have leave therefore to unload your ship, if that be necessary,
and to stop the leak; you may refit her here, and traffic so far as shall
be necessary to pay the charges; you may then depart, and I will give you
a pass to be in force till you are beyond Bermuda: if after that you are
taken, you will then be a lawful prize; but now you are only a stranger,
and have a stranger's right to safety and protection." The ship
accordingly departed, and arrived safe in London.--A remarkable instance
of honour is also recorded of an African negro, in captain Snelgrave's
account of his voyage to Guinea. A New-England sloop, trading there in
1752, left her second mate, William Murray, sick on shore, and sailed
without him. Murray was at the house of a black, named _Cudjoe_, with whom
he had contracted an acquaintance during their trade. He recovered; and
the sloop being gone, he continued with his black friend till some other
opportunity should offer of his getting home. In the mean time a Dutch
ship came into the road, and some of the blacks coming on board her, were
treacherously seized and carried off as slaves. The relations and friends,
transported with sudden rage, ran to the house of Cudjoe, to take revenge
by killing Murray. Cudjoe stopped them at the door, and demanded what they
wanted. "The white men," said they, "have carried away our brothers and
sons, and we will kill all white men. Give us the white man you have in
your house, for we will kill him." "Nay," said Cudjoe, "the white men that
carried away your relations are bad men, kill them when you can take them;
but this white man is a good man, and you must not kill him."--"But he is
a white man," they cried, "and the white men are all bad men, we will kill
them all."--"Nay," says he, "you must not kill a man that has done no
harm, only for being white. This man is my friend, my house is his post, I
am his soldier, and must fight for him; you must kill me before you can
kill him. What good man will ever come again under my roof, if I let my
floor be stained with a good man's blood?" The negroes, seeing his
resolution, and being convinced by his discourse that they were wrong,
went away ashamed. In a few days Murray went abroad again with his friend
Cudjoe, when several of them took him by the hand, and told him, "they
were glad they had not killed him; for, as he was a good man, their god
would have been very angry, and would have spoiled their fishing."


As it is our intention to record whatever we meet with, that is curious or
wonderful, we hesitate not in inserting the following SURPRISING EFFECTS
OF ANGER.

Physicians and naturalists afford instances of very extraordinary effects
of this passion. Borrichius cured a woman of an inveterate tertian ague,
which had baffled the art of physic, by putting the patient in a furious
fit of anger. Valeriola made use of the same means, with the like success,
in a quartan ague. The same passion has been equally salutary to
paralytic, gouty, and even dumb persons; to which last it has sometimes
given the use of speech. Etmuller gives divers instances of very singular
cures wrought by anger; among others, he mentions a person laid up in the
gout, who, being provoked by his physician, flew upon him, and was cured.
It is true, the remedy is somewhat dangerous in the application, when a
patient does not know how to use it with moderation. We meet with several
instances of princes, to whom it has proved mortal; _e. g._ Valentinian I.
Wenceslaus, Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, and others. There are also
instances wherein it has produced the epilepsy, jaundice, cholera morbus,
diarrhoea, &c. In fact, this passion is of such a nature, that it quickly
throws the whole nervous system into preternatural commotions, by a
violent stricture of the nervous and muscular parts; and surprisingly
augments, not only the systole of the heart, and its contiguous vessels,
but also the tone of the fibrous parts in the whole body. It is also
certain, that this passion, by the spasmodic stricture it produces in the
parts, exerts its power principally on the stomach and intestines, which
are highly nervous and membraneous parts; whence the symptoms are more
dangerous, in proportion to the greater consent of the stomach and
intestines with the other nervous parts, and almost with the whole body.
The unhappy influence of anger likewise on the biliary and hepatic ducts,
is very surprising; since, by an intense constriction of these, the liver
is not only rendered scirrhous, but stones also are often generated in the
gall-bladder and biliary ducts: these accidents have scarcely any other
origin than an obstruction of the free motion and efflux of the bile, by
means of this violent stricture. From such a stricture, likewise, proceeds
the jaundice, which, in process of time, lays a foundation for calculous
concretions in the gall-bladder. By increasing the motion of the fluid, or
the spasms of the fibrous parts, by means of anger, a large quantity of
blood is forcibly propelled to certain parts; whence it happens, that they
are too much distended, and the orifices of the veins distributed there,
opened. It is evident, from experience, that anger has a great tendency
to excite enormous hemorrhages, either from the nose, the aperture of the
pulmonary artery, &c. The effects of this passion are well described by
Armstrong in the following lines:--

  "But there's a passion, whose tempestuous sway
  Tears up each virtue planted in the heart,
  And shakes to ruin proud philosophy:
  For pale and trembling anger rushes in
  With falt'ring speech, and eyes that wildly stare,
  Fierce as the tiger, madder than the seas,
  Desp'rate, and arm'd with more than human strength;
  But he whom anger stings, drops, if he dies,
  At once, and rushes apoplectic down;
  Or a fierce fever hurries him to hell."


Now follows an account of some REMARKABLE EFFECTS OF FRIGHT, OR TERROR.

Out of many instances of the fatal effects of fear, the following is
selected as one of the most singular:--George Grochantzy, a Polander, who
had enlisted as a soldier in the service of the king of Prussia, deserted
during the last war. A small party was sent in pursuit of him, and, when
he least expected it, surprised him singing and dancing among a company of
peasants in an inn. This event, so sudden, and so dreadful in its
consequences, struck him in such a manner, that, giving a great cry, he
became altogether stupid and insensible, and was seized without the least
resistance. They carried him away to Glocau, where he was brought before
the council of war, and received sentence as a deserter. He suffered
himself to be led and disposed of at the will of those about him, without
uttering a word, or giving the least sign that he knew what had happened
or would happen to him. He remained immoveable as a statue wherever he was
placed, and was wholly regardless of all that was done to him or about
him. During all the time that he was in custody, he neither ate, nor
drank, nor slept, nor had any evacuation. Some of his comrades were sent
to see him; after that, he was visited by some officers of his corps, and
by some priests; but he still continued in the same state, without
discovering the least signs of sensibility. Promises, entreaties, and
threatenings, were equally ineffectual. It was at first suspected that
these appearances were feigned; but such suspicions gave way, when it was
known that he took no sustenance, and that the involuntary functions of
nature were in a great measure suspended. The physicians concluded that he
was in a state of hopeless idiocy; and after some time they knocked off
his fetters, and left him at liberty to go where he would. He received his
liberty with the same insensibility that he had shewn on other occasions;
he remained fixed and immoveable, his eyes turned wildly here and there,
without taking cognizance of any object, and the muscles of his face were
fallen and fixed, like those of a dead body. He passed twenty days in this
condition, without eating, drinking, or any evacuation, and died on the
20th day. He had been sometimes heard to fetch deep sighs; and once he
rushed with great violence on a soldier who had a mug of liquor in his
hand, forced the mug from him, and having drank the liquor with great
eagerness, let the mug drop to the ground.--Among the ludicrous effects of
fear, the following instance, quoted from a French author, by Mr. Andrews,
in his volume of Anecdotes, shews upon what slight occasions this passion
may be sometimes excited in a very high degree, and even in persons the
most unlikely to entertain fear. "Charles Gustavus (successor to
Christina, queen of Sweden,) was besieging Prague, when a boor of a most
extraordinary visage desired admittance to his tent; and being allowed
entrance, offered, by way of amusing the king, to devour a whole hog of
100 weight in his presence. The old general, Konigsmarc, who stood by the
king's side, and who, soldier as he was, had not got rid of the prejudices
of his childhood, hinted to his royal master that the peasant ought to be
burnt as a sorcerer. 'Sir,' said the fellow, irritated at the remark, 'if
your majesty will but make that old gentleman take off his sword and his
spurs, I will eat him, before I begin the hog.' Konigsmarc (who had, at
the head of a body of Swedes, performed wonders against the Austrians, and
who was looked upon as one of the bravest men of the age,) could not stand
this proposal; especially as it was accompanied by a most hideous and
preternatural expansion of the frightful peasant's jaws. Without uttering
a word, the veteran turned round, ran out of the court, nor thought
himself safe until he had arrived at his quarters, where he remained above
24 hours locked up securely, before he had got rid of the panic which had
so severely affected him." Such is the influence of fright or terror.


The following is a notable instance of THE POWER OF CONSCIENCE.

It is a saying, that no man ever offended his own conscience, but first or
last it was revenged upon him. The power of conscience indeed has been
remarked in all ages, and the examples of it upon record are numerous and
striking.--The following is related by Mr. Fordyce, in his _Dialogues on
Education_, (vol. ii. p. 501.) as a real occurrence, which happened in a
neighbouring state not many years ago. A jeweller, a man of good character
and considerable wealth, having occasion, in the way of his business, to
travel to some distance from the place of his abode, took along with him a
servant, in order to take care of his portmanteau. He had with him some
of his best jewels, and a large sum of money, to which his servant was
likewise privy. The master having occasion to dismount on the road, the
servant watching his opportunity, took a pistol from his master's saddle,
and shot him dead on the spot; then rifled him of his jewels and money,
and, hanging a large stone to his neck, threw him into the nearest canal.
With his booty he made off to a distant part of the country, where he had
reason to believe that neither he nor his master were known. There he
began to trade in a very low way at first, that his obscurity might screen
him from observation, and in the course of a good many years seemed to
rise, by the natural progress of business, into wealth and consideration;
so that his good fortune appeared at once the effect and reward of
industry and virtue. Of these he counterfeited the appearance so well,
that he grew into great credit, married into a good family, and by laying
out his sudden stores discreetly, as he saw occasion, and joining to all
an universal affability, he was admitted to a share of the government of
the town, and rose from one post to another, till at length he was chosen
chief magistrate. In this office he maintained a fair character, and
continued to fill it with no small applause, both as a governor and a
judge; till one day, as he sat on the bench, with some of his brethren, a
criminal was brought before him, who was accused of murdering his master.
The evidence came out full, the jury brought in their verdict that the
prisoner was guilty, and the whole assembly waited the sentence of the
president of the court (which he happened to be that day) with great
suspense. Meanwhile he appeared to be in unusual disorder and agitation of
mind, and his colour changed often; at length he rose from his seat, and
coming down from the bench, placed himself by the unfortunate man at the
bar. "You see before you (said he, addressing himself to those who had sat
on the bench with him,) a striking instance of the just awards of heaven,
which, this day, after 30 years' concealment, presents to you a greater
criminal than the man just now found guilty." Then he made an ample
confession of his guilt, and of all the aggravations: "Nor can I feel
(continued he) any relief from the agonies of an awakened conscience, but
by requiring that justice be forthwith done against me in the most public
and solemn manner." We may easily suppose the amazement of all the
assembly, and especially of his fellow judges. However, they proceeded,
upon this confession, to pass sentence upon him, and he died with all the
symptoms of a penitent mind. Let it be our constant aim to keep a
conscience void of offence towards God, and towards man; being assured
that,

  One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
  Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas.
                                        _Pope._



CHAP. VI.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _Remarkable Instance of Memory--Surprising Instance of Skill in
    Numbers--Extraordinary Arithmetical Powers of a Child--Curious
    Instance of Mathematical Talent--Stone Eater--Poison
    Eater--Bletonism--Longevity._


REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF MEMORY.

  Whence came the active and sagacious mind,
  Self-conscious, and with faculties endued
  Of understanding, will, and memory,
  And reason, to distinguish true from false?
  ------------Whence, but through an infinite,
  Almighty God, supremely wise and just?
                                      _Newler._

HORTENSIUS, one of the most celebrated orators of ancient Rome, had so
happy a memory, that after studying a discourse, though he had not written
down a single word of it, he could repeat it exactly in the same manner in
which he had composed it. His powers of mind in this respect were really
astonishing; and we are told, that in consequence of a wager with one
Sienna, he spent a whole day at an auction, and, when it was ended,
recapitulated every article that had been sold, together with the prices,
and the names of the purchasers, in their proper order, without erring in
one point, as was proved by the clerk, who followed him with his book.


The following is a very SURPRISING INSTANCE OF SKILL IN NUMBERS.

Jedidiah Buxton, was a prodigy, with respect to skill in numbers. His
father, William Buxton, was schoolmaster of the parish where he was born,
in 1704: yet Jedediah's education was so much neglected, that he was never
taught to write; and with respect to any other knowledge but that of
numbers, seemed always as ignorant as a boy of ten years of age. How he
came first to know the relative proportions of numbers, and their
progressive denominations, he did not remember; but to this he applied the
whole force of his mind, and upon this his attention was constantly fixed,
so that he frequently took no cognizance of external objects, and, when he
did it, it was only with respect to their numbers. If any space of time
was mentioned, he would soon after say it was so many minutes; and if any
distance of way, he would assign the number of hair-breadths, without any
question being asked, or any calculation expected by the company. When he
once understood a question, he began to work with amazing facility, after
his own method, without the use of a pen, pencil, or chalk, or even
understanding the common rules of arithmetic, as taught in the schools. He
would stride over a piece of land, or a field, and tell the contents of it
almost as exactly as if one had measured it by the chain. In this manner
he measured the whole lordship of Elmton, belonging to Sir John Rhodes,
and brought him the contents, not only of some thousands in acres, roods,
and perches, but even in square inches. After this, for his own amusement,
he reduced them into square hair-breadths, computing 48 to each side of
the inch. His memory was so great, that while resolving a question, he
could leave off, and resume the operation again, where he left off, the
next morning, or at a week, a month, or several months, and proceed
regularly till it was completed. His memory would doubtless have been
equally retentive with respect to other objects, if he had attended to
them with equal diligence; but his perpetual application to figures
prevented the smallest acquisition of any other knowledge. He was
sometimes asked, on his return from church, whether he remembered the
text, or any part of the sermon: but it never appeared that he brought
away one sentence; his mind, upon a closer examination, being found to
have been busied, even during divine service, in his favourite operation,
either dividing some time, or some space, into the smallest known parts,
or resolving some question that had been given him as a test of his
abilities. As this extraordinary person lived in laborious poverty, his
life was uniform and obscure. Time, with respect to him, changed nothing
but his age; nor did the seasons vary his employment, except that in
winter he used a flail, and in summer a ling-hook. In 1754, he came to
London, where he was introduced to the Royal Society, who, in order to
prove his abilities, asked him several questions in arithmetic; and he
gave them such satisfaction, that they dismissed him with a handsome
gratuity. In this visit to the metropolis, the only object of his
curiosity, except figures, was to see the king and royal family; but they
being at Kensington, Jedidiah was disappointed. During his stay in London,
he was taken to see King Richard III. performed at Drury-Lane playhouse;
and it was expected, either that the novelty and the splendour of the show
would have fixed him in astonishment, or kept his imagination in a
continual hurry, or that his passions would, in some degree, have been
touched by the power of action, though he did not perfectly understand the
dialogue. But Jedidiah's mind was employed in the playhouse just as it was
employed in every other place. During the dance, he fixed his attention
upon the number of steps; he declared, after a fine piece of music, that
the innumerable sounds produced by the instruments had perplexed him
beyond measure; and he attended even to Mr. Garrick, only to count the
words that he uttered, in which, he said, he perfectly succeeded. Jedidiah
returned to the place of his birth, where, if his enjoyments were few, his
wishes did not seem to be greater. He applied to his labour with
cheerfulness; he regretted nothing that he left behind him in London; and
it continued to be his opinion, that a slice of rusty bacon afforded the
most delicious repast.


The following account of the Extraordinary Arithmetical Powers of a Child,
is extracted from the _Annual Register_ of 1812. It is entitled, SOME
PARTICULARS RESPECTING THE ARITHMETICAL POWERS OF ZERAH COLBURN, A CHILD
UNDER EIGHT YEARS OF AGE.

"The attention of the philosophical world, (says the writer,) has been
lately attracted by the most singular phenomenon in the history of the
human mind, that perhaps ever existed. It is the case of a child, under
eight years of age, who, without any previous knowledge of the common
rides of arithmetic, or even of the use and power of the Arabic numerals,
and without having given any particular attention to the subject,
possesses, as if by intuition, the singular faculty of solving a great
variety of arithmetical questions by the mere operation of the mind, and
without the usual assistance of any visible symbol or contrivance.

"The name of the child is Zerah Colburn, who was born at Cabut, (a town
lying at the head of Onion river, in Vermont, in the United States of
America,) on the 1st of September, 1804. About two years ago (August,
1810,) although at that time not six years of age, he first began to shew
those wonderful powers of calculation, which have since so much attracted
the attention, and excited the astonishment, of every person who has
witnessed his extraordinary abilities. The discovery was made by accident.
His father, who had not given him any other instruction than such as was
to be obtained at a small school established in that unfrequented and
remote part of the country, (and which did not include either writing or
ciphering,) was much surprised one day to hear him repeating the products
of several numbers. Struck with amazement at the circumstance, he proposed
a variety of arithmetical questions to him, all of which the child solved
with remarkable facility and correctness. The news of this infant prodigy
soon circulated through the neighbourhood; and many persons came from
distant parts to witness so singular a circumstance. The father,
encouraged by the unanimous opinion of all who came to see him, was
induced to undertake, with this child, the tour of the United States. They
were every where received with the most flattering expressions; and in the
several towns which they visited, various plans were suggested, to educate
and bring up the child, free from all expense to his family. Yielding,
however, to the pressing solicitations of his friends, and urged by the
most respectable, and powerful recommendations, as well as by a view to
his son's more complete education, the father has brought the child to
this country, where they arrived on the 12th of May last: and the
inhabitants of this metropolis have for these last three months had an
opportunity of seeing and examining this wonderful phenomenon, and
verifying the reports that have been circulated respecting him. Many
persons of the first eminence for their knowledge in mathematics, and well
known for their philosophical inquiries, have made a point of seeing and
conversing with him; and they have all been struck with astonishment at
his extraordinary powers. It is correctly true, as stated of him,
that--'He will not only determine, with the greatest facility and
despatch, the exact number of minutes or seconds in any given period of
time; but will also solve any other question of a similar kind. He will
tell the exact product arising from the multiplication of any number,
consisting of two, three, or four figures, by any other number, consisting
of the like number of figures; or any number, consisting of six or seven
places of figures, being proposed, he will determine, with equal
expedition and ease, all the factors of which it is composed. This
singular faculty consequently extends not only to the raising of powers,
but also to the extraction of the square and cube roots of the number
proposed; and likewise to the means of determining whether it be a prime
number (or a number incapable of division by any other number;) for which
case there does not exist, at present, any general rule amongst
mathematicians.' All these, and a variety of other questions connected
therewith, are answered by this child with such promptness and accuracy
(and in the midst of his juvenile pursuits) as to astonish every person
who has visited him.

"At a meeting of his friends, which was held for the purpose of concerting
the best methods of promoting the views of the father, this child
undertook, and completely succeeded in raising the number 8 progressively
up to the sixteenth power!!! and, in naming the last result, viz.
281,474,976,710,656, he was right in every figure. He was then tried as to
other numbers, consisting of one figure; all of which he raised (by actual
multiplication, and not by memory) as high as the tenth power, with so
much facility and despatch, that the person appointed to take down the
results, was obliged to enjoin him not to be so rapid! With respect to
numbers consisting of two figures, he would raise some of them to the
sixth, seventh, and eighth power; but not always with equal facility: for
the larger the products became, the more difficult he found it to proceed.
He was asked the square root of 106929; and before the number could be
written down, he immediately answered 327. He was then required to name
the cube root of 268,336,125; and with equal facility and promptness he
replied, 645. Various other questions of a similar nature, respecting the
roots and powers of very high numbers, were proposed by several of the
gentlemen present; to all of which he answered in a similar manner. One of
the party requested him to name the factors which produced the number
247,483: this he immediately did, by mentioning the two numbers 941 and
263; which indeed are the only two numbers that will produce it, viz. 5 ×
34279, 7 × 24485, 59 × 2905, 83 × 2065, 35 × 4897, 295 × 581, and 413 ×
415. He was then asked to give the factors of 36083: but he immediately
replied that it had none; which, in fact, was the case, as 36083 is a
prime number. Other numbers were indiscriminately proposed to him, and he
always succeeded in giving the correct factors, except in the case of
prime numbers, which he discovered almost as soon as proposed. One of the
gentlemen asked him how many minutes there were in forty-eight years: and
before the question could be written down, he replied, 25,228,800; and
instantly added, that the number of seconds in the same period was
1,513,728,000. Various questions of the like kind were put to him; and to
all of them he answered with nearly equal facility and promptitude, so as
to astonish every one present, and to excite a desire that so
extraordinary a faculty should (if possible) be rendered more extensive
and useful.

"It was the wish of the gentlemen present, to obtain a knowledge of the
method by which the child was enabled to answer, with so much facility and
correctness, the questions thus put to him; but to all their inquiries
upon this subject (and he was closely examined upon this point) he was
unable to give them any information. He positively declared (and every
observation that was made seemed to justify the assertion) that he did not
know how the answers came into his mind. In the act of multiplying two
numbers together, and in the raising of powers, it was evident (not only
from the motion of his lips, but also from some singular facts which will
be hereafter-mentioned) that some operation was going forward in his mind;
yet that operation could not, from the readiness with which the answers
were furnished, be at all allied to the usual mode of proceeding with such
subjects: and, moreover, he is entirely ignorant of the common rules of
arithmetic, and cannot perform, upon paper, a simple sum in multiplication
or division. But in the extraction of roots, and in mentioning the factors
of high numbers, it does not appear that any operation can take place,
since he will give the answer immediately, or in a very few seconds, where
it would require, according to the ordinary method of solution, a very
difficult and laborious calculation; and moreover, the knowledge of a
prime number cannot be obtained by any known rule.

"It has been already observed, that it was evident, from some singular
facts, that the child operated by certain rules known only to himself.
This discovery was made in one or two instances, when he had been closely
pressed upon that point. In one case he was asked to tell the square of
4395: he at first hesitated, fearful that he should not be able to answer
it correctly; but when he applied himself to it, he said, it was
19,316,025. On being questioned as to the cause of his hesitation; he
replied, that he did not like to multiply four figures by four figures:
but, said he, 'I found out another way; I multiplied 293 by 293, and then
multiplied this product twice by the number 15, which produced the same
result.' On another occasion, his highness the duke of Gloucester asked
him the product of 21,734, multiplied by 543: he immediately replied,
11,801,562; but, upon some remark being made on the subject, the child
said that he had, in his own mind, multiplied 65202 by 181. Now, although,
in the first instance, it must be evident to every mathematician, that
4395 is equal to 293 × 15, and consequently that (4395){2} = (293){2} ×
(15){2}; and, further, that in the second case, 543 is equal to 181 × 3,
and consequently that 21734 × (181 × 3) = (21734 × 3) × 181; yet it is not
the less remarkable, that this combination should be immediately perceived
by the child, and we cannot the less admire his ingenuity in thus seizing
instantly the easiest method of solving the question proposed to him.

"It must be evident, from what has here been stated, that the singular
faculty which this child possesses is not altogether dependent upon his
memory. In the multiplication of numbers, and in the raising of powers, he
is doubtless considerably assisted by that remarkable quality of the mind:
and in this respect he might be considered as bearing some resemblance (if
the difference of age did not prevent the justness of the comparison) to
the celebrated Jedidiah Buxton, and other persons of similar note. But, in
the extraction of the roots of numbers, and in determining their factors,
(if any,) it is clear, to all those who have witnessed the astonishing
quickness and accuracy of this child, that the memory has little or
nothing to do with the process. And in this particular point consists the
remarkable difference between the present and all former instances of an
apparently similar kind.

"It has been recorded as an astonishing effort of memory, that the
celebrated Culer (who, in the science of analysis, might vie even with
Newton himself,) could remember the first six powers of every number under
100. This, probably, must be taken with some restrictions: but, if true to
the fullest extent, it is not more astonishing than the efforts of this
child; with this additional circumstance in favour of the latter, that he
is capable of verifying, in a very few seconds, every figure which he may
have occasion for. It has been further remarked, by the biographer of that
eminent mathematician, that 'he perceived, almost at a single glance, the
factors of which his formulæ were composed; the particular system of
factors belonging to the question under consideration; the various
artifices by which that system may be simplified and reduced; and the
relation of the several factors to the conditions of the hypothesis. His
expertness in this particular probably resulted, in a great measure, from
the ease with which he performed mathematical investigations by head. He
had always accustomed himself to that exercise; and, having practised it
with assiduity, (even before the loss of sight, which afterwards rendered
it a matter of necessity,) he is an instance to what an astonishing degree
it may be acquired, and how much it improves the intellectual powers. No
other discipline is so effectual in strengthening the faculty of
attention: it gives a facility of apprehension, an accuracy and steadiness
to the conceptions; and (what is a still more valuable acquisition) it
habituates the mind to arrangement in its reasonings and reflections.'

"It is not intended to draw a comparison between the humble, though
astonishing, efforts of this infant prodigy, and the gigantic powers of
that illustrious character, to whom a reference has just been made: yet we
may be permitted to hope and expect that those wonderful talents, which
are so conspicuous at this early age, may, by a suitable education, be
considerably improved and extended; and that some new light will
eventually be thrown upon those subjects, for the elucidation of which his
mind appears to be peculiarly formed by nature, since he enters the world
with all those powers and faculties which are not even attainable by the
most eminent, at a more advanced period of life. Every mathematician must
be aware of the important advantages which have sometimes been derived
from the most simple and trifling circumstance; the full effect of which
has not always been evident at first sight. To mention one singular
instance of this kind:--The very simple improvement of expressing the
powers and roots of quantities by means of indices, introduced a new and
general arithmetic of exponents: and this algorithm of powers led the way
to the invention of logarithms, by means of which all arithmetical
computations are so much facilitated and abridged. Perhaps this child
possesses a knowledge of some more important properties connected with
this subject: although he is incapable at present of giving any
satisfactory account of the state of his mind, or of communicating to
others the knowledge which it is so evident he does possess; yet there is
every reason to believe, that, when his mind is more cultivated, and his
ideas more expanded, he will be able not only to divulge the mode by which
he at present operates, but also point out some new sources of information
on this interesting subject.

"The case is certainly one of great novelty and importance; and every
literary character, and every friend to science, must be anxious to see
the experiment fairly tried, as to the effect which a suitable education
may produce on a mind constituted as his appears to be. With this view, a
number of gentlemen have taken the child under their patronage, and have
formed themselves into a committee for the purpose of superintending his
education. Application has been made to a gentleman of science, well known
for his mathematical abilities, who has consented to take the child under
his immediate tuition: the committee, therefore, propose to withdraw him
for the present from public exhibition, in order that he may fully devote
himself to his studies. But whether they shall be able to accomplish the
object they have in view, will depend upon the assistance which they may
receive from the public. What further progress this child made under the
patronage and tuition of his kind and benevolent friends, the editor is
not, at present, able to ascertain."


We proceed to a CURIOUS INSTANCE OF MATHEMATICAL TALENT.

A singular instance of early mathematical talent has been made known by
Mr. Gough, in the Philosophical Magazine.--Thomas Gasking, the son of a
journeyman shoemaker of Penrith, was but nine years of age when the
account was written: "he was, (says the writer), however, in consequence
of the education given him by his father, (an acute and industrious man,)
become well acquainted with the leading propositions of Euclid, reads and
works algebra with facility, understands and uses logarithms, and has
entered on the study of fluxions. On being examined, he demonstrated
propositions from the first books of Euclid; discovered the unknown side
of a triangle, from the two sides and the angle given; and solved cases in
spherical trigonometry. In algebra, he gave the solutions of a number of
quadratic equations; answered questions which contained two unknown
quantities; and applied algebra to geometry. He answered problems relating
to the maxima of numbers and of geometrical magnitudes, with ease; and, on
many other mathematical points, gave very high promises of future
excellence."


The following remarkable account of a STONE EATER, is given as a fact in
several respectable works.

In 1760, was brought to Avignon, a true lithophagus, or stone-eater. He
not only swallowed flints of an inch and a half long, a full inch broad,
and half an inch thick; but such stones as he could reduce to powder, such
as marble, pebbles, &c. he made into paste, which was to him a most
agreeable and wholesome food. I examined this man, says the writer, with
all the attention I possibly could; I found his gullet very large, his
teeth exceedingly strong, his saliva very corrosive, and his stomach lower
than ordinary, which I imputed to the vast number of flints he had
swallowed, being about five-and-twenty, one day with another. Upon
interrogating his keeper, he told me the following particulars: "This
stone-eater," says he, "was found three years ago, in a northern
uninhabited island, by some of the crew of a Dutch ship. Since I have had
him, I make him eat raw flesh with the stones; I could never get him to
swallow bread. He will drink water, wine, and brandy, which last liquor
gives him infinite pleasure. He sleeps at least twelve hours in a day,
sitting on the ground, with one knee over the other, and his chin resting
on his right knee. He smokes almost all the time he is not asleep, or is
not eating. The flints he has swallowed, he voids somewhat corroded, and
diminished in weight; the rest of his excrements resembles mortar."


The following account of a POISON EATER is said to be an undoubted fact.

A man, about 106 years of age, formerly living in Constantinople, was
known all over that city by the name of Solyman, the eater of corrosive
sublimate. In the early part of his life, he accustomed himself, like
other Turks, to the use of opium; but not feeling the desired effect, he
augmented his dose to a great quantity, without feeling any inconvenience,
and at length took a drachm of sixty grains daily. He went into the shop
of a Jew apothecary, to whom he was unknown, asked for a drachm of
sublimate, which he mixed in a glass of water, and drank directly.

The apothecary was dreadfully alarmed, because he knew the consequence of
being accused of poisoning a Turk: but what was his astonishment, when he
saw the same man return the next day for a dose of the same quantity. It
is said that Lord Elgin, Mr. Smith, and other Englishmen, knew this man,
and have heard him declare, that his enjoyment after having taken this
active poison, is the greatest he ever felt from any cause whatever.


We now proceed to give an account of a very extraordinary faculty,
entitled BLETONISM.

This is a faculty of perceiving and indicating subterraneous springs and
currents by sensation. The term is modern, and derived from a Mr. Bleton,
who excited universal attention by possessing this faculty, which seems to
depend upon some peculiar organization. Concerning the reality of this
extraordinary faculty, there occurred great doubts among the learned. But
M. Thouvenel, a French philosopher, seems to have put the matter beyond
dispute, in two memoirs which he published upon the subject. He was
charged by Louis XVI. with a commission to analyze the mineral and
medicinal waters of France; and, by repeated trials, he had been so fully
convinced of the capacity of Bleton to assist him with efficacy in this
important undertaking, that he solicited the ministry to join him in the
commission upon advantageous terms. All this shews that the operations of
Bleton have a more solid support than the tricks of imposture or the
delusions of fancy. In fact, a great number of his discoveries are
ascertained by respectable affidavits. The following is a strong instance
in favour of Bletonism.--"For a long time the traces of several springs
and their reservoirs in the lands of the Abbey de Verveins had been
entirely lost. It appeared, nevertheless, by ancient deeds and titles,
that these springs and reservoirs had existed. A neighbouring abbey was
supposed to have turned their waters for its benefit into other channels,
and a lawsuit was commenced upon this supposition. M. Bleton was applied
to: he discovered at once the new course of the waters in question; his
discovery was ascertained; and the lawsuit terminated." M. Thouvenel
assigns principles upon which the impressions made by subterraneous waters
and mines may be accounted for. Having ascertained a general law, by which
subterraneous electricity exerts an influence on the bodies of certain
individuals, eminently susceptible of that influence, and shewn that this
law is the same whether the electrical action arise from currents of warm
or cold water, from currents of humid air, from coal or metallic mines,
from sulphur, and so on, he observes, that there is a diversity in the
physical and organical impressions which are produced by this electrical
action, according as it proceeds from different fossile bodies, which are
more or less conductors of electrical emanations. There are also
artificial processes, which concur in leading us to distinguish the
different conductors of mineral electricity; and in these processes the
use of electrometrical rods deserves the attention of philosophers, who
might perhaps, in process of time, substitute in their place a more
perfect instrument. Their physical and spontaneous mobility, and its
electrical causes, are demonstrated by indisputable experiments. On the
other hand, M. Thouvenel proves, by very plausible arguments, the
influence of subterraneous electrical currents, compares them with the
electrical currents of the atmosphere, points out the different
impressions they produce, according to the number and quality of the
bodies which act, and the diversity of those which are acted upon. The
ordinary sources of cold water make impressions proportional to their
volume, the velocity of their currents, and other circumstances. Their
stagnation destroys every species of electrical influence; at least, in
this state they have none that is perceptible. Their depth is indicated by
geometrical processes, founded upon the motion and divergence of the
electrical rays.


We shall conclude this chapter with some EXTRAORDINARY INSTANCES OF
LONGEVITY.

In October, 1712, a prodigy is said to have appeared in France, in the
person of one Nicholas Petours, who one day entered the town of Coutances.
His appearance excited curiosity, as it was observed that he had travelled
on foot: he therefore gave the following account of himself, viz. That he
was one hundred and eighteen years of age, being born at Granville, near
the sea, in the year 1594; that he was by trade a shoemaker; and had
_walked_ from St. Malo's to Coutances, which is twenty-four leagues
distant, in two days. He seemed as active as a young man. He said, "He
came to attend the event of a lawsuit, and that he had had four wives;
with the first of whom he lived fifty years, the second only twenty
months, and the third twenty-eight years and two months, and that to the
fourth he had been married two years; that he had had children by the
three former, and could boast a posterity which consisted of one hundred
and nineteen persons, and extended to the _seventh_ generation." He
further stated, "that his family had been as remarkable for longevity as
himself; that his mother lived until 1691; and that his father, in
consequence of having been _wounded_, died at the age of one hundred and
twenty-three, that his uncle and godfather, Nicholas Petours, curate of
the parish of Balcine, and afterward canon and treasurer of the cathedral
of Coutances, died there, aged above one hundred and thirty-seven years,
having celebrated mass five days before his decease. Jacqueline Fauvel,
wife to the park-keeper of the bishop of Coutances, (he said,) died in
consequence of a fright, in the village of St. Nicholas, aged one hundred
and twenty-one years, and that she was able to spin eight days before her
decease." Among the refugees from this part of France, we have known and
heard of many instances of longevity, but certainly none equal to these.



CHAP. VII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _Combustion of the Human Body, produced by the long immoderate Use of
    Spirituous Liquors. From the Journal de Physique, Pluviose, Year 8:
    written by Pierre Aime Lair._


In natural as well as civil history, there are facts presented to the
meditation of the observer, which, though confirmed by the most convincing
testimony, seem, on the first view, to be destitute of probability. Of
this kind is that of people consumed without coming into contact with
common fire, and of bodies being thus reduced to ashes. How can we
conceive that fire, in certain circumstances, can exercise so powerful an
action on the human body as to produce this effect? One might be induced
to give less faith to these instances of combustion, as they seem to be
rare. I confess, that at first they appeared to me worthy of very little
credit; but they are presented to the public as true, by men whose
veracity seems unquestionable. Bianchini, Mossei, Rolli, Le Cat, Vicq.
d'Azyr, and several men distinguished by their learning, have given
certain testimony of the facts. Besides, is it more surprising to
experience such incineration than to void saccharine urine, or to see the
bones softened, or of the diabetes mellitus. This marbific disposition,
therefore, would be one more scourge to afflict humanity; but in physics,
facts being always preferable to reasoning, I shall here collect those
which appear to me to bear the impression of truth; and, lest I should
alter the sense, I shall quote them just as they are given in the works
from which I have extracted them.

We read in the transactions of Copenhagen, that in 1692, a woman of the
lower class, who for three years had used spirituous liquors to such
excess that she would take no other nourishment, having sat down one
evening on a straw chair to sleep, was consumed in the night-time, so that
next morning no part of her was found, but the skull, and the extreme
joints of the fingers; all the rest of her body, says Jacobeus, was
reduced to ashes.

The following extract of the memoir of Bianchini, is taken from the Annual
Register for 1763:--The Countess Cornelia Bandi, of the town of Cesena,
aged 62, enjoyed a good state of health. One evening, having experienced a
sort of drowsiness, she retired to bed, and her maid remained with her
till she fell asleep. Next morning, when the girl entered to awaken her
mistress, she found nothing but the remains of her mistress, in a most
horrid condition. At the distance of four feet from the bed was a heap of
ashes, in which could be distinguished the legs and arms untouched.
Between the legs lay the head, the brain of which, together with half the
posterior part of the cranium, and the whole chin, had been consumed;
three fingers were found in the state of a coal; the rest of the body was
reduced to ashes, and contained no oil; the tallow of two candles was
melted on a table, but the wicks still remained, and the feet of the
candlesticks were covered with a certain moisture. The bed was not
damaged; the bed-clothes and coverlid were raised up and thrown on one
side, as is the case when a person gets up. The furniture and tapestry
were covered with a moist kind of soot, of the colour of ashes, which had
penetrated the drawers and dirtied the linen. This soot having been
conveyed to a neighbouring kitchen, adhered to the walls and the utensils.
A piece of bread in the cupboard was covered with it, and no dog would
touch it. The infectious odour had been communicated to other apartments.
The Annual Register states, that the Countess Cesena was accustomed to
bathe all her body in camphorated spirits of wine. Bianchini caused the
detail of this deplorable event to be published at the time when it took
place, and no one contradicted it: it was also attested by Sapio Maffei, a
learned contemporary of Bianchini, who was far from being credulous: and,
in the last place, this surprising fact was confirmed to the Royal Society
of London, by Paul Rolli. The Annual Register mentions also two other
facts of the same kind, which occurred in England; one at Southampton, and
the other at Coventry.

An instance of the like kind is preserved in the same work, in a letter of
Mr. Wilmer, surgeon:--"Mary Clues, aged 50, was much addicted to
intoxication. Her propensity to this vice had increased after the death of
her husband, which happened a year and a half before: for about a year,
scarcely a day had passed, in the course of which she did not drink at
least half a pint of rum or aniseed-water. Her health gradually declined,
and about the beginning of February she was attacked by the jaundice, and
confined to her bed. Though she was incapable of much action, and not in a
condition to work, she still continued her old habit of drinking every
day, and smoking a pipe of tobacco. The bed in which she lay, stood
parallel to the chimney of the apartment, the distance from it about three
feet. On Saturday morning, the 1st of March, she fell on the floor; and
her extreme weakness having prevented her from getting up, she remained in
that state till some one entered and put her to bed. The following night
she wished to be left alone: a woman quitted her at half past eleven, and,
according to custom, shut the door and locked it. She had put on the fire
two large pieces of coal, and placed a light in a candlestick, on a chair,
at the head of the bed. At half after five in the morning, a smoke was
seen issuing through the window; and the door being speedily broken open,
some flames which were in the room were soon extinguished. Between the bed
and the chimney were found the remains of the unfortunate Clues; one leg
and a thigh were still entire, but there remained nothing of the skin, the
muscles, or the viscera. The bones of the cranium, the breast, the spine,
and the upper extremities, were entirely calcined, and covered with a
whitish efflorescence. The people were much surprised that the furniture
had sustained so little injury. The side of the bed which was next to the
chimney, had suffered the most; the wood of it was slightly burnt, but the
feather-bed, the clothes, and covering, were safe. I entered the apartment
about two hours after it had been opened, and observed that the walls and
every thing in it were blackened; that it was filled with a very
disagreeable vapour; but that nothing except the body exhibited any strong
traces of fire."

This instance has great similarity to that related by Vicq. d'Azyr, in the
_Encyclopedie Methodique_, under the head of Pathologic Anatomy of Man. A
woman, about 50 years of age, who indulged to excess in spirituous
liquors, and got drunk every day before she went to bed, was found
entirely burnt, and reduced to ashes. Some of the osseous parts only were
left, but the furniture of the apartment had suffered very little damage.
Vicq. d'Azyr, instead of disbelieving this phenomenon, adds, that there
has been many other instances of the like nature.

We find also a circumstance of this kind, in a work entitled, _Acta Medica
et Philosophica Hafniensia_, and in the work of Henry Bohanser, entitled,
_Le Nouveau Phosphore Enflamme_.--A woman at Paris, who had been
accustomed, for three years, to drink spirit of wine to such a degree that
she used no other liquor, was one day found entirely reduced to ashes,
except the skull and the extremities of the fingers.

The Transactions of the Royal Society of London present also an instance
of human combustion, no less extraordinary. It was mentioned at the time
it happened, in all the journals; it was then attested by a great number
of eye-witnesses, and became the subject of many learned discussions.
Three accounts of this event, by different authors, all nearly coincide.
The fact is related as follows:--"Grace Pitt, the wife of a fishmonger, of
the parish of St. Clement, Ipswich, aged about 60, had contracted a habit,
which she continued for several years, of coming down every night from her
bed-room, half-dressed, to smoke a pipe. On the night of the 9th of April,
1744, she got up from her bed as usual. Her daughter, who slept with her,
did not perceive she was absent till next morning when she awoke, soon
after which she put on her clothes, and, going down into the kitchen,
found her mother stretched out on the right side, with her head near the
grate, the body extended on the hearth, with the legs on the floor, which
was of deal, having the appearance of a log of wood, consumed by a fire
without apparent flames. On beholding this spectacle, the girl ran in
great haste, and poured over her mother's body some water, contained in
two large vessels, in order to extinguish the fire; while the fetid odour
and smoke which exhaled from the body, almost suffocated some of the
neighbours who had hastened to the girl's assistance. The trunk was in
some measure incinerated, and resembled a heap of coals, covered with
white ashes. The head, the arms, the legs, and the thighs, had also
participated in the burning. This woman, it is said, had drunk a large
quantity of spirituous liquor, in consequence of being overjoyed to hear
that one of her daughters had returned from Gibraltar. There was no fire
in the grate, and the candle had burnt entirely out in the socket of the
candlestick, which was close to her. Besides, there were found near the
consumed body, the clothes of a child, and a paper screen, which had
sustained no injury by the fire. The dress of this woman consisted of a
cotton gown."

Le Cat, in a memoir on spontaneous burning, mentions several other
instances of combustion of the human body.--"Having (says he) spent
several months at Rheims in the year 1724 and 1725, I lodged with Sieur
Millet, whose wife got intoxicated every day. The domestic economy of the
family was managed by a pretty young girl; which I must not omit to
remark, in order that the circumstances which accompanied the fact I am
about to relate, may be better understood.--This woman was found consumed
on the 20th of February, 1725, at the distance of a foot and a half from
the hearth in her kitchen. A part of the head only, with a portion of the
lower extremities, and a few of the vertebræ, had escaped combustion. A
foot and a half of the flooring under the body had been consumed, but a
kneading-trough and a powdering-tub, which were near the body, sustained
no injury. M. Criteen, a surgeon, examined the remains of the body with
every judicial formality. Jean Millet, the husband, being interrogated by
the judges who instituted the inquiry into the affair, declared, that
about eight in the evening on the 19th February, he had retired to rest
with his wife, who not being able to sleep, had gone into the kitchen,
where he thought she was warming herself; that, having fallen asleep, he
was awakened about two o'clock with a disagreeable odour, and that, having
run to the kitchen, he found the remains of his wife in the state
described in the report of the physicians and surgeons. The judges having
no suspicion of the real cause of this event, prosecuted the affair with
the utmost diligence. It was very unfortunate for Millet that he had a
handsome servant-maid, for neither his probity nor innocence was able to
save him from the suspicion of having got rid of his wife by a concerted
plot, and of having arranged the rest of the circumstances in such a
manner as to give it the appearance of an accident. He experienced,
therefore, the whole severity of the law; and though, by an appeal to a
superior and very enlightened court, which discovered the cause of the
combustion, he came off victorious, he suffered so much from uneasiness of
mind, that he was obliged to pass the remainder of his melancholy days in
a hospital."

Le Cat relates another instance, which has a most perfect resemblance to
the preceding: "M. Boinnean, curé of Plerquer, near Dol, (says he,) wrote
to me the following letter, dated February 22, 1749:--'Allow me to
communicate to you a fact which took place here about a fortnight ago.
Madame de Boiseon, 80 years of age, exceedingly meagre, who had drunk
nothing but spirits for several years, was sitting in her elbow chair
before the fire, while her waiting-maid went out of the room for a few
moments. On her return, seeing her mistress on fire, she immediately gave
an alarm; and some people having come to her assistance, one of them
endeavoured to extinguish the flames with his hand, but they adhered to it
as if it had been dipped in brandy or oil on fire. Water was brought, and
thrown on the lady in abundance, yet the fire appeared more violent, and
was not extinguished until the whole flesh had been consumed. Her
skeleton, exceedingly black, remained entire in the chair, which was only
a little scorched; one leg only, and the two hands, detached themselves
from the rest of the bones. It is not known whether her clothes had caught
fire by approaching the grate. The lady was in the same place in which she
sat every day; there was no extraordinary fire, and she had not fallen.
What makes me suppose that the use of spirits might have produced this
effect is, my having been assured, that at the gate of Dinan an accident
of the like kind happened to another woman, under similar
circumstances.'"

To these instances, which I have multiplied to strengthen the evidence, I
shall add two other facts of the same kind, published in the _Journal de
Medicine_. The first took place at Aix, in Provence, and is thus related
by Muraire, a surgeon:--"In the month of February, 1779, Mary Jauffret,
widow of Nicholas Gravier, shoemaker, of a small size, exceedingly
corpulent, and addicted to drinking, having been burnt in her apartment,
M. Rocas, my colleague, who was commissioned to make a report respecting
her body, found only a mass of ashes, and a few bones, calcined in such a
manner, that on the least pressure they were reduced to dust. The bones of
the cranium, one hand, and a foot, had in part escaped the action of the
fire. Near these remains stood a table untouched, and under the table a
small wooden stove, the grating of which, having been long burnt, afforded
an aperture, through which, it is probable, the fire that occasioned the
melancholy accident had been communicated: one chair, which stood too near
the flames, had the seat and fore feet burnt. In other respects, there was
no appearance of fire, either in the chimney or in the apartments; so
that, except the fore part of the chair, it appears to me, that no other
combustible matter contributed to this speedy incineration, which was
effected in the space of seven or eight hours."

The other instance mentioned in the _Journal de Medicine_, took place at
Caen, and is thus related by Merille, a surgeon of that city, still alive:
"Being requested, on the 3d of June, 1782, by the king's officers, to draw
up a report of the state in which I found Mademoiselle Thuars, who was
said to have been burnt, I made the following observations:--The body lay
with the crown of the head resting against one of the hand-irons, at the
distance of eighteen inches from the fire, the remainder of the body was
placed obliquely before the chimney, the whole being nothing but a mass of
ashes. Even the most solid bones had lost their form and consistence; none
of them could be distinguished except the coronal, the two parietal bones,
the two lumbar vertebræ, a portion of the tibia, and a part of the
omoplate; and even these were so calcined, that they became dust by the
least pressure. The right foot was found entire, and scorched at its upper
junction, the left was more burnt. The day was cold, but there was nothing
in the grate, except two or three bits about an inch diameter, burnt in
the middle. None of the furniture in the apartment was damaged. The chair
on which Mademoiselle Thuars had been sitting, was found at the distance
of a foot from her, and absolutely untouched. I must here observe, that
this lady was exceedingly corpulent, that she was about sixty years of
age, and much addicted to spirituous liquors; that the day of her death
she had drunk three bottles of wine, and about a bottle of brandy; and
that the consumption of the body had taken place in less than seven hours,
though, according to appearance, nothing around the body was burnt but the
clothes."

The town of Caen affords several other instances of the same kind. I have
been told by many people, and particularly a physician of Argentan, named
Bouffet, author of an Essay on Intermittent Fevers, that a woman of the
lower class, who lived at Place Villars, and who was known to be much
addicted to strong liquors, had been found in her house burnt. The
extremities of her body only were spared, but the furniture was very
little damaged.

The town of Caen records the history of another old woman, addicted to
drinking. I was assured, by those who told me the fact, that the flames
which proceeded from the body, could not be extinguished by water: but I
think it needless to relate this, and the particulars of another event
which took place in the same town, because they were not attested by a
_procés verbal_, and not having been communicated by professional men,
they do not inspire the same degree of confidence.

This collection of instances is supported, therefore, by all those
authentic proofs, which can be required to form human testimony; for while
we admit the prudent doubt of Descartes, we ought to reject the universal
doubt of the Pyrrhonists. The multiplicity and uniformity even of these
facts, which occurred in different places, and were attested by so many
enlightened men, carry with them conviction; they have such a relation to
each other, that we are inclined to ascribe them to the same cause.

Difficulties would, no doubt, be offered from reasoning against these
facts; but the writer remarks, that human testimony is not to be rejected,
unless the probability that the facts must be impossible, shall be greater
than that arising from the concurrence of evidence: and he adds, that the
narratives, though varying so widely as to time and place, do very
remarkably agree in their tenor. The circumstances are, that, (1) The
combustion has usually destroyed the person by reducing the body to a mass
of pulverulent fatty matter, resembling ashes. (2) There were no signs of
combustion in surrounding bodies, by which it could be occasioned, as
these were little, if at all, injured; though, (3) The combustion did not
seem to be so perfectly spontaneous, but that some slight cause, such as
the fire of a pipe, or a taper, or a candle, seems to have begun it. (4)
The persons were generally much addicted to the use of spirituous liquors;
were very fat; in most instances women, and old. (5) The extremities,
such as the legs, hands, or cranium, escaped the fire. (6) Water, instead
of extinguishing the fire, gave it more activity, as happens when fat is
burned. (7) The residue was oily and fetid ashes, with a greasy soot, of a
very penetrating and disagreeable smell.

The theory of the author may be considered as hypothetical, until maturer
observations shall throw more light on the subject. The principal fact is,
that charcoal and oil, or fat, are known in some instances to take fire
spontaneously, and he supposes the carbon of the alcohol to be deposited
in the fat parts of the human system, and to produce this effect.



CHAP. VIII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _John Elwes--Daniel Dancer--Henry Wolby--John Henley--Simon Brown, and
    his Curious Dedication to Queen Caroline--Edward Wortley
    Montague--Blaise Pascal--Old Parr--George Psalmanazar--John Case--John
    Lewis Cardiac--John Smeaton--George Morland--Henry Christian
    Heinecken--Thomas Topham--Zeuxis._


BIOGRAPHICAL.

JOHN ELWES.--The family name of this extraordinary miser was Meggot, which
he altered in pursuance of the will of Sir Harvey Elwes, his uncle, who
left him at least £250,000, and he was possessed of nearly as much of his
own. At this time he attended the most noted gaming houses, and after
sitting up a whole night at play for thousands, he would proceed to
Smithfield to meet his cattle, which were coming to market from his seat
in Essex, and there would he stand disputing with a cattle-butcher for a
shilling. If the cattle did not arrive, he would walk on to meet them; and
more than once he has gone the whole way to his farm without stopping,
which was seventeen miles from London. He would walk in the rain in
London, sooner than pay a shilling for a coach; sit in wet clothes, to
save the expense of a fire; eat his provisions in the last stage of
putrefaction; and he wore a wig for a fortnight, which he picked up in a
lane. In 1774 he was chosen knight of the shire for Berkshire, and his
conduct in parliament was perfectly independent. He died in 1789, aged
about 77, leaving a fortune of £500,000, besides entailed estates.


Another extraordinary miser was DANIEL DANCER. He was born in 1716, near
Harrow, in Middlesex. In 1736 he succeeded to his family estate, which
was considerable; but his fathers before him were too great lovers of
money to lay out any in improvements: Daniel followed their example, and
the farm went worse and worse. He led the life of a hermit for above half
a century; his only dealing with mankind arose from the sale of his hay;
and he was seldom seen, except when he was out gathering logs of wood from
the common, or old iron, or sheep's dung under the hedges. He was
frequently robbed; to prevent which, he fastened his door up, and got into
his house through the upper window, to ascend which he made use of a
ladder, which he drew up after him. His sister, who lived with him many
years, left him at her death a considerable increase to his wealth; on
which he bought a second-hand pair of black stockings, to put himself in
decent mourning. This was an article of luxury, for at other times Daniel
wore hay-bands on his legs. He died in 1794, and left his estates to Lady
Tempest, who had been very charitable to the poor man and his sister.


Another extraordinary character was HENRY WOLBY, Esq.--He was a native of
Lincolnshire, and inherited a clear estate of more than 1000l. a year. He
was regularly bred at the university, studied for some time in one of the
inns of court, and in the course of his travels had spent several years
abroad. On his return, this very accomplished gentleman settled on his
paternal estate, lived with great hospitality, matched to his liking, and
had a beautiful and virtuous daughter, who was married, with his entire
approbation, to a Sir Christopher Hilliard, in Yorkshire.

He had now lived to the age of forty, respected by the rich, prayed for by
the poor, honoured and beloved by all; when, one day, a youngster, with
whom he had some difference in opinion, meeting him in the field, snapped
a pistol at him, which happily flashed in the pan. Thinking that this was
done only to frighten him, he coolly disarmed the ruffian, and, putting
the weapon carelessly in his pocket, thoughtfully returned home; but,
after examination, the discovery of bullets in the pistol had such an
effect on his mind, that he instantly conceived an extraordinary
resolution of retiring entirely from the world, in which he persisted to
the end of his life. He took a very fair house in the lower end of
Grub-street, near Cripplegate, London, and contracting a numerous retinue
into a small family, having the house prepared for his purpose, he
selected three chambers for himself; the one for his diet, the other for
his lodging, the other for his study. As they were one within
another,--while his diet was set on the table by an old maid, he retired
into his lodging room; and when his bed was making, into his study; still
doing so till all was clear. Out of these chambers, from the time of his
entry into them, he never issued, till he was carried thence, 44 years
after, on men's shoulders; neither, in all that time, did his son-in-law,
daughter, or grand-child, brother, sister, or kinsman, young or old, rich
or poor, of what degree or condition soever, look upon his face, save the
ancient maid, whose name was Elizabeth. She only made his fire, prepared
his bed, provided his diet, and dressed his chambers. She saw him but
seldom, never but in cases of extraordinary necessity, and died not six
days before him.

In all the time of his retirement, he never tasted fish or flesh; his
chief food was oatmeal gruel; now and then, in summer, he had a salad of
some choice cool herbs; and for dainties, when he would feast himself upon
a high day, he would eat the yoke of a hen's egg, but no part of the
white; what bread he did eat, he cut out of the middle of the loaf, but
the crust he never tasted; his constant drink was four-shilling beer, and
no other, for he never tasted wine or strong drink. Now and then, when his
stomach served, he would eat some kind of sackers, and he sometimes drank
red cow's milk, which was fetched hot from the cow. Nevertheless, he kept
a bountiful table for his servant, and sufficient entertainment for any
stranger or tenant, who had occasion of business at his house. Every book
that was printed was bought for him, and conveyed to him; but such as
related to controversy he always laid aside, and never read.

In Christmas holidays, at Easter, and other festivals, he was provided
with all dishes in season, served into his own chamber, with stores of
wine, which his maid brought in. Then, after thanks to God for his good
benefits, he would pin a clean napkin before him, and putting on a pair of
clean holland sleeves, which reached to his elbows, cutting up dish after
dish in order, he would send one to a poor neighbour, the next to another,
whether it were brawn, beef, capon, goose, &c. till he had left the whole
table empty; when, giving thanks again, he laid by his linen, and caused
the dishes to be taken away: and this he would do, at dinner and supper,
upon these days, without tasting of any thing whatsoever. When any
clamoured impudently at his gate, they were not, therefore, immediately
relieved; but when, from his private chamber, he espied any sick, weak, or
lame, he would presently send after them, to comfort, cherish, and
strengthen them, and not a trifle to serve them for the present, but so
much as would relieve them many days after. He would moreover inquire
which of his neighbours were industrious in their callings, and who had
great charge of children; and withal, if their labour and industry could
not sufficiently supply their families: to such he would liberally send,
and relieve them according to their necessities.

He died at his house in Grub-street, after an anchoretical confinement of
forty-four years, October 29, 1636, aged 84. At his death, his hair and
beard was so overgrown, that he appeared rather like a hermit of the
wilderness, than the inhabitant of one of the first cities in the world.


A very singular character was JOHN HENLEY, M. A. commonly called Orator
Henley. He was born at Melton-Mowbray, Leicestershire, in 1691. His
father, the Rev. Simon Henley, and his maternal grandfather, John Dowel,
M. A. were both vicars of that parish. Having passed his exercises at
Cambridge, and obtained the degree of B. A. he returned to his native
place, where he was desired by the trustees to take the direction of the
school, which he soon raised to a flourishing condition. Here he began his
Universal Grammar; finished ten languages, with dissertations prefixed;
and wrote his poem on Esther, which was well received. He was ordained a
deacon by Dr. Wake, then Bishop of Lincoln; and having taken his degree of
M. A. was admitted to priest's orders by Dr. Gibson. After preaching many
occasional sermons, he went to London, recommended by above thirty letters
from the most considerable men in the country, both of the clergy and
laity. He there published Translations of Pliny's Epistles, of several
works of Abbé Vertot, of Montfaucon's Italian Travels, in folio, and many
original lucubrations. His most generous patron was the Earl of
Macclesfield, who gave him a benefice in the country, the value of which,
to a resident, would have been above £80 a year; he had likewise a lecture
in the city; sermons about town; was more numerously followed, and raised
more for the poor children, than any other preacher, except the celebrated
George Whitfield. But when he pressed his promise from a great man, of
being fixed in town, it was negatived. He then gave up his benefice and
lecture, believing the public would be a more hospitable protector of
learning and science, than some of the higher ranks in his own order. He
preached on Sundays on theological matters, and on Wednesdays upon all
other sciences. He declaimed several years against the greatest persons,
and occasionally, says Warburton, did Pope that honour. That great poet,
however, retaliated in the following satirical lines:

  "Imbrown'd with native bronze, lo, Henley stands,
  Tuning his voice, and balancing his hands.
  How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue!
  How sweet the periods, neither said nor sung!
  Still break the benches, Henley, with thy strain,
  While Kennet, Hare, and Gibson, preach in vain,
  O great restorer of the good old age,
  Preacher at once, and zany, of thy age!"

Instead of tickets, this extraordinary person struck medals, which he
dispersed among his subscribers: A star rising to the meridian, with this
motto, "_Ad Summa_;" and below, "_Inveniam viam, aut faciam_." "_Each
auditor paid us._" He was author of a weekly paper, called "The Hyp
Doctor," for which he had £100 a year. In his advertisements and lectures,
he often introduced satirical and humorous remarks on the public
transactions of the times. He once collected an audience of a great number
of shoemakers, by announcing that he could teach them a speedy mode of
operation in their business; which proved only to be, the making of shoes
from ready-made boots. He died on the 14th of October, 1756, in his 65th
year.


The next character we introduce is SIMON BROWNE, with _his Curious
Dedication to Queen Caroline_.

Simon Browne was a most extraordinary dissenting minister, and began to
preach before he was twenty, at Portsmouth, but afterwards became the
pastor at Old Jewry. In 1723, he lost his wife and son, which so affected
him, that he quitted his office, and would not even attend public worship,
alleging, "that he had fallen under the displeasure of God, who had caused
his rational soul to perish, and left him only an animal life, common with
brutes; that though he might appear rational to others, he knew no more
what he said than a parrot; that it was in vain for him to pray;" and as
such, he no longer accounted himself a moral agent. Yet he frequently
amused himself with translating the ancient Latin and Greek poets. At the
same time, he wrote two very able works in defence of Christianity against
Woolston and Tindal. He dedicated one of these works to the Queen, but the
Dedication was suppressed by his friends. Being a curiosity of its kind,
we shall annex it.

"To the Queen.--Madam: Of all the extraordinary things that have been
tendered to your royal hands, since your first happy arrival in Britain,
it may be boldly said, what now bespeaks your majesty's acceptance is the
chief. Not in itself indeed; it is a trifle unworthy your exalted rank,
and what will hardly prove an entertaining amusement to one of your
majesty's deep penetration, exact judgment, and fine taste; but on account
of the author, who is the first being of the kind, and yet without a name.

"He was once a man, and of some little name; but of no worth, as his
present unparalleled case makes but too manifest: for, by the immediate
hand of an avenging God, his very thinking substance has for more than
seven years been continually wasting away, till it is wholly perished out
of him, if it be not utterly come to nothing. None, no, not the least
remembrance of its very ruins, remain; not the shadow of an idea is left,
nor any sense, so much as one single one, perfect or imperfect, whole or
diminished, ever did appear to a mind within him, or was perceived by it.

"Such a present, from such a thing, however worthless in itself, may not
be wholly unacceptable to your majesty, the author being such as history
cannot parallel; and if the fact, which is real, and no fiction, or wrong
conceit, obtains credit, it must be recorded as the most memorable, and
indeed, astonishing event, in the reign of George II. that a tract
composed by such a thing, was presented to the illustrious Caroline;--his
royal consort need not be added; fame, if I am not misinformed, will tell
that with pleasure to all succeeding times. He has been informed, that
your majesty's piety is genuine and eminent, as your excellent qualities
are great and conspicuous. This can, indeed, be truly known to the great
searcher of hearts only. He alone, who can look into them, can discern if
they are sincere, and the main intention corresponds with the appearance;
and your majesty cannot take it amiss, if such an author hints, that his
secret approbation is of infinitely greater value than the commendation of
men, who may be easily mistaken, and are too apt to flatter their
superiors. But, if he has been told the truth, such a case as his will
certainly strike your majesty with astonishment; and may raise that
commiseration in your royal breast, which he has in vain endeavoured to
excite in those of his friends; who, by the most unreasonable and
ill-founded conceit in the world, have imagined that a thinking being
could not, for seven years together, live a stranger to its own powers,
exercises, operations, and state; and to what the great God has been doing
in it, and to it. If your majesty, in your most retired address to the
King of kings, should think of so singular a case, you may perhaps make it
your devout request, that the reign of your beloved sovereign and consort
may be renowned to all posterity, by the recovery of a soul now in the
utmost ruin, the restoration of one utterly lost at present amongst men;
and should this case affect your royal breast, you will commend it to the
piety and prayers of all the truly devout, who have the honour to be known
to your majesty: many such doubtless there are; though courts are not
usually the places where the devout resort, or where devotion reigns. And
it is not improbable, that multitudes of the pious throughout the land may
take a case to heart, that, under your majesty's patronage, comes thus
recommended.

"Could such a favour as this restoration be obtained from heaven, by the
prayers of your majesty, with what transport of gratitude would the
recovered being throw himself at your majesty's feet, and, adoring the
divine power and grace, profess himself.

  I am, &c.
  SIMON BROWNE."


The next curious character we shall exhibit is EDWARD WORTLEY MONTAGUE.

He was son of the celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montague. He passed through
such various scenes, that he is well entitled to a place in this
collection of curiosities. From Westminster school, where he was placed
for education, he ran away thrice. He exchanged clothes with a
chimney-sweeper, and followed for some time that sooty occupation. He next
joined a fisherman, and cried flounders in Rotherhithe. He then sailed as
a cabin-boy for Spain; where he had no sooner arrived, than he ran away
from the vessel, and hired himself to a driver of mules. After thus
vagabondizing it for some time, he was discovered by the consul, who
returned him to his friends in England. They received him with joy, and a
private tutor was employed to recover those rudiments of learning which a
life of dissipation, blackguardism, and vulgarity, might have obliterated.
Wortley was sent to the West Indies, where he remained some time; then
returned to England, acted according to the dignity of his birth, was
chosen a member, and served in two successive parliaments. His expenses
exceeding his income, he became involved in debt, quitted his native
country, and commenced that wandering traveller he continued to the time
of his death. Having visited most of the eastern countries, he contracted
a partiality for their manners. He drank little wine, but a great deal of
coffee; wore a long beard; smoked much; and even whilst at Venice, was
habited in the eastern style. He sat cross-legged in the Turkish fashion,
from choice. With the Hebrew, the Arabic, the Chaldaic, and the Persian
languages, he was as well acquainted as with his native tongue. He
published several pieces: one on the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire;
another on the Causes of Earthquakes. He had seraglios of wives; but the
lady whom he married in England was a washerwoman, with whom he did not
cohabit. When she died without leaving issue to him, being unwilling that
his estate should go to the Bute family, he set out for England, to marry
a young woman already pregnant, whom a friend had provided for him; but he
died on his journey.


The next character that comes before us is BLAISE PASCAL. He was one of
the sublimest geniuses the world ever produced; was born at Clermont, in
Auvergne, in 1623. He never had any preceptor but his father. So great a
turn had he for the mathematics, that he learned, or rather invented,
geometry, when but twelve years old; for his father was unwilling to
initiate him in that science early, for fear of its diverting him from the
study of the languages. At sixteen, he composed a curious mathematical
piece. About nineteen, he invented his machine of arithmetic, which has
been much admired by the learned. He afterwards employed himself
assiduously in making experiments according to the new philosophy, and
particularly improved upon those of Toricellius. At the age of twenty-four
his mind took a different turn; for, all at once, he became as great a
devotee as any age has ever produced, and gave himself up entirely to
prayer and mortification.


The next is a character famous for longevity.--THOMAS, or OLD PARR, a
remarkable Englishman, who lived in the reign of ten kings and queens. He
was the son of John Parr, a husbandman, of Winnington, in the parish of
Alderbury, Salop. Following the profession of his father, he laboured
hard, and lived on coarse fare. Being taken up to London by the Earl of
Arundel, the journey proved fatal to him. Owing to the alteration of his
diet, to the change of the air and his general mode of life, he lived but
a very short time; though one Robert Samber says, in his work entitled
Long Livers, that Parr lived 16 years after his presentation to Charles
II. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. After his death his body was
opened, and an account was drawn up by the celebrated Dr. Harvey, of which
the following is an extract: "He had a large breast, not fungous, but
sticking to his ribs, and distended with blood; a lividness in his face,
as he had a difficulty of breathing a little before his death; and a long
lasting warmth in his arm-pits and breast after it; which sign, together
with others, were so evident in his body as they use to be on those who
die by suffocation. His heart was great, thick, fibrous, and fat; the
blood in the heart, blackish and diluted; the cartilages of the sternum
not more bony than in others, but flexile and soft. His viscera were sound
and strong, especially the stomach; and he used to eat often, by night and
day, though contented with old cheese, milk, coarse bread, small beer, and
whey; and, which is more remarkable, he ate at midnight a little before he
died. His kidneys were covered with fat, and pretty sound; only on the
interior surface were found some aqueous or serous abscesses, whereof one
was near the bigness of a hen's egg, with a yellowish water in it, having
made a roundish cavity, impressed on that kidney; whence some thought it
came, that, a little before his death, a suppression of urine had befallen
him; though others were of opinion, that his urine was suppressed upon the
regurgitation of all the serosity into his lungs. There was not the least
appearance of any stony matter, either in the kidneys or bladder. His
bowels were also sound, a little whitish without. His spleen very little,
hardly equal to the bigness of one kidney. In short, all his inward parts
appeared so healthy, that if he had not changed his diet and air, he
might, perhaps, have lived a good while longer. The cause of his death was
imputed chiefly to the change of food and air; forasmuch as coming out of
a clear, thin, and free air, he came into the thick air of London; and,
after a constant, plain, and homely country diet, he was taken into a
splendid family, where he fed high, and drank plentifully of the best
wines, whereupon the natural functions of the parts of his body were
overcharged, his lungs obstructed, and the habit of the whole body quite
disordered; upon which there could not but ensue a dissolution. His brain
was sound, entire, and firm; and though he had not the use of his eyes,
nor much of his memory, several years before he died, yet he had his
hearing and apprehension very well; and was able, even to the 130th year
of his age, to do any husbandman's work, even threshing of corn."--The
following summary of his life is from Oldy's MS. Notes on Fuller's
Worthies:

"Old Parr was born 1483; lived at home until 1500, aged 17, when he went
out to service. 1518, aged 35, returned home from his master. 1522, aged
39, spent four years on the remainder of his father's lease. 1543, aged
60, ended the first lease he renewed of Mr. Lewis Porter. 1563, aged 80,
married Jane, daughter of John Taylor, a maiden; by whom he had a son and
a daughter, who both died very young. 1564, aged 81, ended the second
lease which he renewed of Mr. John Porter. 1585, aged 102, ended the third
lease he had renewed of Mr. Hugh Porter. 1588, aged 105, did penance in
Alderbury church, for having a criminal connection with Katherine Milton,
by which she proved with child. 1595, aged 112, he buried his wife Jane,
after they had lived 32 years together. 1605, aged 122, having lived ten
years a widower, he married Jane, widow of Anthony Adda, daughter of John
Lloyd, of Gilsells, in Montgomeryshire, who survived him. 1635, aged 152
and 9 months, he died, after they had lived together 30 years, and after
50 years' possession of his last lease."--Length of years are of no use,
unless they be spent in the practice of virtue.


The next character is a noted impostor, under the assumed name of GEORGE
PSALMANAZAR. He was a very extraordinary genius, born in France, and
educated in a Jesuit's college; upon leaving which, he fell into a mean,
rambling way of life. At Liege, he entered into the Dutch service, and
afterwards into that of Cologne. Having stolen the habit and staff of a
pilgrim out of a church, he begged through several countries, in elegant
Latin, and, accosting only gentlemen and clergymen, received liberal
supplies, which he spent as freely. In Germany, he passed for a native of
Formosa, a convert to Christianity, and a sufferer for it. At Rotterdam he
lived upon raw flesh, roots, and vegetables. At Sluys he fell in with
Brigadier Lauder, a Scots colonel, who introduced him to the chaplain;
who, to recommend himself to the bishop of London, took him over to that
city. The bishop patronised him with credulous humanity, and a large
circle of his great friends considered him as a prodigy. He published a
History of Formosa, and, what was most extraordinary, invented a character
and language for that island, and translated the Church Catechism in to
it, which was examined by learned critics, and approved. Some of the
learned, however, doubted him, particularly Drs. Halley, Mead, and
Woodward. He was allowed the use of the Oxford Library, and employed in
compiling The Universal History. Some errors in his history first led him
to be suspected as an impostor. He died in 1753; and in his last will
confessed the imposture.


The next subject is a celebrated Quack Doctor, named JOHN CASE. He was a
native of Lyme Regis, in Dorsetshire, was a noted empyric and astrologer,
and looked upon as the successor of the famous Lilly, whose magical
utensils he possessed. He is said to have got more by this distich over
his door, than Dryden, by all his poetry:

  "Within this place
  Lives Doctor Case."

And he was, doubtless, well paid for composing that which he affixed to
his pill boxes:

  "Here's fourteen pills for thirteen pence,
  Enough in any man's own conscience."

There is a story told of him and Dr. Radcliff: being together at a tavern,
Radcliff said, "Here, brother Case; I drink to all the fools your
patients."--"Thank ye," quoth Case; "let me have all the fools, and you
are welcome to the rest." He wrote a nonsensical rhapsody, called the
Angelical Guide, shewing men and women their lot and chance in this
elementary life.


Our next character is famous for prematurity of genius, and named JOHN
LEWIS CANDIAC. He was born at Candiac, in the diocese of Nismes, in
France, in 1719. In the cradle he distinguished his letters; at thirteen
months he knew them perfectly; at three years of age he read Latin, either
printed or in manuscript; at four, he translated from that tongue; at six,
he read Greek and Hebrew, was master of the principles of arithmetic,
history, geography, heraldry, and the science of medals; and had read the
best authors on almost every branch of literature. He died of a
complication of disorders, at Paris, in 1726.


The next character deserves to be recorded as one that was eminently
useful in his day and generation. JOHN SMEATON, born near Leeds, in 1724,
was an eminent civil engineer. The strength of his understanding, and the
originality of his genius, appeared at an early age: his playthings were
not the playthings of children, but the tools which men employ: and he
appeared to have greater entertainment in seeing the men in the
neighbourhood work, and in asking them questions, than in any thing else.
One day he was seen (to the distress of his friends) on the top of his
father's barn, fixing up something like a windmill: another time he
attended some men fixing a pump, at a neighbouring village, and observing
them cut off a piece of bored pipe, he was so lucky as to procure it, and
he actually made with it a working pump that raised water. This happened
while he was in petticoats, and most likely before he had attained his
sixth year.


While we admire the ingenuity of the next character, we must lament that
his conduct was licentious. It is the well-known GEORGE MORLAND, an
ingenious, dissipated, and unfortunate painter. As he had no other
education than what was connected with the pencil and pallet, he shunned
the society of the well-informed and well-bred; and his pictures
accordingly are taken, for the most part, from low life, and from the most
humble, if not the most shocking, situations in which mankind consort. The
following anecdote will give a sufficient view of Morland's character,
upon which it would give us pain to dwell at greater length. "He was found
(says his biographer) at one time in a lodging in Somer's-Town, in the
following extraordinary circumstances: his infant child, that had been
dead nearly three weeks, lay in its coffin in one corner of the room; an
ass and foal stood munching barley straw out of the cradle; a sow and pigs
were solacing themselves in the recess of an old cupboard; and himself
whistling over a beautiful picture that he was finishing at his easel,
with a bottle of gin hung upon the side, and a live mouse sitting (or if
you please, kicking) for its portrait." His constitution, exhausted by
dissipation, rapidly gave way, and he died before he had reached his
fortieth year.


The next character was indeed a prodigy, that shone like a meteor, and
soon vanished away. We shall introduce him under the name of CHRISTIAN
HENRY HEINECKEN.

He was born at Lubeck, February 6, 1721, and died there, June 27, 1725,
after having displayed the most amazing proofs of intellectual powers. He
could talk at ten months old, and had scarcely completed his first year,
when he already knew and recited the principal facts contained in the five
books of Moses, with a number of verses on the creation: at thirteen
months, he knew the history of the Old Testament; and the New, at
fourteen; in his thirtieth month, the history of the nations of antiquity,
geography, anatomy, the use of maps, and nearly 5000 Latin words. Before
the end of his third year, he was well acquainted with the history of
Denmark, and the genealogy of the crowned heads of Europe; in his fourth
year he had learned the doctrines of divinity, with their proofs from the
Bible; ecclesiastical history; the institutes; 200 hymns, with their
tunes; 80 psalms; entire chapters of the Old and New Testaments; 1500
verses and sentences from ancient Latin classics; almost the whole Orbis
Pictus of Comenius, whence he had derived all his knowledge of the Latin
language; arithmetic; the history of the European empires and kingdoms;
could point out, in the maps, whatever place he was asked for, or passed
by in his journeys; and recited all the ancient and modern historical
anecdotes relating to it. His stupendous memory caught and retained every
word he was told: his ever active imagination used, whatever he saw or
heard, instantly to apply some example or sentence from the Bible,
geography, profane or ecclesiastical history, the Orbis Pictus, or from
ancient classics. At the court of Denmark, he delivered twelve speeches
without once faltering; and underwent public examination on a variety of
subjects, especially the history of Denmark. He spoke German, Latin,
French, and low Dutch, and was exceedingly good-natured, and well-behaved,
but of a most tender and delicate bodily constitution; never ate any solid
food, but chiefly subsisted on nurse's milk, not being weaned till within
a very few months of his death, at which time he was not quite four years
old. There is a dissertation on this, published by M. Martini, at Lubeck,
1730, where the author attempts to assign the natural causes for the
astonishing capacity of this great man in embryo, who was just shewn to
the world, and snatched away.


The next character is of a different description, being famous for
strength of body; he is named THOMAS TOPHAM.

This person was remarkable for muscular strength. He kept a public-house
at Islington, and used to perform surprising feats, such as breaking a
broomstick of the first magnitude, by striking it against his bare arm;
lifting two hogsheads of water; heaving his horse over the turnpike-gate;
carrying the beam of a house as a soldier would his firelock, &c. He also
could roll up a pewter dish of seven pounds, as a man rolls up a sheet of
paper; squeeze a pewter quart together at arms' length; and lift two
hundred weight with his little finger, over his head. At Derby, he broke a
rope fastened to the floor, that would sustain twenty hundred weight; and
lifted an oak table, six feet long, with his teeth, though half a hundred
weight was hung at the extremity. He took Mr. Chambers, vicar of All
Saints, who weighed twenty-seven stone, and raised him with one hand. He
stabbed himself, after quarrelling with, and wounding his wife,
1749.--Extraordinary strength of body is of little value, if strength of
virtue be wanting.


We shall conclude this chapter with a celebrated Painter of Antiquity,
named ZEUXIS.

This celebrated painter flourished about 400 years B. C. He was born at
Heraclea; but as there have been many cities of that name, it cannot be
certainly determined which of them had the honour of his birth. Some
conjecture, that it was Heraclea, near Crotona, in Italy. He carried
painting to a much higher degree of perfection than Apollodorus had left
it; discovered the art of properly disposing of lights and shades, and
particularly excelled in colouring. He amassed immense riches; and then
resolved to sell no more of his pictures, but gave them away; saying,
"That he could not set a price on them equal to their value." Pliny
observes, that this admirable painter, disputing for the prize of painting
with Parrhasius, painted some grapes so naturally, that the birds flew
down to peck them: Parrhasius, on the other hand, painted a curtain so
very artfully, that Zeuxis, mistaking it for a real one, that hid his
rival's work, ordered the curtain to be drawn aside, to shew what
Parrhasius had done; but having found his mistake, he ingenuously
confessed himself vanquished, since he had only imposed upon birds, while
Parrhasius had deceived even a master of the art. Another time he painted
a boy loaded with grapes; when the birds also flew to this picture,--at
which he was vexed, and confessed that his work was not sufficiently
finished, since, had he painted the boy as perfectly as the grapes, the
birds would have been afraid of him. Archelaus, king of Macedon, made use
of Zeuxis's pencil for the embellishment of his palace. One of this
painter's finest pieces was a Hercules strangling two Serpents in his
Cradle, in the presence of his affrighted Mother; but he himself chiefly
esteemed his Athleta, or Champion, under which he placed a Greek verse,
that afterwards became very famous, and in which he says, "That it was
easier to criticize than to imitate the picture." He made a present of his
Alcmena to the Agrigentines. Zeuxis did not value himself on speedily
finishing his pictures; but knowing that Agatharcus gloried in his being
able to paint with ease and in a little time, he said, "That for his part,
he, on the contrary, gloried in his slowness; and if he was long in
painting, it was because he painted _for eternity_."



CHAP. IX.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)

    _Nicholas Pesce--Paul Scarron--Maria Gaetana Agnesi--Anna Maria
    Schurman--Samuel Bisset, the noted Animal Instructor--John Philip
    Baratier--Buonaparte._


BIOGRAPHICAL.

NICHOLAS PESCE, the first extraordinary character we shall introduce, was
a famous diver, of whom F. Kircher gives the following account. "In the
time of Frederick king of Sicily, (says Kircher,) lived Nicholas, who,
from his amazing skill in swimming, and his perseverance under water, was
surnamed the _Fish_. This man had from his infancy been used to the sea;
and earned his scanty subsistence by diving for coral and oysters, which
he sold to villagers on shore. His long acquaintance with the sea, at last
brought it to be almost his natural element. He was frequently known to
spend five days in the midst of the waves, without any other provisions
than the fish which he caught there, and ate raw. He often swam over from
Sicily to Calabria, a tempestuous and dangerous passage, carrying letters
from the king. He was frequently known to swim among the gulfs of the
Lipari islands, no way apprehensive of danger. Some mariners out at sea,
one day observed something at some distance from them, which they regarded
as a sea-monster; but, upon its approach, it was known to be Nicholas,
whom they took into their ship. When they asked him whither he was going
in so strong and rough a sea, and at such a distance from land; he shewed
them a packet of letters, which he was carrying to one of the towns of
Italy, exactly done up in a leather bag, in such a manner that they could
not be wetted by the sea. He kept them thus company for some time in their
voyage, conversing and asking questions; and after eating a hearty meal
with them, he took his leave, and, jumping into the sea, pursued his
voyage alone.

