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But the roar, the hum of life,
On this bridge the livelong day,
As night curtains round them drew;
Look as they were slumbering too.
Stillness 'tis a something strange
'Neath the dun sky's mighty pall, And the breeze is o'er it sighing,
And low clouds their tears let fall;
Hark! a sound is deeply swinging
Now 'tis gone-another hour
Quenched and vanished, like a spark
Like a drop in thy round sea,
Like thought's passage none can mark.
Bridge, renowned in city story!
Waves where star-beams strive to glow;
From thine arches, weak limbs quivering,
And the maiden, pale and shivering,
Round she cast her glances wild,
Thought of home, and plunged, and died.
'Tis a solemn, wondrous sight, London with its great heart still; Hushed and covered by the night,
How much suffering, wrong, and ill!
Those dark waves beneath me sweeping
And a world of smiles and tears.
NATURAL HISTORY OF CEYLON.*
It is a long time since a more charming work of its kind has been published than the Natural History of Ceylon. It is true that the author is not a professed naturalist, but that is, perhaps, a gain to the reader. Such persons are often mere catalogue writers, and, at the best, liable, with their stilted efforts at scientific or scholastic accuracy, to be very dull. White of Selborne, and Audubon, were not professed naturalists, but they had that loving eye for nature which may be perfected by science but cannot be given by it. It is also true that a large portion of the present volume has already appeared in a more comprehensive work, but the author was not able to develop his plan or treat his subject with satisfactory fulness in the previous work; add to which, even if he had nothing further to say to the purport, the subject was in every respect deserving of a separate form of publication. It was a monograph of itself a clear, comprehensive, and highly entertaining summary of the natural history of one of the most fecund and animated regions on the face of the earth.
Here troops of monkeys career in ceaseless chase among the loftiest trees. If there are no uran-utans or gorillas, there are large wanderoos, one of which, with its great white beard, resembles the (for a wonder) appropriately named Silenus veter of the Malabar coast, and there is also the little graceful and grimacing rilawa. Yet numerous as monkeys are in the forest, their bodies, strange to say, are never found defacing the eternal verdure the remains of a monkey, it is said, are never to be met with in the forest. Then we have the graceful little loris, with its large intense eyes, used as charms and love-potions.
The multitude of bats is, like the multitude of all other living things, one of the features of the country, and the chief in what Sir J. E. Tennent terms "the evening landscape;" they not only abound in every cave and subterranean passage, in the tunnels on the highways, in the galleries of fortifications, in the roofs of the bungalows and the ruins of every temple and building, but as night approaches, and the lights in the rooms attract moths and flies, the bats sweep round the dinner-table and carry off their tiny prey within the glitter of the lamps. Flying foxes hang in such prodigious numbers on the lofty india-rubber trees that overhang the botanic gardens of Paradenia, that frequently large branches give way beneath their accumulated weight, and they fly in clouds as thick as bees or midges.
Animals of a more formidable character, as the Indian bear, most dreaded by the natives of Ceylon, luckily make the depths of the forest their habitual retreat, whilst leopards, which are the only formidable members of the tiger race in Ceylon, are neither very numerous nor very dangerous, as they seldom attack man. The jackal, on the other hand, hunts in packs in the low country of Ceylon; the mongoos, or ichneumons, help to keep down the superabundance of snakes, fearlessly and adroitly
* Sketches of the Natural History of Ceylon, &c. &c. By Sir J. Emerson Tennent, K.C.S., LL.D., &c. Longman and Co.
fastening upon the head even of the deadly cobra. Squirrels, of which there are a great variety, make their shrill metallic call heard at early morning in the woods; and when sounding their note of warning on the approach of a civet or a tree-snake, the ears tingle with the loud thrill of defiance which rings as clear and rapid as the running down of an alarum, and is instantly caught up and re-echoed from every side by their terrified playmates. We observe that Mr. Edgar L. Layard, who, we must suppose, is a 66 professed naturalist," has done Sir J. E. Tennent "the honour" to call a new squirrel Sciurus Tennent. We do not precisely see where the honour lies, whether with the man or the squirrel. It reminds us of a tale told by old Geoffroy (not Isidore) Saint-Hilaire of a gentleman whom he once proposed to honour with a monkey's name, and the indignation with which the individual in question repudiated the distinction.
