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In the height of the dry season in Ceylon, you know, the streams are all dried up, and the tanks nearly so. All animals are then sorely pressed for water, and they collect, in consequence, near those tanks in which even a little remains. During one of those seasons I was encamped near a very small tank, the water of which was nearly dried up. It was the only pond within many miles, and I knew that a very large herd of elephants, which had been near us all day, must go to it at night. There was a large piece of open ground all round the tank, and on one side a thick forest, in which the elephants sheltered themselves all day. It was one of those beautiful, bright, clear, moonlight nights, when everything could be seen almost as well by night as by day, and I made up my mind to use it in watching the movements of this herd. It was a very good place to do this, and an enormous tree hanging partly over the tank gave me a safe shelter in its branches. Having ordered all camp fires to be put out early, and all my followers to go to bed, I climbed up into the tree, but I had to wait two hours before I saw or heard anything of the elephants, though I knew they were within 500 yards of me. At last a very large one came out of the cover, and advanced cautiously across the open ground to within 100 yards of the tank, where he stood perfectly still. So quiet had the elephants become (though they had been roaring and breaking the jungle all the day and evening) that not a sound was now heard. The huge animal stood still as a rock for a few minutes, and then came a few yards further, stopping to listen, and then creeping a little nearer, and listening again ; and in this way he moved slowly up to the water's edge. Still he did not drink. He returned slowly to the place where he had first stood on coming out of the forest. Here in a little while he was joined by five others, and they went with him to within a few yards of the tank, where he left them to watch, while he went back to the forest and collected the whole herd of 80 or 100. These he led across the open ground with the greatest care and quietness, until they got to the elephants he had posted as watchers. Then he left them for a moment, and again went to the edge of the tank. After which, having apparently made sure that all was safe, he returned and gave the order to advancé ; for in a moment the whole herd rushed into the water, with a degree of unreserved confidence so opposite to the caution and timidity which had marked their former movements, that nothing will ever make me think they had not deliberately settled with each other beforehand how they should act, and that the leader did not feel himself trusted with the safety of the others, When the poor animals had gained possession of the tank (the leader being the last to enter), they seemed to give themselves up to enjoyment without restraint or fear of danger. Such a mass of animals I had never before seen huddled together in so small a space. It seemed to me as if they would have nearly drunk the tank dry. I watched them with great interest until they had satisfied themselves with bathing as well as drinking, when I tried how small a noise would show them some one was there. I had but to break a little twig, and the solid mass instantly took to flight like a herd of frightened deer, all the little ones being helped along by two of the older ones.
Adapted from Sir E. Tennent's “ Ceylon."
3.-THE NORTH CAPE.
The North Cape is an enormous rock, which, projecting far into the ocean, and being exposed to all the fury of the waves and the outrage of the tempests, crumbles every year more and more into ruins. Here everything is solitary, everything is sterile, everything 'sad and despondent. The shadowy forest no longer adorns the brow of the mountain ; the singing of the birds, which enlivens even the woods of Lapland, is no longer heard in this scene of desolation; the ruggedness of the dark-grey rock is not covered by a single shrub; the only music is the hoarse murmuring of the waves, ever and anon renewing their assaults on the huge masses that oppose them. The Northern sun creeping at midnight just above the horizon, and the immeasurable ocean, in apparent contact with the skies, form the grand outlines in the sublime picture presented to the astonished spectator. The incessant cares and pursuits of anxious mortals are recollected as a dream; the various forces and energies of animated nature are forgotten; the earth is contemplated only in its elements, and as constituting a part of the solar system.
4.-NOW AND THEN.
In distant days of wild romance,
Of magic, mist, and fable,
And brutes to talk were able ;
'Twas then, no doubt, if 'twas at all
(But doubts we need not mention),
Engaged in sharp contention;
THEN was a sprite of subtle frame,
With rainbow tints invested;
And stars her forehead crested ;
Now rested on the solid earth,
And sober was her vesture ; She seldom either grief or mirth
Expressed by word or gesture : Composed, sedate, and firm she stood, And worked industrious, calm, and good.
TAEN sang a wild, fantastic song,
Light as the gale she flies on; Still stretching, as she sailed along,
Towards the fair horizon, Where clouds of radiance, fringed with gold, O'er hills of emerald beauty rolled.
Now rarely raised her sober eye
To view that golden distance,
In hope of THEN'S assistance :
She eat the sweet but homely fare
The passing moments brought her; While THEN, expecting dainties rare,
Despised such bread and water, And waited for the fruits and flowers Of future, still receding hours.
Now, venturing once to ask her why,
She answered with invective, And pointed, as she made reply,
Towards that long perspective