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remain to the very end of time, unless some unforeseen catastrophe, ordered by an all-wise Providence, should root out their whole race from the face of the earth, as we imagine has already been done with those antediluvian animals the fossil remains of which have been so scientifically lectured upon and so cleverly portrayed by the masterhand of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins.
The anecdote is worthy of the author of the veracious history of the Yahoos and the Houyhnhms; not as regards veracity, for whatever Mr. Waterton relates we hold to be unimpeachable (notwithstanding the discredit with which his story of riding a cayman was at first received by persons little versed in the natural history of the reptile tribe), but in the coarse, yet practical manner in which the true animal nature of the beast is illustrated. The reader may remember the very first thing that "the cursed brood" of Yahoos did on the appearance of Mr. Gulliver among them, and the satirist portrayed in fiction that which Mr. Waterton has propounded in sober philosophy-namely, that there is nothing that distinguishes man from animals more than a regard for decency. By the same argument, instead of nations, as it is often presumed, having attained a higher degree of civilisation when they throw off such regard to decency, the reverse is the case, and all signs of such disregard and of such boasted indifference only lower a people in the scale of humanity.
Waterton has a power of pathos akin to that of his favourite author, Sterne. His visit to Jenny, a "wild little woman of the woods," exhibited in Mrs. Wombwell's menagerie, is very touchingly told:
Jenny has no appearance whatever of a tail, for she is a veritable ape. Her skin is as black as a sloe in the hedge, whilst her fur appears curly and brown. Her eyes are beautiful; but there is no white in them; and her ears are as small in proportion as those of a negress. I happened to be among the crowd of spectators outside Jenny's little apartment (for she was not exhibited with the other wild beasts) when she made her final appearance before the liberal inhabitants of Scarborough. Having mounted the steps which led up to the room, in order that I might take my leave of her, Jenny put her arms round my neck; she "looked wistfully at me," and then we both exchanged soft kisses, to the evident surprise and amusement of the lookers-on.
"Farewell! poor little prisoner," said I. "I fear that this cold and gloomy atmosphere of ours will tend to shorten thy days." Jenny shook her head, seemingly to say, "There is nothing here to suit me. The little room is far too hot; the clothes which they force me to wear are quite insupportable; whilst the food which they give me is not like that upon which I used to feed when I was healthy and free in my own native woods." With this we parted:-probably, for ever.
The reader will perhaps be grieved to learn that poor Jenny's death was nearer than I had anticipated. She journeyed on, from place to place, in Mrs. Wombwell's fine menagerie of wild animals, till they reached the town of Warrington, in Lancashire. There, without any previous symptoms of decay, Jenny fell sick and breathed her last.
Mr. Waterton next proceeds to lament that the modern amusement of pigeon-shooting should entail poverty on the pigeon-cot. There was a time, he says, when ninety-three dozens of young pigeons were taken annually out of the dovecot at Walton Hall, and when neighbouring farmers realised their twenty-five pounds a year by young birds and pigeon manure. Those days are entirely gone by now; the pigeon is no longer protected by the laws, and what is worse, is not protected by the
neighbouring sense of doing unto others as we would wish to be done by, and which is so pleasantly depicted by our author in his sketch of dovecots as they once stood in relation to one another and to their
Apropos of Aix-la-Chapelle, we have a little dissertation upon Sunday evenings:
In the outskirts of Aix-la-Chapelle are the ornamented pleasure grounds of the Lousberg Hill. They do ample credit to the original hand that traced them, and to the regency which keeps them in such excellent repair. Here stands a monument to departed valour, and here is a spacious hotel replete with everything to comfort a weary traveller or to regale the pampered citizen.
Tis here, on Sunday evenings, when gentle zephyrs blow and nature blooms around, that multitudes assemble to enjoy their innocent recreation.