"In order to aid his powers of enduring in the deep, nature seemed to have
assisted him in a very extraordinary manner: for the spaces between his
fingers and toes were webbed, as in a goose; and his chest became so very
capacious, that he could take in at one inspiration as much breath as
would serve him for several hours. The account of so extraordinary a
person did not fail to reach the king himself; who commanded Nicholas to
be brought before him. It was no easy matter to find Nicholas, who
generally spent his time in the solitudes of the deep; but, at last, after
much searching, he was found, and brought before his majesty. The
curiosity of this monarch had been long excited by the accounts he had
heard of the bottom of the gulf of Charybdis. He now, therefore, conceived
that it would be a proper opportunity to have more certain information.
Accordingly, he commanded our poor diver to examine the bottom of this
dreadful whirlpool; and as an incitement to his obedience, he ordered a
golden cup to be flung into it. Nicholas was not insensible of the danger
to which he was exposed: dangers best known only to himself; and therefore
he presumed to remonstrate; but the hopes of the reward, the desire of
pleasing the king, and the pleasure of shewing his skill, at last
prevailed. He instantly jumped into the gulf, and was as instantly
swallowed up in its bosom. He continued for three-quarters of an hour
below, during which time the king and his attendants remained on shore,
anxious for his fate; but he at last appeared, holding the cup in triumph
in one hand, and making his way good among the waves with the other. It
may be supposed he was received with applause when he came on shore; the
cup was made the reward of his adventure; the king ordered him to be taken
proper care of; and, as he was somewhat fatigued and debilitated by his
labour, after a hearty meal, he was put to bed, and permitted to refresh
himself by sleeping. When his spirits were thus restored, he was again
brought, to satisfy the king's curiosity with a narrative of the wonders
he had seen, and his account was to the following effect.

"He would never, he said, have obeyed the king's commands, had he been
apprised of half the dangers that were before him. These were four things,
he said, which rendered the gulf dreadful, not only to men, but to fishes
themselves: 1. The great force of the water bursting up from the bottom,
which required great strength to resist. 2. The abruptness of the rocks,
that on every side threatened destruction. 3. The force of the whirlpool
dashing against those rocks. And, 4. The number and magnitude of the
polypous fish, some of which appeared as large as a man; and which, every
where sticking against the rocks, projected their long and fibrous arms to
entangle him. Being asked how he was able so readily to find the cup that
had been thrown in, he replied, that it happened to be flung by the waves
into the cavity of a rock, against which he himself was urged in his
descent.

"This account, however, did not satisfy the king's curiosity. Being
requested to venture once more into the gulf for further discoveries, he
at first refused; but the king, desirous of having the most exact
information possible of all things to be found in the gulf, repeated his
solicitations; and, to give them still greater weight, produced a larger
cup than the former, and added also a purse of gold. Upon these
considerations, the unfortunate diver once again plunged into the
whirlpool, and was never heard of more."


PAUL SCARRON.--This famous French burlesque writer, was the son of a
counsellor in parliament, and was born at Paris, about the end of 1610, or
beginning of 1611. His father marrying a second wife, he was compelled to
assume the ecclesiastical profession. At the age of 24, he visited Italy,
and freely indulged in licentious pleasures. After his return to Paris, he
persisted in a life of dissipation, till a long and painful disease
convinced him that his constitution was almost worn out. At length, when
engaged in a party of pleasure, at the age of 27, he lost the use of those
legs which had danced so gracefully, and of those hands which once could
paint, and play on the lute, with so much elegance.

This happened in the following manner: In 1638 he was attending the
carnival at Mentz, of which he was canon. Having dressed himself one day
as a savage, his singular appearance excited the curiosity of the children
of the town. They followed him in multitudes, and he was obliged to take
shelter in a marsh. This wet and cold situation produced a numbness which
totally deprived him of the use of his limbs; yet he continued gay and
cheerful. He took up his residence in Paris, and by his pleasant humour
soon attracted to his house all the men of wit about the city. The loss of
his health was followed by the loss of his fortune. On the death of his
father he entered into a process with his step-mother; and pleaded his own
cause in a ludicrous manner, though his whole fortune depended on the
decision. He was unsuccessful, and was ruined. Mademoiselle de Hautefort,
compassionating his misfortunes, procured for him an audience of the
queen. The poet requested to have the title of Valetudinarian to her
majesty: the queen smiled, and Scarron considered the smile as a
commission to his new office. Cardinal Mazarine gave him a pension of 500
crowns; but that minister having received disdainfully the dedication of
his Typhon, the poet immediately wrote a Mazarinade, and the pension was
withdrawn. He then attached himself to the prince of Condé, and celebrated
his victories. He at length formed the extraordinary resolution of
marrying, and was accordingly, in 1651, married to Madame d'Aubigne,
afterwards celebrated by the name of Maintenon.

At this time (says Voltaire) it was considered as a great acquisition for
her to gain for a husband, a man who was disfigured by nature, impotent,
and very little enriched by fortune. She restrained by her modesty his
indecent buffooneries; and the good company which had formerly resorted to
his house again frequented it. Scarron now became more decent in his
manners and conversation; and his gaiety was thus more agreeable. But he
lived with so little economy, that his income was soon reduced to a small
annuity, and his marquisate of Quinet, _i. e._ the profits of his
publications, which were printed by one Quinet. He was accustomed to talk
to his superiors with great freedom in his jocular style, as appears from
the dedication of his _Don Japhet d'Armenie_ to the king. Though Scarron
wrote comedies, he had not patience to study the rules of dramatic poetry.
Aristotle and Horace, Plautus and Terence, would have frightened him. He
saw an open path before him, and he followed it. It was the fashion of the
times to pillage the Spanish writers. Scarron was acquainted with that
language, and he found it easier to use materials already prepared, than
to rack his brain by inventing subjects. As he borrowed liberally from
them, a dramatic piece cost him little labour. The great success of his
_Jodelet Maitre_ was a vast allurement to him. The comedians who acted it,
requested more of his productions. They were written with little toil, and
they procured him large sums. They also served to amuse him. He dedicated
his books to his sister's greyhound bitch. Fouquet gave him a pension of
1600 livres. Christiana, queen of Sweden, having come to Paris, was
anxious to see Scarron, "I permit you (said she to Scarron) to fall in
love with me. The queen of France has made you her Valetudinarian, and I
create you my Roland." Scarron did not long enjoy that title; he was
seized with a violent hiccough. He retained his gaiety to his last moment.
He died on the 14th of October, 1660, aged 51. His works have been
collected, and published by Bruzen de la Martiniere, in 10 vols. 12mo.
1737. His Comic Romance, in prose, merits attention. It is written with
much humour and purity of style, and contributed to the improvement of the
French language. It had a prodigious run; it was the only one of his works
that Boileau could submit to read. Scarron can raise a laugh on the most
serious subjects; but his sallies are rather those of a buffoon, than the
effusions of ingenuity and taste. He is continually falling into the mean
and the obscene. Sterne seems to have imitated Scarron in his Tristram
Shandy.


We shall now introduce two female characters of note. The first is MARIA
GAETANA AGNESI, a lady of extraordinary genius, and most extensive
acquirements, who was born at Milan, on the 16th of May, 1718. Her father,
Pietro Agnesi, of Milan, was royal feudatory of Monteveglia, and its
dependencies; and being a man of some rank and consequence, he was
disposed, from paternal affection, to provide suitably for the education
of his infant daughter, who gave the most striking indications of talent.
From her tenderest years, she discovered a wonderful aptness, and a
vehement desire, for acquiring languages. Under the direction of proper
masters, she studied at the very same time the Latin and Greek, the French
and German; and while the rapidity of her progress excited astonishment,
such were the prodigious powers of her memory, that she could easily
pursue those diversified objects without feeling the smallest degree of
confusion. When yet scarcely nine years old, this surprising child
delivered a Latin oration, to prove that the cultivation of letters is not
inconsistent with the female character,--before an assembly of learned
persons, invited to her father's house.

At the age of eleven, the young Agnesi could not only read Greek, and
translate it instantly into Latin, but could even speak that refined
language with the same apparent ease and fluency as if it had been her
native tongue. Nor did these acquisitions absorb her whole attention; a
nobler field was opened to the exercise of her mental faculties. She now
began to read Euclid's Elements, and proceeded in algebra as far as
quadratic equations. Thus prepared, she advanced with ardour to the study
of natural philosophy; but not content with the sober proofs there
unfolded, she soared to the height of metaphysics, and engaged in the most
abtruse and intricate disquisitions of that contentious science. After
this young lady had attained the age of 14, her father, anxious to forward
her ardour for improvement, and willing to gratify her ambition for
literary distinction, invited occasionally to his house a number of
persons, the most respectable in Milan for their rank and learning. In the
midst of this grave auditory, Donna Agnesi made her appearance; and,
without resigning the native delicacy of her sex, she maintained a
succession of new theses on various difficult parts of philosophy, and
handled the arguments with such dexterity and commanding eloquence, as
singly to vanquish every opponent that entered the field of controversy.
These disputations were all of them carried on in the Latin language,
which she spoke with the utmost ease, purity, and copious elegance. Every
thing conspired to heighten the impression produced on the admiring
spectators. In the full bloom of youth, her person agreeable, her manner
graceful, an air of gentleness and modesty gave irresistible charms to her
whole demeanour. Such, for several years, was the great theatre of her
glory. But having nearly completed the circle of philosophy, and exhausted
the chief topics of discussion, she resolved at length to close that
career with a solemnity suitable to the occasion.

In the year 1738, Agnesi made her last brilliant display, before an august
assembly, composed of the most learned and illustrious of the Milanese
nobility, the senators, and foreign ministers, with the most
distinguished professors in all the branches of science and literature.
The substance of these philosophical conferences was afterwards published
in a quarto volume, entitled, "_Propositiones Philosophicæ, quas, crebris
Disputationibus domi habitis, coram clarissimis viris, explicabat
extempore, et ab objectis vindicabat Maria Cajetana de Agnesi
Mediolanensis_." Agnesi now bent her whole attention to the culture of
mathematics; and, without guide or assistance, she composed a very useful
commentary on L'Hospital's Conic Sections, which is said to exist still in
manuscript. In the sublimer departments of that science, her studies were
directed by the matured experience of Rampinelli, professor of mathematics
in the university of Pisa; but she soon gave proofs of her amazing
proficiency, in digesting a complete body of the modern calculus. This
excellent work, entitled, "Analytical Institutions, for the Use of the
Italian Youth," appeared in 1748, in two volumes quarto, and was highly
esteemed by the best judges, and justly regarded as exhibiting the fullest
and clearest view of the state of the science at that period. She was, in
consequence, elected by acclamation a member of the Institute of Sciences
of Bologna; and the pope farther conferred on her the title of Professor
of Mathematics in the university of that city.

But Agnesi was already sated with literary fame. That sun, which in its
ascent had shone forth with such dazzling radiance, was, through the rest
of its course, shrouded in clouds and darkness. The fever of genius had
preyed on her mind, and the high fit of excitement was quickly succeeded
by a hopeless depression of spirits. She repelled the seductions of human
learning, and abandoned for ever her favourite mathematical pursuits.
Renouncing the vanities of this world, she withdrew from society, embraced
a life of religious seclusion, and sunk by degrees into the languor of
religious melancholy. She studied nothing but Hebrew, and the rhapsodies
of the Greek fathers of the church. For upwards of twenty years she denied
all access to strangers. The famous Lalande complains, in his "Travels
through Italy," that he was not allowed the honour of visiting that
prodigy; and Father Boscovick himself, whose religious principles must
have been unexceptionable, experienced, notwithstanding his repeated
importunities, a similar refusal. Indulging that gloomy temper, she
retired into a convent, and assumed the habit of a Blue Nun. She sought to
forget the world, and was herself forgotten. She died about the year 1770.
The _Inshhizioni Analytiche_ of Agnesi were translated into English, many
years ago, by Mr. Colson, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge.
The translation was discovered among the papers of that ingenious
mathematician, by the learned Baron Maseres, who put the manuscript into
the hands of Mr. Hellins, as editor, and generously defrayed the expenses
attending the publication.


ANNA MARIA SCHURMAN, the other distinguished female character, was born at
Cologne, 1607, of parents sprung from noble Protestant families. From her
infancy she discovered an uncommon dexterity of hand; for, at six years of
age, she cut with her scissors all sorts of figures upon paper, without
any pattern or model. At eight, she learned in a few days to design
flowers in a very agreeable manner; and two years after, took no more than
three hours in learning to embroider. She was afterwards instructed in
music, painting, sculpture, and engraving; and succeeded to admiration in
all these arts. Her hand-writing in all languages was inimitable; and some
curious persons have preserved specimens of it in their cabinets. Mr.
Joby, in his journey to Munster, relates, that he had a view of the beauty
of her writing in French, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic; and was an
eye-witness of her skill in drawing in miniature, and making portraits
upon glass with the point of a diamond. She painted her own picture; and
made artificial pearls, so nearly resembling natural ones, that they could
not be distinguished, except by pricking them with a needle.

The powers of her understanding were equally capacious; for, at eleven
years of age, when her brothers were examined in their Latin exercises,
she frequently whispered them what to answer, though she had only heard
them say their lessons _en passant_, which her father observing, and
perceiving she had a genius for literature, determined to cultivate those
talents he saw she was possessed of, and accordingly assisted her in
gaining that noble stock of learning, for which she was afterwards so
eminent. The Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages were so familiar to her,
that she not only wrote, but spoke them fluently, to the surprise of the
most learned men. She made a great progress also in the Oriental languages
which had an affinity with the Hebrew, as the Syriac, Chaldee, Arabic, and
Ethiopic; understood the living languages perfectly well, and could
converse readily in French, English, and Italian. She was likewise
competently versed in geography, astronomy, philosophy, and the sciences;
but as her mind was naturally of a religious cast, these learned
amusements gave her but little satisfaction; and at length she applied
herself to divinity, and the study of the holy scriptures.

While she was an infant, her father had settled at Utrecht, but
afterwards, for the more convenient education of his children, removed to
Praneker, where he died 1623. Upon which his widow returned to Utrecht,
where Anna Maria continued her studies very intensely; which undoubtedly
kept her from marrying, as she might advantageously have done with Mr.
Cotts, pensionary of Holland, and a celebrated poet, who wrote verses in
her praise, when she was no more than fourteen years of age.

Her modesty, which was as remarkable as her knowledge, would have kept her
merit and learning in obscurity, if Rivetus, Spanheim, and Vossius, had
not produced her, contrary to her own inclination, upon the stage of the
world. To these three divines we may add Salmasius, Beveronicius, and
Huygens, who maintained a literary correspondence with her, and, by
shewing her letters, spread her fame into foreign countries. This procured
her letters from eminent men; and her name became so famous, that persons
of the first distinction, even princesses, paid her visits; and cardinal
Richelieu shewed her marks of his esteem.

About the year 1650, she made a visible alteration in her religious
system. She no longer went to public worship, but performed her devotions
in private; which occasioned a report that she was inclined to popery: but
the truth was, she had attached herself to Labadie, the famous Quietist,
and embracing his principles and practices, accompanied him wherever he
went. She lived some time with him at Altena, in Holstein, where she
attended him at his death in 1674. She afterwards retired to Weimart, in
Friesland, where Mr. William Penn, the quaker, visited her in 1677; and
died at this place, 1678. She took for her device these words of St.
Ignatius, _Amor meus crucifixus est_, My Love is crucified.


SAMUEL BISSET, the noted animal instructor, next follows.--A most singular
character, famous for teaching quadrupeds to perform very remarkable
actions. He was born at Perth, in 1721. He first tried his skill on a
horse and a dog which he bought in London, and he succeeded beyond all
expectation. Two monkeys were the next pupils he took in hand; one of
these he taught to dance and tumble on the rope, whilst the other held a
candle with one paw for his companion, and with the other played a barrel
organ. These antic animals he also instructed to play several fanciful
tricks, such as drinking to the company, riding and tumbling upon the
horse's back, and going through several regular dances with the dog.

Being a man of unwearied patience, three young cats were the next objects
of his tuition. He taught those domestic tigers, to strike their paws in
such directions on the dulcimer, as to produce several tunes, having
music-books before them, and squalling at the same time in different keys
or tones, first, second, and third, by way of concert. In such a city as
London, these feats could not fail of exciting attention. The well-known
Cat's Opera was performed at the Haymarket; the horse, the dog, the
monkeys, and the cats, went through their several parts with uncommon
applause, to crowded houses; and in a few days Bisset found himself in
possession of nearly a thousand pounds to reward his ingenuity.

This success excited a desire of extending his dominion over other
animals, including even the feathered kind. He procured a leveret, and
reared it to beat several marches on the drum with its hind-legs, until it
became a good stout hare. This creature, which is always set down as the
most timid, he declared to be as mischievous and bold an animal, to the
extent of its power, as any with which he was acquainted. He taught
canary-birds, linnets, and sparrows, to spell the name of any person in
company, to distinguish the hour and minute of time, and play many other
surprising tricks; he trained six turkey cocks to go through a regular
country dance. In the course of six months' teaching, he made a turtle
fetch and carry like a dog; and having chalked the floor, and blackened
his claws, could direct it to trace out any given name in the company.


The following is a surprising instance of premature genius, in the person
of JOHN PHILIP BARATIER. A most extraordinary person, born 1721, in the
margravate of Anspach, of such extraordinary powers of memory, that, at
the age of four, he conversed with his mother in French, with his father
in Latin, and with his servants in German. The rapidity of his improvement
augmented with his years, so that he became acquainted with Greek at six,
with Hebrew at eight, and in his eleventh year translated from the Hebrew
into French the Travels of Benjamin of Tudela, which he enriched with
valuable annotations. His proficiency in mathematics was so great, that he
submitted to the London Royal Society, a scheme for finding the longitude,
which, though insufficient, exhibited the strongest marks of superior
abilities. He visited Halle with his father in 1735, where he was offered
by the university the degree of M. A. The young philosopher drew up 14
theses, which he printed, and the next morning disputed upon them with
such logical precision, that he astonished a most crowded audience. At
Berlin he was received with kindness by the king of Prussia, and honoured
with marks of distinction. His abilities, however, shone but like a
meteor: a constitution, naturally delicate, was rendered still more weak
by excessive application; and a cough, spitting of blood, and fever on the
spirits, put an end to his life at Halle, 1740, in his 20th year.

Baratier is mentioned as a prodigy of learning and of genius; his memory
was universally retentive, and his application scarcely credible, when it
is recollected that he spent twelve hours in bed till his tenth year, and
ten afterwards. In one winter he read twenty great folios, with all the
attention of a vast comprehensive mind; and the large work which he
prepared on Egyptian antiquities, shewed the most judicious and laborious
arrangement. In his domestic economy he was very temperate; he ate little
flesh, lived totally on milk, tea, bread, and fruit; he disliked wine; he
had an aversion to dancing, music, and the sports of the field; so that he
wished for no recreation from study, but in walking, or in the
conversation of a few friends.

We shall conclude this chapter with an account of the principal events in
the life of--


BUONAPARTE.--1769, Born at Ajaccio, Corsica, Aug. 15.--1779, Placed at the
Military School of Brienne, March.--1794, An Officer of artillery at the
siege of Toulon, and appointed General of Brigade.--1794, Commands the
Conventional Troops, and defeats the Parisians, Oct. 4.--1796, Appointed
to the command of the Army of Italy. Battle of Lodi, May 10. Battle of
Castiglione, Aug. 3. Battle of Arcola, Nov. 16.--1797, Surrender of
Mantua, Feb. 2. Trieste surrenders, March 23. Preliminaries with Austria
signed at Leoben, April 18. French take possession of Venice, May 16.
Treaty of Campo Formeo, with Austria, 17.--1798, Buonaparte sails for
Egypt, May 20. Battle of Embabe, or of the Pyramids, July 21. Insurrection
at Cairo, Oct. 24.--1799, Siege of Acre raised, May 21. Sails from Egypt
for France, Aug. 23. Lands at Frejus, Oct. 7. Dissolves the Conventional
Government, Nov. 9. Declared First Consul, 10.--1800, Peace with the
Chouans, Feb. 15. Buonaparte crosses Mount St. Bernard, May. Battle of
Marengo, June 16. Preliminaries with Austria signed at Paris. Battle of
Hohenlinden, Dec. 3. Explosion of the Infernal Machine, 24.--1801, Treaty
of Luneville with Austria, Feb. 9. Nelson attacks the Buologne Flotilla,
Aug. 16. Preliminaries with England, Oct. 8.--1802, The Cisalpine Republic
placed under Buonaparte, Jan. 26. Definitive Treaty with England, March
27. Legion of Honour instituted, May 15. Declared Consul for Life, Aug. 2.
Swiss form of Government changed by the interference of the French,
28.--1803, English Declaration of War, May 18. Hanover conquered, June
5.--1804, Moreau arrested, Feb. Duc D'Enghien shot, March 20. Pichegru
dies in prison, April 8. Buonaparte made Emperor, May 18. Crowned by the
Pope, Nov. 19.--1805, Writes a pacific letter to the King of England, Feb.
Treaty of Petersburgh, between England, Russia, Austria, and Sweden, April
11. Buonaparte declared King of Italy, May 26. Buonaparte heads his army
against Austria, Sept. 24. Mack's army surrenders at Ulm, Oct. 20. French
enter Vienna, Nov. 13. Battle of Austerlitz, Dec. 2. Treaty of Vienna with
Prussia, 15. Treaty of Presburg with Austria, 26.--1806, Joseph
Buonaparte declared King of Naples, March 30. Louis Buonaparte declared
King of Holland, June 5. Convocation of the Jews, July 26. Confederation
of the Rhine published, 27. Buonaparte marches against Prussia, Sept. 24.
Battle of Auerstadt, or Jena, Oct. 14. Buonaparte enters Berlin, 27.
Hamburgh taken, Nov. 19. Berlin Decree.--1807, Battle of Eylau, Feb. 8.
Battle of Friedland, June 14. Treaty of Tilsit, July 7.--1808, Joseph
Buonaparte declared King of Spain, July 7. Surrender of Dupont's army at
Baylen, 20. Joseph Buonaparte evacuates Madrid, 29. Battle of Vimeira,
August 21. Conferences at Erfurth, Sept. 20. Buonaparte arrives at
Vittoria, Nov. 5. Surrender of Madrid, Dec. 4.--1809, Battle of Corunna,
Jan. 16. Buonaparte returns to Paris, 22. War declared by Austria, April
6. Bonaparte heads his army against Austria, 13. French enter Vienna, May
10. Battle of Esling, or Asperne, 22. Battle of Wagram, July 6. Flushing
taken by the English, August 14. Treaty of Vienna, Oct. 14. Lucien
Buonaparte arrives in England, Dec. 13. Buonaparte's marriage with
Josephine dissolved, 16. Walcheren evacuated by the English, 23.--1810,
Buonaparte marries Maria Louisa, daughter of Francis II. March 11. Holland
and the Hanse Towns annexed to France, July 9. Bernadotte elected Crown
Prince of Sweden, Aug. 21. Decree for restraining the liberty of the
Press, Dec.--1811, Hamburgh annexed to the empire, Jan. 1. The Empress
delivered of a son, who is styled King of Rome, April 20. Buonaparte
present at an engagement between the Boulogne flotilla and an English
cruiser, Sept. 2.--1812, Swedish Pomerania seized by Buonaparte, Jan. 22.
He heads the army against Russia, May 2. Arrives at Konigsberg, June 11.
Enters Wilna, 28. Smolensko taken, Aug. 18. Battle of Moskwa, Sept. 7.
French enter Moskow, 14. Evacuate it, October 22. Buonaparte at Smolensko,
Nov. 9. Deserts the army, Dec. 5. Arrives at Paris, 18.--1813, Takes the
command of the army on the Elbe, April. Battle of Lutzen, May 1. Battle of
Bautzen, 20. Armistice agreed on, June 4. Battle of Vittoria, 21.
Hostilities re-commence, Aug. 17. Battle of Dresden, Moreau killed, 28.
English enter France, Sept. 7, Buonaparte evacuates Dresden, 28. Battle of
Leipsic, Oct. 18. Revolution in Holland, Nov. 15. Declaration of the
Allies at Frankfort, Dec. 1. English army cross the Nive, 8.--1814, Allies
cross the Rhine, Jan. 4. Battle of Montmartre, March 30. Allies enter
Paris, 31. Buonaparte abdicates the throne, April 11. Arrives at Elba, May
8.--1815, Sails from Elba to France, March 1. Arrives at Paris, and
reascends the throne, 20. Is declared an outlaw by the Sovereigns of
Europe then assembled at Vienna, 25. Calls a new House of Peers and
Chamber of Representatives of the people. Calls a Champ de Mai, April.
Defeats the Prussians, June 16. Loses his army in the great battle of
Waterloo, 18. Abdicates the throne a second time, 21. Surrenders himself
to Capt. Maitland, commanding the English ship of war, the Bellerophon, in
Basque Roads, July 15. Arrives at Torbay, 22. Sailed from England in the
Northumberland, for St. Helena, Aug. 11.--1821, Died at St. Helena, May 5.
Buried there, 9.



CHAP. X.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Continued._)


RICHARD SAVAGE, one of the most extraordinary characters that is to be met
with in all the records of biography, was the son of Anne, countess of
Macclesfield, by the earl of Rivers, according to her own confession; and
was born in 1698. This confession of adultery was made, to procure a
separation from her husband, the earl of Macclesfield: yet, having
obtained this end, no sooner was a spurious offspring brought into the
world, than she resolved to disown him; and, as long as he lived, she
treated him with the most unnatural cruelty. She delivered him over to a
poor woman to educate as her own; maliciously prevented the earl of Rivers
from leaving him a legacy of £6000, by declaring him dead; and deprived
him of another legacy which his godmother, Mrs. Lloyd, had left him, by
concealing from him his birth, and thereby rendering it impossible for him
to prosecute his claim. She endeavoured to send him secretly to the
plantations; but this plan being frustrated, she placed him apprentice
with a shoemaker. In this situation, however, he did not long continue;
for his nurse dying, he went to take care of the effects of his supposed
mother, and found in her boxes some letters, which discovered to young
Savage his birth, and the cause of its concealment. From the moment of
this discovery he became dissatisfied. He conceived that he had a right to
share in the affluence of his real mother; and therefore he applied to
her, and tried every art to attract her regard. But in vain did he solicit
this unnatural parent; she avoided him with the utmost precaution, and
took measures to prevent his ever entering her house. Meantime, while he
was endeavouring to rouse the affections of a mother, in whom all natural
affection was extinct, he was destitute of the means of support. Having a
strong inclination to literary pursuits, especially poetry, he wrote
poems; and afterwards two plays, Woman's a Riddle, and, Love in a Veil:
he was allowed no part of the profits from the first; but by the second he
acquired the acquaintance of Sir Richard Steel and Mr. Wilkes, by whom he
was pitied, caressed, and relieved. But the kindness of his friends not
affording him a constant supply, he wrote the tragedy of Sir Thomas
Overbury; which not only procured him the esteem of many persons of wit,
but brought him £200. The celebrated Aaron Hill, Esq. was of great service
to him in correcting and fitting this piece for the stage and the press;
and extended his patronage still farther. But Savage was, like many other
wits, a bad economist. As fast as his friends raised him out of one
difficulty, he sunk into another; and when he found himself greatly
involved, he rambled about like a vagabond, with scarcely a shirt on his
back. He was in one of these situations all the time he wrote his tragedy
above mentioned; without a lodging, and often without a dinner. Mr. Hill
also promoted a subscription to a volume of his Miscellanies, and
furnished part of the poems of which it was composed. To this Miscellany
Savage wrote a preface, in which he gives an account of his mother's
cruelty, in a very uncommon strain of humour. The profits of his tragedy
and his Miscellanies had now somewhat raised him, both in circumstances
and credit, so that the world began to behold him with a more favourable
eye, when both his fame and life were endangered by a most unhappy event:
a drunken frolic, in which he one night engaged, ended in a fray, and
Savage unfortunately killed a man, for which he was condemned to be
hanged: his friends earnestly solicited the mercy of the crown, while his
mother as earnestly exerted herself to prevent his receiving it. The
Countess of Hertford, at length, laid his whole case before Queen
Caroline, and Savage obtained a pardon. Savage now lost that affection for
his mother which the whole series of her cruelty had not been able wholly
to repress; and considering her as an implacable enemy, whom nothing but
his blood could satisfy, threatened to harass her with lampoons, and to
publish a copious narrative of her conduct, unless she consented to allow
him a pension. This expedient proved successful; and Lord Tyrconnel, upon
his promise of laying aside his design of exposing his mother's cruelty,
took him into his family, treated him as an equal, and engaged to allow
him a pension of £200 a year. This was the happy period of Savage's life.
He was courted by all who wished to be thought men of genius and taste. At
this time he published the Temple of Health and Mirth, on the recovery of
Lady Tyrconnel from a languishing illness; and the Wanderer, a moral poem,
which he dedicated to Lord Tyrconnel, in strains of the highest panegyric:
but these praises he soon was inclined to retract, being discarded by the
man on whom they were bestowed. Of this quarrel, Lord Tyrconnel and Mr.
Savage gave very different accounts. But our author's conduct was ever
such as made all his friends, sooner or later, grow weary of him, and even
forced most of them to become his enemies.

Being thus once more turned adrift upon the world, Savage, whose passions
were very strong, and whose gratitude was very small, exposed the faults
of Lord Tyrconnel. He also took revenge upon his mother, by publishing the
Bastard, a poem, remarkable for the vivacity of its beginning (where he
humorously enumerates the imaginary advantages of base birth;) and for the
pathetic conclusion, wherein he recounts the real calamities which he
suffered by the crime of his parents. The following lines, in the opening
of the poem, are a specimen of this writer's spirit and versification:

  "Blest be the bastard's birth! thro' wondrous ways
  He shines eccentric, like a comet's blaze.
  No sickly fruit of faint compliance he;
  He! stamp'd in nature's mint with ecstasy!
  He lives to build, not boast, a generous race;
  No tenth transmitter of a foolish face.
  He, kindling from within, requires no flame;
  He glories in a bastard's glowing name.
  Nature's unbounded son, he stands alone,
  His heart unbias'd, and his mind his own.
  O mother! yet no mother!--'tis to you
  My thanks for some distinguish'd claims are due."

This poem had an extraordinary sale; and its appearance happening at the
time when his mother was at Bath, many persons there repeated passages
from it in her hearing. This was perhaps the first time that ever she
discovered a sense of shame, and, on this occasion, the power of wit was
very conspicuous. The wretch, who had without scruple proclaimed herself
an adulteress, and who had first endeavoured to starve her son, then to
transport him, and afterwards to hang him, was not able to bear the
representation of her own conduct, but fled from reproach, though she felt
no pain from guilt; and left Bath in haste, to shelter herself among the
crowds of London. Some time after this, Savage formed the resolution of
applying to the Queen; who, having once given him life, he hoped she might
extend her goodness to him, by enabling him to support it. With this view,
he published a poem on her birth-day, which he entitled The Volunteer
Laureat; for which she was pleased to send him £50, accompanied with an
intimation that he might annually expect the same bounty. But this annual
allowance was nothing to a man of his strange and singular extravagance.
His usual custom was, as soon as he had received his pension, to disappear
with it, and secrete himself from his most intimate friends, till every
shilling of it was spent; which done, he again appeared penniless as
before: but he would never inform any person where he had been, nor in
what manner his money had been dissipated. From the reports, however, of
some who penetrated his haunts, he expended both his time and his cash in
the most sordid and despicable sensuality; particularly in eating and
drinking, in which he would indulge in the most unsocial manner, sitting
whole days and nights by himself, in obscure houses of entertainment, over
his bottle and trencher, immersed in filth and sloth, with scarcely decent
apparel; generally wrapped up in a horseman's great coat; and, on the
whole, with his very homely countenance, exhibiting an object the most
disgusting to the sight, if not to some other of the senses.

His wit and parts, however, still raised him new friends, as fast as his
misbehaviour lost him his old ones. Yet such was his conduct, that
occasional relief only furnished the means of occasional excess; and he
defeated all attempts made by his friends to fix him in a decent way. He
was even reduced so low as to be destitute of a lodging; insomuch that he
often passed his nights in those mean houses that are set open for casual
wanderers; sometimes in cellars, amidst the riot and filth of the most
profligate of the rabble; and not seldom would he walk the streets till he
was weary, and then lie down, in summer, on a bulk,--or, in winter, with
his associates, among the ashes of a glasshouse. Yet, amidst all his
penury and wretchedness, this man had so much pride, and so high an
opinion of his own merit, that he was always ready to repress, with scorn
and contempt, the least appearance of any slight towards himself, in the
behaviour of his acquaintance; among whom he looked upon none as his
superior. He would be treated as an equal, even by persons of the highest
rank. He once refused to wait upon a gentleman, who was desirous of
relieving him, when at the lowest distress, only because the message
signified the gentleman's desire to see him at nine in the morning. His
life was rendered still more unhappy, by the death of the Queen, in 1738.
His pension was discontinued; and the insolent manner in which he demanded
of Sir Robert Walpole to have it restored, for ever cut off his supply,
which probably might have been recovered by proper application.

His distress now became so notorious, that a scheme was at length
concerted for procuring him a permanent relief. It was proposed that he
should retire into Wales, with an allowance of £50 a year, on which he was
to live privately, in a cheap place, for ever quitting his town haunts,
and resigning all farther pretensions to fame. This offer he seemed gladly
to accept; but his intentions were only to deceive his friends, by
retiring for awhile to write another tragedy, and then to return with it
to London. In 1739, he set out for Swansey, in the Bristol stage-coach,
and was furnished with 15 guineas, to bear the expense of his journey.
But, on the 14th day of his departure, his friends and benefactors, the
principal of whom was Mr. Pope, who expected to hear of his arrival in
Wales, were surprised with a letter from Savage, informing them that he
was yet upon the road, and could not proceed for want of money. There was
no other remedy than a remittance, which was sent him, and by the help of
which he was enabled to reach Bristol, whence he was to proceed to Swansey
by water. At Bristol, however, he found an embargo laid upon the shipping;
so that he could not immediately obtain a passage. Here, therefore, being
obliged to stay for some time, he so ingratiated himself with the
principal inhabitants, that he was often invited to their houses,
distinguished at their public entertainments, and treated with a regard
that highly gratified his vanity. At length, with great reluctance, he
proceeded to Swansey; where he lived about a year, very much dissatisfied
with the diminution of his salary, for he had, in his letters, treated his
contributors so insolently, that most of them withdrew their
subscriptions. Here he finished his tragedy, and resolved to return with
it to London; which was strenuously opposed by his constant friend Mr.
Pope; who proposed that Savage should put this play into the hands of Mr.
Thomson and Mr. Mallet, that they might fit it for the stage; that his
friends should receive the profits it might bring in; and that the author
should receive the produce by way of annuity. This kind and prudent scheme
was rejected by Savage with contempt. He declared he would not submit his
works to any one's correction; and that he would no longer be kept in
leading-strings. Accordingly, he soon returned to Bristol, in his way to
London; but at Bristol, meeting with a repetition of the same kind
treatment he had before found there, he was tempted to make a second stay
in that opulent city for some time. Here he was not only caressed and
treated, but the sum of £30 was raised for him; with which it would have
been happy if he had immediately departed for London. But he never
considered that a frequent repetition of such kindness was not to be
expected. In short, he remained here till his company was no longer
welcome. His visits in every family were too often repeated, his wit had
lost its novelty, and his irregular behaviour grew troublesome. Necessity
came upon him before he was aware; his money was spent, his clothes were
worn out, his appearance was shabby, and his presence was disgustful at
every table. He now began to find every man from home at whose house he
called, and he found it difficult to obtain a dinner.

Thus reduced, it would have been prudent in him to have withdrawn from
the place; but prudence and Savage were never acquainted. He staid, in the
midst of poverty, hunger, and contempt, till the mistress of a
coffee-house, to whom he owed about 8l. arrested him for the debt. He
remained for some time at the house of the sheriff's officer, in hopes of
procuring bail; which expense he was enabled to defray by a present of
five guineas from Mr. Nash at Bath. No bail, however, was to be found; so
that poor Savage was at last lodged in Newgate, a prison in Bristol. But
it was the fortune of this extraordinary mortal always to find more
friends than he deserved. The keeper of the prison took compassion on him,
and greatly softened the rigours of his confinement by every kind of
indulgence; he supported him at his own table, gave him a commodious room
to himself, allowed him to stand at the door of the gaol, and often took
him into the fields for the benefit of the air and exercise; so that, in
reality, Savage endured fewer hardships here than he had usually suffered
during the greatest part of his life.

While he remained in this agreeable prison, his ingratitude again broke
out, in a bitter satire on the city of Bristol; to which he certainly owed
great obligations, notwithstanding his arrest, which was but the lawful
act of an individual. This satire is entitled, London and Bristol
delineated; and in it he abused the inhabitants of the latter with such a
spirit of resentment, that the reader would imagine he had never received
any other than the worst of treatment in that city. When Savage had
remained about six months in this hospitable prison, he received a letter
from Mr. Pope, (who still allowed him £20 a year,) containing a charge of
very atrocious ingratitude; and though the particulars have not
transpired, yet, from the notorious character of the man, there is reason
to fear that Savage was but too justly accused: He, however, solemnly
protested his innocence; but he was very unusually affected on this
occasion:--in a few days after, he was seized with a disorder, which, at
first, was not suspected to be dangerous; but growing daily more languid
and dejected, at last a fever seized him, and he died on the 1st of
August, 1743, in the 46th year of his age.

Thus lived, and thus died, Richard Savage, Esq. leaving behind him a
character strangely chequered with vices and good qualities. Of the former
we have mentioned a variety of instances; of the latter, his peculiar
situation in the world gave him but few opportunities of making any
considerable display. He was, however, undoubtedly a man of excellent
parts; and had he received the full benefits of a liberal education, and
had his natural talents been cultivated to the best advantage, he might
have made a respectable figure in life. He was happy in a quick
discernment, a retentive memory, and a lively flow of wit, which made his
company much coveted; nor was his judgment of men and writings inferior to
his wit: but he was too much a slave to his passions, and his passions
were too easily excited. He was warm in his friendships, but implacable in
his enmity; and his greatest fault was ingratitude. He seemed to think
every thing due to his merit, and that he was little obliged to any one
for those favours which he thought it their duty to confer upon him. He
therefore never rightly estimated the kindness of his many friends and
benefactors, or preserved a grateful sense of their generosity towards
him. The works of this original writer, after having long lain dispersed
in magazines and fugitive publications, were collected and published in an
elegant edition, in 2 vols. 8vo. to which are prefixed the admirable
Memoirs of Savage, written by Dr. Samuel Johnson.



CHAP. XI.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.--(_Concluded._)


WILLIAM HUNTINGDON, a very eccentric personage, who was originally a
coal-heaver, and afterwards became a popular preacher of the Calvinistic
persuasion. The following account, formed principally from the preacher's
own words, was first presented to the public in the first volume of "The
Pulpit," 1809. Excepting the circumstance of enlarging his name from Hunt
to Huntingdon, which is stated as one of the inevitable consequences of
"the follies of his youth," Mr. Huntingdon has already written, with
tolerable truth, the greater portion of the history of himself.

He was born, he says, in the Weald of Kent; and "suffered much from his
parents' poverty, when young." He long felt other disadvantages attending
his birth. Being born in "none of the most polite parts of the world," he
"retained a good deal of his provincial dialect;" so that many of his
"expressions sounded very harsh and uncouth." Of this he complains, with
some cause, as it afterwards occasioned numbers of "unsanctified critics
to laugh and cavil at" him. He was first an errand boy, then a daily
labourer, then a cobbler; and, though he "worked by day," and "cobbled by
night," he, at one time, "lived upon barley." His first ministerial
preparation is thus told:

"I had now (says Mr. H.) five times a week to preach constantly: on which
account I was forced to lay the Bible in a chair by me, and now and then
read a little, in order to furnish myself with matter for the pulpit. It
sometimes happened that I was under sore temptations and desertions: the
Bible, too, appeared a sealed book, insomuch that I could not furnish
myself with a text; nor durst I leave my work in order to study or read
the Bible; if I did, my little ones would soon want bread; my business
would also run very cross at those times." His earnings did not then
amount to more than eight shillings per week. Even when his state grew
better, when he got his first "parsonic livery" on his back, he could not
study at his ease. "My little cot (he says) was placed in a very vulgar
neighbourhood, and the windows were so very low, that I could not study at
any of them, without being exposed to the view of my enemies; who often
threw stones through the glass, or saluted me with a volley of oaths or
imprecations." This must have been painful enough to one whose "memory was
naturally bad." Providence had long furnished him with very superior
accommodations. After many years of itinerant and irregular preaching,
William Huntingdon, weary of living at Thames Ditton, secretly longed to
leave it, fully persuaded that he "should end his ministry in London."

"Having unsuccessfully laboured in the vineyard of the country," and as he
"did not see that God had any thing more for him to do there," he, like
one Durant of late, "saw the Lord himself open the door" for his removal.
He had resolved to be off; and he contrived to get off. He was now, as he
himself says, "to perch upon the thick boughs." Ditton was to be left for
London. Yet had poor Ditton not been so unkind to him. "Some few years
before I was married," says Mr. H. "all my personal effects used to be
carried in my hand, or on my shoulders, in one or two large handkerchiefs;
but after marriage, for some few years, I used to carry all the goods that
we had gotten, on my shoulders, in a large sack: but when we removed from
Thames Ditton to London, we loaded two large carts with furniture and
other necessaries; besides a post-chaise, well filled with children and
cats."

Being viewed as ludicrous while in the country, he was fearful of being
considered as ridiculous elsewhere. I here transcribe his words: "At this
(says Mr. H.--having been advertised in Margaret-street Chapel,) I was
sorely offended, being very much averse to preaching in London, for
several reasons. First, because I had been told it abounded so much with
all sorts of errors, that I was afraid of falling into them, there were so
many that lay in wait to deceive. Secondly, because I had no learning, and
therefore feared I should not be able to deliver myself with any degree of
propriety; and as I knew nothing of Greek or Hebrew, nor even of the
English Grammar, that I should be exposed to the scourging tongue of every
critic in London."

"During many weeks, (he adds,) I laboured under much distress of mind
respecting my want of abilities to preach in this great metropolis." I
think this one of the few rational passages to be found in the "Bank of
Faith." Mr. Huntingdon here candidly confesses his own conviction of his
then ministerial incompetency, and expresses his apprehension as to the
probable nullity of his divine mission. His call seems to fail him now. He
feels just as most men would feel in the same state,--fears just as they
would fear,--and takes the same chance as to the great end he had in view.
"During the space of three years, (says Mr. Huntingdon,) I secretly wished
in my soul, that God would favour me with a chapel of my own, being sick
of the errors that were perpetually broached by some one or other in
Margaret-street Chapel, where I then preached. But though I so much
desired this, yet I could not ask God for such a favour, thinking it was
not to be brought about by one so very mean, low, and poor as myself.
However, God sent a person, unknown to me, to look at a certain spot, who
afterwards took me to look at it; but I trembled at the very thought of
such an immense undertaking. Then God stirred up a wise man to offer to
build a chapel, and to manage the whole work without fee or reward. God
drew the pattern on his imagination, while he was hearing me preach a
sermon. I then took the ground; this person executed the plan; and the
chapel sprung up like a mushroom. As soon as it was finished, this
precious scripture came sweet to my soul, 'He will fulfil the desire of
them that fear him:' Psa. cxlv. 19.

"I will now inform my reader of the kind providence of my God at the time
of building the chapel, which I named Providence Chapel (1788); and also
mention a few free-will-offerings which the people brought. They first
offered about eleven pounds, and laid it on the foundation at the
beginning of the building. A good gentleman, with whom I had but little
acquaintance, and of whom I bought a load of timber, sent it in with a
bill and receipt-in-full, as a present to the Chapel of Providence.
Another good man came with tears in his eyes, and blessed me, and desired
to paint my pulpit, desk, &c. as a present to the chapel. Another person
gave half a dozen chairs for the vestry; and my friends, Mr. and Mrs.
Lyon, furnished me with a tea-chest, well stored, and a set of china. My
good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, furnished me with a very handsome bed,
bedstead, and all its furniture and necessaries, that I might not be under
the necessity of walking home in the cold winter nights. A daughter of
mine in the faith, gave me a looking-glass for my chapel study. Another
friend gave me my pulpit-cushion, and a book-case for my study. Another
gave me a book-case for the vestry. And my good friend, Mr. E. seemed to
level all his displeasure at the devil; for he was in hopes I should be
enabled, through the gracious arm of the Lord, to cut Rahab in pieces;
therefore he furnished me with a sword of the Spirit--a new Bible, with
Morocco binding and silver clasps. I had got one old cart-horse, (says W.
H.) that I had bought with the rest of the stock on the farm, and I wanted
two more, but money ran short; and I determined also to have a large
tilted cart, to take my family to chapel, and the man should drive it on
the Sunday and on lecture nights, and I would ride my little horse. This
was the most eligible plan that I could adopt; and on this I determined,
as soon as God should send money to procure them. I came to this
conclusion on a Friday; and on the next day, toward evening, came two or
three friends from town to see me. I wondered not a little at their
coming, as they knew that on a Saturday I never like to see any body, and
therefore I conceived that they must be come with some heavy tidings; some
friend was dead, or something bad had happened. But they came to inform me
that some friends had agreed among themselves, and bought me a coach and a
pair of horses, which they intended to make me a present of. I informed
them that the assessed taxes ran so high, that I should not be able to
keep it. But they stopped my mouth by informing me, that the money for
paying the taxes for the coach and horses was subscribed also; so that
nothing lay upon me, but the keep of the horses. Thus, instead of being at
the expense of a tilted cart, God sent me a coach without cost, and two
horses without my purchasing them; and which, with my other old horse,
would do the work of the farm, as well as the work of the coach; and my
bailiff informed me that he could drive it, having formerly drove one.
Thus was I set up. But at this time the pocket was bare, and many things
were wanting, both in the house and on the farm, and a place to fit up for
my bailiff and dairy-woman to live in. And it was but a few days afterward
before a gentleman out of the country called upon me; and, being up in my
study with me, he said, 'My friend, I often told you, you would keep your
coach before you died; and I always promised, that whenever you had a
coach, I would give you a pair of horses; and I will not be worse than my
word. I have inquired of Father Green, and he tells me that the horses
cost forty-five pounds, and there is the money.' In a day or two after,
the coach, horses, and harness, came; and, having now a little money, I
wrote to a friend in the country to send me twelve ewes, and a male with
them; and he sent me twelve excellent ones, and the male with them, but
would not be paid for them; they were a present to the farm. 'Whoso is
wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the
loving-kindness of the Lord.' Ps. cvii. 43."

Much did Mr. Huntingdon owe to the singularity of his ways. Singular in
his outset and career, singular in his opinions, singular in his own
appearance, singular in his chapel, singular in his style of preaching, he
seemed to know, as well as most men, the value of singularity. He not only
excelled in extempore eloquence, but his peculiarities distinguished him
from most other preachers. Having formally announced his text, he laid his
Bible at once aside, and never referred to it again. Having laid on one
side the volume of inspiration, and disdaining the trammels of
transcription, he proceeded directly to his object; and, excepting
incidental digressions, as, "Take care of your pockets!" "Wake that
snoring sinner!" "Silence that noisy numscull!" "Turn out that drunken
dog!" excepting such occasional digressions, which, like the episodes of
poetry, must, when skilfully introduced, be understood to heighten the
effect of the whole, our orator never deviated from the course in which he
commenced his eccentric career of ministerial labour.

He had other advantages over many of his pulpit compeers. Being of the
metaphorical and allegorical school, as well as possessing his citations
by rote, there is seldom to be found the passage, from the book of Genesis
to the Revelation of St. John, that may not have, remotely or allusively,
some connection with the subject immediately under his investigation.
Hence the variety, as well as the fertility, of his eloquence. Hence the
novelty of his commentaries; his truly astonishing talent of reconciling
texts, else undoubtedly incongruous; and of discovering dissimilarities,
and asserting difficulties, where none were believed to exist. Nothing
could exceed the dictatorial dogmatism of this famous preacher. Believe
him, none but him,--and that is enough. If he aimed thus to pin the faith
of those who hear him, he would say over and over, "As sure as I am born,
'tis," &c. or, "I believe this," or, "I know this," "I am sure of it," or,
"I believe the plain English of it (some difficult text) to be," &c. When
he adds, as he was wont, by way of fixing his point, "Now, you can't help
it," or, "So it is," or, "It must be so in spite of you," he did this with
a most significant shake of his head, with a sort of beldam _hauteur_,
with all the dignity of defiance. Action he seemed to have none, except
that of shifting his handkerchief from hand to hand, and hugging his
cushion as though it were his bolster. He therefore owed his distinction
to the absence of those qualities by which most men rise. Self has done
great things for him: self-taught, self-raised, all of self. "God (says
Mr. H.) enabled me to put out several little books, which were almost
universally exclaimed against, both by preachers and professors, and by
these means God sent them into all winds; so that I soon rubbed off one
hundred, and soon after another, so that, in a short time, I had reduced
my thousand pounds (debt) down to seven hundred."

Of his works, he adds, that "they are calculated (as he thinks,) to suit
the earnest inquirer; the soul in bondage, in the furnace, in the path of
tribulation, or in the strong hold of Satan; and (says he) I have heard of
them from Wales, from Scotland, from Ireland, from various parts of
America, from Cadiz in Spain, from Alexandria in Egypt, and, I believe,
from both the East and West Indies."

His "Bank of Faith" has proved a bank of gold! When he wrote so much of
what came to him as gifts, was it not to rouse more to give? The man who
says he lives by gifts, will, as he gets his friends, find gifts by which
he may live. He died at London, in 1813; and such was the avidity of his
adherents to obtain a relic of him, that his furniture sold at ten times
the original value. An old chair went off at forty pounds.



CHAP. XII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING ANIMALS.

    _Animal Generation--Formation of Animals--Preservation of
    Animals--Destruction of Animals--Animal Reproductions._

    See, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
    All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
    Above, how high progressive life may go!
    Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
    Vast chain of Being! which from God began,
    Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
    Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
    No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee,
    From thee to nothing.
                                          _Pope._


In entering upon the subject of Curiosities respecting Animals, we shall
first introduce to the reader some interesting observations respecting the
generation, formation, preservation, destruction, and reproduction, of
animals in general; and, first, of animal generation.

Animal generation holds the first place among all that raise our
admiration when we consider the Works of the Creator, and chiefly that
appointment by which he has regulated the propagation, which is wisely
adapted to the disposition and mode of life of every different species of
animals, that people earth, air, or sea.

"Increase and multiply," said the benevolent Author of nature, when he
pronounced his blessing on the new made world. By virtue of this powerful
mandate, all the various tribes of sentient beings have not only been
preserved, but increased in an astonishing degree.

It is not in our province to describe the laws of gestation; we will
content ourselves with a few brief hints upon this subject; and we shall
find, that in different animals, nature operates in different ways, in
order to produce the same general end.

The human female, and the female of quadrupeds, are possessed of a
temperate cherishing warmth; this fits them for easy gestation, and
enables them to afford proper nourishment to their young, till the time of
birth.

Birds are intended to soar in the air, or to flit from place to place in
search of food. Gestation, therefore, would be burdensome to them. For
this reason, they lay eggs, covered with a hard shell: these, by natural
instinct, they sit upon, and cherish till the young be excluded. The
ostrich and the cassowary are said to be exempt from this law; as they
commit their eggs to the sand, where the intense heat of the sun hatches
them.

Fishes inhabit the waters, and most of them have cold blood, unfit for
nourishing their young. The all-wise Creator, therefore, has ordained that
most of them should lay their eggs near the shore; where, by means of the
solar rays, the water is warmer, and also fitter for that purpose; and
also because water insects abound more there, which afford nourishment to
the young fry.

Salmon, when they are about to deposit their eggs, are led by instinct to
ascend the stream, where purity and freshness are to be found in the
waters: and to procure such a situation for its young, this fish will
endure incredible toil and hazard.

The butterfly-fish is an exception to this general law, for that brings
forth its young alive. The species of fish whose residence is in the
middle of the ocean, are also exempt. Providence has given to these, eggs
that swim; so that they are hatched among the sea-weeds, which also swim
on the surface.

The various kinds of whales have warm blood, and therefore bring forth
their young alive, and suckle them with their teats.

Some amphibious animals also bring forth their young alive, as the viper,
&c. But such species as lay eggs, deposit them in places where the heat of
the sun supplies the want of warmth in the parent. Thus the frog, and the
lizard, drop their's in shallow waters, which soon receive a genial heat
by the rays of the sun; the common snake, in dunghills, or other warm
places. The crocodile and sea-tortoise go ashore to lay their eggs in the
sand; in these cases, Nature, as a provident nurse, takes care of all.

The multiplication of animals is not restrained to the same rule in all;
for some have a remarkable power of increase, while others are, in this
respect, confined within very narrow limits. Yet, in general, we find,
that nature observes this order, that the least animals, and those which
are most useful for food to others, usually increase with the greatest
rapidity. The mite, and many other insects, will multiply to a thousand
within the compass of a few days; while the elephant hardly produces a
young one in two years.

Birds of the hawk-kind seldom lay more than two eggs; while poultry will
produce from fifteen to thirty. The diver, or loon, which is eaten by few
animals, lays also only two eggs; but the duck-kind, moor game,
partridges, &c. and small birds in general, lay a great many. Most of the
insect tribes neither bear young nor hatch eggs; yet they are the most
numerous of all living creatures; and were their bulk proportionable to
their numbers, there would not be room on the earth for any other animals.
The Creator has wisely ordained the preservation of these minute
creatures. The females lay not their eggs indiscriminately, but are endued
with instinct to choose such places as may supply their infant offspring
with proper nourishment: in their case, this is absolutely necessary, for
the mother dies as soon as she has deposited her eggs, the male parent
having died before this event takes place; so that no parental care ever
falls to the lot of this orphan race. And indeed, were the parents to
live, it does not appear that they would possess any power to assist their
young. Butterflies, weevils, tree-bugs, gall-insects, and many others, lay
their eggs on the leaves of plants; and every different tribe chooses its
own species of plants. Nay, there is scarce any plant which does not
afford nourishment to some insect; and still more, there is hardly any
part of a plant which is not preferred by some of them. Thus one feeds
upon the flower; another upon the leaves; another upon the trunk; and
still another upon the root. But it is particularly curious to observe how
the leaves of some trees of plants are formed into dwellings for the
convenience of these creatures. Thus the gall-insect, fixes her eggs in
the leaves of an oak; the wounded leaf swells, and a knob arises like an
apple, which includes, protects, and nourishes the embryo. In the same
manner are the galls produced, which are brought from Asiatic Turkey, and
which are used both as a medicine, and as a dye in several of our
manufactories.

When the tree-bug has deposited its eggs in the boughs of the fir-tree,
excrescences arise, shaped like pearls. When another insect of the same
species has deposited its eggs in the mouse-ear, chick-weed, or speedwell
plants, the leaves contract in a wonderful manner into the shape of a
head. The water spider excludes eggs either on the extremities of juniper,
which from thence forms a lodging that resembles the arrow-headed grass;
or on the leaves of the poplar, from whence a red globe is produced. The
tree-louse lays its eggs on the leaves of the black poplar, which turn
into a kind of inflated bag; and so in many other instances.

Nor is it only upon plants that insects live and lay their eggs. The gnat
commits her's to stagnant waters; the flesh-fly, in putrified flesh;
another kind of insect deposits her's in the cracks of cheese.

Some insects exclude their eggs on certain animals; the mill-beetle,
between the scales of fishes; a species of the gadfly, on the back of
bullocks; another of the same species, on the back of the rein-deer;
another, in the noses of sheep; another still, in the intestinal tube, or
the throat of horses. Nay, even insects themselves are generally
surrounded with the eggs of other insects; so that there is, perhaps, no
animal to be found, but what affords both lodging, and nourishment, and
food, to other animals: even man himself, the haughty lord of this lower
world, is not exempt from this general law.


We shall next call the reader's attention to some particulars respecting
the FORMATION OF ANIMALS.

Whatever matter may be in itself as to its essence, it is certain that it
appears to our senses as various and heterogeneous: however, the modus of
the formation of animals is still unknown. The inspired writers express
themselves here, at least, according to the capacity of the learned, as
well as the vulgar, when they acknowledge the ignorance of mankind,--how
the bones do at first grow in their embryo state,--and that we are
fearfully and wonderfully made, when we are fashioned secretly in the
lower parts of the earth. However, it seems not probable, that one part of
matter acting upon another, should produce animal existence, though we
grant it may have a strange and unaccountable power in the alteration of
matter purely insensible or inanimate. Fermentation may dilate, and
extremely alter the parts of animated matter, when they are delineated and
marked out by the finger of the Almighty; but still, matter being a
principle purely passive and irrational, we cannot conceive how it should
become an animal, any more than a world, it being much more easy for
stones to leap out of a quarry, and make an Escurial, without asking the
architect's leave, or calling for the mason, with his mortar and trowel,
to assist them.

Nor seems it necessary, or rational, that the first seed of every creature
should formally include all those seeds that should be afterwards produced
from it; since it is, we think, sufficient that it should potentially
include them, just as Abraham did Levi; or as one kernel does all those
indeterminate kernels that may be thence afterwards raised; the first
seeds being doubtless of the same nature with those that now exist, after
so many thousand years, the order of time making only an accidental
difference; which if we do not grant, we must run into this absurdity,
that every thing does not produce its like,--a bird a bird, or a horse a
horse,--which would be to fill all the world with monsters, which nature
does so much abhor.

But every vegetable seed, or kernel, for example, does now actually and
formally contain all the seeds or kernels which may be at any time
afterwards produced from them. A kernel has indeed, as we have found by
microscopes, a pretty fair and distinct delineation of the tree and
branches into which it may be afterwards formed by the fermentation of its
parts, and addition of suitable matter; as in the tree are potentially
contained all the thousands and millions of kernels, and so of trees, that
shall or may be thence raised afterwards: and some are apt to believe it
must be similar in the first animals; whereas the finest glasses, which
are brought to an almost incredible perfection, cannot discover actual
seeds in seeds, or kernels in kernels; though, if there were any such
thing as an actual least atom, they might, one would think, be discovered
by them, since they have shewn us not only seeds, but even new animals, in
many parts of matter where we never suspected them, and even in some of
the smallest animals themselves, whereof our naked sight can take no
cognizance. As for the parts of matter, be they how they will, finite or
infinite, it makes no great alteration; for, if these parts are not all
seminal, we are no nearer. Nay, at best, an absurdity seems to be the
consequence of this hypothesis; because, if those parts are infinite, and
include all successive generations of animals, it would follow that the
number of animals too should be infinite; and, instead of one, we should
have a thousand infinites; and it would be strange too if they should not,
some of them, be greater or less than one another.

For that pleasant fancy, that all the seeds of animals were distinctly
created at the beginning of time and things, that they are mingled with
all the elements, that we take them in with our food, and the _he_ and
_she_ atoms either fly off or stay, as they like their lodgings; we hope
there is no need of being serious to confute it. And we may ask of this,
as well as the former hypothesis,--what need of them, when the work may be
done without them? The kernel, as before, contains the tree, the tree a
thousand other fruits, and ten thousand kernels; the first animal several
others; and as many of them as Nature can dispose of, and provide fit
nourishment for, are produced into what we may call actual being, in
comparison to what they before enjoyed. If it be asked, whether these
imperfect creatures have all distinct souls while lurking yet in their
parent? we answer, that there is no need of it; they are not yet so much
as well-defined bodies, but rather parts of the parent: there is required
yet a great deal more of the chemistry and mechanism of nature, and that
in both sexes, to make one or more of these embryo beings, the offspring
of man, capable of receiving a rational soul; but when that capacity
comes, and wherein it consists, perhaps he only knows, who is the Father
of spirits, as well as the former of the universe.


ON THE PRESERVATION OF ANIMALS.--With respect to the preservation of
animals, it maybe observed, that in tender age, while the young are unable
to provide for themselves, the parent possesses the most anxious care for
them. The lioness, the tigress, and every other savage of the wilderness,
are gentle and tender towards their offspring; they spare no pains, no
labour, for their helpless progeny; they scour the forest with
indescribable rage; destruction marks their path; they bear their victim
to the covert, and teach their whelps to quaff the blood of the slain.
There is one great law, which the all-wise Creator has implanted in
animals towards their offspring, which is, that, according to their
nature, they should provide for their nourishment, defence, and comfort.

All quadrupeds give suck to their young, and support them by a liquor of a
most delicate taste, and perfectly easy of digestion, till they are
capable of receiving nourishment from more solid food.

Birds build their nests in the most artificial manner, and line them as
soft as possible, that the eggs or young may not be injured. Nor do they
build promiscuously, but chuse such places as are most concealed, and
likely to be free from the attacks of their enemies: thus the hanging-bird
of the tropical countries, makes its nest of the fibres of withered plants
lined with down, and fixes it at the extremity of some bough hanging over
the water, that it may be out of reach; and the diver places its swimming
nest upon the water itself, among the rushes.

The male rooks and crows, during the time of incubation, bring food to the
females. Pigeons, and most of the small birds which pair, sit by turns;
but where polygamy prevails, the males scarcely take any care of the
young.

Birds of the duck kind pluck the feathers off their breast, and cover
their eggs with them, lest they should be injured by cold when they quit
their nest for food; and when the young are hatched, they shew the utmost
solicitude in providing for them, till they are able to fly, and shift for
themselves.

Young pigeons are fed with hard seeds, which the parents first have
prepared in their own crops, that so the infant bird may digest them
easily. And the eagle makes its nest on the highest precipices of
mountains, and in the warmest spot, facing the sun; here the prey which it
brings is corrupted by the heat, and made digestible to the young.

There is, indeed, an exception to this fostering care of animals in the
cuckoo, which lays its eggs in the nest of some small bird, generally the
wagtail, yellow-hammer, or white-throat, and leaves both the incubation
and preservation of the young to them. But naturalists inform us that this
apparent want of instinct in the cuckoo proceeds from the structure and
situation of its stomach, which disqualifies it for incubation; still its
care is conspicuous in providing a proper, though a foreign situation, for
its eggs.

Amphibious animals, fishes, and insects, which cannot come under the care
of their parents, yet owe this to them, that they are deposited in places
where they easily find proper nourishment.

When animals come to that maturity as no longer to want parental care,
they exercise the utmost labour and industry for the preservation of their
own lives. But the different species are many, and the individuals of each
species are very numerous. In order, therefore, that all may be supported,
the Creator has assigned to each class its proper food, and set bounds and
limits to their appetites. Some live on particular species of plants,
which are produced only in particular animalcula; others on carcases, and
some even on mud and dung. For this reason, Providence has ordained that
some should swim in certain regions of the watery element; that others
should fly; and that some should inhabit the torrid, the frigid, or the
temperate zones. Different animals also are confined to certain spots in
the same zone: some frequent the deserts, others the meadows, or the
cultivated grounds; thus the mountains, the woods, the pools, the gardens,
have their proper inhabitants. By this means there is no terrestrial
tract, no sea, no river, no country, but what teems with life. Hence one
species of animals does not injuriously invade the aliment of another; and
hence the world at all times affords support to so many, and such various
inhabitants, and nothing which it produces is in vain.

We ought to remark, also, the wisdom and goodness of Providence in forming
the structure of the bodies of animals for their peculiar manner of life,
and in giving them clothing which is suitable both to the country and
element in which they live.

Thus the elephant, the rhinoceros, and the various kinds of monkeys, are
destined to live in the torrid regions, where the sun darts its fiercest
rays; their skins are therefore naked, for were they covered with hair,
they would perish with heat. They are also of such conformation of body as
to suit their different manner of life. The rein-deer has his habitation
in the coldest parts of Lapland; his food is the liverwort, which grows
nowhere else so abundantly; and as the cold is in that country intense,
this useful animal is covered with hair of the densest kind; by this means
he easily defies the keenness of the arctic regions. The rough-legged
partridge passes its life in the Lapland Alps, where it feeds on the seeds
of the dwarf birch: while, to withstand the cold, and to enable it to run
freely among the snow, even its feet are thickly beset with feathers.

The camel is a native of the arid sandy deserts, which, with their
dreadful sterility, are yet capable of yielding him support. How wisely
has the Creator formed him! his foot is made to traverse the burning
sands; and as the place of his habitation affords but little water, he is
made capable of enduring long journeys, and going many days without
quenching his thirst; for he is furnished with a natural reservoir, in
which, when he drinks, he stores up a quantity of water, and has the power
of using it in a frugal and sparing manner, when, for his food, he crops
the dry thistle of the desert. The bullock delights in low rich grounds,
because there he finds the food which is most palatable to him. The wild
horse chiefly resorts to woods, and feeds upon leafy plants. Sheep prefer
hills of moderate elevation, where they find a short sweet grass, of which
they are very fond. Goats climb up the precipices of mountains, that they
may brouse on the tender shrubs; and, in order to fit them for their
situation, their feet are made for jumping.

Swine chiefly get provision by turning up the earth; for which purpose
their snouts are peculiarly formed. In this employment they find succulent
roots, insects, and reptiles.

So various is the appetite of animals, that there is scarcely any plant
which is not chosen by some, and left untouched by others. Thus the horse
refuses the water hemlock, which the goat will eat: the goat will not feed
on monkshood, but the horse eats it with avidity. The long-leafed water
hemlock is avoided by the bullock; yet the sheep is fond of it. The spurge
is poisonous to man; but the caterpillar finds it a wholesome nourishment.
Some animals live on the leaves of certain plants, others on the stalks,
and others still on the rind, or even the roots of the same vegetable.

It should seem from hence, that no plant is absolutely poisonous, but only
relatively so: that is, there is no plant but what is wholesome food to
some animal or other. Thus divine wisdom has assigned an use for all its
productions.

The care of Providence is further evident in giving to each animal an
instinctive knowledge of its proper aliment; but that delicacy of taste
and smell, by which they accurately distinguish the wholesome from the
pernicious, is not so evident in domestic animals as in those which are in
a state of nature.

All birds of the goose kind pass great part of their lives in water,
feeding on water-insects, fishes, and their eggs. It is evident that they
are calculated for this mode of existence; their beaks, their necks, their
feet, and their feathers, are formed for it. All other birds are as aptly
fitted for their manner of life as these.

The sea-swallow is said to get his food in a very singular way. Fish are
his support, but he is not capable of diving in order to catch them like
other aquatic birds; the sea-gull, therefore, is his caterer: when this
last has gorged himself, he is pursued by the former, who buffets him till
he casts up a part of his prey, which the other catches before it reaches
the water; but in those seasons when the fishes hide themselves in deep
water, the merganser supplies even the gull himself with food, being
capable of plunging deeper into the sea.

Small birds are generally supposed to live principally upon the berries of
ivy and hawthorn; but modern naturalists contradict this, and affirm that
their winter food is the knot-grass, which bears heavy seeds, like those
of the black bind-weed. This is a very common plant, not easily destroyed;
it grows in great abundance by the sides of roads, and trampling on it
will not kill it; it is extremely plentiful in corn-fields after harvest,
and gives a reddish hue to them by the multitude of its seeds. Wherever
the husbandman ploughs, this plant will grow, nor can all his art prevent
it: thus a part of his labours are necessarily destined for the
propagation of a plant which our heavenly Father has designed immediately
for the support of the "fowls of the air;" for though "they sow not,
neither gather into barns," yet are they fed by him.

Some birds who live on insects, migrate every year to foreign regions, in
order to seek food in a milder climate; while all the northern countries,
where they live well in summer, are covered with snow. Some naturalists
reckon the different species of the Hirundo, or swallow, among the birds
of passage; while others affirm that they do not migrate, but, at the
approach of winter, seek an asylum from the cold in the clefts of rocks,
with which our island is surrounded, or take refuge in the bottom of
pools and lakes, among the reeds and rushes; others still, who have made
their observations with more attention and patience than either of the
former, allow that the old swallows with their early brood do migrate; but
that the latter hatches, which are incapable of distant flight, lay
themselves up, and become torpid during the winter; and at the approach of
spring, by the wonderful appointment of Nature, they come forth again with
renewed life and activity. In these, and all other animals which become
torpid in the winter, the peristaltic motion of the bowels ceases while
they are dormant, so that they do not suffer by hunger. Dr. Lister
remarks, concerning this class of animals, that their blood, when poured
into a vessel, does not coagulate, like that of all other animals; and
therefore is no less fit for circulation when they revive, than before.

The birds called moor-fowl, during great snows, work out paths for
themselves under its surface, where they live in safety, and get their
food. They moult in summer, so that about the latter end of August they
cannot fly, and are therefore obliged to run in the woods; but then the
blackberries and bilberries are ripe, from whence they are abundantly
supplied with food: but the young do not moult the first year, and
therefore, though they cannot run so well, are enabled to escape danger by
flight.

The migration of birds is not only a fact, but, as it relates to many
kinds of them, is an useful fact to mankind. This remark applies to such
of them as feed on insects, the number of which is so great, that if these
birds did not destroy them, it would be almost impossible for us to live.

Of the various kinds of water-fowl that are known in Europe, there is
hardly any but what, in the spring, are found to repair to Lapland. This
is a country of lakes, rivers, swamps, and mountains, covered with thick
and gloomy forests, that afford shelter during summer to these birds.

In these arctic regions, by reason of the thickness of the woods, the
ground remains moist and penetrable, and the waters contain the larvæ of
the gnat in innumerable quantities. The days there are long, and the
beautiful and splendid meteors of the night indulge them with every
opportunity of collecting so minute a food; at the same time, men are very
sparingly scattered over that vast northern waste. Yet, Linnæus, that
great explorer of nature, in his excursion to Lapland, was astonished at
the myriads of water-fowl that migrated with him out of that country,
which exceeded in multitude the army of Xerxes, covering, for eight whole
days and nights, the surface of the river Calix! The surprise of Linnæus
was occasioned by his supposing their support to be furnished chiefly by
the vegetable kingdom, almost denied to the Lapland waters; not knowing
that the all-bountiful Creator had plenteously provided insect food for
them in that dreary wilderness.

Certain beasts, also, as well as birds, become torpid, or at least
inactive, when they are, by the rigour of the season, excluded from the
necessaries of life. Thus the bear, at the end of autumn, collects a
quantity of moss, into which he creeps, and there lies all the winter,
subsisting upon no other nourishment than his fat, collected during the
summer in the cellulous membrane, and which, without doubt, during his
fast, circulates through his vessels, and supplies the place of food.

The hedge-hog, badger, and some kinds of mice, fill their winter quarters
with vegetables, which they eat during mild weather in the winter, and
sleep during the frosts. The bat seems cold and quite dead, but revives in
the spring: while most of the amphibious animals get into dens, or the
bottom of lakes and pools.

Among other instances of the preservation of animals, we ought to mention
that of the pole-cat of America, commonly called the squash or skink. This
is a small animal of the weasel kind, which some of the planters of that
country keep about their premises to perform the office of a cat. This
creature has always a very strong and disagreeable smell, but when
affrighted or enraged, it emits so horrible a stench, as to prevent any
other creature from approaching it: even dogs in pursuit of it, when they
find this extraordinary mode of defence made use of, will instantly turn,
and leave him undisputed master of the field; nor can any attempts ever
bring them to rally again. Kalm, as quoted by Buffon, says, "One of these
animals came near the farm where I lived in the year 1749. It was in the
winter season, during the night; and the dogs that were upon the watch,
pursued it for some time, until it discharged against them. Although I was
in bed a good way off, I thought I should have been suffocated; and the
cows and oxen themselves, by their lowings, shewed how much they were
affected by the stench."

Nor is even the serpent, in its various kinds, destitute of the care of
the common Father of nature. This reptile, which has neither wings to fly,
nor the power to run with much speed, would not have the means to take its
prey, were it not endowed with superior cunning to most other creatures.
In favour of the serpent, also, there is a terror attending its
appearance, which operates with such power upon birds and other small
animals, as often to cause them to fall an easy prey to it. Hence,
probably, has arisen the fiction of the power of fascination, which has
been confidently ascribed to the rattlesnake and some other serpents.


On the DESTRUCTION OF ANIMALS.

In considering the destruction of animals, we may observe that Nature is
continually operating: she produces, preserves for a time, and then
destroys all her productions. Man himself is subject to this general
order; for he also, like other creatures, returns to the dust from whence
he was taken.

This process of nature is marked even in the vicissitudes of the seasons.
Spring, like the jovial, playful infancy of all living creatures,
represents childhood and youth; for then plants spread forth their
flowers, fishes play in the waters, birds sing, and universal nature
rejoices. Summer, like middle age, exhibits plants and trees full clothed
in green; fruits ripen; and every thing is full of life. But autumn is
comparatively gloomy; for then the leaves fall from the trees, and plants
begin to wither, insects grow torpid, and many animals retire to their
winter quarters.

The day proceeds with steps similar to the year. In the morning every
thing is fresh and playful; at noon all is energy and action; evening
follows, and every thing is inert and sluggish.

Thus the age of man begins from the cradle; pleasing childhood succeeds;
then sprightly youth; afterwards manhood, firm, severe, and intent on
self-preservation; lastly, old age creeps on, debilitates, and, at length,
totally destroys our tottering bodies.

But we must consider the destruction of animals more at large. We have
before observed, that all animals do not live on vegetables, but there are
some which feed on animalcula; others on insects. Nay, some there are
which subsist only by rapine, and daily destroy some or other of the
peaceable kind.

The destruction of animals by each other, is generally in
progression,--the strong prevailing against the weak. Thus, the tree-louse
lives on plants; the fly called musca amphidivora, lives on the
tree-louse; the hornet and wasp-fly, on the musca amphidivora; the
dragon-fly, on the hornet and wasp-fly; the larger spider, on the
dragon-fly; small birds feed on the spider; and lastly, the hawk kind on
the small birds.

In like manner, the monoculus delights in putrid waters; the gnat eats the
monoculus; the frog eats the gnat; the pike eats the frog; and the
sea-calf eats the pike.

The bat and the goat-sucker make their excursions only at night, that they
may catch the moths, which at that time fly about in great quantities.

The woodpecker pulls out the insects which lie hid in the trunks of trees.
The swallow pursues those which fly about in the open air. The mole feeds
on worms and grubs in the earth. The large fishes devour the small ones.
And perhaps there is not an animal in existence, which has not an enemy
to contend with.

Among quadrupeds, wild beasts are most remarkably pernicious and dangerous
to others. But that they may not, by their cruelty, destroy a whole
species, these are circumscribed within certain bounds: as to the fiercest
of them, they are few in number, when compared with other animals;
sometimes they fall upon and destroy each other; and it is remarked also,
that they seldom live to a great age, for they are subject, from the
nature of their diet, to various diseases, which bring them sooner to an
end than those animals which live on vegetables. It has been asked, why
has the Supreme Being constituted such an order in nature, that, it should
seem, some animals are created only to be destroyed by others? To this it
has been answered, that Providence not only aimed at sustaining, but also
keeping a just proportion amongst all the species, and so preventing any
one of them from increasing too much, to the detriment of men and other
animals. For if it be true, as it assuredly is, that the surface of the
earth can support only a certain number of creatures, they must all
perish, if the same number were doubled or trebled.

There are many kinds of flies, which bring forth so abundantly, that they
would soon fill the air, and, like clouds, intercept the light of the sun,
unless they were devoured by birds, spiders, and other animals.

Storks and cranes free Egypt from frogs, which, after the inundation of
the Nile, cover the whole country. Falcons clear Palestine from mice.
Bellonius, on this subject, says, "The storks come to Egypt in such
abundance, that the fields and meadows are quite white with them. Yet the
Egyptians are not displeased with them, as frogs are generated in such
numbers, that, did not the storks devour them, they would over-run every
thing. Besides, they also catch and eat serpents. Between Belba and Gaza,
the fields of Palestine are often injured by mice and rats; and were these
vermin not destroyed by the falcons, that come here by instinct, the
inhabitants could have no harvest."

The white fox is of equal advantage in the Lapland Alps; as he destroys
the Norway rat, which, by its prodigious increase, would otherwise
entirely destroy vegetation in that country.

It is sufficient for us to believe that Providence is wise in all its
works, and that nothing is made in vain. When rapacious animals do us
mischief, let us not think that the Creator planned the order of nature
according to our private principles of economy; for the Laplander has one
way of living, the European husbandman another, and the Hottentot differs
from them both; whereas the stupendous Deity is one throughout the globe;
and if Providence do not always calculate according to our method of
reckoning, we ought to consider this affair in the same light as when
different seamen wait for a fair wind, every one with respect to the port
to which he is bound: these we plainly see cannot all be satisfied.

We shall conclude this branch, by turning once more to Man, and tracing
him through his progressive stages of decay, until death puts a final
period to his earthly existence.

The human form has no sooner arrived at its state of perfection, than it
begins to decline. The alteration is at first insensible, and often
several years are elapsed before we find ourselves grown old. The news of
this unwelcome change too generally comes from without; and we learn from
others that we grow old, before we are willing to believe the report.

When the body is come to its full height, and is extended into its just
dimensions, it then also begins to receive an additional bulk, which
rather loads than assists it. This is formed of fat, which, generally, at
about the age of forty, covers all the muscles, and interrupts their
activity. Every exertion is then performed with greater labour, and the
increase of size only serves as the forerunner of decay.

The bones also become every day more solid. In the embryo they are almost
as soft as the muscles and the flesh, but by degrees they harden, and
acquire their proper vigour; but still, for the purpose of circulation,
they are furnished through all their substance with their proper canals.
Nevertheless, these canals are of very different capacities during the
different stages of life. In infancy they are capacious, and the blood
flows almost as freely through the bones as through any other part of the
body; in manhood their size is greatly diminished, the vessels are almost
imperceptible, and the circulation is proportionably slow. But in the
decline of life, the blood which flows through the bones, no longer
contributing to their growth, must necessarily serve to increase their
hardness. The channels which run through the human frame may be compared
to those pipes that we see crusted on the inside, by the water, for a long
continuance, running through them. Both every day grow less and less, by
the small rigid particles which are deposited within them. Thus, as the
vessels are by degrees diminished, the juices also, which circulate
through them, are diminished in proportion; till at length, in old age,
these props of the human frame are not only more solid, but more brittle.

The cartilages, likewise, grow more rigid; the juices circulating through
them, every day contribute to make them harder, so that those parts which
in youth are elastic and pliant, in age become hard and bony, consequently
the motion of the joints must become more difficult. Thus, in old age,
every action of the body is performed with labour, and the cartilages,
formerly so supple, will now sooner break than bend.

As the cartilages acquire hardness, and unfit the joints for motion, so
also that mucous liquor, which is always secreted between the joints, and
which serves, like oil to a hinge, to give them an easy and ready play, is
now grown more scanty. It becomes thicker and more clammy, more unfit for
answering the purposes of motion, and from thence, in old age every joint
is stiff and awkward. At every motion this clammy liquor is heard to
crack; and it is not without a great effort of the muscles, that its
resistance is overcome. Old persons have been known, that seldom moved a
single joint without thus giving notice of the violence that was done to
it.

The membranes that cover the bones, joints, and the rest of the body,
become, as we grow old, more dense and more dry. Those which surround the
bones soon cease to be ductile. The fibres, of which the muscles or flesh
is composed, become every day more rigid; and while, to the touch, the
body seems, as we advance in years, to grow softer, it is in reality
increasing in hardness. It is the skin, and not the flesh, that we feel on
such occasions. The fat, and the flabbiness of it, seem to give an
appearance of softness, which the flesh itself is very far from having.
None can doubt this after trying the difference between the flesh of young
and old animals. The first is soft and tender, the last is hard and dry.

The skin is the only part of the body that age does not harden; that
stretches to every degree of tension; and we have often frightful
instances of its pliancy, in many disorders which are incident to
humanity. In youth, while the body is vigorous and increasing, it
continues to give way to its growth. But although it thus adapts itself to
our increase, its does not in the same manner conform to our decay. The
skin, in youth and health, is plump, glossy, veined, and clear; but when
the body begins to decline, it has not elasticity enough to shrink
entirely with its diminution; it becomes dark or yellow, and hangs in
wrinkles, which no cosmetic can remove. The wrinkles of the body in
general proceed from this cause; but those of the face seem to proceed
from another, namely, from that variety of positions into which it is put
by the speech, the food, or the passions. Every grimace, every passion,
and every gratification of appetite, puts the visage into different forms.
These are visible enough in young persons; but what at first was
accidental or transitory, becomes, by habit, unalterably fixed in the
visage as it grows older.

