« VorigeDoorgaan »
shall describe it more minutely here. with the lining of our carriage, which after. Our present business is with was of leather. As soon as they have the suroke, which is seen in all parts done eating, they become so somof the steppes, sitting erect, near its nolent, as even to fall asleep in your burrow, on the slightest alarm, hands, in any posture or situation, whistling very loud, and observing or under any circumstance of joltall around. It makes such extensive ing, noise, or motion. While awake subterraneous chambers, that the they are very active, and surpass ground is perforated in all direc- every other animal in the quickness tions, and the land destroyed, wher- with which they will bury themselves ever the animal is found. Its colour in the earth. They resemble guinea is a grayish brown. It has five fin- pigs in making a grunting noise; gers upon each of its paws, which and whenever surprised, or much very niuch resemble human hands, pleased, or in any degree frightenand are used after the same manner. ed, they utter loud and short squeaks, The mouth, teeth, and head, are which have the tone of a person like those of the squirrel; but the whistling. ears are shorter. Its fine eyes are Having mentioned our little pug round, full, dark, and bright; the dog, it may be well to say sometail is short; the belly generally pro- thing of the importance of its pre. tuberant, and very large. It devours sence with us, for the advantage of whatever it finds, with the greatest other travellers. The precaution was voracity; and remains in a state of first recommended to us by a Polish torpor half the time of its cxistence. traveller in Denmark. Any small Many of the peasants keep these dog (the more diminutive the betcreatures tame in their houses. We ter; because the more portable, and purchased no less than four, which generally the more petulant) will lived, and travelled with us, in our prove a valuable guardian, in councarriage, and gave us an opportunity tries where the traveller is liable to to study their natural history. They attacks from midnight robbers, and were always playing or sleeping, especially from pirates by water, as beneath our feet, to the great annoy- in the Archipelago. They generally ance of our little pug dog, who felt sleep during the day, and sound much insulted by the liberties they their shrill alarum, upon the most took with him. The peasants, uni- distant approach of danger, during versally, gave them the name of the night. I recollect an instance of waski. They assured me, they al- one, who enabled a party of mariways lost them in the month of Sep- ners to steer clear of some shallows, tember, and that they did not make by barking at a buoy, which, in the their reappearance until the begin- darkness of the night, they had not ning of April. They either descende perceived. The instances in which ed into a burrow, or concealed our little dog was useful, it is need. themselves in some place, where less to relate. But it may gratify they might remain least liable to curiosity to be informed, that, natuobservation, and there slept during rally afraid of water, and always the whole winter. To awaken them averse from entering it, he crossed during that season, materially in- all the rivers and lakes of Lapland, jures their health, and sometimes Sweden, and Norw.y, after his niaskills them. They are most destruc- ters; accompanied them, during three tive animals, for they will gnaw years, in different climates, yet deevery thing which falls into their testing bodily exercise; and ultiway; as shoes, boots, wooden planks, mately performed a journey on foot, and all kinds of roots, fruit, and ve- keeping up with horses, from Agetables. They made sad havock thens, through all Greece, Macedonia, and Thrace; making the tour of being incommoded by water. At the the Archipelago, to Constantinople; extremity of this little gallery, it and thence, in the same manner, forms a very spacious chamber, to through Bulgaria and Wallachia, to which, as to a granary, it brings, Bucharest.