The large open space in front of the hotel is covered with little tables for tea and coffee, whilst music resounds through the wood, and seems to produce in all present a calmness, and a gentleness, and a possession of soul truly captivating to the accidental traveller, even be he from that rigid region where a single gambol in the street on the Lord's-day is gravely considered a most unjustifiable scandal.
The Protestant government in Prussia, wiser than our own, and possibly with just as much of religion in it, very properly sanctions this harmless termination of the sabbath-day. The people themselves cannot possibly imagine that they offend the Deity by a caper or a whistle. They have all attended morning service in their spacious churches; they have heard a sermon; they have been at vespers or afternoon prayer; and they see no harm in terminating the sacred day as I have described above. They prefer a little harmless merriment in the open air to an assemblage of friends in-doors, amongst whom it sometimes happens that the peccadilloes of neighbours are occasionally the theme of conversation, and the holy book laid aside for a few words on projects for the following days, or for arrangements touching aristocratic pastimes. Such people had better be dancing on the green to the sound of the shepherd's rural pipe.
All animals are on the stir at the approach of evening. Go, for example, through a town or village, and you will see every child in motion. The dogs are romping with each other, and the old women gadding to and fro with pipes in their mouths, whilst birds of all descriptions become lively and vociferous. With this before my eyes, provided I have performed to the best of my power all the sabbatical duties ordered by the Church, I must confess that I do not like to be within doors on a fine Sunday evening, but prefer a little glee and pastime in the open air. So I often sally forth, humming to a merry tune, "Viva la joia, fidon la tristessa."
The latter part of this extract is truly Watertonian. Every traveller must have noticed that not only in the crowded city, but in the tranquil village and in the remote encampment, evening is an hour of rest and intercommunion; but only a naturalist, or one who sympathises with the whole living world as well as with the human race, would have added "All animals are on the stir at the approach of evening." The occasional struggle, however, between the zoophilist and the man, born to rule over the brute creation, is amusingly portrayed in the following incident:
When I was on the west coast of Demerara, I rode a mule in preference to a horse, and I took a kind of pride in my choice, because no other person seemed inclined to engage him. He was a cream-coloured and a beautiful animal, and had been imported from the Orinoco, to work in the cattle-mills of the sugar plantations. I gave him the name of Philip. At times he went quietly enough,
but every now and then he would show who had been his father, and you would fancy that the devil of stubbornness had got entire possession of him. He was never able to dislodge me from the saddle except once, and then, being off my guard, he pitched me "neck and crop," as the saying is, over his head. A large brown wasp of the country had issued from its nest under a wooden bridge over which we were going, and stung him in the face. Hence the true cause of the fracas. I don't think it would have happened but for the wasp, as Philip was by no means frisky that morning, and we were going gingerly along.
I remember well the circumstance on this account, my head came in contact with the ground; and when I arose, I staggered and fell three times, feeling much confused. So I sat me down on the side of the wide trench which flanked the highway, and, when composure was restored, took out my lancet and drew some twenty ounces of blood from my arm. This prevented bad consequences, and put all to rights.
Another time Philip seemed particularly prone to mischief. I prepared for a storm, and the mule made a dead stop. It brought to my mind the affair which Sterne had with his own mule in the "Sentimental Journey." "Philip," said I, "I can't afford to stop just now as I have an appointment, so pray thee, my lad, go on." I won't," said he. "Now do, my dear fellow," said I, patting him on the shoulder as I spoke the words; "we must not remain here, a laughingstock to every passing nigger." Philip declared that he would not move a peg. "Then, master obstinacy," said I, "take that for your pains;" and I instantly assailed his ears with a stick which I carried in lieu of a whip. "It won't do," said Philip; "I'm determined not to go on." And then he laid him down, I keeping my seat on the saddle, only moving in it sufficiently to maintain an upright position; so that, whilst he lay on the ground, I appeared like a man astride of a barrel.
Nothing would induce the mule to rise. some offering assistance.