Among the multifarious inhabitants to which the forest affords at once a home and provender is the tree-rat, which forms its nest on the branches, and by turns makes its visits to the dwellings of the natives, frequenting the ceilings in preference to the lower parts of houses. Here it is incessantly followed by the rat-snake, whose domestication is encouraged by the servants in consideration of its services in destroying vermin-a truly pleasant alternative! The coffee-rats infest the coffee plantations in such swarms, that as many as a thousand have been killed in a single day on one estate. The pig-rat, or bandicoot, is retorted upon by being eaten, and is said to much resemble pork, while porcupines have been destroyed to the tune of twenty-seven per night for eating young cocoa-nut palms. Ceylon has besides the deer but one other indigenous ruminant, the buffalo. "Deer," says the truthful old chronicler, Robert Knox, are in great abundance in the woods, from the largeness of a cow to the smallness of a hare, for there is a creature in this land no bigger than the latter, though every part rightly resembleth a deer." The little creature which thus dwelt in the recollection of the old man was the musk-deer. The elephant and the wild boar are also the only representatives of the thick-skinned order. The latter, which differ somewhat from the wild boar of India, is found in droves in all parts of the island where vegetation and water are abundant. The elephant, the lord paramount of the Ceylon forests, is to be met with in every district on the confines of the woods, in the depths of which he finds concealment and shade during the hours when the sun is high, and from which he emerges only at twilight, to wend his way towards the rivers and tanks, where he luxuriates till dawn, when he again seeks the retirement of the deep forests. Never before has this animal been treated of so fully, so accurately, or so satisfactorily as by Sir J. E. Tennent. The portion of his work which is devoted to the natural history of this remarkable creature is, indeed, a perfect monograph in itself; with less colouring, it is far more genuine than anything in Buffon; but the praise bestowed upon it will be as calm and dignified as the matter itself, whereas Buffon was exalted by the academicians of the day to the very pinnacle of genius.
The dugong, with the rude approach to the human outline in the shape of its head, and the attitude of the mother when suckling her young, has given origin to as many stories of mermaids in the South as the seal has with its expressive eye in the North.
As to birds, their prodigious numbers, and especially the myriads of water-fowl, which, notwithstanding the presence of crocodiles, people the lakes and marshes in the eastern provinces, form one of the marvels of Ceylon. If they are surpassed in the glory of their plumage by those of South America and Northern India, and the melody of their song bears no comparison with that of the warblers of Europe, those wants or deficiencies are compensated for by singular grace of form, and by the rich and melodious tones of their clear and musical calls.
Reptiles cede in number to no other class of living things except insects; Ceylon is indeed one of their great natural strongholds. There are tree-snakes, water-snakes, sea-snakes, and even, as we have before seen, house-snakes and domestic-snakes. Lizards are met with at every turn and corner. It is as impossible to extirpate crocodiles as it is fish, which in Ceylon climb up trees, travel across the country, and survive the hot sun of a dry season!
In 1833, during the progress of the pearl fishery, Sir Robert Wilmot Horton employed men to drag for crocodiles in a pond which was infested by them in the immediate vicinity of Aripo. The pool was about fifty yards in length, by ten or twelve wide, shallowing gradually to the edge, and not exceeding four or five feet at the deepest part. As the party approached the bund from twenty to thirty reptiles, which had been basking in the sun, rose and fled to the water. A net, specially weighted so as to sink its lower edge to the bottom, was then stretched from bank to bank, and swept to the farther end of the pond, followed by a line of men with poles to drive the crocodiles forward. So complete was the arrangement that no individual could have evaded the net; yet, to the astonishment of the governor's party, not one was to be found when it was drawn on shore, and no means of escape for them was apparent or possible except by their descending into the mud at the bottom of the pond.
