Imagens da página
[ocr errors]

seeing his family comfortable and happy from his industry, the wages of which he never failed to bring home, but still trusted in his own strength instead of praying to God for the assistance of his Holy Spirit ; till 1 one evening, returning home happy and contented, carrying his honest wages to his little family, he was met by some of his old profligate companions, who, beginning to jibe and jeer him as a Methodist and a swaddler, and with not being able to evjoy himself as formerly, he endeavoured to persuade them, that he felt more real happiness now than he ever did when doing as they did ; however, to prove to them that he was neither a Methodist nor a swaddler, he would go with them to take one glass. This fatal glass led to another, and then to a third ; he returned to the house of hell, the tippling-house and the tap-room, till in a very short time, he became ten times more the child of hell than ever; when, fearful to relate, returning one night from the whiskey-shop intoxicated to a great degree. he tumbled from the head of the stairs to the foot, broke his neck, and was taken up

a lifeless

corpse. The next morning notice was sent to Mr. Tennant that such a man of his congregation was dead ; and Mr. Tennant not having seen or heard of him for some time, the young man's striking dream flashed across his mind; he went to his diary, and there saw it was that rery day twelvemonths since that unhappy man had unfolded to him that awful warning of the wrath to come!


[ocr errors]

Full rigged, I'm launched now on Life's rough sea,
The dark tempestuous waves are gathered round;
The shore from whence I started joyously
No longer I descry, but to the farthest bound
An angry flood my storm-tossed bark assails;
Already there's a sail rent, in the blast
Flapping, it strews the gale with dark portent,
Lashed by the fury of contending gales;
Yet 'tis a voyage that will soon be past,
And tho' sins direful tempests rage till spent,
To lay my shattered wreck upon the main,
If hope sits at the helm, and faith doth steer,
That far off shore's full glory will appear,
And hail me ne'er to re-embark again.

J. O. B.

[merged small][graphic]


The true Crocodile inhabits the river Nile, and is a member of the great family of reptiles, the different members of whicb are so well known under the forms of turtles, tortoises, spakes, and lizards. The tribe to which the crocodile belongs is called Loricata, and includes the true crocodile of Egypt, the alligator of America, and the gavial or crocodile of the Ganges.

In all of these animals the body is enclosed in a sort of plate armour, of which the separate portions are closely fitted together, and are capable of great resistance. Another character by which they are distinguished, is the flattening of the foot, which is furnished with a kind of web between the toes, and fits them for the aquatic life to which they are

[ocr errors]


so much attached. Some of them attain to the length of thirty feet, and a circumference of seven or eight feet; 80 that, excepting the elephant, the rhinoceros, and the hippopotamus, there is no terrestrial animal exceeding these in dimensions.

The crocodile and his allies the alligators and garials are all capable of moving inland, but the greater number prefer the water, and besides the expansion of the foot, they are adapted for swimming, by the lateral compression of the tail, which acts as a large and powerful fin. They are all inhabitants of tropical pools and rivers ; the South American species making excursions, in calm weather, to the open sea, where they search for prey in the waters, or gorge it on the shore. They are all purely carnivorous, and destroy their prey upholding it beneath the surface of the water until it is drowned; the position of their nostrils, and the arrangement of the air passages beicg such that they are enabled to breath during the process. They cannot swallow under water, and it is their habit to hide their prey in holes on the banks of the rivers, where they suffer it to lie until it is putrid, when they derour it. Of late years scientific men have thrown doubt upon the alleged habit of the crocodile in never eating its food until it is putrid, and Mr. Gosse, whose reputation as a naturalist is quite equal to his fame as a writer, confirms the statement in his recent work on Jamaica, and asserts that he has had numerous proofs in the case of the alligator that

! it never eats its food until it has submitted it to a process of putrefaction.

