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to the custom of the country, they would have speared the lions in their attempt to get out. y Seeing we could not get them to kill one of the lions, we bent our footsteps towards the village. In going round the end of the hill, however, I saw one of the beasts sitting on a piece of rock as before, but this time he had a little bush in front. Being about thirty yards off, I took a good aim at his body through the bush, and fired both barrels into it. The men then called out, “He is shot, he is shot!” They cried out, “ He has been shot by another man too; let us go to him!” I did not see any one else shoot at him, but I saw the lion's tail erected in anger behind the bush, and turning to the people, said, “ Stop a little, till I load again.”
When in the act of ramming down the bullets, I heard a shout. Starting, and looking half round, I saw the lion just in the act of springing upon me. I was upon a little height; he caught my shoulder as he sprang, and we both came to the ground below together. Growling horribly, close to my ear, he shook me as a terrier dog does a rat. The shock produced a stupor similar to that which seems to be felt by a mouse after the first shake of the cat. It caused a sort of dreaminess, in which there was no sense of pain nor feeling of terror, though I was quite conscious of all that was happening. It was like what patients partially under the influence of chloroform describe, who see all the operation, but feel not the knife. This singular condition was not the result of any
mental process. The shake annihilated fear, and allowed no sense of horror in looking round at the beast. This peculiar state is probably produced in all animals killed by the carnivora, and if so, is a merciful provision by our benevolent Creator for lessening the pain of death. Turning round to relieve myself of the weight, as he had one paw on the back of my head, I saw his eyes directed to Mebálwe, who was trying to shoot him at a distance of ten or fifteen yards. His gun, a flint one, missed fire in both barrels ; the lion immediately left me, and attacking Mebálwe, bit his thigh. Another man, whose life I had saved before, after he had been tossed by a buffalo, attempted to spear the lion while he was biting Mebálwe. He left Mebálwe, and caught this man by the shoulder, but at that moment the bullets he had received took effect, and he fell down dead. The whole was the work of a few moments, and must have been his paroxysms of dying rage.
In order to take the charm from him, the Bakátla on the following day made a huge bonfire over the carcase, which was declared to be that of the largest lion they had ever seen. Besides crunching the bone into splinters, he left eleven teeth wounds on the upper part of my arm.
51.-TO A DYING CHRISTIAN.
Happy soul! thy days are ended,
All thy mourning days below;
To the sight of Jesus, go!
Lo! the Saviour stands above,
Reaches out the crown of love.
Struggle through thy latest passion,
To thy dear Redeemer's breast,
To His everlasting rest!
Bear a momentary pain ;
52. — ERUPTION OF MOUNT VESUVIUS
IN A.D. 79.
dis-tinct-ly ter-ri-fied dif-fic-ul-ty
The first eruption of Mount Vesuvius of which we have any record took place very nearly eighteen hundred years ago.
No doubt there had been others before this, but the volcano had then been in a state of perfect repose for such a very long time, that all memory of them had been lost. One hundred and fifty years before the eruption I am going to tell you about, vines were growing on the top of the mountain, and cattle pasturing on it, and no one had the least knowledge of its real character; and when the dreadful outbreak came, they at first had no idea the mountain had anything to do with it.
The only account we have of it which was written at the time is given in two letters from Pliny the younger to a friend, relating the death of his uncle. Pliny the elder lived at Misenum, about twenty miles from Vesuvius by land. But you may as well hear the letter :-“My uncle was at that time, with the fleet under his command, at Misenum. On the 24th August, about one in the afternoon, my mother desired him to observe a cloud which appeared of a very unusual shape and size. He had just returned from taking the benefit of the sun, and after bathing himself in cold water, and taking a slight repast, had retired to his study. He immediately arose, and went out upon a hill from whence he might more distinctly view this very unusual appearance. It was not at that distance discernible from what mountain this cloud issued, but it was found afterwards to ascend from Mount Vesuvius. I cannot give a more exact description of its figure than by comparing it to that of a pine-tree, for it
shot up to a great height in the form of a trunk, which extended itself at the top into a sort of branches ; it appeared sometimes bright, and sometimes dark and spotted, as if it was more or less mixed with earth and cinders. This extraordinary sight excited my uncle's curiosity to take a nearer view of it. He ordered a light vessel to be got ready. As he was passing out of the house, he received letters. The sailors at Retina, terrified at the imminent peril (for the place lay beneath the mountain, and there was no retreat but by ship), entreated his help in this extremity. He accordingly ordered the galleys to put to sea, and went himself on board, with an intention of helping, not only Retina, but many other places, for the population is thick on that beautiful coast. When hastening to the place from whence others fled with the utmost terror, he was able to make his observations on that dreadful scene. now so nigh the mountain, that the cinders, which grew thicker and hotter the nearer he approached, fell into the ships, together with pumice-stones, and black pieces of burning rock. They were likewise in danger, not only of being aground by the sudden retreat of the sea, but also from the vast fragments which rolled down from the mountain, and blocked up all the shore.
At this sight, Pliny was much inclined to return home, but decided to go to a friend's house at Stabiæ, a town ten miles from Vesuvius. He had already sent his baggage on board ; for although he was not at that time in actual