Hence, as we advance in age, the bones, the cartilages, the membranes, the
flesh, and every fibre of the body, becomes more solid, more dry, and more
brittle. Every part shrinks, motion becomes more slow, the circulation of
the fluids is performed with less freedom; perspiration diminishes; the
secretions alter; the digestion becomes laborious; and the juices no
longer serve to convey their accustomed nourishment. Thus the body dies by
little and little, and all its functions are diminished by degrees; life
is driven from one part of the frame to another; universal rigidity
prevails; and death, at last, seizes upon the remnant that is left.

As the bones, the cartilages, the muscles, and all other parts of the
body, are softer in women than in men, these parts must, of consequence,
require a longer time to arrive at that state of hardness which occasions
death. Women, therefore, ought to be longer in growing old than men, and
this is, generally speaking, the case. If we consult the tables which have
been drawn up respecting human life, we shall find that, after a certain
age, they are more long-lived than men, all other circumstances the same.
Thus a woman of sixty has a greater probability, than a man of the same
age, of living till eighty.


We shall close this chapter with an account of ANIMAL REPRODUCTIONS.

Here we discover a new field of wonders, that seems entirely to contradict
the principles that we had adopted concerning the formation of organized
bodies. It was long thought that animals could only be multiplied by eggs,
or by young ones. But it is now found that there are some exceptions to
this general rule, since certain animal bodies have been discovered, that
may be divided into as many complete bodies as you please; for each part
thus separated from the parent body, soon repairs what is deficient, and
becomes a complete animal. It is now no longer doubtful that the polypus
belongs to the class of animals, though it much resembles plants, both in
form, and in its mode of propagating. The bodies of these creatures may be
either cut across or longitudinally, and the pieces will become so many
complete polypi. Even from the skin, or least part, cut off from the body,
one or more polypi will be produced; and if several pieces cut off be
joined together by the extremities, they will perfectly unite, nourish
each other, and become one body. This discovery has given rise to other
experiments, and it has been found that polypi are not the only animals
which live and grow after being cut in pieces. The earth-worm will
multiply after being cut in two; to the tail there grows a head, and the
two pieces then become two worms. After having been divided, they cannot
be joined together again; they remain for some time in the same state, or
grow rather smaller; we then see at the extremity which was cut, a little
white button begin to appear, which increases and gradually lengthens.
Soon after, we may observe rings at first very close together, but
insensibly extending on all sides; a new stomach, and other organs, are
then formed. We may at any time make the following experiment with snails:
cut off their heads close by the horns, and in a certain space of time the
head will be reproduced. A similar circumstance takes place in crabs; if
one of their claws is torn off, it will again be entirely reproduced.

A very remarkable experiment was made by Duhamel, on the thigh of a
chicken. After the thigh-bone which had been broken was perfectly
restored, and a callus completely formed, he stripped off the flesh down
to the bone;--the parts were gradually reproduced, and the bone, and the
circulation of the blood, again renewed. We know then that some animals
may be multiplied by dividing them into pieces; and we no longer doubt
that the young of certain insects may be produced in the same manner as a
branch is from a tree; that, being cut in pieces, they will live again in
the smallest piece; that they may be turned inside out like a glove,
divided into pieces, then turned again, and yet live, eat, grow, and
multiply. Here a question offers itself, which perhaps no naturalist can
resolve in a satisfactory manner: How does it happen that the parts thus
cut off, can be again reproduced? We must suppose that germs are
distributed to every part of the body; whilst in other animals they are
only contained in certain parts. These germs unfold themselves when they
receive proper nourishment. Thus, when an animal is cut in pieces, the
germ is supplied with the necessary juices, which would have been conveyed
to other parts, if they had not been diverted into a different channel.
The superfluous juices develop those parts which without them would have
continued attached to each other. Every part of the polypus and worm,
contains in itself, as the bud does the rudiments of a tree, all the
viscera necessary to the animal. The parts essential to life are
distributed throughout the body, and the circulation is carried on even in
the smallest particles. As we do not understand all the means that the
Author of nature makes use of to distribute life and feeling to such a
number of animals, we have no reason to maintain, that the creatures of
which we have been speaking, are the only ones that are exceptions to the
general rule in their mode of propagating. The fecundity of nature, and
the infinite wisdom of the Creator, always surpass our feeble conceptions.
The same hand that has formed the polypus and the worm, has shewn us that
it is able to simplify the structure of animals.



CHAP. XIII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING ANIMALS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Beaver, and its Habitations--The Mole--The Frog--The Toad--The
    Rhinoceros--Crocodiles and Alligators--Fossil Crocodile--The
    Ornithorhynchus Paradoxus--The Marmot, or Mountain Rat, of
    Switzerland._

    Nature's unnumber'd family combine
    In one beneficent, one vast design;
    E'en from inanimates to breathing man,--
    A heaven-conceiv'd, heaven-executed plan;
    Onward, from those who soar or lowly creep,
    The wholesome equipoise through all to keep,
    As faithful agents in earth, sea, and air,
    The lower world to watch with constant care;
    Her due proportion wisely to conserve:--
    A wondrous trust, from which they never swerve.
                                              _Pratt._


It would not be consistent with the plan of this work to embrace the whole
natural history of the animal and vegetable kingdom. This is a Book of
Curiosities; and it is our intention to present the reader with a sketch
of the most remarkable things in the universe: our present subject,
therefore, being curiosities respecting animals, we shall commence with--


THE BEAVER.--This animal was known to the ancients for its possession of
that sebaceous matter called castor, secreted by two large glands near its
genitals and anus, and of which each animal has about two ounces; but they
appear to have been unacquainted with its habits and economy, with that
mental contrivance and practical dexterity, which in its natural state so
strikingly distinguish it. Beavers are found in the most northern
latitudes of Europe and Asia, but are most abundant in North America.

In the months of June and July, they assemble in large companies to the
number of two hundred, on the banks of some water, and proceed to the
formation of their establishment. If the water be subject to risings and
fallings, they erect a dam, to preserve it at a constant level; where this
level is naturally preserved, this labour is superseded. The length of
this dam is occasionally eight feet. In the preparation of it, they begin
with felling some very high, but not extremely thick tree, on the border
of a river, which can be made to fall into the water; and, in a short
time, this is effected by the united operation of many, with their
fore-teeth, the branches being afterwards cleared by the same process. A
multitude of smaller trees are found necessary to complete the fabric,
and many of these are dragged from some distance by land, and formed into
stakes; the fixing of which is a work of extreme difficulty and
perseverance, some of the beavers with their teeth raising their large
ends against the crossbeam, while others at the bottom dig with their
fore-feet the holes in which the points are to be sunk. A series of these
stakes, in several rows, is established from one bank of the river to the
other, in connection with the cross-tree, and the intervals between them
are filled up by vast quantities of earth, brought from a distance, and
plashed with materials adapted to give it tenacity, and prevent its being
carried off. The bark is formed at the bottom, of about the width of
twelve feet, diminishing as it approaches the surface of the water, to two
or three; being thus judiciously constructed to resist its weight and
efforts by the inclined plane instead of perpendicular opposition.

These preparations, of such immense magnitude and toil, being completed,
they proceed to the construction of their mansions, which are raised on
piles near the margin of the stream or lake, and have one opening from the
land, and another by which they have instant access to the water. These
buildings are usually of an orbicular form, in general about the diameter
of ten feet, and comprehending frequently several stories. The foundation
walls are nearly two feet in thickness, resting upon planks or stakes,
which constitute also their floors. In the houses of one story only, the
walls, which in all cases are plastered with extreme neatness both
externally and within, after rising about two feet perpendicularly,
approach each other, so as at length to constitute, in closing, a species
of dome. In the application of the mortar to their habitations, the tails
as well as feet of the beavers are of essential service. Stone, wood, and
a sandy kind of earth, are employed in their structures, which, by their
compactness and strength, completely preclude injury from winds and rain.
The alder, poplar, and willow, are the principal trees which they employ;
and they always begin their operations on the trunk, at nearly two feet
above the ground; nor do they ever desist from the process till its fall
is completed. They sit instead of stand, at this labour, and while
reducing the tree to the ground, derive a pleasure at once from the
success of their toils, and from the gratification of their palate and
appetite by the bark, which is a favourite species of food to them, as
well as the young and tender parts of the wood itself.

For their support in winter, ample stores are laid up near each separate
cabin; and occasionally to give variety and luxury to their repasts during
a long season, in which their stores must have become dry and nearly
tasteless, they will make excursions into the neighbouring woods for
fresh supplies. Depredations by the tenants of one cabin on the magazines
of another are unknown, and the strictest notions of property and honesty
are universal. Some of their habitations will contain six only, others
twelve, and some even twenty or thirty inhabitants; and the whole village
or township contains in general about twelve or fourteen habitations.
Strangers are not permitted to intrude on the vicinity; but, amidst the
different members of the society itself, there appears to prevail that
attachment and that friendship which are the natural result of mutual
co-operation, and of active and successful struggles against difficulty.
The approach of danger is announced by the violent striking of their tails
against the surface of the water, which extends the alarm to a great
distance; and, while some throw themselves for security into the water,
others retire within the precincts of their cabins, where they are safe
from every enemy but man.

The neatness as well as the security of their dwellings is remarkable, the
floors being strewed over with box and fir, and displaying the most
admirable cleanness and order. Their general position is that of sitting,
the upper part of the body, with the head, being considerably raised,
while the lower touches, and is somewhat indeed immersed in, the water.
This element is not only indispensable to them in the same way as to other
quadrupeds, but they carefully preserve access to it even when the ice is
of very considerable depth, for the purpose of regaling themselves by
excursions to a great extent under the frozen surface. The most general
method of taking them is by attacking their cabins during these rambles,
and watching their approach to a hole dug in the ice at a small distance,
to which they are obliged, after a certain time, to resort for
respiration.

If a man, who had never been informed of the industry of beavers and their
manner of building, were shewn the edifices that they construct, he would
suppose them to be the work of most eminent architects. Every thing is
wonderful in the labours of these amphibious animals; the regular plan,
the size, the solidity, and the admirable art of these buildings, must
fill every attentive observer with astonishment.

The works of beavers have a great resemblance to those of men; and upon
their first appearance we may imagine them to be produced by rational and
thinking beings; but when we examine them nearer, we shall find that in
all their proceedings, these animals do not act upon the principles of
reason, but by an instinct which is implanted in them by nature. If reason
guided their labours, we should naturally conclude that the buildings
which they now construct would be very different from those they formerly
made, and that they would gradually advance towards perfection. But we
find that they never vary in the least from the rules of their
forefathers, never deviate from the circle prescribed to them by nature,
and the beavers of to-day build exactly after the same plan as those which
lived before the deluge. But they are not the less worthy of our
admiration. In these sagacious creatures we have an example of the great
diversity there is in the instinct of animals--how superior is the
instinct of the beaver to that of the sheep!

The flesh of the anterior part of the bodies of beavers resembles that of
land animals in substance and flavour; while that of the lower possesses
the taste, and smell, and lightness of fish.

The sexual union among these animals is connected with considerable
individual choice, sentiment, and constancy.--Every couple pass together
the autumn and winter, with the most perfect comfort and affection. About
the close of winter, the females, after a gestation of four months,
produce, in general, each two or three young, and soon after this period
they are quitted by the males, who ramble into the country to enjoy the
return of spring; occasionally returning to their cabins, but no longer
dwelling in them. When the females have reared their young, which happens
in the course of a few weeks, to a state in which they can follow their
dams, these also quit their winter residence, and resort to the woods, to
enjoy the opening bloom and renovated supplies of nature. If their
habitations on the water should be impaired by floods, or winds, or
enemies, the beavers assemble with great rapidity to repair the damage. If
no alarm of this nature occurs, the summer is principally spent by them in
the woods, and on the advance of autumn they assemble in the scene of
their former labours and friendships, and prepare with assiduity for the
confinement and rigours of approaching winter.

When taken young, the beaver may be tamed without difficulty; but it
exhibits few or no indications of superior intelligence. Some beavers are
averse to that association which so strikingly characterizes these animals
in general, and satisfy themselves with digging holes in the banks of
rivers, instead of erecting elaborate habitations. The fur of these is
comparatively of little value.


Another subject of animal curiosity is, THE MOLE.--This animal is about
six inches in length, without the tail. Its body is large and cylindrical,
and its snout strong and cartilaginous. Its skin is of extraordinary
thickness, and covered with a fur, short, but yielding to that of no other
animal in fineness. It hears with particular acuteness, and,
notwithstanding the popular opinion to the contrary, possesses eyes,
which it is stated to be able to withdraw or project at pleasure. It lives
partly on the roots of vegetables, but principally on animal food, such as
worms and insects, and is extremely voracious and fierce. Shaw relates,
from Sir Thomas Brown, that a mole, a toad, and a serpent, have been
repeatedly inclosed in a large glass vase, and that the mole has not only
killed the others, but has devoured a very considerable part of them. It
abounds in soft ground, in which it can dig with ease, and which furnishes
it with a great supply of food. It forms its subterraneous apartments with
great facility by its snout and feet, and with a very judicious reference
to escape and comfort. It produces four or five young in the spring, in a
nest a little beneath the surface, composed of moss and herbage. It is an
animal injurious to the grounds of the farmer, by throwing up innumerable
hills of mould, in the construction of its habitation, or the pursuit of
its food, and many persons obtain their subsistence from the premiums,
which are, on this account, given for their destruction. Moles can swim
with considerable dexterity, and are thus furnished with the means of
escape in sudden inundations, to which they are frequently exposed. In
Ireland, the mole is unknown.


THE COMMON FROG.--This is an animal so well known, that it needs no
description: but some of its properties are very singular. Its spring, or
power of taking large leaps, is remarkably great, and it is the best
swimmer of all four-footed animals. Its parts are finely adapted for those
ends, the fore members of the body being very lightly made, the hind legs
and thighs very long, and furnished with very strong muscles. While in a
tadpole state, it is entirely a water animal, for in this element the
spawn is cast. As soon as frogs are released from their tadpole state,
they immediately take to land; and if the weather has been hot, and there
fall any refreshing showers, the ground for a considerable space is
perfectly blackened by myriads of these animalcules, seeking for some
secure lurking places. Some persons not taking time to examine into this
phenomenon, imagined them to have been generated in the clouds, and
showered on the earth: but had they, like Mr. Derham, traced them to the
next pool, they would have found a better solution of the difficulty. As
frogs adhere closely to the backs of their own species, so we know they
will do the same by fish. That they will injure, if not entirely kill
carp, is a fact indisputable, from the following relation.

Not many years ago, on fishing a pond belonging to Mr. Pitt, of Encomb,
Dorsetshire, great numbers of the carp were found, each with a frog
mounted on it, the hind legs clinging to the back, and the fore legs fixed
to the corner of each eye of the fish, which were thin and greatly
wasted, teased by carrying so disagreeable a load. The croaking of frogs
is well known; and from that, in fenny countries, they are distinguished
by ludicrous titles,--thus they are styled _Dutch nightingales_, and
_Boston waites_. Yet there is a time of the year when they become mute,
neither croaking nor opening their mouths for a whole month; this happens
in the hot season, and that is in many places known to the country people
by the name of the paddock-moon. It is said, that during that period their
mouths are so closed, that no force (without killing the animal) will be
capable of opening them. These, as well as other reptiles, feed but a
small space of the year. Their food is flies, insects, and snails. During
winter, frogs and toads remain in a torpid state; the last of which will
dig into the earth, and cover themselves with almost the same agility as
the mole.


Not less remarkable is THE COMMON TOAD.--This is the most deformed and
hideous of all animals. The body is broad, the back flat, and covered with
a pimply dusky hide; the belly large, swagging, and swelling out; the legs
short, and its pace laboured and crawling; its retreat gloomy and filthy:
in short, its general appearance is such as to strike one with disgust and
horror. Yet it is said that its eyes are fine. Ælian and other ancient
writers tell many ridiculous fables of the poison of the toad.

This animal was believed by some old writers to have a stone in its head
fraught with great virtues, medical and magical: it was distinguished by
the term of, the reptile, and called the toad-stone, bufonites,
krottenstern, and other names, but all its fancied powers vanished on the
discovery of its being nothing but the fossil tooth of the sea-wolf, or of
some other flat-toothed fish, not unfrequent in our island, as well as
several other countries. But these fables have been long exploded. And as
to the notion of its being a poisonous animal, it is probable that its
excessive deformity, joined to the faculty it has of emitting a juice from
its pimples, and a dusky liquid from its hind parts, is the foundation of
the report. That it has any noxious qualities, there seem to be no proofs
in the smallest degree satisfactory, though we have heard many strange
relations on that point. On the contrary, many have taken them in their
naked hands, and held them long without receiving the least injury. It is
also well known that quacks have eaten them, and have squeezed their
juices into a glass, and drank them with impunity. They are also a common
food to many animals; to buzzards, owls, Norfolk plovers, ducks, and
snakes, which would not touch them, were they in any degree noxious.

The fullest information concerning the nature and qualities of this animal
is contained in letters from Mr. Arscott and Mr. Pitfield to Dr. Milles,
communicated to Mr. Pennant; concerning a toad that lived above thirty-six
years with them, was completely tame, and became so great a favourite that
most of the ladies in the neighbourhood got the better of their prejudices
so far as to be anxious to see it fed. Its food was insects, such as
millepedes, spiders, ants, flies, &c. but it was particularly fond of
flesh worms, which were bred on purpose for it. It never appeared in
winter, but regularly made its appearance in the spring, when the warm
weather commenced, climbing up a few steps, and waiting to be taken up,
carried into the house, and fed upon a table. Before it attacked the
insects, it fixed its eyes on them, and remained motionless for a quarter
of a minute, when it attacked them by an instantaneous motion of its
tongue, darted on the insect with such rapidity that the eye could not
follow it, whereby the insect stuck to the tip of its tongue, and was
instantly conveyed to its mouth. This favourite toad at last lost its
life, in consequence of being attacked by a tame raven, which picked out
one of its eyes; and although the toad was rescued, and lived a year
longer, it never recovered its health or spirit. It never showed any signs
of rage, being never provoked.


Our next subject is an animal of great bulk, THE RHINOCEROS.--This
quadruped is exceeded in size only by the elephant. Its usual length, not
including the tail, is twelve feet, and the circumference of its body
nearly the same. Its nose is armed with a horny substance, projecting, in
the full-grown animal, nearly three feet, and is a weapon of defence,
which almost secures it from every attack. Even the tiger, with all his
ferocity, is but very rarely daring enough to assail the rhinoceros. Its
upper lip is of considerable length and pliability, acting like a species
of snout, grasping the shoots of trees and various substances, and
conveying them to the mouth; and it is capable of extension and
contraction at the animal's convenience. The skin is, in some parts, so
thick and hard as scarcely to be penetrable by the sharpest sabre, or even
by a musket-ball. These animals are found in Bengal, Siam, China, and in
several countries of Africa; but are far less numerous than the elephant,
and of sequestered solitary habits. The female produces only one at a
birth; and at the age of two years the horn is only an inch long, and at
six only of the length of nine inches. The rhinoceros is not ferocious,
unless provoked, when he exhibits paroxysms of rage and madness, and is
highly dangerous to those who encounter him. He runs with great swiftness,
and rushes through brakes and woods with an energy to which every thing
yields. He is generally, however, quiet and inoffensive. Its food
consists entirely of vegetables, the tender branches of trees, and
succulent herbage, of which it will devour immense quantities. It delights
in retired and cool situations, near lakes and streams, and appears to
derive one of the highest satisfactions from the practice of rolling and
wallowing in mud,--in this respect bearing a striking resemblance to the
hog.

[Illustration: RHINOCEROS.--Page 162.

Many varieties of this formidable animal are found in Asia and Africa. The
above figure represents the Asiatic variety, which has but one horn.]

[Illustration: RHINOCEROS.--Page 162.

Of the African rhinoceros, Mr. Cumming, the famous hunter, describes
several kinds. The above figure represents the two-horned kind, which is
found nowhere but in Africa. Mr. Cumming killed many of this kind.]

This animal was exhibited, by Augustus, to the Romans, and is supposed to
be the unicorn of the scripture, as it possesses the properties ascribed
to that animal, of magnitude, strength, and swiftness, in addition to that
peculiarity of a single horn, which may be considered as establishing
their identity. This animal can distinguish, by its sight, only what is
directly before it, and always, when pursued, takes the course immediately
before it, almost without the slightest deviation from a right line,
removing every impediment. Its sense of smelling is very acute, and also
of hearing, and, on both these accounts, the hunters approach him against
the wind. In general, they watch his lying down to sleep, when, advancing
with the greatest circumspection, they discharge their muskets into his
belly. The flesh is eaten both in Africa and India.


We now proceed to THE CROCODILE.--This animal is a native both of Africa
and Asia, but is most frequently found in the former, inhabiting its vast
rivers, and particularly the Niger and the Nile. It has occasionally been
seen of the length of even thirty feet, and instances of its attaining
that of twenty are by no means uncommon. It principally subsists on fish,
but such is its voracity, that it seizes almost every thing that comes
within its reach. The upper part of its body is covered with a species of
armour, so thick and firm, as to be scarcely penetrable with a
musket-ball; and the whole body has the appearance of an elaborate
covering of carved work. It is an oviparous animal, and its eggs scarcely
exceed in size those of a goose. These eggs are regarded as luxuries by
the natives of some countries of Africa, who will also with great relish
partake of the flesh of the crocodile itself. When young, the small size
and weak state of the crocodile prevent its being injurious to any animal
of considerable bulk or strength; and those which have been brought living
to England have by no means indicated that ferocious and devouring
character which they have been generally described to possess; a
circumstance probably owing to the change of climate, and the reducing
effect of confinement.

In its native climate its power and propensity to destruction are
unquestionably great, and excite in the inhabitants of the territories
near its haunts a high degree of terror. It lies in wait near the banks
of rivers, and, with a sudden spring, seizes any animal that approaches
within its reach, swallowing it with an instantaneous effort, and then
rushing back into its watery recesses, till renewed appetite stimulates
the repetition of its insidious exertions. These animals were occasionally
exhibited by the Romans among their collections of the natural wonders of
the provinces; and Scaurus and Augustus are both recorded to have
entertained the people with a sight of these new and formidable objects.

It is reported by some travellers, that crocodiles are capable of being
tamed, and are actually kept in a condition of harmless domestication at
the grounds and artificial lakes of some African princes, chiefly as
appendages of royal splendour and magnificence. A single negro will often
attack a crocodile, and by spearing it between the scales of the belly,
where it is easily penetrable, secure its destruction. In some regions
these animals are hunted by dogs, which, however, are carefully
disciplined to the exercise, and are armed with collars of iron spikes.

Aristotle appears to have been the first who asserted that the under jaw
of the crocodile was immoveable, and from him it was transmitted and
believed for a long succession of ages. But the motion of the jaw in this
animal is similar to that of all other quadrupeds. The ancients also
thought it destitute of a tongue; an idea equally false. The tongue,
however, is more fixed in this than in other animals, to the sides of its
mouth, and less capable, therefore, of being protruded.--The eggs of the
crocodile are deposited in the mud or sand of the banks of rivers, and
immediately on being hatched, the young move towards the water; in their
passage to which, however, vast numbers are intercepted by ichneumons and
birds, which watch their progress.


The ALLIGATOR, or AMERICAN CROCODILE, has a vast mouth, furnished with
sharp teeth; from the back to the end of the tail, it is serrated; its
skin is tough and brown, and covered on the sides with tubercles. This
dreadful species, which grows to the length of 17 or 18 feet, is found in
the warmer parts of North America, and is most numerous, fierce, and
ravenous, towards the south. Yet, in Carolina, it never devours the human
species, but on the contrary, shuns mankind; it, however, kills dogs as
they swim the rivers, and hogs which feed in the swamps. It is often seen
floating like a log of wood on the surface of the water, and is mistaken
for such by dogs and other animals, which it seizes, draws under water,
and devours. Like the wolf, when pressed by long hunger, it will swallow
mud, and even stones, and pieces of wood. They often get into the wears in
pursuit of fish, and do much mischief by tearing them to pieces. They are
torpid during winter, in Carolina, and retire into their dens, which they
form by burrowing far under ground. They make the entrance under water,
and work upwards. In spring they quit their retreats, and resort to the
rivers, and chiefly seek their prey near the mouth, where the water is
brackish. They roar and make a dreadful noise at first leaving their dens,
and against bad weather. The female lays a vast number of eggs in the
sand, near the banks of lakes and rivers, and leaves them to be hatched by
the sun: multitudes are destroyed as soon as hatched, either by their own
species, or by fish of prey. In South America, the carrion vulture is the
instrument of Providence to destroy multitudes; and it thus prevents the
country from being rendered uninhabitable.


The following account of EASTERN ALLIGATORS is extracted from Forbes's
Oriental Memoirs.

The eastern districts of Travancore, intersected by lakes and rivers,
abound with amphibious animals, especially alligators and seals. There
seems to be no essential difference between the alligator of India, and
the Egyptian crocodile; lacerta alligator, and lacertus crocodilus.
Naturalists seem to confine the alligator to South America, the crocodile
to Asia and Africa; but in India the lacerta crocodilus, generally called
the alligator, is from five to twenty feet long, shaped like the genus to
which he belongs; the back is covered with impenetrable scales; the legs
short, with five spreading toes on the fore feet, and four in a straight
line on the hinder, armed with claws: the alligator moves slowly, its
whole formation being calculated for strength, the back bone firmly
jointed, and the tail a most formidable weapon: in the river, he eagerly
springs on the wretch unfortunately bathing within his reach, and either
knocks him down with his tail, or opens his wide mouth for his
destruction, armed with numerous sharp teeth of various lengths; by which,
like the shark, he sometimes severs the human body at a single bite: the
annals of the Nile and Ganges, although wonderful, are not fabulous. The
upper jaw only of the alligator was thought to be moveable; but that is
now completely disproved: the eyes are of a dull green, with a brilliant
pupil, covered by a transparent pellicle, moveable as in birds: from the
heads of those of large size, musk is frequently extracted.


It may not be improper in this place to introduce to the reader's notice,
one of the greatest curiosities of its kind, which late ages have
produced; that is, a FOSSIL CROCODILE.

This is the skeleton of a large crocodile, almost entire, found at a great
depth under ground, bedded in stone. This was in the possession of
Linkius, who wrote many pieces in natural history, and particularly an
accurate description of this curious fossil. It was found in the side of a
large mountain in the midland part of Germany, and in a stratum of black
fossil stone, somewhat like our common slate, but of a coarser texture,
the same with that in which the fossil fishes in many parts of the world
are found. This skeleton had the back and ribs very plain, and was of a
much deeper black than the rest of the stone; as is also the case with the
fossil fishes, which are preserved in this manner. The part of the stone
where the head lay was not found; this being broken off just at the
shoulders, but that irregularly; so that in one place a part of the back
of the head was visible in its natural form. The two shoulder-bones were
very fair, and three of the feet were well preserved: the legs were of
their natural shape and size; and the feet preserved even to the
extremities of the five toes of each.


Our next subject is named THE ORNITHORHYNCHUS PARADOXUS, and is a very
singular quadruped, remarkable for its structure. The head is similar to
that of a duck, which would lead to the supposition that it belonged to an
aquatic bird. Both jaws are as broad and low as those in a duck, and the
calvaria has no traces of a suture, as is generally the case in full-grown
birds. In the cavity of the skull there is a considerably bony falx, which
is situated along the middle of the os frontis, and the ossa bregmatis.
The mandible of this animal consists of a beak, the under part of which
has its margin indented as in ducks, and of the proper instrument for
chewing that is situated behind within the cheeks. Dr. Shaw says it has no
teeth, though Mr. Home found, in a specimen examined by him, two small and
flat molar teeth on each side of the jaws. The fore part of this mandible,
or beak, is covered and bordered with a coriaceous skin, in which three
parts are to be distinguished, within the proper integument of the beak.
Into these three parts of that membrane numerous nerves are distributed,
intended, probably, as the organs of feeling, a sense which, besides men,
few mammalia enjoy; that is, few animals possess the faculty of
distinguishing the form of external objects and their qualities, by organs
destined for that purpose,--a property very different from the common
feeling, by which every animal is able to perceive the temperature and
presence of sensible objects, but without being informed, by the touch, of
their peculiar qualities. Thus the skin in the wings of the bat, and its
ear, are supposed the organs of common feeling, by means of which they are
enabled to flutter, after being blinded, without flying against any thing.
The whiskers of many animals appear likewise to serve the same purpose of
informing them of the presence of sensible bodies, and hence they have
been compared to the antennæ of insects.

But to return to the ornithorhynchus: It is an animal which from the
similarity of its abode, and the manner of searching for food, agrees much
with the duck, on which account it has been provided with an organ for
touching, viz. with the integument of the beak, richly endowed with
nerves. This instance of analogy in the structure of a singular organ of
sense in two species of animals, from classes quite different, is a most
curious circumstance in comparative physiology, and hence the
ornithorhynchus is looked upon as one of the most remarkable phenomena in
zoology.


We shall close this chapter with an account of THE MARMOT, or MOUNTAIN-RAT
OF SWITZERLAND.--This rat is almost the size of a leveret, and resembles a
common rat very much in appearance. These little creatures live together
in societies, and have different dwellings for winter and summer; their
fore paws are remarkably strong, which qualifies them for scooping out
their burrows. The same form is always preserved in the construction of
their dwellings, which consist of a long passage, just big enough to let
the marmot enter, leading to two apartments; the largest of these serves
the whole family for a chamber, where they lie close together, in a torpid
state, rolled up like hedge-hogs, during the cold season, as dormice do in
England. When they betake themselves to their winter quarters, after
having lined their chamber with soft hay, they carefully stop up the
entrance with a sort of cement, which they make of earth, mixed with
stones and dry grass. Before they collect the grass, either for food, or
for their winter habitations, they form themselves into a circle, sitting
on their hind legs, looking with a cautious eye on every side. If the
least thing stirs that alarms them, the first which perceives it makes a
particular kind of cry, which its next neighbour repeats, and so on till
it goes round, when they hastily make their escape. They are often seen
upon the slopes of the Alps, where grass is in plenty; but they love a
warm sheltered situation, and change their residence according to the
season.



CHAP. XIV.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING ANIMALS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Elephant--Fossil Elephant--The Chameleon--The Common
    Tortoise--Orang-Outang--The Unicorn--The Common Seal--The Ursine
    Seal--American Natural History._

    Let no presuming impious railer tax
    Creative wisdom, as if aught was form'd
    In vain, or not for admirable ends.
                                      _Thomson._


THE ELEPHANT.--This is a very wonderful animal; and has, both in ancient
and modern times, been duly estimated in the Eastern world. His virtues
are thus enumerated by Buffon:--To form a just estimation of the elephant,
he must be allowed to possess the sagacity of the beaver, the address of
the ape, the sentiment of the dog, together with the peculiar advantages
of strength, largeness, and long duration of life. Neither should we
overlook his arms or tusks, which enable him to transfix and conquer the
lion! We should also consider that the earth shakes under his feet; that
with his trunk, as with a hand, he tears up trees; that by a push of his
body he makes a breach in a wall; that, though tremendous in strength, he
is rendered still more invincible by his enormous mass, and by the
thickness of his skin; that he can carry on his back an armed tower,
filled with many warriors; that he works machines, and carries burdens,
which six horses are unable to move; that to this prodigious strength he
adds courage, prudence, coolness, and punctual obedience; that he
preserves moderation even in his most violent passions; that he is
constant and impetuous in love; that when in anger, he mistakes not his
friends; that he never attacks any but those who offend him; that he
remembers favours as long as injuries; that having no appetite for flesh,
he feeds on vegetables alone, and is born an enemy to no living creature;
and, in fine, that he is universally beloved, because all animals respect,
and none have any reason to fear him!

The following account is extracted from Forbes's Oriental Memoirs, a
highly interesting work.

"The largest Elephants are from ten to eleven feet in height, some are
said to exceed it; the average is eight or nine feet. They are fifty or
sixty years before they arrive at their full growth; the female goes with
young eighteen months, and seldom produces more than one at a birth, which
she suckles until it is five years old: its natural life is about one
hundred and twenty years. The Indians are remarkably fond of these
animals, especially when they have been long in their service. I have seen
an elephant valued at twenty thousand rupees: the common price of a docile
well-trained elephant is five or six thousand; and in the countries where
they are indigenous, the Company contract for them at five hundred rupees
each, when they must be seven feet high at the shoulders. The mode of
catching and training the wild elephants is now well known; their price
increases with their merit during the course of education. Some, for their
extraordinary qualities, become in a manner invaluable; when these are
purchased, no compensation induces a wealthy owner to part with them.

"The skin of the elephant is generally of a dark grey, sometimes almost
black; the face frequently painted with a variety of colours; and the
abundance and splendour of his trappings add much to his consequence. The
Mogul princes allowed five men and a boy to each elephant: the chief of
them, called the mahawut, rode upon his neck, to guide him; another sat
upon his rump, and assisted in battle; the rest supplied him with food and
water, and performed the necessary services. Elephants bred to war, and
well disciplined, will stand firm against a volley of musketry, and never
give way unless severely wounded. I have seen one of those animals, with
upwards of thirty bullets in the fleshy parts of his body, perfectly
recovered from his wounds. All are not equally docile; and when an enraged
elephant retreats from battle, nothing can withstand his fury; the driver
having no longer a command, friends and foes are involved in
undistinguished ruin."

The elephants in the army of Antiochus were provoked to fight by shewing
them the blood of grapes and mulberries. The history of the Maccabees
informs us, that "to every elephant they appointed a thousand men, armed
with coats of mail, and five hundred horsemen of the best: these were
ready at every occasion; wherever the beast was, and whithersoever he
went, they went also; and upon the elephant were strong towers of wood,
filled with armed men, besides the Indian that ruled them."

"Elephants in peace and war know their duty, and are more obedient to the
word of command than many rational beings. It is said they can travel, on
an emergency, two hundred miles in forty-eight hours; but will hold out
for a month at the rate of forty or fifty miles a day, with cheerfulness
and alacrity. I performed many long journeys upon an elephant given by
Ragobah to Colonel Keating. Nothing could exceed the sagacity, docility,
and affection, of this noble quadruped: if I stopped to enjoy a prospect,
he remained immoveable until my sketch was finished; if I wished for ripe
mangoes growing out of the common reach, he selected the most fruitful
branch, and breaking it off with his trunk, offered it to the driver for
the company in the houdah, accepting of any part given to himself with a
respectful salem, by raising his trunk three times above his head, in the
manner of the Oriental obeisance, and as often did he express his thanks
by a murmuring noise. When a bough obstructed the houdah, he twisted his
trunk around it, and, though of considerable magnitude, broke it off with
ease, and often gathered a leafy branch, either to keep off the flies, or
as a fan to agitate the air around him, by waving it with his trunk; he
generally paid a visit at the tent door during breakfast, to procure
sugar-candy or fruit, and be cheered by the encomiums and caresses he
deservedly met with; no spaniel could be more innocent, playful, or fonder
of those who noticed him, than this docile animal, that on particular
occasions appeared conscious of his exaltation above the brute creation."

The following account of the docility of the elephant, from ancient
writers, will interest the reader.

"They have been taught to adore the king, says Aristotle, to dance, to
throw stones at a mark, to cast up stones at a mark, to catch them again
in their fall, and to walk upon ropes: Galba was the first, says
Suetonius, that exhibited this at Rome. And these things they learned with
such care, that they have often been found practising in the night what
had been taught them in the day. They write too, says Pliny, speaking of
one which wrote in the Greek tongue, _Ipse ego hæc scripsi et spolia
lettica dicavi_. I myself saw, says Ælian, one of them writing Roman
letters on a tablet with his trunk; and the letters he made were not
ragged, but straight and even; and his eyes were fixed upon the tablet, as
one that was serious. And in the plays that Germanicus Cæsar shewed at
Rome, there were twelve elephants, six males and six females; these were
clothed as men and women. At the command of their keeper, they danced, and
performed all the gestures of a mimic. At last they were brought where
they were to feast; a table was covered with all kinds of dainties, and
beds were covered with purple carpets, after the manner of the Roman
eating, for them to lie upon. Upon these they lay down, and, at the signal
given, they reached out their trunks to the table, and with great modesty
fell to eating, and ate and drank as civil men would do."


This seems to be the most proper place for introducing an account of THE
MAMMOTH.

The Mammoth is a fossil Elephant; a most remarkable one of which was found
in the ice, at the mouth of the river Lena, in Siberia.

The following account is extracted from an abridgment of a paper by Dr.
Tilesius, from the Journal of Science.

"In the year 1805, when the Russian expedition under Krusenstern returned
for the third time to Kamschatka, Patagof, master of a Russian ship,
bringing victualling stores from Okotsk, related that he had lately seen a
mammoth elephant, dug up on the shores of the Frozen Ocean, clothed with a
hairy skin; and shewed, in confirmation of the fact, some hair three or
four inches long, of a reddish black colour, a little thicker than horse
hair, which he had taken from the skin of the animal: this he gave to me,
says Dr. Tilesius, and I sent it to professor Blumembach. No further
knowledge has been obtained on this subject, and unfortunately Patagof was
not employed by any of our Societies to return to Siberia. Thus was this
curious fact consigned to oblivion; nor should we now possess any
information respecting the carcase of the mammoth, if the rumour of its
discovery had not reached Mr. Adams, a man of great ardour in pursuit of
science, who undertook the labour of a journey to these frozen regions,
and of preparing these gigantic remains, and transporting them to a great
distance.

"The preservation of the flesh of the mammoth through a long series of
ages, is not to be wondered at, when we recollect the constant cold and
frost of the climate in which it was found. It is a common practice to
preserve meat and berries throughout the winter, by freezing them, and to
send fish, and all other provisions, annually at that period, from the
most remote of the northern provinces, to St. Petersburg, and other parts
of the empire.

"I was told, at Jakutsk, says Mr. Adams, by the merchant Papoff, chief of
the body of merchants in that town, that there had been discovered on the
shores of the Frozen Ocean, near the mouth of the river Lena, an animal of
extraordinary magnitude. The flesh, the skin, and the hair, were in a
state of preservation, and it was supposed that the fossil production
known under the name of mammoth's horns, must have belonged to an animal
of this species. The news of this interesting discovery determined me to
hasten the journey which I had in contemplation, for the purpose of
visiting the shores of the Lena, as far as the Frozen Ocean; wishing to
preserve these precious remains, which might otherwise be lost.

"The third day of our journey we pitched our tents, at some hundred paces
distant from the mammoth, on a hill, called Kembisaga-Shæta. Schumachof, a
Tungusian chief, related to me, nearly in these terms, the history of the
discovery of the mammoth.

"The Tungusians, who are a wandering people, remain but a little time in
the same place. Those who live in the forests, often take ten years or
more, to travel over the vast regions between the mountains: during this
time, they do not once return to their habitations. Each family lives
isolated, and knows no other society. If, during the course of several
years, two friends meet by chance, they then communicate to each other
their adventures, their different successes in hunting, and the number of
skins they have obtained. After having passed some days together, and
consumed the few provisions they had, they separate cheerfully, carrying
each other's compliments to their acquaintance, and trusting to Providence
for another meeting. The Tungusians inhabiting the coast differ from the
former, in having more regular and fixed habitations, and in collecting
together at certain seasons for fishing and hunting. During winter, they
inhabit cottages, built side by side, so that they form villages. It is to
one of these annual trips that we owe the discovery of the mammoth.

"Towards the end of the month of August, when the fishing season in the
Lena is over, Schumachof generally goes with his brothers to the peninsula
of Tamut, where they employ themselves in hunting, and where the fresh
fish of the sea offer them a wholesome and agreeable food. In 1799, he had
constructed for his wife some cabins on the banks of the lake Oncoul, and
had embarked, to seek along the coasts for mammoth horns. One day, he
perceived along the blocks of ice a shapeless mass, not at all resembling
the large pieces of floating wood which are commonly found there. To
observe it nearer, he landed, climbed up a rock, and examined this new
object on all sides, but without being able to discover what it was.

"The following year, 1800, he found the carcase of a Walrus, (_Trichecus
Rosmarus_.) He perceived, at the same time, that the mass he had before
seen was more disengaged from the blocks of ice, and had two projecting
parts, but was still unable to make out its nature. Towards the end of the
following summer, 1801, the entire side of the animal, and one of his
tusks, were quite free from the ice. On his return to the borders of the
lake Oncoul, he communicated this extraordinary discovery to his wife and
some of his friends; but the way in which they considered the matter
filled him with grief. The old men related, on this occasion, their having
heard their fathers say, that a similar monster had been formerly seen in
the same peninsula, and that all the family of the discoverer had died
soon afterwards. The mammoth was therefore considered as an augury of
future calamity, and the Tungusian chief was so alarmed, that he fell
seriously ill; but becoming convalescent, his first idea was the profit
which he might obtain by selling the tusks of the animal, which were of
extraordinary size and beauty. He ordered that the place where the mammoth
was found should be carefully concealed, and that strangers should, under
different pretexts, be diverted from it, at the same time charging
trust-worthy people to watch that the treasure was not carried off.

"But the summer of 1802, which was less warm and more windy than common,
caused the mammoth to remain buried in the ice, which had scarcely melted
at all. At length, towards the end of the fifth year, 1803, the ardent
wishes of Schumachof were happily accomplished; for the part of the ice
between the earth and the mammoth having melted more rapidly than the
rest, the plane of its support became inclined, and this enormous mass
fell, by its own weight, on a bank of sand. Of this, two Tungusians, who
accompanied me, were witnesses.

"In the month of March, 1804, Schumachof came to his mammoth, and having
cut off his horns (or tusks) he exchanged them with the merchant Bultunof,
for goods of the value of fifty rubles.

"Two years afterwards, or the seventh after the discovery of the mammoth,
I fortunately traversed these distant and desert regions, and I
congratulate myself in being able to prove a fact which appears so
improbable. I found the mammoth still in the same place, but altogether
mutilated. The prejudices being dissipated, because the Tungusian chief
had recovered his health, there was no obstacle to prevent approach to the
carcase of the mammoth; the proprietor was content with his profit from
the tusks, and the Jakutski of the neighbourhood seized upon the flesh,
with which they fed their dogs during the scarcity. Wild beasts, such as
white bears, wolves, wolverenes, and foxes, also fed upon it, and the
traces of their footsteps were seen around. The skeleton, almost entirely
cleared of its flesh, remained whole, with the exception of one fore leg.
The head was covered with a dry skin; one of the ears, well preserved, was
furnished with a tuft of hairs. All these parts have necessarily been
injured in transporting them a distance of 11,000 wersts (7,330 miles:)
yet the eyes have been preserved, and the pupil of the left eye can still
be distinguished. The point of the lower lip had been gnawed; and the
upper one having been destroyed, the teeth could be perceived. The brain
was still in the cranium, but appeared dried up.

"The parts least injured are one fore foot and one hind foot; they are
covered with skin, and have still the sole attached. According to the
assertion of the Tungusian chief, the animal was so fat and well fed, that
its belly hung down below the joints of the knees.

"This mammoth was a male, with a long mane on the neck, but without tail
or proboscis.[5] The skin, of which I possess three-fourths, is of a dark
grey colour, covered with a reddish wool, and black hairs. The dampness of
the spot where the animal had lain so long, had in some degree destroyed
the hair. The entire carcase, of which I collected the bones on the spot,
is four archines (9 ft. 4 in.) high, and seven archines (16 ft. 4 in.)
long, from the point of the nose to the end of the tail, without including
the tusks, which are a toise and a half[6] in length; the two together
weighed 360 lbs. avoirdupois; the head alone, without the tusks, weighs 11
poods and a half, 414 lbs. avoirdupois.

"The principal object of my care was to separate the bones, to arrange
them, and put them up safely, which was done with particular attention. I
had the satisfaction to find the other scapula, which had remained not far
off. I next detached the preserved parts. The skin was of such
extraordinary weight, that ten persons found great difficulty in
transporting it to the shore. After this, I dug the ground in different
places, to ascertain whether any of its bones were buried, but principally
to collect all the hairs,[7] which the white bears had trod into the
ground, while devouring the flesh. Although this was difficult, for the
want of proper instruments, I succeeded in collecting more than a pood (36
pounds) of hair in a few days the work was completed, and I found myself
in possession of a treasure which amply recompensed me for the fatigues
and dangers of the journey, and the considerable expenses of the
enterprise.

"The place where I found the mammoth is about sixty paces distant from the
shore, and nearly 100 paces from the escarpment of the ice from which it
had fallen. This escarpment occupies exactly the middle between the two
points of the peninsula, and is three wersts long (two miles), and in the
place where the mammoth was found, this rock has a perpendicular elevation
of 30 or 40 toises. Its substance is a clear pure ice; it inclines towards
the sea; its top is covered with a layer of moss and friable earth, half
an archine (14 inches) in thickness. During the heat of the month of July
a part of this crust is melted, but the rest remains frozen. Curiosity
induced me to ascend two other hills at some distance from the sea; they
were of the same substance, and less covered with moss. In various places
were seen enormous pieces of wood, of all the kinds produced in Siberia;
and also mammoths' horns, in great numbers, appeared between the hollows
of the rocks; they all were of astonishing freshness.

"How all these things could become collected there, is a question as
curious as it is difficult to resolve. The inhabitants of the coast call
this kind of wood Adamschina, and distinguish it from the floating pieces
of wood which are brought down by the large rivers to the ocean, and
collect in masses on the shores of the Frozen Sea. The latter are called
Noachina. I have seen, when the ice melts, large lumps of earth detached
from the hills, mix with the water, and form thick muddy torrents, which
roll slowly towards the sea. This earth forms wedges, which fill up the
spaces between the blocks of ice.

"The escarpment of ice was 35 to 40 toises high; and, according to the
report of the Tungusians, the animal was, when they first saw it, seven
toises below the surface of the ice, &c.

"On arriving with the mammoth at Bonchaya, our first care was to separate
the remaining flesh and ligaments from the bones, which were then packed
up. When I arrived at Jakutsk, I had the good fortune to re-purchase the
tusks, and from thence expedited the whole to St. Petersburg.

"The skeleton is now put up in the museum of the Academy, and the skin
still remains attached to the head and feet. The mammoth is described by
M. Cuvier as a different species from either of the two elephants living
at the present day, the African or the Indian. It is distinguished from
them by the teeth, and by the size of the tusks, which are from ten to
fifteen feet long, much curved, and have a spiral turn outwards. The
alveali of the tusks are also larger, and are protruded farther. The neck
is shorter, the spinal processes larger, all the bones of the skeleton are
stronger, and the scabrous surfaces for the insertion of the muscles more
prominent, than in the other species. The skin being covered with thick
hair, induces M. Cuvier to consider that it was the inhabitant of a cold
region. The form of the head is also different from that of the living
species, as well as the arrangement of the lines of the enamel of the
teeth."

The mammoth more nearly resembles the Indian than the African species of
elephant.

A part of the skin, and some of the hair of this animal, was sent by Mr.
Adams to the late Sir Joseph Banks, who presented them to the museum of
the Royal College of Surgeons.


From Forbes's work we extract the following particulars respecting THE
CHAMELEON.

The greatest curiosity in the East, says Forbes, is the Chameleon, found
in every thicket. I kept one for several weeks, of which, as it differed
in many respects from those described in Arabia, and other places, I shall
mention a few particulars. The chameleon of the Concan, including the
tail, is about nine inches long; the body only half that length, varying
in circumference, as it is more or less inflated; the head, like that of a
fish, is immoveably fixed to the shoulders; but every inconvenience is
removed by the structure of its eyes, which, like spheres rolling on an
invisible axis, are placed in deep cavities, projecting from the head;
through a small perforation in the exterior convexity, appears a bright
pupil, surrounded with a yellow iris, which, by the singular formation and
motion of the eye, enables the animal to see what passes before, behind,
or on either side; and it can give one eye all these motions, while the
other remains perfectly still; a hard rising protects these delicate
organs, another extends from the forehead to the nostrils: the mouth is
large, and furnished with teeth, with a tongue half the length of the
body, and hollow like an elephant's trunk; it darts nimbly at flies and
other insects, which it seems to prefer to the aërial food generally
supposed to be its sustenance. The legs are longer than usual in the
licerta genus; on the fore feet are three toes nearest the body, and two
without; the hinder exactly the reverse; with these claws it clings fast
to the branches, to which it sometimes entwines itself by the tail, and
remains suspended; the skin is granulated like shagreen, except a range of
hard excrescences, or denticulations, on the ridge of the back, which are
always of the same colour as the body; whereas a row of similar
projections beneath continue perfectly white, notwithstanding any
metamorphosis of the animal.

The general colour of the chameleon so long in my possession, was a
pleasant green, spotted with pale blue; from this it changed to a bright
yellow, dark olive, and a dull green; but never appeared to such advantage
as when irritated, or a dog approached it; the body was then considerably
inflated, and the skin clouded like tortoise-shell, its shades of yellow,
orange, green, and black. A black object always caused an almost
instantaneous transformation: the room appropriated for its accommodation
was skirted by a board painted black; this the chameleon carefully
avoided; but if he accidentally drew near it, or we placed a black hat in
his way, he was reduced to a hideous skeleton, and, from the most lively
tints, became black as jet: on removing the cause, the effect as suddenly
ceased; the sable hue was succeeded by a brilliant colouring, and the body
was again inflated.


Our next subject is THE COMMON TORTOISE.--The weight of this animal is
three pounds, and the length of its shell about seven inches. It abounds
in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean, and particularly in
Greece, where the inhabitants not only eat its flesh and eggs, but
frequently swallow its warm blood. In September or October it conceals
itself, remaining torpid till February, when it re-appears. In June it
lays its eggs, in holes exposed to the full beams of the sun, by which
they are matured. The males frequently engage in severe conflicts, and
strike their heads against each other with great violence, and very loud
sounds. Tortoises attain most extraordinary longevity, and one was
ascertained to have lived in the gardens of Lambeth to the age of nearly
120 years. Its shell is preserved in the archiepiscopal palace. So
reluctant is the vital principle to quit these animals, that Shaw informs
us, from Redi, that one of them lived for six months after all its brain
was taken out, moving its limbs, and walking, as before. Another lived
twenty-three days after its head was cut off, and the head itself opened
and closed its jaws for a quarter of an hour after its separation from the
body. It may not only be tamed, but has in several instances exhibited
proofs, in that state, of considerable sagacity in distinguishing its
benefactors, and of grateful attachment in return for their kindness,
notwithstanding its general sluggishness and torpor. It will answer the
purpose of a barometer, and uniformly indicates the fall of rain before
night, when it takes its food with great rapidity, and walks with a sort
of mincing and elate step. It appears to dislike rain with extreme
aversion, and is discomfited and driven back by only a few and scarcely
perceivable drops.

The following particulars respecting the Instinct of the Tortoise, are
copied from Vaillant's Travels in Africa.--"It is very remarkable, that
when the waters are dried up by excessive heat, the tortoises, which
always seek for moisture, bury themselves under the earth, in proportion
as the surface of it becomes dry. To find them, it is then sufficient to
dig to a considerable depth, in the spot where they have concealed
themselves. They remain as if asleep, and never awake, or make their
appearance, until the rainy season has filled the ponds and small lakes,
on the borders of which they deposit their eggs, where they continue
exposed to the air; they are as large as those of a pigeon; they leave to
the heat and the sun the care of hatching them. These eggs have an
excellent taste; the white, which never grows hard by the force of fire,
preserves the transparency of a bluish jelly. I do not know whether this
instinct be common to every species of water tortoises, and whether they
all employ the same means; but this I can assert, that every time, during
the great droughts, when I wished to procure any of them, by digging in
those places where there had been water, I always found as many as I had
occasion for. This method of fishing, or whatever else it may be called,
was not new to me; for at Surinam a stratagem of the same kind is employed
to catch two species of fish, which bury themselves also; and which are
called, one the _varappe_, and the other the _gorret_ or the _kevikwi_."


The next curious animal which we shall consider, is, THE
ORANG-OUTANG.--This animal is sometimes called the satyr, great ape, or
man of the woods. It is a native of the warmer parts of Africa and India,
as well as of some of the Indian islands, where it resides principally in
woods, and is supposed to feed, like most others of this genus, on fruits.
The orang-outang appears to admit of considerable variety in point of
colour, size, and proportions; and there is reason to believe, that, in
reality, there may be two or three kinds, which, though nearly
approximated as to general similitude, are yet specifically distinct. The
specimens imported into Europe have rarely exceeded the height of two or
three feet, and were supposed to be young animals; but it is said the
full-grown ones are, at least, six feet in height. The general colour
seems to be dusky or brown, in some ferruginous or reddish brown; and in
others coal-black, with the skin itself white. The face is bare; the ears,
hands, and feet, nearly similar to the human, and the whole appearance
such as to exhibit the most striking approximation to the human figure.
The likeness, however, is only a general one, and the structure of the
hands and feet, when examined with anatomical exactness, seems to prove,
in the opinion of those most capable of judging with accuracy on the
subject, that the animal was principally designed by nature for the
quadrupedal manner of walking, and not for an upright posture, which is
only occasionally assumed, and which, in those exhibited to the public,
is, perhaps, rather owing to instruction, than truly natural.

The Count de Buffon, indeed, makes it one of the distinctive characters of
the real or proper apes, (among which the orang-outang is the chief,) to
walk erect on two legs only; and it must be granted, that these animals
support an upright position much more easily and readily than most other
quadrupeds, and may probably be very often seen in this attitude even in a
state of nature.

The manners of the orang-outang, when in captivity, are gentle, and
perfectly void of that disgusting ferocity so conspicuous in some of the
larger baboons and monkeys. The orang-outang is mild and docile, and may
be taught to perform, with dexterity, a variety of actions in domestic
life. Thus, it has been taught to sit at table, and, in its manner of
feeding and general behaviour, to imitate the company in which it was
placed; to pour out tea, and drink it, without awkwardness or constraint;
to prepare its bed with exactness, and compose itself to sleep in a proper
manner. Such are the actions of one which was exhibited in London, in the
year 1738; and the Count de Buffon relates nearly similar particulars of
that which he saw at Paris.

Dr. Tyson, who, about the close of the last century, gave a very exact
description of a young orang-outang, then exhibited in the metropolis,
assures us, that in many of its actions it seemed to display a very high
degree of sagacity, and was of a disposition uncommonly gentle; "the most
gentle and loving creature that could be. Those that he knew on shipboard,
he would come and embrace with the greatest tenderness, opening their
bosoms, and clasping his hands about them; and, as I was informed, though
there were monkeys on board, yet it was observed, he would never associate
with them, and, as if nothing akin to them, would always avoid their
company."

But, however docile and gentle when taken young, and instructed in its
behaviour, it is said to be possessed of great ferocity in its native
state, and is considered as a dangerous animal, capable of readily
overpowering the strongest man. Its swiftness is equal to its strength,
and for this reason it is but rarely to be obtained in its full-grown
state, the young alone being taken.


The next is, THE UNICORN.--The following account is extracted from the St.
James's Chronicle of Dec. 19 to 21, 1820.

"We have no doubt that a little time will bring to light many objects of
natural history, peculiar to the elevated regions of central Asia, and
hitherto unknown in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms,
particularly in the two former. This is an opinion which we have long
entertained; but we are led to the expression of it on the present
occasion, by having been favoured with the perusal of a most interesting
communication from Major Latter, commanding in the Rajah of Sikkim's
territories, in the hilly country east of Nepaul, addressed to
Adjutant-General Nicol, and transmitted by him to the Marquis of Hastings.
This important paper explicitly states, that the Unicorn, so long
considered a fabulous animal, actually exists at this moment in the
interior of Thibet, where it is well known to the inhabitants.

"This (we copy from the Major's letter) is a very curious fact, and it may
be necessary to mention how the circumstance became known to me. In a
Thibetian manuscript, containing the names of different animals, procured
the other day from the hills, the Unicorn is classed under the head of
those whose hoofs are divided; it is called the One-horned Tso'-po. Upon
inquiring what kind of animal it was, to our astonishment, the person who
brought me the manuscript, described exactly the Unicorn of the ancients:
saying, that it was a native of the interior of Thibet, about the size of
a tattoo (a horse from 12 to 13 hands high,) fierce, and extremely wild;
seldom, if ever, caught alive, but frequently shot; and that the flesh was
used for food.

"The person (Major Latter adds) who gave me this information, has
repeatedly seen these animals, and eaten the flesh of them. They go
together in herds, like our wild buffaloes, and are very frequently to be
met with on the borders of the great desert, about a month's journey from
Lassa, in that part of the country inhabited by the wandering Tartars.
This communication is accompanied by a drawing, made by the messenger from
recollection: it bears some resemblance to a horse, but has cloven hoofs,
a long curved horn growing out of the forehead, and a boar-shaped tail,
like that of the 'fera monoceros,' described by Pliny.[8] From their
herding together, as the Unicorns of the scripture are said to do, as well
as from the rest of the description, it is evident that this singular
animal cannot be the rhinoceros, which is a solitary creature; besides
that, in the Thibetian manuscript, the rhinoceros is described under the
name of Servo, and classed with the elephant. Neither can it be the wild
horse, well known in Thibet, for that also has a different name, and is
classed in the MS. with the animals which have the hoofs undivided.--I
have written (he subjoins) to the Sachia Lama, requesting him to procure
me a perfect skin of the animal, with the head, horn, and hoofs; but it
will be a long time before I can get it down, for they are not to be met
with nearer than a month's journey from Lassa."


We now make a few remarks on SEALS.--First, the COMMON SEAL.

These animals are found on the coasts of the polar regions, both to the
north and south, often in extreme abundance, and are generally about five
feet in length, closely covered with short hair. They swim with great
vigour and rapidity, and subsist on various kinds of fish, which they are
often observed to pursue within a short distance of the shore. They
possess no inconsiderable sagacity, and may, without much difficulty, if
taken young, be familiarized to their keepers, and instructed in various
gesticulations. They are supposed to attain great longevity. The female is
particularly attentive to her young, and scarcely ever produces more than
two at a birth, which, after being suckled a fortnight on the shore, where
they are always born, are conducted to the water, and taught by their dam
the means of defence and subsistence; and when they are fatigued by their
excursions, are relieved by being taken on her back. They distinguish her
voice, and attend at her call. The flesh of seals is sometimes eaten, but
they are almost always destroyed for their oil and skins. The latter are
manufactured into very valuable leather, and the former is serviceable in
a vast variety of manufactures. A young seal will supply about eight
gallons of oil. The smell of these animals, in any great number upon the
shore, is highly disagreeable. In the month of October, they are generally
considered as most valuable; and as they abound in extended caverns on the
coast, which are washed by the tide, the hunters proceed to these retreats
about midnight, advancing with their boat as far into the recess as they
are able, armed with spears and bludgeons, and furnished with torches, to
enable them to explore the cavern. They begin their operations by making
the most violent noises, which soon rouse the seals from their slumbers,
and awaken them to a sense of extreme danger, which they express by the
most hideous yellings of terror. In their eagerness to escape, they come
down from all parts of the cavern, running in a promiscuous and turbulent
mass along the avenue to the water. The men engaged in this perilous
adventure oppose no impediment to this rushing crowd, but, as this begins
to diminish, apply their weapons with great activity and success,
destroying vast numbers, and principally the young ones. The blow of the
hunter is always levelled at the nose of the seal, where a slight stroke
is almost instantly fatal.


This leads us to the consideration of THE URSINE SEAL.--This animal grows
to the length of eight feet, and to the weight of an hundred pounds. These
are found in vast abundance in the islands between America and Kamschatka,
from June till September, when they return to the Asiatic or American
shores. They are extremely strong, surviving wounds and lacerations which
almost instantly destroy life in other animals, for days, and even weeks.
They may be observed, not mearly by hundreds, but by thousands, on the
shore, each male surrounded by his females, from eight to fifty, and his
offspring, amounting frequently to more than that number. Each family is
preserved separate from every other. The ursine seals are extremely fat
and indolent, and remain, with little exercise, or even motion, for
months together, upon the shore. But if jealousy, to which they are ever
alive, once strongly operates, they are roused to animation by all the
fierceness of resentment and vengeance; and conflicts arising from this
cause between individuals, soon spread through families, till at length
the whole shore becomes a scene of the most horrid hostility and havoc.
When the conflict is finished, the survivors plunge into the water, to
wash off the blood, and recover from their exhaustion.

Those which are old, and have lost the solace of connubial life, are
reported to be extremely captious, fierce, and malignant, and to live
apart from all others, and so tenaciously to be attached to the station
which pre-occupancy may be supposed to give each a right to call his own,
that any attempt at usurpation is resented as the foulest indignity, and
the most furious contests frequently occur in consequence of the several
claims for a favourite position. It is stated, that in these combats two
never fall upon one. These seals are said, in grief, to shed tears very
copiously. The male defends his young with the most intrepid courage and
fondness, and will often beat the dam, notwithstanding her most
supplicating tones and gestures, under the idea that she has been the
cause of the destruction or injury which may have occurred to any of them.
The flesh of the old male seal is intolerably strong; that of the female
and the young is considered as delicate and nourishing, and compared, in
tenderness and flavour, to the flesh of young pigs.

The bottle-nosed seal is found on the Falkland Islands; is twenty feet
long; and will produce a butt of oil, and discharge, when struck to the
heart, two hogsheads of blood.


We shall close this chapter with an extract from the Public Journals of
1821, on AMERICAN NATURAL HISTORY.

On the unfrequented, solitary, remote banks of the Missouri, grows one of
the most ornamental trees that adorn creation--the _Ten-petalled
Bartonia_. Its height is four feet; flowers, beautifully white, expand as
the sun sets, and close at the approach of morning.--Shall we say that all
things were made for the gratification of man only, when he is daily
taught that some of the loveliest objects the world contains, he is
destined never to behold?--Shall we believe that the sylvan natives are
not formed with taste, and enjoy the scenery with which the great Artist
has decorated their abode?

A _Leopard_ was killed on the 6th day of June, 1820, by John Six, living
on the waters of Green river, ten miles south-east of Hartford, in the
Ohio county: length from the end of the nose to the buttock, five feet,
and a tail two feet long; under the jaw the colour was black, with white
spots equally proportioned; the sides and back are yellow, with black
spots, curiously arranged; a row of black spots on its back, much larger
than those on its sides, extending half way of the tail; small round ears,
black outside, white inside; around its nose and mouth were long stiff
bristles; some appeared to grow out black half the length, then white six
inches long. The hair on the end of the tail is longer than elsewhere;
tail slim; its legs short, and its feet like a cat's, only much larger,
with large claws; large teeth; supposed to weigh about one hundred and
fifty pounds.

_Two-headed Snake._--An extraordinary snake was recently killed in Mason,
Massachusetts. It was first discovered basking in the sun, and, after much
exertion, although its astonishing agility baffled for a considerable time
its pursuers' efforts, it was taken. It measured two feet in length, had
two heads, and two legs. The legs were nearly three inches long, were
placed about four inches from the heads, and appeared well calculated to
assist the animal in running.

A large _Black Snake_ was lately killed near Halifax, Nova Scotia, which
measured eleven feet nine inches. It was first noticed by a slight crack
which it made with its tail, not unlike the cracking of a horse-whip, and
appeared to be in great agony; jumping up from the ground, twisting,
coiling, &c. After it was killed, this was accounted for satisfactorily.
Out of its mouth the tail of another snake was observed to be sticking; on
pulling it out, it actually measured five feet three inches. This was the
cause of the uneasiness in the living snake; having no doubt been partly
strangled by its large mouthful. This great snake was long the terror of
the cow-hunters in the neighbourhood of the place where it was killed, and
no doubt would have continued so for a long time, had it not been for its
voraciousness, which prevented it from running. It was fleeter than any
horse, and bade defiance to the puny efforts of man to overtake it.



CHAP. XV.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING ANIMALS.--(_Concluded._)

    _Remarkable Strength of Affection in Animals--Surprising Instances of
    their Sociality--Unaccountable Faculties possessed by some
    Animals--Remarkable Instances of Fasting in Animals--Extraordinary
    Adventures of a Sheep--Sagacity of a Monkey--Astonishing Instance of
    Sagacity in a Horse--Sagacity of Dogs--Curious Anecdotes of a
    Dog--Remarkable Dog._

    Far as creation's ample range extends,
    The scale of sensual, mental powers, ascends:
    Mark, how it mounts to man's imperial race,
    From the green myriads in the peopled grass!
    What modes of sight, betwixt each wide extreme,
    The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam:
    Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
    And hound sagacious, on the tainted green:
    Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood.
    To that which warbles thro' the vernal wood:
    The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
    Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
    In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true,
    From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew:
    How instinct varies in the grovelling swine,
    Compar'd, half-reasoning elephant, with thine!
    'Twixt that and reason, what a nice barrier,
    For ever separate, yet for ever near!
                                          _Pope._


REMARKABLE STRENGTH OF AFFECTION IN ANIMALS.--Mr. White, in his Natural
History, &c. of Selborne, speaking of the natural affection of brutes,
says, "The more I reflect on it, the more I am astonished at its effects.
Nor is the violence of this affection more wonderful, than the shortness
of its duration. Thus, every hen is in her turn the virago of the yard, in
proportion to the helplessness of her brood; and will fly in the face of a
dog or sow in defence of those chickens, which, in a few weeks, she will
drive before her with relentless cruelty. This affection sublimes the
passions, quickens the invention, and sharpens the sagacity, of the brute
creation. Thus, a hen, just become a mother, is no longer that placid bird
she used to be, but, with feathers standing on end, wings hovering, and
clucking note, she runs about like one possessed. Dams will throw
themselves in the way of the greatest danger, in order to avert it from
their progeny. Thus a partridge will tumble along before a sportsman, in
order to draw away the dogs from her helpless covey. In the time of
nidification, the most feeble birds will assault the most rapacious. All
the hirundines of a village are up in arms at the sight of a hawk, whom
they will persecute till he leaves that district. A very exact observer
has often remarked, that a pair of ravens, nestling in the rock of
Gibraltar, would suffer no vulture or eagle to rest near their station,
but would drive them from the hill with amazing fury; even the blue
thrush, at the season of breeding, would dart out from the clefts of the
rocks, to chase away the kestrel or the sparrow-hawk. If you stand near
the nest of a bird that has young, she will not be induced to betray them
by an inadvertent fondness, but will wait about at a distance with meat in
her mouth for an hour together. The fly-catcher builds every year in the
vines that grow on the walls of my house. A pair of these little birds had
one year inadvertently placed their nest on a naked bough, perhaps in a
shady time, not being aware of the inconvenience that followed; but a hot
sunny season coming on before the brood was half fledged, the reflection
of the wall became insupportable, and must inevitably have destroyed the
tender young, had not affection suggested an expedient, and prompted the
parent birds to hover over the nest all the hotter hours, while, with
wings expanded and mouths gaping for breath, they screened off the heat
from their suffering offspring. A farther instance I once saw of notable
sagacity in a willow-wren, which had built in a bank in my fields. This
bird, a friend and myself had observed as she sat in her nest; but we were
particularly careful not to disturb her, though we saw she eyed us with
some degree of jealousy. Some days after, as we passed that way, we were
desirous of remarking how this brood went on; but no nest could be found,
till I happened to take up a large bundle of long green moss as it were
carelessly thrown over the nest, in order to deceive the eye of any
impertinent intruder."


Next in order is the account of SURPRISING INSTANCES OF SOCIALITY IN
ANIMALS.--A wonderful spirit of sociality in the brute creation,
independent of sexual attachment, has been frequently remarked. Many
horses, though quiet with company, will not stay one minute in a field by
themselves; the strongest fences cannot restrain them. A horse has been
known to leap out of a stable window, through which dung was thrown, after
company; and yet in other respects was remarkably quiet. Oxen and cows
will not fatten by themselves, but will neglect the finest pasture that is
not recommended by society. It would be needless to instance in sheep,
which constantly flock together. But this propensity seems not to be
confined to animals of the same species. Mr. White mentions a doe that was
brought up from a little fawn with a dairy of cows. "With them it goes to
the field, and with them it returns to the yard. The dogs of the house
take no notice of this doe, being used to her; but if strange dogs come
by, a chase ensues; while the master smiles to see his favourite securely
leading her pursuers over hedge, or gate, or style, till she returns to
the cows, who with fierce lowings and menacing horns drive the assailants
quite out of the pasture."--Even great disparity of kind and size does not
always prevent social advances and mutual fellowship. Of this the
following remarkable instance is given by the same author.

"A very intelligent and observant person has assured me, that in the
former part of his life, keeping but one horse, he happened also on a time
to have but one solitary hen. These two incongruous animals spent much of
their time together in a lonely orchard, where they saw no creature but
each other. By degrees an apparent regard began to take place between
these two sequestered individuals. The fowl would approach the quadruped
with notes of complacency, rubbing herself gently against his legs; while
the horse would look down with satisfaction, and move with the greatest
caution and circumspection, lest he should trample on his diminutive
companion. Thus by mutual good offices each seemed to console the vacant
hours of the other."

In the Gentleman's Magazine for March, 1788, we have the following
anecdotes of a raven, communicated by a correspondent who does not sign
his name, but says it is at the service of the doubtful. The raven alluded
to lived at the Red Lion at Hungerford; his name was _Ralph_. "You must
know then, (says the writer,) that coming into that inn, my chaise ran
over or bruised the leg of my Newfoundland dog, and while we were
examining the injury done to the dog's foot, Ralph was evidently a
concerned spectator; for, the minute the dog was tied up under the manger
with my horse, Ralph not only visited him, but fetched him bones, and
attended upon him with particular and repeated proofs of kindness. The
bird's notice of the dog was so marked, that I observed it to the hostler;
for I had not heard a word before of the history of this benevolent
creature. John then told me, that he had been bred from his pin-feather in
intimacy with a dog; that the affection between them was mutual; and that
all the neighbourhood had often been witnesses of the innumerable acts of
kindness they had conferred upon each other. Ralph's poor dog, after a
while, unfortunately broke his leg; and during the long time he was
confined, Ralph waited upon him constantly, carried him provisions daily,
and scarcely ever left him alone! One night by accident the hostler had
shut the stable-door, and Ralph was deprived of his friend the whole
night; but the hostler found in the morning the bottom of the door so
pecked away, that had it not been opened, Ralph would in another hour
have made his own entrance-port. I then inquired of my landlady, (a
sensible woman,) and heard what I have related confirmed by her, with
several other singular traits of the kindnesses this bird shews to all
dogs in general, but particularly to maimed or wounded ones. I hope and
believe, however, Ralph is still living; and the traveller will find I
have not over-rated this wonderful bird's merit."

To these instances of attachment between incongruous animals from a spirit
of sociality, or the feelings of sympathy, may be added the following
instance of fondness from a different motive, recounted by Mr. White, in
the work already so often quoted.

"My friend had a little helpless leveret brought to him, which the
servants fed with milk in a spoon; and about the same time his cat
kittened, and the young were dispatched and buried. The hare was soon
lost, and supposed to be gone the way of most foundlings, or to be killed
by some dog or cat. However, in about a fortnight, as the master was
sitting in his garden in the dusk of the evening, he observed his cat,
with tail erect, trotting towards him, and calling with little short
inward notes of complacency, such as they use towards their kittens, and
something gambolling after, which proved to be the leveret, which the cat
had supported with her milk, and continued to support with great
affection. Thus was a graminivorous animal nurtured by a carnivorous and
predacious one! Why so cruel and sanguinary a beast as a cat, of the
ferocious genus of _Felis_, the _murian leo_, (the lion of the mice,) as
Linnæus calls it, should be affected with any tenderness towards an animal
which is its natural prey, is not so easy to determine. The strange
affection probably was occasioned by that sympathy, and those tender
maternal feelings, which the loss of her kittens had awakened in her
breast; and by the complacency and ease she derived to herself from the
procuring her teats to be drawn, which were too much distended with milk;
till from habit she became as much delighted with this foundling, as if it
had been her real offspring. This incident is no bad solution of that
strange circumstance which grave historians, as well as poets, assert, of
exposed children being sometimes nurtured by female wild beasts, that
probably had lost their young; for it is not one whit more marvellous that
Romulus and Remus, in their infant state, should be nursed by a she-wolf,
than that a poor little suckling leveret should be fostered and cherished
by a bloody grimalkin."


We shall now give the history of the UNACCOUNTABLE FACULTIES POSSESSED BY
SOME ANIMALS.--Besides reflection and sagacity, often in an astonishing
degree, and besides the sentiments and actions prompted by social or
natural attachments, brutes seem on many occasions inspired with a
superior faculty, a kind of presentiment or second sight, as it were, with
regard to events and designs altogether unforeseen by the rational beings
whom they concern. The following account is of unquestionable
authenticity.

At the seat of the late Earl of Litchfield, three miles from Blenheim,
there is a portrait in the dining-room of Sir Henry Lee, by Johnston, with
that of a mastiff dog which saved his life. A servant had formed the
design of assassinating his master, and robbing the house; but the night
he had fixed on, the dog, which had never been much noticed by Sir Henry,
for the first time followed him up stairs, got under his bed, and could
not be got from thence by either master or man: in the dead of night, the
same servant entered the room to execute his horrid design, but was
instantly seized by the dog, and, being secured, confessed his intentions.
Upon what hypothesis can we account for a degree of foresight and
penetration such as this? Will it be suggested, as a solution of the
difficulty, that a dog may possibly become capable in a great measure of
understanding human discourse, and of reasoning and acting accordingly;
and that, in the present instance, the villain had either uttered his
design in soliloquy, or imparted it to an accomplice, in the hearing of
the animal?

It has been disputed whether the brutes have any language whereby they can
express their minds to each other; or whether all the noise they make
consists only of cries, inarticulate and unintelligible even to
themselves. Father Bougeant gives the following instance, among others, to
prove that brutes are capable of forming designs, and of communicating
those designs to others.--A sparrow, finding a nest that a martin had just
built, standing very conveniently for him, possessed himself of it. The
martin, seeing the usurper in her house, called for help to expel him. A
thousand martins came full speed, and attacked the sparrow; but the latter
being covered on every side, and presenting only his large beak at the
entrance of the nest, was invulnerable, and made the boldest of them who
durst approach him repent of their temerity. After a quarter of an hour's
combat, all the martins disappeared: the sparrow thought he had got the
better, and the spectators judged that the martins had abandoned the
undertaking. Not in the least; immediately they returned to the charge,
and each of them having procured a little of that tempered earth with
which they make their nests, they all at once fell upon the sparrow, and
enclosed him in the nest, to perish there, though they could not drive him
thence.--Can it be imagined that the martins could have been able to hatch
and concert this design all of them together, without speaking to each
other, or without some medium of communication equivalent to language?


Remarkable Instances of FASTING IN ANIMALS.--The following remarkable
instances of brutes being able to live long without food, are related by
Sir William Hamilton, in his account of the earthquakes in Italy, (Phil.
Trans. vol. 73.) "At Soriano, two fattened hogs, that had remained buried
under a heap of ruins, were taken out alive the 42d day; they were lean
and weak, but soon recovered.--At Messina, two mules belonging to the Duke
de Belviso, remained under a heap of ruins, one of them 22 days, and the
other 23: they would not eat for some days, but drank water plentifully,
and are now recovered.--There are numberless instances of dogs remaining
many days in the same situation; and a hen belonging to the British
vice-consul at Messina, that had been closely shut up under the ruins of
his house, was taken out the 22d day, and is now recovered: it did not eat
for some days, but drank freely; it was emaciated, and shewed little signs
of life at first. From these instances, and several others of the same
kind that have been related to me, but which, being less remarkable, I
omit, one may conclude, that long fasting is always attended with great
thirst and total loss of appetite."

An instance not less remarkable than any of these, we find in the Gent.
Mag. for Jan. 1785. "During the heavy snow which fell in the night of the
7th of January, 1776, a parcel of sheep belonging to Mr. John Wolley, of
Matlock, in Derbyshire, which were pastured on that part of the East Moor
that lies within the manor of Matlock, were covered with the drifted snow.
In the course of a day or two all the sheep that were covered with the
snow were found again, except two, which were consequently given up as
lost, but on the 14th of Feb. following (some time after the break of the
snow in the valleys, and 38 days after the fall) as a servant was walking
over a large parcel of drifted snow, which remained on the declivity of a
hill, a dog he had with him discovered one of the two sheep that had been
lost, by winding (or scenting) it, through a small aperture which the
breath of the sheep had made in the snow. The servant thereupon dug away
the snow, and released the captive from its prison; it immediately ran to
a neighbouring spring, at which it drank for a considerable time, and
afterwards rejoined its old companions, as though no such accident had
befallen it. On inspecting the place where it was found, it appeared to
have stood between two stones which lay parallel with each other, at about
two feet and a half distance, and probably were the means of protecting
it from the great weight of the snow, which in that place lay several
yards thick: from the number of stones around it, it did not appear that
the sheep had been able to pick up any food during its confinement. Soon
afterwards its owner removed it to some low lands; but as it had nearly
lost its appetite, it was fed with bread and milk for some time: in about
a fortnight after its enlargement, it lost its sight and wool; but in a
few weeks afterwards they both returned again, and in the course of the
following summer it was quite recovered. The remaining sheep was found
dead, about a week after the discovery of the other."


The following authentic history of the EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF A
SHEEP, which was transmitted to a respectable periodical journal, from
Salisbury, where the animal died, will, we doubt not, prove interesting to
our readers, as it affords an instance of animal sagacity, in that species
on which Nature has bestowed it with a sparing hand.

She was born in the North Highlands of Scotland; embarked, in 1804, in the
Arab, and visited Iceland, Greenland, and Norway: here she was sent on
shore to graze; the next day, seeing the boat row past the place where she
was feeding, she leaped into the water, and swam to the boat: this
circumstance protected her ever after from the butcher, and her life was
one scene of gratitude. She was in fourteen different actions with the
enemy's flotilla and batteries off Boulogne, in the last of which she lost
part of one of her horns. After that she traversed the whole of the
western extent of Africa, across the equator to the Brazils, and along the
Guiana coast of South America to the West Indies; from thence to Ireland,
and then home. She was so tame as to feed from the hand, and, like the
dog, followed her protector; would dance for a cabbage leaf; preferred the
house and fire-side to the stable; for several months was never known to
touch hay or grass, living with the sailors on pudding and grog, and
nibbling the ends of rope or canvass. The paring of an apple or a potato
was her highest luxury. The docility of the animal was highly amusing:
putting her head under your arm, she would eat off your plate at dinner;
would drink wine or spirits, and tea, if well sweetened; run up and down
the stairs; and, if she got into the kitchen, would take the cover from
the pot, and peep into it. Her wool was of a soft and silky nature.

After having weathered so many storms and hardships, she was brought as a
present by Lieut. Bagnold, of the royal navy, to a lady in Salisbury;
where, alas! their fleecy friend died of a bowel complaint the second day
after her arrival, most sincerely lamented, the 22d of January, 1808.

Lines written on the preceding most remarkable Sheep.

  Scarce thirty suns had brighten'd o'er her head,
  When to Arab's deck young Jack[9] was led;
  Here from her master's side she ne'er would stray,
  Ate of his meat, and on his hammock lay.
  Grateful for this, when left on Norway's beach,
  She brav'd the sea, the distant ship to reach.
  This act heroic stays the murd'rous knife,
  And all the crew demand to save her life.
  Thus spar'd, she visits each far distant main:
  In fourteen battles, amid heroes slain.
  She 'scapes unhurt; save that the whizzing lead
  Bears off one horn, then gently graz'd her head.
  All perils past, she reach'd her native shore,
  To tempt the rage of war and seas no more.--
  "Go, my dear Jack," her grateful master said,
  (As on her snow-white head his hand he laid;)
  "Go seek the shady grove, the verdant mead;
  There rest securely, and securely feed.
  A thousand joys shall thy long life attend,
  Blest with that greatest good, a faithful friend.--
  Vain were these hopes! at Sarum safe arriv'd,
  Sudden she sicken'd, and as sudden died.--
  Well, then, dear Jack, since fate has seal'd thy doom,
  Be thine the honours of the sculptur'd tomb.
  There too shall this just eulogy appear,
  "A sheep, a much-lov'd sheep, reposes here."
  Merits in thee some future bard shall trace,
  Such as ne'er yet adorn'd the fleecy race.
  A patient temper, to all ills resign'd,
  Sense almost human, to good nature join'd.
  No charms for her had flow'ry lawn or grove,
  'Twas man she sought--to man gave all her love.
  Had she but liv'd in fiction's classic days,
  The muse had sung her fame in deathless lays;
  Had fondly told, that her not mortal frame
  Return'd from earth to heav'n, from whence it came;
  Advanc'd to share with Aries on high,
  The space assign'd him in her native sky.