every morning and evening, all it Other animals, common in the can collect of favourite herbage, of steppes (or plains) are wolves and corn, if it can be found, of roots, bears; also, a quadruped, called bi- and other food. Nothing is more roke, of a gray colour, something amusing than to observe its habits. like a wolf, very ferocious, and dar. If any one approaches, it is seen siting enough to attack a man. The ting, at the entrance of its little Cossack peasants, armed with their dwelling, erect, upon its hind feet, lances, sally forth, on horseback, to like the suroke, carefully noticing the chase of this animal. It has a whatever is going on around it. In long, full tail, which it drags on the the beginning of winter, previous to ground. From the accounts given of retiring for the season, it carefully it by the peasants, I suspected it to closes up the entrance to its subter. be the same animal described by raneous abode with sand, in order professor Pallas, as found in the en- to keep out the snow; as nothing anvirons of Astrachan, under the ap- noys it so much as water, which is pellation of chakal, and which is said all the Calmucks and Cossacks to be between a wolf and a dog; but make use of in taking them; for the whether it answers to the jackal of instant that water is poured into Egypt or not, I did not learn. their burrows, they run out, and are
The most numerous of all the easily caught. The Calmucks are quadrupeds of the steppes, the very fond of them; but I believe whole
Woronetz to they are rarely eaten by the CosTscherchaskoy, are the suslicks; by sacks. Their greatest enemy is the which name they are called through- falcon, who makes a constant breakout the country. As you draw near, fast and supper of suslicks. They the Don, they absolutely swarm, and have from two to ten young ones at may be taken in any number. This a time; and, it is supposed, from the interesting little animal is supposed hoard prepared, that the suslick does to be the mus citullus of Buffon; but not sleep, like the suroke, during the description of it will prove whe- winter. All the upper part of its ther this be really the case or not. body is of a deep yellow, spotted We procured several, one of which with white. Its neck is beautifully we stuffed; but it has not been pre- white; the breast yellowish, and the served and therefore, I prefer belly a mixed colour of yellow making reference to the notes taken and gray. It has, moreover, a black on the spot, rather than to any thing forehead, reddish, white temples, connected with its present appear and a white chin. The rest of its ance. It makes a whistling noise, head is of an ashcoloured yellow; like the suroke; but is much
smaller, and the ears are remarkably small. not being larger than a small wea. Among the feathered tribe in the sel. It constructs its habitation under steppes, we noticed, particularly in ground, with incredible quickness; this part of our journey, birds called excavating, first of all, a small cy- staritchi, or the elders; which are lindrical hole or well, perpendicu- seen in flocks, and held by the peolarly, to the depth of three feet; ple in superstitious veneration. thence, like a correct miner, it They are about the size of a snipe, shoots out a level, although ratherin with a very elegant forin, a brown an ascending direction, to prevent colour, and white breast.
[FROM CLARKE'S TRAVELS IN RUSSIA, &c.] THE JERBOA, OR JUMPING HARE.
A few days after we took up our residence with professor Pallas (at Akmetchet, in the Crimea) some Tartars brought him a beautiful little animal, which has been called the jumping hare, and born a variety of names, but is in fact the
as the African jerboa. We saw it afterwards in Egypt; and it is not common either there or in the Crimea. It may be called the kangaroo in miniature; as it has the same form, although it is smaller than a rabbit, and it assists itself, like the kangaroo, with its tail, in leaping. That which professor Pallas receiv ed, was a pregnant female, containing two young ones. Its colour was light gray, except the belly, which was almost white. The fore feet of this animal are attached to its breast, without any legs; so that in all its motions it makes use only of its hind quarters, bounding and making surprising leaps, whenever it is disturbed. Afterwards we caught one in the steppes, which we stuffed and brought to England. Professor Pallas himself did not seem to be aware that the mus jaculus, which was the name he gave it, is the animal mentioned by Shaw, in his account of Barbary; nor was it until we became enabled to make the comparison ourselves in Africa, that we discovered the jerboa to be the same kind of quadruped we had before known in the Crimea. Bochart supposes this little animal to be the saphan of the scriptures. "The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats, and so are the stony rocks for the saphannim;" which our translation renders "conies." Shaw is, however, undecided upon this point; but supposes the jerboa, from the remarkable disproportion of his fore and hinder legs, may be taken for one of the two footed rats mentioned
by Herodotus and other authors The whole merit of either of these observations, if there be any, is due, first to the learned Bochart, and afterwards to the labours of Haym, in the illustration of a medal of Cyrene, upon which this animal appears; although Shaw, after the introduction of these observations in his work, not only does not acknowledge whence he derived the information, but even asserts that the animal described by Haym was not the jerboa. It seems pretty clear that it was, although in the engraving published by Haym the fore feet are represented rather too long. A century ago, they did not pay the attention to minute accuracy in such representations, which they do now, and nearly that time has elapsed, since the work of Haym appeared. His mode of expressing himself is, to be sure, somewhat equivocal, because he says: “When it ran, it went hopping like a bird;" but the words "e sempre camina sopra due piedi solamente," as well as "salta molt' alto quand', è spavurito,” when added to the engraved representation, plainly prove what it was. It is generally esteemed as an article of food in all countries where it is found. It burrows in the ground like a rabbit; but seems more to resemble the squirrel, than either that animal or the rat. Its fine dark eyes have all the lustre of the antelope's. Haym says, the smell of it is never offensive when kept domestick; and, indeed, it may be considered one of the most pleasing, harmless, little quadrupeds of which we have any knowledge. Gmelin observed it in the neighbourhood of Woronetz, in 1768; Messerschmied, in Siberia; and Hasselquist, in Egypt. When our army was encamped near Alexandria, in the late expedition to
Egypt, the soldiers preserved some of these animals in boxes, and fed them like rabbits.