Ceylon has long been renowned for the beauty and variety of the shells which abound in its seas and inland waters, and in which an active trade has been organised by the industrious Moors. The eastern seas are also profusely stocked with radiated animals, and acalephæ are equally plentiful so much so, indeed, that they occasionally tempt the larger cetacea into the Gulf of Manaar; and lastly, that no representatives of living things should be wanting, owing to the favourable combination of heat, moisture, and vegetation, the myriads of insects, spiders, myriapods, millipeds, crabs, and leeches in Ceylon form one of the characteristic features of the island. The ravages of ants are incessant and fearful. They are a perfect plague. No less so are the mosquitoes and other noxious creeping things. Then there are ticks, and mites, and centipedes, calling-crabs, sand-crabs, painted-crabs, and paddling-crabs. There are land-leeches, that advance in battalions, or rather in swarms, to the assault of the unfortunate passer-by; and there are things at the extremity of the animated scale that will not consent to be killed, certain rotifera and paste-eels having, it is averred, the power or rather property of revivification. It was an herculean task to co-ordinate such a mass of materials, to sort out and describe all these moving things that pullulate in a land teeming with animal life. Sir J. E. Tennent has achieved the task, and that too, as before said, in a far more agreeable and instructive manner than many a "professed naturalist" would have accomplished it.
THE HISTORY OF THE FRENCH ARMY.
II. FROM LOUIS XIV. TO THE FIRST REVOLUTION.
THE reign of Louis XIV., the most brilliant epoch of the military fasti of France, opened with a victory. Five days after the death of Louis XIII., the formidable infantry, of whom the Austrian House was so proud, succumbed to the French on the plains of Rocroy. This unexpected victory was the first of the uninterrupted triumphs that distinguished the reign of the new king up to the peace of Riswick, and made him for a while the master of continental Europe. The king's minority, which naturally augmented the hopes and attacks of the enemy, led to a great increase of the army, but Mazarin limited it to the enlistment of foreigners, and appointed himself colonel of the Italian regiments. The peace of Westphalia in 1648 relaxed for a time the fury of the foreign war; but, as if the soldiers were not to be allowed breathing time, the civil war was rekindled. The Fronde, generally represented as a burlesque of war, for all that gave rise to terrible combats. The battle of the Faubourg St. Antoine, in which Condé and Turenne fought under the opposition banners, and displayed all the resources of their genius, was a blood-stained episode in it, and the army had a glorious apprenticeship in the difficult street fighting. In the mean while, the war with Spain still went on with varying phases, but Turenne's victory on the sand-dunes of Dunkirk put an end to it, and the peace of the Pyrenees, consolidated by the marriage of the king with the infanta Maria Theresa, at length gave France rest after forty years of continuous war.
During this long period of fighting there was but little room for improvement. The general adoption of the improved musket, trials of the first flint-locks, the invention of the bayonet, and, as a consequence, the abandonment of pikes and breastplates, are nearly the sole changes made during this period of incessant war. The peace of the Pyrenees, however, soon proved the necessity of diminishing the state burdens, and Louis reduced the hundred and fourteen infantry regiments to fortyeight, which included the French and Swiss Guards, and a Scotch, a German, and an Italian regiment: all the rest were disbanded, with the exception of twenty-seven reduced to garrison companies. The most remarkable thing in the young king's decrees is the preponderance he strove to give to the infantry and artillery arms, which had hitherto been despised. Louis XIV., the haughty monarch, who proudly assumed the ensign of the lustrous sun, casting to European nations the motto, "Nec pluribus impar," became in time colonel-general of the infantry, and simple colonel of the Royal Artillery. The nobility still preferred entering the cavalry, and old prejudices, which were still very lively, kept them from joining the infantry. Moreover, the aristocratic gendarmes of France had an old renown, which the rising reputation of the infantry did not yet equal. Commissions in the cavalry flattered the love of independence characteristic fo the sons of great houses, and offered them more frequent occasions for individual prowess. Hence, during the first two-thirds of the seventeenth century, the proportion of cavalry in the French army re