The following is a notable instance of the SAGACITY OF A MONKEY.--Some
strolling showmen, being at Stonin, a town of Lithuania, belonging to
Count Ogienski, grand general of that province, diverted the inhabitants
by exhibiting the tricks and gambols of half a dozen monkeys they had
along with them: this new spectacle roused the curiosity of people of all
degrees, insomuch that the overseers of the improvements which were
carrying on in that neighbourhood saw themselves deserted by all their
workmen. Desirous to recall them to their duty, yet unwilling to drive the
strollers away by main force, they offered the chief a round sum of money,
on condition of his leaving the town immediately: the man agreed to this;
and, with his two assistants, and company of four-footed comedians, set
off from Stonin.

They had hardly proceeded out of town, when they were beset by some
banditti, who robbed and murdered not only them, but all their harmless
followers, except one, who escaped the general slaughter, and,
unperceived, climbed up a tree, whence he could spy all the proceedings of
the villains, who had no sooner made sure of their spoils, than they
proceeded to inter the bodies, both of the men and beasts, covering the
place with earth and boughs, and then made off.

Sometime after, a coach-and-four approached; which the surviving monkey no
sooner descried, than he set up a most dismal yell. The gentleman, who, as
it afterwards proved, was going on a visit to the grand-general, amazed at
so unusual a noise, ordered the coachman to stop, when, alighting, he was
still more surprised to see the animal coming down the tree, and making
towards him; the monkey, taught perhaps to reverence people of rank, began
to lick his feet, and, by several gestures, seemed to intimate that he had
something extraordinary to discover; the animal led the way, and the
gentleman followed with his servant. As soon as they came to the place,
the monkey rent the air with the most piteous accents; then taking up some
of the branches, he began to scratch the earth, and throw it up with all
his might: the gentleman seeing this, ordered his man to fall to work, and
in a few minutes the whole scene of horror opened to his view.

Fearing a similar fate, the Lithuanian, forgetting the sagacious animal,
got into his carriage, and posted to the grand-general as fast as his
horses could carry him. Poor pug, rather than be left behind, fastened
about the coach as well as he could, and arrived likewise at the count's,
who, having heard the gentleman's report, sent a proper force after the
banditti: they were overtaken, and committed to prison. The grand-general
ordered the monkey to be taken into his palace, and kept with the greatest
care. This surprising mark of instinct and gratitude is deemed the more
wonderful, as that animal generally turns his natural sagacity to mischief
and treachery.


We shall in the next place give an astonishing instance of SAGACITY IN A
HORSE.

At Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, there is a bridge, the construction of
which is extremely curious, as the planks that form the floor rise with
the tide, which, at certain times, is said to attain to the height of
seventy feet.

This floor of the bridge it was necessary at one time to remove; which was
accordingly done, and only one or two of the planks remained for the
convenience of the foot passengers. This way was well lighted, and a man
placed at the end to warn those that approached of their danger. But it
so happened, that one dreadful stormy night the lamps blew out, and the
monitor, supposing that no one would in such a hurricane attempt to pass,
wisely retired to shelter.

After midnight, a traveller knocked at the door of an inn at Chepstow.

"Who is there?" said the landlord, who had long retired to rest, and was
now called out of bed.

The traveller mentioned his name, which was well known.

"How did you come?" said the landlord.

"How did I come? Why, over the bridge to be sure!"

"What! on horseback?"

"Yes."

"No!" said the landlord, "that is impossible! however, as you are here,
I'll let you in."

The host, when the traveller repeated his assertion, was staggered. He was
certain that he must have come over the bridge, because there was no other
way; but also knowing the state in which the passage was, he could only
attribute the escape of the traveller and his horse to witchcraft. He,
however, said nothing to him that night; but the next morning took him to
the bridge, and showed him the plank that his horse must have passed over,
at the same time that he pointed to the raging torrent beneath.

Struck with this circumstance, the traveller, it is said, was seized with
an illness from which he did not speedily recover.


It is from a respectable source that we insert the following narrative of
the SAGACITY OF DOGS.

M. La Valee, in his Journey through the Departments of France, published
in 1792, gives the following curious account of the manner in which the
country people, in the neighbourhood of Peronne and Doulens, had trained
their dogs to elude the vigilance of the officers of the revenue.--At
night, these animals were laden, each with a parcel of goods proportioned
to its size; except one alone, who was their leader, and went without any
burden. A crack of a whip was a signal for them to set out. The leader
travelled a little distance before the rest; and, if he perceived the
traces of any stranger, he returned to the other dogs: these either took a
different way, or, if the danger was pressing, concealed themselves behind
the hedges, and lay close till the patrole had passed. When they arrived
at the habitation of their master's associate, they hid themselves in the
neighbouring fields and hedges, while their leader went to the house, and
scratched at the door, or barked, till he was admitted, when he lay
quietly down, as at home: by this the smuggler knew that the caravan was
come; and, if the coast was clear, he went out, when 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 reanimating life almost exhausted;
and, by following the benevolent messenger, an unhappy creature is thus
frequently snatched from impending destruction."

A Florentine nobleman possessed a dog, which 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.

In the theatre of Marcellus, a case occurred, which many will 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
interesting 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 to 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 Air-bladder 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
full-grown 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 it erects upright out of the water, and
birds that want to rest themselves, take this fin for a reed, or a dry
piece of wood; but no sooner have they alighted on it, than the fish opens
his mouth, and makes such a quick motion to seize its prey, that it seldom
escapes.


Another curious object is, THE NAUTILUS.

  Learn of the little Nautilus to sail,
  Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale.
                                              _Pope._

The shell of this animal consists of one spiral valve, divided into
several apartments. There are seventeen species, chiefly distinguished by
peculiarities in their shells.

The most remarkable division of the Nautilus is into the thin and
thick-shelled kinds. The first is called _Nautilus Papyraceus_; and its
shell is indeed no thicker than a piece of paper, when out of the water.
This species is not at all fastened to its shell; but there is an opinion,
as old as the days of Pliny, that this creature creeps out of its shell,
and goes on shore to feed. When this species is to sail, it expands two of
its arms on high, and between these supports a membrane, which it throws
out on this occasion: this serves for its sail, and the two other arms it
hangs out of its shell, to serve occasionally either as oars or as a
steerage; but this last office is generally served by the tail. When the
sea is calm, numbers of these creatures may frequently be seen diverting
themselves in this manner, in the Mediterranean: but as soon as a storm
rises, or any thing gives them disturbance, they draw in their legs, and
take in as much water as makes them specifically heavier than that in
which they float; and then they sink to the bottom. When they rise again,
they void this water by a number of holes, of which their legs are full.

The other nautilus, whose shell is thick, never quits its habitation. This
shell is divided into forty or more partitions, which grow smaller and
smaller as they approach the extremity or centre of the shell: between
each of these cells there is a communication by means of a hole in the
centre of the partitions. Through this hole there runs a pipe, of the
whole length of the shell. It is supposed by many, that by means of this
pipe the fish occasionally passes from one cell to another; but this seems
by no means probable, as the fish must undoubtedly be crushed to death by
attempting to pass through it. It is much more likely that the fish always
occupies the largest chamber in its shell; that is, that it lives in the
cavity between the mouth and the first partition, and that it never
removes out of this; but that all the apparatus of cells, and a pipe of
communication, which we so much admire, serve only to admit occasionally
air or water into the shell, in such proportion as may serve the creature
in its intentions of swimming.

Some authors call this shell the _concha margaritifera_: but this can be
only on account of the fine colour on its inside, which is more beautiful
than any other mother-of-pearl; for it has not been observed than this
species of fish ever produced pearls.

It must be observed, that the polypus is by no means to be confounded with
the paper-shelled nautilus, notwithstanding the great resemblance in the
arms and body of the inclosed fish; nor is the cornu ammonis, so
frequently found fossil, to be confounded with the thick-shelled nautilus,
though the concamerations and general structure of the shell are alike in
both: for there are great and essential differences between all these
genera. There is a pretty copious and minute account of this curious
animal in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxii. p. 6, 7, 8, and 301, and
vol. xxv. p. 128.


We now proceed to describe that destructive inhabitant of the mighty deep,
THE SHARK.--Sharks, though voracious creatures, are seldom destructive in
the temperate regions; it is in the torrid zone that their ravages are
most frequent. In the West Indies, accidents happen from them daily.
During the American war in 1780, while the Pallas frigate was lying in
Kingston harbour, a young North American jumped overboard one evening, to
make his escape, and perished by a shark in a shocking manner. He had been
captured in a small vessel, lost all his property, and was detained by
compulsion in the English navy, to serve in a predatory war against his
country. But he, animated with that spirit which pervaded every bosom in
America, resolved, as soon as he arrived at some port, to release himself
from the mortifying state of employing his life against his country,
which, as he said when dying, he was happy to lay down, as he could not
employ it against her enemies. He plunged into the water: the Pallas was a
quarter of a mile from the shore. A shark perceived him, and followed him
very quietly, till he came near the shore; where, as he was hanging by a
rope that moored a vessel to a wharf, scarcely out of his depth, the shark
seized his right leg, stripped the flesh entirely from the bones, and took
the foot off at the ancle. He still kept his hold, and called to the
people in the vessel near him, who were standing on the deck, and saw the
affair. The shark then seized his other leg, which the man by his
struggling disengaged from his teeth, but with the flesh cut through down
to the bone, into a multitude of narrow slips. The people in the vessel
threw billets of wood into the water, and frightened the shark away.
The young man was brought on shore. Dr. Mosely was called to him; but he
had lost so much blood before any assistance could be given him, that he
expired before the mangled limbs could be taken off. A few weeks before
this, a shark of twelve feet in length was caught in the harbour; and on
being opened, the entire head of a man was found in his stomach. The scalp
and flesh of the face were macerated to a soft pulpy substance; which, on
being touched, separated entirely from the bones. The bones were somewhat
softened, and the sutures loosened.--(Moseley on Tropical Diseases.)

[Illustration: TERRIBLE ADVENTURE WITH A SHARK--Page 199.]

A very extraordinary instance of intrepidity and friendship is given by M.
Hughes, in his Natural History of Barbadoes. It happened about the end of
Queen Anne's wars, at Barbadoes.--The sailors of the York Merchant, having
ventured into the sea to wash themselves, a large shark made towards them;
upon which they swam back, and all reached the boat except one, whom the
monster overtook, and, griping him by the small of his back, soon cut him
asunder, and swallowed the lower part of his body; the remaining part was
taken up and carried on board, where was a comrade of the deceased,
between whom friendship had been long reciprocal. When he saw the severed
trunk of his friend, with a horror and emotion too great for words to
paint, he vowed that he would make the devourer disgorge, or be swallowed
himself in the same grave, and plunged into the deep, armed with a
sharp-pointed knife. The shark no sooner saw him, than he made furiously
toward him: both were equally eager, the one of his prey, the other of
revenge. The moment the shark opened his rapacious jaws, his adversary
dexterously diving, and grasping him with his left hand somewhat below the
upper fins, successfully employed his knife in his right hand, giving him
repeated stabs in the belly. The enraged shark, after many unavailing
efforts, finding himself overmatched in his own element, endeavoured to
disengage himself, sometimes plunging to the bottom, then, mad with pain,
rearing his uncouth form, now stained with his own streaming blood, above
the foaming waves. The crews of the surrounding vessels saw the doubtful
combat, uncertain from which of the combatants the streams of blood
issued; till at length the shark, much weakened by the loss of blood, made
towards the shore, and with him his conqueror; who, now assured of
victory, pushed his foe with redoubled ardour, and, by the help of an
ebbing tide, dragged him on shore, ripped up his bowels, and united and
buried the severed carcase of his friend.

"It is evident, (says Dr. Moseley,) that digestion in these animals is not
performed by trituration, nor by the muscular action of the stomach;
though nature has furnished them with a stomach of wonderful force and
thickness, and far exceeding that of any other creature. Whatever their
force of digestion is, it has no effect upon their young ones, which
always retreat into their stomachs in time of danger. That digestion is
not performed by heat in fish, is equally evident. The coolness of the
stomach of these fishes is far greater than the temperature of the water
out of which they are taken; or of any other part of the fish, or of any
other substance of animated nature I ever felt. On wrapping one of them
round my hand, immediately on being taken out of the fish, it caused so
much aching and numbness that I could not endure it long. Of these
voracious sea monsters, there are thirty three species."


THE TORPEDO.--The torpedo inhabits the Mediterranean and the North Seas,
and grows to the weight of twenty pounds. This fish possesses a strong
electrical power, and is capable of giving a very considerable shock
through a number of persons forming a communication with it. This power
was known to the ancients, but exaggerated by them with all the fables
natural to ignorance; and it is only recently that the power has been
ascertained to be truly electric. It is conducted by the same substances
as electricity, and intercepted by the same. In a minute and a half, no
fewer than fifty shocks have been received from this animal, when
insulated. The shocks delivered by it in air, are nearly four times as
strong as those received from it in water. This power appears to be always
voluntarily exercised by the torpedo, which occasionally may be touched
and handled without its causing the slightest agitation. When the fish is
irritated, however, this quality is exercised with proportional effect to
the degree of irritation; and its exercise is stated, in every instance,
to be accompanied by a depression of the eyes. When that animal exerts the
benumbing power, from which it derives its name, and when it operates by
separate and repeated efforts, this is always the case. Both in the
continued, and in the instantaneous process, the eyes, which are at other
times prominent, are withdrawn into their sockets; a circumstance very
naturally attaching both to the condensation and discharge of the subtle
fluid. Specimens have been known of this fish weighing fifty, and even
eighty pounds. It commonly lies in forty fathoms of water, and is supposed
to stupify its prey by this extraordinary faculty. It is sometimes nearly
imbedded in the sands of shallows; and it is stated, in these cases, to
give to any who happens to tread upon it, an astonishing and overwhelming
shock. On dissection, it was found to exhibit no material difference from
the general structure of the ray, excepting with respect to the electric
or galvanic organs, which have been minutely examined and detailed by the
celebrated anatomist, John Hunter: he states them "to be placed on each
side of the cranium and gills, reaching thence to each great fin, and
extending longitudinally from the anterior extremity of the animal, to the
transverse cartilage which divides the thorax from the abdomen."

From the whole description, it appears that these organs, as Mr. Shaw
observes, constitute a pair of galvanic batteries, disposed in the form of
perpendicular hexagonal columns; while, in the gymnotus electricus, the
galvanic battery is disposed lengthwise on the lower part of the animal.
It is stated, that the torpedo, in its dying state, communicates shocks in
more than usually rapid succession, but in proportional weakness; and in
seven minutes, in these circumstances, three hundred and sixty small
shocks were distinctly felt. On the same authority (that of Spallanzani)
it is reported, that the young torpedo can exercise this power at the
moment after its birth, and even possesses it while a foetus, several of
these having been taken from the parent fish, and being found to
communicate perceivable shocks, which, however, were most distinctly felt
when these animals were insulated on a plate of glass.


A very curious object is, THE AIR-BLADDER IN FISHES.--There is no doubt
that fishes extract air from water by means of their gills, since it is
through them that they renew the air of their air-bladder. This bladder is
an oblong bag, consisting of two or three membranes easily separated;
sometimes it has only a single lobe or cavity, as in the case of pikes,
whitings, trouts, &c.; at other times it has two lobes, as in the case of
barbel and carp; three, as in that of the sea tench; or four, as in the
Chinese gold fish. It is by expanding or compressing this bladder, that
the fish occupies more or less space in the water, becomes more or less
heavy, and ascends or descends as it chooses. The division of the bladder
into different lobes has proceeded from a very sufficient reason. When the
bladder has only one cavity, as in the case of fishes of prey, the motion
of ascent or descent takes place slowly, and without a break; because, as
they compress the whole bladder at once, the whole body is moved
horizontally, upwards or downwards, as the case may be; a circumstance
which has the effect of lessening, in consequence of the resistance of the
water, the swiftness of those tyrants of the deep. When the bladder has
two lobes, as in the case of the carp, which lives on insects, that fish,
by expanding the anterior and compressing the posterior lobe, rises
rapidly with the head foremost to the surface of the water, or sinks to
the bottom with equal expedition, by compressing its two lobes in
different ways. The consequence is, an increased promptitude of movement,
and additional means of escaping from its enemies. When the bladder has
four lobes, as in the case of the gold fish, that fish is thus enabled to
vary greatly its contractions and expansions. It rises, sinks, bends,
erects, or turns itself in a thousand ways, and plays in the water, like a
bird in the air. It displays all the richness of the colours of gold,
silver, or purple, with which Nature has adorned it. Its attitudes are so
graceful, and its movements so varied, that the Chinese, from whom we
originally received it, are said to pass whole days in looking at it, in
the basins of the fountains in their gardens, or in crystal vessels. It is
evidently indebted for the ease and grace of its motions, to the
modulations consequent on the four divisions of its air-bladder.


Another subject of curiosity is, THE RESPIRATION IN FISHES.--Fish derive
air from the water which they are inaccessantly swallowing through the
mouth, and throwing out by the gills. The gills are formed with infinite
skill, and may be called a delicate kind of sieve, adapted for separating
air from water. Their operation proves the radical difference between
these two elements, and leads to the conclusion, that they are not joined
even when mixed. The gills are placed in the back part of the sides of the
head, and are contained in a cavity adapted for them. They are a kind of
red and flexible leaflets, consisting of a row of thin plates, like the
blade of a knife, pressed against each other, and forming a succession of
barbs or fringed substances, similar to those on the side of a
goose-quill. These gills are covered with a small lid, and with a
membrane, supported by cartilaginous threads. Both are capable of being
raised and lowered; and, by being thus opened, they afford a passage to
the water swallowed by the animal. A prodigious number of muscles give
motion to these minute particles. It may appear almost incredible, that
the number of particles connected with the respiration of the carp is not
fewer than 4386. Of these, sixty-nine are muscles; while the arteries of
the gills, in addition to eight principal branches, throw forth 4320
smaller ramifications, while each of the latter gives birth to a number of
cross arteries. Add to this, that the quantity of nerves is not smaller
than that of the arteries; and that the veins are divided and subdivided,
like the arteries, inasmuch as they do not give rise to any transverse
capillary vessels. In this manner the blood flowing from the heart of the
fish is spread over all the plates or blades of which the gills are
composed; so that a very small quantity of blood is exposed to the action
of the water, for the purpose, no doubt, that each part may be easily
penetrated by the particles of air detached from the water.

It is not easy to explain in what manner these particles are detached from
the water by the operation of the gills; but there seems no doubt of the
fact, nor of the redness of the gills being a consequence of the operation
of the air. That redness is exactly similar to the vermilion of the blood
in the veins of animals with lungs, a vermilion considerably brighter than
that of the arteries.


We shall conclude this chapter with an account of a SHOWER OF FISHES.--In
the Philosophical Transactions for 1698, Mr. Robert Conny gives the
following account of a phenomenon of this kind.

On Wednesday before Easter, anno 1666, a pasture field at Cranstead, near
Wrotham, in Kent, about two acres, which is far from any part of the sea,
or branch of it, and a place where there are no fish-ponds, but a scarcity
of water, was all overspread with little fishes, conceived to be rained
down, there having been at that time a great tempest of thunder and rain:
the fishes were about the length of a man's little finger, and judged by
all who saw them to be young whitings. Many of them were taken up, and
shewed to several persons. The field belonged to one Ware, a yeoman, who
was at that Easter sessions one of the grand inquest, and who carried some
of the fish to the sessions of Maidstone, in Kent, and shewed them, among
others, to Mr. Lake, a bencher of the Middle Temple, who procured one of
them, and brought it to London. The truth of it was averred by many that
saw the fishes lie scattered all over the field. There were none in the
other fields adjoining: the quantity of them was estimated to be about a
bushel.

It is probable that these fishes were absorbed from the surface of the
water by the electric power of a water-spout; or brushed off by the
violence of a hurricane. The phenomenon, though surprising, has occurred
in various countries, and occasionally in situations far more remote from
the coast than that before us.



CHAP. XVII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING FISHES.--(_Concluded._)

    _The Whale--Whale Fishery--The Kraken._

    "----------------------------The whales
    Toss in foam their lashing tails.
    Wallowing unwieldly, enormous in their gait,
    They seem a moving land, and at their gills
    Draw in, and at their trunk spout out, a sea."


The following account of the great Northern, or GREENLAND WHALE, was first
published by Mr. W. Scoresby, jun. M. W. S. in the Memoirs of the
Wernerian Society, vol. I.

"The whale, when fullgrown, is from 50 to 65 feet in length, and from 30
to 40 in circumference, immediately before the fins. It is thickest a
little behind the fins, and from thence gradually tapers towards the tail,
and slightly towards the neck. It is cylindrical from the neck until near
the junction of the tail and body, where it becomes rigid.

"The head has a triangular shape. The bones of the head are very porous,
and full of a fine kind of oil. When the oil is drained out, the bone is
so light as to swim in water. The jaw-bones, the most striking portions of
the head, are from 20 to 25 feet in length, are curved, and the space
between them is 9 or 10 feet, by 18 or 20. They give shape to the under
part of the head, which is almost perfectly flat, and is about 20 feet in
length by 12 in breadth. The tongue is of great size, and yields a ton or
more of oil. The lips, which are at right angles to the flat part of the
base of the head, are firm and hard, and yield about two tons of oil.

"To the upper jaw is attached the substance called whalebone, which is
straight in some individuals, and in others convex. The laminæ, or blades,
are not all of equal length: neither are the largest exactly in the middle
of the series, but somewhat nearer the throat; from this point they become
gradually shorter each way. In each side of the mouth are about 200 laminæ
of whalebone. They are not perfectly flat; for besides the longitudinal
curvature already mentioned, they are curved transversely. The largest
laminæ are from ten to fourteen feet, very rarely fifteen feet, in length.
The breadth of the largest, at the thick ends, or where they are attached
to the jaw, is about a foot. The Greenland fishers estimate the size of
the whale by the length of the whalebone: where the whalebone is six feet
long, then the whale is said to be a size-fish. In suckers, or young
whales still under the protection of the mother, the whalebone is only a
few inches long. The whalebone is immediately covered by the two under
lips, the edges of which, when the mouth is shut, overlap the upper part
in a squamous manner.

"On the upper part of the head there is a double opening, called the
spout-holes, or blow-holes. Their external orifices are like two slits,
which do not lie parallel, but form an acute angle with each other.
Through these openings the animal breathes.

"The eyes are very small, not larger than those of an ox; yet the whale
appears to be quick of sight. They are situated about a foot above where
the upper and under lip join.

"In the whale, the sense of hearing seems to be rather obtuse.

"The throat is so narrow as scarcely to admit a hen's egg.

"The fins are from four to five feet broad, and eight to ten feet long,
and seem only to be used in bearing off their young, in turning, and
giving a direction to the velocity produced by the tail.

"The tail is horizontal, from 20 to 30 feet in breadth, indented in the
middle, and the two lobes pointed and turned outwards. In it lies the
whole strength of the animal. By means of the tail, the whale advances
itself in the water with greater or less rapidity; if the motion is slow,
the tail cuts the water obliquely, like forcing a boat forward by the
operation of sculling; but if the motion is very rapid, it is effected by
an undulating motion of the rump.

"The skin in some whales is smooth and shining; in others, it is furrowed,
like the water-lines in laid paper, but coarser.

"The colour is black, gray, and white, and a tinge of yellow about the
lower parts of the head. The back, upper part of the head, most of the
belly, the fins, tail, and part of the under jaw, are deep black. The fore
part of the under jaw, and a little of the belly, are white, and the
junction of the tail with the body gray. Such are the common colours of
the adult whale. I have seen piebald whales. Such whales as are below size
are almost entirely of a bluish black colour. The skin of suckers is of a
pale bluish colour. The cuticle, or scarf-skin, is no thicker than
parchment; the true skin is from three-fourths to an inch in thickness all
over the body.

"Immediately beneath the skin lies the blubber, or fat, from 10 to 20
inches in thickness, varying in different parts of the body, as well as in
different individuals. The colour, also, is not always the same, being
white, red, and yellow; and it also varies in denseness. It is principally
for the blubber that the Greenland fishery is carried on. It is cut from
the body in large lumps, and carried on board the ship, and then cut into
smaller pieces. The fleshy parts, and skin connected with the blubber, are
next separated from it, and it is again cut into such pieces as will
admit of its being passed into casks by the bung-hole, which is only three
or four inches in diameter. In these casks it is conveyed home, where it
is boiled in vessels capable of containing from three to six tons, for the
purpose of extracting the oil from the fritters, which are tendinous
fibres, running in various directions, and containing the oil, or rather
connecting together the cellular substance which contains it. These fibres
are finest next the skin, thinnest in the middle, and coarsest near the
flesh.

"The whales, according to their size, produce from two to twenty tons of
oil. The flesh of the young whale is of a fine red colour; that of the old
approaches to black, and is coarse, like that of a bull, and is said to be
dry and lean when boiled, because there is little fat intermixed with the
flesh.

"The food of the whale is generally supposed to consist of different kinds
of sepiæ, medusæ, or the clio limacina of Linnæus; but I have great reason
to believe, that it is chiefly, if not altogether, of the squill or shrimp
tribe; for, on examining the stomach of one of large size, nothing else
was found in it; they were about half an inch long, semi-transparent, and
of a pale red colour. I also found a great quantity in the mouth of
another, having been apparently vomited by it. When the whale feeds, it
swims with considerable velocity under water, with its mouth wide open;
the water enters by the forepart, but is poured out again at the sides,
and the food is entangled and sifted as it were by the whalebone, which
does not suffer any thing to escape.

"It seldom remains longer below the surface than twenty to thirty minutes;
when it comes up again to blow, it will perhaps remain ten, twenty, or
thirty minutes at the surface of the water, when nothing disturbs it. In
calm weather, it sometimes sleeps in this situation. It sometimes ascends
with so much force, as to leap entirely out of the water; when swimming at
its greatest velocity, it moves at the rate of seven to nine miles an
hour.

"Its maternal affection deserves notice. The young one is frequently
struck for the sake of its mother, which will soon come up close by it,
encourage it to swim off, assist it by taking it under its fin, and seldom
deserts it while life remains. It is then very dangerous to approach, as
she loses all regard for her own safety in anxiety for the preservation of
her cub, dashing about most violently, and not dreading to rise even
amidst the boats. Except, however, when the whale has young to protect,
the male is in general more active and dangerous than the female,
especially males of about nine feet bone."

To the above account of Mr. Scoresby's, we shall add the following
particulars:

The fidelity of whales to each other exceeds whatever we are told even of
the constancy of birds. Some fishers, as Anderson informs us, having
struck one of two whales, a male and a female, that were in company
together, the wounded fish made a long and terrible resistance; it struck
down a boat with three men in it, with a single blow of its tail, by which
all went to the bottom. The other still attended its companion, and lent
it every assistance; till, at last, the fish that was struck sunk under
the number of its wounds; while its faithful associate, disdaining to
survive the loss, with great bellowing stretched itself upon the dead
fish, and shared its fate.

Inoffensive as the whale is, it is not without enemies. There is a small
animal, of the shell-fish kind, called the whale-louse, that sticks to its
body, as we see shells sticking to the foul bottom of a ship. This
insinuates itself chiefly under the fins; and whatever efforts the great
animal makes, it still keeps its hold, and lives upon the fat, which it is
provided with instruments to arrive at.

The sword-fish is, however, the whale's most terrible enemy. At the sight
of this little animal, the whale seems agitated in an extraordinary
manner, leaping from the water as if with affright, wherever it appears;
the whale perceives it at a distance, and flies from it in the opposite
direction. The whale has no instrument of defence except the tail; with
that it endeavours to strike the enemy, and a single blow taking place
would effectually destroy its adversary; but the sword-fish is as active
as the other is strong, and easily avoids the stroke; then bounding into
the air, it falls upon its enemy, and endeavours not to pierce with its
pointed beak, but to cut with its toothed edges. The sea all about is soon
dyed with blood, proceeding from the wounds of the whale; while the
enormous animal vainly endeavours to reach its invader, and strikes with
its tail against the surface of the water with impotent fury, making a
report at each blow louder than the noise of a cannon.

There is still another powerful enemy of this fish, which is called the
oria, or killer. A number of these are said to surround the whale in the
same manner as dogs get round a bull. Some attack it with their teeth
behind; others attempt it before; until, at last, the great animal is torn
down, and its tongue is said to be the only part they devour, when they
have made it their prey.

But of all the enemies of these enormous fishes, man is the greatest and
most formidable; he alone destroys more in a year than the rest in an age,
and actually has thinned their numbers in that part of the world where
they are chiefly sought.


The reader will be interested in the following account of THE WHALE
FISHERY.

  As when enclosing harpooners assail,
  In hyperborean seas, the slumbering whale;
  Soon as their javelins pierce the scaly side,
  He groans, he darts impetuous down the tide;
  And rack'd all o'er with lacerating pain,
  He flies remote beneath the flood in vain.
                                        _Falconer._

Whales are chiefly caught in the North Sea: the largest sort are found
about Greenland, or Spitzbergen. At the first discovery of this country,
whales not being used to be disturbed, frequently came into the very bays,
and were accordingly killed almost close to the shore, so that the blubber
being cut off, was immediately boiled into oil on the spot. The ships, in
those times, took in nothing but the pure oil and the fins, and all the
business was executed in the country; by which means, a ship could bring
home the product of many more whales, than she can according to the
present method of conducting this trade. The fishery also was then so
plentiful, that they were obliged sometimes to send other ships to fetch
off the oil they had made, the quantity being more than the fishing ships
could bring away. But time and change of circumstances have shifted the
situation of this trade. The ships coming in great numbers from Holland,
Denmark, Hamburgh, and other northern countries, all intruders upon the
English, who were the first discoverers of Greenland, disturbed the
whales, which gradually, as other fish often do, forsaking the place, were
not to be killed so near the shore as before; but they are now found, and
have been so ever since, in the openings and spaces among the ice, where
they have deep water, and where they go sometimes a great many leagues
from the shore.

The whale fishery begins in May, and continues all June and July; but
whether the ships have good or bad success, they must come away, and get
clear of the ice by the end of August, so that in the month of September,
at farthest, they may be expected home; but a ship that meets with a
fortunate and early fishery in May, may return in June or July.

[Illustration: THE WHALE FISHERY.--Page 208.

The engraving represents the lancing of the whale, who has already been
harpooned, and is in a dying state. In his last struggles he has broken
one of the whalers' boats.]

The manner of taking whales at present is as follows: As soon as the
fishermen hear the whale blow, they cry out, _Fall! fall!_ and every ship
gets out its long-boat, in each of which there are six or seven men, who
row till they become pretty near the whale; then the harpooner strikes it
with the harpoon: this requires great dexterity, for through the bone of
his head there is no striking, but near his spout there is a soft piece of
flesh, into which the iron sinks with ease. As soon as he is struck, they
take care to give him rope enough, otherwise, when he goes down, as he
frequently does, he would inevitably sink the boat: this rope he draws
with such violence, that, if it were not well watered, it would, by its
friction against the sides of the boat, be soon set on fire. The line
fastened to the harpoon is six or seven fathoms long, and is called the
fore-runner; it is made of the finest and softest hemp, that it may slip
the easier: to this they join a heap of lines of 90 or 100 fathoms each,
and when there are not enough in one long-boat, they borrow from another.
The man at the helm observes which way the rope goes, and steers the boat
accordingly, that it may run exactly out before; for the whale runs away
with the line with so much rapidity, that he would overset the boat if it
were not kept straight. When the whale is struck, the other long-boats row
before, and observe which way the line stands, and sometimes pull it: if
they feel it stiff, it is a sign the whale still pulls in strength; but if
it hangs loose, and the boat lies equally high before and behind upon the
water, they pull it in gently, but take care to coil it, that the whale
may have it again easily, if he recovers strength: they take care,
however, not to give him too much line, because he sometimes entangles it
about a rock, and pulls out the harpoon. The fat whales do not sink as
soon as dead, but the lean ones do, and come up some days afterwards. As
long as they see whales, they lose no time in cutting up what they have
taken, yet keep fishing for others: when they see no more, or have taken
enough, they begin with taking off the fat and whiskers in the following
manner. The whale being lashed alongside, they lay it on one side, and put
two ropes, one at the head and the other in the place of the tail, (which,
together with the fins, is struck off as soon as he is taken,) to keep
those extremities above water. On the off-side of the whale are two boats,
to receive the pieces of fat, utensils, and men, that might otherwise fall
into the water on that side. These precautions being taken, three or four
men, with irons at their feet to prevent slipping, get on the whale, and
begin to cut out pieces of about three feet thick and eight long, which
are hauled up at the capstan or windlass. When the fat is all cut off,
they cut off the whiskers of the upper jaw with an axe, previously lashing
them together to keep them firm, which also facilitates the cutting, and
prevents them from falling into the sea; when on board, five or six of
them are bundled together, and properly stowed: and after all is got off,
the carcase is turned adrift, and devoured by the bears, who are very fond
of it. In proportion as the large pieces of fat are cut off, the rest of
the crew are employed in slicing them smaller, and picking out all the
lean. When this is prepared, they stow it under the deck, where it lies
till the fat of all the whales is on board; then cutting it still smaller,
they put it up in tubs in the hold, cramming them very full and close.
Nothing now remains but to sail homewards, where the fat is to be boiled,
and melted down into train oil.

During the summer of 1821, an attempt was made to kill whales with Sir
William Congreve's rockets. The trial was conducted by William Scoresby,
Esq. who took out with him, on board of the Fame, in which he sailed,
several rockets, by way of experiment. Success attended his expectation;
and little doubt can remain, if they continue to be skilfully applied,
that the danger attending the harpoon will be nearly done away; and,
consequently, this valuable branch of commerce will be essentially
benefited by the discovery.


We shall conclude this short sketch of some of the curiosities respecting
fishes, with an account of THE KRAKEN.--This is a most amazingly large sea
animal, said to be seemingly of a crab-like form; the credit of whose
existence rests upon the evidence produced by Bishop Pontoppidan, in his
Natural History of Norway.

"Our fishermen (says the author) unanimously and invariably affirm, that,
when they are several miles from the land, particularly in the hot summer
days, and, by their distance, and the bearings of some points of land,
expect from eighty to a hundred fathoms depth, and do not find but from
twenty to thirty,--and especially if they find a more than usual plenty of
cod and ling,--they judge the kraken to be at the bottom: but if they find
by their lines that the water in the same place still shallows on them,
they know he is rising to the surface, and row off with the greatest
expedition till they come into the usual soundings of the place; when,
lying on their oars, in a few minutes the monster emerges, and shews
himself sufficiently, though the whole body does not appear. Its back or
upper part, which seems an English mile and a half in circumference, (some
have affirmed, considerably more than this,) looks at first like a number
of small islands, surrounded with something that floats like sea-weeds; at
last several bright points of horns appear, which grow thicker the higher
they emerge, and sometimes stand up as high and large as the masts of
middle-sized vessels. In a short time it slowly sinks, which is thought as
dangerous as its rising; as it causes such a swell and whirlpool as draws
every thing down with it, like that of Maelstrom."

The Bishop justly regrets the omission of probably the only opportunity
that ever has or may be presented of surveying it alive, or seeing it
entire when dead. This, he informs us, once did occur, on the credit of
the Rev. Mr. Früs, minister at Nordland, and vicar of the college for
promoting Christian knowledge; who informed him, that in 1680, a kraken
(perhaps a young and careless one, as they generally keep several leagues
from land) came into the waters that run between the rocks and cliffs near
Alstahong; where, in turning about, some of its long horns caught hold of
some adjoining trees, which it might easily have torn up, but that it was
also entangled in some clefts of the rocks, whence it could not extricate
itself, but putrefied on the spot.

Our author has heard of no person destroyed by this monster; but he
relates a report of the danger of two fishermen, who came upon a part of
the water full of the creature's thick slimy excrements, (which he voids
for some months, as he feeds for some other;) they immediately strove to
row off, but were not quick enough in turning to save the boat from one of
the kraken's horns, which so crushed the head of it, that it was with
difficulty they saved their lives on the wreck, though the weather was
perfectly calm, the monster never appearing at other times. His excrement
is said to be attractive of other fish on which he feeds; which expedient
was probably necessary, on account of his slow unwieldy motion, to his
subsistence; as this slow motion again may be necessary to the security of
ships of the greatest force and burden, which must be overwhelmed on
encountering such an immense animal, if his velocity were equal to his
weight; the Norwegians supposing, that if his arms, on which he moves, and
with which he takes his food, were to lay hold of the largest man of war,
they would pull it down to the bottom.

In confirmation of the reality of this animal, our learned author cites
Debes's Description of Faroe, for the existence of certain islands, which
suddenly appear and as suddenly vanish. Many seafaring people, he adds,
give accounts of such, particularly in the North Sea; which their
superstition has either attributed to the delusion of the Devil, or
considered as inhabited by evil spirits. But our honest historian, who is
not for wronging even the Devil himself, supposes such mistaken islands to
be nothing but the kraken, called by some the _soe trolden_, or
sea-mischief; in which opinion he was greatly confirmed by the following
quotation of Dr. Hierne, a learned Swede, from Baron Grippenheilm; and
which is certainly a very remarkable passage, viz. "Among the rocks about
Stockholm, there is sometimes seen a tract of land, which at other times
disappears, and is seen again in another place. Buræus has placed it as an
island, in his map. The peasants, who call it _Gummars-ore_, say, that it
is not always seen, and that it lies out in the open sea; but I could
never find it. One Sunday, when I was out amongst the rocks, sounding the
coast, it happened, that in one place I saw something like three points of
land in the sea, which surprised me a little, and I thought I had
inadvertently passed them over before. Upon this, I called to a peasant,
to inquire for Gummars-ore; but when he came, we could see nothing of it;
upon which, the peasant said, all was well, and that this prognosticated a
storm, or a great quantity of fish." To which our author subjoins, "Who
cannot discover that this Gummars-ore, with its points and
prognostications of fish, was the kraken, mistaken by Buræus for an
island, which may keep itself about that spot where he rises?" He takes
the kraken, doubtless, from his numerous tentaculi, which serve him as
feet, to be of the polypus kind; and the contemplation of its enormous
bulk led him to adapt a passage from Ecclesiasticus, xliii. 31, 32. to it.
Whether by it may be intended the "dragon that is in the sea," mentioned
Isaiah xxvii. 1. we refer to the conjecture of the reader.

After paying but a just respect to the moral character, the reverend
function, and diligent investigations, of our author, we must admit the
possibility of its existence, as it implies no contradiction; though it
seems to encounter a general prepossession of the whale's being the
largest animal on or in our globe, and the eradication of any long
prepossession is attended with something irksome to us. But were we to
suppose a salmon or a sturgeon the largest fish any number of persons had
seen or heard of, and the whale had discovered himself as seldom, and but
in part, as the kraken, it is easy to conceive that the existence of the
whale had been as indigestible to such persons then, as that of the kraken
may be to others now.

Some may incline to think such an extensive monster would encroach on the
symmetry of nature, and would be over proportionate to the size of the
globe itself; as a little calculation will inform us, that the breadth of
what is seen of him, supposing him nearly round, must be full 2600 feet,
(if more oval, or crab-like, full 2000 feet,) and his thickness, which may
rather be called altitude, at least 300 feet; our author declaring he has
chosen the least circumference mentioned of this animal, for the greater
certainty. These vast dimensions, nevertheless, we apprehend will not
argue conclusively against the existence of the animal, though
considerably against a numerous increase or propagation of it. In fact,
the great scarcity of the kraken, his confinement to the North Sea, and
perhaps to equal latitudes in the south; the small number propagated by
the whale, which is viviparous; and by the largest land animals, of which
the elephant is said to go nearly two years with young; all induce us to
conclude, from analogy, that this creature is not numerous; which
coincides with a passage in a manuscript ascribed to Svere, king of
Norway, and it is cited by Ol. Wormius, in his Museum, p. 280, in Latin,
which we shall exactly translate:--

"There remains one kind, which they call hasgufe, whose magnitude is
unknown, as it is seldom seen. Those who affirm they have seen its body,
declare, it is more like an island than a beast, and that its carcase was
never found; whence some imagine that there are but two of the kind in
nature."

Whether the vanishing island Lemair, of which captain Rodney went in
search, was a kraken, we submit to the fancy of our readers. In fine, if
the existence of the creature is admitted, it will seem a fair inference,
that he is the scarcest as well as the largest in our world; and that if
there are larger in the universe, they probably inhabit some sphere or
planet more extended than our own, and such we have no pretence to limit;
but that fiction can devise a much greater than this, is evident from the
cock of Mahomet, and the whale in the Bava Bathra of the Talmud, which
were intended to be credited; and to either of which, our kraken is a very
shrimp in dimensions.

We conclude this account in the words of Goldsmith: "To believe all that
has been said of these animals, would be too credulous; and to reject the
possibility of their existence, would be a presumption unbecoming
mankind."



CHAP. XVIII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING SERPENTS AND WORMS.

    _The Scorpion--The Boa Constrictor--The American Sea Serpent--
    Fascinating Serpents--The Caterpillar--Caterpillar-Eaters--The
    Silk-Worm--The Tape-Worm--The Ship-Worm--The Lizard imbedded in Coal._


THE SCORPION.

  Their flaming crests above the waves they shew,
  Their bellies seem to burn the seas below;
  Their speckled tails advance to steer their course,
  And on the sounding shore the flying billows force.
  And now the strand and now the plain they held;
  Their ardent eyes with bloody streaks are fill'd;
  Their nimble tongues they brandish'd as they came,
  And lick'd their hissing jaws that sputter'd flame.
                                                _Dryden._

Of all the classes of noxious insects, the scorpion is the most terrible.
Its shape is hideous; its size among the insects is enormous; and its
sting is generally fatal. Happily for Britain, the scorpion is entirely
unknown among us. In several parts of the continent of Europe, it is too
well known, though it seldom grows above four inches long; but in the
warm tropical climates, it is seen a foot in length, and in every respect
as large as a lobster, which it somewhat resembles in shape. There have
been enumerated nine different kinds of this dangerous insect, including
species and varieties, chiefly distinguished by their colour; there being
scorpions yellow, brown, and ash-coloured; others that are the colour of
rusty iron, green, pale yellow, black, claret colour, white, and gray.
There are four principal parts distinguishable in this creature; the head,
the breast, the belly, and the tail. The scorpion's head seems, as it
were, jointed to the breast, in the middle of which are seen two eyes; and
a little more forward, two eyes more, placed in the fore part of the head;
these eyes are so small, that they are scarcely perceivable, and it is
probable the creature has but little occasion for them. The mouth is
furnished with two jaws; the undermost is divided into two, and the parts
notched into each other, which serve the creature as teeth, and with which
it breaks its food, and thrusts it into its mouth; these the scorpion can
at pleasure pull back into its mouth, so that no part of them can be seen.
On each side of the head are two arms, each composed of four joints; the
last of which is large, with strong muscles, and made in the manner of the
claw of a lobster. Below the breast are eight articulated legs, each
divided into six joints; the two hindmost of which are each provided with
two crooked claws, here and there covered with hair. The belly is divided
into seven little rings; from the lowest of which is continued a tail,
composed of six joints, which are bristly, and formed like little globes;
the last being armed with a crooked sting. This is that fatal instrument
which renders this insect so formidable; it is long, pointed, hard, and
hollow; it is pierced near the base with two small holes, through which,
when the creature stings, it ejects a drop of poison, which is white,
caustic, and fatal. The reservoir in which this poison is kept, is a small
bladder near the tail, into which the venom is distilled by a peculiar
apparatus. If this bladder be greatly pressed, the venom will be seen
issuing out through the two holes above mentioned; it therefore appears,
that when the creature stings, the bladder is pressed, and the venom
issues through the two apertures into the wound.

There are few animals more formidable, or more truly mischievous, than the
scorpion. As it takes refuge in a small place, and is generally found
sheltering in houses, it must frequently sting those among whom it
resides. In some of the towns of Italy, and in France, in the ci-devant
province of Languedoc, it is one of the greatest pests that torment
mankind; but its malignity in Europe is trifling, when compared to what
the natives of Africa and the East are known to experience. In Batavia,
where they grow twelve inches long, there is no removing any piece of
furniture without the utmost danger of being stung by them. Bosman assures
us, that along the Gold Coast they are often found larger than a lobster,
and that their sting is inevitably fatal.

In Europe, however, they are by no means so large, so venomous, or so
numerous. The general size of this animal does not exceed two or three
inches, and its sting is very seldom fatal. No animal in the creation
seems endued with such an irascible nature; they have often been seen,
when taken and put into a place of security, to exert all their rage
against the sides of the glass vessel that contained them. They will
attempt to sting a stick when put near them, and attack a mouse or a frog,
while these animals are far from offering any injury. Maupertuis put three
scorpions and a mouse into the same vessel together, and they soon stung
the little animal in different places. The mouse, thus assaulted, stood
for some time upon the defensive, and at last killed them all, one after
another. He tried these experiments, in order to see whether the mouse,
after it had killed, would eat the scorpions; but the little quadruped
seemed satisfied with the victory, and even survived the severity of the
wounds it had received.

Wolkemar tried the courage of the scorpion against the large spider, and
inclosed several of both kinds in glass vessels for that purpose. The
success of this combat was very remarkable. The spider at first used all
his efforts to entangle the scorpion in his web, which it immediately
began spinning; but the scorpion rescued itself from the danger, by
stinging its adversary to death; and soon after cut off, with its claws,
all the legs of the spider, and then sucked all the internal parts at its
leisure. If the scorpion's skin had not been so hard, Wolkemar is of
opinion that the spider would have obtained the victory; for he had often
seen one of these spiders destroy a toad.

The fierce spirit of this animal is equally dangerous to its own species,
for scorpions are the cruellest enemies to each other. Maupertuis put
about a hundred of them together in the same glass; and they scarcely came
in contact before they began to exert all their rage in mutual
destruction: there was nothing to be seen but one universal carnage,
without any distinction of age or sex; so that in a few days there
remained only fourteen, which had killed and devoured all the rest. But
their unnatural malignity is still more apparent, in their cruelty to
their offspring. He inclosed a female scorpion, big with young, in a glass
vessel, and she was seen to devour them as fast as they were excluded;
there was but one of the number that escaped the general destruction, by
taking refuge on the back of its parent; and this soon after revenged the
cause of its brethren, by killing the old one in its turn. Such is the
terrible and unrelenting nature of this insect, that it is asserted, when
driven to an extremity, that the scorpion will even destroy itself. The
following experiment was ineffectually tried by Maupertuis: "But (says Mr.
Goldsmith) I am so well assured of it by many eye-witnesses, who have seen
it both in Italy and America, that I have no doubt remaining of its
veracity. A scorpion newly caught is placed in the midst of a circle of
burning charcoal, and thus an egress prevented on every side; the
scorpion, as I am assured, runs about a minute round the circle, in hopes
of escaping, but finding that impossible, it stings itself on the back of
the head, and in this manner the undaunted suicide instantly expires."

It is happy for mankind that these animals are so destructive to each
other; since otherwise they would multiply in so great a degree as to
render some countries uninhabitable. The male and female of this insect
are very easily distinguishable; the male being smaller, and less hairy.
The female brings forth her young alive, and perfect in their kind. Redi
having bought a quantity of scorpions, selected their females, and,
putting them in separate glass vessels, kept them for some days without
food. In about five days one of them brought forth thirty-eight young
ones, well shaped, and of a milk-white colour, which changed every day
more and more into a dark rusty hue. Another female, in a different
vessel, brought forth twenty-seven of the same colour; and the day
following, the young ones seemed all fixed to the back and belly of the
female. For near a fortnight all these continued alive and well, but
afterwards some of them died daily; until, in about a month, they all
died, except two. Were it worth the trouble, these animals might be kept
living as long as curiosity should think proper. Their chief food is worms
and insects; and upon a proper supply of these, their lives might be
lengthened to their natural extent: how long that may be we are not told;
but, if we may argue from analogy, it cannot be less than seven or eight
years, and perhaps, in the larger kind, double that duration. As they have
somewhat the form of a lobster, so they resemble that animal in casting
their shell; or, more properly, their skin, since it is softer by far than
the covering of the lobster, and set with hairs, which grow from it in
great abundance, particularly at the joinings. The young, prior to their
birth, lie each covered up in its own membrane to the number of forty or
fifty, and united to each other by an oblong thread, so as to exhibit
altogether the form of a chaplet.

Such is the manner in which the common scorpion produces its young; but
there is a scorpion of America, produced from the egg, in the manner of
the spider. The eggs are no larger than pin's points; and they are
deposited in a web, which they spin from their bodies, and carry about
with them till they are hatched. As soon as the young ones are excluded
from the shell, they get upon the back of the parent, who turns her tail
over them, and defends them with her sting. It seems probable, therefore,
that captivity produces that unnatural disposition in the scorpion, which
induces it to destroy its young; since, at liberty, it is found to protect
them with such unceasing assiduity.


Another subject of curiosity belonging to this class, is, THE BOA
CONSTRICTOR.--A serpent very remarkable for its vast size; some of the
principal species of which are met with in India, Africa, and South
America, and have been seen between thirty and forty feet long, possessed
of so much strength as to be able to kill cattle by twisting around them,
and crushing them to death by pressure, after which they devour them,
eating till they are almost unable to move; and in that state they may be
easily shot. Dr. Shaw observes, that these gigantic serpents are become
less common, in proportion to the increased population of the parts where
they are found; they are, however, still to be seen, and they will
approach the abodes of man in the vicinity of their residence. This
species is beautifully variegated with rhombic spots; the belly is
whitish; it is of vast strength, and from thirty to thirty-six feet long.
With respect to age, sex, and climate, it is subject to great variations.

It is supposed that an individual of this species once diffused terror and
dismay through a whole Roman army; a fact alluded to by Livy in one of the
books that have not come to us, but which is quoted by Valerius Maximus,
in words to the following effect: "Since we are on the subject of uncommon
phenomena, we may here mention the serpent so eloquently recorded by Livy,
who says, that near the river Bagrada, in Africa, a snake was seen of such
enormous magnitude, as to prevent the army of Attilius Regulus from the
use of the river; and after snatching up several soldiers with its
enormous mouth, and devouring them, and killing several more by striking
and squeezing them with the spires of its tail, it was at length destroyed
by assailing it with all the force of military engines and showers of
stones, after it had withstood the attack of their spears and darts; that
it was regarded by the whole army as a more formidable enemy than even
Carthage itself; and that the whole adjacent region being tainted with the
pestilential effluvia proceeding from its remains, and the waters with its
blood, the Roman army was obliged to remove its station. The skin of the
monster was 120 feet long, and was sent to Rome as a trophy."

Another account says, that "it caused so much trouble to Regulus, that he
found it necessary to contest the possession of the river with it, by
employing the whole force of the army, during which a considerable number
of soldiers were lost, while the serpent could neither be vanquished nor
wounded; the strong armour of its scales easily repelling the force of all
the weapons that were directed against it: upon which recourse was had to
battering engines, with which the animal was attacked in the manner of a
fortified tower, and was thus at length overpowered. Several discharges
were made against it without success, till its back being broken by an
immense stone, the monster began to lose its powers, and was with
difficulty destroyed, after having diffused such a horror among the army,
that they confessed they would rather attack Carthage itself, than such
another monster."

The flesh of the serpent is eaten by the Indians and Negroes of Africa,
and they make its skin into garments.


The following account of THE AMERICAN SEA SERPENT, is given in the words
of an eye-witness:--"I, the undersigned Joseph Woodward, captain of the
Adamant schooner, of Hingham, being on my rout from Penobscot to Hingham,
steering W. N. W., and being about ten leagues from the coast, perceived,
last Sunday, at two P. M. something on the surface of the water, which
seemed to me to be of the size of a large boat. Supposing that it might be
part of the wreck of a ship, I approached; but when I was within a few
fathoms of it, it appeared, to my great surprise, and that of my whole
crew, that it was a monstrous serpent. When I approached nearer, it coiled
itself up, instantly uncoiling itself again, and withdrew with extreme
rapidity. On my approaching again, it coiled itself up a second time, and
placed itself at the distance of sixty feet at most, from the bow of the
ship.

"I had one of my guns loaded with a cannon ball and musket bullets. I
fired it at the head of the monster; my crew and myself distinctly heard
the ball and bullets strike against the body, from which they rebounded,
as if they had struck against a rock. The serpent shook his head and tail
in an extraordinary manner, and advanced toward the ship with open jaws. I
had caused the cannon to be reloaded, and pointed it at his throat; but he
had come so near, that all the crew were seized with terror, and we
thought only of getting out of his way. He almost touched the vessel, and
had not I tacked as I did, he would certainly have come on board. He
dived; but in a moment we saw him appear again, with his head on one side
of the vessel, and his tail on the other, as if he was going to lift us up
and upset us. However, we did not feel any shock. He remained five hours
near us, only going backward and forward.

"The fears with which he at first inspired us having subsided, we were
able to examine him attentively. I estimate, that his length is at least
twice that of my schooner, that is to say, 130 feet; his head is full
twelve or fourteen; the diameter of the body below the neck, is not less
than six feet; the size of the head is in proportion to that of the body.
He is of a blackish colour, his ear-holes, (ornes,) are about twelve feet
from the extremity of his head. In short, the whole has a terrible look.
When he coils himself up, he places his tail in such a manner, that it
aids him in darting forward with great force: he moves in all directions
with the greatest facility and astonishing rapidity.

  (Signed,)    "Joseph Woodward."

"_Hingham_, May 12, 1818."

This declaration is attested by Peter Holmes and John Mayo, who made
affidavit of the truth of it before a justice of peace.


On the FASCINATING POWER OF SERPENTS.--Major Alexander Garden, of South
Carolina, has, in a paper read to the New York Historical Society,
attributed the supposed power of fascination possessed by serpents, to a
vapour which they can spread around them, and to objects at a little
distance, at pleasure. He first reduces the exaggerated idea which has
been entertained of this power, and then adduces instances of the effect
of a sickening and stupifying vapour, perceived to issue from the animal.
A negro is mentioned, who, from a very peculiar acuteness in smell, could
discover the rattlesnake at a distance of two hundred feet, when in the
exercise of this power; and on following this indication, always found
some animal suffering from its influence.


We shall now give some curiosities respecting Worms; and first, of THE
CATERPILLAR.--The larvæ of butterflies are universally known by the name
of caterpillars, and are extremely various in their forms and colours,
some being smooth, others beset with either simple or ramified spines, and
some are observed to protrude from their front, when disturbed, a pair of
short tentacula, or feelers, somewhat analogous to those of a snail. A
caterpillar, when grown to its full size, retires to some convenient spot,
and, securing itself properly by a small quantity of silken filaments,
either suspends itself by the tail, hanging with its head downwards, or
else in an upright position, with the body fastened round the middle by a
number of filaments. It then casts off the caterpillar-skin, and commences
chrysalis, in which state it continues till the butterfly is ready for
birth, which, liberating itself from the skin of the chrysalis, remains
till its wings, which are at first short, weak, and covered with
moisture, are fully extended; this happens in about a quarter of an hour,
when the animal suddenly quits the state of inactivity to which it had
been so long confined, and becomes at pleasure an inhabitant of the air.


It will now be proper to give some account of THE
CATERPILLAR-EATERS.--Caterpillar-eaters are a species of worms bred in the
body of the caterpillar, and which eat its flesh. These are produced by a
certain kind of fly, that lodges her eggs in the body of this insect; and
they, after their proper changes, become flies like their parents. Mr.
Reaumur has given us, in his History of Insects, some very curious
particulars respecting these little worms. Each of them spins itself a
very beautiful case, of a cylindric figure, of a very strong sort of silk,
in which this animal spends its state of chrysalis; and they have a mark
by which they may be known from all other animal productions of this kind,
which is, that they have always a broad stripe or band surrounding their
middle, which is black when the rest of the case is white, and white when
that is black. Mr. Reaumur has had the patience to find out the reason of
this singularity. The whole shell is spun of a silk produced out of the
creature's body; this at first runs all white, and towards the end of the
spinning turns black. The outside of the case must necessarily be formed
first, as the creature works from within; consequently this is truly white
all over, but it is transparent, and shews the last spun, or black silk,
through it. It might be supposed that the whole inside of the shell should
be black; but this is not the case: the whole is fashioned before this
black silk comes; and this is employed by the creature, not to line the
whole, but to fortify certain parts only; and therefore is all applied
either to the middle,--or to the two ends, omitting the middle,--or a
blackness at both ends, leaving the white in the middle to appear. It is
not uncommon to find a sort of small cases, in garden walks, which appear
to move of themselves; when these are opened, they are found to contain a
small living worm. This is one of the species of these caterpillar-eaters;
which, as soon as it comes out of the body of that animal, spins itself a
case for its transformation, and lives in it without food till that change
comes on, when it becomes a fly, like that to which it owed its birth.


In the next place we shall introduce a subject of great curiosity, well
known by the name of THE SILK-WORM.--The silk-worm is a species of
caterpillar, and, like it, is formed of several moveable rings, and is
well furnished with feet and claws, to rest and fix itself where it
pleases. It has two rows of teeth, which do not move upwards and
downwards, but from right to left, which enables it to press, cut, and
tear the leaves in every direction. Along the whole length of its back we
perceive through its skin a vessel which performs the functions of a
heart. On each side of this insect are nine orifices, which answer to as
many lungs, and assist the circulation of the chyle, or nutritive juice.
Under the mouth it has a kind of reel with two holes, through which pass
two drops of the gum with which its bag is filled; they act like two
distaffs, continually furnishing it with the materials of which it makes
its silk. The gum which distils through the two holes takes their form,
lengthens into a double thread, which suddenly loses the fluidity of the
liquid gum, and acquires the consistence necessary to support or to
envelope the worm. When that time arrives, it joins the two threads
together, by gluing them one over the other with its fore feet. This
double thread is not only very fine, but also very strong, and of great
length. Each bag has a thread which is nearly five hundred ells long; and
as this thread is double, and joined together throughout its length, each
bag will be found to contain a thousand ells of silk, though the whole
weight does not exceed two grains and a half.

The life of this insect in its vermiform state is very short, and it
passes through different states till it gradually arrives at its greatest
degree of perfection. When it first emerges from the egg, it is extremely
small, perfectly black, and its head of a still brighter black than the
rest of its body: in a few days it begins to grow white, or of an ash
colour; its coat becomes dirty and ruffled; it casts it off, and appears
in a new dress; it becomes larger and much whiter, though a little tinged
with green, from feeding upon green leaves. After a few more days (the
length of time varying according to the degree of heat and quality of its
nourishment) it ceases to eat, and sleeps for about two days; it then
agitates and frets itself extremely, becoming red with the efforts it
makes; its skin wrinkles and shrivels up, and it throws it off a second
time, together with its feet. Within the space of three weeks or a month,
we see it fresh dressed three times. It now begins to eat again, and might
be taken for a different creature, so much is the appearance of its head,
colour, and figure, altered. After continuing to eat for some days, it
falls again into a lethargic state; on recovering from which, it once more
changes its coat, which makes the third since it issued from its shell. It
continues to eat for some time, then, entirely ceasing to take any
nutriment, prepares for itself a retreat, and draws out a silken thread,
which it wraps round its body in the same manner as we might wind thread
round an oval piece of wood. It remains quietly in the bag it has formed,
and at the end of fifteen days would pierce it, to issue forth, if it was
not killed by being exposed to the heat of the sun, or shut up in an oven.
The silk-bags are thrown into hot water, and stirred about with birch
twigs to draw out the heads or beginning of the threads, and the silk is
afterwards wound upon reels made for the purpose. Thus we are indebted to
this little insect for our greatest luxury in clothing: a reflection which
ought to humble our pride; for how can we be vain of the silk which covers
us, when we reflect to what we are indebted for it, and how little we are
instrumental in the formation of those beauties in our clothing, of which
we are vain? Thus we find the most insignificant and despicable objects
are the instruments of ornament and advantage to man; an insect that we
scarcely condescended to look at, becomes a blessing to thousands of human
beings, forms an important article of trade, and is the source of great
riches.


Our next subject is, THE TAPE-WORM.--This genus of worms is destined to
feed on the juices of various animals, and they inhabit the internal parts
of almost every species of living beings. The structure and physiology of
the tænia are curious, and it may be amusing as well as instructive to
consider it with attention. The tænia appears destined to feed upon such
juices of animals as are already animalized; and it is therefore most
commonly found in the alimentary canal, and in the upper part, where there
is the greatest abundance of chyle, for chyle seems to be the natural food
of the tænia. As it is thus supported by food which is already digested,
it is destitute of the complicated organs of digestion. As the tænia
solium is most frequent in this country, it may be proper to describe it
more particularly.

It is from three to thirty feet long; some say sixty feet. It is composed
of a head, in which are a mouth adapted to drink up fluids, and an
apparatus for giving the head a fixed situation. The body is composed of a
great number of distinct pieces articulated together, each joint having an
organ by which it attaches itself to the neighbouring part of the inner
court of the intestine. The joints nearest the head are always small, and
they become gradually enlarged as they are farther removed from it; but
towards the tail a few of the last joints again become diminished in size.
The extremity of the body is terminated by a small semicircular joint,
which has no opening in it.

The head of this animal is composed of the same kind of materials as the
other parts of its body; it has a rounded opening at its extremity, which
is considered to be its mouth. This opening is continued by a short duct
into two canals; these canals pass round every joint of the animal's body,
and convey the aliment. Surrounding the opening of the mouth, are placed
a number of projecting radii, which are of a fibrous texture, and whose
direction is longitudinal. These radii appear to serve the purpose of
tentacula, for fixing the orifice of the mouth, from their being inserted
along the brim of that opening. After the rounded extremity or head has
been narrowed into the neck, the lower part becomes flatted, and has two
small tubercles placed on each flatted side; the tubercles are concave in
the middle, and appear destined to serve the purpose of suckers, for
attaching the head more effectually. The internal structure of the joints
composing the body of this animal is partly vascular and partly cellular;
the substance itself is white, and somewhat resembles in its texture the
coagulated lymph of the human blood. The alimentary canal passes along
each side of the animal, sending a cross canal over the bottom of each
joint, which connects the two lateral canals together.

Mr. Carlisle injected, with a coloured size, at a single push with a small
syringe, three feet in length of these canals, in the direction from the
mouth downwards. He tried the injection the contrary way, but it seemed to
be stopped with valves. The alimentary canal is impervious at the extreme
joint, where it terminates without any opening analogous to an anus. Each
joint has a vascular joint occupying the middle part, which is composed of
a longitudinal canal, from which a great number of lateral canals branch
off at right angles. These canals contain a fluid like milk.

The tænia seems to be one of the simplest vascular animals in nature. The
way in which it is nourished is singular; the food being taken in by the
mouth, passes into the alimentary canal, and is thus made to visit in a
general way the different parts of the animal. As it has no excretory
ducts, it would appear that the whole of its alimentary fluid is fit for
nourishment; the decayed parts probably dissolve into a fluid, which
transudes through the skin, which is extremely porous.

This animal has nothing resembling a brain or nerves, and seems to have no
organs of sense, but those of touch. It is most probably propagated by
ova, which may easily pass along the circulating vessels of other animals.
We cannot otherwise explain the phenomena of worms being found in the eggs
of fowls, and in the intestines of a foetus before birth, except by
supposing their ova to have passed through the circulating vessels of the
mother, and by this means to have been conveyed to the foetus.

The chance of an ovum being placed in a situation where it will be
hatched, and the young find convenient subsistence, must be very small;
hence the necessity for their being very prolific. If they had the same
powers of fecundity which they now possess, and their ova were afterwards
very readily hatched, then the multiplication of these animals would be
immense, and become a nuisance to the other parts of the creation.

Another mode of increase allowed to tænia, (if we may call it increase,)
is by an addition to the number of their joints. If we consider the
individual joints as distinct beings, it is so; and when we reflect upon
the power of individuality given to each joint, it makes this conjecture
the more probable. We can hardly suppose that an ovum of a tænia, which at
its full growth is thirty feet long, and composed of four hundred joints,
contained a young tænia composed of this number of pieces; but we have
seen young tænia not half a foot long, and not possessed of fifty joints,
which still were entire worms. We have also many reasons to believe, that
when a part of this animal is broken off from the rest, it is capable of
forming a head for itself, and of becoming an independent being. The
simple construction of the head makes its regeneration a much more easy
operation than that of the tails and feet of lizards, which are composed
of bones and complicated vessels; but this last operation has been proved
by the experiments of Spallanzani, and many other naturalists.


An article of great curiosity is, THE SHIP-WORM.--This worm has a very
slender, smooth, cylindrical shell; it inhabits the Indian seas, whence it
was imported into Europe. It penetrates easily into the stoutest oak
planks, and produces dreadful destruction to the ships, by the holes it
makes in their sides: and it is to avoid the effects of this insect that
vessels require sheathing.

The head of this creature is coated with a strong armour, and furnished
with a mouth like that of the leech. A little above this it has two horns,
which seem a kind of continuation of the shell; the neck is furnished with
several strong muscles; the rest of the body is only covered by a very
thin transparent skin, through which the motion of the intestines is
plainly seen by the naked eye. This creature is wonderfully minute when
newly excluded from the egg, but it grows to the length of four or six
inches, and sometimes more. When the bottom of a vessel, or any piece of
wood which is constantly under water, is inhabited by these worms, it is
full of small holes; but no damage appears till the outer parts are cut
away. Then their shelly habitations come into view, in which there is a
large space for inclosing the animal, and surrounding it with water. There
is an evident care in these creatures never to injure each other's
habitations; by which means each case or shell is preserved entire. These
worms will appear, on a very little consideration, to be most important
beings in the great chain of creation, and pleasing demonstrations of the
infinitely wise and gracious Power, which formed, and still preserves the
whole, in such wonderful order and beauty; for if it were not for the
rapacity of these and such animals, tropical rivers, and indeed the ocean
itself, would be choked with the bodies of trees which are annually
carried down by the rapid torrents, as many of them would last for ages,
and probably be productive of evils, of which, happily, we cannot in the
present state of things form any idea; whereas, being consumed by these
animals, they are more easily broken in pieces by the waves; and the
fragments which are not devoured become specifically lighter, and are
consequently more readily and more effectually thrown on shore, where the
sun, wind, insects, and various other instruments, speedily promote their
entire dissolution.


We shall conclude this chapter with an account of a singular curiosity
that was found in a colliery. It is A LIVING LIZARD, IMBEDDED IN
COAL.--This animal, preserved in spirits, is now in the possession of Mr.
James Scholes, engineer to Mr. Fenton's colliery, near Wakefield. It is
about five inches long; its back of a dark brown colour, and it appears
rough and scaly; its sides are of a lighter colour, and spotted with
yellow; the belly yellow, streaked with bands of the same colour as the
back. Mr. S. related to me the following circumstances of its being found.
In August last, they were sinking a new pit or shaft, and after passing
through measures of stone, gray-bind, and blue stone, and some thin beds
of coal, to the depth of one hundred and fifty yards, they came upon that
intended to be worked, which is about four feet thick. When they had
excavated about three inches of it, one of the miners (as he supposed)
struck his pick, or mattock, into a crevice, and shattered the coal around
into small pieces; he then discovered the animal in question, and
immediately carried it to Mr. S.: it continued very brisk and lively for
about ten minutes, then drooped and died. About four inches above the coal
in which the animal was found, numbers of muscle-shells, in a fossil
state, lay scattered in a loose gray earth.



CHAP. XIX.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING BIRDS.

    _The Common Peacock--The Egyptian Vulture--The Secretary Vulture--The
    Stork--The Great Pelican--The Bird of Paradise--The Ostrich--The
    Mocking-Bird of America--The Social Grosbeak--The Bengal Grosbeak--The
    Humming-Bird--The Golden Eagle._


THE PEACOCK.

  How rich the peacock! what bright glories run
  From plume to plume, and vary in the sun!
  He proudly spreads them to the golden ray,
  And gives his colours to adorn the day;
  With conscious state the spacious round displays,
  And slowly moves amid the waving blaze.
                                        _Young._

This very beautiful and interesting bird has a compressed crest and
solitary spurs. It is about the size of a turkey; the length from the top
of the bill to the end of the tail being three feet eight inches. The bill
is nearly two inches long, and is of a brown colour. The irides are
yellow. On the crown there is a sort of crest, composed of twenty-four
feathers, not webbed, except at the ends, which are gilded green. The
shafts are of a whitish colour; and the head, neck, and breast, are of a
green gold colour. Over the eye there is a streak of white, and beneath
there is the same. The back and rump are of a green gold colour, glossed
over with copper; the feathers are distinct, and lie over each other like
shells. Above the tail springs an inimitable set of long beautiful
feathers, adorned with a variegated eye at the end of each; these reach
considerably beyond the tail, and the longest of them in many birds are
four feet and a half long. This beautiful train, or tail, as it is
improperly called, may be expanded in the manner of a fan, at the will of
the bird. The true tail is hid beneath this group of feathers, and
consists of eighteen gray-brown feathers, one foot and a half long, marked
on the sides with rufous gray; the scapulars, and lesser wing coverts, are
reddish cream colour, variegated with black; the middle coverts deep blue,
glossed with green gold; the greatest and bastard wing, rufous; the quills
are also rufous, some of them variegated with rufous, blackish, and green;
the belly and vent are greenish black, the thighs yellowish, the legs
stout, those of the male furnished with a strong spur, three-quarters of
an inch in length, the colour of which is gray-brown.

These birds, now so common in Europe, are of Eastern origin. They are
found wild in the islands of Ceylon and Java, in the East Indies; and at
St. Helena, Barbuda, and other West India islands. They are not natural to
China; but they are found in many places in Asia and Africa. They are,
however, no where so large or so fine as in India, in the neighbourhood of
the Ganges, whence they have spread into all parts, increasing in a wild
state in the warmer climates, but requiring care in the colder regions. In
ours, this species does not come to its full plumage till the third year.
The female lays five or six grayish white eggs; in hot climates twenty,
the size of those of a turkey. These, if let alone, she lays in some
secret place, at distance from the usual resort, to prevent their being
broken by the male, which he is apt to do if he find them. The time of
sitting is from twenty-seven to thirty days. The young may be fed with
curds, chopped leeks, barley-meal, &c. moistened; and they are fond of
grasshoppers, and some other insects. In five or six months they will feed
as the old ones, on wheat and barley, with what else they can pick up in
the circuit of their confinement. They seem to prefer the most elevated
places to roost on during the night; such as high trees, tops of houses,
and the like. Their cry is loud and inharmonious,--a perfect contrast to
their external beauty. They are caught in India, by carrying lights to the
trees where they roost, and having painted representations of the bird
presented to them at the same time; when they put out the neck to look at
the figure, the sportsman slips a noose over the head, and secures his
game. In most ages they have been esteemed a salutary food. Hortensius
gave the example at Rome, where it was counted the highest luxury, and
sold dear, and a young peacock is thought a dainty, even in the present
times. The life of these birds is reckoned by some at about twenty-five
years; by others a hundred.

So beautiful a species of birds as the peacock could not long remain
unknown: so early as the days of Solomon, we find, among the articles
imported in his Tarshish navies, apes and peacocks. Ælian relates, that
they were brought into Greece from some barbarous country; and that they
were held in such high esteem, that a male and female were valued at
Athens at 1000 drachmæ, or £32. 5s. 10d. At Samos they were preserved
about the temple of Juno, being sacred to that goddess; and Gellius, in
his _Noctes Atticæ_, c. xvi. commends the excellency of the Samian
peacocks. When Alexander was in India, he found vast numbers of wild ones
on the banks of the Hyarotis; and was so struck with their beauty, as to
appoint a severe punishment on any person that killed them. Peacocks'
crests, in ancient times, were among the ornaments of the kings of
England. Ernald de Aclent was fined to king John in one hundred and forty
palfreys, with sackbuts, lorams, gilt spurs, and peacocks' crests, such as
would be for his credit.


We shall now introduce THE EGYPTIAN VULTURE.--The appearance of this bird
is as horrid as can well be imagined. The face is naked and wrinkled; the
eyes are large and black; the beak black and hooked; the talons large, and
extended, ready for prey; and the whole body polluted with filth: these
are qualities enough to make the beholder shudder with horror.
Notwithstanding this, the inhabitants of Egypt cannot be thankful enough
to Providence for this bird. All the places round Cairo are filled with
the dead bodies of asses and camels, and thousands of these birds fly
about and devour the carcases before they putrefy, and fill the air with
noxious exhalations. The inhabitants of Egypt say, (and after them
Maillet, in his description of Egypt,) that they yearly follow the caravan
to Mecca, and devour the filth of the slaughtered beasts, and the carcases
of the camels which die on the journey. They do not fly high, nor are they
afraid of men. If one of them is killed, all the rest surround it in the
same manner as do the Royston crows; they do not quit the places they
frequent, though frightened by the explosion of a gun, but immediately
return.


THE SECRETARY VULTURE.--This is a most singular species, being
particularly remarkable from the great length of its legs, which at first
sight would induce us to think it belonged to waders: but the characters
of the vulture are so strongly marked throughout, as to leave no doubt to
which class it belongs. This bird, when standing erect, is full three feet
from the top of the head to the ground. The bill is black, sharp, and
crooked, like that of an eagle; the head, neck, breast, and upper parts of
the body, are of a bluish ash-colour; the legs are very long, stouter than
those of a heron, and of a brown colour; claws shortish, but crooked, not
very sharp, and of a black colour. From behind the head spring a number of
long feathers, which hang loose behind, like a pendent crest; these
feathers rise by pairs, and are longer as they are lower down on the neck;
this crest, the bird can erect or depress at pleasure; it is of a dark
colour, almost black; the webs are equal on both sides, and rather curled,
and the feathers, when erected, somewhat incline towards the neck; the two
middle feathers of the tail are twice as long as any of the rest. This
singular species inhabits the internal parts of Africa, and is frequently
seen at the Cape of Good Hope. It is also met with in the Philippine
islands. As to the manners of this bird, it is on all hands allowed that
it principally feeds on rats, lizards, snakes, and the like; and that it
will become familiar; whence Sonnerat is of opinion, that it might be
made useful in some of our colonies, if encouraged, towards the
destruction of those pests. They call it at the Cape of Good Hope,
_flang-eater_, i. e. snake-eater. A great peculiarity belongs to it,
perhaps observed in no other, which is, the faculty of striking forwards
with its legs, never backwards. Dr. Solander saw one of these birds take
up a snake, small tortoise, or such like, in its claws; when, dashing it
against the ground with great violence, if the victim were not killed at
first, it repeated the operation till that end was answered; after which
it ate it up quietly. Dr. J. R. Forster mentioned a further circumstance,
which he says was supposed to be peculiar to this bird,--that should it by
any accident break the leg, the bone would never unite again.


The curious reader will be interested by the following singular
particulars respecting THE STORK.--The veneration shewn by the Germans for
storks, is a very remarkable superstition. The houses which these birds
light upon, are considered as under the special favour of Heaven. It is
usual to contrive a small flat square spot on the top of the roof, for
them to rest upon, and build their nests. Catholic curates, as well as
Protestant ministers, endeavour to allure them to their churches. "I
observed (says a French traveller) four or five steeples dignified by such
visitors. There are people so lucky as to attract some of them into their
poultry-yard, where they stalk about with the hens, but without yielding
up any particle of their freedom. Were any one to kill a stork, he would
be pursued like an Egyptian of old for killing an ibis, or for fricaseeing
a cat."

In a fire, by which the town of Delft in Holland was burnt to ashes, a
stork, which had built her nest upon a chimney, strove all she could to
save her little ones: she was seen spreading her wings around them, to
keep off the sparks and burning embers. Already the flame began to seize
upon her, but, unmindful of herself, she cared only for her offspring,
bemoaning their loss, and at length fell a prey to the fire, under the
eyes of a sympathizing crowd; prefering death with the pledges of her
love, to life without them. This interesting anecdote was celebrated by a
Flemish poet, who lived in 1503, in an effusion bearing the title of the
"Stork of Delft; or, the Model of Maternal Love."


THE GREAT PELICAN.--This bird is sometimes of the weight of twenty-five
pounds, and of the width, between the extreme points of the wings, of
fifteen feet; the skin, between the sides of the upper mandible, is
extremely dilatable, reaching more than half a foot down the neck, and
capable of containing many quarts of water. The skin is often used by
sailors for tobacco-pouches, and has been occasionally converted into
ladies' elegant work bags. About the Caspian and Black seas, these birds
are very numerous; and they are chiefly to be found in the warmer regions,
inhabiting almost every country of Africa. They build in the small isles
of lakes, far from the habitations of man. The nest is a foot and a half
in diameter; and the female, if molested, will remove her eggs into the
water till the cause of annoyance is removed, and then return them to her
nest of reeds and grass. These birds, though living principally upon fish,
often build in the midst of deserts, where that element is rarely to be
found. They are extremely dexterous in diving for their prey, and, after
having filled their pouch, will retire to some rock, and swallow what they
have taken at their leisure. They are said to unite with other birds in
the pursuit of fish. The pelicans dive, and drive the fish into the
shallows; the cormorants assist by flapping their wings on the surface,
and, forming a crescent, perpetually contracting, they at length
accomplish their object, and compel vast numbers into creeks and shallows,
where they gratify their voracity with perfect ease, and to the most
astonishing excess.


Another curiosity is, THE BIRD OF PARADISE.--In natural history, a genus
of birds of the order Picæ. Generic character: bill covered at the base
with downy feathers; nostrils covered by the feathers; tail of ten
feathers, two of them, in some species, very long; legs and feet very
large and strong. These birds chiefly inhabit North Guinea, whence they
emigrate in the dry season to the neighbouring islands. Their feathers are
used in these countries as ornaments for the head-dress; and the Japanese,
Chinese, and Persians, import them for the same purpose. The rich and
great among the latter attach these brilliant collections of plumage, not
only to their own turbans, but to the housings and harnesses of their
horses. They are found only within a few degrees of the equator. Gmelin
enumerates twelve species, and Latham eight. _P. apoda_, or the greater
Paradise bird, is about as large as a thrush. They pass in companies of
thirty or forty together, headed by one whose flight is higher than that
of the rest. They are often distressed by means of their long feathers, in
sudden shiftings of the wind, and unable to proceed in their flight; are
easily taken by the natives, who catch them with bird-lime, and shoot them
with blunted arrows. They are sold at Aroo for an iron nail each, and at
Banda for half a rix-dollar. Their food is not ascertained, and they
cannot be kept alive in confinement. The smaller bird of Paradise is
supposed, by Latham, to be a mere variety of the above. It is found only
in the Papuan islands, where it is caught by the natives often by the
hand, and exenterated and seared with a hot iron in the inside, and then
put into the hollow of a bamboo, to secure its plumage from injury.

[Illustration: THE GREAT BUSTARD.--Page 243.

Found in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but in no part of the New World.]

[Illustration: OSTRICHES OF SOUTH AFRICA--Page 231.

They are so fleet as easily to distance the swiftest horse.]


