Imágenes de páginas

stones, when a party riding by at a distance of not more than a hundred paces will scarcely attract their attention. Hyænas take the place of wolves in the south, and they are still more indifferent to the vicinity of man. All the children of a village will, however, turn out to shout at and drive away a wolf when seen approaching at nightfall.

The fox ("tilki" of the Turks, "lisitza" of the Slavonians, delpere" of the Albanians, "voulpe" of the Dacians, “alopou" of the Greeks, and "taaleb " of the Arabs), though not so common as the jackal, is, as its names attests, well known throughout the country. The so-called Turkish fox (Cynalopex Turcicus) is an animal of an osculant group, with the general character of vulpes, but having the pupils of the eyes less contractile. The common Syrian fox, "shual aye," or "ije" of the Hebrews, according to our version, but somewhat arbitarily interpreted, and the Vulpes Taaleb of naturalists, is of the size of an English fox and similarly formed, but the ears are wider and longer, the fur in general ochryrufous above and whitish beneath; there is a faint black ring towards the tip of the tail, and the back of the ears are sooty, with bright fulvous edges. There are few deserted ruins in Syria or Mesopotamia that are not tenanted by these foxes. Several pairs had burrowed their holes close by the main gateway of Rakka, and the little cubs were playing in the sunshine. Ehrenberg also describes two other species of fox, one of which he takes to be the same as St. Hilaire's Canis Niloticus, the abu Hussain of the Arabs, and the anubis of ancient Egypt. Mr. Tristram's researches, which establish so close an affinity between the natural history of Palestine and that of Africa, would tend to confirm this identifi. cation.

Few animals have given naturalists more trouble than the fennec of Bruce, to determine its real character. It is a small furred quadruped, which burrows in the palm forests, and lives chiefly on dates, but cannot climb after them like the palm martin. The majority of opinions are in favour of its doglike character, and Burckhardt preferred for it the names of Canis pygmæus, saharensis, or megalotis. Desmarest called it Canis zerdo, and Lesson, in his "Mam. de Mammalogie," Canis fennecus. Colonel Hamilton Smith, however, declared it to be a small fox, for which he proposes the name of Megalotus zerda, and, from its habits, he is most likely to be right. It is the "al-fanex" or "simur," of the Arabian writers.

The lion appears to have been much more common in Arabia and Syria in olden times than it is at present. It supplied many forcible images to the poetical language of Scripture, and not a few historical incidents in its narrative. This is further shewn by the the most powerful, daring,

great number of passages where this

[ocr errors]

and impressive of all carnivorous animals, the most magnificent in aspect, and powerful in voice-is alluded to in all the stages of its existence, as the whelp, the young adult, and the matured lion or lioness. These stages are described under different names, exhibiting that multiplicity of denomination which always results when some great image is constantly present to the popular mind. Thus we have for a lion's whelp, a very young lion (Gen. xlix. 9; Deut. xxxiii. 20, etc.); chephir, a young lion when first leaving the protection of the old pair to hunt independently (Ezek. xix. 2, 3; P's. xci. 13, etc.); ari, an adult and vigorous lion (Nahum 11, 12; 2 Sam. xvii. 10, etc.); and sachal, a black lion (Job iv. 10, x. 16; Ps. xci. 13; Prov. xxvi. 13, etc.).

Recent researches have shewn that while the lion, which is generally met with in the jungle of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, is without the shaggy mane of the African species, there does occur a variety of this animal, especially on the river Karun, which has a long black mane. Layard tells us that the inhabitants of the country make a distinction between them and the common maneless lion, the former being described as Kaffirs, or infidels, and the others as Mussulmans. By a proper remonstrance, and at the same time pronouncing a profession of faith, a true believer may induce the maneless lion to spare his life, but the black lion is deaf to all such appeals, and is considered as in


Mention is also made in the Scriptures, of laish, a lion in a state of fury (Job iv. 2; Prov. xxx. 30, &c.), and also labiah, a lioness (Job iv. 11), where lions' whelps are denominated the sons of Labiah, or of the lioness.

