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exclusiveness of country. In short, though even the traveller whom I have quoted to you, and upon whom I rely for so many other particulars, tells us that there are in Africa, not only tigers and leopards, but also wolves, I do not believe that the country contains either a tiger, a leopard, or a wolf. I am of opinion, that in Africa, the place of the tiger is filled by the lion; that of the leopard, by the panther; and that of the wolf, by the hyæna; and in corroboration, I may remark, that even this very traveller, who, in prefacing the natural history of his work, candidly declares himself no naturalist;- even this traveller, though, in the natural history of his work, he gives the names of tiger, leopard, and wolf, yet, in his actual travels (while he speaks of the panther and the hyæna as seen by him. self, and as hunted or dreaded by the natives), never finds occasion to speak either of tiger, leopard, or wolf. The geography of animals, indeed, as well as of plants, is a subject very little understood. I believe that some thing, however, has been already intimated, at least, to the world in relation to it, from a quarter whence, perhaps, we may one day hear something more.”
“ Our best natural histories seem to be still defective ?
“ Assuredly they are.”
“ But the fishes in the Central African rivers,” said Richard ?
“ As to the rivers,” resumed his instructor, “ they are filled with fish, and are thickly inhabited by croco diles; which latter remark, I believe, is as good as to tell you, that they have none of those hippopotami, or river-horses, that are numerous at the Cape, and in Upper Egypt and Nubia; but nowhere, I think, in company with the crocodile. The whole country, from
Badagry to Soccatoo, is in considerable dread of those amphibious reptiles, and the people set crocodile-eggs upon the tops of their houses, as charms to keep them and all other evil things, (including the evil eye,') from their dwellings; just as, in Europe, we place horse-shoes against our doors, as preservatives from witches, and, of course, from the evil eye,' and from all other evil things. Crocodiles of twenty-four feet in length -are spoken of; but I never saw one exceeding fourteen, or eighteen at the utmost. By the way, the crocodile, having seized its prey upon the land, goes into the water to eat it; and physiologists have remarked a peculiar structure in its gullet, consisting in a valve, which, while it is chewing its food, can totally close the passage, so as to prevent the spontaneous entrance of water, by means of which the animal would otherwise be drowned. The voice of the crocodile is a hollow roar, which, like the croaking of frogs, in Europe, is to be heard along the banks of the rivers at evening. The crocodiles smell strongly of musk, and thus scent the places where they are; and this, among other uses, affords an additional warning of their presence. If I compare the use of the crocodile's eggs in Africa with that of the horse-shoes in Europe, it is because I remember that the horse was once as sacred in Europe, as the crocodile either in modern Africa, or in ancient Egypt.”
“ You speak much of the beauty of the vegetable kingdom in Africa,” observed Mr. Paulett?
“And beautiful it is,” said Mr. Hartley; “but I am so bad a botanist, that I could give you few particulars. I propose, now, however, to hasten toward a close of my sketch, though not without omitting a multitude of
things which might interest you; and after bringing the Negro natives once more, and chiefly in agreeable aspects, before you, to conclude by touching upon some of the darker dyes of their history.
“ The traveller whom I so much quote gives a striking account of a series of occurrences within the space of twenty-four hours, at Coolfo, in Nyffee, where the population is partly Pagan and partly Mohammedan; in which we have, first, the drunkenness and corresponding excesses, common, in all rude countries, to the celebration of a religious festival; then, the calamities of a tornado; and, then, the benevolent zeal of the late drunkards and revellers, to mitigate the afflic. tions of the sufferers by the storm! The festival of the New Moon is kept alike by Pagans and Mohammedans; and, upon the occasion referred to, a flourish of trumpets having announced the appearance, and proclaimed the holiday, thousands of both sexes, from the neighbouring towns and villages, flocked into the city the next morning, to share in the devotions and festivities. Men and boys, old women and young maidens, slave and free, Mohammedan and Pagan, forgot all distinctions of rank, age, and worship; and, joining in the song and dance, drank palm-wine and other country liquors, and, before the morning was well over, became universally more than moderately tipsy. In the afternoon, groups might be seen, rambling from one end of the city to the other, dancing, capering, tumbling, and hallooing; and others scarcely able to stand, or even totally insensible: some flung into the river by their boisterous companions, and dragged out again half drowned; some smiling their breasts, and calling upon the name of the Prophet; others hurrying
about in every direction, fighting, praying, laughing, weeping; but all, from the governor and his ladies, 10 the meanest bondmen and slaves;—all drunk, in a greater or less degree! But, while the revels were thus proceeding, the atmosphere gradually changed: not a breath of air was to be felt, and the intensity of the sun's rays threatened conflagration to the tenantless huts of the people. About five or six o'clock, a sultry haze obscured the firmament. After an hour or two, this dispersed, and was succeeded by a solemn fearful calm; the revellers still enjoying their frolic, and loud bursts of merriment resounding from every quarter of the town. At length, in the eastern horizon, a small black cloud discovered itself, slowly rising toward the zenith. No sooner, however, had it been seen, than faint flashes of lightning, and distant peals of thun. der, following in a rapid succession, declared the approach of the tornado. The people, at last, became sensible of their danger; and, in a moment, all was con. fusion and flight. The music and dancing suddenly ceased; the drunken became sober; a deep, wild, thrilling cry was raised by the women, and answered by screams of affright from the children and young persons. Meanwhile, the peals of thunder incessantly grew louder and more appalling, and the lightning more intolerably vivid. The clouds in the east momentarily rolled onward in wider and beavier masses; a large portion of the heavens was presently clothed in almost midnight darkness; and, now, the western horizon suddenly opened, and what seemed a sea of liquid fire, streaming from that point, added a sterner and yet more dreadful grandeur to the firmament; exposing by its yellowish glare all the blackness and horror of the general scene. The sable curtain, which overhung their heads, was rent asunder, shortly after, with a frightful explosion; while the shuddering war-cry, and the tumult and wailings of the multitude, mingled with the hollow blast of the tempest, produced an indescribable effect, and awoke exalted but painful and even fearful emotions of the soul. At the same instant, the town of Bali, at a short distance from Coolfo, and containing about eleven hundred houses, burst into flames. beneath the touch of the electric fluid; and now, multitudes that had hitherto remained in their houses at that place, rushed toward Coolfo; while the piercing cries of the terrified fugitives, penetrating dismally into the city, and re-echoed by thousands of human voices, produced a union of sounds which caused even the domestic animals to shrink with apprehension.
“ The storm at length subsided; the fury of the elements became spent; the voices of the people ceased; and the remainder of the night was passed in peace and silence. In the morning, the purified air was more than usually fresh and pleasant; but the earth was covered with the relics of the victims of the evening's commotion. Superb trees, through the trunks of which, if hollowed, coaches might have been driven, lay torn up by their roots, and their gigantic branches shivered into splinters; while others, still standing, were blackened by the lightning, and stripped of all their leaves. Fragments and roofs of huts, many of them still smoking, were scattered in every direction; and here and there lay the dead body of a bird or a beast which had perished in the storm.
“ But, through the midst of all these ruins of the works of man and nature, proceeded a band of sufferers still more capable of appealing (and not in vain, even in Africa, and to Pagans and to Mohammedans),