1 With the ancient Egyptians, the crocodile was reve- | renced both as a symbol and an object of worship. According ! to Diodorus Siculus, it was a crocodile which saved king Menas from drowning ; and the grateful king, in commemoration of the act, founded a city, called the City of the Crocodiles. This supposed king was the Deus Lumus, or sacred emblem of the moon, known to the Persians under the names of Meen and Man, and worshipped under the same title ; and the history of the supposed saving of king Mepas is a sacred tradition, and bears reference to the

SO common.

saving of Noah by the ark, which was called in Greek the Kampsha, whence we have Campsa, one of the names of the crocodile, equivalent to Cayman, the modern name of the alligator of South America. Thus the Egyptian worship of the crocodile is a remnant of the ancient history and worship of the ark and the crocodile, when employed by the Egyptians as an bieroglyphic, has a remote reference to the Noachian deluge. The veneration for the crocodile is supposed to be exhibited in that strange habit which the Egyptians fostered, of embalming the bodies of crocodiles; though it has been asserted by late writers that the reason why the Egyptians embalmed the corpses of crocodiles was to prevent the direful effects of their putrefaction in a climate where plague and pestilence were

Certain it is, that vast numbers of crocodiles were embalmed in the most careful manner, and in one cave, called the Cave of Crocodiles, visited a few years since by Mr. Mullen, thousands of crocodiles were found preserved in this manner, the carcasses being prepared with spices and wrapped in the finest linen.

On the banks of the Nile, where crocodiles are frequent, encounters with them are by no means very rare. The power of the creature is immense, but owing to its peculiarly shaped peck, it cannot more the head very far from side to side, and thus a sure means of escape presents itself in those rare cases in which in which it leaves the water in pursuit of human prey.

Respecting the crocodile of the Nile, many remarkable stories and anecdotes are told ; one of which, related by Herodotus, deserves, particular mention here. The ancient historian says that the crocodile is infested by a kind of goat or fly, myriads of which swarm on the banks of the Nile ; and that, when annoyed by these pests, which get into its mouth and nostrils, the creature is relieved by a little bird called trochilus, which enters its mouth and picks from his teeth the bdellæ or gnats which adhere to them. It is equally wonderful as curious, that this story of the old writer should be confined by modern travellers, who have seen the trochilus perform the part of a living

toothpick, in exactly the manner described by Herodotus.

It is found that gnats swarm in vast plenty on the borders of the Nile, and attack the crocodile when he comes to repose on the sand. His mouth is not so closely shut, but that they can enter, which they do in such numbers, that the interior of his palate, which is naturally of a bright yellow, appears covered with a dark brown crust. The insects strike their trunks into the orifices of the glands, which abound in the mouth of the crocodile ; and the tongue of the animal being immoveable, it cannot get rid of them. It is then that that the trochilus, a kind of plover, hastens to his relief; the crocodile always taking care, when he is about to shut his mouth, to make certain movements which warn the bird to fly away. Thus the ancient story, says a writer in our able contemporary, “ Notes and Queries,” is not so unreasonable as might be thought. It is a matter of every day observation, that goats will attack bulls and other large terrestrial animals of the fiercest nature, and that wagtails and other ! insectivorous birds will peck the insects from the muzzles of the quadrupeds, while in India it is common to see the ox approaching his eye deliberately to the ground by holding its head on one side, to enable the Mina, a species of starling, to take an insect from the hairs of the eyelid. There appears, therefore, no reason why the crocodile should not have recourse to similar aid in a similar necessity. Mr. Curzon, in his “Monasteries of the Levant," bears witness to this, and describes the trochilus as of the plover species, and as large as a small pigeon. According to this gentleman, the trochilus not only frees the crococile of flies, but warns it of danger. When out crocodileshooting one day, he espied one of the reptiles asleep on a bauk, and approached cautiously to get a shot at him ; when he observed he was attended by a ziczac or trochilas. “The bird,” says Mr. Curzon,“ was walking up and down close to the crocodile's nose. I suppose I moved, for it suddenly saw me, and instead of flying away as any respectable bird would have done, he jumped up a foot


« AnteriorContinuar »