In another place, speaking of this curious animal, Dr. Clarke says:
"We travelled all night; and in the morning, at sunrise, were roused by our interpreter, a Greek, who begged we would observe an animal half flying and half running among the herbs. It was a jerboa, the quadruped already noticed. We caught it with some difficulty, and should not have succeeded, but for the cracking of a large whip, the noise of which terrified it so much, that it lost all recollection of its
burrow. Its leaps were extraordinary for so small an animal; sometimes to the distance of six or eight yards, but in no determinate direction. It bounded backwards and forwards, without ever quitting the vicinity of the place where it was found. The most singular circumstance in its nature is, the power it possesses of altering its course when in the air. It first leaps perpendicularly from the ground to the height of four feet or more; and then, by a motion of its tail, with a clicking noise, strikes off in whatever direc tion it chooses.”
REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF THE evacuation. After some time, they
EFFECTS OF FEAR.
knocked off his fetters, and left him at liberty to go whither he would. He received his liberty with the same insensibility that he had showed upon other occasions. He remained fixed and immovable; 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. Being left to himself, he passed nineteen days in this condition, without eating, drinking, or any evacuation, and died on the twentieth day.
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, they surrounded him, singing and dancing among a company of peasants, who were got together at an inn, and were making merry. This event, so sudden and unforseen, and at the same time, so dreadful in its consequences, struck him in such a manner, that, giving a great cry, he became, at once, altogether stupid and insensible, and was seized, without the least resistance. They carried him away to Glosau, 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 immovable as a statue, wherever he was placed, and was wholly passive with respect to all that was done to him, or about him. During all the time he was in custody, he neither ate, drank, nor slept, nor had any
Among the numerous votaries of light literature, there have not been wanting some possessed of leisure to inquire into the meaning of horns being usually ascribed to those who are unhappy enough to have wives of over-accommodating dispositions.— A writer (who must certainly be termed learned, since he expresses himself in Latin) informs us that none but horned animals are gregarious, and intermingle in common, and that thence originates the gibe under consideration. But, it is evident, that this author is mistaken,
both in regard to his presumed fact heart of him that received it, which of natural history, and the applica- marred the whole benefit." The tion of it. There is no room for queen was proud of her frugality, doubt, as to the foundation of the and therefore was not offended with custom. The ancient soldiers wore, the secretary's advice. during military excursions, the The abovementioned sir Thomas horns of such animals as had been Smith wrote a long conversational sacrificed to the god of battles; and disquisition on the propriety of his it was in allusion to the prevalent royal mistress entering into that holevity of their helpmates, during ly state, against which her love of the separation, that every unfortu- sway adduced stronger arguments nate husband was first said to be one than any opposed by the well-meanwho wore the horns.
ing zeal of the secretary. Sir Thomas was a warm advocate for her
majesty's marrying with an EnglishQUEEN ELIZABETH.
man; and some idea of his style,
and of the manner in which it was Queen Elizabeth is well known to have been parsimonious in every be formed from the following pas
usual to address the sovereign, may particular. The following instance of this saving knowledge, in her ma
sage of his work: “ Then, if there jesty, is not, I believe, to be seen in be any qualities and perfection in any other work than the life of sir any of our nation which her majesty
can like, were it not more to be Thomas Smith, the secretary;
wished for her highness to make book published in the sixteenth century, and almost unknown at the self is judge, than to build upon
her choice there, where her own present day. When the earl of Des. mond (that potent instigator of re
hearsay, and, in so weighty a matter bellion among the Irish) was prison. by marrying an alien-prince) to er in England, A. D. 1572, the buy, as the common proverb is, a pig
in the poke." queen consented to a political reconciliation; and, in observance of the rank and immense power of the earl, and, in consideration of his
Merited and Mercantile Nobility. promising to drive the rebels entirely out of Ireland, she informed One of the former kings of the secretary of her graciously in- France used sometimes to admit a tending to confer some tokens of her merchant to his presence, in conseregard on Desmond, before he left quence of his ability in his profesthe metropolis. Sir Thomas applaud- sion. At length the latter thought it ed this intention, and then the convenient to solicit a patent of nuqueen professed her, readiness to bility, which was granted him. This bestow on the demi monarch a piece new nobleman soon after presented of silk for his apparel, together with himself at court; but his majesty did some of the current coin of her not deign to pay him the least atkingdom. “ Upon which sir Tho- tention. Upon his inquiring into the mas's judgment was, that, seeing cause of it, he was told that the king the queen would tie the earl to her had observed, that whilst he was a service with a benefit, it should be merchant, he was the first of his done liberally and largely, not profession; but that, since he had grudgingly and meanly. Which, as been made a nobleman, he was of he added, did so disgrace the bene- course the las!, and no longer worfit, that, instead of love, it many thy of that preference he had formertiiaes left a grudge behind, in the ly enjoyed.