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animal had dashed him to the ground), we renewed the chase with the Hottentots and hounds in full cry. In a short time we again came up with the enemy, and found him standing at bay under an old mimosa tree, by the side of a mountain-stream, which we had distinguished by the name of Douglas Water. The dogs were barking round, but afraid to approach him, for he was now beginning to growl fiercely, and to brandish his tail in a manner that shewed he was meditating mischief. The Hottentots, by taking a circuit between him and the mountain, crossed the stream, and took a position on the other side of the glen, and placing the poor fellow thus between two fires, which confused his attention and prevented his retreat, we kept battering away at him till he fell, unable again to grapple with us, pierced with
many wounds. He proved to be a full-grown lion, of the yellow variety, about five or six years of age, and measured nearly twelve feet from the nose to the tip of the tail. His fore leg below the knee was so thick that I could not span it with both bands; and his neck, breast, and limbs appeared, when the skin was taken off, a complete congeries of sinews.”
Such a scene can alone bring out the lion in all his power, and should be remembered by all who see the beast caged and half tamed in our menageries, where the king of the plain is transformed into the slave of the den. All who have come in contact with this powerful quadruped laugh at the romantic stories of“ gentleness," " nobleness," and such like qualities, of which the lion has not a whit more than the common cat. Most of these tales have arisen from persons who have mistaken the absence of hunger for generous forbearance; as if the lion would trouble himself to attack men without a motive.
The two following instances will shew that the lion sometimes retires from the presence of his human foe, and that the dread of man has more to do with such retreats than generosity. A settler in South Africa thus describes the first event:
“ The grass about us was exceedingly tall, and the country abounded in spring-boks;' one of our Hottentots thought he perceived one of these amidst the grass, and crept close up to it in order to make sure of his shot, when, on rising to discharge bis piece, he found himself close upon a large lion, which instantly set up a loud roar. The man fled, and, being near the waggons, was not pursued by the lion. The manner in which he related the story was exceedingly amusing, and characteristic of the Hottentot.
“• I saw,' said he, 'a spring-bok, which I made sure of having in the pot to-night; but when I got close to it, I found it was the governor. I was just going to fire, when he asked me, in a loud tone, What are you going to do?' 'Oh,' said I, 'I beg
A beautiful species of antelope, found in South Africa.
your pardon ; I did not know it was your honour, or I should not have presumed to have drawn so near you. I hope your honour will not consider it an insult; and I shall instantly retire.' So I scampered away a great deal quicker than I went to him."
The next instance proves, not only the reluctance of the lion to attack man, but the extreme perils sometimes encountered by the most experienced hunters.
Diederic Müller, one of the most intrepid modern lion-hunters in South Africa, had been out alone hunting in the wilds, when he came suddenly upon a lion, which, instead of giving way, seemed disposed, from the angry attitude be assumed, to dispute with him the dominion of the desert. Diederic instantly alighted, and, confident of his unerring aim, levelled at the forehead of the lion, who was couched, in the act to spring, within fifteen paces; but at the moment the hunter fired, his horse, whose bridle was round his arm, started back, and caused him to miss. The lion bounded forward, but stopped within a few paces, confronting Diederic, who stood defenceless, his gun discharged, and his horse running off. The man and the beast stood looking each other in the face for a short space. At length the lion moved backward, as if to go away. Diederic began to load his gun; the lion looked over his shoulder, growled, and returned. Diederic stood still; the lion again moved cautiously off, and the boor proceeded to load and ram down his bullet. The lion again looked back and growled angrily; and this occurred repeatedly, until the animal had got off to some distance, when he fairly took to his heels and bounded away.
Insidiousness in their attacks is a characteristic of the cat family, and the lion is no exception to the rule. The animal has sometimes, it must be confessed, evinced a disposition resembling the quality, termed generosity, as in the case of some lions sparing a spaniel thrown amongst them, and petting the dog until it became their constant associate. Such instances are too isolated, even amongst tame lions, to support a general theory respecting the animal in his wild state; and the cat herself might be praised for generosity on such grounds, as young rats have been tenderly brought up by one of these animals.
The gentleness of the lion in menageries, and under the discipline of a Van Amburgh, may well deceive those into a false estimate of his character who have read little of his exploits in his native regions.
The roar of the lion is as much associated with our ideas of this animal as the mane; and it may be necessary to inform the reader, that such power of voice arises from the great size of the throat towards the upper part. This sound is uttered with the mouth close to the ground, and, though but a deep growl, is carried along the earth, startling every animal within hearing of its echoes. The roar contributes to the success of the attack, by paralysing the victim at the very moment when the lion makes his deadly spring. Thus great strength, watchfulness, stealthiness, and the terrors of the roar, all contribute to the destructive powers of the lion. To this end the structure of the foot is also admirably adapted, the sole forming a sort of soft cushion, on which the huge animal advances without noise upon
in the dead of night, when the peculiar structure of the eye
enables birn to concentrate the scattered light which is always found even in the deepest gloom. The whiskers are also of great use to the lion in making his noiseless path through the underwood, for these nervous filaments give warning of all obstacles to his progress, and prevent him from attempting a passage through openings too small for the body. Thus, not the faintest rustle of boughs, or noise upon the ground, intimates the nearness of the dreaded creature, which may come within a few feet of its victim ere detected. The long claws are sheathed in the substance of the foot whilst the animal is moving, being drawn back by powerful muscles, so that nothing but the soft, padded foot touches the ground; thus providing an additional means for a stealthy advance. The tongue of the lion is remarkable for its roughness, the whole surface being covered by horny points turned backwards, so that it resembles a fleshy plate covered with hooks. This enables the animal to scrape every atom of flesh from the bones of slain beasts. Something of this roughness is perceptible in the projections on the tongue of the domestic cat; but these are but gentle elevations when compared with the strong armour of the lion's tongue. The general appearance of this animal has now become so familiar to all persons by the exhibitions at the zoological gardens and menageries of London, and by travelling collections, that every reader must have been able to set clearly before his imagination the foregoing description.