Niggers in passing by laughed at us,
Here a bright thought came into my head. The swamps of Demerara being below the level of the sea at high water, each plantation has a sluice to effect a drainage when the tide goes out. An old nigger lives in a little hut close by the road-side, and he has the sluice under his charge. He was standing at the door grinning at us, with his mouth wide open from ear to ear. Daddy," said I, "bring me a firestick." Yes, massa," said he. And then he drew one hotly blazing from his fire. "Put it, red-hot as it is, under Philip's tail." He did so, and this was more than Philip's iron nerves could stand. Up he started, the hair of his tail smoking and crackling like a mutton-chop on a gridiron. Í kept my seat, and away went Philip, scouring along the road with surprising swiftness.
From that day forward, although he had a disagreeable knack of depressing his long ears and elevating his rump, he never attempted to lie down with me on the public road.
We should like to see a race, on mules, between Waterton and George Borrow. We would back the Lord of Walton Hall against Lavengro. Waterton is not only a traveller and a naturalist, or, as we before said, a zoophilist, but also a true philanthropist. Courageous as he is in the matter of snakes and crocodiles, he entertains a great horror, in common with many other persons, of canine madness. He believes that the Indian wourali poison-some of which he has brought over with him to this country-is a remedy for that most horrible of all afflictions-hydrophobia; and the excellent old man adds:
Supposing a person has been bitten by a mad dog. That person may or may not go mad. But, should symptoms of disease break out, and a competent practitioner in medicine pronounce it to be undeniable hydrophobia, and the family wish to have the wourali tried, I beg attention to the following remarks.
Do not, I pray you, let any medicines be administered. The paroxysms will generally occur at intervals, during two or even three days, before the fatal catastrophe takes place. Lose no time in telegraphing for Doctor Sibson, No. 40, Lower Brook-street, London; and for Charles Waterton, Walton Hall, near Wakefield, Yorkshire. We will promptly attend.
Upon the subject of snakes, just cursorily alluded to, he says:
Confiding in the notion that snakes never use their poison fangs except when driven to extremities, I would rove in the forests, day after day, without shoes or stockings, and never consider myself in danger from them.
Perhaps no part of the known world, not even the wooded swamps of Senegal in Africa, produces such a show of magnificent serpents as the region of South America, extending from the river Amazons to the Orinoco. This region I have explored with uncommon pleasure, care, and satisfaction, and did inclination incite me, I could produce many volumes of amusement and instruction on its zoological treasures. Oh! the beauty, the grandeur, the innocence and supposed malignity of serpents with which I have come in contact during my stay in the regions beyond Demerara and Essequibo!
I think I have mentioned in a former little work, that when I was at Angustura, the capital of the Orinoco, a Spaniard showed me part of a serpent's skin, which, judging from its amazing thickness, could not have been less than seventy feet in length. The colonists have appropriately given to this serpent the name of matatoro, or bull-killer.
Some professional gentlemen in Leeds wishing to test the effects of wourali poison with the venom of a rattlesnake, took the occasion of an itinerant exhibitor being at that town to invite Mr. Waterton to make the experiment.
We all met at the house of our excellent physician Doctor Hobson, who had procured a few guinea pigs and rabbits for the occasion.
Aware that Mr. Vangordon's box was not well adapted for a scientific examination of the snakes, I had sent on before me the large glass case which had been made to contain my great ant-bear.
Whilst the assembled company seemed at a loss to know how the rattlesnakes were to be transferred from one cage to another, I stepped forward, and volunteered my services, having long been of opinion that a snake in a box is not so dangerous as a "snake in the grass."
"Gentlemen," said I, "whenever we have to deal with wild beasts, or with serpents, all depends upon nerve and tact. Now, on this occasion, if you will only be spectators mute and motionless, the project which I have determined upon in my own mind will be carried out with ease and with safety."
Having first opened the door of the ant-bear's cage in order to receive its new tenants, I cautiously approached Vangordon's box.
