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or red and black. In each, the feathers are fine, soft, and silky; but the birds retain their splendid colours only while the corn is in the ground; and, by the time the corn is fairly housed, which is also just about the period when their young are able to take wing, their whole plumage is changed to a russet brown! It is from this singular coincidence that they have their name of harvest-birds."
“But are there no other birds,” inquired the still eager Richard ?
“ Many (including ostriches, and others, of which I shall say no more); but I will mention, again, one other African bird, because its history has a curious and romantic interest. You are aware that a notion has come down to us from some antiquity, and is very widely spread-has become a proverb—a hackneyed emblem-and the subject of incessant pictures and other representations,—that the Pelican feeds its young with its own blood, which, with its bill, it causes to flow from its breast. Now, the species of Pelican with even the renown of which our northern countries is best and almost exclusively acquainted, is the White Pelican, or Pelican of the Wilderness, which is also the Pelican of Scripture; and it is very certain that this bird performs no such action as this ascribed to it, and which, by the way, had it been true, would probably have found its way into some Scriptural allusion or description ; for Scripture is full of natural allusions and descriptions. The White Pelican, or Pelican of the Wilderness, having filled, with fish, at some lake or river, the enormous sac beneath its also enormous bill, wings its somewhat heavy way to its distant nest, in more arid situations of the wilderness or desert; and naturalists, by a species of commentary often too prevalent, have tried to explain what has been called the ancient fable, by supposing that the bird, when seen conveying, with its own bill, its fishy prey into the bills of its young ones, bad thence been fancifully described as feeding them from its breast, and with its blood. The late traveller, how. ever, to whom I have already referred, seems to have made it certain, that a practice, much nearer to the ancient story, is really to be seen in a certain species of Pelican, but not in the species known in the more northern parts of the tropical regions of the world. It seems that, in Africa, so far south as Hoossa, the gray species of Pelican abounds upon the margins of the rivers, in the same manner that it, or another species, is seen in the southern parts of North America ; while the White Pelican belongs to the warm countries in the northern. The Gray Pelicans are much smaller than the White; and their bills are even much smaller in proportion. In reality, they are not designed for a similar plan of life; for these live always upon the water, or by its edge, near to which latter they build their nests, and on which they always stand to feed their young. But the people of Hoossa speak as familiarly of the Pelican's feeding its young with its blood, as do we in Europe; and, for this they have apparent reason. It is the Gray Pelican, that is, the species of Pelican peculiar to these southern countries, which performs, and which alone performs, the action, or, rather, an action so nearly approaching to it, as might seem sufficient in itself to justify the original story, and to excuse what is wanting to its entire accuracy. “I have stood for a long time together,' says my travel. ler, by the side of this stupid animal, watching its motions, and seeing it bending its head, for its off
. spring to extract the nourishment. The young ones thrust their beaks into a small round aperture at the lower part of the back of the neck of their parent; and they swallow the substance that flows freely through. If it be not blood that issues from the old bird, it is a red liquid so closely resembling it, that the difference cannot be perceived. I took a sketch of a Pelican feed. ing its young in this manner,' adds the traveller,'in Hoossa, which is now in my possession. Thus, Richard, it appears, that there is always something new from Africa; --but you will find a better explanation than all, in a little book, entitled, “The Pelican of the Wilderness; an Autobiography.""
“Oh! but what else is there, sir, that you can tell us of in Africa ;” inquired the insatiable Richard ?
“I will not talk to you of elephants, lions, panthers, hyænas, and the wild boar; nor of the wild ox, and the innumerable herds and species of antelope, as well as apes, baboons, monkeys, and other beasts, with which every one knows Africa to abound; unless to remark that the camel, which is numerous in a state of domestication, is also found wild in Hoossa; that the ele. phant, which, in Africa, is never domesticated, is growing scarce in most parts of the forests of the interior, wbere, as the natives jocularly say, having learned the value of their tusks, they keep very much out of the hunters' way; and that the giraffe, or camelleopard, which inhabits the south of Africa to the Cape, is also found, along with the wild camel, in the forests of Hoossa. But I must recur to what I have before said of the very small horse of the country, which has a black transverse streak on the back and shoulders, like the ass; and which is of a mouse colour, exceedingly shaggy, and with hair as fine and as soft as silk."
“I shall have such a horse as that; shall I not, one day, papa?” cried Richard ; to which he added, “ but you say nothing, Mr. Hartley, of the tigers; though I have heard that there are such very great tigers in Africa ;-and you know, papa, that we saw a 'royal African tiger' at Derby fair!"
“‘Royal African tigers' may very likely show themselves at Derby fair," answered Mr. Hartley, “ where, as at most other fairs, there may not only have been this, but many other wonders also, which nature never owned; but I assure you, my dear young fair-goer, that there never was a tiger in all Africa, unless such an animal may have been brought thither on ship-board! I know very well, that naturalists, and even travellers, still talk of tigers as animals which are to be found in Africa; but I persist, not at all the less, in assuring you, that there is no tiger naturally in Africa; and I can safely add, that this is only one of many similar mistakes, still current in natural history, and in the mouths of travellers. All these are still ready to tell us, both of tigers and tiger-cats, in Africa ; but there is no tiger in Africa ; and, as to the tiger-cat, it is the wild 'cat-o'-mountain, of which our domestic cats are fancied to be the descendants and varieties. The domestic cat is an original native of warmer climates than our own; as, perhaps, is partly evinced by puss's extreme shyness of cold, and extreme fond. ness for sun-shine and a fire-side!"
“ No tigers in Africa,” reiterated the still incredulous Richard ?
“No,” continued Mr. Hartley; "and to make you still wiser, I must tell you, that the tiger belongs chiefly to India and China, and, at all events, is not to be found to the westward of the river Indus. It is a native of Asia only, and of only the eastern part of Asia. One of my proofs is, that in ancient Rome, to which all ferocious beasts were eagerly carried, to make their fights the entertainment of the people, the tiger (in spite of early Roman knowledge of inuch that belonged to Africa) was never seen till toward the latter days of the Roman empire, when, and not till when, Rome had opened a communication with India. The truth is, that all the animals of the cat kind (if, indeed, the tiger is properly a cat) are vulgarly spoken of together. Neither travellers nor naturalists take notice, that of these animals, some (to advert to no other distinction) are striped, and some spotted. Now, it is the striped that are the tigers—a distinction which, in part, justifies the application, to the common wild cat, of the name of tiger-cat;- for the cat, as we all see, is more striped than spotted. But the tiger is separated from the spotted animals of the cat kind by a distinction added to that of bis stripes. He cannot climb a tree, which is the privilege of every thing really cattish, and in his deficiency of which he shares with the lion. There is, in truth, a plain affinity between the tiger and the lion; and, as to my private opinion, I hesitate at placing either of those animals among the species of cats.
“ And what, then, sir,” said Richard," are the spotted animals of the cat kind ?”
“ Speaking of the old world exclusively," answered Mr. Hartley,“they are the panther, leopard, and hunting or smaller leopard, called, in Persia (of which country the language is radically the same as our own), chittah, chetah, kittah, kitty, kit, or cat. The panther is a native of Africa, and not, as I suspect (I speak advisedly), of any other country in the world; and the leopard is a native of western Asia, with, as I also suspect, equal