We have already alluded to the Puma, or American lion, which, though far inferior to the Leo africanus in power, is nevertheless a destructive creature, and not to be despised even by man, as the ensuing narrative will prove.
“ Two hunters went out in quest of game on the Katskill's mountains in the province of New York, each armed with a gun, and accompanied by his dog. It was agreed between them that they should go in contrary directions round the base of the hill. After separating, one heard the other fire, and hastened to his comrade. After searching for him for some time without effect, he found his dog lying dead, and dreadfully mangled. Apprised by this discovery that the animal shot at was large and ferocious, he became anxious for the fate of his friend, and assiduously continued the search for him ; when his eyes were suddenly directed by the deep growl of a puma to the large branch of a tree, where he saw the animal couching on the body of the man, and directing his eye towards him, apparently hesitating whether to descend and make a fresh attack on the survivor, or to relinquish its prey and take to flight. The hunter discharged his piece, and wounded the animal mortally; when it and the body of the man fell together from the tree. The surviving dog then flew at the prostrate beast, but a single blow from his paw laid him dead at his side. In this state of things, finding that his companion was dead, and that there was still danger in approaching the wounded beast, he retired with all haste, and brought several persons to the spot, where the unfortunate hunter and both the dogs were lying dead together.”
The puma has, however, been domesticated ; and of this a strong proof was given by the celebrated actor Kean, who kept one of these animals in his house, and frequently tried the nerves of his visitors by introducing the unusual guest to his drawing
THE TIGER. As the Lion may be called the giant cat of Africa, so the Tiger is justly reckoned among the great feline quadrupeds peculiar to Asia, that region being the home of this carnivorous species. There, in the solitary and almost impenetrable jungle, the tiger roams along the banks of the Ganges, watching from the shelter of the long grass the motions of the Hindoo devotee bathing in the stream for the purification of his soul. Sometimes the insidious tiger advances with crouching, stealthy tread to the spot where the Brahmin is performing his ablutions, and with flashing, murderous eye, and quivering tail, prepares for the spring. The Hindoo girl, whilst dipping her skin-pitcher in some river or fountain, marks with horror a peculiar waving motion through the jungle-grass, the nature of which she knows full well from the oft-repeated traditional tales of her village. The tiger is at hand, -flight is useless, even were it possible with her limbs paralysed by terror; and there she dies in that lonely spot. Next morning her pitcher is found, the village is alarmed, and through the whole day the tiger's trail is tracked by the hunters, who at last may surprise the demon whilst stealing off through the underwood, and despatch him by a shower of bullets. Within the retreat are signs, not to be mistaken, that there the tiger had gorged himself with human flesh. A bracelet and some fragments of dress are gathered up; and after singeing the whiskers of the dead monster, lest his ghost should haunt them, the hunters depart to add another to the long list of “ tiger stories."
Such are some of the tragical events which we must bear in mind when contemplating the elegant and elastic motions of the tiger, as, pacing to and fro in his cage, he throws furtive glances at the merry children playing before the bars of his prison.
There are several species of tigers; but that named Felis Tigris, or the Royal Tiger, is the most formidable, from its ferocity, vast strength, and size, some baving attained the extraordinary length of fifteen or eighteen feet froin the mouth to the tip of the tail. The markings on this tiger are very beautiful, suggesting none of those images of disgust often excited by the appearance of animals far less ferocious. The delicate colours of the smooth and glossy fur, variegated by the deep black stripes, induce the spectator's eye to rest with pleasure on the supple and half-bounding motions of the long elastic body. Little of the beautiful is, however, presented to the mind of the Bengalese by all these properties, which add to his dread of the tiger, as they increase the animal's power of mischief.
The regions principally inhabited by this formidable creature are, Eastern India, Sumatra, and the adjacent islands. There, in the murky jungles by the sides of rivers, and in the dark recesses of forests, the tiger reigns as lord of every animal, save man and the elephant: the former dreaded for the power which reason bestows, the latter for his crushing strength. But though Eastern India is the head - quarters of the tiger, it also inhabits the surrounding regions, extending into the deserts of Tartary and China, and ranging even to the Altai mountains. In these conntries the symbol of strength and majesty is not the lion, as in the West, but the tiger; his skin being placed on the seats of judges and the thrones of kings. Those ferocious chiefs, Hyder Ally and Tippo Sahib, adorned their kingly chairs with the head of a royal tiger set in jewels, whilst their choicest troops ranked as the "tiger-soldiers." Nor is this surprising, when the daring feats of the animal are remembered, and the combination of activity, power, and ferocity, which render the presence of a pair a terror to a wide region. The activity of the tiger may be estimated from that observable in the common cat, which is a tiger in miniature. When the spring of the domestie cat is seen in bounding upon its prey, the observer may imagine the force of the leap made by an animal possessed of many times the strength