Scarcely had I lifted up the lid when one of the serpents, wearied, no doubt, with long imprisonment, glided, about half its length, through the opening before it. The company instantly rushed out of the room as though the apparition of death were present amongst them. They brought to my mind those lines of Scotland's immortal poet, "When out the hellish legion sallied," away went Tam O'Shanter. In the mean time, Dr. Hobson, with his wonted presence of mind, had gently pressed down the lid of the box upon the back of the snake, which, with a little help on my part, was easily coaxed into the prison whence it had wished to escape.
The remainder of the story is soon told.
Our professional gentlemen, who had fled from the scene of apparent danger, returned into the room after having been assured that all was right.
I now approached the box, and quietly opened the door. On this the snakes began to move their rattles, but kept their mouths quite shut. Fearing no harm, I softly placed my hand behind the head of the snake which was nearest
to me, and silently transferred it to the other cage. The remaining seven-andtwenty were soon disposed of in a similar manner.
All that I have to add is, that the rabbits and the guinea-pigs expired in a few minutes under the influence of the wourali poison; but that those which were bitten by the rattlesnakes struggled with death for a longer time. They sank at last, with a few convulsive struggles.
A visit to Scarborough-" gay town of Yorkshire's eastern confines”. which he designates the queen of English watering-places, and the arrival of a lecturing American Bloomer, entails a Watertonian denunciation of the modern apparel of ladies and gentlemen:
But, after taking leave of our American Bloomer, let us ourselves just look at home for a moment, and at once condemn the act of English ladies, so noted for their cleanliness, sweeping the filthy streets with their trailing gowns. I, myself, in walking up and down the causeways, have witnessed what my pen positively refuses to describe. Well, indeed, may ladies who are fond of exercise complain that there are far too many dogs allowed in Scarbro'. In fact, these brutes are the soilers-and our females the scavengers of the street.
The cure is short and simple. Apply the whip to the hide of the dog, and the scissors to the skirts of the female.
Tailors and mantua-makers, in these inventive times, seem to vie with each other who can produce the greatest mis-shapes in dress. Actually, men's coats are now recommended for their supposed elegance and use, which, if they had been worn in the days of my early youth, would have subjected the wearer of them to the appellation of an incorrigible clown.
And as for our ladies' dresses, from the waist downwards, should their rotundity increase, our doors must be made wider. If air in the bones of birds assists their ascent into the vault of heaven (strange doctrine), then let us hope that inflated tubes may have the happy effect of keeping ladies' garments clear of mire.
Mr. Waterton, like the late John Barrow, does not believe in cannibalism. He does not assert that human flesh has never been consumed by human beings, but it must, he says, have been an accidental not a customary thing, just as, he amusingly argues, two men fighting-one
man bites off a nose and the other an ear:
In the United States of North America, two individuals of the higher ranks had a desperate row hand to hand. The affair terminated in the disgustful act of one having bitten off the greater portion of the other's ear. "Sir," said a person who was looking on, "I presume you know that you have unfortunately lost an ear in this terrible scuffle." "No matter," rejoined the enraged combatant, "the fellow has got the worst of it; for look," said he, opening his hand as he spoke the word, "I have bitten off the scoundrel's nose."
The Indians of Guiana have been supposed to have really a liking for human flesh, especially in its dried state, as hands of this description have occasionally been discovered in pegalls, which are a kind of band-box composed of a species of reed, and used for the purpose of conveying their hammocks, with other little matters, from place to place. This ominous discovery is thus explained by Mr. Waterton:
Whenever the fugitive or maroon negroes had mustered sufficient force in the forests to place the colonies in jeopardy, then it was that armed troops were despatched into the interior to attack their settlements.
In these warlike expeditions the Indians acted the part of auxiliaries to the colonists, who rewarded their services for every maroon taken or slain, under the following condition, viz., that the Indian, when he came to claim the reward, Oct.-VOL. CXI. NO. CCCCXLII.