The following account of the curiosities of THE OSTRICH, is taken from
Lichtenstein's Travels in South Africa, vol. II.--"The habits of the
ostrich are so remarkable, and have been so imperfectly described by
travellers in general, that I cannot forbear bringing together here all
the knowledge I acquired upon the subject, both in this and subsequent
journeys. I have noticed, on a former occasion, a large flock of
ostriches, which we met in the neighbourhood of Komberg. In that country,
the drought and heat sometimes compel these gigantic birds to leave the
plains, and then they pursue their course together in large flocks to the
heights, where they find themselves more commodiously lodged. At the time
of sitting, there are seldom more than four or five seen together, of
which only one is a cock, the rest are hens. These hens lay their eggs all
together in the same nest, which is nothing more than a round cavity made
in the clay, of such a size as to be covered by one of the birds, when
sitting upon it. A sort of wall is scraped up round with their feet,
against which the eggs in the outermost circle rest. Every egg stands upon
its point in the nest, that the greatest possible number may be stowed
within the space. When ten or twelve eggs are laid, they begin to sit, the
hens taking their turns, and relieving each other during the day; at night
the cock alone sits, to guard the eggs against the jackals and wild cats,
who will run almost any risk to procure them. Great numbers of these
smaller beasts of prey have often been found crushed to death about the
nests; a proof that the ostrich does not fight with them, but knows very
well how to conquer them at once by her own resistless power; for it is
certain, that a stroke of her large foot trampling upon them, is enough to
crush any such animal.

"The hens continue to lay during the time they are sitting, and that, not
only till the nest is full, which happens when about thirty eggs are laid,
but for some time after. The eggs laid after the nest is filled are
deposited round about it, and seem designed by nature to satisfy the
cravings of the above-mentioned enemies, since they very much prefer the
new-laid eggs to those which have been brooded. But they seem also to have
a more important designation, that is, to assist in the nourishment of the
young birds. These, when first hatched, are as large as a common pullet,
and since their tender stomachs cannot digest the hard food eaten by the
old ones, the spare eggs serve as their first nourishment. The increase
of the ostrich race would be incalculable, had they not so many enemies,
by which great numbers of the young are destroyed after they quit the
nest.

"The ostrich is a very prudent, wary creature, which is not easily
ensnared in the open field, since it sees to a very great distance, and
takes to flight upon the least idea of danger. For this reason the quaggas
generally attach themselves, as it were instinctively, to a troop of
ostriches, and fly with them, without the least idea that they are
followed. Xenophon relates, that the army of Cyrus met ostriches and wild
asses together, in the plains of Syria.

"The ostriches are particularly careful to conceal, if possible, the
places where their nests are made. They never go directly to them, but run
round in a circle at a considerable distance before they attempt to
approach the spot. On the contrary, they always run directly up to the
springs where they drink, and the impressions they make on the ground, in
the desolate places they inhabit, are often mistaken for the footsteps of
men. The females, in sitting, when they are to relieve each other, either
both remove awhile to a distance from the nest, or change so hastily, that
any one who might by chance be spying about, could never see both at once.
In the day-time, they occasionally quit the nest entirely, and leave the
care of warming the eggs to the sun alone. If at any time they find that
the place of their nest is discovered, that either a man or a beast of
prey has been at it, and has disturbed the arrangement of the eggs, or
taken any away, they immediately destroy the nest themselves, break all
the eggs to pieces, and seek out some other spot to make a new one. When
the colonist therefore finds a nest, he contents himself with taking one
or two of the spare eggs that are lying near, observing carefully to
smooth over any footsteps which may have been made, so that they may not
be perceived by the birds. Thus visits to the nest may be often repeated,
and it may be converted into a storehouse of very pleasant food, where,
every two or three days, as many eggs may be procured as are wanted to
regale the whole household.

"An ostrich's egg weighs commonly near three pounds, and is considered as
equal in its square contents to twenty-four hen's eggs. The yolk has a
very pleasant flavour, yet, it must be owned, not the delicacy of a hen's
egg. It is so nourishing and so soon satisfies, that no one can eat a
great deal at once. Four very hungry persons would be requisite to eat a
whole ostrich's egg; and eight Africans, who are used to so much harder
living, might make a meal of it. These eggs will keep for a very long
time: they are often brought to the Cape Town, where they are sold at the
price of half a dollar each.

"In the summer months of July, August, and September, the greatest number
of ostriches' nests are to be found; but the feathers, which are always
scattered about the nest at the time of sitting, are of very little value.
I have, however, at all times of the year, found nests with eggs that have
been brooded: the contrasts of the seasons being much less forcible in
this part of the world than in Europe, the habits of animals are
consequently much less fixed and regular. The ostrich sits from thirty-six
to forty days before the young are hatched.

"It is well known that the male alone furnishes the beautiful white
feathers which have for so long a time been a favourite ornament in the
head-dress of our European ladies. They are purchased from the people who
collect them, for as high as three or four shillings each; they are,
however, given at a lower price, in exchange for European wares and
clothing. Almost all the colonists upon the borders have a little magazine
of these feathers laid by, and when they would make a friendly present to
a guest, it is generally an ostrich's feather. Few of them are, however,
prepared in such a manner as to be wholly fit for the use of the European
dealers. The female ostriches are entirely black, or rather, in their
youth, of a very dark gray, but have no white feathers in the tail. In
every other respect, the colour excepted, their feathers are as good as
those of the males. It is very true, as Mr. Barrow says, that small stones
are sometimes found in the ostrich's eggs; it is not, however, very
common; and, among all that I ever saw opened, I never met with one."


We must not omit to give some account of THE MOCKING-BIRD OF
AMERICA.--Those who have not heard the mocking-bird, can have no
conception of his great superiority of song: he seems the merryandrew
among birds, and the most serious and laboured efforts of the best
performers appear to him only sport: he performs an antic dance to the
sound of his own music; like jack-pudding, too, he seems to make game of
his audience, for often, when he has secured the attention by the most
delightful warblings, he will stop suddenly, and surprise them by the
quack of a duck, the hiss of a goose, the monstrous note of the
whip-poor-will, or any other unexpected sound: he possesses also the power
of a ventriloquist, in being able to deceive his hearers as to the
direction of the sound. When he is not seen, and while his listeners are
looking for the enchanter on the roof of their own houses, he is perhaps
playing his antic tricks on the chimney-top of some house at a
considerable distance. When, however, there are no spectators during the
stillness of night, he lays aside his frolic, and pours his "love-laboured
songs;" and surely, if there is fascination in sweet sounds, it must be
in the song of this delightful bird, perched on the chimney-top, or on
some tree near to the dwelling of man. He seems never to tire.


The next subject of curiosity is THE SOCIAL GROSBEAK.--This bird inhabits
the interior country of the Cape of Good Hope, where it was discovered by
Mr. Paterson. These birds live together in large societies, and their mode
of nidification is extremely uncommon. They build in a species of mimosa,
which grows to an uncommon size, and which they seem to select for that
purpose, as well on account of its ample head, and the great strength of
its branches, calculated to admit and to support the extensive buildings
which they have to erect, as for the tallness and smoothness of its trunk,
which their great enemies, the serpent tribe, are unable to climb.

The method in which the nests themselves are fabricated, is highly
curious. In the one described by Mr. Paterson, there could be no less a
number (he says) than from eight hundred to a thousand, residing under the
same roof. He calls it a roof, because it perfectly resembles that of a
thatched house; and the ridge forms an angle so acute and so smooth,
projecting over the entrance of the nest below, that it is impossible for
any reptile to approach them. The industry of these birds is almost equal,
in his opinion, to that of the bee: throughout the day they appear to be
busily employed in carrying a fine species of grass, which is the
principal material they employ for the purpose of erecting this
extraordinary work, as well as for additions and repairs.--"Though my
short stay in the country was not sufficient to satisfy me, by ocular
proof, that they added to their nest as they annually increased in
numbers, still, from the many trees which I have seen borne down with the
weight, and others which I have observed with their boughs completely
covered over, it would appear, that this is really the case; when the
tree, which is the support of this aërial city, is obliged to give way to
the increase of weight, it is obvious they are no longer protected, and
are under the necessity of building in other trees.

"One of these deserted nests I had the curiosity to break down, so as to
inform myself of the internal structure of it, and found it equally
ingenious with that of the external. There many entrances, each of which
forms a regular street, with nests on both sides, at about two inches
distant from each other. The grass with which they build, is called, the
Boshman's grass; and I believe the seed of it to be their principal food;
though, on examining their nests, I found the wings and legs of different
insects. From every appearance, the nest which I dissected had been
inhabited for many years; and some parts of it were much more complete
than others: this therefore I conceive nearly to amount to a proof, that
the animals added to it at different times, as they found necessary from
the increase of the family, or rather of the nation or community."


THE BENGAL GROSBEAK.--This is an Indian bird, and is thus described by Mr.
Latham. "This little bird (called _bayà_, in Hindu; _berbera_, in
Sanscrit; _bábùi_, in the dialect of Bengal; _cíbù_, in Persian; and
_tenauwit_, in Arabic, from its remarkably pendent nest) is rather larger
than a sparrow, with yellow brown plumage, a yellowish head and feet, a
light coloured breast, and a conic beak, very thick in proportion to his
body. This bird is exceedingly common in Hindostan; he is astonishingly
sensible, faithful, and docile, never voluntarily deserting the place
where his young were hatched, but not averse, like most other birds, to
the society of mankind, and easily taught to perch on the hand of his
master. In a state of nature, he generally builds his nest on the highest
tree that he can find, especially on the palmyra, or on the Indian
fig-tree, and he prefers that which happens to overhang a well or rivulet:
he makes it of grass, which he weaves like cloth, and shapes like a large
bottle, suspending it firmly on the branches, but so as to rock with the
wind, and placing it with its entrance downwards, to secure it from birds
of prey. His nest usually consists of two or three chambers; and it is the
popular belief that he lights them with fire-flies, which he catches alive
at night, and confines with moist clay or cow-dung. That such flies are
often found in his nest, where pieces of cow-dung are also stuck, is
indubitable: but as their light could be of little use to him, it seems
probable that he only feeds on them. He may be taught with ease to fetch
any small thing that his master points out to him: it is an attested fact,
that if a ring be dropped into a deep well, and a signal be given to him,
he will fly down with amazing celerity, catch the ring before it touches
the water, and bring it up with apparent exultation; and it is asserted,
that if a house or any other place be shewn to him once or twice, he will
carry a note thither immediately on a proper signal.

"One instance of his docility, I can myself mention with confidence,
having often been an eye-witness of it. The young Hindoo women at Benares,
and in other places, wear very thin plates of gold, called _ticas_,
slightly fixed by way of ornament between their eye-brows; and when they
pass through the streets, it is not uncommon for the youthful libertines,
who amuse themselves with training bayas, to give them a signal, which
they understand, and send them to pluck the pieces of gold from the
foreheads of their mistresses, which they bring in triumph to the lovers.
The baya feeds naturally on grasshoppers and other insects, but will
subsist, when tame, on pulse macerated in water: his flesh is warm and
drying, and easy of digestion. The female lays many beautiful eggs,
resembling large pearls; the white of them, when boiled, is transparent,
and the flavour is exquisitely delicate. When many bayas are assembled on
a high tree, they make a lively din, but it is rather chirping than
singing; their want of musical talents is, however, amply supplied by
their wonderful sagacity, in which they are not excelled by any feathered
inhabitant of the forest."


Another subject of acknowledged curiosity is, THE HUMMING BIRD.--There are
sixty species enumerated by Latham, and Gmelin has sixty-five. The birds
of this genus are the smallest of all birds. These diminutive creatures
subsist on the juices of flowers, which they extract, like bees, while on
the wing, fluttering over their delicate repast, and making a considerable
humming sound, from which they derive their designation. They are
gregarious, and build their nests with great neatness and elegance, lining
them with the softest materials they can possibly procure.

The red-throated humming-bird is rather more than three inches long, and
is frequent in various parts of North America. Its plumage is highly
splendid and varying; it extracts the nectar of flowers, particularly
those of a long tube, like the convolvulus or tulip. They will suffer
themselves to be approached very near, but on observing an effort to seize
them, dart off with the rapidity of an arrow. A flower is frequently the
subject of bitter conflict between two of these birds; they will often
enter an open window, and, after a short contest, retire. They sometimes
soar perpendicularly to a considerable height, with a violent scream. If a
flower which they enter furnishes them with no supply, they pluck it, as
it were in punishment and revenge, from its stalk. They have been kept
alive in cages for several weeks, but soon perish for want of the usual
food, for which no adequate substitute has yet been found. Latham,
however, mentions a curious circumstance of their being preserved alive by
Captain Davies for four months, by the expedient of imitating tubular
flowers with paper appropriately painted, and filling the bottom of the
tubes with sugar and water as often as they were emptied. They then took
their nourishment in the same manner as when unconfined, and soon appeared
familiarized and happy. They build on the middle of the branch of a tree,
and lay two eggs in an extremely small and admirably constructed nest.

The smallest of all the species is said, when just killed, to weigh no
more than twenty grains. Its total length is an inch and a quarter. It is
found in the West Indies and South America, and is exceeded both in
weight and magnitude by several species of bees.


We shall close this chapter with an account of THE GOLDEN EAGLE.--This
bird weighs above twelve pounds, and is about three feet long, the wings,
when extended, measuring seven feet four inches. The sight and sense of
smelling are very acute; the head and neck are clothed with narrow,
sharp-pointed feathers, of a deep brown colour, bordered with tawny; the
hind part of the head is of bright rust colour. These birds are very
destructive to fawns, lambs, kids, and all kinds of game, particularly in
the breeding season, when they bring a vast quantity of prey to their
young. Smith, in his History of Kerry, relates, that a poor man in that
country got a comfortable subsistence for his family, during a summer of
famine, out of an eagle's nest, by robbing the eaglets of the food the old
ones brought, whose attendance he protracted beyond the natural time, by
clipping the wings and retarding the flight of the former. It is very
unsafe to leave infants in places where eagles frequent; there having been
instances in Scotland of two being carried off by them; but, fortunately,
the thefts were discovered in time, and the children were restored unhurt
out of the eagles' nests. In order to extirpate these pernicious birds,
there is a law in the Orkney isles, which entitles every person that kills
an eagle to a hen out of every house in the parish where it was killed.
Eagles seem to give the preference to the carcases of dogs and cats.
People who make it their business to kill those birds, lay one of these
carcases by way of bait; and then conceal themselves within gun-shot. They
fire the instant the eagle alights; for she that moment looks about before
she begins to prey. Yet, quick as her sight may be, her sense of hearing
seems still more exquisite. If hooded crows or ravens happen to be nearer
the carrion, and resort to it first, and give a single croak, the eagle
instantly repairs to the spot. These eagles are remarkable for their
longevity, and for sustaining a long abstinence from food. Mr. Keysler
relates, that an eagle died at Vienna after a confinement of 104 years.
This pre-eminent length of days is alluded to by the Psalmist, "Thy youth
is renewed like the eagle's."

One of this species, which was nine years in the possession of Owen
Holland, Esq. of Conway, lived thirty-two years with the gentleman who
made him a present of it; but what its age was, when the latter received
it from Ireland, is unknown. The same bird also furnishes us with a proof
of the truth of the other remark; having once, through the neglect of
servants, endured hunger for twenty-one days without any sustenance
whatever.

Here it is proper to take notice of a very singular variety of the Golden
Eagle, described by Mr. Bruce, in his Travels in Abyssinia; for, whether
it properly belongs to this species or not, we do not find that it has
been, as yet, either arranged under any other, or ranked as a different
genus, (which indeed it appears to be,) by Mr. Kerr, or any other
ornithologist. Mr. Bruce says, it is not only the largest of the eagle
kind, but the largest bird that flies. By the natives it is vulgarly
called _abon duchem_, or, father long-beard. It is not an object of any
chase, nor stands in need of any stratagem to bring it within reach. Upon
the highest top of mount Lamalmon, while Mr. Bruce's servants were
refreshing themselves after their toilsome ascent, and enjoying the
pleasure of a most delightful climate, eating their dinner in the open
air, with several large dishes of boiled goat's flesh before them, this
eagle suddenly made its appearance; he did not stoop rapidly from a
height, but came flying slowly along the ground, and sat down close to the
meat, within the ring the men had made around it. A great shout, or rather
cry of distress, which they raised, made the bird stand for a minute as if
to recollect himself; but while the servants ran for their lances and
shields, his attention was fully fixed upon the flesh. He put his foot
into the pan, where was a large piece in water nearly boiling; but feeling
the smart, he withdrew it, and forsook the piece which he held. There were
two large pieces, a leg and a shoulder, lying on a wooden platter: into
these he struck his claws, and carried them off, skimming slowly along the
ground, as he had come, till he disappeared behind a cliff. But being
observed, at his departure, to look wistfully at the large piece which
remained in the warm water, it was concluded that he would soon return; in
expectation of which, Mr. Bruce loaded a rifle gun with ball, and sat down
close to the platter by the meat. It was not many minutes before he came;
and a prodigious shout was raised by the attendants, "He is coming, he is
coming!" enough to have discouraged a less courageous animal. Whether he
was not quite so hungry as at his first visit, or suspecting something
from Mr. Bruce's appearance, he made a small turn, and sat down about ten
yards from him, the pan with the meat being between them. In this
situation Mr. Bruce fired, and shot him with the ball through the middle
of his body, about two inches below the wing, so that he lay down upon the
grass without a single flutter. Upon laying hold of his monstrous carcase,
our author was not a little surprised at seeing his hands covered and
tinged with yellow dust. Upon turning him upon his belly, and examining
the feathers of his back, they produced a brown dust, the colour of the
feathers there. The dust was not in small quantities, for, upon striking
his breast, the yellow powder flew in a greater quantity than from a
hair-dresser's powder-puff. The feathers of the belly and breast, which
were of a gold colour, did not appear to have any thing extraordinary in
their formation, but the large feathers in the shoulders and wings seemed
apparently to be fine tubes, which, upon pressure, scattered the brown
dust upon the finer part of the feathers. Upon the side of the wing, the
ribs, or hard part of the feather, seemed to be bare, as if worn, or, in
our author's opinion, were rather renewing themselves, having before
failed in their function. What the reason is of this extraordinary
provision of nature, Mr. Bruce does not attempt to determine. But as it is
an unusual one, it is probably meant, he thinks, for a defence against the
climate in favour of those birds, which live in those almost inaccessible
heights of a country, doomed even in its lower parts to several months' of
excessive rain.

This bird, from wing to wing, was eight feet four inches; and from the tip
of his tail to the point of his beak, four feet seven inches. He was
remarkably short in the legs, being only four inches from the foot to the
junction of the leg with the thigh; and from that to the body six inches.
The thickness of his thigh was little less than four inches; it was
extremely muscular, and covered with flesh. His middle claw was about two
inches and a half long, not very sharp at the point, but extremely strong.
From the root of the bill to the point was three inches and a quarter, and
one inch and three-quarters in breadth at the root. A forked brush of
strong hair, divided at the point into two, proceeded from the cavity of
his lower jaw at the beginning of his throat. His eye was remarkably small
in proportion to his bulk, the aperture being scarcely half an inch. The
crown of his head, and the front, where the bill and skull joined, were
bald.



CHAP. XX.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING BIRDS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Cuckoo--The Cormorant--The Great Bustard--The Alarm-Bird--The
    Carrier, or Courier, Pigeon--The Wild Pigeon, its multiplying
    Power--Singular Bird, inhabiting a Volcano in Guadaloupe--Curious
    Adventure of an Owl--Curious Facts in Natural History--The Chick in
    the Egg._


THE CUCKOO.--We shall introduce this curious bird, with the following
well-known beautiful piece of poetry:--

  Hail, beauteous stranger of the wood,
    Attendant on the spring!
  Now heav'n repairs thy rural seat,
    And woods thy welcome sing.

  Soon as the daisy decks the green,
    Thy certain voice we hear:
  Hast thou a star to guide thy path,
    Or mark the rolling year?

  Delightful visitant! with thee
    I hail the time of flow'rs,
  When heaven is fill'd with music sweet
    Of birds among the bow'rs.

  The school-boy, wand'ring in the wood,
    To pull the flow'rs so gay,
  Starts, thy curious voice to hear,
    And imitates thy lay.

  Soon as the pea puts on the bloom,
    Thou fly'st thy vocal vale,
  An annual guest, in other lands,
    Another spring to hail.

  Sweet bird! thy bow'r is ever green,
    Thy sky is ever clear;
  Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,
    No winter in thy year!

  O could I fly, I'd fly with thee;
    We'd make, with social wing
  Our annual visit o'er the globe,
    Companions of the spring.

This bird is described, in natural history, as a genus of the order of
Picæ. Generic character: bill smooth, somewhat bending and weak; nostrils
surrounded by a small rim; tongue short and arrowed; toes, two forward and
two backward; tail wedge-formed, of ten soft feathers. Gmelin enumerates
fifty-five species, and Latham forty-six. The following are the most
general characteristics of the Cuckoo:--

This bird is about fourteen inches long. It is found in Europe, Asia, and
Africa. Its food consists of insects and the larvæ of moths, but when
domesticated, which it may be without much difficulty, it will eat bread,
fruits, eggs, and even flesh. When fattened, it is said to be excellent
for the table. It is in this country a bird of passage, appearing first
about the middle of April, and cheering the vicinity of its habitation
with that well-known note, with which so many exquisite ideas and feelings
are associated. This note is used only by the male bird, and this is the
intimation of love. It has been heard, (though very rarely,) like the song
of the nightingale, in the middle of the night. About the close of June
this note ceases, but the cuckoo remains in England till towards the end
of September. It is imagined sometimes to continue in the country for the
whole of the year, as it has occasionally been seen here so early as
February. Cuckoos are supposed to winter in Africa, as they are seen twice
a year in the island of Malta.

With the history of these birds have been blended much fable and
superstition; their manners, however, are unquestionably very curious; and
fable in this, as in many other cases, is in a great degree connected with
fact. It is almost universally agreed by naturalists, that the cuckoo does
not hatch its own eggs, but deposits them in the nest of some other bird.
Buffon mentions the names of twenty birds, or more, on which the cuckoo
passes this fraud. Those most frequently duped by it, however, in this
manner, are the yellow-hammer, the water-wagtail, and the hedge-sparrow;
and of these three, by far more than the other two, the hedge-sparrow. The
most minute and attentive examiner into this extraordinary peculiarity, is
Mr. Edward Jenner; from whose observations on this interesting subject we
shall select a few of the most important.

He states, that the hedge-sparrow is generally four or five days in
completing her number of eggs, during which time the cuckoo finds an
opportunity of introducing one of its own into the nest, leaving the
future management of it to the hedge-sparrow; and that, though it
frequently occurs that the latter is much discomposed by this intrusion,
and several of the eggs are injured by her, and obliged to be removed from
the nest, yet the egg of the cuckoo is never of this number. When the
usual time of incubation is completed, and the young sparrows and cuckoo
are disengaged from the eggs, the former are ejected from the nest, and
the stranger obtains exclusive possession. A nest, built in a situation
extremely convenient for minute observation, fell under the particular
examination of this gentleman, and was found on the first day to contain a
cuckoo's and three hedge-sparrows' eggs. On the day following, he observed
a young cuckoo and a hedge-sparrow, and as he could distinctly perceive
every thing passing, he was resolved to watch the events which might take
place. He soon, with extreme surprise, saw the young cuckoo, hatched only
the day before, exerting itself with its rump and wings to take the young
sparrow on its back, which it actually accomplished, and then climbed
backwards with its burden to the verge of the nest, from which, with a
sudden jerk, it clearly threw off its load; after which it dropped back
into the nest, having first, however, felt about with the extremities of
its wings, as if to ascertain whether the clearance were completely
effected. Several eggs were afterwards put in to the young usurper, which
were all similarly disposed of.--He observes, that in another instance,
two cuckoos and a hedge-sparrow were hatched in the same nest, and one
hedge-sparrow's egg remained unhatched. Within a few hours, a conflict
began between the two cuckoos for the possession of the nest, which was
conducted with extreme spirit and vigour, and in which each appeared
occasionally to have the advantage, lifting its adversary to the very
brink of the nest, and then, from exhaustion of strength, sinking with it
again to the bottom. These vicissitudes of success were repeated and
reiterated; but towards the close of the following day, the contest was
decided by one of them, which was rather the larger of the two, completely
expelling his rival; after which, the egg and the young hedge-sparrow were
dislodged with extreme facility. The infant conqueror was brought up by
the step-mother with the most assiduous affection. The sagacity of the
female cuckoo appears not inconsiderable, in her introducing her egg into
the nests of birds whose young are inferior in size and strength to the
young cuckoo, and which the latter is consequently able to exclude without
difficulty from its usurped dominions.


We shall now call the reader's attention to THE CORMORANT.--This bird,
which is nearly as large as a goose, is found in many places both of the
old and the new world; it is to be met with in the northern parts of this
island, and one of them, not very long since, was shot while perched on
the castle of Carlisle. These birds are shy and crafty, but frequently eat
to so great an excess, as to induce a species of lethargy, in which they
are caught by nets thrown over them without their making an effort to
escape. They are trained by the Chinese to fish for them. By a ring placed
round their necks, they are prevented from swallowing what they take, and,
when their pouches are filled, they unload them, and at the command of
their owners, renew their divings. Two will sometimes be seen combining
their efforts to secure a fish too large for the management of one only.
When their work is finished to the employer's satisfaction, the birds have
a full allotment of the spoil, for their reward and encouragement. In
Macao, also, these birds are thus domesticated, taking extreme delight in
the exercise, and constituting a source of very considerable profit to
their owners. They were formerly trained, and used in the same manner in
England; and Charles I. had an officer of his household, called master of
the cormorants.


The next curiosity among birds which we shall introduce, is, THE GREAT
BUSTARD.--This bird is found in the plains of Europe, Asia, and Africa,
but it has never been observed in the New Continent. In England, it is
occasionally met with on Salisbury Plain, and on the wolds of Yorkshire,
and formerly it was not uncommonly seen in flocks of forty or fifty. It is
the largest of British land birds, weighing often twenty-five or thirty
pounds. It runs with great rapidity, so as to escape the pursuit of common
dogs, but falls speedily a victim to the greyhound, which often overtakes
it before it has power to commence its flight, the preparation for which,
in this bird, is slow and laborious. The female lays her eggs on the bare
ground, never more than two in number, in a hole scratched by her for the
purpose, and if these are touched or soiled during her occasional absence,
she immediately abandons them. The male is distinguished by a large pouch,
beginning under the tongue, and reaching to the breast, capable of
holding, according to Linnæus, seven quarts of water. This is sometimes
useful to the female during incubation, and to the young before they quit
their nest; and it has been observed to be eminently advantageous to the
male bird himself, who, on being attacked by birds of prey, has often
discomfited his enemies by the sudden and violent discharge of water upon
them. These birds are solitary and shy, and feed principally upon grasses,
worms, and grain. They were formerly much hunted with dogs, and considered
as supplying no uninteresting diversion. They swallow stones, pieces of
metal, and other hard substances. Buffon states, that one was opened by
the academicians of France, which contained in its stomach ninety
doubloons, and various stones, all highly smoothed by the attrition of the
stomach.


The following deserves to be ranked among the curiosities of the feathered
tribe; THE ALARM-BIRD.--Near the Coppermine River, which falls into
Hudson's Bay, live a tribe of Indians, who traverse the immense and dreary
solitudes that surround them, in pursuit of deer or other game, from
which they derive their only subsistence. The animals, however, taught by
experience to shun the haunts of men, and instinctively led to conceal
themselves in the most sequestered spots, would with difficulty be
discovered, were it not for one of the winged tribe of the owl genus,
called the alarm-bird.

No sooner does this bird descry man or beast, than it directs its flight
towards them, and, hovering over them, forms gyrations round their head.
Should two objects at once arrest its attention, it flies from one to the
other alternately, with a loud screaming, resembling the crying of a
child; and in this manner it will follow travellers, or attend a herd of
deer, for the space of a day.

By means of this guide, whose qualities so well correspond with its name,
the Copper Indians are apprised of the approach of strangers, or directed
to the herds of deer and musk-oxen, which otherwise they would frequently
miss. Is it to be wondered at, then, that they hold the alarm-bird in the
highest veneration? It seems, indeed, to have been intended by Providence
for the solace and friend of the miserable inhabitants of those wild and
sterile regions; and will furnish a new evidence of that superintending
care which watches over all.

The Cuculus Indicator, so celebrated in the warmer climates for detecting
the treasures of the bees, in the deep recesses of the woods, within the
hollow trunks of trees, has, or may be thought to have, a view and an
object in its services. It feels the want of human assistance, to enable
it to enjoy the fruits of its discoveries, and therefore instinctively
calls for it, in hopes of being recompensed with a share of the honey,
which, we are told, the natives readily allow it; but the alarm-bird
appears perfectly disinterested in its labours, it answers no purpose of
its own, and therefore may be considered as one of the bounties of Heaven,
to a people and a country almost shut out from the participation of the
common blessings of life. It confers benefits without the prospect of a
reward; and, for this reason, is entitled to the greater regard.

To contemplate the various animals that are dispersed over the globe, and
the various blessings and advantages of different climates, will naturally
lead us to the Source and Dispenser of all; and though some parts of the
works of Creation are more conspicuously beneficial, and cannot escape the
most common observer, yet we may, from analogy and reason, conceive that
nothing was made in vain.


A subject of great curiosity, and pleasing admiration, is, THE CARRIER,
or, COURIER PIGEON.--These birds, though carried, hoodwinked, twenty,
thirty, or even a hundred miles, will find their way in a very little time
to the place where they were bred. They are trained to this service in
Turkey and Persia; and are carried first, while young, short flights of
half a mile, afterwards more, till at length they will return from the
farthest part of the kingdom. Every bashaw has a basket of these pigeons
bred in the seraglio, which from a distance, upon any emergent occasion,
(as an insurrection, or the like,) he dispatches, with letters braced
under their wings, to the seraglio; which proves a more speedy method, as
well as a more safe one, than any other: he sends out more than one
pigeon, however, for fear of accidents. Lithgow assures us, that one of
these birds will carry a letter from Babylon to Aleppo, which is thirty
days' journey, in forty-eight hours. This practice is very ancient:
Hirtius and Brutus, at the siege of Modena, held a correspondence by
pigeons; and Ovid tells us, that Taurosthenes, by a pigeon stained with
purple, gave notice to his father of his victory at the Olympic games,
sending it to him at Ægina. In modern times, the most noted were the
pigeons of Aleppo, which served as couriers at Alexandretta and Bagdad.
But this use of them has been laid aside for the last thirty or forty
years, because the Curd robbers killed the pigeons. The manner of sending
advice by them, was this: they took pairs which had young ones, and
carried them on horseback to the place whence they wished them to return,
taking care to let them have a full view. When the news arrived, the
correspondent tied a billet to the pigeon's foot, and let her loose. The
bird, impatient to see its young, flew off like lightning, and arrived at
Aleppo in ten hours from Alexandretta, and in two days from Bagdad. It was
easy for them to find their way back, as Aleppo may be discovered at an
immense distance. This pigeon has nothing peculiar in its form, except its
nostrils, which, instead of being smooth and even, are swelled and rough.


It is presumed it will not be out of place to insert the following curious
particulars respecting the MULTIPLYING POWER OF THE WILD PIGEON.--The
following account is extracted from Janson's Stranger in America. Mr.
Richard Hazen, a land-surveyor, who, in 1741, drew the line which divides
Massachusetts from Vermont, gives an interesting account of the
multiplying power of nature in the wild pigeon: "For three miles together,
(says he,) the pigeons' nests were so thick, that five hundred might be
reckoned on beech-trees at one time, and, could they have been counted on
the hemlocks as well, he did not doubt that five thousand might be seen at
one turn round. Twenty-five nests were frequently found in one beech-tree,
in New England. The earth was covered with these trees and with hemlocks,
thus loaded with the nests of pigeons. For one hundred acres together, the
ground was covered with their dung, to the depth of two inches. Their
noise in the evening was extremely troublesome, and so great, that the
traveller could not get any sleep where their nests abounded. About an
hour before sun-rise they rose in such quantities as to darken the air.
When the young pigeons were grown to a proper size, it was common for the
first settlers to cut down the trees, and gather a horse-load in a few
minutes. The markets at this season, even at Philadelphia, are often
overstocked with them; a score of them have lately been purchased for
sixpence. But as the land becomes settled, they retire into the back
forests, where they are at this day in equal numbers! In North Carolina,
wild pigeons or doves pass over the country in such numbers as to darken
the air, devouring all kinds of grain in their progress. A large musket,
loaded with small shot, fired among them, has killed scores; and boys
knock them down with sticks and stones. I did not see this destructive
phenomenon; but was credibly informed at Edenton, that it occurs once in
seven, and sometimes in ten years. During my residence in that state, I
cut holes in the top of my barn, and, by placing food on the roof, soon
enticed about half a dozen from the adjacent woods. In a short time they
became domesticated, and fed with the fowl, affording a constant and an
agreeable food. When I left my residence, they had, notwithstanding the
use I made of the young ones, increased to many scores. They grew so
familiar, that they would watch my appearance in the morning, and perch
upon me, in hopes of obtaining food, with which it was my practice to
supply them. They distinguished me from my domestics, whom they would not
suffer to approach them. They would permit me to go into their dovecot,
without retreating; but the dam would often oppose my taking her young
ones."


The following account of A SINGULAR BIRD INHABITING A VOLCANO IN
GUADALOUPE, is taken from a respectable source.

Father Dutertre, in his Description of Guadaloupe, the best and most
beautiful, in his opinion, of all the Leeward islands, speaks of an
extraordinary bird which inhabits its volcanic mountain, called La
Souffriere. This creature, called the Devil by the inhabitants, on account
of its deformity, is both a night and sea bird. During the day, its vision
appears to be indistinct, and it takes refuge near the top of the
mountain, where it has its nest in the ground, and where it hatches its
eggs. During the night, it flies about, and goes to prey on fish. Its
flesh is so delicate, (adds Father Dutertre,) that no huntsman returns
from the Souffriere without ardently desiring to have a dozen of these
birds suspended at his neck. Labat, the colleague of Dutertre, confirms
and adds to the account of the latter. "The bird called the Devil, of La
Souffriere, has (he says) membranes at his feet like a duck, and claws
like a bird of prey, a sharp and curved beak, large eyes, which cannot
bear the light of day, or discern almost any object, so that when
surprised in the day-time, at a distance from his nest, he runs against
every thing in his way, and falls to the ground; but during the night he
is active in extracting his prey from the sea." He adds, that "he is a
bird of passage, and is considered a kind of petrel. I have taken pleasure
in occasionally observing fishermen catch fish during the night by the
light of a straw torch; but here we have a sea-bird of much greater
ingenuity, which fishes by the light of a volcano, and hatches his eggs by
the warmth of its sulphureous discharge."


The following story is recorded in history as a fact, under the title of A
CURIOUS ADVENTURE OF AN OWL.

In a council held at Rome by Pope John XXIII. at the first session,
happened the Adventure of the Owl.--"After the mass of the Holy Ghost, all
being seated, and John sitting on his throne, suddenly a frightful owl
came screaming out of his hole, and placed himself just before the pope,
staring earnestly upon him. The arrival of this nocturnal bird in the
day-time, caused many speculations: some took it for an ill omen, and were
terrified; others smiled, and whispered to each other. As to the Pope, he
blushed, was in a sweat, arose, and brake up the assembly. But at the next
session, the owl took his place again, fixing his eyes upon John; who was
more dismayed than before, and ordered the bird to be driven away. A
pleasant sight it was, to behold the prelates occupied in hunting him, for
he would not decamp! At last they killed him, as an incorrigible heretic,
by throwing their canes at him."--_Jortin's Ecclesiastical History_, vol.
v. p. 485, 486.


We shall next record some CURIOUS FACTS IN NATURAL HISTORY.--We often meet
in our aviaries with what are called mule canary birds, that is, the
offspring of the gray linnet and the canary. "In the country, where the
domestic fowls are accustomed to wander to a considerable distance from
the farm-yard, I believe it is no uncommon occurrence for a chicken to
make its appearance, that is evidently the offspring of the partridge and
common hen. Indeed, I am inclined to think that the breed between fowls of
the same genus are oftener crossed than we are aware of."

It is a common practice in the country, to set a hen, as it is called,
with ducks' eggs; and the agony which she suffers, when she sees her young
charge first take to their natural element, the water, has often been
observed with sympathy. The following anecdote may be relied upon, as the
circumstance was observed by a gentleman of science:--

A hen, which was employed to hatch some ducks' eggs in the neighbourhood
of a dyer's mill, where there was a small pond, was observed to exhibit
the usual symptoms of terror and alarm when the ducklings first took to
the water; but by degrees she became quite reconciled to their habits, and
was accustomed to enjoy herself, in great quietness, on the banks, while
they gamboled in the pool. For two or three years she uniformly brought
out ducklings, and at last, as regularly led them to the water as their
natural dam would have done.

In the course of time, however, she brought out a brood of chickens. These
she immediately led to the side of the pool also; but, on finding they did
not enter the water, she became quite uneasy, invited them close to it,
made every motion for them to enter it, flew over the pond, and then
called them to follow, but all to no purpose. When she found that nothing
would entice them to enter the water, she actually seized upon one or two
of them, and threw them into it; and, if she had not been prevented, it is
believed she would have drowned her whole progeny. This shews how much the
native habits, even of fowls, may be changed by circumstances; and proves,
in some degree, the existence of memory without judgment in the feathered
tribes.

Some years ago, a farmer in the lower district of Annandale, took it into
his head to rob a wild duck of her eggs, and to place them under one of
his tame ducks, that was sitting at that time. The young brood (twelve in
number) came into the world at the usual period, but one only continued
with her stepdame. This extraordinary bird, however, never perfectly
acquired the habits or dispositions of her new sisterhood: she never would
associate with the tame drakes, but every spring left the farm-yard, and
proceeded to the wilds in quest of mates; and, what was remarkably
singular, she seemed to have a malicious pleasure in leading them into a
snare, and was at great pains to draw them into such situations as
admitted of their being easily shot, or otherwise destroyed. She always
hatched her young in a peat moss, at some distance from the house, but
never failed to bring them to the farm-yard, as soon as they were able to
follow her. When this duck was about four years old, the owner was visited
by a kinsman from Fife, who was so much taken up with her, that he begged
for, and obtained her, as a present. She was put into a cage, and by him
conveyed to his house near Kinross. She was kept in confinement for a
night and a day; when, seeming perfectly contented, she was let out into
the yard, where she set about adjusting herself for some time; she then
suddenly took wing, and in the course of a few hours was among her old
companions in Annandale. She was a second time conveyed to Fife, and her
wings clipped.

She continued perfectly happy, to appearance, till her feathers grew, when
she again bade her new friends farewell. She was shot in the neighbourhood
of Biggar, by a gentleman, who communicated the circumstance to the owner,
whose name he learned from the collar that was found about her neck,
containing his name and place of abode.


FORMATION OF THE CHICK IN THE EGG.--Scarcely has the hen sat upon the eggs
twelve hours, before some lineaments of the head and body of the chick are
discernible in the embryo; at the end of the second day, the heart begins
to beat, but no blood is to be seen. In forty-eight hours we may
distinguish two vesicles with blood, the pulsation of which is evident;
one of them is the left ventricle, the other, the root of the great
artery; soon after, one of the auricles of the heart is perceptible, in
which pulsation may be remarked as well as in the ventricle. So early as
the seventh hour, the wings may be distinguished, and on the head two
globules for the brain, one for the beak, and two others for the front and
hind part of the head. Towards the end of the fourth day, the two
auricles, now distinctly visible, approach nearer the heart than they did
before. About the fifth day the liver may be perceived; at the end of one
hundred and thirty-eight hours, the lungs and stomach become visible; and
in a few hours more, the intestines, veins, and upper jaw. On the seventh
day, the brain begins to assume a more consistent form. One hundred and
ninety hours after incubation, the beak opens, and flesh appears on the
breast. In two hundred and ten, the ribs are formed, and the gall bladder
is visible. The bile, in a few hours more, is seen of a green colour; and
if the chick be separated from its coverings, it will be seen to move. The
feathers begin to shoot towards the two hundred and fortieth hour, and at
the same time the skull becomes cartilaginous; in twenty-four hours more,
the eyes appear; at the two hundred and eighty-eighth, the ribs are
perfected; and at the three hundred and thirty-first, the lungs, the
stomach, and the breast, assume their natural appearance. On the
eighteenth day of incubation, the first faint piping of the chick is
heard. It then continually increases in size and in strength till it
emerges from its prison.

By so many different gradations does the adorable wisdom of God conduct
these creatures into life; all their progressive evolutions are arranged
with order, and there are none without sufficient cause. If the liver is
always formed on the fifth day, it is from the preceding state of the
chick. No part of its body could appear sooner or later, without some
injury to the embryo, and each of its members appears at the most
convenient moment. The wise and invariable order in the production of this
little body, is evidently the work of supernal power; and we shall be more
convinced of it, if we consider the manner in which the chick is formed
from the parts which compose the egg.

How admirable is that principle of life, the source of a new being,
contained in the egg; all the parts of the animal being invisible till
they become developed by warmth! What a wonderful order and regularity is
observed in this amazing process,--the same evolutions taking place at
once in twenty eggs! Neither does changing the position of the egg at all
injure the embryo, or retard the formation of the chick; which, at the
time when it breaks the shell, is found to be heavier than the whole egg
was at first. These, however admirable, are far from being all the wonders
displayed in the progress of incubation. The microscope, and the
penetrating investigations of the curious, have only discovered what comes
more immediately under the observation of our senses; whilst the discovery
of many things remains for those who are to follow us, or perhaps they may
never be known in this state of our existence. Much might be asked
concerning the mystery connected with the formation of animal bodies,
which at present is impenetrable to our researches; but let not this
discourage us; let us only endeavour to improve, and make a good use of,
the little knowledge we are permitted to acquire, and we shall have a
sufficiency to discover at every step the wisdom and power of God, and
enough to employ for the benefit of our fellow-creatures.



CHAP. XXI.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING BIRDS.--(_Concluded._)

    _Birds' Nests--Migration of Birds--Curious Method of Bird-Catching in
    the Faro Isles--Song of Birds._


BIRDS' NESTS.

  ----------It wins my admiration,
  To view the structure of that little work,
  A bird's nest: mark it well within, without;
  No tool had he that wrought, no knife to cut,
  No nail to fix, no bodkin to insert,
  No glue to join! his little beak was all;
  And yet how neatly finish'd!
                                        _Hurdis._

The structure of Bird's Nests discovers to us many curious objects, which
cannot be uninteresting to the reflecting mind. And who does not admire
those little regular edifices composed of so many different materials,
collected and arranged with so much pains and skill, and constructed with
so much industry, elegance, and neatness, with no other tools than a bill
and two feet? That men can erect great buildings according to certain
rules of art, is not surprising, when we consider that they enjoy the
reasoning faculty, and that they possess tools and instruments of various
kinds, to facilitate their work; but that a delicate little bird, in want
of almost every thing necessary for such an undertaking, with only its
bill and claws, should know how to combine so much skill, regularity of
form, and solidity of composition, in constructing its nest, is truly
wonderful, and never enough to be admired. We shall therefore consider it
more minutely.

Nothing is more curious than the nest of a goldfinch or a chaffinch. The
inside of it is lined with cotton, wool, and fine silky threads, while the
outside is interwoven with thick moss; and that the nest may be less
remarkable, and less exposed to the eye of observers, the colour of the
moss resembles that of the bark of the tree, or of the hedge, where the
nest is built. In some nests, the hair, the down, and the straws, are
curiously laid across each other, and interwoven together. There are
others, all the parts of which are neatly joined and fastened together by
a thread which the bird makes of flax, horse or cow hair, and often of
spiders' webs. Other birds, as the blackbird and the lapwing, after having
constructed their nest, plaster the outside with a thin coating of mortar,
which cements and binds together all the lower parts, and which, with the
help of some cow-hair or moss, stuck to it whilst the plaster is wet,
keeps it compact and warm. The nests of swallows are differently
constructed from the rest. They use neither sticks, straws, nor strings;
but they compose a sort of cement, with which they make themselves nests,
perfectly neat, secure, and convenient. To moisten the dust of which they
form their nests, they frequently skim over the surface of some lake or
river, and, dipping their breasts into the water, shake their wet feathers
upon the dust till it is sufficiently moist, and then knead it up into a
kind of clay with their bills.

But the nests most worthy of our admiration are those of certain Indian
birds, which suspend them with great art from the branches of trees, that
they may be secure from the pursuit of several animals and insects. In
general, each species of bird has a peculiar mode of fixing its nest; some
build them on houses, others in trees, some in the grass, others on the
ground, and always in that way which is most adapted for the rearing of
their young, and the preservation of their species. Such, therefore, is
the wonderful instinct of birds, even in the structure and disposition of
their nests alone, that we may safely conclude they cannot be mere
machines. But is it not also apparent, that in all their works they
propose to themselves certain ends? They construct their nests hollow,
forming the half of a sphere, that the heat may be more concentric. The
nest is covered without by substances more or less coarse, not only to
serve as a foundation, but to prevent the wind and insects from entering.
Within, it is lined with the most delicate materials, such as wool and
feathers, that the nestlings may be soft and warm. Is it not something
nearly approaching to reason, which teaches the bird to place its nest in
such a manner as to be sheltered from rain, and out of the reach of
destructive animals? Where have they learned that they are to produce
eggs, which will require a nest to prevent them from being broken, and to
keep them in the necessary temperature? that the heat would not be
sufficiently concentrated if the nest were larger; and that, if it were
smaller, all the young ones could not be contained in it? Who has taught
them not to mistake the time, but to calculate so exactly, that the eggs
are not laid before the nest is finished? These questions have never been
satisfactorily answered, neither can this mystery in nature be clearly
explained; all we can do is, to refer it to an instinct, which some
animals seem to possess in a manner almost equal to reason: and instinct
to them is much more happy and beneficial than reason would be; for they
seem to enjoy all the sweets of life without their moments being
imbittered by the consideration of their inferior rank in the creation,
and without the pain of anticipating evil.

The following account is principally abridged from that very interesting
work, The Contemplative Philosopher. The present compiler acknowledges his
obligations to that work on many occasions, and gives it his warmest
recommendations to the public.


MIGRATION OF BIRDS.--The migration of birds has been justly considered as
one of the most wonderful exhibitions of nature. This migration, which is
common to the quail, the stork, the crane, the fieldfare, the woodcock,
the cuckoo, the martin, the swallow, and various others, is, indeed, a
very curious article in natural history, and furnishes a very striking
instance of a powerful instinct impressed by the Creator. Dr. Derham
observes two circumstances remarkable in this migration: the first, that
these untaught, unthinking creatures, should know the proper times for
their passage, when to come and when to go; as also, that some should come
when others retire. No doubt, the temperature of the air as to heat and
cold, and their natural propensity to breed their young, are the great
incentives to these creatures to change their habitations. But why should
they at all change their habitations? And why is some certain place to be
found, in all the terraqueous globe, that, all the year round, can afford
them convenient food and habitation?--The second remarkable circumstance
is, that they should know which way to steer their course, and whither to
go. What instinct is it that can induce a poor foolish bird to venture
over vast tracts of land and sea. If it be said, that by their high
ascents into the air, they can see across the seas; yet what shall
instruct or persuade them, that another land is more proper for their
purpose than this? that Great Britain, for instance, should afford them
better accommodation than Egypt, the Canaries, Spain, or any of the other
intermediate countries?--_Physico-Theology_, book vii. chap. 3.

Birds of passage, moreover, are all peculiarly accommodated, by the
structure of their parts, for long flights; and it is remarked, that in
their migrations, they observe a wonderful order and polity: they fly in
troops, and steer their course, without the aid of a compass, to vast
unknown regions. The flight of the wild geese, in a wedge-like figure, has
been often observed; to which it is added, by the natural historian of
Norway, that the three foremost, who are the soonest tired, retreat
behind, and are relieved by others, who are again succeeded by the rest in
order. But this circumstance has been observed, many ages before, by
Pliny, who describes certain birds of passage flying in the form of a
wedge, and spreading wider and wider; those behind resting upon those
before, till the leaders being tired, are, in their turn, received into
the rear.

"Wild ducks and cranes (says Abbé de la Pluche) fly, at the approach of
winter, in quest of more favourable climates. They all assemble at a
certain day, like swallows and quails. They decamp at the same time, and
it is very agreeable to observe their flight. They generally range
themselves in a long column like an I, or in two lines united in a point
like a > reversed." And thus, as Milton says

  "Rang'd in figure, wedge the way."

"The duck or quail that forms the point (adds the Abbé) cuts the air, and
facilitates a passage to those that follow: but he is charged with this
commission only for a certain time, at the conclusion of which he wheels
into the rear, and another takes his post." And thus again, as Milton
says,

  "----------With mutual wing
  Easing their flight."

It has been observed of the storks, that for about the space of a
fortnight before they pass from one country to another, they constantly
resort together, from all the circumjacent parts, to a certain plain, and
there forming themselves once every day into a _dou-wanne_, (according to
the phrase of the people,) are said to determine the exact time of their
departure, and the places of their future abode.

Mr. Biberg, an ingenious naturalist of Sweden, has observed, that "the
starling, finding, after the middle of summer, that worms are less
plentiful in that country, goes annually into Scania, Germany, and
Denmark. The female chaffinches, every winter, about Michaelmas, go in
flocks to Holland; but as the males stay in Sweden, the females come back
next spring. In the same manner, the female Carolina yellow-hammer, in the
month of September, while the rice on which she feeds is laid up in
granaries, goes towards the south, and returns in the spring to seek her
mate. Our aquatic birds (continues he) are forced by necessity to fly
toward the south every autumn, before the water is frozen. Thus we know,
that the lakes of Poland and Lithuania are filled with swans and geese
every autumn, at which time they go in great flocks, along many rivers, as
far as the Euxine Sea. But in the beginning of spring, as soon as the heat
of the sun molests them, they return back, and go again to the northern
ponds and lakes, in order to lay their eggs. For there, and especially in
Lapland, there is a vast abundance of gnats, which afford them excellent
nourishment, as all of this kind live in the water before they get their
wings."--Mr. Biberg proceeds to enumerate many other birds that migrate to
different regions; and he then adds: "By these migrations, birds become
useful to many different countries, and are distributed almost over all
the globe; and I cannot here forbear expressing my admiration, that all of
them exactly observe the times of coming and going, and that they never
mistake their way."--_Biberg on the Economy of Nature_, in
_Stillingfleet's Misc. Tracts_.

The principal food of the birds of passage, while in Great Britain, is the
fruit of the whitethorn, or haws, which hang on our hedges in winter in
prodigious plenty; but where they breed, and seem to be most at ease, as
in Sweden, &c. there are no haws; nor indeed in many of the countries
through which they journey on their way: so that it is evident they change
their food in their passage.

The manner in which the birds of passage journey to their southern abodes
is supposed to vary, according to the different structure of their bodies,
and their power of supporting themselves in the air. The birds with short
wings, such as the red-start, black-cap, &c. though they are incapable of
such long flights as the swallow, or of flying with such celerity, yet may
pass to less distant places, and by slower movements. Swallows and cuckoos
may perform their passage in a very short time; but there is for them no
necessity for speed, since every day's passage affords them an increase of
warmth, and a continuance of food.

Swallows are often observed, in innumerable flocks, on churches, rocks,
and trees, previous to their departure hence; and Mr. Collinson proves
their return here, perhaps in equal numbers, by two curious relations of
undoubted credit; the one communicated to him by Mr. Wright, the master of
a ship, and the other by Admiral Sir Charles Wager.--"Returning home,
(says Sir Charles,) in the spring of the year, as I came into soundings in
our channel, a great flock of swallows came and settled on my rigging;
every rope was covered; they hung on one another, like a swarm of bees;
the decks and awning were filled with them. They seemed almost famished
and spent, and were only feathers and bones; but, being recruited with a
night's rest, they took their flight in the morning." This apparent
fatigue proves that they must have had a long journey, considering the
amazing swiftness of these birds; so that, in all probability, they had
crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and were returning from the shores of Senegal,
or other parts of Africa.

Naturalists are much divided in their opinion concerning the periodical
appearance and disappearance of swallows.--Some assert, that they remove
from climate to climate, at those particular seasons when winged insects,
their natural food, fail in one country and are plentiful in another,
where they likewise find a temperature of air better suited to their
constitution. In support of this opinion, we have the testimony of Sir
Charles Wager, and of Mr. Adamson, who, in the account of his voyage,
informs us, that, about fifty leagues from the coast of Senegal, four
swallows settled upon the ship, on the 6th day of October; that these
birds were taken; and that he knew them to be the true swallow of Europe,
which he conjectures were then returning to the coast of Africa.

But Mr. Daines Barrington, in a curious essay on this subject, has adduced
many arguments and facts, to prove that no birds, however strong and swift
in their flight, can possibly fly over such large tracts of ocean as has
been commonly supposed. He is of opinion, therefore, that the swallows
mentioned by Mr. Adamson, instead of being on their passage from Europe,
were only fluttering from the Cape de Verde islands to the continent of
Africa; a much nearer flight, but to which they seemed to be unequal, as
they were obliged, from fatigue, to alight upon the ship, and fall into
the hands of the sailors. And Mr. Kalm, another advocate for the torpidity
of swallows during the winter, having remarked, however, that he himself
had met with them nine hundred and twenty miles from any land; Mr.
Barrington endeavours to explain these, and similar facts, by supposing
that birds discovered in such situations, instead of attempting to cross
large branches of the ocean, have been forcibly driven from some coast by
storms, and that they would naturally perch upon the first vessel they
could see.

In a word, Mr. Barrington is further of opinion, with some other
naturalists, that the swallows do not leave this island at the end of
autumn, but that they lie in a torpid state, till the beginning of summer,
in the banks of rivers, in the hollows of decayed trees, the recesses of
old buildings, the holes of sand-banks, and in similar situations. Among
other facts, Mr. Barrington communicated one to Mr. Pennant, that "numbers
of swallows have been found in old dry walls, and in sand-hills, near the
seat of the late Lord Belhaven, in East Lothian; not once only, but from
year to year; and that, when they were exposed to the warmth of a fire,
they revived."

These, and other facts of the same kind, are allowed to be
incontrovertible; and Mr. Pennant, in particular, infers from them, that
"we must divide our belief relative to these two so different opinions,
and conclude, that one part of the swallow tribe migrate, and that others
have their winter quarters near home."

But there are still more wonderful facts related. Mr. Kalm remarks, that
"swallows appear in the Jerseys about the beginning of April; that, on
their first arrival, they are wet, because they have just emerged from the
sea or lakes, at the bottom of which they had remained, in a torpid state,
during the whole winter." Other naturalists have asserted, that swallows
pass the winter immersed under the ice, at the bottom of lakes, or
beneath the waters of the sea. Olaus Magnus, archbishop of Upsal, seems to
have been the first who adopted this opinion. He informs us, that
"swallows are found in great clusters at the bottoms of the northern
lakes, with mouth to mouth, wing to wing, foot to foot, and that in autumn
they creep down the reeds to their subaqueous retreats." In other
instances, Mr. Pennant remarks, the good archbishop did not want
credulity. But the submersion of the swallows under water does not rest
upon his testimony alone. Klein asserts the same; and gives the following
account of the manner of their retiring, which he had from some
countrymen:

"They asserted, that the swallows sometimes assembled in numbers on a
reed, till it broke, and sunk them to the bottom; that their immersion was
preceded by a kind of dirge, which lasted more than a quarter of an hour;
that others united, laid hold of a straw with their bills, and plunged
down in society; that others, by clinging together with their feet, formed
a large mass, and in this manner committed themselves to the deep." Bishop
Pontoppidan asserts, that clusters of swallows, in their torpid winter
state, have sometimes been found by fishermen, among reeds and bushes in
lakes; and he charges Mr. Edwards with having, in his Natural History of
Birds, groundlessly contradicted this incontestable truth. And Mr.
Heerkens, a celebrated Dutch naturalist, in a poem on the birds of
Friesland, speaks in positive terms of the torpid state, and submersion,
of the swallows:

  "Ere winter his somnif'rous power exerts,
  Six dreary months the swallow-tribes are seen
  In various haunts conceal'd; in rocks, and caves,
  And structures rude, by cold benumb'd, asleep;
  Bill within bill inserted, clust'ring thick:
  Or solitary some, of mate bereft.
  But, wonderful to tell! some lie immers'd,
  Inanimate, beneath the frigid waves,
  As if a species of the finny kinds."

Mr. Heerkens, after reciting many instances, and producing in his notes
many authorities, of swallows having been found in a torpid state,
proceeds, in his poem, to describe, very minutely, their ascent out of the
water. The drowsy birds appear on the shore, as if unconscious still of
life. Some inhale the soft breeze, like one of the finny tribe exiled from
its stream. Some begin to adjust their dishevelled wings.--Others, almost
revived, essay, with busy bill, to assist their aged companions. All, at
length, restored to the unrestrained use of their wings, range, in
numerous flights, the aërial way.

Two reasons have, been adduced to prove this supposed submersion of
swallows impossible. "In the first place, (says Mr. Smellie,) no land
animal can exist so long without some degree of respiration. The otter,
the seal, and water fowls of all kinds, when confined under the ice, or
entangled in nets, soon perish; yet it is well known, that animals of this
kind can remain much longer under water than those who are destitute of
that peculiar structure of the heart, which is necessary for any
considerable residence beneath that penetrating element."

Mr. John Hunter, in a letter to Mr. Pennant, informs us, "that he had
dissected many swallows, but found nothing in them different from other
birds, as to the organs of respiration; that all those animals which he
had dissected, of the class that sleep during the winter, such as lizards,
frogs, &c. had a very different conformation as to those organs; that all
those animals, he believes, do breathe in their torpid state, and, as far
as his experience reaches, he knows they do; and that, therefore, he
esteems it a very wild opinion, that terrestrial animals can remain any
long time under water without drowning." Another argument against their
submersion arises from the specific gravity of the animals themselves. Of
all birds, the swallow tribes are perhaps the lightest. Their plumage, and
the comparative smallness of their weight, indicates that Nature destined
them to be almost perpetually on the wing, in quest of food. From this
specific lightness, the submersion of swallows, and their continuing for
months underwater, amount to a physical impossibility. Even water fowls,
when they wish to dive, are obliged to rise and plunge with considerable
exertion, in order to overcome the resistance of the water. Klein's idea
of swallows employing reeds and straws as means of submersion, is rather
ludicrous; for these light substances, instead of being proper instruments
for assisting them to reach the bottom, would infallibly contribute to
support them on the surface, and prevent the very object of their
intention. Besides, admitting the possibility of their reaching the bottom
of lakes and seas, and supposing they could exist for several months
without respiration, what would be the consequence? The whole would soon
be devoured by otters, seals, and fishes, of various kinds. Nature is
always anxious for the preservation of its species. But if the swallow
tribes were destined to remain torpid during the winter months, at the
bottom of lakes and seas, she would act in opposition to her own
intentions; for, in a season or two, the whole genus would be annihilated.

This reasoning is very ingenious, but, on the other hand, the facts
related above are very stubborn; and the celebrated Buffon does not
hesitate to yield to the force of such strong and concurrent evidence. He
had procured some chimney-swallows, and kept them some time in an
icehouse, in order to ascertain whether they were of the torpid kind, and
he thus relates the result of his experiments. "None of them fell into the
torpid state; the greater part died, and not one of them revived by being
moved into the warmth of the sun. Those that had not long suffered the
cold of the icehouse, had all their movements, and went out briskly. From
these experiments I thought I might conclude, that this species of the
swallow was not liable to that state of torpor and insensibility, which
supposes, notwithstanding, and very necessarily, the fact of their
remaining at the bottom of the water during the winter. Having had
recourse, moreover, to the most creditable travellers, I found them agreed
as to the passage of swallows over the Mediterranean. And Mr. Adamson has
positively assured me, that during the long stay he made in Senegal, he
observed the long-tailed swallow, the same with the chimney-swallow we are
now speaking of, arrive constantly in Senegal about the time it leaves
France, and as constantly leave Senegal in the spring. It cannot,
therefore, be doubted, that this species of the swallow passes from Europe
into Africa in the autumn, and from Africa to Europe in the spring; of
consequence, it neither sleeps nor hides itself in holes, nor plunges into
the water on the approach of winter. There is, besides, another well
authenticated fact, which comes in proof here, and shews that this swallow
is not reduced to a torpid state by cold, which it can bear to a certain
degree, (and if that degree is exceeded, it dies,) for if we observe these
birds towards the end of the warm season, we shall see them, a little
before their departure, flying together in families, the father, the
mother, and the young brood. Afterwards several families unite, and form
themselves into flocks, more or less numerous in proportion as the time of
their departure draws near. At last they go all together, three or four
days before the end of September, or about the beginning of October.
Still, however, some remain, and do not set off till a week, a fortnight,
or three weeks after the rest: and some too there are which do not go at
all, but stay and perish under the first rigours of the cold. These
swallows that delay their flight, or never undertake it, are such as find
their young too weak to follow them; such as have had the misfortune to
have their nests destroyed after laying, and have been obliged to rebuild
them a second or a third time. They stay for the love of their little
ones, and choose rather to endure the rigour of the season, than to
abandon their offspring. Thus they remain some time after the rest for the
purpose of taking their young with them; and if they are unable to carry
them off in the end, they perish with them.

"These facts then plainly demonstrate (concludes Mr. Buffon) that the
chimney-swallows pass successively and alternately from our climate to
another that is warmer; that they spend their summer here, and their
winter there; and of consequence never fall into a state of insensibility.
But, on the other hand, what have we to oppose to the precise testimony of
those, who, on the approach of winter, have seen these swallows in troops
throw themselves into the water; nay, not only this, but have seen them
taken out in nests from beneath the ice? What answer shall we make to
those who have beheld them in the torpid state, and seen them gradually
recover motion and life, when they were brought into the warmth, and moved
cautiously towards a fire? I know but of one means of reconciling these
facts: we must suppose that the sleeping and travelling swallow are of
different species, though the difference, for want of attention, has not
been observed."

Thus this great philosopher concurs with Mr. Pennant, in his solution,
already mentioned, of the difficulty, by supposing two species--the
migrating, and the sleeping swallow. With respect to the principal objects
of this wonderful instinct, that teaches such various kinds of the
feathered race to migrate to different countries, it is obvious, from what
has already been said, that they are governed by their food, temperature
of air, and convenient situations for breeding.


We shall now give an account of the CURIOUS METHOD OF BIRD-CATCHING IN THE
FARO ISLES.--The manner of bird-catching in the Faro Islands, is
exceedingly strange and hazardous. Necessity compels man to wonderful
attempts. The cliffs which contain the objects of their search, are often
two hundred fathoms in height, and are attempted both from above and
below. In the first case, the fowlers provide themselves with a rope
eighty or a hundred fathoms in length. The fowler fastening one end about
his waist, and between his legs, recommends himself to the protection of
the Almighty, and is lowered down by six others, who place a piece of
timber on the margin of the rock, to preserve the rope from wearing
against the sharp edge. They have, besides, a small line fastened to the
body of the adventurer, by which he gives signals, that they may lower or
raise him, or shift him from place to place. The last operation is
attended with great danger, by the loosening of the stones, which often
fall on his head, and would infallibly destroy him, were he not protected
by a strong thick cap; but even this is found unequal to save him against
the weight of the larger fragments of rock. The dexterity of the fowlers
is amazing; they will place their feet against the front of the precipice,
and dart themselves some fathoms from it; with a cool eye survey the
places where the birds nestle, and again shoot into their haunts. In
some places the birds lodge in deep recesses. The fowler will alight
there, disengage himself from the rope, fix it to a stone, and at his
leisure collect the booty, fasten it to his girdle, and resume his
pendulous seat. At times he will again spring from the rock, and in that
attitude, with a fowling-net placed on a staff, catch the old birds that
are flying to and from their retreats. When he has finished his dreadful
employ, he gives a signal to his friends above, who pull him up, and share
his hard-earned profit. The feathers are preserved for exportation: the
flesh is partly eaten fresh, but the greater part is dried for winter's
provision.

[Illustration: PERILOUS ADVENTURE OF A BIRD-CATCHER.

The engraving represents the situation of a bird-catcher at St. Kilda. A
tale is told of one of these men who had entered such a cavern, and in the
excitement produced by finding its floor all strewn over with eggs, forgot
the rope and loosened his hold: in a moment it was gone, and as he turned
he saw it swinging at the mouth of the cavern. In vain he tried to reach
it, it was beyond his grasp; he tried again and again, but all to no
purpose, while, as if in mockery of his dismay, it swung idly in the air,
just passing beyond his reach. What was he to do? A projection of rock
concealed him from the observation of those above, while the roar of the
sea prevented their hearing his cries. If they drew up the rope and found
him not there, he knew they would conclude he had lost his hold and
dropped into the sea, and he would then be left to starve in the cave. The
rope still kept passing backwards and forwards, as if tantalizing him with
the hope of escape. Every minute now seemed an age; at length, almost wild
with despair, he formed the desperate resolution to spring at the rope as
it passed by him. He watched for a favorable opportunity and leaped from
the cave: fortunately he was successful in catching it with a firm grasp,
and was safely drawn again to the top.]

The fowling from below has also its share of danger. The party goes on the
expedition in a boat; and when it has attained the base of the precipice,
one of the most daring, having fastened a rope about his waist, and
furnished himself with a long pole, with an iron hook at one end, either
climbs or is thrust up by his companions, who place a pole under his
breech, to the next footing spot he can reach. He, by means of the rope,
brings up one of the boat's crew; the rest are drawn up in the same
manner, and each is furnished with his rope and fowling-staff. They then
continue their progress upwards in the same manner, till they arrive at
the regions of the birds, and wander about the face of the cliff in search
of them. They then act in pairs; one fastens himself to the end of his
associate's rope, and, in places where the birds have nestled beneath his
footing, he permits himself to be lowered down, depending for his security
on the strength of his companion, who has to haul him up again; but it
sometimes happens that the person above is overpowered by the weight, and
both inevitably perish. They fling the fowl into the boat, which attends
their motions, and receives the booty. They often pass seven or eight days
in this tremendous employ, and lodge in the crannies which they find in
the face of the precipice.


We shall close this division of our work with A CURIOUS ACCOUNT OF THE
SONG OF BIRDS.--We introduce the subject by the following poetical
quotations; which, we have no doubt, will interest every admirer of
nature, and nature's God.

  --------------------------Every copse
  Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush
  Bending with dewy moisture, o'er the heads
  Of the coy choristers that lodge within,
  Are prodigal of harmony.
                                        _Thomson._

  ----------------------------Each bird,
  Or high in air, or secret in the shade,
  Rejoicing, warbles wild his grateful hymn.
                                        _Mallet._

  From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
  Solace the woods, and spread their painted wings
  Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale
  Ceases to warble: in shadiest covert hid,
  She all the night tunes her soft lays.
                                        _Milton._

Again:--

  ----------------The sweet poet of the vernal groves
  Melts all the night in strains of am'rous woe.
                                        _Armstrong._

Again:--

  --------When the spring renews the flow'ry field,
  And warns the pregnant nightingale to build,
  She seeks the safest shelter of the wood,
  Where she may trust her little tuneful brood.
  Fond of the chosen place, she views it o'er,
  Sits there, and wanders through the grove no more:
  Warbling, she charms it each returning night;--
  And gives the pensive mind a calm delight.
                                        _Rowe._

  The lark, that shuns on lofty boughs to build
  Her humble nest, sits silent in the field;
  But if the promise of a cloudless day,
  (Aurora smiling,) bids her rise and play,
  Then straight she shews 'twas not for want of voice,
  Or pow'r to climb, she made so low a choice;
  Singing she mounts, her airy wings are stretch'd
  Tow'rds heaven, as if from heav'n her note she fetch'd.
                                        _Waller._

  --------------------Birds of sweetest song
  Attune from native boughs their various lay,
  And cheer the forest; those of brighter plume
  With busy pinion skim the glitt'ring wave,
  Or tempt the sun, ambitious to display
  Their several merit.
                                        _Shenstone._

The Song of Birds is defined, by the Hon. Daines Barrington, to be a
succession of three or more different notes, which are continued without
interruption, during the same interval, with a musical bar of four
crotchets, in an adagio movement, or whilst a pendulum swings four
seconds. It is affirmed, that the notes of birds are no more innate than
language in man, and that they depend upon imitation, as far as their
organs will enable them to imitate the sounds which they have frequent
opportunities of hearing: and their adhering so steadily, even in a wild
state, to the same song, is owing to the nestling attending only to the
instruction of the parent bird, whilst they disregard the notes of all
others that may be singing around them. Birds in a wild state do not
usually sing above ten weeks in the year; whereas birds that have plenty
of food in a cage, sing the greatest part of the year: the female of no
species of birds ever sings. This is a wise provision, because her song
would discover her nest. In the same manner, we may account for her
inferiority of plumage. The faculty of singing is confined to the cock
birds; and accordingly Mr. Hunter, in dissecting birds of several species,
found the muscles of the larynx to be stronger in the nightingale than in
any other bird of the same size; and in all those instances where he
dissected both cock and hen, the same muscles were stronger in the cock.

It is an observation as ancient as the time of Pliny, that a capon does
not crow. Some ascribe the singing of the cock in the spring solely to the
motive of pleasing his mate during incubation; others, who allow that it
is partly for this end, believe it is partly owing to another cause, viz.
the great abundance of plants and insects in spring, which are the proper
food of singing birds at that time of the year, as well as seeds. Mr.
Barrington remarks, that there is no instance of any singing bird which
exceeds our blackbird in size; and this, he supposes, may arise from the
difficulty of concealing itself, should it call the attention of its
enemies, not only by its bulk, but by the proportionate loudness of its
notes. He further observes, that some passages of the song in a few kinds
of birds correspond with the intervals of our musical scale, of which the
cuckoo is a striking and known instance; but the greater part of their
song cannot be reduced to a musical scale; partly because the rapidity is
often so great, and it is also so uncertain when they may stop, that we
cannot reduce the passages to form a musical bar in any time whatsoever;
partly also, because the pitch of most birds is considerably higher than
the most shrill notes of those instruments which have the greatest
compass; and principally, because the intervals used by birds are commonly
so minute, that we cannot judge of them from the more gross intervals into
which we divide our musical octave. This writer apprehends, that all birds
sing in the same key; and he found by a nightingale, as well as a robin
which was educated under him, that the notes reducible to our intervals of
the octave were always precisely the same. Most people, who have not
attended to the notes of birds, suppose, that every species sing exactly
the same notes and passages: but this is not true; though there is a
general resemblance. Thus the London bird-catchers prefer the song of the
Kentish goldfinches, and Essex chaffinches; and some of the nightingale
fanciers prefer a Surrey bird to those of Middlesex.

Of all singing birds, the song of the nightingale has been most
universally admired; and its superiority consists in the following
particulars: its tone is much more mellow than that of any other bird,
though, at the same time, by a proper exertion of its musical powers, it
can be very brilliant. Another superiority is, its continuance of song
without a pause, which is sometimes twenty seconds; and when respiration
becomes necessary, it takes it with as much judgment as an opera singer.
The skylark, in this particular, as well as in compass and variety, is
only second to the nightingale. The nightingale also sings with judgment
and taste. Mr. Barrington says, that his nightingale began softly, like
the ancient orators, reserving its breath to swell certain notes, which
thus had a most astonishing effect. He adds, that the notes of birds which
are annually imported from Asia, Africa, and America, both singly and in
concert, are not to be compared to those of European birds. He has also
formed a table, to exhibit the comparative merits of the British singing
birds; wherein twenty being the point of perfection, he states the
nightingale at nineteen; the woodlark and skylark at eighteen; the
blackcap at fourteen; the titlark, linnet, goldfinch, and robin, at
twelve; with some variations respecting mellowness, sprightliness,
execution, &c. for which, with the proportional differences of other
birds, we refer to his work.


We cannot resist the temptation to insert the following well-known

  INVITATION TO THE FEATHERED RACE.

  _Written at Claverton, near Bath_

  Again the balmy zephyr blows,
    Fresh verdure decks the grove;
  Each bird with vernal rapture glows,
    And tunes his notes to love.

  Ye gentle warblers, hither fly,
    And shun the noontide heat;
  My shrubs a cooling shade supply,
    My groves a safe retreat.

  Here freely hop from spray to spray,
    Or weave the mossy nest,
  Here rove and sing the live-long day,
    At night here sweetly rest.

  Amidst this cool translucent rill,
    That trickles down the glade,
  Here bathe your plumes, here drink your fill,
    And revel in the shade.

  No schoolboy rude, to mischief prone,
    E'er shows his ruddy face,
  Or twangs his bow, or hurls a stone,
    In this sequester'd place.

  Hither the vocal thrush repairs,
    Secure the linnet sings:
  The goldfinch dreads no slimy snares,
    To clog her painted wings.

  Sad Philomel! ah, quit thy haunt,
    Yon distant woods among,
  And round my friendly grotto chaunt
    Thy sweetly plaintive song.

  Let not the harmless redbreast fear,
    Domestic bird, to come
  And seek a sure asylum here,
    With one that loves his home.

  My trees for you, ye artless tribe,
    Shall store of fruit preserve:
  O let me thus your friendship bribe!
    Come, feed without reserve.

  For you these cherries I protect,
    To you these plums belong;
  Sweet is the fruit that you have pick'd,
    But sweeter far your song.

  Let then this league betwixt us made,
    Our mutual int'rest guard;
  Mine be the gift of fruit and shade,
    Your songs be my reward.
                                      _Graves._



CHAP. XXII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.

  To their delicious task the fervent bees,
  In swarming millions, tend; around, athwart,
  Through the soft air the busy nations fly,
  Cling to the bud, and with inserted tube
  Suck its pure essence, its ethereal soul;
  And oft, with bolder wing, they, soaring, dare
  The purple heath, or where the wild thyme grow,
  And yellow load them with the luscious spoil.
                                        _Thomson._

  What various wonders may observers see
  In a small insect--the sagacious bee!
  Mark how the little untaught builders square
  Their rooms, and in the dark their lodgings rear;
  Nature's mechanics, they unwearied strive
  And fill, with curious labyrinths, the hive.
  See what bold strokes of architecture shine
  Through the whole frame, what beauty, what design!
                                        _Blackmore._


THE HONEY BEE.

This important insect has been long and justly celebrated for its
wonderful polity, the neatness and precision with which it constructs its
cells, and the diligence with which it provides, during the warmth of
summer, a supply of food for the support of the hive during the rigours of
the succeeding winter. The general history of this interesting insect has
been amply detailed by various authors, as Swammerdam, Reaumur, &c. &c.
Among the most elaborate accounts of later times, may be mentioned that of
Mr. John Hunter, which made its appearance in the Philosophical
Transactions for the year 1792; and that of M. Huber, contained in his
_Nouvelles Observations sur les Abeilles_, addressed to M. Bonnet, the
celebrated author of the "_Contemplations de la Nature_." The following
account is drawn principally from Hunter and Huber.

There are three periods, observes Hunter, at which the history of the bee
may commence: first, in the spring, when the queen begins to lay her eggs;
in the summer, at the commencement of a new colony; or in the autumn, when
they go into winter-quarters. We shall begin the particular history of the
bee with the new colony, when nothing is formed. When a hive sends off a
colony, it is commonly in the month of June; but that will vary according
to the season, for, in a mild spring, bees sometimes swarm in the middle
of May, and very often at the latter end of it. Before they come off, they
commonly hang about the mouth of the hole or door of the hive for some
days, as if they had not sufficient room within for such hot weather,
which we believe is very much the case; for if cold or wet weather come
on, they stow themselves very well, and wait for fine weather. But
swarming appears to be rather an operation arising from necessity; for
they do not seem to remove voluntarily, because if they have an empty
space to fill, they do not swarm; therefore, by increasing the size of the
hive, the swarming is prevented. This period is much longer in some than
in others. For some evenings before they come off, is often heard a
singular noise, a kind of ring, or sound of a small trumpet; by comparing
it with the notes of a piano-forte, it seemed to be the same sound with
the lower A of the treble. The swarm commonly consists of three classes; a
female or females, males, and those commonly called mules, which are
supposed to be of no sex, and are the labourers; the whole, about two
quarts in bulk, making about six or seven thousand. It is a question that
cannot easily be determined, whether this old stock sends off only young
of the same season, and whether the whole of their young ones, or only a
part.

As the males are entirely bred in the same season, part go off; but part
must stay, and most probably it is so with the others. They commonly come
off in the heat of the day, often immediately after a shower. When one
goes off, they all immediately follow, and fly about, seemingly in great
confusion, although there is one principle actuating the whole. They soon
appear to be directed to some fixed place; such as the branch of a tree or
bush, the cavities of old trees, or holes of houses leading into some
hollow place; and whenever the stand is made, they immediately repair to
it till they are all collected. But it would seem, in some cases, that
they had not fixed upon any resting-place before they come off, or, if
they had, that they were either disturbed, if it was near, or that it was
at a great distance; for, after hovering some time, as if undetermined,
they fly away, mount up into the air, and go off with great velocity. When
they have fixed upon their future habitation, they immediately begin to
make their combs for they have the materials within themselves. "I have
reason," says Mr. Hunter, "to believe that they fill their crops with
honey when they come away, probably from the stock in the hive. I killed
several of those that came away, and found their crops full, while those
that remained in the hive had their crops not near so full: some of them
came away with farina on their legs, which I conceive to be rather
accidental. I may just observe here, that a hive commonly sends off two,
sometimes three swarms in a summer, but that the second is commonly less
than the first, and the third less than the second; and this last has
seldom time to provide for the winter.

"The materials of their dwelling or comb, which is the wax, is the next
consideration, with the mode of forming, preparing, or disposing of it. In
giving a totally new account of the wax, I shall first shew it can hardly
be what it has been supposed to be. First, I shall observe that the
materials, as they are found composing the comb, are not to be found in
the same state (as a composition) in any vegetable, where they have been
supposed to be got. The substance brought in on the legs, which is the
farina of the flowers of plants, is, in common, I believe, imagined to be
the materials of which the wax is made, for it is called by most, the wax:
but it is the farina, for it is always of the same colour as the farina of
the flower where they are gathering; and, indeed, we see them gathering
it, and we also see them covered almost all over with it like a dust:
nevertheless, it has been supposed to be the wax, or that the wax was
extracted from it. Reaumur is of this opinion.

"I made several experiments, to see if there was such a quantity of oil in
it, as would account for the quantity of wax to be formed, and to learn if
it was composed of oil. I held it near the candle; it burnt, but did not
smell like wax, and had the same smell when burning, as farina when it was
burnt. I observed, that this substance was of different colours on
different bees, but always of the same colour on both legs of the same
bee; whereas a new-made comb was all of one colour. I observed, that it
was gathered with more avidity for old hives, where the comb is complete,
than for those hives where it was only begun, which we could hardly
conceive, admitting it to be the materials of wax. Also we may observe,
that at the very beginning of a hive, the bees seldom bring in any
substance on their legs for two or three days, and after that, the farina
gatherers begin to increase; for now some cells are formed to hold it as
a store, and some eggs are laid, which, when hatched, will require this
substance as food, and which will be ready when the weather is wet.

"The wax is formed by the bees themselves; it may be called an external
secretion of oil, and I have found that it is formed between each scale of
the under side of the belly. When I first observed this substance, in my
examination of the working bee, I was at a loss to say what it was: I
asked myself if it were scales forming, and whether they cast the old, as
the lobster, &c. does? but it was to be found only between the scales on
the lower side of the belly. On examining the bees through glass hives,
while they were climbing up the glass, I could see that most of them had
this substance, for it looked as if the lower or posterior edge of the
scale was double, or that there were double scales; but I perceived it was
loose, not attached. Finding that the substance brought in on their legs
was farina, intended, as appeared from every circumstance, to be the food
of the bee, and not to make wax; and not having yet perceived any thing
that could give me the least idea of wax; I conceived these scales might
be it, at least I thought it necessary to investigate them. I therefore
took several on the point of a needle, and held them to a candle, where
they melted, and immediately formed themselves into round globules; upon
which I no longer doubted that this was the wax, which opinion was
confirmed to me by not finding those scales but in the building season.

