Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

a

COIN OF TYRE.

a

the party got far before Alexander and Lysimachus. Night came on, and, as the enemy was at no great distance, the King would not leave his preceptor, borne down with fatigue and with the weight of years. Therefore, while he was encouraging and helping him forward, he was insensibly sepa

rated from the troop, and had a cold and dark night to pass in an exposed and

dismal situation. In this R

perplexity, he observed at a distance a number of scattered fires which the enemy had lighted; and depending upon his swift

ness and activity as well as being accustomed to extricate the Macedonians out of every difficulty, by taking a share in the labour and danger, he ran to the next fire. After having killed two of the barbarians who watched it, he seized a lighted brand and hastened with it to his party, who soon kindled a great fire. The sight of this so intimidated the enemy, that many of them fled, and those who ventured to attack him were repulsed with considerable slaughter. By this means he passed the night in safety, according to the account we have from Charis.

As for the siege, it was brought to a termination in this manner : Alexander had permitted his main body to repose themselves after the long and severe fatigues they had undergone, and ordered only some small parties to keep the Tyrians in play. In the meantime, Aristander, his principal soothsayer, offered sacrifices; and one day, upon inspecting the entrails of the victim, he boldly asserted among those around him that the city would certainly be taken that month. As it happened to be the last day of that month, his assertion was received with ridicule and scorn. perceiving he was disconcerted, and making it a point to bring the prophecies of his minister to completion, gave orders that the day should not be called the 30th, but the 28th of the month; at the same time he called out his forces by sound of trumpet, and made a much more vigorous assault than he at first intended. The attack was violent, and those who were left behind in the camp quitted it, to have a share in it and to support their fellow-soldiers, insomuch that the Tyrians were forced to give out, and the city was taken that very day.

Langhorne's Plutarch.

[graphic]

The King

a

a

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

fall in one complete sheet, but is separated by islands, and forms three distinct falls. One of these, called the Great Fall, or, from its shape,

[graphic][merged small]

the Horse-shoe Fall, is on the Canadian side. Its beauty is considered to surpass that of the others, although its height is considerably less. It is

a

a

said to have a fall of 165 feet; and in the inn, which is about 300 yards from the fall, the concussion of air caused by this immense cataract is so great, that the window-frames, and, indeed, the whole house, are continually in a tremulous motion, and in winter, when the wind drives the spray in the direction of the buildings, the whole scene is coated with sheets of ice.

The great cataract is seen by few travellers in its winter garb. I had seen it several years before in all the glories of autumn, its encircling woods, happily spared by the remorseless hatchet, and tinted with the brilliant hues peculiar to the American "Fall." Now the glory had departed; the woods were still there, but were generally black, with occasional green pines ; beneath the grey trunks was spread a thick mantle of snow, and from the brown rocks inclosing the deep channel of the Niagara River hung huge clusters of icicles, twenty feet in length, like silver pipes of giant organs. The tumultuous rapids appeared to descend more regularly than formerly over the steps which distinctly extended across the wide river. The portions of the British, or Horse-shoe Fall, where the waters descend in masses of snowy whiteness, were unchanged by the season, except that vast sheets of ice and icicles hung on their margin; but where the deep waves of sea-green water roll majestically over the steep, large pieces of descending ice were frequently descried on its surface. No rainbows were now observed on the great vapour-cloud which shrouds for ever the bottom of the Fall; but we were extremely fortunate to see now plainly what I had looked for in vain at my last visit, the water-rockets, first described by Captain Hall, which shot up with a train of vapour singly, and in flights of a dozen, from the abyss near Table Rock, curved towards the east, and burst and fell in front of the cataract. Vast masses of descending fluid produce this singular effect, by means of condensed air acting on portions of the vapour into which the water is comminuted below. Altogether the appearance was most startling. It was observed at 1 P.m. from the gallery of Mr. Barnett's museum. The broad sheet of the American Fall presented the appearance of light-green water and feathery spray, also margined by huge icicles. As in summer, the water rushing from under the vapourcloud of the two Falls was of a milky whiteness as far as the ferry, when it became dark and interspersed with floating masses of ice. Here, the year before, from the pieces of ice being heaped and crushed together in great quantities, was formed a thick and high bridge of ice, completely across the river, safe for passengers for some time; and in the middle of it a Yankee speculator had erected a shanty for refreshments. Lately, at a dinner party, I heard a staff-officer of talent, but who was fond of exciting wonder by his narratives, propose to the company a singular wager, bet of one hundred pounds that he would go over the Falls of Niagara and come out alive at the bottom! No one being inclined to take him up, after a good deal of discussion as to how this perilous feat was to be accomplished, the plan was disclosed. To place on Table Rock a crane, with a long arm reaching over the water of the Horse-shoe Fall; from this arm would hang, by a stout rope, a large bucket or cask; this would be taken up some distance above the Fall, where the mill-race slowly glides towards the cataract; here the adventurer would get into the cask, men stationed on the Table Rock would haul in the slack of the rope as he descended, and the crane would swing him clear from the cataract as he Eassed over. Here is a chance for any gentleman sportsman to immortalize himself!