"The cells, or rather the congeries of cells, which compose the comb, may
be said to form perpendicular plates, or partitions, which extend from top
to bottom of the cavity in which they build, and work downwards; but if
the upper part of this vault to which their combs are fixed, is removed,
and a dome is put over, they begin at the upper edge of the old comb, and
work up into the new cavity at the top. They generally may be guided, as
to the directions of their new plates, by forming ridges at top, to which
they begin to attach their combs. In a long hive, if these ridges are
longitudinal, their plates of comb will be longitudinal; if placed
transversely, so will be the plates; and if obliquely, the plates of comb
will be oblique also. Each plate consists of a double set of cells, whose
bottoms form the partition between each set. The plates themselves are not
very regularly arranged, not forming a regular plane where they might have
done so, but are often adapted to the situation or shape of the cavity in
which they are built.

"The bees do not endeavour to shape their cavity to their work, as the
wasps do, nor are the cells of equal depths, also fitting them to their
situation; but as the breeding cells must all be of a given depth, they
reserve a sufficient number for breeding in, and they put the honey into
the others, as also into the shallow ones. The attachment of the comb
round the cavity is not continued, but interrupted, so as to form passages
in the middle of the plates, especially if there be a cross-stick to
support the comb; these allow of bees to go across from plate to plate.
The substance which they use for attaching their combs to surrounding
parts, is not the same as the common wax; it is softer and tougher, a good
deal like the substance with which they cover in their chrysalis, or the
humblebee surrounds her eggs. It is probably a mixture of wax with farina.
The cells are placed nearly horizontal, but not exactly so; the mouth
raised a little, which probably may be to retain the honey the better:
however, this rule is not strictly observed, for often they are
horizontal, and towards the lower edge of a plane of comb they are often
declining. The first combs that a hive forms are the smallest, and much
neater than the last or lowermost. Their sides or partitions, between cell
and cell, are much thinner, and the hexagon is much more perfect. The wax
is purer, being probably little else but wax, and it is more brittle. The
lower combs are considerably larger, and contain much more wax, or
perhaps, more properly, more materials; and the cells are at such
distances as to allow them to be of a round figure; the wax is softer, and
there is something mixed with it. I have observed that the cells are not
all of equal size, some being a degree larger than others; and that the
small are the first formed, and of course at the upper part, where the
bees begin; and the larger are nearer the lower part of the comb, or last
made: however, in hives of a particular construction, where the bees may
begin to work at one end, and can work both down and towards the other
end, we often find the larger cells both on the lower part of the combs,
and also at the opposite end; these are formed for the males to be bred
in: in the hornet and wasp combs there are larger cells for the queens to
be bred in; these are also formed in the lower tier, and are the last
formed.

"The first comb made in a hive is all of one colour, viz. almost white;
but is not so white towards the end of the season, having then more of a
yellow cast."

What follows is principally abridged from Huber, who in many instances is
more correct than Hunter.--A hive contains three kind of bees. 1. A single
queen bee, distinguishable by the great length of her body, and the
proportional shortness of her wings. 2. Working-bees, female non-breeders,
or, as they were formerly called, neuters, to the amount of many
thousands; these are the smallest bees in the hive, and are armed with a
sting. 3. Drones, or males, to the number perhaps of fifteen hundred or
two thousand; these are larger than the workers, and of a dark colour;
they make a great noise in flying, and have no sting. The whole labour of
the community is performed by the workers: they elaborate the wax, and
construct the cells; they collect the honey, and feed the brood. The
drones, numerous as they are, serve no other purpose than to ensure the
increase of the hive, and are regularly massacred by the workers at the
beginning of autumn.

It is the office of the queen-bee to lay the eggs. These remain about
three days in the cells before they are hatched. A small white worm then
makes its appearance, (called indifferently, worm, larva, maggot, or
grub;) this larva is fed with honey for some days, and then changes into a
nymph or pupa. After passing a certain period in this state, it comes
forth a perfect winged insect.

M. Huber, after noticing the propagation of this industrious race, next
states the accidental discovery of the very singular and unexpected
consequences which follow from retarding the impregnation of the queen-bee
beyond the twentieth or twenty-first day of her life. In the natural order
of things, or when impregnation is not retarded, the queen begins to lay
the eggs of workers forty-six hours after, and she continues for the
subsequent eleven months to lay none but these; "and it is only after this
period, that a considerable and uninterrupted laying of the eggs of drones
commences. When, on the contrary, impregnation is retarded after the
twenty-eighth day, the queen begins, from the forty-sixth hour, to lay the
eggs of drones; and she lays no other kind during her whole life." It
would be tedious to detail the experiments; they were numerous, and the
results uniform. "I occupied myself (says M. Huber) the remainder of 1787,
and the two subsequent years, with experiments on retarded fecundation,
and had constantly the same results." It is undoubted, therefore, that
when the course of natural instinct is retarded beyond the twentieth day,
only an imperfect generation is produced; as the queen, instead of laying
the eggs of workers and of males equally, will lay those of males only.

This discovery is entirely M. Huber's own: and so difficult is it to offer
any plausible explanation of the fact, that he himself has scarcely
attempted it.

The working-bees had been for ages considered as entirely destitute of
sex; and hence, in the writings of many authors, they are denominated
neuters, but from the experiments of Schirach and Huber, it seems now to
be clearly ascertained, that the workers are really of the female sex.

M. Huber confirms the curious discovery of M. Schirach, that when bees are
by any accident deprived of their queen, they have the power of selecting
one or two grubs of workers, and of converting them into queens; and that
they accomplish this by greatly enlarging the cells of those selected
larvæ, by supplying them more copiously with food, and with that of a more
pungent sort than is given to the common larvæ.

M. Huber gives the following curious account of the manner in which bees
proceed in forming capacious cells for the workers' grubs destined to
royalty.--"Bees soon become sensible of having lost their queen, and in a
few hours commence the labour necessary to repair their loss. First they
select the young common worms, which the requisite treatment is to convert
into queens, and immediately begin with enlarging the cells where they are
deposited. Their mode of proceeding is curious; and the better to
illustrate it, I shall describe the labour bestowed on a single cell,
which will apply to all the rest containing worms destined for queens.
Having chosen a worm, they sacrifice three of the contiguous cells; next
they supply it with food, and raise a cylindrical enclosure around, by
which the cell becomes a perfect tube, with a rhomboidal bottom; for the
parts forming the bottom are left untouched. If the bees damaged it, they
would lay open three corresponding cells on the opposite surface of the
comb, and consequently destroy their worms, which would be an unnecessary
sacrifice, and nature has opposed it. Therefore, leaving the bottom
rhomboidal, they are satisfied with raising a cylindrical tube around the
worm, which, like the other cells in the comb, are horizontal. But this
habitation remains suitable to the worm called to the royal state, only
during the first three days of its existence: another situation is
requisite for the other two days it is a worm. During that time, though so
small a portion of its life, it must inhabit a cell nearly of a
pyramidical figure, and hanging perpendicularly. The workers, therefore
gnaw away the cells surrounding the cylindrical tube, mercilessly
sacrifice their worms, and use the wax in constructing a new pyramidical
tube, which they solder at right angles to the first, and work it
downwards. The diameter of this pyramid decreases insensibly from the
base, which is very wide, to the point. In proportion as the worm grows,
the bees labour in extending the cell, and bring food, which they place
before its mouth, and near its body, forming a kind of cord around it. The
worm, which can move only in a spiral direction, turns incessantly to take
the food before its head: it insensibly descends, and at length arrives at
the orifice of the cell. Now is the time of transformation to a nymph. As
any further care is unnecessary, the bees close the cell with a peculiar
substance appropriated for it, and there the worm undergoes both its
metamorphoses."

M. Huber relates some experiments which confirm the singular discovery of
M. Riems, concerning common working bees that are capable of laying
eggs,--which, we may remark, is certainly a most convincing proof of their
being of the female sex. Eggs were observed to increase in number daily,
in a hive in which there were no queens of the usual appearance; but small
queens considerably resemble workers, and to discriminate them, required
minute inspection. "My assistant," (says M. Huber,) "then offered to
perform an operation that required both courage and patience, and which I
could not resolve to suggest, though the same expedient had occurred to
myself. He proposed to examine each bee in the hive separately, to
discover whether some small queen had not insinuated herself among them,
and escaped our first researches. It was necessary, therefore, to seize
every one of the bees, notwithstanding their irritation, and to examine
their specific character with the utmost care. This my assistant
undertook, and executed with great address. Eleven days were employed in
it; and, during all that time, he scarcely allowed himself any relaxation
but what the relief of his eyes required. He took every bee in his hand;
he attentively examined the trunk, the hind limbs, and the sting; and he
found that there was not one without the characteristics of the common
bee, that is, the little basket on the hind legs, the long trunk, and the
straight sting."

When a supernumerary queen is produced in a hive, or is introduced into it
in the course of experiment, either she or the rightful owner soon
perishes. The German naturalists, Schirach and Riems, imagined that the
working bees assailed the stranger, and stung her to death. Reaumur
considered it as more probable, that the sceptre was made to depend on the
issue of a single combat between the claimants; and this conjecture is
verified by the observations of Huber. The same hostility towards rivals,
and destructive vengeance against royal cells, animates all queens,
whether they be virgins, or in a state of impregnation, or mothers of
numerous broods. The working bees, it may here be remarked, remain quiet
spectators of the destruction, by the first-hatched queen, of the
remaining royal cells; they approach only to share in the plunder
presented by their havock-making mistress, greedily devouring any food
found at the bottom of the cells, and even sucking the fluid from the
abdomen of the nymphs before they toss out the carcase.

The following fact, connected with this subject, is one of the most
curious perhaps in the whole history of this wonderful insect. Whenever
the workers perceive that there are two rival queens in the hive, numbers
of them crowd around each; they seem to be perfectly aware of the
approaching deadly conflict, and willing to prompt their Amazonian
chieftains to the battle; for as often as the queens shew a
disinclination to fight, or seem inclined to recede from each other, or
to fly off, the bees immediately surround and detain them; but when either
combatant shews a disposition to approach her antagonist, all the bees
forming the clusters instantly give way, to allow her full liberty for the
attack. It seems strange that those bees, who in general shew so much
anxiety about the safety of their queen, should, in particular
circumstances, oppose her preparations to avoid impending danger,--should
seem to promote the battle, and to excite the fury of the combatants.

When a queen is removed from a hive, the bees do not immediately perceive
it; they continue their labours, "watch over their young, and perform all
their ordinary occupations. But, in a few hours, agitation ensues; all
appears a scene of tumult in the hive. A singular humming is heard; the
bees desert their young, and rush over the surface of the combs with a
delirious impetuosity." They have now evidently discovered that their
sovereign is gone; and the rapidity with which the bad news spreads
through the hive, to the opposite side of the combs, is very remarkable.
On replacing the queen in the hive, tranquillity is almost instantly
restored. The bees, it is worthy of notice, recognize the individual
person of their own queen. If another be palmed upon them, they seize and
surround her, so that she is either suffocated, or perishes by hunger; for
it is very remarkable, that the workers are never known to attack a queen
bee with their stings. If, however, more than eighteen hours have elapsed
before the stranger queen be introduced, she has some chance to escape:
the bees at first seize and confine her, but less rigidly; and they soon
begin to disperse, and at length leave her to reign over a hive, in which
she was at first treated as a prisoner. If twenty-four hours have elapsed,
the stranger will be well received from the first, and at once admitted to
the sovereignty of the hive. In short, it appears that the bees, when
deprived of their queen, are thrown into great agitation; that they wait
about twenty hours, apparently in hopes of her return; but that, after
this interregnum, the agitation ceases, and they set about supplying their
loss by beginning to construct royal cells. It is when they are in this
temper, and not sooner, that a stranger queen will be graciously received;
and upon her being presented to them, the royal cells, in whatever state
of forwardness they may happen to be, are instantly abandoned, and the
larvæ destroyed. Reaumur must therefore have mistaken the result of his
own experiments, when he asserts, that a stranger queen is instantly well
received, though presented at the moment when the other is withdrawn. He
had seen the bees crowding around her at the entrance of the hive, and
laying their antennæ over her; and this he seems to have taken for
caressing. The structure of the hives he employed prevented him from
seeing further: had he used the leaf-hive, or one of similar construction,
he would have perceived that the apparent caresses of the guards were only
the prelude to actual imprisonment.

It is well known, that after the season of swarming, a general massacre of
the drones is commenced. Several authors assert, in their writings, that
the workers do not sting the drones to death, but merely harass them till
they are banished from the hive and perish. M. Huber contrived a glass
table, on which he placed several hives, and he was thus able to see
distinctly what passed at the bottom of the hive, which is generally dark
and concealed: he witnessed a real and furious massacre of the males, the
workers thrusting their stings so deep into the bodies of the defenceless
drones, that they were obliged to turn on themselves as on a pivot, before
they could extricate them. The work of death commenced in all the hives
much about the same time. It is not, however, by a blind or
indiscriminating instinct, that the workers are impelled thus to sacrifice
the males; for if a hive be deprived of its queen, no massacre of the
males takes place in it, while the hottest persecution rages in all the
surrounding hives. In this case, the males are allowed to survive the
winter. Mr. Bonner had observed this fact; he supposed, however, that the
workers thus tolerated the drones for the sake of the additional heat they
generated in the hive; but we now see the true reason to be, that without
them the new queen would not be fruitful. The drones are also suffered to
exist in hives that possess fertile workers, but no proper queen; and,
what is remarkable, they are likewise spared in hives governed by a queen
whose fecundity has been retarded. Here, then, we perceive a
counter-instinct opposed to that which would have impelled them to the
usual massacre.

Upon the subject of swarming, M. Huber commences with an interesting
account of the hatching of the queen bee. When the pupa is about to change
into the perfect insect, the bees render the cover of the cell thinner, by
gnawing away part of the wax; and with so much nicety do they perform this
operation, that the cover at last becomes pellucid, owing to its extreme
thinness. This must not only facilitate the exit of the fly, but, M. Huber
remarks, it may possibly be useful in permitting the evaporation of the
superabundant fluids of the nymph. After the transformation is complete,
the young queens would, in common course, immediately emerge from their
cells, as workers and drones do; but the bees always keep them prisoners
for some days in their cells, supplying them in the mean time with honey
for food; a small hole being made in the door of each cell, through which
the confined bee extends its proboscis to receive it. The royal prisoners
continually utter a kind of song, the modulations of which are said to
vary. The final cause of this temporary imprisonment, it is suggested, may
possibly be, that they may be able to take flight at the instant they are
liberated. When a young queen at last gets out, she meets with rather an
awkward reception; she is pulled, bitten, and chased, as often as she
happens to approach the other royal cells in the hive. The purpose of
nature here seems to be, that she should be impelled to go off with a
swarm as soon as possible. A curious fact was observed on these occasions:
when the queen found herself much harassed, she had only to utter a
peculiar noise, (the commanding voice, we may presume, of sovereignty,)
and all the bees were instantaneously constrained to submission and
obedience. This is, indeed, one of the most marked instances in which the
queen exerts her sovereign power.

The conclusions at which M. Huber arrives on the subject of swarms are the
following:--

First, "A swarm is always led off by a single queen, either the sovereign
of the parent hive, or one recently brought into existence. If, at the
return of spring, we examine a hive well peopled, and governed by a
fertile queen, we shall see her lay a prodigious number of male eggs in
the course of May, and the workers will choose that moment for
constructing several royal cells." This laying of male eggs in May, M.
Huber calls the great laying; and he remarks, that no queen ever has a
great laying till she be eleven months old. It is only after finishing
this laying, that she is able to undertake the journey implied in leading
a swarm; for, previously to this, "_latum trahit alvum_," which unfits her
for flying. There appears to be a secret relation between the production
of the male eggs, and the construction of royal cells. The great laying
commonly lasts thirty days; and regularly, on the twentieth or
twenty-first, several royal cells are founded.

Secondly, "When the larvæ hatched from the eggs laid by the queen in the
royal cells are ready to transform to nymphs, this queen leaves the hive,
conducting a swarm along with her; and the first swarm that proceeds from
the hive is uniformly conducted by the old queen." M. Huber remarks, that
it was necessary that instinct should impel the old queen to lead forth
the first swarm: for, that she being the strongest, would never have
failed to have overthrown the younger competitors for the throne. An old
queen, as has already been said, never quits a hive at the head of a
swarm, till she has finished her laying of male eggs; but this is of
importance, not merely that she may be lighter and fitter for flight, but
that she may be ready to begin with the laying of workers' eggs in her new
habitation, workers being the bees first needed, in order to secure the
continuance and prosperity of the newly-founded commonwealth.

Thirdly, "After the old queen has conducted the first swarm from the hive,
the remaining bees take particular care of the royal cells, and prevent
the young queens, successively hatched, from leaving them, unless at an
interval of several days between each." Under this head he introduces a
number of general remarks, some of which may prove useful. "A swarm (he
observes) is never seen unless in a fine day, or, to speak more correctly,
at a time of the day when the sun shines, and the air is calm. Sometimes
we have observed all the precursors of swarming, disorder and agitation:
but a cloud passed before the sun, and tranquillity was restored; the bees
thought no more of swarming. An hour afterwards, the sun having again
appeared, the tumult was renewed; it rapidly augmented, and the swarm
departed." A certain degree of tumult commences as soon as the young
queens are hatched, and begin to traverse the hive: the agitation soon
pervades the whole bees; and such a ferment soon rages, that M. Huber has
often observed the thermometer in the hive to rise suddenly from about 92°
to above 104°: this suffocating heat he considers as one of the means
employed by nature for urging the bees to go off in swarms. In warm
weather, one strong hive has been known to send off four swarms in
eighteen days.

The cause of the bees, which has been so eloquently and pathetically
pleaded by the Poet of the Seasons, is supported by M. Huber, on a
principle more intelligible, perhaps, and more persuasive, to most country
bee-masters, viz. interest. He deprecates the destruction of bees, and
recommends to the cultivator to be content with a reasonable share of the
wealth of the hive; arguing very justly, we believe, that a little taken
from each of a number of hives, is ultimately much more profitable than a
greater quantity obtained by a total destruction of a few.

We conclude our observations on this curious insect by two poetical
quotations.

  "Of all the race of animals, alone
  The bees have common cities of their own.
  Mindful of coming cold, they share the pain,
  And hoard for winter's use the summer's gain.
  Some o'er the public magazines preside,
  And some are sent new forage to provide;
  These drudge in fields abroad, and those at home
  Lay deep foundations for the labour'd comb;
  To pitch the waxen flooring some contrive;
  Some nurse the future nation of the hive.
  Their toil is common, common is their sleep;
  They shake their wings when morn begins to peep:
  Rush through the city gates without delay,
  Nor ends their work but with declining day."

Churchill, after the following beautiful and picturesque description,
introduces a sovereign, drawing from it, in a soliloquy, the most natural
reflections on the momentous duties of his station.


  "*       *       *       *       *       *
  Strength in her limbs, and on her wings dispatch,
  The bee goes forth; from herb to herb she flies,
  From flow'r to flow'r, and loads her lab'ring thighs
  With treasur'd sweets, robbing those flow'rs, which left,
  Find not themselves made poorer by the theft,
  Their scents as lively, and their looks as fair,
  As if the pillager had not been there.
  Ne'er doth she flit on pleasure's silken wing,
  Ne'er doth she loit'ring let the bloom of spring
  Unrifled pass, and on the downy breast
  Of some fair flow'r indulge untimely rest.
  Ne'er doth she, drinking deep of those rich dews
  Which chemist Night prepar'd, that faith abuse
  Due to the hive, and, selfish in her toils,
  To her own private use convert the spoils.
  Love of the stock first call'd her forth to roam,
  And to the stock she brings her honey home."



CHAP. XXIII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Clothier Bee.--The Carpenter Bee.--The Mason Bee.--The
    Upholsterer Bee.--The Leaf-cutter Bee.--Curious Account of an Idiot
    Boy and Bees.--Mr. Wildman's Curious Exhibitions of Bees explained._


WILD BEES.


THE CLOTHIER BEE.

  Learn each small people's genius, policies,
  The ants' republic, and the realm of bees;
  How those in common all their wealth bestow
  And anarchy without confusion know;
  And these for ever, though a monarch reign,
  Their separate cells and properties maintain.
  Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state,
  Laws, wise as Nature, and as fixt as Fate.
                                        _Pope._

The following curious account of wild bees is principally abridged from
Kirby and Spence's very interesting work on entomology.

The clothier bee is a lively and gay insect. It does not excavate holes
for their reception, but places them in the cavities of old trees, or of
any other object that suits its purpose. Sir Thomas Cullum discovered the
nest of one in the inside of the lock of a garden gate, in which Mr. Kirby
also since twice found them. It should seem, however, that such
situations would be too cold for the grubs without a coating of some
non-conducting substance. The parent bee, therefore, after having
constructed the cells, laid an egg in each, and filled them with a store
of suitable food, plasters them with a covering of vermiform masses,
apparently composed of honey and pollen; and having done this, aware (long
before Count Rumford's experiments) what materials conduct heat most
slowly, she attacks the woolly leaves of Stachy's lanata, Agrostemma
coronaria, and similar plants, and with her mandibles industriously
scrapes off the wool, which with her fore legs she rolls into a little
ball, and carries to her nest. This wool she sticks upon the plaster that
covers her cells, and thus closely envelopes them with a warm coating of
down, impervious to every change of temperature.


THE CARPENTER BEE.--A numerous family of wild bees may properly be
compared to carpenters, boring with incredible labour, out of the solid
wood, long cylindrical tubes, and dividing them into various cells.
Amongst these, one of the most remarkable is the Apis violacea, L.
(Xylacopa, Latr.) a large species, a native of southern Europe,
distinguished by beautiful wings of a deep violet colour, and found
commonly in gardens, in the upright putrescent espaliers, or vine props,
of which, and occasionally in the garden seats, doors, and
window-shutters, she makes her nest. In the beginning of spring, after
repeated and careful surveys, she fixes upon a piece of wood suitable for
her purpose, and with her strong mandibles begins the process of boring.
First proceeding obliquely downwards, she soon points her course in a
direction parallel with the sides of the wood, and at length with
unwearied exertion forms a cylindrical hole or tunnel not less than twelve
or fifteen inches long, and half an inch broad. Sometimes, where the
diameter will admit of it, three or four of these pipes, nearly parallel
with each other, are bored in the same piece. Herculean as this task
(which is the labour of several days) appears, it is but a small part of
what our industrious bee cheerfully undertakes. As yet she has completed,
but the shell of the destined habitation of her offspring; each of which,
to the number of ten or twelve, will require a separate and distinct
apartment. In excavating her tunnel, she has detached a large quantity of
fibres, which lie on the ground like a heap of saw-dust. This material
supplies all her wants. Having deposited an egg at the bottom of the
cylinder, along with the requisite store of pollen and honey, she next, at
the height of about three-quarters of an inch, (which is the depth of each
cell,) constructs of particles of the saw-dust glued together, and also to
the sides of the tunnel, what may be called an annular stage or
scaffolding. When this is sufficiently hardened, its interior edge affords
support for a second ring of the same materials, and thus the ceiling is
gradually formed of these concentric circles, till there remains only a
small orifice in its centre, which is also closed with a circular mass of
agglutinated particles of saw-dust. When this partition, which serves as
the ceiling of the first cell, and the flooring of the second, is
finished, it is about the thickness of a crown piece, and exhibits the
appearance of as many concentric circles as the animal has made pauses in
her labour. One cell being finished, she proceeds to another, which she
furnishes and completes in the same manner, and so on, until she has
divided her whole tunnel into ten or twelve apartments.

Such a laborious undertaking as the constructing and furnishing these
cells, cannot be the work of one, or even of two days. Considering that
every cell requires a store of honey and pollen, not to be collected but
with long toil, and that a considerable interval must be spent in
agglutinating the floors of each, it will be very obvious that the last
egg in the last cell must be laid many days after the first. We are
certain, therefore, that the first egg will become a grub, and
consequently a perfect bee, many days before the last. What then becomes
of it? It is impossible that it should make its escape through eleven
superincumbent cells, without destroying the immature tenants; and it
seems equally impossible that it should remain patiently in confinement
below them until they are all disclosed. This dilemma our heaven-taught
architect has provided against. With forethought, never enough to be
admired, she has not constructed her tunnel with one opening only, but at
the farther end has pierced another orifice, a kind of back door, through
which the insects produced by the first-laid eggs successively emerge into
day. In fact, all the young bees, even the uppermost, go out by this road;
for, by an exquisite instinct, each grub, when about to become a pupa,
places itself in its cell, with its head downwards, and thus is
necessitated, when arrived at its last state, to pierce its cell in this
direction.


We shall now describe THE MASON-BEE.--There is a family of wild bees which
carry on the trade of masons, building their solid houses solely of
artificial stone. The first step of the mother bee, _Apis mururia, Oliv._
(_Anthophara, F. Megachile, Latr._) is to fix upon a proper situation for
the future mansion of her offspring. For this she usually selects an
angle, sheltered by any projection, on the south side of a stone wall. Her
next care is to provide materials for the structure. The chief of these is
sand, which she carefully selects, grain by grain, from such as contain
some mixture of earth; these grains she glues together with her viscid
saliva into masses the size of small shot,[10] and transports by means of
her jaws to the site of her castle. With a number of these masses, which
are the artificial stone of which her building is to be composed, united
by a cement preferable to ours, she first forms the basis or foundation of
the whole. Next she raises the walls of a cell, which is an inch long and
half an inch broad, and, before its orifice is closed, in form resembles a
thimble. This, after depositing an egg, and a supply of honey and pollen,
she covers in, and then proceeds to the erection of a second, which she
finishes in the same manner, until the whole number, which varies from
four to eight, is completed. The vacuities between the cells, which are
not placed in any regular order, some being parallel to the wall, others
being perpendicular to it, and others inclined to it at different angles,
this laborious architect fills up with the same material of which the
cells are composed, and then bestows upon the whole group a common
covering of coarser grains of sand. The form of the whole nest, which,
when finished, is a solid mass of stone, so hard as not to be easily
penetrated with the blade of a knife, is an irregular oblong, of the same
colour as the sand, and, to a casual observer, more resembling a splash of
mud than an artificial structure. These bees sometimes are more economical
of their labour, and repair old nests, for the possession of which they
have very desperate combats. One would have supposed that the inhabitants
of a castle so fortified might defy the attack of an insect marauder. Yet
an ichneumon, and a beetle (_Clerius apiarius, F._) both contrive to
introduce their eggs into the cells, and the larvæ proceeding from them
devour their inhabitants.--_Reaum._ vi. 57, 58. _Mon. Ap. Angl._ i. 179.

Other bees of the same family use different materials in the construction
of their nests. Some employ fine earth made into a kind of mortar made
with gluten. Another, (_A. coerulescens, L._) as we learn from De Geer,
forms its nest of argillaceous earth, mixed with chalk, upon stone walls,
and sometimes probably builds in chalk-pits. _Apis bicornis, L._ selects
the hollows of large stones for the site of its dwelling; whilst others
prefer the holes in wood.


We now proceed to THE UPHOLSTERER-BEE.--Such may those be denominated
which line the holes excavated in the earth for the reception of their
young, with an elegant coating of flowers or of leaves. Amongst the most
interesting of these is _Apis Papaveris_, (_Megachile, Latr., Anthophora,
F._) a species whose manners have been admirably described by Reaumur.
This little bee, as though fascinated with the colour most attractive to
our eyes, invariably chooses for the hangings of her apartments the most
brilliant scarlet, selecting for its material the petals of the wild
poppy, which she dexterously cuts into the proper form. Her first process
is to excavate in some pathway a burrow, cylindrical at the entrance, but
swelled out below, to the depth of about three inches. Having polished the
walls of this little apartment, she next flies to a neighbouring field,
cuts out oval portions of the flowers of poppies, seizes them between her
legs, and returns with them to her cell; and though separated from the
wrinkled petal of a half-expanded flower, she knows how to straighten
their folds, and, if too large, to fit them for her purpose by cutting off
the superfluous parts. Beginning at the bottom, she overlays the walls of
her mansion with this brilliant tapestry, extending it also on the surface
of the ground round the margin of the orifice. The bottom is rendered warm
by three or four coats, and the sides have never less than two. The little
upholsterer, having completed the hangings of her apartment, next fills it
with pollen and honey to the height of about half an inch; then, after
committing an egg to it, she wraps over the poppy lining, so that even the
roof may leave this material; and lastly, closes its mouth with a small
hillock of earth.--_Reaum._ 6. 139 to 148. The great depth of the cell,
compared with the space which the single egg and the accompanying food
deposited in it occupy, deserves particular notice. This is not more than
half an inch at the bottom, the remaining two inches and a half being
subsequently filled with earth.


THE LEAF-CUTTER BEE.--There is a species of wild bee, that cover the walls
of their cells with coatings of sober-coloured materials, generally
selecting for their hangings the leaves of trees, especially of the rose,
whence they have been known by the name of the leaf-cutter bees. They
differ also from _A. Papaveris_ in excavating longer burrows, and filling
them with several thimble-shaped cells, composed of portions of leaves so
curiously convoluted, that, if we were ignorant in what school they have
been taught to construct them, we should never credit their being the work
of an insect. Their entertaining history, so long ago as 1670, attracted
the attention of our countrymen, Ray, Lister, Willoughby, and Sir Edw.
King; but we are indebted for the most complete account of the procedure,
to Reaumur.

The mother bee first excavates a cylindrical hole eight or ten inches
long, in a horizontal direction, either in the ground or in the trunk of
a rotten willow-tree, or occasionally in other decaying wood. This cavity
she fills with six or seven cells, wholly composed of portions of leaf in
the shape of a thimble, the convex end of one closely fitting into the
open end of another. Her first process is to form the exterior coating,
which is composed of three or four pieces, of larger dimensions than the
rest, and of an oval form. The second coating is formed of portions of
equal size, narrow at one end, but gradually widening towards the other,
where the width equals half the length. One side of these pieces is the
serrate margin of the leaf from which it was taken, which, as the pieces
are made to lap one over the other, is kept on the outside, and that which
has been cut within. The little animal now forms a third coating of
similar materials, the middle of which, as the most skilful workman would
do in similar circumstances, she places over the margins of those that
form the first tube, thus covering and strengthening the junctures.
Repeating the same process, she gives a fourth and sometimes a fifth
coating to her nest, taking care, at the closed end or narrow extremity of
the cell, to bend the leaves so as to form a convex termination. Having
thus finished a cell, her next business is to fill it, to within half a
line of the orifice, with a rose-coloured conserve, composed of honey and
pollen, usually collected from the flowers of thistles; and then having
deposited her egg, she closes the orifice with three pieces of leaf so
exactly circular, that a pair of compasses could not define their margin
with more truth, and coinciding so precisely with the walls of the cell,
as to be retained in their situation merely by the nicety of their
adaptation. After this covering is fitted in, there remains still a
concavity, which receives the convex end of the succeeding cell; and in
this manner the indefatigable little animal proceeds until she has
completed the six or seven cells composing her cylinder.

The process which one of these bees employs in cutting the pieces of leaf
that compose her nest, is worthy of attention. Nothing can be more
expeditious; she is not longer about it than we should be with a pair of
scissors. After hovering for some moments over a rose bush, as if to
reconnoitre the ground, the bee alights upon the leaf which she has
selected, usually taking her station upon its edge, so that the margin
passes between her legs. With her strong mandibles she cuts without
intermission in a curve line, so as to detach a triangular portion. When
this hangs by the last fibre, lest its weight should carry her to the
ground, she balances her little wings for flight, and the very moment it
parts from the leaf, flies off with it in triumph; the detached portion
remaining bent between her legs in a direction perpendicular to her body.
Thus without rule or compasses do these diminutive creatures mete out the
materials of their work into portions of an ellipse, into ovals or
circles, accurately accommodating the dimensions of the several pieces of
each figure to each other. What other architect could carry impressed upon
the tablet of his memory the entire idea of the edifice which he has to
erect, and, destitute of square or plumb-line, cut out his materials in
their exact dimensions without making a single mistake? Yet this is what
our little bee invariably does. So far are human art and reason excelled
by the teaching of the Almighty.--_Reaum._ vi. 971-94. _Mor. Ap. Angl._ i.
157. _Apis_ c. 2.


A CURIOUS ACCOUNT OF AN IDIOT BOY, AND BEES.--Mr. White has given the
following curious account of an idiot boy. From a child he shewed a strong
propensity to bees. They were his food, his amusement, his sole object. In
the winter he dozed away his time in his father's house, by the fire-side,
in a torpid state, seldom leaving the chimney-corner: but in summer he was
all alert, and in quest of his game. Hive-bees, humble-bees, and wasps,
were his prey, wherever he found them. He had no apprehension from their
stings, but would seize them with naked hands, and at once disarm them of
their weapons, and suck their bodies for the sake of their honey-bags.
Sometimes he would fill his bosom between his shirt and skin with these
insects; and sometimes he endeavoured to confine them in bottles. He was
very injurious to men that kept bees, for he would glide into their
bee-gardens, and, sitting down before the stools, would rap with his
fingers, and so take the bees as they came out. He has even been known to
overturn the hives for the sake of the honey, of which he was passionately
fond. Where metheglin was making, he would linger round the tubs and
vessels, begging a draught of what he called bee-wine. As he ran about, he
used to make a humming noise with his lips, resembling the buzzing of
bees. This lad was lean and sallow, and of a cadaverous complexion; and,
except in his favourite pursuit, in which he was wonderfully adroit,
discovered no manner of understanding. Had his capacity been better, and
directed to the same object, he had perhaps abated much of our wonder at
the feats of a more modern exhibiter of bees; and we may justly say of him
now,

  --------------------------Thou
  Had thy presiding star propitious
  Shouldst Wildman be.
                              _White's Natural History._

We conclude this chapter with an explanation of the preceding lines.


MR. WILDMAN'S CURIOUS EXHIBITIONS OF BEES.--Mr. Wildman, by his dexterity
in the management of bees, some years ago, surprised the whole kingdom.
He caused swarms to light where he pleased, almost instantaneously; he
ordered them to settle on his head, then removed them to his hand, and
commanded them to settle on a window, table, &c. at pleasure. We subjoin
the method of performing these feats, in his own words: "Long experience
has taught me, that as soon as I turn up a hive, and give it some taps on
the sides and bottom, the queen immediately appears, to know the cause of
this alarm; but soon retires again among her people. Being accustomed to
see her so often, I readily perceive her at first glance; and long
practice has enabled me to seize her instantly, with a tenderness that
does not in the least endanger her person. This is of the utmost
importance; for the least injury done to her brings immediate destruction
to the hive, if you have not a spare queen to put in her place, as I have
too often experienced in my first attempts. When possessed of her, I can,
without injury to her, or exciting that degree of resentment that may
tempt her to sting me, slip her into my other hand, and, returning the
hive to its place, hold her there, till the bees missing her, are all on
wing, and in the utmost confusion. When the bees are thus distressed, I
place the queen wherever I would have the bees to settle. The moment a few
of them discover her, they give notice to those near them, and those to
the rest; the knowledge of which becomes so general, that in a few minutes
they all collect themselves round her, and are so happy in having
recovered this sole support of their state, that they will long remain
quiet in their situation: nay, the scent of her body is so attractive of
them, that the slightest touch of her along any place or substance, will
attach the bees to it, and induce them to any path she takes."--This was
the only witchcraft used by Mr. Wildman, and is that alone which is
practised by others, who have since made similar exhibitions.



CHAP. XXIV.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Wasp._

    The laws of life, why need I call to mind,
    Obey'd by insects, too, of ev'ry kind!
    Of these, none uncontroll'd and lawless rove,
    But to some destin'd end spontaneous move:
    Led by that instinct Heav'n itself inspires,
    Or so much reason as their state requires.
    See all with skill acquire their daily food,
    All use those arms which nature has bestow'd;
    Produce their tender progeny, and feed
    With care parental, while that care they need.
    In these lov'd offices completely blest,
    No hopes beyond them, nor vain fears molest.
                                          _Jenyns._


For the following account of the WASP, we are indebted to Kirby and
Spence; and we take this opportunity of making a general acknowledgment of
our obligations to those gentlemen, for the assistance we have derived
from their highly interesting treatise, in drawing up this account of the
curiosities respecting insects.

Compared with hive-bees, wasps may be considered as a horde of thieves and
brigands: while the bees are peaceful, honest, and industrious subjects;
the wasps attack their persons, and plunder their property. Yet, with all
this love of pillage and other bad propensities, they are not altogether
disagreeable or unamiable; they are brisk and lively; they do not usually
attack unprovoked; and their object in plundering us is not purely
selfish, but is principally to provide for the support of the young brood
of their colonies.

The societies of wasps, like those of ants, and other social
_Hymenoptera_, consist of females, males, and workers. The females may be
considered as of two sorts: first, the females, by way of eminence, are
much larger than any other individuals of the community; they equal six of
the workers (from which in other respects they do not materially differ)
in weight, and lay both male and female eggs: then the small females, not
larger than the workers, which lay only male eggs. This last description
of females, which are found also both amongst the humble-bees and
hive-bees, were first observed among wasps, by M. Perrot, a friend of
Huber's. The large females are produced later than the workers, and make
their appearance in the next spring; and whoever then destroys one of
them, destroys an entire colony, of which she would be the founder.

Different from the queen-bee, the female wasp is at first an insulated
being, that has had the fortune to survive the rigours of winter. When in
the spring she lays the foundation of her future empire, she has not a
single worker at her disposal; with her own hands and teeth she often
hollows out a cave wherein she may lay the first foundations of her paper
metropolis: she must herself build the first houses, and produce from her
own body their first inhabitants; which in their infant state she must
feed and educate, before they can assist her in her great design. At
length she receives the reward of her perseverance and labour; and from
being a solitary unconnected individual, in the autumn is enabled to rival
the queen of the hive in the number of her children and subjects, and in
the edifices which they inhabit--the number of cells in a vespiary
sometimes amounting to more than sixteen thousand, almost all of which
contain either an egg, a grub, or a pupa, and each cell serving for three
generations in a year; which, after making every allowance for failures
and other casualties, will give a population of at least thirty thousand.
Even at this time, when she has so numerous an army of coadjutors, the
industry of this creature does not cease, but she continues to set an
example of diligence to the rest of the community. If by any accident,
before the other females are hatched, the queen-mother perishes, the
neuters cease their labours, lose their instincts, and die.

The number of females in a populous vespiary is considerable, amounting to
several hundreds; they emerge from the pupa about the latter end of
August, at the same time with the males, and fly in September and October,
when they pair. Of this large number of females, very few survive the
winter. Those that are so fortunate, remain torpid till the vernal sun
recalls them to life and action. They then fly forth, collect provision
for their young brood, and are engaged in the other labours necessary for
laying the foundation of their empire; but in the summer months they are
never seen out of the nest.

The male wasps are much smaller than the female, but they weigh as much as
two workers. Their antennæ are longer than those of either, not, like
theirs, thicker at the end, but perfectly filiform; and their abdomen is
distinguished by an additional segment. Their numbers about equal those of
the females, and they are produced at the same time. They are not so
wholly given to pleasure and idleness as the drones of the hive. They do
not, indeed, assist in building the nest, and in the care of the young
brood; but they are the scavengers of the community, for they sweep the
passages and streets, and carry off all the filth. They also remove the
bodies of the dead, which are sometimes heavy burdens for them; in which
case two unite their strength, to accomplish the work; or, if a partner be
not at hand, the wasp thus employed cuts off the head of the defunct, and
so effects its purpose. As they make themselves so useful, they are not,
like the male bees, devoted by the workers to an universal massacre when
the great end of their creation is answered; but they share the general
lot of the community, and are suffered to survive till the cold cuts off
them and the workers together.

The workers are the most numerous, and to us the only troublesome part of
the community; upon whom devolves the main business of the nest. In the
summer and autumnal months they go forth by myriads into the neighbouring
country to collect provisions; and on their return to the common den,
after reserving a sufficiency for the nutriment of the young brood, they
divide the spoil with great impartiality; part being given to the females,
part to the males, and part to those workers that have been engaged in
extending and fortifying the vespiary. This division is voluntarily made,
without the slightest symptom of compulsion. Several wasps assemble round
each of the returning workers, and receive their respective portions. It
is curious and interesting to observe their motions on this occasion. As
soon as a wasp that has been filling itself with the juice of fruits
arrives at the nest, it perches upon the top, and, disgorging a drop of
its saccharine fluid, is attended sometimes by two at once, who share the
treasure; this being thus distributed, a second, and sometimes a third
drop, is produced, which falls to the lot of others.

Wasps, though ferocious and cruel towards their fellow-insects, are
civilized and polished in their intercourse with each other, and form a
community whose architectural labours will not suffer on comparison even
with those of the peaceful inhabitants of a bee-hive. Like these, the
great object of their industry is the erection of a structure for their
beloved progeny, towards which they discover the greatest affection and
tenderness, and, like bees, construct combs consisting of hexagonal cells
for their reception; but the substance which they make use of is very
dissimilar to the wax employed by bees, and the general plan of their city
differs in many respects from that of a bee-hive. The common wasp's nest,
usually situated in a cavity under ground, is of an oval figure, about
sixteen or eighteen inches long, by twelve or thirteen broad. Externally,
it is surrounded by a thick coating of numerous leaves of a sort of
grayish paper, which do not touch each other, but have a small interval
between each, so that if the rain should chance to penetrate one or two of
them, its progress is speedily arrested. On removing this external
covering, we perceive that the interior consists of from twelve to sixteen
circular combs of different sizes, not ranged vertically, as in a
bee-hive, but horizontally, so as to form so many distinct and parallel
stories. Each comb is composed of a numerous assembiage of hexagonal
cells, formed of the same paper-like substance as the exterior covering of
the nest, and, according to a discovery of Dr. Barclay, each, as in those
of bees, a distinct cell, the partition walls being double.--_Memoirs of
the Wernerian Society_, ii. 260. These cells, which, as wasps do not store
up any food, serve merely as the habitations of their young, are not, like
those of the honey-bee, arranged in two opposite layers, but in one only,
their entrance being always downwards: consequently the upper part of the
comb, composed of the bases of the cells, which are not pyramidal, but
slightly convex, forms a nearly level floor, on which the inhabitants can
conveniently pass and repass, spaces of about half an inch high being left
between each comb. Although the combs are fixed to the sides of the nest,
they would not be sufficiently strong without further support. The
ingenious builders, therefore, connect each comb to that below it by a
number of strong cylindrical columns or pillars, having, according to the
rules of architecture, their base and capital wider than the shaft, and
composed of the same paper-like material used in other parts of the nest,
but of a more compact substance. The middle combs are connected by a
rustic colonnade of from forty to fifty of these pillars; the upper and
lower combs by a smaller number.

The cells are of different sizes, corresponding to that of the three
orders of individuals which compose the community; the largest for the
grubs of females, the smallest for those of workers. The last always
occupy an entire comb, while the cells of the males and females are often
intermixed. Besides openings which are left between the walls of the combs
to admit of access from one to the other, there are at the bottom of each
nest two holes, by one of which the wasps uniformly enter, and through the
other issue from the nest, and thus avoid all confusion or interruption of
their common labours. As the nest is often a foot and a half under ground,
it is requisite that a covered way should lead to its entrance. This is
excavated by the wasps, who are excellent miners, and is often very long
and tortuous, forming a beaten road to the subterranean city, well known
to the inhabitants, though its entrance is concealed from curious eyes.
The cavity itself, which contains the nest, is either the abandoned
habitation of moles or field-mice, or a cavern purposely dug out by the
wasps, which exert themselves with such industry as to accomplish the
arduous undertaking in a few days.

When the cavity and entrance to it are completed, the next part of the
process is to lay the foundations of the city to be included in it, which,
contrary to the usual customs of builders, wasps begin at the top,
continuing downwards. It has already been observed, that the coatings
which compose the dome, are a sort of rough but thin paper, and that the
rest of the nest is composed of the same substance variously applied.
"Whence do the wasps derive it?" They are manufacturers of the article,
and prepare it from a material even more singular than any of those which
have of late been proposed for this purpose; namely, the fibres of wood.
These they detach by means of their jaws from window-frames, posts, and
rails, &c. and, when they have amassed a heap of the filaments, moisten
the whole with a few drops of a viscid glue from their mouth, and,
kneading it with their jaws into a sort of paste, or _papier mâché_, fly
off with it to their nest. This ductile mass they attach to that part of
the building upon which they are at work, walking backwards, and spreading
it into laminæ of the requisite thinness by means of their jaws, tongue,
and legs. This operation is repeated several times, until at length, by
aid of fresh supplies of the material, and the combined exertions of so
many workmen, the proper number of layers of paper, that are to compose
the roof, is finished. This paper is as thin as the leaf you are reading;
and you may form an idea of the labour which even the exterior of a wasp's
nest requires, on being told that no fewer than fifteen or sixteen sheets
of it are usually placed above each other, with slight intervening spaces,
making the whole upwards of an inch and a half in thickness. When the dome
is completed, the uppermost comb is next begun, in which, as well as all
the other parts of the building, precisely the same material and the same
process, with little variation, are employed. In the structure of the
connecting pillars, there seems a greater quantity of glue made use of
than in the rest of the work, doubtless with the view of giving them
superior solidity. When the first comb is finished, the continuation of
the roof or walls of the building is brought down lower; a new comb is
erected; and thus the work successively proceeds until the whole is
finished. As a comparatively small proportion of the society is engaged in
constructing the nest, its entire completion is the work of several
months: yet, though the fruit of such severe labour, it has scarcely been
finished a few weeks before winter comes on, when it merely serves for the
abode of a few benumbed females, and is entirely abandoned at the approach
of spring, as wasps are never known to use the same nest for more than one
season.

There is good reason for thinking, and the opinion had the sanction of the
late Sir Joseph Banks, that wasps have sentinels placed at the entrances
of their nests, which, if you can once seize and destroy, the remainder
will not attack you. This is confirmed by an observation of Mr. Knight, in
the Philosophical Transactions, (vol. 1. 2d Ed. p. 505;) that if a nest
of wasps be approached without alarming the inhabitants, and all
communication be suddenly cut off between those out of the nest and those
within it, no provocation will induce the former to defend it and
themselves. But if one escapes from within, it comes with a very different
temper, and appears commissioned to avenge public wrongs, and prepared to
sacrifice its life in the execution of its orders. He discovered this when
quite a boy.

In October, wasps seem to become less savage and sanguinary; for even
flies, of which, earlier in the summer, they are the pitiless destroyers,
may be seen to enter their nests with impunity. It is then, probably, that
they begin to be first affected by the approach of the cold season, when
nature teaches them it is useless longer to attend to their young. They
themselves all perish, except a few of the females, upon the first attack
of frost.

Reaumur, from whom most of these observations are taken, put the nests of
wasps under glass hives, and succeeded so effectually in reconciling these
little restless creatures to them, that they carried on their various
works under his eye.



CHAP. XXV.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _Ants--White Ants--Green Ants--Visiting Ants--The Ant-Lion._

    These emmets, how little they are in our eyes!
    We tread them to dust, and a troop of them dies
        Without our regard or concern:
    Yet, as wise as we are, if we went to their school,
    There's many a sluggard, and many a fool,
        A lesson of wisdom might learn.
                                          _Watts._


The societies of ANTS, as also of other _Hymenoptera_, differ from those
of the Termites, in having inactive larvæ and pupæ, the neuter, or
workers, combining in themselves both the military and civil functions.
Besides the helpless larvæ and pupæ, which have no locomotive powers,
these societies consist of females and workers. The office of the females,
at their first exclusion distinguished by a pair of ample wings, (which
however, they soon cast,) is the foundation of new colonies, and the
furnishing of a constant supply of eggs, for the maintenance of the
population in the old nests, as well as in the new. These are usually the
least numerous part of the community.

Gould indeed says, that the males and females are nearly equal in number,
p. 62; but from Huber's observations it seems to follow that the former
are the most numerous, p. 96.

Upon the workers devolves, except in nascent colonies, all the work, as
well as the defence of the community, of which they are the most numerous
portion.

In the warm days that occur from the end of July to the beginning of
September, and sometimes later, the habitations of the various species of
ants may be seen to swarm with winged insects, which are the males and
females, preparing to quit for ever the scene of their nativity and
education. Every thing is in motion: and the silver wings, contrasted with
the jet bodies which compose the animated mass, add a degree of splendour
to the interesting scene. The bustle increases, till at length the males
rise, as it were by a general impulse, into the air, and the females
accompany them. The whole swarm alternately rises and falls with a slow
movement to the height of about ten feet, the males flying obliquely with
a rapid zigzag motion; and the females, though they follow the general
movement of the column, appearing suspended in the air, like balloons,
seemingly with no individual motion, and having their heads turned towards
the wind.

Sometimes the swarms of a whole district unite their infinite myriads,
and, seen at a distance, produce an effect resembling the flashing of an
aurora borealis. Rising with incredible velocity in distinct columns, they
soar above the clouds. Each column looks like a kind of slender net-work,
and has a tremulous undulating motion, which has been observed to be
produced by the regular alternate rising and falling just alluded to. The
noise emitted by myriads and myriads of these creatures, does not exceed
the hum of a single wasp. The slightest zephyr disperses them; and if in
their progress they chance to be over your head, if you walk slowly on,
they will accompany you, and regulate their motions by yours.

Captain Haverfield, R. N. gives an account of an extraordinary appearance
of ants observed by him in the Medway, in the autumn of 1814, when he was
first-lieutenant of the Clorinde; which is confirmed by the following
letter, addressed by the surgeon of that ship, now Dr. Bromley, to Mr. Mac
Leay.

"In September, 1814, being on the deck of the bulk to the Clorinde, my
attention was drawn to the water by the first-lieutenant (Haverfield)
observing there was something black floating down with the tide. On
looking with a glass, I discovered they were insects. The boat was sent,
and brought a bucket full of them on board; they proved to be a large
species of ant, and extended from the upper part of Salt-pan Reach out
towards the Great Nore, a distance of five or six miles. The column
appeared to be in breadth eight or ten feet, and in height about six
inches, which I suppose must have been from their resting one upon
another." Purchas seems to have witnessed a similar phenomenon on shore.
"Other sorts (of ants)," says he, "there are many, of which some become
winged, and fill the air with swarms, which sometimes happens in England.
On Bartholomew-day, 1613, I was in the island of Foulness, on our Essex
shore, where were such clouds of these flying pismires, that we could no
where flee from them, but they filled our clothes; yea, the floors of some
houses where they fell were in a manner covered with a black carpet of
creeping ants; which, they say, drown themselves about that time of the
year in the sea."--_Pilgrimage_, 1090. These ants were winged; but whence
this immense column came, was not ascertained. From the numbers here
accumulated, one would think that all the ant-hills of the counties of
Kent and Surrey could scarcely have furnished a sufficient number of males
and females to form it.

When Colonel Sir Augustus Frazer, of the Horse Artillery, was surveying,
on the 6th of October, 1813, the scene of the battle of the Pyrenees, from
the summit of the mountain called Pena de Aya, or Les Quatre Couronnes, he
and his friends were enveloped with a swarm of ants, so numerous as
entirely to intercept their view, so that they were glad to remove to
another station, in order to get rid of these troublesome little
creatures.

The females that escape from the injury of the elements and their various
enemies, become the founders of new colonies, doing all the work that is
usually done by the neuters. M. P. Huber has found incipient colonies,[11]
in which were only a few workers engaged with their mother in the care of
a small number of larvæ; and M. Perrot, his friend, once discovered a
small nest, occupied by a solitary female, who was attending upon four
pupa only. Such is the foundation and first establishment of those
populous nations of ants with which we every where meet.

But though the majority of females produced in a nest probably thus desert
it, all are not allowed this liberty. The prudent workers are taught by
their instinct, that the existence of their community depends upon the
presence of a sufficient number of females. Some, therefore, that are
fecundated in or near the spot, they forcibly detain, pulling off their
wings, and keeping them prisoners till they are ready to lay their eggs,
or are reconciled to their fate. De Geer, in a nest of _F. rufa_,
observed that the workers compelled some females that were come out of the
nest to re-enter it; (vol. ii. 1071,)--and from M. P. Huber we learn,
that, being seized at the moment of fecundation, they are conducted into
the interior of the formicary, when they become entirely dependent upon
the neuters, who, hanging pertinaciously to each leg, prevent their going
out, but at the same time attend upon them with the greatest care, feeding
them regularly, and conducting them where the temperature is suitable to
them, but never quitting them a single moment. By degrees these females
become reconciled to their condition, and lose all desire of making their
escape; their abdomen enlarges, and they are no longer detained as
prisoners, yet each is still attended by a body-guard, a single ant, which
always accompanies her, and prevents her wants. Its station is remarkable,
being mounted upon her abdomen, with its posterior legs upon the ground.
These sentinels are constantly relieved; and to watch the moment when the
female begins the important work of oviposition, and carry off the eggs,
of which she lays four or five thousand or more in the course of the year,
seems to be their principal office.

When the female is acknowledged as a mother, the workers begin to pay her
a homage very similar to that which the bees render to their queen. All
press round her, offer her food, conduct her by her mandibles through the
difficult or steep passages of the formicary; nay, they sometimes even
carry her about their city: she is then suspended upon their jaws, the
ends of which are crossed; and, being coiled up like the tongue of a
butterfly, she is packed so close as to incommode the carrier but little.
When these set her down, others surround and caress her, one after another
tapping her on the head with their antennæ.

"In whatever apartment (says Gould) a queen condescends to be present, she
commands obedience and respect. A universal gladness spreads itself
through the whole cell, which is expressed by particular acts of joy and
exultation. They have a particular way of skipping, leaping, and standing
upon their hind-legs, and prancing with the others. These frolics they
make use of, both to congratulate each other when they meet, and to shew
their regard for the queen: some of them walk gently over her, others
dance round her; she is generally encircled with a cluster of attendants,
who, if you separate them from her, soon collect themselves into a body,
and inclose her in the midst." Nay, even if she dies, as if they were
unwilling to believe it, they continue sometimes for months the same
attentions to her, and treat her with the same courtly formality as if she
were alive, and they will brush her and lick her incessantly.

That the ants, though they are mute animals, have the means of
communicating to each other information of various occurrences, and use a
kind of language which is mutually understood, will appear evident from
the following facts.

If those at the surface of a nest are alarmed, it is wonderful in how
short a time the alarm spreads through the whole nest. It runs from
quarter to quarter; the greatest inquietude seems to possess the
community; and they carry with all possible dispatch their treasures, the
larvæ and pupæ, down to the lowest apartments. Amongst those species of
ants that do not go much from home, sentinels seem to be stationed at the
avenues of their city. "Disturbing once the little heaps of earth thrown
up at the entrances into the nest of _F. flava_, which is of this
description, (says Huber,) I was struck by observing a single ant
immediately come out, as if to see what was the matter, and this three
separate times."

The _F. herculanea, L._ inhabits the trunks of hollow trees on the
Continent, for it has not yet been found in England, upon which they are
often passing to and fro. M. Huber observed, that when he disturbed those
that were at the greatest distance from the rest, they ran towards them,
and, striking their head against them, communicated their cause of fear or
anger that these, in their turn, conveyed in the same way the intelligence
to others, till the whole colony was in a ferment, those neuters which
were within the tree running out in crowds to join their companions in the
defence of their habitation. The same signals that excited the courage of
the neuters, produced fear in the males and females, which, as soon as the
news of the danger was thus communicated to them, retreated into the tree
as to an asylum.

The legs of one of this gentleman's artificial formicaries were plunged
into pans of water, to prevent the escape of the ants; this proved a
source of great enjoyment to these little beings, for they are a very
thirsty race, and lap water like dogs.--(_Gould_, 92. _De Geer_, ii. 1087.
_Huber_, 5, 132.) One day, when he observed many of them tippling very
merrily, he was so cruel as to disturb them, which sent most of the ants
in a fright to the nest; but some, more thirsty than the rest, continued
their potations: upon this, one of those that had retreated, returns to
inform his thoughtless companions of their danger; one he pushes with his
jaws; another he strikes first upon the belly, and then upon the breast;
and so obliges three of them to leave off their carousing, and march
homewards; but the fourth, more resolute to drink it out, is not to be
discomfited, and pays not the least regard to the kind blows with which
his compeer, solicitous for his safety, repeatedly belabours him; at
length, determined to have his way, he seizes him by one of his hind-legs,
and gives him a violent pull: upon this, leaving his liquor, the loiterer
turns round, and opening his threatening jaws with every appearance of
anger, goes very coolly to drinking again; but his monitor, without
further ceremony, rushing before him, seizes him by his jaws, and at last
drags him off in triumph to the formicary.--_Huber_, 133.

The language of ants, however, is not confined merely to giving
intelligence of the approach or presence of danger; it is also
co-extensive with all their other occasions for communicating their ideas
to each other, or holding any intercourse. Some engage in military
expeditions, and often previously send out spies, to collect information.
These, as soon as they return from exploring the vicinity, enter the nest;
upon which, as if they had communicated their intelligence, the army
immediately assembles in the suburbs of their city, and begins its march
towards that quarter whence the spies had arrived. Upon the march,
communications are perpetually making between the van and the rear; and
when arrived at the camp of the enemy, and the battle begins, if
necessary, couriers are dispatched to the formicary for
reinforcements.--_Huber_, 167, 217, 237.

If you scatter the ruins of an ant's nest in your apartment, you will be
furnished with another proof of their language. The ants will take a
thousand different paths, each going by itself, to increase the chance of
discovery; they will meet and cross each other in all directions, and
perhaps will wander long before they can find a spot convenient for their
re-union. No sooner does any one discover a little chink in the floor,
through which it can pass below, than it returns to its companions, and,
by means of certain motions of its antennæ, makes some of them comprehend
what route they are to pursue to find it, sometimes even accompanying them
to the spot; these, in their turn, become the guides of others, till all
know which way to direct their steps.--_Huber_, 137.

It is well known also, that ants give each other information when they
have discovered any store of provision. Bradley relates a striking
instance of this. A nest of ants in a nobleman's garden discovered a
closet, many yards within the house, in which conserves were kept, which
they constantly attended till the nest was destroyed. Some in their
rambles must have first discovered this depôt of sweets, and informed the
rest of it. It is remarkable that they always went to it by the same
track, scarcely varying an inch from it, though they had to pass through
two apartments; nor could the sweeping and cleaning of the rooms discomfit
them, or cause them to pursue a different route.--_Bradley_, 134.

Here may be related a very amusing experiment of Gould's. Having deposited
several colonies of ants (_F. fusca_) in flowerpots, he placed them in
some earthen pans of water, which prevented them from making excursions
from their nest. When they had been accustomed some days to this
imprisonment, he fastened small threads to the upper part of the pots, and
extending them over the water-pans, fixed them in the ground. The
sagacious ants soon found out that by these bridges they could escape from
their moated castle. The discovery was communicated to the whole society,
and in a short time the threads were filled with trains of busy workers
passing to and fro.--_Gould_, 85.

Legion's account of the ants in Barbadoes, affords another most convincing
proof of this: as he has told his tale in a very lively and interesting
manner, it shall be given nearly in his own words.

"The next of these moving little animals are ants, or pismires: these are
but of a small size, but great in industry; and that which gives them
means to attain to this end is, they have all one soul. If I should say
they are here or there, I should do them wrong, for they are every
where:--under ground, where any hollow or loose earth is; amongst the
roots of trees; upon the bodies, branches, leaves, and fruit of all trees;
in all places without the houses and within; upon the sides, walls,
windows, and roofs, without; and on the floors, side-walls, ceilings, and
windows, within; tables, cupboards, beds, stools, all are covered with
them, so that they are a kind of ubiquitaries. We sometimes kill a
cockroach, and throw him on the ground; and mark what they will do with
him: his body is bigger than a hundred of them, and yet they will find the
means to take hold of him, and lift him up; and having him above ground,
away they carry him, and some go by as ready assistants, if any be weary;
and some are the officers that lead and shew the way to the hole into
which he must pass; and if the vancouriers perceive that the body of the
cockroach lies across, and will not pass through the hole or arch through
which they mean to carry him, order is given, and the body turned endwise,
and this is done a foot before they come to the hole, and that without any
stop or stay; and it is observable, that they never pull contrary ways. A
table being cleared with great care, (by way of experiment,) of all the
ants that are upon it, and sugar being put upon it, some, after a
circuitous route, will be observed to arrive at it; and again departing,
without tasting the treasure, will hasten away to inform their friends of
the discovery, who, upon this, will come by myriads: you may then, while
they are thickest upon the table, clap a large book, or any thing fit for
that purpose, upon them, so hard as to kill all that are under it; and
when you have done so, take away the book, and leave them to themselves
but a quarter of an hour, and when you come again, you shall find all
these bodies carried away.--Other trials we make of their ingenuity, as
thus: Take a pewter dish, and fill it half full of water, into which put a
little gallipot filled with sugar, and the ants will presently find it,
and come upon the table, but when they perceive it environed with water,
they try about the brims of the dish where the gallipot is nearest; and
there the most venturous amongst them commits himself to the water, though
he be conscious how bad a swimmer he is, and is drowned in the adventure;
the next is not warned by his example, but ventures too, and is alike
drowned; and many more, so that there is a small foundation of their
bodies to venture; and then they come faster than ever, and so make a
bridge of their own bodies."--_Hist. of Barbadoes_, p. 63.

The fact being certain, that ants impart their ideas to each other, we are
next led to inquire by what means this is accomplished. It does not appear
that, like the bees, they emit any significant sounds; their language,
therefore, must consist of signs or gestures, some of which I shall now
detail. In communicating their fear, or expressing their anger, they run
from one to another in a semicircle, and strike with their head or jaws
the trunk or abdomen of the ant to which they mean to give information on
any subject of alarm. But those remarkable organs, their antennæ, are the
principal instruments of their speech, if I may so call it, supplying the
place both of voice and words. When the military ants before alluded to go
upon their expeditions, and are out of the formicary, previously to
setting off, they touch each other on the trunk with their antennæ and
forehead; this is the signal for marching, for, as soon as any one has
received it, he is immediately in motion. When they have any discovery to
communicate, they strike with them those that they meet in a particularly
impressive manner. If a hungry ant wants to be fed, it touches with its
two antennæ, moving them very rapidly, those of the individual from which
it expects its meal:--and not only ants understand this language, but even
aphides and cocci, which are the milch kine of our little pismires, do the
same, and will yield them their saccharine fluid at the touch of these
imperative organs. The helpless larvæ also of the ants are informed, by
the same means, when they may open their mouths to receive their food.

Next to their language, and scarcely different from it, are the modes by
which they express their affections and aversions. Whether ants, with man
and some of the larger animals, experience any thing like attachment to
individuals, is not easily ascertained; but that they feel the full force
of the sentiment which we term patriotism, or the love of the community to
which they belong, is evident from the whole series of their proceedings,
which all tend to promote the general good. Distress or difficulty falling
upon any member of their society, generally excites their sympathy, and
they do their utmost to relieve it. M. Latreille once cut off the antennæ
of an ant; and its companions, evidently pitying its sufferings, anointed
the wounded part with a drop of transparent fluid from their mouth: and
whoever attends to what is going forward in the neighbourhood of one of
their nests, will be pleased to observe the readiness with which they seem
disposed to assist each other in difficulties. When a burden is too heavy
for one, another will soon come to ease it of part of the weight; and if
one is threatened with an attack, all hasten to the spot, to join in
repelling it.

The satisfaction they express at meeting after absence is very striking,
and gives some degree of individuality to their attachment. M. Huber
witnessed the gesticulations of some ants, originally belonging to the
same nest, that, having been entirely separated from each other four
months, were afterwards brought together. Though this was equal to
one-fourth of their existence as perfect insects, they immediately
recognized each other, saluted mutually with their antennæ, and united
once more to form one family.

They are also ever intent to promote each other's welfare, and ready to
share with their absent companions any good thing that they may meet with.
Those that go abroad feed those which remain in the nest, and if they
discover any stock of favourite food, they inform the whole community, as
we have seen above, and teach them the way to it. M. Huber, for a
particular reason, having produced heat, by means of a flambeau, in a
certain part of an artificial formicary, the ants that happened to be in
that quarter, after enjoying it for a time, hastened to convey the welcome
intelligence to their compatriots, whom they even carried suspended upon
their jaws (their usual mode of transporting each other) to the spot, till
hundreds might be seen thus laden with their friends.

If ants feel the force of love, they are equally susceptible of the
emotions of anger; and when they are menaced or attacked, no insects shew
a greater degree of it. Providence, moreover, has furnished them with
weapons and faculties which render them extremely formidable to their
insect enemies, and sometimes, as I have related on a former occasion, a
great annoyance to man himself, (vol. i. 2d ed. p. 123.) Two strong
mandibles arm their mouth, with which they sometimes fix themselves so
obstinately to the object of their attack, that they will sooner be torn
limb from limb than let go their hold; and, after their battles, the head
of a conquered enemy may often be seen suspended to the antennæ or legs of
the victor, a trophy of his valour, which, however troublesome, he will
be compelled to carry about with him to the day of his death. Their
abdomen is also furnished with a poison-bag, (_ioterium_,) in which is
secreted a powerful and venomous fluid, long celebrated in chemical
researches, and once called _formic acid_, though now considered a
modification of the _acetic_ and _malic_;[12] which, when their enemy is
beyond the reach of their mandibles, (it is spoken here particularly of
the hill ant, or _F. rufa_,) standing erect on their hind legs, they
discharge from their anus with considerable force, so that from the
surface of the nest ascends a shower of poison, exhaling a strong
sulphurous odour, sufficient to overpower or repel any insect or small
animal. Such is the fury of some species, that with the acid, according to
Gould, p. 34. they sometimes partly eject the poison-bag itself. If a
stick be stuck into one of the nests of the hill ant, it is so saturated
with the acid as to retain the scent for many hours. A more formidable
weapon arms the species of the genus _Myrmica latr._; for, besides the
poison-bag, they are furnished with a sting; and their aspect is also
often rendered peculiarly revolting, by the extraordinary length of their
jaws, and by the spines which defend their head and trunk.

But weapons without valour are of but little use; and this is one
distinguishing feature of this pigmy race. Their courage and pertinacity
are unconquerable, and are often sublimed into the most inconceivable rage
and fury. It makes no difference to them whether they attack a mite or an
elephant; and man himself instils no terror into their warlike breasts.
Point your finger towards any individual of _F. rufa_; instead of running
away, it instantly faces about, and, that it may make the most of itself,
stiffening its legs into a nearly straight line, it gives its body the
utmost elevation it is capable of; and thus--

  "Collecting all its might, dilated stands,"

prepared to repel your attack. Put your finger a little nearer, it
immediately opens its jaws to bite you, and rearing upon its hind legs,
bends its abdomen between them, to eject its venom into the wound.[13]

This angry people, so well armed and so courageous, we may readily
imagine, are not always at peace with their neighbours; causes of
dissension may arise, to light the flame of war between the inhabitants of
nests not far distant from each other. To these little bustling creatures,
a square foot of earth is a territory worth contending for; their droves
of aphides being equally valuable with the flocks and herds that cover
our plains; and the body of a fly or a beetle, or a cargo of straws and
bits of stick, an acquisition as important as the treasures of a Lima
fleet to our seamen. Their wars are usually between nests of different
species; sometimes, however, those of the same, when so near as to
interfere with and incommode each other, have their battles; and with
respect to ants of one species, _Myrmica rubra_, combats occasionally take
place, contrary to the general habits of the tribe of ants, between those
of the same nest.

The wars of the red ant (_M. rubra_) are usually between a small number of
the citizens; and the object, according to Gould, is to get rid of a
useless member of the community, (it does not argue much in favour of
their humanity, that it is all one if it be by sickness that this member
is disabled,) rather than any real civil contest. The red colonies, (says
this author,) are the only ones I could ever observe to feed upon their
own species. You may frequently discern a party of from five or six to
twenty, surrounding one of their own kind, or even fraternity, and pulling
it to pieces. The ant they attack is generally feeble, and of a languid
complexion, occasioned perhaps by some accident or other.--_Gould_, 104.

"I once saw one of these ants dragged out of the nest by another, without
its head; it was still alive, and could crawl about. A lively imagination
might have fancied that this poor ant was a criminal, condemned by a court
of justice to suffer the extreme sentence of the law. It was more
probably, however, a champion that had been decapitated in an unequal
combat, unless we admit Gould's idea, and suppose it to have suffered
because it was an unprofitable member of the community.[14] At another
time I found three individuals that were fighting with great fury, chained
together by their mandibles; one of these had lost two of the legs of one
side, yet it appeared to walk well, and was as eager to attack and seize
its opponents, as if it was unhurt. This did not look like languor or
sickness."

The wars of ants that are not of the same species take place usually
between those that differ in size; and the great endeavouring to oppress
the small, are nevertheless often outnumbered by them, and defeated. Their
battles have long been celebrated; and the dates of them, as if they were
events of the first importance, have been formally recorded. Æneas
Sylvius, after giving a very circumstantial account of one contested with
much obstinacy by a great and small species, on the trunk of a pear-tree,
gravely states, "This action was fought in the pontificate of Eugenius the
Fourth, in the presence of Nicholas Pistoriensis, an eminent lawyer, who
related the whole history of the battle with the greatest fidelity!" A
similar engagement between great and small ants is recorded by Olaus
Magnus, in which the small ones being victorious, are said to have buried
the bodies of their own soldiers, but left those of their giant enemies a
prey to the birds. This event happened previous to the expulsion of the
tyrant Christian the Second from Sweden.--_Mouffet, Theatr. Ins._ 242.

M. P. Huber is the only modern author that appears to have been witness to
these combats. He tells us, that when the great attack the small, they
seek to take them by surprise, (probably to avoid their fastening
themselves to their legs,) and, seizing them by the upper part of the
body, they strangle them with their mandibles; but when the small have
time to foresee the attack, they give notice to their companions, who rush
in crowds to their succour. Sometimes, however, after suffering a signal
defeat, the smaller species are obliged to shift their quarters, and to
seek an establishment more out of the way of danger. In order to cover
their march, many small bodies are then posted at a little distance from
the nest. As soon as the large ants approach the camp, the foremost
sentinels instantly fly at them with the greatest rage; a violent struggle
ensues, multitudes of their friends come to their assistance, and, though
no match for their enemies singly, by dint of numbers they prevail, and
the giant is either slain or led captive to the hostile camp. The species
whose proceedings M. Huber observed, were _F. herculanea_, _L. and F.
sanguinea, Latr._; neither of which have yet been discovered in
Britain.--_Huber_, 160.


THE WHITE ANTS, or TERMITES.--The majority of these animals are natives of
tropical countries, though two species are indigenous to Europe; one of
which, thought to have been imported, is come so near to us as Bourdeaux.
Their society consists of five different descriptions of individuals:
workers or larvæ, nymphs or pupæ, neuters or soldiers, males, and females.

1. The workers or larvæ, answering to the hymenopterous neuters, are the
most numerous, and, at the same time, most active part of the community;
upon whom devolves the office of erecting and repairing the buildings,
collecting provision, attending upon the female, conveying the eggs, when
laid, to the nurseries, and feeding the young larvæ till they are old
enough to take care of themselves. They are distinguished from the
soldiers by their diminutive size, by their round heads, and shorter
mandibles.

2. The nymphs, or pupæ, differ in nothing from the larvæ, and probably are
equally active, except that they have rudiments of wings, or rather wings
folded up in cases.

3. The neuters are much less numerous than the workers, bearing the
proportion of one to one hundred, and exceeding them greatly in bulk. They
are also distinguishable by their long and large heads, armed with very
long tubulate mandibles. Their office is that of sentinels; and when the
nest is attacked, to them is committed the task of defending it. These
neuters seem to be a kind of abortive females, and there is nothing
analogous to them in any other department of entomology.

4 and 5. Males and females, or the insects arrived at a state of
perfection, and capable of continuing the species. There is only one of
each in every separate society; they are exempted from all participation
in the labours and employments occupying the rest of the community, that
they may be wholly devoted to the furnishing of a constant accession to
the population of the colony. Though at their first disclosure from the
pupæ they have four wings, like the female ants, they soon cast them; but
they may then be distinguished from the blind larvæ, pupæ, and neuters, by
their large and prominent eyes.

The different species of Termites, which are numerous, build nests of very
various forms. Some construct upon the ground a cylindrical turret of
clay, about three-quarters of a yard high, surrounded by a projecting
conical roof, so as in shape considerably to resemble a mushroom, and
composed interiorly of innumerable cells, of various figures and
dimensions. Others prefer a more elevated site, and build their nests,
which are of different sizes, from that of a hat to that of a sugar-cask,
and composed of pieces of wood glued together, amongst the branches of
trees, often seventy or eighty feet high. But by far the most curious
habitations, are those formed by the _Termes bellicosus_, a species very
common in Guinea, and other parts of the coasts of Africa, of whose
proceedings we have a very particular and interesting account in the 71st
volume of the Philosophical Transactions.

These nests are formed entirely of clay, and are generally twelve feet
high, and broad in proportion; so that when a cluster of them, as is often
the case in South America, are placed together, they may be taken for an
Indian village, and are in fact sometimes larger than the huts which the
natives inhabit. The first process in the erection of these singular
structures, is the elevation of two or three turrets of clay, about a foot
high, and in shape like a sugar-loaf. These, which seem to be the
scaffolds of the future building, rapidly increase in number and height,
until at length being widened at the base, joined at the top into one
dome, and consolidated all around into a thick wall of clay, they form a
building of the size above-mentioned, and of the shape of a haycock,
which, when clothed, as it generally soon becomes, with a coating of
grass, it at a distance very much resembles. When the building has assumed
this its final form, the inner turrets, all but the tops, which project
like pinnacles from different parts of it, are removed, and the clay
employed over again in other services. It is the lower part alone of the
building that is occupied by the inhabitants; the upper portion, or dome,
which is very strong and solid, is left empty, serving principally as a
defence from the vicissitudes of the weather and the attacks of natural or
accidental enemies, and to keep up in the lower part a genial warmth and
moisture, necessary to the hatching of the eggs and cherishing of the
young ones. The inhabited portion is occupied by the royal chamber, or
habitation of the king and queen; the nurseries for the young; the
storehouses for food; and innumerable galleries, passages, and empty
rooms, arranged according to the following plan:--

In the centre of the building, just under the apex, and nearly on a level
with the surface of the ground, is placed the royal chamber, an arched
vault of a semi-oval shape, or not unlike a long oven; at first not above
an inch long, but enlarged, as the queen increases in bulk, to the length
of eight inches or more. In this apartment the king and queen constantly
reside, and, from the smallness of the entrances, which are barely large
enough to admit their more diminutive subjects, can never possibly come
out; thus, like many human potentates, purchasing their sovereignty at the
dear rate of the sacrifice of liberty. Immediately adjoining the royal
chamber, and surrounding it on all sides to the extent of a foot or more,
are placed the royal apartments, an inextricable labyrinth of innumerable
arched rooms, of different shapes and sizes, either opening into each
other, or communicating by common passages, and intended for the
accommodation of the soldiers and attendants, of whom many thousands are
always in waiting on their royal master and mistress.

Next to the royal apartments come the nurseries and the magazines. The
former are invariably occupied by the eggs and young ones, and, in the
infant state of the nest, are placed close to the royal chamber; but when
the queen's augmented size requires a larger apartment, as well as
additional rooms for the increased number of attendants wanted to remove
her eggs, the small nurseries are taken to pieces, rebuilt at a greater
distance, a size larger, and their number increased at the same time. In
substance they differ from all the other apartments, being formed of
particles of wood, apparently joined together with gums. A collection of
these compact, irregular, and small wooden chambers, not one of which is
half an inch in width, is inclosed in a common chamber of clay, sometimes
as big as a child's head. Intermixed with the nurseries, lie the
magazines, which are chambers of clay, always well stored with provisions,
consisting of particles of wood, gums, and the inspissated juices of
plants.

These magazines and nurseries, separated by small empty chambers and
galleries, which run round them, or communicate from one to the other, are
continued on all sides to the outer wall of the building, and reach up
within it two-thirds or three-fourths of its height. They do not, however,
fill up the whole of the lower part of the hill, but are confined to the
sides, leaving an open area in the middle, under the dome, very much
resembling the nave of an old cathedral, having its roof supported by two
very large Gothic arches, of which those in the middle of the area are
sometimes two and three feet high, but as they recede on each side,
rapidly diminish, like the arches of aisles in perspective. A flattish
roof, imperforated, in order to keep out the wet, if the dome should
chance to be injured, covers the top of the assemblage of chambers,
nurseries, &c.; and the area, which is a short height above the royal
chamber, has a flattish floor, also waterproof, and so contrived as to let
any rain, that may chance to get in, run off into the subterraneous
passages.

These passages or galleries, which are of an astonishing size, some being
above a foot in diameter, perfectly cylindrical, and lined with the same
kind of clay of which the hill is composed, served originally, like the
catacombs of Paris, as the quarries whence the materials of the building
were derived, and afterwards as the grand outlets by which the termites
carry on their depredations at a distance from their habitations. They run
in a sloping direction, under the bottom of the hill, to the depth of
three or four feet, and then branching out horizontally on every side, are
carried under ground, near to the surface, to a vast distance. At their
entrance into the interior, they communicate with other small galleries,
which ascend the outside of the outer shell in a spiral manner, and,
winding round the whole body to the top, intersect each other at different
heights, opening either immediately in the dome in various places, and
into the lower half of the building, or communicating with every part of
it by other smaller circular or oval galleries of different diameters. The
necessity for the vast size of the main underground galleries, evidently
arises from the circumstance of their being the great thoroughfares for
the inhabitants, by which they fetch their clay, wood, water, or
provision; and their spiral and gradual ascent is requisite for the easy
access of the termites, which cannot, but with great difficulty, ascend a
perpendicular. To avoid this inconvenience, in the interior vertical parts
of the building, a flat pathway, half an inch wide, is often made to wind
gradually, like a road cut out of the side of a mountain; by which they
travel with great facility up ascents otherwise impracticable. The same
ingenious propensity to shorten their labour, seems to have given birth to
a contrivance still more extraordinary: this is a kind of bridge, or vast
arch, sprung from the floor of the area to the upper apartments at the
side of the building, which answers the purpose of a flight of stairs, and
must shorten the distance exceedingly in transporting eggs from the royal
chambers to the upper nurseries, which in some hills would be four or five
feet in the straightest line, and much more if carried through all the
winding passages which lead through the inner chambers and apartments. Mr.
Smeathman measured one of these bridges, which was half an inch broad, a
quarter of an inch thick, and ten inches long, making the size of an
elliptic arch of proportionable dimensions, so that it is wonderful it did
not fall over, or break by its own weight, before they got it joined to
the side of the column above. It was strengthened by a small arch at the
bottom, and had a hollow or groove all the length of the upper surface,
either made purposely for the greater safety of the passengers, or else
worn by frequent treading. It is not the least surprising circumstance
attending this bridge, the Gothic arches before spoken of, and in general
all the arches of the various galleries and apartments, that, as Mr.
Smeathman saw every reason for believing, the termites project them, and
do not, as one would have supposed, excavate them.

Consider what incredible labour and diligence, accompanied by the most
unremitting activity, and the most unwearied celerity of movement, must be
necessary to enable these creatures to accomplish (their size considered)
these truly gigantic works. That such diminutive insects, for they are
scarcely the fourth of an inch in length, however numerous, should, in the
space of three or four years, be able to erect a building twelve feet
high, and of proportionable bulk, covered by a vast dome, adorned without
by numerous pinnacles and turrets, and sheltering under its ample arch
myriads of vaulted apartments, of various dimensions, and constructed of
different materials,--that they should moreover excavate, in different
directions and at different depths, innumerable subterranean roads or
tunnels, some twelve or thirteen inches in diameter, or throw an arch of
stone over other roads leading from the metropolis into the adjoining
country, to the distance of seven hundred feet,--that they should project
and finish the vast interior staircases or bridges, lately described,--and
finally, that the millions necessary to execute such Herculean labours,
perpetually passing to and fro, should never interrupt and interfere with
each other, is a miracle of nature, far exceeding the most boasted works
and structures of man; for, did these creatures equal him in size,
retaining their usual instincts and activity, their buildings would soar
to the astonishing height of half a mile, and their tunnels would expand
to a magnificent cylinder of more than three hundred feet in diameter;
before which, the pyramids of Egypt, and the aqueducts of Rome, would lose
their celebrity, and dwindle into nothing.

The most elevated of the pyramids of Egypt is not more than six hundred
feet high, which, setting the average height of man at only five feet, is
not more than a hundred and twenty times the height of the workmen
employed. Whereas, the nests of the termites being at least twelve feet
high, and the insects themselves not exceeding a quarter of an inch in
stature, their edifices are upwards of five hundred times the height of
the builders; which, supposing them of human dimensions, would be more
than half a mile. The shaft of the Roman aqueducts was lofty enough to
permit a man on horseback to travel in them.

The first establishment of a colony of termites takes place in the
following manner. In the evening, soon after the first tornado, which at
the latter end of the dry season proclaims the approach of the ensuing
rains, these animals, having attained to their perfect state, in which
they are furnished and adorned with two pair of wings, emerge from their
clay-built citadels by myriads and myriads, to seek their fortune. Borne
on these ample wings, and carried by the wind, they fill the air, entering
the houses, extinguishing the lights, and are sometimes driven on board
the ships that are not far from the shore. The next morning, they are
discovered covering the earth and waters, deprived of the wings which
enabled them to avoid their numerous enemies, and which were only
calculated to carry them a few hours. They now look like large maggots;
and, from the most active, industrious, and rapacious creatures, they are
become the most helpless and cowardly beings in nature, the prey of
innumerable enemies, to the smallest of which they make not the least
resistance. Insects, especially ants, which are always on the hunt for
them, leave no place unexplored: birds, reptiles, beasts, and even man
himself, look upon this event as their harvest, and, as the reader has
been told before, make them their food, so that scarcely a pair in many
millions get into a place of safety.

The workers, who are continually prowling about in their covered ways,
occasionally meet with one of these pairs, and being impelled by their
instinct, pay them homage, and they are elected as it were to be king and
queen, or rather founders, of a new colony: all that are not so
fortunate, inevitably perish; and, considering the infinite host of their
enemies, probably in the course of the following day. The workers, as soon
as this election takes place, begin to inclose their new rulers in a small
chamber of clay, before described, suited to their size, the entrances to
which are only large enough to admit themselves and the neuters, but much
too small for the royal pair to pass through;--so that their state of
royalty is a state of confinement, and so continues during the remainder
of their existence. The female, after this confinement, soon begins to
furnish the infant colony with new inhabitants. The care of feeding her
and her companion, devolves upon the industrious larvæ, which supply them
both with every thing that they want. As she increases in dimensions, they
continue to enlarge the cell in which she is detained. When the business
of oviposition commences, they take the eggs from her, and deposit them in
their nurseries. Her abdomen now begins gradually to extend, till in
process of time it is enlarged to fifteen hundred or two thousand times
the size of the rest of her body, and her bulk equals that of twenty or
thirty thousand workers. This part, often more than three inches in
length, is now a vast matrix of eggs, which make long circumvolutions
through numberless slender serpentine vessels: it is also remarkable for
its peristaltic motion, (in this resembling the female ant; see _Gould's_
Account of English Ants, p. 22.) which, like the undulations of water,
produces a perpetual and successive rise and fall over the whole surface
of the abdomen, and occasions a constant extrusion of the eggs, amounting
sometimes in old females to sixty in a minute, or eighty thousand and
upwards in twenty-four hours. As these females live two years in their
perfect state, how astonishing must be the number produced in that time!

This incessant extrusion of eggs must call for the attention of a large
number of the workers in the royal chamber, (and indeed it is always full
of them,) to take them as they come forth, and carry them to the
nurseries, in which, when hatched, they are provided with food, and
receive every necessary attention, till they are able to shift for
themselves. One remarkable circumstance attends these nurseries; they are
always covered with a kind of mould, amongst which arise numerous
globules, about the size of a pin's head. This is probably a species of
_mucor_; and by Mr. Köenig, who found them also in nests of an East Indian
species of _termes_, is conjectured to be the food of the larvæ.

The royal cell has also some soldiers in it, a kind of body-guard to the
royal pair that inhabit it; and the surrounding apartments contain always
many, both labourers and soldiers, in waiting, that they may successively
attend upon and defend the common father and mother, on whose safety
depend the happiness and even existence of the whole community; and whom
these faithful subjects never abandon even in the last distress.

These little busy creatures are taught by Providence always to work under
cover. If they have to travel over a rock, or up a tree, they vault, with
a coping of earth, the route they mean to pursue, and they form
subterranean paths and tunnels, some of a diameter wider than the bore of
a large cannon, on all sides from their habitation, to their various
objects of attack, or which sloping down, (for they cannot well mount a
surface quite perpendicular,) penetrate to the depth of three or four feet
under their nests into the earth, till they arrive at a soil proper to be
used in the erection of their buildings. Were they, indeed, to expose
themselves, the race would soon be annihilated by their innumerable
enemies. If any accident happen to their various structures, or if they
are dislodged from any of their covered ways, they are active and
expeditious in repairing it; and in a single night they will restore a
gallery of three or four yards in length. If, attacking the nest, you
divide it into halves, leaving the royal chamber, and thus lay open
thousands of apartments, all will be shut up with their sheets of clay by
the next morning; nay, even if the whole be demolished, provided the king
and the queen be left, every interstice between the ruins, at which either
cold or wet can possibly enter, will be covered, and, in a year, the
building will be raised nearly to its pristine size and grandeur.

Besides building and repairing, a great deal of their time is occupied in
making necessary alterations in their mansion and its approaches. The
royal presence chamber, as the female increases in size, must be gradually
enlarged; the nurseries must be removed to a greater distance; the
chambers and interior of the nest receive daily accessions, to provide for
a daily increasing population; and the direction of their covered ways
must often be varied, when the old stock of provision is exhausted, and
new sources are discovered.

The collection of provisions for the use of the colony is another
employment, which necessarily calls for incessant attention: these, to the
naked eye, appear like raspings of wood; but when examined by the
microscope, they are found to consist chiefly of gums and the inspissated
juices of plants, which, formed into little masses, are stored up in
magazines made of clay.

When any one is bold enough to attack their nest, and make a breach in its
walls, the labourers, who are incapable of fighting, retire within, and
give way to another description of its inhabitants, whose office it is to
defend the fortress when assailed by enemies; these, as observed before,
are the neuters or soldiers. If the breach be made in a slight part of the
building, one of these comes out to reconnoitre; he then retires and gives
the alarm. Two or three others next appear, scrambling as fast as they can
one after the other; to these succeed a large body, who rush forth with as
much speed as the breach will permit, their numbers continually increasing
during the attack. It is not easy to describe the rage and fury by which
these diminutive heroes seem actuated. In their haste they frequently miss
their hold, and tumble down the sides of their hill: they soon, however,
recover themselves, and, being blind, bite every thing they run against.
If the attack proceeds, the bustle and agitation increase to a tenfold
degree, and their fury is raised to its highest pitch. Wo to him whose
hands or legs they can come at! for they will make their fanged jaws meet
at the very first stroke, drawing as much blood as will counterpoise their
whole body, and never quitting their hold, even though they are pulled
limb from limb. The naked legs of the negroes expose them frequently to
this injury; and the stockings of the Europeans are not thick enough to
defend them.

On the other hand, if, after the first attack, you get a little out of the
way, giving them no further interruption, supposing the assailant of their
citadel is gone beyond their reach, in less than half an hour they will
retire into the nest; and before they have all entered, you will see the
labourers in motion, hastening in various directions towards the breach,
every one carrying in his mouth a mass of mortar, half as big as his body,
ready tempered; this mortar is made of the finest parts of the gravel,
which they probably select in the subterranean pits or passages before
described, which, worked up to a proper consistence, hardens to the solid
substance resembling stone, of which their nests are constructed: they
never appear to embarrass or interrupt one another. By the united labours
of such an infinite host of creatures, the wall soon rises, and the breach
is repaired.

While the labourers are thus employed, almost all the soldiers have
retired quite out of sight, except here and there one, who saunters about
amongst the labourers, but never assists in the work. One in particular
places himself close to the wall which they are building; and turning
himself leisurely on all sides, as if to survey the proceedings, appears
to act the part of an overseer of the works. Every now and then, at the
interval of a minute or two, by lifting up his head and striking his
forceps upon the wall of the nest, he makes a particular noise, which is
answered by a loud hiss from all the labourers, and appears to be a signal
for dispatch; for, every time it is heard, they may be seen to redouble
their pace, and apply to their work with increased diligence. Renew the
attack, and this amusing scene will be repeated: in rush the labourers,
all disappearing in a few seconds, and out march the military, as numerous
and vindictive as before. When all is once more quiet, the busy labourers
re-appear, and resume their work, and the soldiers vanish. Repeat the
experiment a hundred times, and the same will always be the result; you
will never find, be the peril or emergency ever so great, that one order
attempts to fight, or the other to work.

We have seen how solicitous the termites are to move and work under cover,
and concealed from observation: this, however, is not always the case;
there is a species larger than _T. bellicosus_, whose proceedings we have
been principally describing, which Mr. Smeathman calls the marching Termes
(_Termes viarum_). He was once passing through a thick forest, when on a
sudden, a loud hiss, like that of serpents, struck him with alarm. The
next step produced a repetition of the sound, which he then recognized to
be that of white ants; yet he was surprised at seeing none of their hills
or covering ways. Following the noise, to his great astonishment and
delight, he saw an army of these creatures emerging from a hole in the
ground; their number was prodigious, and they marched with the utmost
celerity. When they had proceeded about a yard, they divided into two
columns, chiefly composed of labourers, about fifteen abreast, and
following each other in close order, and going straight forward. Here and
there was seen a soldier, carrying his vast head with apparent difficulty,
and looking like an ox in a flock of sheep, who marched on in the same
manner. At the distance of a foot or two from the columns, many other
soldiers were to be seen, standing still or pacing about as if upon the
look-out, lest some enemy should suddenly surprise their unwarlike
comrades; other soldiers, (which was the most extraordinary and amusing
part of the scene,) having mounted some plants, and placed themselves on
the points of their leaves, elevated from ten to fifteen inches from the
ground, hung over the army marching below, and by striking their forceps
upon the leaf, produced at intervals the noise above-mentioned. To this
signal the whole army returned a hiss, and obeyed it by increasing their
pace. The soldiers at these signal-stations sat quite still during the
interval of silence, except now and then making a slight turn of the head,
and seemed as solicitous to keep their posts as regular sentinels. The two
columns of this army united, after continuing separate from twelve to
fifteen paces, having in no part been above three yards asunder, and then
descended into the earth by two or three holes. Mr. Smeathman continued
watching them for above an hour, during which time their numbers appeared
neither to increase nor diminish: the soldiers, however, who quitted the
line of march and acted as sentinels, became much more numerous before he
quitted the spot. The larvæ and neuters of this species are furnished with
eyes.

The societies of _Termes lucifergus_, discovered by Latreille, at
Bourdeaux, are very numerous; but instead of erecting artificial nests,
they make their lodgment in the trunks of pines and oaks, where the
branches diverge from the tree. They eat the wood nearest the bark, or the
alburnum, without attacking the interior, and bore a vast number of holes
and irregular galleries. That part of the wood appears moist, and is
covered with little gelatinous particles, not unlike gum-arabic. These
insects seem to be furnished with an acid of a very penetrating odour,
which, perhaps, is useful to them for penetrating the wood. The soldiers
in these societies are as about one to twenty-five of the labourers.

The anonymous author of the observations on the termites of Ceylon, seems
to have discovered a sentry-box in his nests. "I found," says he, "in a
very small cell in the middle of the solid mass, (a cell about half an
inch in height, and very narrow,) a larva with an enormous head. Two of
these individuals were in the same cell; one of the two seemed placed as
sentinel at the entrance of the cell. I amused myself by forcing the door
two or three times; the sentinel immediately appeared, and only retreated
when the door was on the point of being stopped up, which was done by the
labourers."


THE GREEN ANTS.--Captain Cook gives the following account of a very
peculiar kind of ants, which he met with at Botany Bay.--"They are as
green as a leaf. They live upon trees, where they build their nests. The
nests are of a very curious structure: they are formed by bending down
several of the leaves, each of which is as broad as a man's hand; they
glue the points of them together, so as to form a purse. The viscus used
for this purpose is an animal juice, which nature has enabled them to
elaborate. Their method of first bending down the leaves, our naturalists
had not an opportunity of observing; but they saw thousands uniting all
their strength to hold them in this position, while other busy multitudes
were employed within, in applying the gluten that was to prevent their
returning back. To satisfy themselves that the leaves were bent and held
down by the efforts of these diminutive artificers, our people disturbed
them in their work, and, as soon as they were driven from their station,
the leaves on which they were employed sprang up with a force much greater
than they could have thought them able to conquer, by any combination of
their strength."


THE VISITING ANTS.--At Paramaribo, a Dutch colony in the province of
Surinam, there is a species of ants, which the Portuguese call visiting
ants: they march in troops, and as soon as they appear, all the coffers
and chests of drawers are laid open, which they clear of rats, mice, and a
peculiar sort of insect in that country, called _cackerlacks_, and of
other noxious animals. If any one chance to molest them, they fall upon
him, and tear in pieces his stockings and shoes. Their visits are rare;
and sometimes they do not appear for three years.--_Templeman's Obs._ vol.
i. p. 36.


We conclude this chapter with an account of THE ANT-LION.--There is no
insect more remarkable for its dexterity than the ant-lion, though its
figure announces nothing extraordinary. It nearly resembles the woodlouse;
its body being provided with six feet, composed of several membranous
rings, and terminated in a point. Its head, flat and square, is armed with
two moveable crooked horns, whose singular structure shews how admirable
Nature is, even in the least of her works.

This insect is the most subtle and dangerous enemy the ant has; the plans
which he forms to ensnare his prey, are very ingenious. He mines a portion
of land in the form of a funnel, at the bottom of which he waits to seize
the ants, which coming by chance to the edge of the precipice, are thence
hurried down to their merciless foe. In order to dig it, he first traces
in the sand a circular furrow, whose circumference forms precisely the
mouth of the funnel, the diameter of which is always equal to the depth he
gives to his ditch. When he has determined the space of this opening, and
traced the first furrow, he immediately digs a second, concentric to the
other, in order to throw out all the sand contained in the first circle.
He makes all these operations with his head, which serves him instead of a
shovel, and its flat and square form admirably adapts it to this purpose.
He also takes some sand with one of his fore feet, to throw it beyond the
first furrow; and this work is repeated till the insect has reached a
certain depth of sand. Sometimes, in digging, he meets with grains of sand
larger than usual, or with little bits of dry earth, which he will not
suffer to remain in his tunnel; of these he disencumbers himself by a
sudden and well-timed manoeuvre of his head. Should he find particles yet
larger, he endeavours to push them away with his back, and he is so
assiduous in this labour, that he repeats it six or seven times.

At length the ant-lion comes to collect the fruits of his toil. His nets
being once well laid, he has nothing to do but to put himself on the
watch; accordingly, immoveable and concealed at the bottom of the ditch
which he has dug, he patiently waits for the prey which he cannot pursue.
If some unhappy ant is inadvertently drawn to the borders of this fatal
precipice, she is almost sure to roll down to the bottom, because the
brink is made sloping, and thus the sand giving way beneath her feet, she
is forced to follow the dangerous declivity till she falls into the power
of her destroyer, who, by means of his horns, draws her under the sand,
and feasts upon her blood. When he has sucked all the juices from her
body, he contrives to eject from his habitation the dry and hollow
carcase, repairs any damage his trench may have sustained, and puts
himself again in ambush. He does not always succeed in seizing his prey at
the moment of its fall; it frequently escapes him, and endeavours to
remount the funnel; but then the ant-lion works with his head, and causes
a shower of sand to descend upon his captive, and precipitate it once more
to the bottom.

All the actions of this little animal display an art so extraordinary,
that we might often examine them without being wearied. The ant-lion
employs itself in preparing trenches even before having seen the animal
which they are to ensnare, and which is to serve it for nourishment; and
yet its actions are regulated in a manner the best adapted to accomplish
these purposes.

How would an animal, so destitute of agility, have been able to entrap its
prey more easily than by digging in a moveable sand, and giving a sloping
declivity to this funnel? What better stratagem could it have devised for
recovering the ants which were on the point of escaping even from this
skilfully constructed snare, than in overwhelming them with showers of
sand, and thus cutting off all hopes of a retreat? All its actions have
fixed principles by which they are directed. The trench must be dug in the
sand, or it could not answer the desired purpose; and it must, according
to the structure of its body, work backwards, using its horns like a pair
of pincers, in order to throw the sand over the brink of the funnel. The
instinct which governs this insect, discovers to us a First Cause, whose
intelligence has foreseen and ordained every thing that was necessary for
the preservation and well-being of such an animal.



CHAP. XXVI.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Spider--Ingenuity of the Spider--Spider tamed--Curious Anecdote
    of a Spider, &c._


THE SPIDER.

  The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
  Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.
                                          _Pope._

One of the largest of the European spiders is the _Aranea diadema_ of
Linnæus, which is extremely common in our own country, and is chiefly seen
during the autumnal season, in gardens, &c. The body of this species, when
full grown, is not much inferior in size to a small hazel-nut: the abdomen
is beautifully marked by a longitudinal series of round or drop-shaped
milk-white spots, crossed by others of similar appearance, so as to
represent, in some degree, the pattern of a small diadem. This spider, in
the months of September and October, forms, in some convenient spot or
shelter, a large round close or thick web of yellow silk, in which it
deposits its eggs, guarding the round web with a secondary one of a looser
texture. The young are hatched in the ensuing May, the parent insects
dying towards the close of autumn. The aranea diadema being one of the
largest of the common spiders, serves to exemplify some of the principal
characters of the genus in a clearer manner than most others. At the tip
of the abdomen are placed five papillæ, or teats, through which the insect
draws its thread; and as each of these papillæ is furnished with a vast
number of foramina or outlets, disposed over its whole surface, it
follows, that what we commonly term a spider's thread, is in reality
formed of a collection of a great many distinct ones; the animal
possessing the power of drawing out more or fewer at pleasure; and if it
should draw from all the foramina at once, the thread might consist of
many hundred distinct filaments. The eyes, which are situated on the upper
part or front of the thorax, are eight in number, placed at a small
distance from each other, and have the appearance of the stemmata in the
generality of insects. The fangs, or piercers, with which the animal
wounds its prey, are strong, curved, sharp-pointed, and each furnished on
the inside, near the tip, with a small oblong hole or slit, through which
is injected a poisonous fluid into the wound made by the point itself,
these organs operating in miniature on the same principle with the fangs
in poisonous serpents. The feet are highly curious, the two claws, with
which each is terminated, being furnished on its under side with several
parallel processes, resembling the teeth of a comb, and enabling the
animal to dispose and manage, with the utmost facility, the disposition of
the threads in its web, &c.

The _Aranea tarantula_, or Tarantula spider, of which so many idle
recitals have been detailed in the works of the learned, and which, even
to this day, continues in some countries to exercise the faith and
ignorance of the vulgar, is a native of the warmer parts of Italy, and
other warm European regions, and is generally found in dry and sunny
plains. It is the largest of all the European spiders; but the
extraordinary symptoms supposed to ensue from the bite of this insect, as
well as their supposed cure by the power of music alone, are entirely
fabulous, and are now sufficiently exploded among all rational
philosophers. The gigantic _Aranea avicularia_, or Bird-catching spider,
is not uncommon in many parts of the East Indies and South America, where
it resides among trees, frequently seizing on small birds, which it
destroys by wounding with its fangs, and sucking their blood.

During the early part of the last century, a project was entertained by a
French gentleman, Monsieur Bon, of Montpellier, of instituting a
manufacture of spiders' silk; and the Royal Academy, to which the scheme
was proposed, appointed the ingenious Reaumur to repeat the experiments of
M. Bon, in order to ascertain how far the proposed plan might be carried:
but, after making the proper trials, M. Reaumur found it to be
impracticable, on account of the natural disposition of these animals,
which is such as will by no means admit of their living peaceably together
in large numbers. M. Reaumur also computed that 663,522 spiders would
scarcely furnish a single pound of silk. Monsieur Bon, however, the first
projector, carried his experiments so far as to obtain two or three pairs
of stockings and gloves of this silk, which were of an elegant gray
colour, and were presented, as samples, to the Royal Academy. It must be
observed, that in this manufacture it is the silk of the egg-bags alone
that can be used, being far stronger than that of the webs. Monsieur Bon
collected twelve or thirteen ounces of these, and having caused them to be
well cleared of dust, by properly beating with sticks, he washed them
perfectly clean in warm water. After this, they were laid to steep, in a
large vessel, with soap, saltpetre, and gum-arabic. The whole was left to
boil over a gentle fire for three hours, and was afterwards again washed
to get out the soap; then laid to dry for some days, after which it was
carded, but with much smaller cards than ordinary. The silk is easily spun
into a fine and strong thread; the difficulty being only to collect the
silk-bags in sufficient quantity.

There remains one more particularity in the history of spiders, viz. the
power of flight. It is principally in the autumnal season that these
diminutive adventurers ascend the air, and contribute to fill it with that
infinity of floating cobwebs, which are so peculiarly conspicuous at that
period of the year. When inclined to make these aërial excursions, the
spider ascends some slight eminence, as the top of a wall, or the branch
of a tree; and turning itself with its head towards the wind, protrudes
several threads, and, rising from its station, commits itself to the gale,
and is thus carried far beyond the height of the loftiest towers, and
enjoys the pleasure of a clearer atmosphere. During their flight, it is
probable that spiders employ themselves in catching such minute winged
insects as may happen to occur in their progress; and when satisfied with
their journey and their prey, they suffer themselves to fall, by
contracting their limbs, and gradually disengaging themselves from the
thread.

These insects are but ill calculated to live in society. Whenever thus
stationed, they never fail to wage war with each other. The females, in
particular, are of a disposition peculiarly capricious and malignant; and
it is observed, that they sometimes spring upon the males, and destroy
them. On this occasion, says Linnæus, if ever, may be justly applied the
Ovidian line:--

  Res est solliciti plena timoris amor!


The following is a notable instance of the INGENUITY OF THE SPIDER. T. A.
Knight, Esq. of Herefordshire, has, in a Treatise on the Culture of the
Apple and Pear, introduced the following concerning this curious insect.--

"I have frequently placed a spider on a small upright stick, whose base
was surrounded by water, to observe its most singular mode of escape.
After having discovered that the ordinary means of escape are cut off, it
ascends the point of the stick, and, standing nearly on its head, ejects
its web, which the wind readily carries to some contiguous object. Along
this, the sagacious insect effects its escape, not however till it has
previously ascertained, by several exertions of its whole strength, that
its web is properly attached to the opposite end. I do not know that this
instance of sagacity has been mentioned by any entomological writer, and I
insert it here in consequence of the erroneous accounts of some periodical
publications, of the spider's threads, which are observed to pass from one
tree or bush to another in dewy mornings."


The reader will be pleased with the following account of A SPIDER TAMED,
given by the Abbé d'Olivet, author of the Life of Pelisson, in the
following passage:--

"Confined at that time in a solitary place, and where the light of day
only penetrated through a mere slit, having no other servant than a stupid
and dull clown, a Basque, who was continually playing on the bagpipes,
Pelisson studied by what means to secure himself against an enemy, which a
good conscience alone cannot always repel; I mean, the attacks of
unemployed imagination, which, when it once exceeds proper limits, becomes
the most cruel torture of a recluse individual. He adopted the following
stratagem:--Perceiving a spider spinning her web at the spiracle, he
undertook to tame her; and to effect this, he placed some flies on the
edge of the opening, while the Basque was playing on his favourite
bagpipe. The spider by degrees accustomed herself to distinguish the sound
of that instrument, and to run from her hole to seize her prey; thus, by
means of always calling her out by the same tune, and placing the flies
nearer and nearer his own seat, after several months' exercise, he
succeeded in training the spider so well, that she would start at the
first signal, to seize a fly at the farthest end of the room, and even on
the knees of the prisoner."

It has been stated, that a prisoner confined in the Bastile, retained his
senses, contrary to expectation, by playing daily so many games at
push-pin; he having, unknown to his keepers, secreted a battalion or two
of these hostile implements. The device of Pelisson is more interesting to
us, as we learn from it, that the spider, though amongst the most
quarrelsome of insects, yet is capable of being rendered familiar by the
reason and perseverance of man.

In the introduction to a modern Entomology there is a description of the
process by which the spider weaves its web. After describing the four
spinners, as they are termed, from which the visible threads proceed, the
writer makes the following curious observations:--"These are machinery,
through which, by a process more singular than that of rope-spinning, the
thread is drawn. Each spinner is pierced, like the plate of a wire-drawer,
with a multitude of holes, so numerous, and exquisitely fine, that a space
often not larger than a pin's point includes a thousand. Through each of
these holes proceeds a thread of inconceivable tenuity, which, immediately
after issuing from the orifice, unites with all the other threads from the
spinner, into one. Hence, from each spinner proceeds a compound thread;
and these four threads, at the distance of about one-tenth of an inch from
the apex of the spinner, again unite, and form the thread we are
accustomed to see, which the spider uses in forming its web. Thus, a
spider's web, even spun by the smallest species, and when so fine that it
is almost imperceptible to our senses, is not, as we suppose, a straight
line, but a rope, composed of at least 400 yarns."


We shall close this chapter with a CURIOUS ANECDOTE OF A SPIDER, connected
with observations on the utility of ants in destroying venomous creatures;
by Captain Bagnold.

"Desirous of ascertaining the natural food of the scorpion, I inclosed one
(which measured three-quarters of an inch from the head to the insertion
of the tail) in a wide-mouthed phial, together with one of those large
spiders so common in the West Indies, and closed it with a cork,
perforated by a quill for the admission of air. The insects seemed
carefully to avoid each other, retiring to opposite ends of the bottle,
which was placed horizontally. By giving it a gradual inclination, the
scorpion was forced into contact with the spider, when a sharp encounter
took place, the latter receiving repeated stings from his venomous
adversary, apparently without the least injury; while, with his web, he
soon lashed the scorpion's tail to his back, and afterwards secured his
legs and claws with the same materials. In this state I left them some
time, in order to observe what effect would be produced on the spider, by
the wounds he had received. On my return, however, I was disappointed, the
ants having entered, and destroyed them both.

"In the West Indies I have daily witnessed crowds of these little insects
destroying the spider or cockroach, which, as soon as he is dispatched,
they carry to their nest. I have frequently seen them drag their prey
perpendicularly up the wall, and, although the weight would overcome their
united efforts, and fall to the ground, perhaps twenty times in
succession, yet, by unremitting perseverance, and the aid of
reinforcements, they always succeeded.

"A struggle of this description once amused the officers of his majesty's
ship Retribution, for nearly half an hour: a large centipede entered the
gun-room, surrounded by an immense concourse of ants; the deck, for four
or five feet round, was covered with them; his body and limbs were
encrusted with his lilliputian enemies; and although thousands were
destroyed by his exertions to escape, they ultimately carried him in
triumph to their dwelling.

"In the woods near Sierra Leone, I have several times seen the entire
skeletons of the snake beautifully dissected by these minute anatomists."

From these circumstances it would appear, that ants are a considerable
check to the increase of those venomous reptiles, so troublesome in the
torrid zone; and their industry, perseverance, courage, and numerical
force, seem to strengthen the conjecture: in which case they amply
remunerate us for their own depredations.



CHAP. XXVII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _Luminous Insects._


Many insects are possessed of a luminous preparation or secretion, which
has all the advantages of our lamps and candles, without their
inconveniences; which gives light sufficient to direct our motion; which
is incapable of burning; and whose lustre is maintained without needing
fresh supplies of oil, or the application of snuffers.

Of the insects thus singularly provided, the common GLOW-WORM (_Lampyris
noctiluca_) is the most familiar instance.--This insect in shape somewhat
resembles a caterpillar, only it is much more depressed; and the light
proceeds from a pale-coloured patch that terminates, the under side of the
abdomen.

It has been supposed by many, that the males of the different species of
lampyris do not possess the property of giving out any light; but it is
now ascertained that this supposition is inaccurate, though their light is
much less vivid than that of the female. Ray first pointed out this fact
with respect to (_L. noctiluca_.) Geoffrey also observed, that the male of
this species has four small luminous points, two on each of the two last
segments of the belly: and his observation has been recently confirmed by
Miller. This last entomologist, indeed, saw only two shining spots; but
from the insects having the power of withdrawing them out of sight, so
that not the smallest trace of light remains, he thinks it is not
improbable that at times two other points, still smaller, may be
exhibited, as Geoffrey has described. In the males of _L. splendidula_,
and of _L. hemiptera_, the light is very distinct, and may be seen in the
former while flying. The females have the same faculty of extinguishing or
concealing their light; a very necessary provision to guard them from the
attacks of nocturnal birds. Mr. White even thinks that they regularly put
it out between eleven and twelve every night, and they have also the power
of rendering it for a while more vivid than ordinary.

Though many of the females of the different species of lampyris are
without wings, and even elytra, (in _Coleoptera_,) this is not the case
with all. The female of _L. Italica_, a species common in Italy, and
which, if we may trust to the accuracy of the account given by Mr. Waller,
in the Philosophical Transactions for 1684, would seem to have been taken
by him in Hertfordshire, is winged; and when a number of these moving
stars are seen to dart through the air in a dark night, nothing can have a
more beautiful effect. Dr. Smith says, that the beaus of Italy are
accustomed in an evening to adorn the heads of the ladies with these
artificial diamonds, by sticking them into their hair; and a similar
custom prevails amongst the ladies of India.

Besides the golden species of the genus _Lampyris_, all of which are
probably more or less luminous, another insect of the beetle tribe,
_Elater noctilucus_, is endowed with the same property, and that in a much
higher degree. This insect, which is an inch long, and about one-third of
an inch broad, gives out its principal light from two transparent eye-like
tubercles placed upon the thorax; but there are also two luminous patches
concealed under the elytra, which are not visible except when the insect
is flying, at which time it appears adorned with four brilliant gems of
the most beautiful golden-blue lustre: in fact, the whole body is full of
light, which shines out between the abdominal segments when stretched. The
light emitted by the two thoracic tubercles alone is so considerable, that
the smallest print may be read by moving one of these insects along the
lines; and in the West India islands, particularly in St. Domingo, where
they are very common, the natives were formerly accustomed to employ those
living lamps, which they called _cucuij_, instead of candles, in
performing their evening household occupations. In travelling at night,
they used to tie one to each great toe; and in fishing and hunting,
required no other flambeau.--_Pietro Martire's Decades of the New World_,
_quoted in Madoc_, p. 543. Southey has happily introduced this insect in
his "Madoc," as furnishing the lamp by which Coatel rescued the British
hero from the hands of the Mexican priests.

  "She beckon'd and descended, and drew out,
  From underneath her vest, a cage, or net
  It rather might be called, so fine the twigs
  Which knit it, where, confined, two fire-flies gave
  Their lustre. By that light did Madoc first
  Behold the features of his lovely guide."

Pietro Martire tells us, that cucuij serve the natives of the Spanish West
India islands not only instead of candles, but as extirpators of the
gnats, which are a dreadful pest to the inhabitants of the low grounds.
They introduce a few fire-flies, to which the gnats are a grateful food,
into their houses, and by means of these "commodious hunters," are soon
rid of the intruders. "How they are a remedy (says this author) for so
great a mischiefe, it is a pleasant thing to hear. Hee who understandeth
that he has those troublesome guestes (the gnattes) at home, diligently
hunteth after the cucuij. Whoso wanteth cucuij, goeth out of the house in
the first twilight of the night, carrying a burning fire-brande in his
hande, and ascendeth the next hillock, that the cucuij may see it, and hee
swingeth the fire-brande about, calling Cucuie aloud, and beating the ayre
with often calling out, Cucuie, Cucuie." He goes on to observe, that the
simple people believe the insect is attracted by their invitations; but
that, for his part, he is rather inclined to think that the fire is the
magnet. Having obtained a sufficient number of cucuij, the beetle-hunter
returns home, and lets them fly loose in the house, where they diligently
seek the gnats about the beds and the faces of those asleep, and devour
them.--_Martire ubi supr. Colonies_, i. 128. These insects are also
applied to purposes of decoration. On certain festival-days, in the month
of June, they are collected in great numbers, and tied all over the
garments of young people, who gallop through the streets on horses
similarly ornamented, producing on a dark evening the effect of a large
moving body of light. On such occasions, the lover displays his gallantry
by decking his mistress with these living gems.--_Walton's Present State
of the Spanish Colonies._ And according to P. Martire, "many wanton wilde
fellowes" rub their faces with "the flesh of a killed cucuij," as boys
with us use phosphorus, "with purpose to meet their neighbours with a
flaming countenance," and derive amusement from their fright.

Besides _Elater noctilucus_, _E. ignitus_, and several others of the same
genus, are luminous: not fewer than twelve species of this family are
described by Illiger in the Berlin Naturalist Society's Magazine.

The brilliant nocturnal spectacle presented by these insects to the
inhabitants of the countries where they abound, cannot be better described
than in the language of the poet above referred to, who has thus related
its first effect upon British visitors of the new world:

  "------------------------sorrowing we beheld
  The night come on: but soon did night display
  More wonders than it veil'd; innumerable tribes
  From the wood-cover swarm'd, and darkness made
  Their beauties visible; one while they stream'd
  A bright blue radiance upon flowers that clos'd
  Their gorgeous colours from the eye of day;
  Now motionless and dark, eluding search,
  Self-shrouded; and anon starring the sky,
  Rose like a shower of fire."

If we are to believe Mouffet, (and the story is not incredible,) the
appearance of the tropical fire-flies on one occasion led to a more
important result than might have been expected from such a cause. He tells
us, that when Sir Thos. Cavendish and Sir John Dudley first landed in the
West Indies, and saw in the evening an infinite number of moving lights in
the woods, which were merely these insects, they supposed that the
Spaniards were advancing upon them, and immediately betook themselves to
their ships: a result as well entitling the elatera to a commemoration
feast, as a similar good office by the land-crabs of Hispaniola, which, as
the Spaniards tell, (and the story is confirmed by an anniversary _Fiesta
de los Cangrejos_,) by their clattering being mistaken for the sound of
Spanish cavalry close upon their heels, in like manner scared away a body
of English invaders from the city of St. Domingo.--_Walton's Hispaniola_,
i. 39.

An anecdote less improbable, perhaps, and certainly more ludicrous, is
related by Sir James Smith, of the effect of the first sight of the
Italian fire-flies upon some Moorish ladies, ignorant of such appearances.
These females had been taken prisoners at sea, and, until they could be
ransomed, lived in a house in the outskirts of Genoa, where they were
frequently visited by the respectable inhabitants of the city; a party of
whom, on going one evening, were surprised to find the house closely shut
up, and their Moorish friends in the greatest grief and consternation. On
inquiring into the cause, they ascertained that some of the Lampyris
Italica had found their way into the dwelling, and that the ladies within
had taken it into their heads that these brilliant guests were no other
than the troubled spirits of their relations; and some time elapsed before
they could be divested of this idea. The common people in Italy have a
superstition respecting these insects somewhat similar, believing that
they are of a spiritual nature, and proceed out of the graves; and hence
carefully avoid them.--_Tour on the Continent_, 2d ed. iii. 85.

The insects hitherto adverted to have been beetles, or of the order
_Coleoptera_. But, besides these, a genus in the order _Hemiptera_, called
_Fulgora_, includes several species, which emit so powerful a light, as to
have obtained in English the generic appellation of lantern-flies. Two of
the most conspicuous of this tribe are the _F. lanternaria_ and _F.
candelaria_; the former a native of South America, the latter of China.
Both, as indeed is the case with the whole genus, have the material which
diffuses their light included in a hollow subtransparent projection of the
head. In _F. candelaria_ this projection is of a subcylindrical shape,
recurved at the apex, above an inch in length, and the thickness of a
small quill. We may easily conceive, as travellers assure us, that a tree
studded with multitudes of these living sparks, some at rest and others in
motion, must during the night have a superlatively splendid appearance.

In _F. lanternaria_, which is an insect two or three inches long, the
snout is much larger and broader, and more of an oval shape, and sheds a
light, the brilliancy of which transcends that of any other luminous
insect. Madam Merian informs us, that the first discovery she made of
this property caused her no small alarm. The servants had brought her
several of these insects, which by day-light exhibited no extraordinary
appearance, and she inclosed them in a box till she should have an
opportunity of drawing them, placing them upon a table in her
lodging-room. In the middle of the night the confined insects made such a
noise as to awake her, and she opened the box, the inside of which, to her
great astonishment, appeared all in a blaze; and in her fright letting it
fall, she was not less surprised to see each of the insects apparently on
fire. She soon, however, divined the cause of this unexpected phenomenon,
and re-inclosed her brilliant guests in their place of confinement. She
adds, that the light of one of these fulgora was sufficiently bright to
read a newspaper by. Another species, _F. pyrrhorynchus_, is described by
Donovan, in his Insects of India; of which the light, though from a
smaller snout than that of _F. lanternaria_, must assume a more splendid
and striking appearance, the projection being of a rich deep purple from
the base to near the apex, which is of a fine transparent scarlet; and
these tints will of course be imparted to the transmitted light.

With regard to the immediate source of the luminous properties of these
insects, Mr. Macartney, to whom we are indebted for the most recent
investigation on the subject, has ascertained, that in the common
glow-worm, and in _Elater noctilucus_ and _ignitus_, the light proceeds
from masses of a substance not generally differing, except in its yellow
colour, from the interstitial substance _corps graisseux_, of the rest of
the body, closely applied underneath those transparent parts of the
insects' skin which afford the light. In the glowworm, besides the
last-mentioned substance, which, when the season for giving light is
passed, is absorbed, and replaced by the common interstitial substance, he
observed on the inner side of the last abdominal segment two minute oval
sacks, formed of an elastic spirally-wound fibre, similar to that of the
trachea, containing a soft yellow substance, of a closer texture than that
which lines the adjoining region, and affording a more permanent and
brilliant light. This light he found to be less under the control of the
insect than that from the adjoining luminous substance, which it has the
power of voluntarily extinguishing, not by retracting it under a membrane,
as Carradori imagined, but by some inscrutable change which depends upon
its will: and when the latter substance was extracted from living
glowworms, it afforded no light, while the two sacks in like circumstances
shone uninterruptedly for several hours. Mr. Macartney conceives, from the
radiated structure of interstitial substance surrounding the oval yellow
masses immediately under the transparent spot in the thorax of _Elater
noctilucus_, and the subtransparency of the adjoining crust, that the
interstitial substance in this situation has also the property of shining;
a supposition which, if De Geer and other authors be correct in stating,
that this insect has two luminous patches over its elytra, and that the
incisures between the abdominal segments shine when stretched, may
probably be extended to the whole of the interstitial substance of its
body.

With respect to the remote cause of the luminous property of insects,
philosophers are considerably divided in opinion. The disciples of modern
chemistry have in general, with Dr. Darwin, referred it to the slow
combustion of some combination of phosphorus secreted from their fluids by
an appropriate organization, and entering into combination with the oxygen
supplied in respiration. This opinion is very plausibly built upon the
ascertained existence of phosphoric acid as an animal secretion; the great
resemblance between the light of phosphorus in slow combustion, and animal
light; the remarkably large spiracula in glowworms; and upon the
statement, that the glowworm is rendered more brilliant by the application
of heat and oxygen gas, and is extinguished by cold and by hydrogen and
carbonic acid gases. From these last facts, Spallanzani was led to regard
the luminous matter as a compound of hydrogen and carburetted hydrogen
gas. Carradori having found that the luminous portion of the belly of the
Italian glowworm, _lampyris Italica_, shone in vacuo, in oil, in water,
and when under other circumstances where the presence of oxygen gas was
precluded,--with Brugnatelli, ascribed the property in question to the
imbibition of light, separated from the food or air taken in the body, and
afterwards secreted in a sensible form.[15] Lastly, Mr. Macartney having
ascertained, by experiment, that the light of a glowworm is not diminished
by immersion in water, or increased by the application of heat; that the
substance affording it, though poetically employed for lighting the
fairies' tapers,[16] is incapable of inflammation, if applied to the flame
of a candle or red-hot iron; and when separated from the body, exhibits no
sensible heat on the thermometer's being applied to it,--rejects the
preceding hypothesis as unsatisfactory, but without substituting any other
explanation; suggesting, however, that the facts he observed are more
favourable to the supposition of light being a quality of matter, than a
substance.

Which of these opinions is the more correct, is left for future
philosophers to decide.

The general use of this singular provision is not much more satisfactorily
ascertained than its nature. It is conjectured that it may be a means of
defence against its enemies. In different kinds of insects, however, it
may probably have a different object. Thus in the lantern-flies,
(_Fulgora_,) whose light precedes them, it may act the part that their
name imports, enable them to discover their prey, and to steer themselves
safely in the night. In the fire-flies, (_Elater_,) if we consider the
infinite numbers, that in certain climates and situations present
themselves every where in the night, it may distract the attention of
their enemies, or alarm them. And in the glowworm, since their light is
usually more brilliant in the female, it is most probably intended to
conduct the sexes to each other.

  Thine is an unobtrusive blaze,
    Content in lowly shades to shine;
  And much I wish, while yet I gaze,
    To make thy modest merit mine!
                                  _Mrs. Opie._



CHAP. XXVIII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Flea--On the Duration of the Life of a Flea--The Louse._


THE FLEA,--has two eyes and six feet, fitted for leaping; the feelers are
like threads; the rostrum is inflected, setaceous, and armed with a sting;
and the belly is compressed. Fleas bring forth eggs, which they deposit on
animals that afford them a proper food. Of these eggs are hatched white
worms of a shining pearl colour, which feed on the scurfy substance of the
cuticle, the downy matter gathered in the piles or folds of clothes, or
other similar substances. In a fortnight they come to a tolerable size,
and are very lively and active; and, if at any time disturbed, they
suddenly roll themselves into a kind of ball. Soon after this, they come
to creep, after the manner of silk-worms, with a very swift motion. When
arrived at their size, they hide themselves as much as possible, and spin
a silken thread out of their mouth, wherewith they form themselves a small
round bag, or case, white within as paper, but without always dirty, and
fouled with dust. Here, after a fortnight's rest, the animalcule bursts
out, transformed into a perfect flea, leaving its exuviæ in the bag.
While it remains in the bag, it is milk-white till the second day before
its eruption, when it becomes coloured, grows hard, and gets strength; so
that, upon its first delivery, it springs nimbly away. The flea is covered
all over with black, hard, and shelly scales or plates, which are
curiously jointed, and folded over each other in such a manner as to
comply with all the nimble motions of the creature. These scales are
finely polished, and beset about the edges with short spikes, in a very
beautiful and regular order. Its neck is finely arched, and resembles the
tail of a lobster: the head is also very extraordinary; for from the
snout-part of it proceed the two fore-legs, and between these is placed
the piercer, or sucker, with which it penetrates the skin to get its food.
Its eyes are very large and beautiful, and it has two short horns, or
feelers. It has four other legs, joined all at the breast. These, when it
leaps, fold short, one within another; and then, exerting their spring all
at the same instant, they carry the creature to a surprising distance. The
legs have several joints, are very hairy, and terminate in two long and
hooked sharp claws. The piercer, or sucker, of the flea, is lodged between
its fore-legs, and includes a couple of darts or lancets, which, after the
piercer has made an entrance, are thrust farther into the flesh, to make
the blood flow from the adjacent parts, and occasion that round red spot,
with a hole in the centre of it, vulgarly called a flea-bite.

This piercer, its sheath opening sidewise, and the two lancets within it,
are very difficult to be seen, unless the two fore-legs, between which
they are hid, be cut off close to the head; for the flea rarely puts out
its piercer, except at the time of feeding, but keeps it folded inwards;
and the best way of seeing it, is by cutting off first the head, and then
the fore-legs, and then it is usually seen thrust out in convulsions. By
keeping fleas in a glass tube corked up at both ends, but so as to admit
fresh air, their several actions may be observed. They may be thus seen to
lay their eggs, &c. They do not lay their eggs all at once, but by ten or
twelve in a day, for several days successively, which eggs will be
afterwards found to hatch successively, in the same order. The flea may
easily be dissected in a drop of water; and thus the stomach and bowels,
with their peristaltic motion, may be discovered very plainly, with the
veins and arteries, though minute beyond all conception. This bloodthirsty
insect, which fattens at the expense of the human species, prefers the
more delicate skin of women, but preys neither upon epileptic persons, nor
upon the dead or dying. It loves to nestle in the fur of dogs, cats, and
rats. The nests of river-swallows are sometimes plentifully stored with
them. Fleas are apterous, walk but little, but leap to a height equal to
two hundred times that of their own body. This amazing motion is
performed by means of the elasticity of their feet, the articulations of
which are so many springs. Thus it eludes, with surprising agility, the
pursuit of the person on whom it riots. Mercurial ointment, brimstone, a
fumigation with the leaves of pennyroyal, or fresh-gathered leaves of that
plant, sewed up in a bag, and laid in the bed, are remedies pointed out as
destructive of fleas.

In the Athenian Oracle, a lady desires to know whether fleas have stings,
or whether they only suck or bite, when they draw blood from the body? To
which an ingenious author returns the following humorous answer:

"Not to trouble you, madam, with the Hebrew or Arabic name of a flea, or
to transcribe Bochart's learned dissertations on the little animal, we
shall, for your satisfaction, give such a description thereof as we have
yet been able to discover.--

"Its skin is of a lovely deep red colour, most neatly polished, and armed
with scales, which can resist any thing but fate, and your ladyship's
unmerciful fingers: the neck of it is exactly like the tail of a lobster,
and, by the assistance of those strong scales it is covered with, springs
backwards and forwards much in the same manner, and with equal violence:
it has two eyes on each side of its head, so pretty, that I would prefer
them to any, madam, but yours; and which it makes use of to avoid its
fate, and flee from its enemies, with as much nimbleness and success, as
your sex manage those fatal weapons, lovely basilisks as you are, for the
ruin of your adorers. Nature has provided it six substantial legs, of
great strength, and incomparable agility, jointed like a cane, covered
with large hairs, and armed each of them with two claws, which appear of a
horny substance, more sharp than lancets, or the finest needle you have in
your needle-book. It was a long while before we could discover its mouth,
which, we confess, we have not yet so exactly perceived as we could wish,
the little bashful creature always holding up its two fore-feet before it,
which it uses instead of a fan or mask, when it has no mind to be known;
and we were forced to be guilty of an act both uncivil and cruel, without
which we could never have resolved your question. We were obliged to
unmask this modest one, and cut off its two fore-legs to get to the face;
which being performed, though it makes our tender hearts, as well as
yours, almost bleed to think of it, we immediately discovered what your
ladyship desired, and found Nature had given it a strong proboscis, or
trunk, as a gnat or muschetto, though much thicker and stouter, with which
we may very well suppose it penetrates your fair hand, feasts itself on
the nectar of your blood, and then, like a little faithless fugitive of a
lover, skips away, almost invisibly, nobody knows whither."


We close our remarks on this well-known insect, with the following
interesting particulars on the DURATION OF THE LIFE OF A FLEA; by
Borrichius; from the Acts of Copenhagen.--"Pliny represents to us a Greek
philosopher, whose chief occupation, for several years together, was to
measure the space skipped over by fleas. Without giving in to such
ridiculous researches, I can relate an anecdote, which chance discovered
to me in regard to this insect.

"Being sent for to attend a foreign lady, who was greatly afflicted with
the gout, and having staid, by her desire, to dine with her, she bade me
take notice of a flea on her hand. Surprised at such discourse, I looked
at the hand, and saw indeed a plump and pampered flea sucking greedily,
and kept fast to it by a little gold chain. The lady assured me, she had
nursed and kept the little animal, at that time, full six years, with
exceeding great care, having fed it twice every day with her blood; and
when it had satisfied its appetite, she put it up in a little box, lined
with silk. In a month's time, being recovered from her illness, she set
out from Copenhagen with her flea; but having returned in about a year
after, I took an opportunity of waiting upon her, and, among other things,
asked after her little insect. She answered me with great concern, that it
died through the neglect of her waiting-woman. What I found remarkable in
this story was, that the lady, being attacked by chronical pains in her
limbs, had recourse in France to very powerful medicines during six weeks;
and all this time the flea had not ceased to feed upon her blood, imbued
with the vapours, and yet was not the worse for it."


THE LOUSE.--This insect has six feet, two eyes, and a sort of sting in the
mouth; the feelers are as long as the thorax; and the belly is depressed
and sublobated. It is an oviparous animal. They are not peculiar to man
alone, but infest other animals, as quadrupeds and birds, and even fishes
and vegetables; but these are of peculiar species on each animal,
according to the particular nature of each, some of which are different
from those which infest the human body. Nay, even insects are infested
with vermin, which feed on and torment them. Several kinds of beetles are
subject to lice, but particularly that kind called by way of eminence the
lousy beetle. The lice on this are very numerous, and will not be shook
off. The earwig is often infested with lice, just at the setting on of its
head: these are white and shining, like mites, but they are much smaller;
they are round-backed, flat-bellied, and have long legs, particularly the
foremost pair. Snails of all kinds, but especially the large naked sorts,
are very subject to lice; which are continually seen running about them,
and devouring them. Numbers of little red lice, with a very small head,
and in shape resembling a tortoise, are often seen about the legs of
spiders, and they never leave the animal while he lives; but if he be
killed, they almost instantly forsake him. A sort of whitish lice is found
on humblebees; they are also found upon ants; and fishes are not less
subject to them than other animals. Kircher tells us, that he found lice
also on flies, and M. de la Hire has given a curious account of the
creature which he found on the common fly. Having occasion to view a
living fly with the microscope, he observed on its head, back, and
shoulders, a great number of small animals crawling very nimbly about, and
often climbing up the hairs which grow at the origin of the fly's legs. He
with a fine needle took up one of these, and placed it before the
microscope used to view the animalcules in fluids. It had eight legs, four
on each side; these were not placed very distant from each other, but the
four towards the head were separated by a small space from the four
towards the tail. The feet were of a particular structure, being composed
of several fingers, as it were, and fitted for taking fast hold of any
thing, but the two nearest the head were also more remarkable in this
particular than those near the tail; the extremities of the legs for a
little way above the feet were dry, and void of flesh, like the legs of
birds, but above this part they appeared plump and fleshy. It had two
small horns upon its head, formed of several hairs arranged closely
together; and there were some other clusters of hairs by the side of these
horns, but they had not the same figure; and towards the origin of the
hind-legs there were two other such clusters of hairs, which took their
origin at the middle of the back. The whole creature was of a bright
yellowish red; the legs, and all the body, except a large spot in the
centre, were perfectly transparent. In size, he computed it to be about
1/4000th part of the head of the fly; and he observes, that such kind of
vermin are rarely found on flies.

The louse which infests the human body, makes a very curious appearance
through a microscope. It has such a transparent shell or skin, that we are
able to discover more of what passes within its body, than in most other
living creatures. It has naturally three divisions, the head, the breast,
and the tail part. In the head appear two fine black eyes, with a horn
that has five joints, and is surrounded with hairs standing before each
eye; and from the end of the nose, or snout, there is a pointed projecting
part, which serves as a sheath or case to a piercer, or sucker, which the
creature thrusts into the skin to draw out the blood and humours which are
its destined food; for it has no mouth that opens in the common way. This
piercer, or sucker, is judged to be seven hundred times smaller than a
hair, and is contained in another case within the first, and can be drawn
in or thrust out at pleasure. The breast is very beautifully marked in the
middle; the skin is transparent, and full of little pits; and from the
under part of it proceed six legs, each having five joints, and their skin
all the way resembling shagreen, except at the ends, where it is smoother.
Each leg is terminated by two claws, which are hooked, and are of an
unequal length and size. These it uses as we would a thumb and middle
finger; and there are hairs between these claws, as well as all over the
legs. On the back part of the tail there may be discovered some ring-like
divisions, and a sort of marks which look like the strokes of a rod on the
human skin; the belly looks like shagreen, and towards the lower end it is
very clear, and full of pits: at the extremity of the tail there are two
semicircular parts, all covered over with hairs. When the louse moves its
legs, the motion of the muscles, which all unite in an oblong dark spot in
the middle of the breast, may be distinguished perfectly; and so may the
motion of the muscles of the head, when it moves its horns. We may
likewise see the various ramifications of the veins and arteries, which
are white, with the pulse regularly beating in the arteries. The
peristaltic motion of the intestines may be distinctly seen, from the
stomach down to the anus.

If one of these creatures, when hungry, be placed on the back of the hand,
it will thrust its sucker into the skin, and the blood which it sucks may
be seen passing in a fine stream to the fore part of the head; where,
falling into a roundish cavity, it passes again in a fine stream to
another circular receptacle in the middle of the head; from thence it runs
through a small vessel to the breast, and then to a gut which reaches to
the hinder part of the body, where, in a curve, it turns again a little
upward in the breast and gut; the blood is moved without intermission with
great force, especially in the former, where it occasions a surprising
contraction.

In the upper part of the crooked ascending gut above-mentioned, the
propelled blood stands still, and seems to undergo a separation, some of
it becoming clear and waterish, while other black particles are pushed
forward to the anus. If a louse is placed on its back, two bloody darkish
spots appear; the larger in the middle of the body, the smaller towards
the tail; the motions of which are followed by the pulsation of the dark
bloody spot, in or over which the white bladder seems to lie. This motion
of the systole and diastole is best seen when the creature begins to grow
weak; and on pricking the white bladder, which seems to be the heart, it
instantly dies. The lower dark spot is supposed to be the excrement.



CHAP. XXIX.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

  In the vast, and the minute, we see
  Th' unambiguous footsteps of a God,
  Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing,
  And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds.
                                          _Cowper._


THE APHIS.

This is an insect which has engaged the attention of naturalists for
various reasons: their generation is equivocal, and their instinctive
economy differs, in some respects, from that of most other animals.
Linnæus defines the generic character of the aphis thus: beak inflected,
sheath of five articulations, with a single bristle; antennæ setaceous,
and longer than the thorax; either four erect wings, or none; feet formed
for walking; posterior part of the abdomen usually furnished with two
little horns. Geoffrey says, the aphides have two beaks, one of which is
seated in the breast, the other in the head; this last extends to, and is
laid upon, the base of the pectoral one, and serves, as that writer
imagines, to convey to the head a part of that nourishment which the
insect takes or sucks in by means of the pectoral beak.

Gmelin enumerates about seventy species, all of which, and doubtless many
others, are found in different parts of Europe. They infest an endless
variety of plants; and it is believed that each species is particularly
attached to one kind of vegetable only: hence each sort has been hitherto
named after the individual species or genus of plants on which it feeds;
or if that could not be ascertained, that on which it had been found; for
some species are rather uncommon and little known, though others are
infinitely too numerous. The aphides are sufficiently known by the
indiscriminate term of plant-lice; they abound with a sweet and grateful
moisture, and are therefore eagerly devoured by ants, the larvæ
coccinellæ, and many other creatures, or they would become, very probably,
more destructive to the whole vegetable creation than any other race of
insects known. If Bonnet was not the first naturalist (as is generally
acknowledged) who discovered the mysterious course of generation in the
aphides, or, as he calls them, pucerons, his experiments, together with
those of his countryman, Trembley, tended at least to confirm, in a most
satisfactory manner, the almost incredible circumstances respecting it,
that an aphis, or puceron, brought up in the most perfect solitude from
the moment of its birth, in a few days will be found in the midst of a
numerous family; and that if the experiment be again repeated on one of
the individuals of this family, a second generation will multiply like its
parent; and the like experiment may be many times repeated with the same
effect.

The history of aphides has also been very copiously treated upon by Dr.
Richardson, in a paper printed in the 41st vol. of the Philosophical
Transactions, and by the late ingenious Mr. Curtis, in the 6th vol. of the
Transactions of the Linnæan Society. The tenor of Dr. Richardson's remarks
is briefly this: The great variety of species which occur in the insects
now under consideration, may render an inquiry into their particular
natures not a little perplexing; but by reducing them under their proper
genus, the difficulty is considerably diminished. We may reasonably
suppose all the insects comprehended under any distinct genus, to partake
of one general nature; and by diligently examining any particular species,
we may thence gain some insight into the nature of all the rest. With this
view, Dr. Richardson chose out of the various sorts of aphides, the
largest of those found on the rose-tree; not only as its size makes it
more conspicuous, but as there are few of so long duration. This sort
appears early in the spring, and continues late in autumn; while several
are limited to a much shorter term, in conformity to the different trees
and plants whence they draw their nourishment.

If, at the beginning of February, the weather happens to be so warm as to
make the buds of the rose-tree swell and appear green, small aphides are
frequently to be found on them, though not larger than the young ones in
summer, when first produced. It will be found, that those aphides which
appear only in spring, proceed from small black oval eggs, which were
deposited on the last year's shoot; though it happens that, when the
insects make too early an appearance, the greater part suffer from the
sharp weather that usually succeeds, by which means the rose-trees are
some years freed from them. The same kind of animal is then at one time of
the year viviparous, and at another oviparous. Those aphides which
withstand the severity of the weather, seldom come to their full growth
before the month of April, at which time they usually begin to breed,
after twice casting off their exuvia, or outward covering.

When they first come from the parent, they are enveloped in a thin
membrane, having the appearance of an oval egg; these egg-like appearances
adhere by one extremity to the mother, while the young ones contained in
them extend to the other, and by that means gradually draw the ruptured
membrane over the head and body to the hind-feet. Being thus suspended in
the air, the insect soon frees itself from the membrane in which it was
confined, and, after its limbs are a little strengthened, is set down on
some tender shoots, and left to provide for itself. In the spring months
there appear on the rose-trees but two generations of aphides, including
those which proceed immediately from the last year's eggs; the warmth of
the summer adds so much to their fertility, that no less than five
generations succeed each other in the interval. One is produced in May,
which casts off their covering; while the months of June and July each
supply two more, which cast off their coverings three or four times,
according to the different warmth of the season. This frequent change of
their outward coat is the more extraordinary, because it is repeated more
often when the insects come the soonest to their growth, which sometimes
happens in ten days, when they have had plenty of warmth and nourishment.
Early in the month of June, some of the third generation, which were
produced about the middle of May, after casting off the last covering,
discover four erect wings, much longer than their bodies; and the same is
observable in all the succeeding generations which are produced during the
summer months, but, like all the others, without any diversity of sex: for
some time before the aphides come to their full growth, it is easy to
distinguish which will have wings, by a remarkable fulness of the breast,
which in the others is hardly to be distinguished from the body. When the
last covering is ejected, the wings, which were before folded up in a very
narrow compass, are gradually extended in a surprising manner, till their
dimensions are at last very considerable. The increase of these insects in
the summer time is so very great, that by wounding and exhausting the
tender shoots, they would frequently suppress all vegetation, had they not
many enemies to restrain them.

Notwithstanding these insects have a numerous tribe of enemies, they are
not without their friends, if those maybe considered as such, who are
officious in their attendance, for the good things they expect to reap
thereby. The ant and bee are of this kind, collecting the honey in which
the aphides abound, but with this difference, that the ants are constant
visitors, the bee only when flowers are scarce; the ants will suck in the
honey while the aphides are in the act of discharging it; the bees only
collect it from the leaves on which it has fallen. In the autumn, three
more generations of aphides are produced, two of which generally make
their appearance in the month of August, and the third before the middle
of September. The two first differ in no respect from those which are
found in summer, but the third differs greatly from all the rest.

Though all the aphides which have hitherto appeared were female, in this
generation several male insects are found, but not by any means so
numerous as the females. The females have, at first, the same appearance
as those of the former generations, but in a few days their colour changes
from a green to a yellow, which is gradually converted into an orange
before they come to their full growth; they differ also, in another
respect, from those which occur in summer, for all these yellow females
are without wings. The male insects are, however, still more remarkable,
their outward appearance readily distinguishing them from this and all
other generations. When first produced, they are not of a green colour
like the rest, but of a reddish brown, and have afterwards a dark line
along the back; they come to their full growth in about three weeks, and
then cast off their last covering, the whole insect being, after this, of
a bright yellow colour, the wings only excepted, but after this change
they become a deeper yellow, and, in a very few hours, of a dark brown, if
we except the body, which is something lighter coloured, and has a reddish
cast. Where there are a number crowded together, they of course interfere
with each other, in which case they will frequently deposit their eggs on
other parts of the branches. It is highly probable that the aphides derive
considerable advantages by living in society: the reiterated punctures of
a great number of them may attract a larger quantity of nutritious juices
to that part of the tree or plant where they have taken up their abode.

The observations of Mr. Curtis, on the aphides, are chiefly intended to
shew that they are the principal cause of blights in plants, and the sole
cause of the honey-dew. He therefore calls this insect the aphis, or
blighter; and after observing, that, in point of numbers, the individuals
of the several species composing it surpass those of any other genus in
the country, speaks thus, in general terms, of the whole tribe.--"These
insects live entirely on vegetables. The loftiest tree is no less liable
to their attacks, than the most humble plant. They prefer the young shoots
on account of their tenderness, and, on this principle, often insinuate
themselves into the very heart of the plant, and do irreparable mischief
before they are discovered. But, for the most part, they beset the
foliage, and are always found on the under side of the leaf, which they
prefer, not only on account of its being the most tender, but as it
affords them protection from the weather, and various injuries to which
they would otherwise be exposed. Sometimes the root is the object of their
choice, which, from the nature of these insects, one would not, _á
priori_, expect: yet I have seen the roots of lettuces thickly beset with
them, and the whole crop rendered sickly and of little value; but such
instances are rare. They seldom attach themselves to the bark of trees,
like the aphis salicis, which being one of our largest species, and hence
possessing superior strength, is enabled to penetrate a substance harder
than the leaves themselves."

In the quality of the excrement voided by these insects, there is
something wonderfully extraordinary. Were a person accidentally to take up
a book, in which it is gravely asserted, that in some countries there were
certain animals that voided liquid sugar, he would lay it down, regarding
it as a fabulous tale, calculated to impose on the credulity of the
ignorant; and yet such is literally the truth. Mr. Curtis collected some
on a piece of writing-paper, from a brood of the aphis salicis, and found
it to be as sweet as sugar; and observes, that were it not for the wasps,
ants, flies, and other insects, that devour it as quickly as it is
produced, it might, no doubt, be collected in considerable quantities,
and, by the processes used with other saccharine juices, might be
converted into the choicest sugar or sugar-candy. The sweetness of this
excrementitious substance, the glossy appearance it gave the leaves it
fell upon, and the swarms of insects this matter attracts, led him to
imagine the honey-dew of plants was no other than this secretion, which
further observation has since been fully confirmed; and not, as its name
implies, a sweet substance falling from the atmosphere. On this opinion it
is further remarked, that it neither falls from the atmosphere, nor issues
from the plant itself, as is easily demonstrated. If it fell from the
atmosphere, it would cover every thing it fell upon indiscriminately;
whereas we never find it but on certain living plants and trees. We find
it also on plants in stoves and greenhouses covered with glass. If it
exuded from the plant, it would appear on all the leaves generally and
uniformly; whereas its appearance is extremely irregular, not alike on any
two leaves of the same tree or plant, some having none of it, and others
being covered with it but partially.

It is probable that there never exists any honey-dew but where there are
aphides; though such often pass unnoticed, being hidden on the under side
of the leaf: and wherever honey is observable upon a leaf, aphides will be
found on the underside of the leaf or leaves immediately above it, and
under no other circumstance whatever. If by accident any thing should
intervene between the aphides and the leaf next beneath them, there will
be no honey-dew on that leaf: and thus he conceives it is incontrovertibly
proved, that aphides are the true and only source of honey-dew.

Of the British species of aphides, one of the largest and most remarkable
is the aphis salicis, which is found on the different kinds of willows.
When bruised, these insects stain the fingers with red. Towards the end of
September, multitudes of the full-grown insects of this species, both with
and without wings, desert the willows on which they feed, and ramble over
every neighbouring object in such numbers, that we can handle nothing in
their vicinity without crushing some of them; while those in a younger or
less advanced state, still remain in large masses upon the trees. Aphis
rosæ is very frequent, during the summer months, on young shoots and buds
of roses; it is of a bright green colour: the males are furnished with
large transparent wings. Aphis vitis is most destructive to vines, as
Aphis ulmi is to the elm-tree.

It is found that where the saccharine substance has dropped from aphides
for a length of time, as from the aphis salicis in particular, it gives to
the surface of the bark, foliage, &c. that sooty kind of appearance which
arises from the explosion of gunpowder; it looks like, and is sometimes
taken for, a kind of black mildew. In most seasons, the natural enemies of
the aphis are sufficient to keep them in check, and to prevent them from
doing essential injury to plants in the open air; but there are times,
once perhaps in four, five, or six years, in which they are multiplied to
such an excess, that the usual means of diminution fail in preventing them
from doing irreparable injury to certain crops.

To prevent the calamities which would infallibly result from an
accumulated multiplication of the more prolific animals, it has been
ordained by the Author of nature, that such should be diminished by
serving as food for others. On this principle, most animals of this kind
have one or more natural enemies. The helpless aphis, which is the scourge
of the vegetable kingdom, has to contend with many: the principal are the
coccinella, the ichneumon aphidum, and the musca aphidivora. The greatest
destroyer of the aphides is the coccinella, or common lady-bird.

During the winter, this insect secures itself under the bark of trees, and
elsewhere. When the spring expands the foliage of plants, the female
deposits her eggs on them in great numbers, from whence, in a short time,
proceeds the larva, a small grub, of a dark lead-colour, spotted with
orange. These may be observed in summer running pretty briskly over all
kinds of plants; and, if narrowly watched, they will be found to devour
the aphides wherever they find them. The same may be observed of the
lady-bird, in its perfect state. Another most formidable enemy to the
aphis, is a very minute, black, and slender ichneumon fly, which eats its
way out of the aphis, leaving the dry inflated skin of the insect adhering
to the leaf like a small pearl: such may always be found where aphides are
in plenty. Different species of aphides are infested with different
ichneumons. There is scarcely a division of nature, in which the musca, or
fly, is not found: of these, one division, the aphidivora, feeds entirely
on aphides.

Of the different species of aphidivorous flies, which are numerous,
having mostly bodies variegated with transverse stripes, their females may
be seen hovering over plants infested with aphides, among which they
deposit their eggs on the surface of the leaf. The larva, or maggot,
produced from such eggs, feeds, as soon as hatched, on the younger kinds
of aphis, and, as it increases in size, attacks and devours those which
are larger. The larva of the hemerolicus feeds also on the aphides, and
deposits its eggs on the leaves of such plants as are beset with them. The
earwig is likewise an enemy to them, especially such as reside in the
curled leaves of fruit-trees, and the purses formed by certain aphides on
the poplars and other trees. To these may be added the smaller soft-billed
birds that feed on insects.



CHAP. XXX.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _The Common House Fly--The Hessian Fly--The May Fly--The Vegetable
    Fly--The Boat Fly--The Ephemeral Flies--Butterflies--Metamorphoses of
    Insects--The Death-Watch._

    What atom-forms of insect life appear!
    And who can follow Nature's pencil here?
    Their wings with azure, green, and purple gloss'd,
    Studded with colour'd eyes, with gems emboss'd;
    Inlaid with pearl, and mark'd with various stains
    Of lively crimson through their dusky veins.
                                            _Barbauld._


THE COMMON HOUSE FLY.

Gordart has reckoned up forty-eight varieties of the fly, without
including them all in this enumeration. The multitude of these lively
insects, which the first genial sunshine calls forth into life, has limits
which the human eye is incapable of exploring. The female fly is easily
distinguishable from the male: she is larger than the latter, fuller in
the body, of a lighter colour, and, when she is nearly ready to deposit
her eggs, the abdomen is so transparent, that they may be perceived lying
on both sides, opposite to each other. Nature has instructed her not to
deposit her eggs in dry, but in damp substances, which keep them from
being dried up, and at the same time afford nourishment to the maggot or
worm. The latter issues from the egg generally in twenty-four hours, but,
in the sun, within twelve hours after it is laid. About half an hour
before, annular circles become visible in the egg, an undulatory motion
succeeds, the egg opens at the end, and the worm makes its appearance.
Its entrance into the world is extremely tedious; for the three or four
minutes taken by the worm to work its way out of the egg, are, for it,
certainly so many days. It is endowed, on the other hand, with vital
powers, which enable it to defy inconveniences which cost other animals
their lives. Nothing but turpentine, the general destroyer of insects,
kills it in half an hour. On the fourteenth or fifteenth day, it begins to
prepare for its transformation into a nymph, and in this form appears at
first of a light yellow, and afterwards of a dark red. You would take it,
in this state, for some kind of seed, rather than for the habitation of a
living creature. The change of the nymph into a fly requires as much time
as the preceding transformation. A thrust with the head then bursts the
prison in which it is confined, and the fly, perfectly formed, sallies
forth. The sun hastens its birth, which is then the business of but a
moment; but in unfavourable weather, this probably painful operation often
takes four or five hours. The insect is now as perfect as its parents, and
not to be distinguished from them. As soon as it issues from the nymph, it
flies away; and only those are unable to use their wings immediately,
which have the misfortune to come out in gloomy weather.

Leuwenhock reckons, that every fly has eight thousand hexagons or eyes, on
each of the hemispheres composing its face, and consequently sixteen
thousand on both. M. Von Gleichen, a German naturalist, observes, that the
law of retaliation is in some measure established, in regard to these
animals; for if they annoy us, they are in their turn persecuted by
others. Small yellow insects, discovered by means of the magnifying glass,
crawling among the hairs that grow on their bodies, are supposed to be
destined for this purpose.

The fecundity of flies is prodigious. On this head, the last-mentioned
naturalist has made the following calculation:--

  A fly lays four times during the summer, each time
      eighty eggs, which makes                                     320
  Half of these are supposed to be females, so that each
      of the four broods produces forty:
  1. First eighth, or the forty females of the first
      brood, also lay four times in the course of the
      summer, which makes                                       12,800
  The first eighth of these, or 1,600 females, three times     384,000
  The second eighth, twice                                     256,000
  The third and fourth eighth, at least one each               256,000
  2. The second eighth, or the forty females of the second
      brood, lay three times, the produce of which is            9,600
  One sixth of these, or 1,600 females, three times            384,000
  The second sixth, twice                                      256,000
  The third sixth, once                                        128,000
  3. The third eighth, or the forty females of the third
      brood, lay twice, and produce                              6,400
  One fourth of these, or 1,600 females, lay twice more        256,000
  4. The fourth eighth, or forty females of the fourth
      brood, once                                                3,200
  Half of these, or 1,600 females, at least once               128,000
                                                             ---------
  Total produce of a single fly, in one summer               2,080,320


Another curious insect is, THE HESSIAN FLY.--This is a very mischievous
insect, which a few years ago appeared in North America, and whose
depredations threatened then to destroy the crops of wheat in that country
entirely. It is, in its perfect state, a small winged insect, but the
mischief it does, is while in the form of a caterpillar; and the
difficulty of destroying it is increased, by its being as yet unknown
where it deposits its eggs, to be hatched before the first appearance of
the caterpillars. These mischievous insects begin their depredations in
autumn, as soon as the wheat begins to shoot up through the ground. They
devour the tender leaf and stem with great voracity, and continue to do so
till stopped by the frost; but no sooner is this obstacle removed by the
warmth of the spring, than the fly appears again, laying its eggs now, as
has been supposed, upon the stems of the wheat just beginning to spire.
The caterpillars hatched from these eggs, perforate the stems of the
remaining plants at the joints, and lodge themselves in the hollow within
the corn, which shews no sign of disease till the ears begin to turn
heavy. The stems then break, and being no longer able to perform their
office in supporting and supplying the ears with nourishment, the corn
perishes about the time that it goes into a milky state. These insects
attack also rye, barley, and timothy-grass, though they seem to prefer
wheat. The destruction occasioned by them, is described in the _American
Museum_, (published at Philadelphia,) for Feb. 1787, in the following
words:--

"It is well known that all the crops of wheat in all the land over which
it has extended, have fallen before it, and that the farmers beyond it
dread its approach; the prospect is, that unless means are discovered to
prevent its progress, the whole continent will be overrun;--a calamity
more to be dreaded, than the ravages of war." This terrible insect
appeared first in Long Island, during the American war, and was supposed
to have been brought from Germany by the Hessians; whence its name. From
thence it proceeded inland at the rate of about fifteen or twenty miles
annually; and, in 1789, had reached two hundred miles from the place where
it was first observed. At that time it continued to proceed with unabating
increase; being apparently stopped neither by rivers nor mountains. In the
fly state it is likewise exceedingly troublesome, by getting into houses
in swarms, falling into victuals and drink, filling the windows, and
flying perpetually into the candles.


THE MAY FLY.--This insect is called the May fly, from its annual
appearance in that month. It lies all the year, except a few days, at the
bottom or sides of rivers, nearly resembling the nymph of the small
libella; but when it is mature, it rises up to the surface of the water,
and splits open its case; then, with great agility, up springs the new
animal, having a slender body, with four black-veined, transparent,
shining wings, with four black spots in the upper wings; the under wings
are much smaller than the upper ones; and with three long hairs in its
tail.

The husk it leaves behind floats upon the water. After this creature is
discharged from the water, it flies about to find a proper place to fix
on, (as trees, bushes, &c.) to wait for its approaching change, which is
effected in two or three days.

The first hint I received of this wonderful operation, was by seeing their
exuviæ hanging on a hedge. I then collected a great many, and put them
into boxes; and by strictly observing them, I could tell when they were
ready for this surprising change.

I had the pleasure to shew my friends one, which I held in my fingers all
the time it performed this great work; it was surprising to see how easily
the back part of the fly split open, and produced the astonishing
transformation. In the new fly, a remarkable difference is seen in their
sexes, which is not so easy to be perceived in their first state, the male
and female being much of a size; but afterwards the male is much the
smallest, and the hairs of their tails much the longest.

When the females are about to deposit their eggs, they seek the rivers,
keeping constantly playing up and down upon the water. It is very plainly
seen, that every time they dart down, they eject a cluster of eggs, which
appears like a little bluish speck, or a small drop of milk, as they sink
to the bottom of the river. Thus they continue until they have spent their
strength, being so weak, that they can rise no more, but fall a prey to
the fish. But by much the greatest number perish on the waters, which are
covered with them. This is the end of the females. The males never resort
to the river, but, after a time, drop down, languish, and die, under the
trees and bushes.

The species of libella abounds most with females, which is very necessary,
considering the many enemies they have in their short appearance; for both
birds and fishes are fond of them, and, no doubt, under water they are the
prey of aquatic animals.

What is further surprising in this remarkable creature is, that during a
life which consists only of three or four days, it eats nothing, and seems
to have no apparatus for this purpose, but brings up with it, out of the
water, sufficient support to enable it to shed its skin, and perform the
principal ends of life with great vivacity.


THE VEGETABLE FLY.--This is a very curious natural production, chiefly
found in the West Indies. It resembles the drone, both in size and colour,
more than any other British insect, excepting that it has no wings. "In
the month of May, it buries itself in the earth, and begins to vegetate.
By the end of July, the tree has arrived at its full growth, and resembles
a coral branch; it is about three inches in height, and bears several
little pods, which, dropping off, become worms, and thence flies, like the
British caterpillar." Such was the account originally given of this
extraordinary production. But several boxes of these flies having been
sent to Dr. Hill for examination, his report was as follows:--"There is in
Martinique a fungus of the clavaria kind, different in species from those
hitherto known. It produces soboles from its sides; I call it therefore
_clavaria sobolifera_. It grows on putrid animal bodies, as our fungus
(_ex pede equino_) from the dead horse's hoof. The cicada is common in
Martinique, and in its nymph state, in which the old authors call it
_tettigometra_, it buries itself under the dead leaves, to await its
change; and, when the season is unfavourable, many perish. The seeds of
the clavaria find a proper bed in these dead insects, and grow. The
tettigometra is among the cicada in the British Museum; the clavaria is
but just now known. This is the fact, and all the fact; though the
untaught inhabitants suppose a fly to vegetate, and though there is a
Spanish drawing of the plants growing into a trifoliate tree; and it has
been figured with the creature flying with this tree upon its back."--Thus
does ignorance delight in the marvellous!


THE BOAT FLY.--This insect, called _Notonecta glauca_, is thus described
by Barbut. "It has a head somewhat round, of which the eyes seem to take
up the greatest part. These eyes are brown, and very large, the rest of
the head being yellow. In the fore-part it has a sharp trunk, that
projects, and is inflected between the fore feet. On the sides are seen
the antennæ, very small, yellowish, and which spring from under the head.
The thorax, which is broad, short, and smooth, is yellow on the fore, and
black on the back part. The escutcheon is large, of a rough black, and as
it were nappy. The elytra, rather large, and crossed over each other, are
a mixture of brown and yellow, not unlike the colour of rust, which makes
it look cloudy. The under part of the body is brown; and at the extremity
of the abdomen are to be seen a few hairs. The feet, six in number, are of
a light brown, the two hindermost having on the leg and tarsus hairs that
give them the shape of fins, nor are they terminated by nails. The four
anterior ones are somewhat flat, and serve the animal to swim with; but at
their extremity they have nails, and no hairs. This insect is seen in
stagnating waters, where it swims on its back, and presents its abdomen
upwards; for which reason it has been called by the Greek name of
_notonecta_. The hinder feet, longer than the rest, serve it as paddles.
It is very nimble, and dives down when you go to take hold of it; after
which, it rises again to the surface of the water. It must be cautiously
handled, if one would avoid being pricked by it, for the point of its
rostrum is exceedingly sharp, and intolerably painful, but it goes off in
a few minutes. The larva very much resembles the perfect insect."

Such is the account that Mr. Barbut gives of this beautiful nimble little
creature. To this account, however, we shall add the following:--Its legs
are long; when taken out of the water, it hops; it is very common in the
ponds of water in Hyde Park, and in several other places about London. It
is of a very particular form, being flattish at the belly, and rising to a
ridge on the middle of the back; so that when it swims, which is almost
always on the back, its body has much the resemblance of a boat in
figure,--whence its vulgar name. It is eight lines long, three broad, and
two and a half thick. The belly is jointed, striated, and, as Barbut
observes, hairy. Nature has provided it with an offensive weapon
resembling a sting, which it thrusts out when hurt, from a large opening
at the tail. The head is large and hard; the eyes nearly of a triangular
form. The nose is a long, green, hollow proboscis, ending in a hard and
sharp point, which in its natural posture remains under the belly, and
reaches to the middle pair of legs. The outer part of its wings are of a
pale flesh-colour, with spots of a dead white; these are long, narrow, and
somewhat transparent; they terminate in a roundish point, and perfectly
cover the whole body. The triangular piece which stands between the top of
the wings is hard, and perfectly black; the inner wings are broader and
shorter than the outer ones; they are thin and perfectly transparent, and
are of a pale pearl-colour. The hinder pair being greatly longer than all
the rest, they serve as oars; and nature has tufted them with hair at the
end for that purpose. This creature mostly lives in the water, where it
preys on small insects, killing them, and sucking their juices with its
proboscis, in the manner of the water scorpion and many other aquatic
insects: it seizes its prey violently, and darts with incredible swiftness
to a considerable distance after it.

Though it generally lives in the water, it sometimes, however, crawls out
in good weather; and drying its wings by expanding them in the sun, takes
flight, and becomes an inhabitant of the air, not to be known as the same
creature, unless to those who had accurately observed it before: when
tired of flying, or in danger of an enemy, it immediately plunges into the
water. We are told that there are fourteen species of it, seven of which
are common in Europe, in waters, &c.