SIR JAMES ALEXANDER.

a

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][graphic]

The Sloth, in its wild condition, spends its whole life on the trees, and never leaves them but through force or accident; and, what is more extraordinary, it lives not upon the branches, like the squirrel and the monkey, but under them. Suspended from the branches, it moves, and rests, and sleeps. So much of its anatomical structure as illustrates this peculiarity it is necessary to state. The arm and fore-arm of the sloth, taken together, are nearly twice the length of the hind legs; and they are, both by their form and the manner in which they are joined to the body, quite incapacitated from acting in a perpendicular direction, or in supporting it upon the earth, as the bodies of other quadrupeds are supported by their legs. Hence, if the animal be placed on the floor, its belly touches the ground. The wrist and ankle are joined to the fore-arm and leg in an oblique direction; so that the palm or sole, instead of being directed downwards towards the surface of the ground, as in other animals, is turned inward towards the body, in such a manner that it is impossible for the sloth to place the sole of its foot flat down upon a level surface. It is compelled, under such circumstances, to rest upon the external edge of the foot. This, joined to other peculiarities in the formation, render it impossible for sloths to walk after the manner of ordinary quadrupeds; and it is indeed only on broken ground, when he can lay hold of stones, roots of grass, &C., that he can get along at all. He then extends his arms in all directions in search of something to lay hold of; and when he has succeeded, he pulls himself forward, and is then enabled to trail himself along in the exceedirigly awkward and tardy manner which has procured for him his name.

Mr. Waterton informs us that he kept a sloth for several months in his room, in order to have an opportunity of observing his motions. If the ground were rough he would pull himself forward in the manner described, at a pretty good pace; and he invariably directed his course towards the nearest tree. But if he was placed upon a smooth and well-trodden part of the road, he appeared to be in much distress. Within doors, the favourite position of this sloth was on the back of a chair ; and after getting all his legs in a line on the topmost part of it, he would hang there for hours together, and often with a low and plaintive cry would seem to invite the notice of his master. The sloth does not suspend himself head downward, like the vampire bat, but when asleep he supports himself from a branch parallel to the earth. He first seizes the branch with one arm, and then with the other; after which he brings up both his legs, one by one, to the same branch; so that, as in the Engraving, all the four limbs are in a line. In this attitude the sloth has the power of using the fore paw as a hand in conveying food to his mouth, which he does with great address, retaining meanwhile a firm hold of the branch with the other three paws. In all his operations the enormous claws with which the sloth is provided are of indispensable service. They are so sharp and crooked that they readily seize upon the smallest inequalities in the bark of the trees and branches, among which the animal usually resides, and also form very powerful weapons of defence.

The sloth has been said to confine himself to one tree until he has com. pletely stripped it of its leaves ; but Mr. Waterton says, “ During the many years I have ranged the forests, I have never seen a tree in such a state of nudity; indeed, I would hazard a conjecture, that, by the time the animal had finished the last of the old leaves, there would be a new crop on the part of the tree it had stripped first, ready for him to begin again—so quick is the process of vegetation in these countries.

There is a saying among the Indians, that when the wind blows the sloth begins to travel. In calm weather he remains tranquil, probably not liking to cling to the brittle extremities of the branches, lest they should break with him in passing from one tree to another ; but as soon as the wind arises, and the branches of the neighbouring trees become interwoven, the sloth then seizes hold of them and travels at such a good round pace,

that seeing him, as I have done, pass from tree to tree, would never think of calling him a sloth."

a

any one

SIERRA NEVADA, OR SNOWY RANGE OF

CALIFORNIA. "the dividing ridge of the Sierra Nevada is in sight from this encampment. Accompanied by Mr. Preuss, I ascended to-day the highest peak to the right, from which we had a beautiful view of a mountain lake at our feet, about 15 miles in length, and so entirely surrounded by mountains that we

« AnteriorContinuar »