EPHEMERAL FLIES.--This species of insect is named ephemeral, because of
its very short existence in the fly state. It is one of the most beautiful
species of flies, and undergoes five changes. At first, the egg contains
its vital principle; it comes forth a small caterpillar, which is
transformed into a chrysalis, then into a nympha, and lastly, into a fly,
which deposits its eggs upon the surface of water, where the sun's rays
bring them to life. Each egg produces a little red worm, which moves in a
serpentine manner. They are found in abundance during the summer, in ponds
and marshes; and as soon as cold weather sets in, the little worm makes
for itself a shell or lodging, where it passes the winter; at the end of
which it ceases to be a worm, and enters into its third state, that of a
chrysalis. It then sleeps till spring, and gradually becomes a beautiful
nympha, or a sort of mummy, something in the form of a fish. At the time
of its metamorphosis, the nympha at first seems inactive and lifeless; in
six days, the head appears, raising itself gradually above the surface of
the water; the body next disengages itself slowly and by degrees, till at
length the whole animal comes out of its shell. The new-born fly remains
for some minutes motionless upon the water, then gradually revives, and
feebly shakes its wings, then moves them quicker, and attempts first to
walk, then to fly. As these insects are all hatched nearly at the same
time, they are seen in swarms for a few hours flitting and playing upon
the surface of the water; they then lay their eggs, and soon after die.
Thus they terminate their short life in the space of a few hours, and the
same day that saw them born, witnesses their death.


THE BUTTERFLY.

  Behold, ye pilgrims of this earth, behold!
  See all but man with unearn'd pleasure gay
  See her bright robes the butterfly unfold,
  Broke from her wintry tomb in prime of May!
  What youthful bride can equal her array?
  Who can with her for easy pleasure vie?
  From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray,
  From flower to flower on balmy gales to fly,
  Is all she has to do beneath the radiant sky.
                                        _Thomson._

The first thing which fixes our attention on beholding these aërial
inhabitants, is, the clothing with which they are adorned. Yet some of
them have nothing in this respect to engage our notice, their vestment is
simple and uniform; others have a few ornaments on the wings; but with
some, those ornaments amount to profusion, and they are covered with them
all over. This last species will occupy us for a short interval. How
beautiful are the gradations of colour which decorate them! what harmony
in those spots which relieve the other parts of their attire! with what
delicacy has nature pencilled them! But, whatever may be my admiration
when I consider this insect by the naked eye, how greatly is it augmented,
when I behold this beautiful object through the medium of the microscope!
Would any one ever have imagined, that the wings of butterflies were
furnished with feathers? Nothing, however, is more true; and what we
commonly call dust, is found in reality to be feathers. Their structure
and arrangement are adjusted to as perfect symmetry, as their colours are
soft and brilliant. The parts which form the centre of these little
feathers, and which immediately touch the wing, are the strongest; those,
on the contrary, which compose the exterior circumference, are much more
delicate, and of an extraordinary fineness. All these feathers have a
quill at their base, but the superior part is more transparent than the
quill from which it proceeds. If we lay hold of the wing too rudely, we
destroy the most delicate part of the feathers; but if we remove all that
we term dust, there remains only a thin transparent skin, where may be
distinguished the little orifices in which the quill of each feather was
lodged. This skin, from the nature of its texture, may be as easily
discerned from the rest of the wing, as a fine gauze from the cloth on
which it is fastened; it is more porous, more delicate, and seems as if
embroidered by the needle; to complete its beauty, its extremity finishes
by a fringe, whose minute threads succeed each other with the utmost
regularity.

What are our most laboured dresses, what is all their boasted ornament, in
comparison of that refined tissue with which nature has invested this
simple insect? Our finest laces are only like coarse cloth, when brought
to vie with that luxurious clothing which covers the wings of the
butterfly; and our smallest thread, by their infinitely delicate fibres,
swells into hempen cord. Such is the wonderful difference to be observed
between the works of nature and those of art, when viewed through a
microscope. The former are finished to all imaginable perfection; the
others, even the most beautiful of their kind, appear incomplete and
coarsely wrought. How fine a piece of delicate cambric appears to us!
nothing more slender than the threads, nothing more uniform than the
texture: and yet in the microscope these threads resemble hempen strings,
and we should rather be tempted to believe that they had been interlaced
by the hand of a basket-maker, than wrought on the loom of a skilful
weaver.

What is most astonishing in this brilliant insect, is, that it proceeds
from a worm, than which nothing has a more abject and vile appearance.
Behold how the butterfly displays to the sun his splendid wings, how he
sports in his rays, how he rejoices in his existence, and, in respiring
the vernal airs, how he flutters in the meadow from flower to flower. His
rich wings present to us the magnificence of the rainbow. How beautiful is
he now, who but a little while ago crept a worm in the dust, in perpetual
danger of being crushed to death! Who has raised him above the earth? Who
has given to him the faculty of inhabiting the ethereal regions? Who has
furnished him with his painted wings? It is God.

  In down of ev'ry variegated dye,
  Shines, flutt'ring soft, the gaudy butterfly;
  That powder, which thy spoiling hand distains,
  The form of quills and painted plumes contains:
  Not courts can more magnificence express,
  In all their blaze of gems and pomp of dress.
                                        _Browne._

  Their wings, all glorious to behold,
  Bedropt with azure, jet, and gold,
  Wide they display; the spangled dew
  Reflects their eyes and various hue.
                                  _Gay._


We shall now briefly describe THE METAMORPHOSES OF INSECTS. And first, THE
BUTTERFLY:

  From form to form they pass in wondrous change.
                                          _Virgil._

At the first exclusion from the egg, and for some months of its existence
afterwards, the creature which is to become a butterfly, is a worm-like
caterpillar, crawling upon sixteen short legs, greedily devouring leaves
with two jaws, and seeing by means of twelve eyes, so minute, as to be
nearly imperceptible without the aid of a microscope. We now view it
furnished with wings capable of rapid and extensive flights; of its
sixteen feet, ten have disappeared, and the remaining six are in most
respects wholly unlike those to which they have succeeded; its jaws having
vanished, are replaced by a curled-up proboscis, suited only for sipping
liquid sweets; the form of its head is entirely changed, two long horns
projecting from its upper surface; and, instead of twelve invisible eyes,
you behold two, very large, and composed of at least twenty thousand
convex lenses, each supposed to be a distinct and effective eye!

Were we to push our examination further, and, by dissection, to compare
the internal conformation of the caterpillar with that of the butterfly,
we should witness changes even more extraordinary. In the former we should
find some thousands of muscles, which in the latter are replaced by
others, of a form and structure entirely different. Nearly the whole body
of the caterpillar is occupied by a capacious stomach. In the butterfly,
this has become converted into an almost imperceptible thread-like viscus;
and the abdomen is now filled by two large packets of eggs, or other
organs, not visible in the first state. In the former, two
spirally-convoluted tubes were filled with a silky gum; in the latter,
both tubes and silk have almost totally vanished, and changes equally
great have taken place in the economy and structure of the nerves and
other organs.

What a surprising transformation! Nor was this all. The change from one
form to the other was not direct; an intermediate state, not less
singular, intervened. After casting its skin, even to its very jaws,
several times, and attaining its full growth, the caterpillar attached
itself to a leaf by a silken girth. Its body became greatly contracted;
its skin once more split asunder, and disclosed an oviform mass, without
exterior mouth, eyes, or limbs, and exhibiting no other symptom of life
than a slight motion when touched. In this state of death-like torpor, and
without tasting food, the insect existed for several months, until at
length the tomb burst, and out of a case not more than an inch long, and a
quarter of an inch in diameter, proceeded the butterfly, which covers a
surface of nearly four inches square.


THE COMMON FLY.--This winged insect, whose delicate palate selects out the
choicest viands, one while extending his proboscis to the margin of a drop
of wine, and then gaily flying to take a more solid repast from a pear or
a peach; now gambolling with his comrades in the air, now gracefully
carrying his furled wings with his taper feet;--was but the other day a
disgusting grub, without wings, without legs, without eyes, wallowing,
well pleased, in the midst of a mass of excrement.


THE GREYCOATED GNAT.--This creature, whose humming salutation, while she
makes her airy circles about our bed, gives terrific warning of the
sanguinary operation in which she is ready to engage, was a few hours ago
the inhabitant of a stagnant pool, more in shape like a fish than an
insect. Then to have been taken out of the water would have been speedily
fatal; now it could as little exist in any other element than air. Then it
breathed through its tail; now through openings in its sides. Its
shapeless head, in that period of its existence, is now exchanged for one
adorned with elegantly tufted antennæ, and furnished, instead of jaws,
with an apparatus more artfully constructed than the cupping-glasses of
the phlebotomist; an apparatus, which, at the same time that it strikes in
the lancets, composes a tube for pumping up the flowing blood.


THE SHARDHORN BEETLE.--This species of beetle, whose sullen hum, as he
directs his droning flight close past our ears in our evening walk, was
not in his infancy an inhabitant of air, the first period of his life
being spent in gloomy solitude, as a grub, under the surface of the earth.
The shapeless maggot, which we scarcely fail to meet with in some one of
every handful of nuts we crack, would not always have grovelled in that
humble state. If our unlucky intrusion upon its vaulted dwelling had not
left it to perish in the wide world, it would have continued to reside
there until its full growth had been attained. Then it would have gnawed
itself an opening, and, having entered the earth, and passed a few months
in a state of inaction, would at length have emerged an elegant beetle,
furnished with a slender and very long ebony beak; two wings, and two
wing-cases, ornamented with yellow bands; six feet; and in every respect
unlike the worm from which it proceeded.


THE DEATH-WATCH.--This appalling name is applied to a harmless, diminutive
insect, because it emits a sound resembling the ticking of a watch, and is
supposed to predict the death of some one of the family, in the house in
which it is heard. Thus sings the muse of the witty Dean of St. Patrick on
this subject:--

  "------------------------------A wood worm
  That lies in old wood, like a hare in her form:
  With teeth or with claws, it will bite or will scratch,
  And chambermaids christen this worm a death-watch;
  Because like a watch it always cries click:
  Then woe be to those in the house who are sick!
  For, sure as a gun, they will give up the ghost,
  If the maggot cries click, when it scratches the post:
  But a kettle of scalding-hot water injected
  Infallibly cures the timber affected;
  The omen is broken, the danger is over,
  The maggot will die, and the sick will recover."

To add to the effect of this noise, it is said to be made only when there
is a profound silence in an apartment, and every one is still.

Authors were formerly not agreed concerning the insect from which this
sound of terror proceeded, some attributing it to a kind of woodlouse, and
others to a spider; but it is now a received opinion, adopted upon
satisfactory evidence, that it is produced by some little beetles
belonging to the timber-boring genus, _Anobium, F._ Swammerdam observes,
that a small beetle, which he had in his collection, having firmly fixed
its fore-legs, and put its inflexed head between them, makes a continual
noise in old pieces of wood, walls, and ceilings, which is sometimes so
loud, that upon hearing it, people have fancied that hobgoblins, ghosts,
or fairies, were wandering around them. Evidently this was one of the
death-watches. Latreille observed _Anobium striatum, F._ produce the sound
in question, by a stroke of its mandibles upon the wood, which was
answered by a similar noise from within it. But the species whose
proceedings have been most noticed by British observers, is, _A.
tessellatum, F._ When spring is far advanced, these insects are said to
commence their ticking, which is only a call to each other, to which, if
no answer be returned, the animal repeats it in another place. It is thus
produced: Raising itself upon its hind-legs, with the body somewhat
inclined, it beats its head with great force and agility upon the plane of
its position; and its strokes are so powerful, as to make a considerable
impression if they fall upon any substance softer than wood. The general
number of distinct strokes in succession, is from seven to nine or eleven;
they follow each other quickly, and are repeated at uncertain intervals.
In old houses, where these insects abound, they may be heard in warm
weather during the whole day. The noise exactly resembles that produced by
tapping moderately with the nail upon a table; and, when familiarized, the
insect will answer very readily the tap of the nail.



CHAP. XXXI.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Continued._)

    _Locusts and Mosquitoes, and their Uses in the Creation;--from Kirby,
    Spence, and Fothergill._


LOCUSTS.--If we could discover the use of every animal in the creation, we
should gain a very clear insight into the grand designs of the Almighty,
respecting creatures inferior to ourselves, and perceive the immediate
cause and necessity of their existence, and how far we have a right to
interfere with their economy. That man should ever attain the whole extent
of this knowledge, in this state of existence, can scarcely be hoped for;
but, that he may learn much, there can be no doubt.

Because the utility of some animals, in a general view, is not palpably
obvious, we ought not pettishly or hopelessly to give up the inquiry. Some
of the most numerous are apparently the most noxious, and the least
useful, as the locust (_gryllus migratorius_) for example. It has never
been my fortune to visit countries subject to the devastations of these
insects; and the travellers who describe them, seem, either through want
of inclination, or astonishment at the desolating effects produced by
their incursions, unable to give those facts which an industrious and
attentive naturalist, with enlarged views, might collect and apply to some
useful purpose; for there can be no doubt that Infinite Wisdom would not
have permitted these insects to be so numerous as they are, if their
existence was not absolutely necessary. To look at a locust in a cabinet
of insects, we should not, at first sight, deem it capable of being the
source of so much evil to mankind as stands on record against it. Yet,
although this animal be not very tremendous for its size, nor very
terrific in its appearance, it is the very same whose ravages have been
the theme of naturalists and historians in all ages, and, upon a close
examination, it will be found to be peculiarly fitted and furnished for
the execution of its office.

It is armed with two pair of very strong jaws, the upper terminating in
short, and the lower in long teeth, by which it can both lacerate and
grind its food; its stomach is of extraordinary capacity and powers; its
hind-legs enable it to leap to a considerable distance, and its ample vans
are calculated to catch the wind as sails, and so carry it sometimes over
the sea; and although a single individual can effect but little evil, yet,
when the entire surface of a country is covered by them, and every one
makes bare the spot on which it stands, the mischief produced may be as
extensive as their numbers. So well do the Arabians know their power, that
they make a locust say to Mahomet, "We are the army of the Great God; we
produce ninety-nine eggs: if the hundred were completed, we should consume
the whole earth, and all that is in it."--_Bochart._

The earliest plague produced by the locusts, which has been recorded,
appears also to have been the most direful in its immediate effects, that
ever was inflicted upon any nation. It is that with which the Egyptian
tyrant and his people were visited for their oppression of the Israelites.
Only conceive of a country so covered by them, that no one can see the
face of the ground--a whole land darkened, and all its produce, whether
herb or trees, so devoured, that not the least vestige of green is left in
either.--_Exod._ x. 5, 14, 15. But it is not necessary to enlarge upon a
history, the circumstances of which are so well known. To this species of
devastation, Africa in general seems always to have been peculiarly
subject. This may be gathered from the law in Cyrenaica mentioned by
Pliny, by which the inhabitants were enjoined to destroy the locusts in
three different states, three times in the year; first their eggs, then
their young, and lastly the perfect insect.[17] And not without reason was
such a law enacted; for Orosius tells us, that in the year of the world
3,800, Africa was infested by such infinite myriads of these animals,
that, having devoured every green thing, after flying off to sea they were
drowned, and, being cast upon the shore, they emitted a stench greater
than could have been produced by the carcases of 100,000 men!--_Oros.
contra Pag._ l. v. c. 2. St. Augustine also mentions a plague to have
arisen in that country from the same cause, which destroyed no less than
800,000 persons (_octoginta hominum millia_) in the kingdom of Masanissa
alone, and many more in the territories bordering upon the sea.--_Less._
l. 247. note 46. From Africa this plague was occasionally imported into
Italy and Spain; and an historian quoted in Mouffet relates, that in the
year 591 an infinite army of locusts, of a size unusually large,
grievously ravaged part of Italy; and being at last cast into the sea,
from their stench arose a pestilence which carried off near a million of
men and beasts. In the Venetian territory also, in the year 1478, more
than 30,000 persons are said to have perished in a famine occasioned by
these terrific scourges. Many other instances of their devastations in
Europe, in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and other countries, are
recorded by the same author. In 1650 a cloud of them was seen to enter
Russia in three different places, which from thence passed over into
Poland and Lithuania, where the air was darkened by their numbers. In some
places they were seen lying dead, heaped one upon another to the depth of
four feet; in others they covered the surface like a black cloth; the
trees bent with their weight; and the damage they did exceeded all
computation.--_Bingley_, iii. 258. At a later period, in Languedoc, when
the sun became hot, they took wing, and fell upon the corn, devouring both
leaf and ear, and that with such expedition, that in three hours they
would consume a whole field. After having eaten up the corn, they attacked
the vines, the pulse, the willows, and lastly, the hemp, notwithstanding
its bitterness.--_Philos. Trans._ 1686. Sir H. Davy informs us (_Elements
of Agricultural Chemistry_, 233.) that the French government in 1813
issued a decree with a view to occasion the destruction of grasshoppers.

Even this happy island, so remarkably distinguished by its exemption from
most of those scourges to which other nations are exposed, was once
alarmed by the appearance of locusts. In 1748 they were observed here in
considerable numbers, but providentially they soon perished without
propagating. These were evidently stragglers from the vast swarms which in
the preceding year did such infinite damage in Wallachia, Moldavia,
Transylvania, Hungary, and Poland. One of these swarms, which entered
Transylvania in August, was several hundred fathoms in width, (at Vienna
the breadth of one of them was three miles,) and extended to so great a
length, as to be four hours in passing over the Red Tower; and such was
its density, that it totally intercepted the solar light, so that when
they flew low, one person could not see another at the distance of twenty
paces.--_Philos. Trans._ xlvi. 30. A similar account has been given by
Major Moor, long resident in India. He relates, that when at Poonah, he
was witness to an immense army of locusts which ravaged the Mahratta
country, and was supposed to come from Arabia: this, if correct, is a
strong proof of their power to pass the sea under favourable
circumstances. The column they composed, extended five hundred miles; and
so compact was it, when on the wing, that, like an eclipse, it completely
hid the sun, so that no shadow was cast by any object; and some lofty
tombs, distant from his residence not more than two hundred yards, were
rendered quite invisible. This was not the _Gryllus migratorius, L._ but a
red species; which circumstance much increased the horror of the scene,
for, clustering upon the trees after they had stripped them of their
foliage, they imparted to them a sanguine hue. The peach was the last tree
they touched.

Dr. Clarke, to give some idea of the infinite numbers of these animals,
compares them to a flight of snow when the flakes are carried obliquely by
the wind. They covered his carriage and horses; and the Tartars assert,
that people are sometimes suffocated by them. The whole face of nature
might have been described as covered by a living veil. They consisted of
two species, _G. tartaricus_, and _migratorius, L._; the first is almost
twice the size of the second, and, because it precedes it, is called by
the Tartars, the herald or messenger.--_Travels_, i. 348. The account of
another traveller, Mr. Barrow, of their ravages in the southern parts of
Africa, in 1784, and 1797, is still more striking: an area of nearly two
thousand square miles might be said literally to be covered by them. When
driven into the sea by a N. W. wind, they formed upon the shore, for fifty
miles, a bank three or four feet high; and when the wind was S. E. the
stench was so powerful, as to be smelt at the distance of a hundred and
fifty miles.--_Travels_, &c. 257.

From 1778 to 1780, the empire of Morocco was terribly devastated by them;
every green thing was eaten up, not even the bitter bark of the orange and
pomegranate escaping. A most dreadful famine ensued: the poor were seen to
wander over the country, deriving a miserable subsistence from the roots
of plants; and women and children followed the camels, from whose dung
they picked the undigested grains of barley, which they devoured with
avidity: in consequence of this, vast numbers perished, and the roads and
streets exhibited the unburied carcases of the dead. On this sad occasion,
fathers sold their children, and husbands their wives.--_Southey's
Thalaba_, i. 171.

When they visit a country, (says Mr. Jackson, speaking of the same
empire,) it behoves every one to lay in provision for a famine, for they
stay from three to seven years. When they have devoured all other
vegetables, they attack the trees, consuming first the leaves and then the
bark. From Mogadar to Tangier, before the plague in 1799, the face of the
earth was covered by them: at that time a singular incident occurred at El
Arisch. The whole region from the confines of Sahara was ravaged by them;
but on the other side of the river El Kos, not one of them was to be seen,
though there was nothing to prevent their flying over it. Till then, they
had proceeded northward; but, upon arriving at its banks, they turned to
the east, though all the country north of Arisch was full of pulse,
fruits, and grain, exhibiting a most striking contrast to the desolation
of the adjoining district. At length they were all carried by a violent
hurricane into the western ocean; the shore, as in former instances, was
covered by their carcases, and a pestilence was caused by the horrid
stench which they emitted: but when this evil ceased, their devastations
were followed by a most abundant crop. The Arabs of the desert, "whose
hands are against every man," _Gen._ xvi. 12. and who rejoice in the evil
that befalls other nations, when they behold the clouds of locusts
proceeding from the north, are filled with gladness, anticipating a
general mortality, which they call _el khere_, (the benediction;) for,
when a country is thus laid waste, they emerge from their arid deserts,
and pitch their tents in the desolated plains.--_Jackson's Travels in
Morocco_, 54.

The noise the locusts make when engaged in the work of destruction, has
been compared to the sound of a flame of fire driven by the wind, and the
effect of their bite to that of fire.--_Bochart._ A poet of our own day
has very strikingly described the noise produced by their flight and
approach:--

  Onward they came, a dark continuous cloud
  Of congregated myriads, numberless,
  The rushing of whose wings was as the sound
  Of a broad river, headlong in its course
  Plung'd from a mountain summit, or the roar
  Of a wild ocean in the autumn storm,
  Shattering its billows on a shore of rocks!
                                        _Southey's Thalaba_, i. 169.

But no account of the appearance and ravages of these terrific insects,
for correctness and sublimity, comes near to that of the prophet Joel: "A
day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness,
as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong;
there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it,
even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and
behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before
them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape
them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as
horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots[18] on the tops of
mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that
devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle-array. Before
their face the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather
blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like
men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not
break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every
one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be
wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the
wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the
windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them, the heavens shall
tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw
their shining!" The usual way in which they are destroyed, is also noticed
by the prophet. "I will remove far off from you the northern army, and
will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the
east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall
come up, because he hath done great things!"--_Joel_ ii. 2-10, 20.

The best method of destroying locusts, would be to recommend them as an
article of food. In the Crimea, they are often eaten by the inhabitants.
Some French emigrants, who had been directed in this manner, assured me,
that when fried, they were very palatable and very wholesome. The Arabs,
according to Hasselquist, eat them roasted, and are glad to get them.

It is quite certain that there is nothing endued by nature with peculiar
functions, in vain; and it is equally certain, that matter, however
modified, whether in the form of animated or inanimated bodies, is
continually undergoing change. The more deeply we investigate the works of
creation, the more strong will be our conviction of these truths.

We know that many animals, and particularly insects, have apparently no
other employment, than that of clearing or purifying the surface of the
earth of superfluous matter, the residuum of decayed bodies, or of
reconverting it into useful forms, as I shall attempt to illustrate
hereafter. Now, if we survey those regions which give birth to, and
support, the vast clouds of locusts alluded to, our view will be confined
principally to the extensive deserts of Africa and Asia; the vegetation of
many of which, according to the reports of travellers, is abundant and
luxuriant, beyond the conception of those who have not beheld them;
insomuch, that the crops of grass, and other annual vegetables, absolutely
load the earth; and these, perishing upon each other, would form an
impenetrable, putrid mass, if not consumed by some animals appointed for
the purpose.

That locusts support existence by vegetable food, is well known; but
whether they have no other object than to consume the superabundant
produce of the regions they frequent, and to procreate, is not so easily
proved. One who has had no opportunity of witnessing their manners, from
their birth to their final destruction, can scarcely be able positively to
decide; but I have no doubt that an intelligent naturalist, (governed by
the principles this chapter is intended, in some measure, to illustrate,)
with the necessary opportunities, such as Dr. Shaw, in particular, had,
would be able to get at facts that would indisputably prove the existence
of locusts to be a blessing rather than a curse.

Whatever may be the direct object of their existence, locusts are of great
use to many other animals, for there are some, particularly birds, that
entirely prey upon them; and, if man himself refuses this food, it is
rather from the prejudice, perhaps, of an absurd education, than from any
improper or bad quality of the food itself.[19] The inhabitants of several
eastern nations have a relish for this diet: and it is recorded of him who
cried in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," that "his meat
was locusts and wild honey."--_Matthew_ iii. 4. After this, we cannot
listen to the feeble remonstrances of any modern epicure.


MOSQUITOES, AND THEIR USES.--The mosquito is accounted one of the most
noxious and the most numerous of insects; at least of such as are esteemed
noxious by the vulgar and the ignorant. In some countries, indeed, their
numbers, and the effects produced by them, are wonderful. There is no
instance on record more striking than the following, as related by Dr.
Clarke:--

"No contrivance on our part could prevent millions of mosquitoes from
filling the inside of our carriage, which, in spite of gloves, clothes,
and handkerchiefs, rendered our bodies one entire wound. The Cossacks
light numerous fires, to drive them from the cattle during the night; but
so insatiate is their thirst of blood, that hundreds will attack a person
attempting to shelter himself even in the midst of smoke. At the same
time, the noise they make in flying cannot be conceived by persons who
have only been accustomed to the humming of such insects in our
country."--"Almost exhausted by fatigue, pain, and heat, I sought shelter
in the carriage, sitting in water and mud. It was the most sultry night I
ever experienced; not a breath of air was stirring; nor could I venture to
open the windows, though almost suffocated, through fear of the
mosquitoes. Swarms, nevertheless, found their way to my hiding-place; and
when I opened my mouth, it was filled with them. My head was bound in
handkerchiefs; yet they forced their way into my ears and nostrils. In the
midst of this torment, I succeeded in lighting a lamp over the sword-case;
which was instantly extinguished by such a prodigious number of these
insects, that their dead bodies actually remained heaped in a large cone
over the burner for several days afterward: and I know not any mode of
description which can convey a more adequate idea of their afflicting
visitation, than by simply relating this fact: to the truth of which,
those who travelled with me, and who are now living, bear indisputable
testimony."

Those who have laboured under so painful a visitation, as that to which
this lively account refers, may not perhaps be so ready to admit the
general utility of these irritating insects, though their usefulness is
more evident, and far more easily proved, than that of the locust, or
indeed of most other animals of a similar nature. Bred in the midst of
stagnant pools, of bogs, and marshes, in regions unwholesome to man, and
where the effluvia arising from animal bodies, and from rank decaying
vegetable substances, are so abundant, as to form thick pestilential
vapours, that would inflict almost instant destruction on the human
inhabitant, and most other creatures, if not removed as quickly as they
were formed;--bred in such regions, and gifted with functions and
propensities directed to the proper ends, the mosquito supports its
existence by consuming the noxious particles exhaled from the swamps; and
the bodies of animals, as rapidly as they are generated;--thereby
preventing that horrible putrefaction of the air, and consequent
pestilence, which would infallibly take place, if the mosquitoes, and
similar insects, were not employed to purify the atmosphere.



CHAP. XXXII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.--(_Concluded._)

    _Animalcules--The Cheese Mite--The Hydra, or Polypes._

    The smallest creature in existence
    Has limbs and sinews, blood, and heart, and brain,
    Life and her proper functions to sustain,
    Through the whole fabric, smaller than a grain!
    What more can our penurious reason grant
    To the large whale, or castled elephant;--
    To those enormous terrors of the Nile,
    The crested snake, and long-tail'd crocodile;--
    Than that all differ but in shape and name,
    Each destin'd to a less or larger frame?
                                          _Prior's Solomon._


ANIMALCULES.

The microscope discovers legions of animalcules in most liquors, as water,
vinegar, beer, dew, &c. They are also found in rain, and several
chalybeate waters, and in infusions of both animal and vegetable
substances, as the seminal fluids of animals, pepper, oats, wheat, and
other grain, tea, &c. &c. The contemplation of animalcules has rendered
the term, _infinitely_ small bodies, extremely familiar to us. A mite was
anciently thought the limits of littleness; but we are not now surprised,
to be told of animals twenty-seven millions of times smaller than a mite.
Minute animals are found proportionably much stronger, more active and
vivacious, than large ones. The spring of a flea in its leap, how vastly
does it outskip any thing the larger animals are capable of! A mite, how
vastly swifter does it run than a race-horse! M. De. L'Isle has given the
computation of the velocity of a little creature, scarcely visible by its
smallness; which he found to run three inches in half a second: supposing
now its feet to be the fifteenth part of a line, it must make five hundred
steps in the space of three inches; that is, it must shift its legs five
hundred times in a second, or in the ordinary pulsation of an artery. The
excessive minuteness of microscopical animalcules conceals them from the
human eye. One of the wonders of modern philosophy is, to have invented
means for bringing objects, to us so imperceptible, under our cognizance
and inspection: creatures, a thousand times too little to be able to
affect our sense, should seem to have been very safe; yet we have extended
our views over animals, to whom these would be mountains. In reality, most
of our microscopical animalcules are of so small a magnitude, that through
a lens, whose focal distance is the tenth-part of an inch, they only
appear as so many points; that is, their parts cannot be distinguished, so
that they appear from the vertex of that lens under an angle not exceeding
a minute.

If we investigate the magnitude of such an object, it will be found nearly
equal to 3/100000 of an inch long. Supposing, therefore, these animalcules
of a cubic figure, that is, of the same length, breadth, and thickness,
their magnitude would be expressed by the cube of the fraction 3/100000,
that is, by the number 27/1000,000,000,000,000 that is, so many parts of a
cubic inch, is each animalcule equal to. Leuwenhoek calculates, that a
thousand millions of animalcules, which are discovered in common water,
are not altogether so large as a grain of sand. In the milt of a single
cod-fish, there are more animals than there are upon the whole earth; for
a grain of sand is bigger than four millions of them. The white matter
that sticks to the teeth also abounds with animalcules of various figures,
to which vinegar is fatal; and it is known, that vinegar contains
animalcules in the shape of eels. In short, according to this author,
there is scarcely any thing which corrupts, without producing animalcules.
Animalcules are said to be the cause of various disorders. The itch is
known to be a disorder arising from the irritation of a species of
animalcules found in the pustules of the body; when the communication of
it by contact from one to another is easily conceived, as also the reason
of the cure being effected by cutaneous applications.

In the Philosophical Transactions, vol. 89, is a curious account of
animalcules produced from an infusion of potatoes, and another of
hemp-seed, by the late Mr. Ellis.

"On the 25th of May, 1768," he says, "Fahrenheit's thermometer 70°, I
boiled a potato in the New-River water, till it was reduced to a mealy
consistence: I put part of it, with an equal proportion of the boiling
liquor, into a cylindrical glass vessel, that held something less than
half a wine pint, and immediately covered it close with a glass cover. At
the same time I sliced an unboiled potato, and, as near as I could judge,
put the same quantity into a glass vessel of the same kind, with the same
proportion of New-River water, not boiled; and, covering it with a glass
cover, placed both vessels together. On the 26th of May, twenty-four hours
afterwards, I examined a small drop of each by the first magnifier of
Wilson's microscope, whose focal distance is reckoned 1/50th part of an
inch; and, to my amazement, they were both full of animalcules, of a
linear shape, very distinguishable, moving to and fro with great celerity,
so that there appeared to be more particles of animal than vegetable life
in each drop. This experiment I have repeatedly tried, and always found it
to succeed in proportion to the heat of the circumambient air; so that
even in winter, if the liquors are kept properly warm for two or three
days, the experiment will succeed. I procured hemp-seed from different
seedsmen, in different parts of the town; some of it I put into the
New-River water, some into distilled water, and some into very hard
pump-water: the result was, that in proportion to the heat of the weather,
or warmth in which they were kept, there was an appearance of millions of
minute animalcules in all the infusions; and, some time after, oval ones
made their appearance, much larger than the first, which still continued;
these wriggled to and fro in an undulatory motion, turning themselves
round very quick all the time they moved forwards."


THE CHEESE-MITE.--This minute creature is a favourite subject for
microscopic observations. It is covered with hairs or bristles, which
resemble in their structure the awns of barley, being barbed on each side
with numerous sharp-pointed processes. The mite is oviparous: from the
eggs proceed the young animals, resembling the parents in all respects,
except in the number of legs, which at first amount only to six, the pair
from the head not making their appearance till after casting their first
skin. The eggs, in warm weather, hatch in about a week, and the young
animal may be seen sometimes for a day together struggling to get rid of
its egg-shell. The mite is a very voracious animal, feasting equally upon
animal and vegetable substances. It is also extremely tenacious of life:
for, upon the authority of Leuwenhoek, though highly discreditable to his
sense of humanity, we are assured that a mite lived eleven weeks after he
had glued it to a pin, in order to make his observations.


We shall close the account of the curiosities of insects with a
description of THE HYDRA, or POLYPES.--In natural history, this is a genus
of the _Vermes Zoophyta_ class and order; an animal fixing itself by the
base; linear, gelatinous, naked, contractile, and furnished with setaceous
tentaculæ, or feelers; inhabiting fresh waters, and producing its
deciduous offspring, or eggs, from the sides. There are five species, _H.
gelatinosa_, minute and gelatinous, milk-white, cylindrical, with twelve
tentaculæ shorter than the body: it inhabits Denmark, in clusters on the
under side of Fuci. But on the viridis, the fusca, and the grisca, the
greatest number of experiments have been made by naturalists, to ascertain
their true nature and very wonderful habits. They are generally found in
ditches. Whoever has carefully examined these, when the sun is very
powerful, will find many little transparent lumps of the appearance of
jelly, the size of a pea, and flatted upon one side. The same kind of
substances are likewise to be met with on the under side of the leaves of
plants that grow in such places. These are the polypes in a quiescent
state, and apparently inanimate. They are generally fixed by one end to
some solid substance, with a large opening, which is the mouth; the other
having several arms fixed round it, projecting as rays from the centre.
They are slender, pellucid, and capable of contracting themselves into a
very small compass, or of extending to a considerable length. The arms are
capable of the same contraction and expansion as the body, and with these
they lay hold of minute worms and insects, bringing them to the mouth, and
swallowing them. The indigestible parts are again thrown out by the mouth.

The green polype was that first discovered by M. Trembley: and the first
appearances of spontaneous motion were perceived in its arms, which it can
contract, expand, and twist about in various directions. On the first
appearance of danger, they contract to such a degree, that they seem
little longer than a grain of sand, of a fine green colour, the arms
disappearing entirely. Soon afterwards, he found the grisca, and
afterwards the fusca. The bodies of the viridis and grisca diminish almost
insensibly from the anterior to the posterior extremity; but the fusca is
for the most part of an equal size, for two-thirds of its length, from the
anterior to the posterior extremities, from which it becomes abruptly
smaller, and then continues of a regular size to the end. These three
kinds have at least six, and at most twelve or thirteen arms. They can
contract themselves till their bodies do not exceed one-fourth of an inch
in length, and they can stop at any intermediate degree of expansion or
contraction. They are of various sizes, from an inch to an inch and a half
long. Their arms are seldom longer than their bodies, though some have
them an inch, and some even eight inches long. The thickness of their
bodies decreases as they extend themselves, and _vice versâ_; and they may
be made to contract themselves, either by agitating the water in which
they are contained, or by touching the animals themselves. When taken out
of the water, they all contract so much, that they appear only like a
little lump of jelly. They can contract or expand one arm, or any number
of arms, independently of the rest; and they can likewise bend their
bodies or arms in all possible directions. They can also dilate or
contract their bodies in various places, and sometimes appear thick set
with folds, which, when carelessly viewed, appear like rings. Their
progressive motion is performed by that power which they have of
contracting and dilating their bodies. When about to move, they bend down
their heads and arms; lay hold by means of them, or some other substance
to which they design to fasten themselves; then they loosen their tail,
and draw it towards the head; then either fix it in that place, or
stretching forward their head as before, repeat the same operation. They
ascend or descend at pleasure in this manner upon aquatic plants, or upon
the sides of the vessel in which they are kept; they sometimes hang by the
tail from the surface of the water, or sometimes by one of their arms; and
they can walk with ease upon the surface of the water. On examining the
tail with a microscope, a small part of it will be found to be dry above
the surface of the water, and, as it were, in a little concave space, of
which the tail forms the bottom; so that it seems to be suspended on the
surface of the water, on the same principle that a small pin or needle is
made to swim. When a polype, therefore, means to pass from the sides of
the glass to the surface of the water, it has only to put that part out of
the water by which it is supported, and to give it time to dry, which it
always does upon these occasions; and they attach themselves so firmly by
the tail to aquatic plants, stones, &c. that they cannot be easily
disengaged: they often further strengthen these attachments by means of
one or two of their arms, which serve as a kind of anchors for fixing them
to the adjacent substances.

The fusca has the longest arms, and makes use of the most curious
manoeuvres to seize its prey. They are best viewed in a glass seven or
eight inches deep, when their arms commonly hang down to the bottom. When
this or any other kind is hungry, it spreads its arms in a kind of circle
to a considerable extent, inclosing in this, as in a net, every insect
which has the misfortune to come within the circumference. While the
animal is contracted by seizing its prey, the arms are observed to swell
like the muscles of the human body when in action. Though no appearance of
eyes can be observed in the polype, they certainly have some knowledge of
the approach of their prey, and shew the greatest attention to it as soon
as it comes near them. It seizes a worm the moment it is touched by one of
the arms, and in conveying it to the mouth, it frequently twists the arm
into a spiral line like a corkscrew, by which means the insect is brought
to the mouth in a much shorter time than otherwise it would be; and so
soon are the insects on which the polypes feed killed by them, that M.
Fontana thinks they must contain the most powerful kind of poison; for the
lips scarcely touch the animal, when it expires, though there cannot be
any wound perceived on it when dead. The worm, when swallowed, appears
sometimes single, sometimes double, according to circumstances. When full,
the polype contracts itself, hangs down as in a kind of stupor, but
extends again in proportion as the food is digested, and the
excrementitious part is discharged.

The manner in which the polypes propagate, is most perceptible in the
grisca and fusca, as being considerably larger than the viridis. If we
examine one of them in summer, when the animals are most active, and
prepared for propagation, some small tubercles will be found proceeding
from its sides, which constantly increase in bulk, until at last, in two
or three days, they assume the figure of small polypes. When they first
begin to shoot, the excrescence becomes pointed, assuming a conical figure
and deeper colour than the rest of the body. In a short time it becomes
truncated, and then cylindrical, after which the arms begin to shoot from
the anterior end. The tail adheres to the body of the parent animal, but
gradually grows smaller, until at last it hangs only by a point, and is
then ready to be separated. When this is the case, both the mother and
young ones fix themselves to the sides of the glass, and are separated
from each other by a sudden jerk. The time requisite for the formation of
the young ones is very different, according to the warmth of the weather,
and the nature of the food eaten by the mother. Sometimes they are fully
formed, and ready to drop off, in twenty-four hours; in other cases, when
the weather is cold, fifteen days have been requisite for bringing them
to perfection. The polypes produce young ones indiscriminately from all
parts of their bodies, and five or six young ones have frequently been
produced at once; nay, M. Trembley has observed nine or ten produced at
the same time.

When a polype is cut transversely, or longitudinally, into two or three
parts, each part in a short time becomes a perfect animal; and so great is
this prolific power, that a new animal will be produced, even from a small
portion of the skin of the old one. If the young ones be mutilated while
they grow upon the parent, the parts so cut off will be re-produced; and
the same property belongs to the parent. A truncated portion will send
forth young ones before it has acquired a new head and tail of its own,
and sometimes the head of the young one supplies the place of that which
should have grown out of the old one. If we slit a polype longitudinally
through the head to the middle of the body, we shall have one formed with
two heads; and by again slitting these in the same manner, we may form one
with as many heads as we please. A still more surprising property of these
animals is, that they may be grafted together. If the truncated portions
of a polype be placed end to end, and gently pushed together, they will
unite into a single one. The two portions are first joined together by a
slender neck, which gradually fills up and disappears, the food passing
from one part into the other; and thus we may form polypes, not only from
different portions of the same animal, but from those of different
animals. We may fix the head of one to the body of another, and the
compound animal will grow, eat, and multiply, as if it had never been
divided. By pushing the body of one into the mouth of another, so far that
their heads may be brought into contact, and kept in that situation for
some time, they will at last unite into one animal, only having double the
usual number of arms. The hydra fusca may be turned inside out like a
glove, at the same time that it continues to eat and live as before. The
lining of the stomach now forms the outer skin, and the former epidermis
constitutes the lining of the stomach.



CHAP. XXXIII.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING VEGETABLES.

    _Curiosities in the Vegetable Kingdom--Germination of
    Seeds--Dissemination of Plants--Number of Plants upon the
    Earth--Sensibility of Plants--The Sensitive Plant._

    Your contemplation further yet pursue;
    The wondrous world of vegetables view!
    See various trees their various fruits produce,
    Some for delightful taste, and some for use.
    See sprouting plants enrich the plain and wood,
    For physic some, and some design'd for food.
    See fragrant flow'rs, with different colours dy'd,
    On smiling meads unfold their gaudy pride.
                                          _Blackmore._


CURIOSITIES IN THE VEGETABLE KINGDOM.

The difference between animals and vegetables is so great, that at first
we do not perceive any resemblance between them. Some animals only live in
water; others on the earth, or in the air; and some are amphibious, or
live equally well in water as upon land. And this is literally the case
with vegetables: some of them only grow upon land, others in the water;
some can scarcely bear any moisture, others live either in earth or water;
and some even are found that exist in the air.

There is a tree in the island of Japan, which, contrary to the nature of
all others, to which moisture is necessary, cannot bear the least portion.
As soon as it is watered it perishes: the only way to preserve it in such
a case, is to cut it off by the root, which is to be dried in the sun, and
afterwards planted in a dry and sandy soil. A peculiar species of
mushroom, some mosses, and other small plants, float in the air; but what
is still more extraordinary, a branch of rosemary, which, as is the custom
of some countries, was put in the hand of a corpse, sprouted out to the
right and left so vigorously, that after a lapse of some years, the grave
being opened, the face of the defunct was overshadowed with rosemary
leaves. The vegetation of the truffle is still more singular: this
extraordinary tubercle has neither roots, stem, leaves, flowers, nor
seeds; it derives its nourishment through the pores of its bark. But it
may be asked, how is it produced? why is there commonly no kind of herb in
the places where this species of fungus grows? and why is the land there
dry and full of crevices? These things have never been explained. No plant
so much resembles animals, as that species of membranous moss called
nostoch; it is an irregular substance, of a pale green colour, and
somewhat transparent; it trembles upon the slightest touch, and easily
breaks. It can only be seen after rain, and is then found in many places,
particularly in uncultivated soils and sandy roads. It exists in all
seasons, even in winter; but is never so abundant as after rain in summer.
The most remarkable circumstance about it is, its speedy growth, being
formed almost instantaneously: sometimes walking in the garden in summer,
not a trace of it is seen, when a sudden shower of rain falling, if the
same place is visited in an hour, the walks are entirely covered with it.
The nostoch was long supposed to have descended from the sky; but it is
now known to be a leaf, which attracts and imbibes water with great
avidity. This leaf, to which no root appears to belong, is in its natural
state when impregnated with water; but a strong wind or great heat soon
dissipating the water, the leaf contracts, and loses its colour and
transparency: hence it appears to grow so suddenly, and to be so
miraculously produced by a shower of rain; for when the rain falls upon it
in its dried and imperceptible state, it becomes reanimated, and appears a
fresh production.

We might readily enumerate a variety of plants that bear a resemblance to
animals; but there are other peculiarities in vegetables, which solicit
our attention. The whole atmosphere is pregnant with plants and invisible
seeds, and even the largest grains are dispersed by the wind over the
earth; and as soon as they are transported to the places where they may
germinate, they become plants, and often so little soil is necessary for
this purpose, that we can scarcely conceive whence they derive the
necessary degree of nourishment. There are plants, and even trees, which
take root and grow in the clefts of rocks, without any soil. Vegetation is
sometimes very rapid; of which we have instances in mushrooms, and the
common cresses, the seed of which, if put into a wet cloth, will be fit
for a salad in twenty-four hours. There are plants that exist with
scarcely any perceptible vitality. We often see willows, which are not
only hollowed and decayed within, but their external bark is so much
injured that very little of it remains; yet from these seemingly sapless
trunks, buds sprout in the spring, and they are crowned with leaves and
branches. How admirable, that plants should not only imbibe nutriment by
their roots, but that their leaves also should assist in this important
function, by inspiring air! and an inverted tree will flourish as well as
when in its proper position, for the branches will grow in the earth and
become roots! The advanced age that some trees attain, is also very
wonderful. Some apple-trees are above a thousand years old; and if we
calculate the amount of the annual produce of such a tree for the above
space of time, we shall find that a single pippin might supply all Europe
with trees and fruit.


THE GERMINATION OF SEEDS.--Seeds are composed of different parts,
according to the variety of species, the principal of which parts is the
germ. Each germ has two parts: the one simple, which becomes the root; and
the other laminated, which becomes the stem of the plant. The substance of
most seeds is composed of two pieces, called lobes, which contain a
farinaceous matter, and serve as seminal leaves to the plants. Mosses have
the most simple seed, consisting only of the germ, without pellicle, and
without lobes. To make seeds germinate, air, and a certain degree of heat
and moisture, are necessary. The augmented heat, and the difference
observable in the taste and smell, seem to denote a degree of
fermentation; and the farinaceous substance becomes fitted to nourish the
tender germ. It has been ascertained by experiments made with coloured
fluids, that this substance imbibes a moisture, which, in conjunction with
the air and heat, forms a proper nourishment till the plant has acquired
strength enough to make use of the juices furnished by the root. The
lobes, exhausted of their farinaceous matter, gradually dry, and fall off
of themselves in a few weeks, when the plant has no further need of their
assistance.--Certain herbs which grow on the mountains are of a very
peculiar nature: their duration being very short, it often happens that
the seed has not time to ripen; and, that the species may not be lost, the
bud which contains the germ is formed upon the top of the plant, puts
forth leaves, falls, and takes root. When the delicate plant shoots up
from the earth, it would run too great a risk, if it were immediately
exposed to the air, and to the influence of the sun. Its parts therefore
remain folded close to each other, nearly the same as when in the seed.
But as the root grows strong and branches out, it furnishes the superior
vessels with an abundance of juice, by means of which all the organs are
developed. At first the plant is nearly gelatinous; but it soon acquires
more firmness, and continually increases in size.

This short account of the germination of seeds may suffice to shew, to the
inquisitive in the wonders of nature, what preparations and means nature
uses to produce a single plant. When, therefore, we see a seed that we
have placed in the earth sprout, we shall no longer consider it as beneath
our notice, but shall rather be disposed to regard it as one of those
wonders of nature which have excited the observation and attention of some
of the greatest of men.

  Go, mark the matchless workings of that Power
  That shuts within the seed the future flower;
  Bids these in elegance of form excel;
  In colour these, and those delight the smell
  Sends nature forth, the daughter of the skies,
  To dance on earth, and charm all human eyes.
                                        _Cowper._


DISSEMINATION OF PLANTS.--When seeds are come to maturity, their
dissemination is absolutely necessary, since without it no future crop
would follow. The great Author of nature has wisely provided for this in
various ways. The stems of many plants are long and slender, and being
raised above the ground, the wind shakes them to and fro, and by this
means are the ripe seeds conveyed to a distance. The seed-vessels of most
plants are shut till the seeds are ripe, that so the winds may not scatter
them prematurely; and when the proper season arrives, many of these open
with such a degree of elasticity as to throw the seeds to a considerable
distance. Other seeds have a kind of wings given them, by which they are
conveyed to a distance of some miles from the parent plant. These wings
consist either of a down, as in most of the composite-flowered plants, or
of a membrane, as in the birch, alder, ash, elm, &c. Hence woods, which
happen to be destroyed by fire, or any other accident, are soon restored
again by new plants.

Some seeds are rough, or provided with a sort of hooks, by means of which
they are apt to stick to animals that pass by them, and by this means are
carried to the mouths of their burrows, where they meet with proper soil
and manure for their growth. Berries and other pericarpies are by nature
allotted for aliment to animals; but it is on condition that they shall
sow the seed while they eat it: this they do by dispersing the seeds as
they are eating; and also after eating, by voiding many of them unhurt,
and even in a better state for vegetation than they were before. Thus many
kinds of nuts are sown; and thus did the doves of the Moluccas replant
with nutmegs those islands of the East, which the sordid avarice of the
Dutch had destroyed: Providence thereby frustrating, by feeble but certain
means, the contemptible selfishness of that commercial people.

In this manner the woods of northern countries are sown with junipers, by
the thrushes and other birds which feed upon these heavy berries. The
cross-bill lives upon fir-cones, and the hawfinch upon pine-cones; by
means of which the fir and the pine, of various species, are continually
planted in vast abundance. In our own country, the common rook has been
observed, not only to feed on acorns, but to make holes in the ground with
the bill, and hide many: probably they mean only to lay in a stock for
future necessity by this process; but certain it is, that thousands of
oaks are annually planted by this means. Swine, also, in searching for
food, turn up the earth; and moles, by throwing up hillocks, prepare the
ground for seeds of various kinds. Seas, lakes, and rivers, by their
streams and currents, often convey seeds unhurt to distant countries.

In assimilating the animal and vegetable kingdoms, Linnæus denominates
seeds the eggs of plants. The fecundity of plants is frequently
marvellous: from a single plant or stalk of Indian Turkey wheat, are
produced, in one summer, 2000 seeds; of elecampane, 3000; of sun-flower,
4000; of poppy, 32,000; of a spike of cat's-tail, 10,000 and upwards; a
single fruit or seed-vessel of tobacco, contains 1000 seeds; that of white
poppy, 8000. Mr. Ray relates, from experiments made by himself, that 1012
tobacco seeds are equal in weight to one grain; and that the weight of the
whole quantum of seeds in a single tobacco plant, is such as must,
according to the above proportion, determine their number to be 360,000.
The same author estimates the annual produce of a single stalk of
spleen-wort to be upwards of 1,000,000 of seeds.


PRODIGIOUS NUMBER OF PLANTS UPON THE EARTH.--It is said, that there are
about 44,000 different plants already discovered, to which new ones are
daily added. By means of the microscope, some have been found where they
were least expected. The different varieties of mosses and sponges have
been classed among vegetables, and have presented to the observation of
the naturalist, seeds and flowers before unknown. Freestone is sometimes
covered with brown and blackish spots; the mouldy substance which composes
them adheres to various other matters, and may be considered as a little
garden in vegetation. When we reflect upon the quantity of moss which
covers the hardest stones, the trunks of trees, and the most barren
places;--when we consider the quantity of vegetables upon the surface of
the earth; the different species of flowers which delight and refresh us;
the trees and bushes, add to these the aquatic plants, some of which
exceed a hair in fineness;--we may be able to form some idea of the
multitude of plants in the vegetable kingdom. All these species grow up,
and are preserved without detriment or injury, each having that place
assigned it, which is most suited to its properties. Such is the wisdom
displayed in their distribution over the surface of the earth, that there
is no part of it wholly destitute, and no part enjoys them in too great
abundance. Some plants require the open field, where, unsheltered by
trees, they may receive the sun's rays; others can only exist in water;
some grow in the sand; others in marshes and fens, which are frequently
covered with water, and some bud on the surface of the earth, whilst
others unfold themselves in its bosom. The different strata which compose
the soil of the earth, as sand, clay, chalk, &c. favour different
vegetables; and hence it is, that in the vast garden of nature nothing is
absolutely sterile; from the finest sand to the flinty rock, from the
torrid to the frozen zone, each soil and climate supports plants peculiar
to itself. Another circumstance highly worthy of attention is: the Creator
has so ordered, that, among this immense variety of plants, those which
are most proper for food or medicine multiply in greater abundance than
those which are of less utility. Herbs are much more numerous than trees
and brambles; grass is in greater abundance than oaks; and cherry-trees
more plentiful than apricots: had oaks been more frequent than grass, or
trees than herbs and roots, it would have been impossible for animals to
subsist.

According to the calculation of Baron Von Humboldt, 6000 plants are
_agamous_, that is, plants which have no sexual organs, such as
champignons, lichens, &c. Of the remainder there are found--

  In Europe                                                  7,000
  In the temperate regions of Asia                           1,500
  In Equinoxial Asia, and the adjacent Islands               4,500
  In Africa                                                  3,000
  In the temperate regions of America, in both hemispheres   4,000
  In Equinoxial America                                     13,000
  In New Holland, and the Islands of the Pacific Ocean       5,000
                                                            ------
                                           Total            38,000
                                                            ------


SENSIBILITY OF PLANTS.--There are certain motions observable in plants,
that make it doubtful whether they are not possessed of sensibility. Some
plants shrink and contract their leaves upon being touched; others open
and shut their flowers at certain fixed hours in the day, so regularly as
to denote with precision the time of day; some assume a peculiar form
during the night, folding up their leaves; and these different changes
take place whether they are in the open air, or shut up in close
apartments. Those which live under water during the time of fecundation,
raise their flowers above the surface.

The motions of a marshy plant discovered some time since, in the province
of Carolina, are still more singular. Its round leaves are furnished
above, and on the sides, with a multitude of notches that are extremely
irritable. When an insect happens to creep upon the superior surface of
the leaves, they fold up, and inclose the insect till it dies; the leaves
then open of themselves. We may daily observe regular motions in some
plants in our gardens. Tulips expand their petals when the weather is
fine, and close them again at sun-set, or during rain. Vegetables with
pods, such as peas and beans, open their shells when dry, and curl
themselves up like shavings of wood. Wild oats, when placed upon a table,
will move spontaneously, more especially if warmed in the hand. And the
heliotrope, or sunflower, with various other plants, always turns towards
the sun. These are incontestable facts, of the certainty of which every
person may be easily convinced. From them, some conclude that we ought not
to deny sensibility to be an attribute of plants; and certainly the facts
which are alleged in favour of such an opinion, give it great appearance
of probability. But, on the other hand, plants have no other sign of
sensibility; and all that they have is entirely mechanical. We plant a
shrub and destroy it, without finding any analogy between it and an
animal, that we bring up and kill. We see a plant bud, blossom, and bear
seed, insensibly, as the hand of a watch runs round the points of the
dial. The most exact anatomy of a plant does not unfold to us any organ
which has the least relation to those of animal sensibility. When we
oppose these observations to those from which we might infer the
sensibility of plants, we remain in uncertainty, and we cannot explain the
phenomena related above. Our knowledge upon this subject is very
imperfect, and is confined to simple conjecture. We neither attribute
sensibility to plants, nor deny it to them, with certainty.


THE SENSITIVE PLANT.--This singular plant rises from a slender woody stalk
seven or eight feet in height, armed with short recurved thorns; the
leaves grow upon long footstalks, which are prickly, each sustaining two
pair of wings; from the place where these are inserted, come out small
branches, having three or four globular heads of pale purplish flowers
coming out from the side, on short peduncles; the principal stalk has many
of those heads of flowers on the upper part, for more than a foot in
length; this, as also the branches, is terminated by like heads of
flowers; the leaves move but slowly when touched, but the footstalks fall,
when they are pressed pretty hard. It is a native of Brazil, (_M. pudica_,
humble plant,) having the roots composed of many hairy fibres, which mat
slowly together; from these come out several woody stalks, declining
towards the ground, unless supported; they are armed with short recurved
spines, having winged or pinnate leaves; flowers from the axils, on short
peduncles, collected in small globular heads, of a yellow colour.

"Naturalists (says Dr. Darwin) have not explained the immediate cause of
the collapsing of the sensitive plant; the leaves meet and close in the
night, during the sleep of the plant, or when exposed to much cold in the
day-time, in the same manner as when they are affected by external
violence, folding their upper surfaces together, and in part over each
other like scales or tiles, so as to expose as little of the upper surface
as may be to the air, but do not, indeed, collapse quite so far; for when
touched in the night during their sleep, they fall still further,
especially when touched on the footstalks between the stems and the
leaflets, which seem to be their most sensitive or irritable part. Now, as
their situation after being exposed to external violence resembles their
sleep, but with a greater degree of collapsion, may it not be owing to a
numbness or paralysis consequent to too violent irritation, like the
pantings of animals from pain or fatigue? A sensitive plant being kept in
a dark room till some hours after day-break, its leaves and leaf-stalks
were collapsed as in its most profound sleep, and on exposing it to the
light, above twenty minutes passed before the plant was thoroughly awake,
and had quite expanded itself. During this night the upper surfaces of the
leaves were oppressed; this would seem to shew that the office of this
surface of the leaf was to expose the fluids of the plant to the light, as
well as to the air." Dr. Darwin has thus characterized these plants.--

  Weak with nice sense the chaste Mimosa stands,
  From each rude touch withdraws her timid hands
  Oft as light clouds o'erpass the summer glade,
  Alarm'd, she trembles at the moving shade;
  And feels alive through all her tender form,
  The whisper'd murmurs of the gathering storm;
  Shuts her sweet eyelids to approaching night,
  And hails with freshen'd charms the rising light.



CHAP. XXXIV.

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING VEGETABLES.--(_Continued._)

    _The Cocoa-Nut Tree--The Bread-Fruit Tree--The Bannian Tree--Fountain
    Trees--The Tallow Tree--The Paper Tree--The Calabash Tree--Remarkable
    Oak--Dimensions, &c. of some of the largest Trees now growing in
    England--Upas, or Poison Tree._

    Admiration, feeding at the eye,
    And still unsated, dwells upon the theme.
                                        _Cowper._


THE COCOA-NUT TREE.

Of all the gifts which Providence has bestowed on the Oriental world, the
cocoa-nut tree most deserves our notice: in this single production of
nature, what blessings are conveyed to man! It grows a stately column,
from thirty to fifty feet in height, crowned by a verdant capital of
waving branches, covered with long spiral leaves; under this foliage,
branches of blossoms, clusters of green fruit, and others arrived at
maturity, appear in mingled beauty. The trunk, though porous, furnishes
beams and rafters for our habitations; and the leaves, when platted
together, make an excellent thatch, common umbrellas, coarse mats for the
floor, and brooms; while their finest fibres are woven into very beautiful
mats for the rich. The covering of the young fruit is extremely curious,
resembling a piece of thick cloth, in a conical form, close and firm as it
came from the loom; it expands after the fruit has burst through its
inclosure, and then appears of a coarser texture. The nuts contain a
delicious milk, and a kernel sweet as the almond: this, when dried,
affords abundance of oil; and when that is expressed, the remains feed
cattle and poultry, and make good manure. The shell of the nut furnishes
cups, ladles, and other domestic utensils, while the husk which incloses
it is of the utmost importance; it is manufactured into ropes and cordage
of every kind, from the smallest twine to the largest cable, which are far
more durable than those of hemp. In the Nicobar islands, the natives build
their vessels, make the sails and cordage, supply them with provisions and
necessaries, and provide a cargo of arrack, vinegar, oil, gagpree or
coarse sugar, cocoa-nuts, coir, cordage, black paint, and several inferior
articles, for foreign markets, entirely from this tree.

Many of the trees are not permitted to bear fruit; but the embryo bud,
from which the blossoms and nuts would spring, is tied up, to prevent its
expansion; and a small incision being then made at the end, there oozes in
gentle drops a cool pleasant liquor, called Trace, or Toddy, the palm wine
of the poets. This, when first drawn, is cooling and salutary; but when
fermented and distilled, produces an intoxicating spirit. Thus, a
plantation of cocoa-nut trees yields the proprietor considerable profits,
and generally forms part of the government revenue.


THE BREAD-FRUIT TREE.--The systematic name of this plant is Artocarpus,
which is merely the English name translated into Greek. There are several
species; particularly _A. incisa_, and _A. integrifolia_.

The genuine bread-fruit tree is the _artocarpus incisa_. In captain Cook's
Voyage, it is observed, that the bread-fruit tree is about the size of a
middling oak; its leaves are frequently a foot and a half long, oblong,
deeply sinuated, like those of the fig-tree, which they resemble in
consistence and colour, and in exuding a milky juice when broken. The
fruit is the size and shape of a child's head, and the surface is
reticulated, not much unlike a truffle; it is covered with a thin skin,
and has a core about as big as the handle of a small knife; the eatable
part lies between the skin and core; it is as white as snow, and of the
consistence of new bread. It must be roasted before it is eaten, being
first divided into three or four parts; its taste is insipid, with a
slight sweetness, somewhat resembling that of the crumb of wheaten bread,
mixed with Jerusalem artichoke. The fruit not being in season all the
year, there is a method of supplying this defect, by reducing it to sour
paste, called _makie_; and besides this, cocoa-nuts, bananas, plantains,
and a great variety of other fruits, come in aid of it. This tree not only
supplies food, but also clothing, for the bark is stripped off the
suckers, and formed into a kind of cloth. To procure the fruit for food
costs the Otaheiteans no trouble or labour, but climbing a tree. This most
useful tree is distributed very extensively over the East Indian continent
and islands, as well as the innumerable islands of the South Seas. In
Otaheite, however, and some others, the evident superiority of the
seedless variety for food has caused the other to be neglected, and it is
consequently almost worn out.

We are informed by Captain King, that in the Sandwich islands these trees
are planted, and flourish with great luxuriance on rising grounds; that
they are not indeed in such abundance, but that they produce double the
quantity of fruit to those growing on the rich plains of Otaheite; that
the trees are nearly of the same height, but that the branches begin to
strike out from the trunk much lower, and with greater luxuriance; and
that the climate of these islands differs very little from that of the
West Indian islands which lie in the same latitude. This reflection
probably first suggested the idea of conveying this valuable tree to our
islands in the West Indies. For this purpose his Majesty's ship the Bounty
sailed for the South Seas, on the 23d of December, 1787, under the command
of Lieutenant William Bligh. But a fatal mutiny prevented the
accomplishment of this benevolent design. His Majesty, however, not
discouraged by the unfortunate event of the voyage, and fully impressed
with the importance of securing so useful an article of food as the
bread-fruit to our West Indian Islands, determined, in the year 1791, to
employ another ship, for a second expedition on this service; and, in
order to secure the success of the voyage as much as possible, it was
thought proper that two vessels should proceed together on this important
business. Accordingly, a ship of 400 tons, named the Providence, was
engaged for the purpose, and the command of her given to Captain Bligh;
and a small tender, called the Assistant, commanded by Lieut. Nathaniel
Portlock. Sir Joseph Banks, as in the former voyage, directed the
equipment of the ship for this particular purpose. Two skilful gardeners
were appointed to superintend the trees and plants, from their
transplantation at Otaheite, to their delivery at Jamaica; and Captain
Bligh set sail on the 2d of August, 1791. The number of plants taken on
board at Otaheite, was 2634, in 1281 pots, tubs, and cases; and of these
1151 were bread-fruit trees. When they arrived at Coupang, 200 plants were
dead, but the rest were in good order. Here they procured ninety-two pots
of the fruits of that country. They arrived at St. Helena, with 830 fine
bread-fruit trees, besides other plants. Here they left some of them, with
different fruits of Otaheite and Timor, besides mountain rice and other
seeds; and hence the East Indies may be supplied with them.

On their arrival at St. Vincent's, they had 551 cases, containing 678
bread-fruit trees, besides a great number of other fruits and plants, to
the number of 1245. Near half this cargo was deposited here under the care
of Mr. Alexander Anderson, the superintendant of his Majesty's botanic
garden, for the use of the Windward islands; and the remainder, intended
for the Leeward islands, was conveyed to Jamaica, and distributed as the
governor and council of Jamaica were pleased to direct. The exact number
of bread-fruit trees brought to Jamaica, was 352; out of which, five only
were reserved for the botanic garden at Kew. Captain Bligh had the
satisfaction, before he quitted Jamaica, of seeing the trees, which he had
brought with so much success, in a most flourishing state; insomuch that
no doubt remained of their growing well, and speedily producing fruit: an
opinion which subsequent reports have confirmed.

The bread-fruit, when perfectly ripe, is pulpy, sweetish, putrescent, and
in this state is thought to be too laxative; but when green it is
farinaceous, and esteemed a very wholesome food, either baked under the
coals, or roasted over them. The taste is not unlike that of wheaten
bread, but with some resemblance to that of Jerusalem artichokes or
potatoes. It was mentioned before, that a sort of cloth was made of the
inner bark: to this we may add, that the wood is used in building boats
and houses; the male catkins serve for tinder; the leaves for wrapping
their food in, and for wiping their hands instead of towels; and the juice
for making bird-lime, and as a cement for filling up the cracks of their
vessels, and for holding water. Three trees are supposed to yield
sufficient nourishment for one person.


THE BANNIAN TREE.--The bannian, or Indian fig-tree, is a native of several
parts of the East Indies, and has a woody stem, branching to a great
height and vast extent. It is universally considered as one of the most
beautiful of nature's productions; and, contrary to most other things in
animal and vegetable nature, appears exempted from decay. Every branch
from the main body throws out its own roots, at first in small tender
fibres, several yards from the ground, but which thicken considerably
before they reach the surface, and then, striking in, they increase to
large trunks, and become parent trees, shooting out new branches from the
top; these in time suspend their roots, which, swelling into trunks,
produce other branches, thus continuing in a progressive state as long as
the earth, the common parent of them all, continues her sustenance. The
Hindoos are peculiarly fond of the bannian tree; they regard it as an
emblem of the Deity, from its long duration and overshadowing beneficence,
and almost pay it divine honours. Near this tree their most esteemed
pagodas are generally erected; and under their shade the Brahmins spend
their days in religious solitude, wandering among the cool recesses and
beautiful walks of this umbrageous canopy, impervious to the hottest beams
of a tropical sun.

A remarkably fine tree of this kind grows on an island in the river
Narbedda, in the province of Guzerat. It is distinguished from others of
the same species by the name of Cubbeer Bur, which was given it in honour
of a famous saint. It was once much larger than it is at present, high and
violent floods having carried away the banks of the island on which it
grew, and with them such parts of the tree as have thus far extended its
roots. What remains, is two thousand feet in circumference, measured round
the principal stems; the overhanging branches, which have not yet struck
down, cover a much larger space. The chief trunks of this single tree,
each of which in size exceeds our English oaks or elms, amount to 350, the
smaller stems to more than 3000, all casting out new branches and hanging
roots, to form in time parent trunks. Cubbeer Bur is famed through India
for its amazing extent and beauty. The Indian armies frequently encamp
around it, and at stated periods solemn festivals are held under its
branches, where thousands of votaries repair from various parts of the
empire. It is even said that 7000 persons found ample room under its
shade. The English gentlemen sometimes form elegant and extensive
encampments, where they spend whole weeks together under this delightful
pavilion, which is inhabited by green wood-pigeons, doves, and peacocks,
and also a variety of feathered songsters; families of monkeys are also in
every quarter playing their antic tricks; and bats, to the astonishing
size of six feet, from the extremity of one wing to that of the other.
This tree not only shelters, but affords sustenance to these numerous
inhabitants, being covered, amidst its bright leaves, with small figs of a
rich scarlet, on which they regale.


FOUNTAIN TREES.--These are very extraordinary vegetables, growing in one
of the Canary Islands, and likewise said to exist in some other places,
which distil water from their leaves in such plenty, as to answer all the
purposes of the inhabitants who live near them. Of these trees we have the
following account, in Glasse's History of the Canary Islands. "There are
three fountains of water in the whole island of Hiero, wherein the
fountain tree grows. The larger cattle are watered at those fountains, and
at a place where water distils from the leaves of a tree. Many writers
have made mention of this famous tree, some in such a manner as to make it
appear miraculous: others again deny the existence of any such tree; among
whom is Father Feyjoo, a modern Spanish author. But he, and those who
agree with him in this matter, are as much mistaken as those who would
make it appear to be miraculous. The author of the History of the
Discovery and Conquest, has given us a particular account of it, which I
shall here relate at large.--

"The district in which this tree stands is called Tigulabe; near to which,
and in the cliff or steep rocky ascent that surrounds the whole island, is
a gutter or gully, which commences at the sea, and continues to the summit
of the cliff, where it joins or coincides with a valley, which is
terminated by the steep front of a rock. On the top of this rock grows a
tree, called, in the language of the ancient inhabitants, _garse_, sacred
or holy tree, which for many years has been preserved sound, entire, and
fresh. Its leaves constantly distil such a quantity of water as is
sufficient to furnish drink to every living creature in Hiero, nature
having provided this remedy for the drought of the island. It is situated
about a league and a half from the sea. Nobody knows of what species it
is, only that it is called _til_. It is distinct from other trees, and
stands by itself. The circumference of the trunk is about twelve spans,
the diameter four, and in height, from the ground to the top of the
highest branch, forty spans: the circumference of all the branches
together is 120 feet. The branches are thick and extended, the lowest
commence about the height of an ell from the ground. Its fruit resembles
the acorn, and tastes something like the kernel of a pine-apple, but is
softer and more aromatic. The leaves of this tree resemble those of the
laurel, but are larger, wider, and more curved; they come forth in a
perpetual succession, so that the tree always remains green. Near to it
grows a thorn, which fastens on many of its branches, and interweaves with
them; and at a small distance from the garse are some beech-trees,
bresoes, and thorns. On the north side of the trunk are two large tanks or
cisterns, of rough stone, or rather one cistern divided, each half being
twenty feet square, and sixteen spans in depth. One of these contains
water for the drinking of the inhabitants; and the other, that which they
use for their cattle, washing, and such like purposes.

"Every morning, near this part of the island, a cloud or mist arises from
the sea, which the south or easterly winds force against the forementioned
steep cliff; so that the cloud, having no vent but by the gutter,
gradually ascends it, and from thence advances slowly to the extremity of
the valley, where it is stopped and checked by the front of the rock which
terminates the valley; and then rests upon the thick leaves and wide
spreading branches of the tree, from whence it distils in drops during the
remainder of the day, until it is at length exhausted, in the same manner
that we see water drip from the leaves of trees after a heavy shower of
rain.

"This distillation is not peculiar to the garse or til, for the bresoes,
which grow near it, likewise drop water; but their leaves being but few
and narrow, the quantity is so trifling, that, though the natives save
some of it, yet they make little or no account of any but what distils
from the til; which, together with the water of some fountains, and what
is saved in the winter season, is sufficient to serve them and their
flocks. A person lives on the spot near which this tree grows, to take
care of it and its waters; and is allowed a house to live in, with a
certain salary. He every day distributes to each family of the district,
seven pots or vessels full of water, besides what he gives to the
principal people of the island."

Whether the tree which yields water at this present time, be the same as
that mentioned in the above description, I cannot determine: but it is
probable there has been a succession of them; for Pliny, describing the
Fortunate Island, says, "In the mountains of Ombrion, are trees resembling
the plant _ferula_, from which water may be procured by pressure. What
comes from the black kind is bitter, but that which the white yields is
sweet and potable." Trees yielding water are not peculiar to the island of
Hiero; for travellers inform us of one of the same kind on the island of
St. Thomas, in the bight or gulf of Guinea. In Cockburn's Voyages, we find
the following account of a dropping tree, near the mountains of Fera Paz,
in America.--

"On the morning of the fourth day, we came out on a large plain, where
were great numbers of fine deer; and in the middle stood a tree of unusual
size, spreading its branches over a vast compass of ground. Curiosity led
us up to it. We had perceived, at some distance, the ground about it to be
wet; at which we began to be somewhat surprised, as well knowing there had
no rain fallen for nearly six months past, according to the certain course
of the season in that latitude: that it was impossible to be occasioned by
the fall of dew on the tree, we were convinced, by the sun's having power
to exhale away all moisture of that nature a few minutes after its rising.
At last, to our great amazement, as well as joy, we saw water dropping, or
as it were distilling, fast from the end of every leaf of this wonderful,
(nor had it been amiss if I had said miraculous) tree; at least it was so
with respect to us, who had been labouring four days through extreme heat,
without receiving the least moisture, and were now almost expiring for the
want of it. We could not help looking on this as liquor sent from heaven,
to comfort us under great extremity. We catched what we could of it in our
hands, and drank very plentifully of it; and liked it so well, that we
could hardly prevail with ourselves to give over. A matter of this nature
could not but incite us to make the strictest observations concerning it;
and accordingly we staid under the tree near three hours, and found we
could not fathom its body in five times. We observed the soil where it
grew to be very strong; and upon the nicest inquiry we could afterwards
make, both of the natives of the country and the Spanish inhabitants, we
could not learn there was any such tree known throughout New Spain, nor
perhaps all America over: but I do not relate this as a prodigy in nature,
because I am not philosopher enough to ascribe any natural cause for it;
the learned may perhaps give substantial reasons in nature, for what
appeared to us a great and marvellous secret, and far beyond our power to
account for."


THE TALLOW TREE.--This is a remarkable tree, growing in great plenty in
China; so called from its producing a substance like tallow, and which
serves for the same purpose: it is about the height of a cherry-tree, its
leaves in form of a heart, of a deep shining red colour, and its bark very
smooth. Its fruit is inclosed in a kind of pod, or cover, like a chesnut,
and consists of three round white grains, of the size and form of a small
nut, each having its peculiar capsule, and a little stone within. This
stone is encompassed with a white pulp, which has all the properties of
true tallow, both as to consistence, colour, and even smell, and
accordingly the Chinese make their candles of it; which would doubtless be
as good as those in Europe, if they knew how to purify their vegetable, as
well as we do our animal tallow. All the preparation they give it, is to
melt it down, and mix a little oil with it, to make it softer and more
pliant. It is true, the candles made of it yield a thicker smoke and a
dimmer light than ours; but those defects are owing in a great measure to
the wicks, which are not of cotton, but only a little rod of dry light
wood, covered with the pith of a rush wound round it; which, being very
porous, serves to filtrate the minute parts of the tallow, attracted by
the burning stick, and by this means is kept alive.


THE PAPER TREE.--The name of this tree is _Aouta_. It is a mulberry-tree,
found at Otaheite, in the South Sea, from which a cloth is manufactured,
that is worn by the principal inhabitants. The bark of the trees is
stripped off, and deposited to soak in running water; when it is
sufficiently softened, the fibres of the inner coat are carefully
separated from the rest of the bark; they are then placed in lengths of
about eleven or twelve yards, one by the side of another, till they are
about a foot broad; and two or three layers are put one upon another. This
is done in the evening; and next morning the water is drained off, and the
several fibres adhere together in one piece. It is afterwards beaten on a
smooth piece of wood with instruments marked lengthways, with small
grooves of different degrees of fineness; and by means of this it becomes
as thin as muslin. After bleaching it in the air, to whiten it, it is fit
for use.


Another article worthy of the reader's attention, is the ADANSONIA,
ETHIOPIAN SOUR GOURD, MONKEYS' BREAD, or AFRICAN CALABASH TREE.--There is
but one known species belonging to this genus, the _baobal_, which is
perhaps the largest production of the whole vegetable kingdom. It is a
native of Africa. The trunk is not above twelve or fifteen feet high, but
from sixty to seventy feet round. The lowest branches extend almost
horizontally, and as they are about sixty feet in length, their own weight
bends their extremities to the ground, and thus form an hemispherical mass
of verdure of about 120 or 130 feet diameter. The roots extend as far as
the branches: that in the middle forms a pivot, which penetrates a great
way into the earth; the rest spread near the surface. The flowers are in
proportion to the size of the tree, and are followed by an oblong pointed
fruit, ten inches long, five or six broad, and covered with a kind of
greenish down, under which is a ligneous rind, hard, and almost black,
marked with rays, which divide it lengthwise into sides. It is very common
in Senegal, and the Cape de Verd islands; and is found 100 leagues up the
country, at Gulam, and upon the sea-coast as far as Sierra Leone.

The age of this tree is no less remarkable than its enormous size. Mr.
Adanson relates, that, in a botanical excursion to the Magdalen Islands,
he discovered some calabash-trees, from five to six feet diameter, on the
bark of which were engraved, or cut to a considerable depth, a number of
European names. Two of these names, which he was at the trouble to repair,
were dated, one in the fourteenth, the other in the fifteenth century. The
inscribed trees, mentioned by this ingenious Frenchman, had been seen in
1555, almost two centuries before, by Thevet, who mentions them in his
relation of his Voyage to Terra Antarctia, or Australis. Adanson saw them
in 1749. The virtues and uses of this tree and its fruits are various. The
negroes of Senegal dry the bark and leaves in the shaded air, and then
reduce them to powder, which is of a pretty good green colour. This powder
they preserve in bags of linen or cotton, and call it _lillo_. They use it
every day, putting three or four pinches of it into a mess, whatever it
happens to be, as we do pepper and salt: but their view is, not to give a
relish to their food, but to preserve a perpetual and plentiful
perspiration, and to attemper the too great heat of the blood; purposes to
which it certainly answers, as several Europeans have proved by repeated
experiments; preserving themselves from the epidemic fever, which, in that
country, is as fatal to them as the plague, and generally rages during the
months of September and October: when the rains have suddenly ceased, the
sun exhales the water left by them on the ground, and fills the air with a
noxious vapour. M. Adanson, in the critical season, made a light ptisan of
the leaves of the baobal; which he had gathered in the August of the
preceding year, and had dried in the shade; and drank constantly about a
pint of it every morning, either before or after breakfast, and the same
quantity of it every evening, after the heat of the sun began to abate: he
also took the same quantity in the middle of the day, but this was only
when he felt some symptoms of an approaching fever. By this precaution he
preserved himself, during the five years he resided at Senegal, from the
diarrhæa and fever, which are so fatal there, and which are, however, the
only diseases of the place; while other officers suffered very severely,
only one of them excepted, upon whom M. Adanson prevailed to use this
remedy, which for its simplicity was despised by the rest. This ptisan
alone prevents that heat of urine which is common in these parts, from the
month of July to November, provided the person abstains from wine. The
fruit is not less useful than the leaves and the bark. The pulp that
envelopes the seeds has an agreeable acid taste, and is eaten for
pleasure: it is also dried and powdered, and used medicinally in
pestilential fevers, the dysentery, and bloody flux: the dose is a drachm,
passed through a fine sieve, taken either in common water, or in an
infusion of the plantain. This powder is brought into Europe under the
name of _terra sigillata Lemnia_. The woody bark of the fruit, and the
fruit itself, when spoiled, help to supply the negroes with an excellent
soap, which they make by drawing a lie from the ashes, and boiling it with
palm-oil that begins to be rancid. The trunks of such of these trees as
are decayed, the negroes hollow out into burying places for their poets,
musicians, and buffoons. Persons of these characters they esteem greatly
while they live, supposing them to derive their superior talents from
sorcery, or a commerce with demons; but they regard their bodies with
horror when dead, and will not give them burial in the usual manner,
neither suffering them to be put into the ground, nor thrown into the sea
or any river, because they imagine that the water would not then nourish
the fish, nor the earth produce its fruits. The bodies shut up in these
trunks become dry without rotting, and form a kind of mummies without the
help of embalming. The baobal is very distinct from the calabash-tree of
America, with which it has been confounded by Father Labat.


The following is an account of a REMARKABLE OAK TREE:--

  Behold the oak does young and verdant stand
  Above the grove, all others to command;
  His wide-extended limbs the forest crown'd,
  Shading the trees, as well as they the ground:
  Young murm'ring tempests in his boughs are bred,
  And gathering clouds from round his lofty head;
  Outrageous thunder, stormy winds, and rain,
  Discharge their fury on his head in vain;
  Earthquakes below, and lightnings from above,
  Rend not his trunk, nor his fix'd root remove.
                                        _Blackmore._

Mr. Gilpin, in his forest scenery, gives the following account of an aged
oak:--

"Close by the gate of the Water-walk, at Magdalen College in Oxford, grew
an oak, which perhaps stood there a saplin when Alfred the Great founded
the university. This period only includes a space of nine hundred years,
which is no great age for an oak. It is a difficult matter indeed to
ascertain the age of a tree. The age of a castle or abbey is the object of
history: even a common house is recorded by the family that built it. All
these objects arrive at maturity in their youth, if I may so speak. But
the tree gradually completing its growth, is not worth recording in the
early part of its existence: it is then only a common tree; and
afterwards, when it becomes remarkable for its age, all memory of its
youth is lost. This tree, however, c