The Scriptures, it has been justly remarked, present many striking pictures of lions, touched with wonderful force and fidelity. Even where the animal is represented as a direct instrument of the Almighty, while true to its mission, it still remains true to its nature. Thus nothing can be more graphic than the record of the man of God (1 Kings xiii. 24), disobedient to his charge, struck down from his ass and lying dead, while the lion stands by him without touching the lifeless body, or even attacking the living animal. Samson's adventure also with the young lion, pictured as coming up from the cover, on the banks of the Jordan, attests a perfect knowledge of the animal and its habits. Finally, the lions in the den with Daniel, miraculously leaving him unmolested, still retains in all respects the real characteristics of the animal.

The lion, as an emblem of power, was symbolical of the tribe of Judah (Gen. xlix. 9). The type recurs in the prophetical visions, and the figure of this animal was among the few which the Hebrews admitted in Scripture, or in cast metal, as exemplified in

the throne of Solomon. It exists in the sculptures of all the great nations of antiquity, Egyptian, Chaldean, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Persian. The heathen assumel the lion as an emblem of the sun, of the God of war, of Ares, Ariel, and Arioth, in all of which the expletive ar, afterwards incorporated in the names of kings and magnates, occurs. It was also the emblem of dominion in general and of valour, and occurs as such in the names and standards of most nations.

The lion was met with by the Euphrates Expedition, as far north as Balis, in the parallel nearly of Aleppo, and it is also, according to Layard, not uncommon on the River Khabur, in Central Mesopotamia. The Bedwins and Jeburs, he tells us, frequently find their cubs in the spring season; and while the explorer was at Arban, a Bedwin came to the encampment, who had been attacked by a lion while resting on the banks of the river, and had only escaped by the sacrifice of his mare.

But it is apparently in Chaldæa that they most abound in the present day, in as far as the Sultan's dominions are concerned. Living as they do to more than fifty years, and having an annual litter of from three to five cubs, their numbers is not surprising; and although having less cover than in the jungle of the Tigris and Karûn, they are probably attracted to the open by the facility of obtaining food; for antelopes or the deer tribe are not common in the woods in the lower portion of the great rivers. Layard, alluding to the marshes and jungle of the rivers of Chaldæa, as being the retreats of many kinds of wild animals, writes, "Lions abound. I have seen them frequently, and during the excavations at Niffar; we found fresh traces of their footsteps almost daily, among the ruins. The Maidan, or so-called Arabs, boast of capturing them in the following manner, and trustworthy persons have assured me that they have seen the feat performed. A man having bound his right arm with strips of tamarisk, and holding in his hands a strong piece of the same wood, about a foot or more in length, hardened in the fire, and sharpened at both ends, will advance boldly into the animal's lair. When the lion springs upon him he forces the wood into the animal's extended jaws, which will then be held open, while he can despatch the astonished beast at his leisure with a pistol, which he holds in his left hand." ("Nin. and Babylon," pp. 566, 567.)

Mr. Loftus also testifies to the frequency of lions in Chaldæa. That able and active explorer describes on one occasion his servant, Murad, a negro, originally a slave from Mozambique, as shooting two cubs at one shot, in the ruins of Sinkara. He was immediately dubbed by the Arabs as Abu Sebaïm, "the father of two lions," and retained the name ever afterwards.

The Arabs did not at all relish the multitude of lions, which had taken up their head-quarters at these ruins. When roused from their slumbers by their deep, sepulchral roar, they would draw closer together, shouting "The lion! the lion!" pile brushwood on the fire, grasp their spears, sing their war chaunt, and exhibit other signs of trepidation and alarm.

Mr. Loftus remarks that the lion appears, from the tablets found at Sinkara, to have been indigenous to the Chaldæ in marshes from the earliest times. During his stay at that place, the lioness mother of the cubs destroyed all the dogs, some half-dozen in number, that the Arabs had with them. Her nocturnal wail in search of her cubs is also described as being very affecting, and struck terror into the hearts of the nearly naked Arabs. Mr. Loftus also describes lions as abounding at the ruins of Susa. He, however, expresses himself as disappointed in the quality of the roar of the Chaldæan and Susitanian lion. The sound which it utters, is, he says, at times like the squall of a child in pain, or the first cry of the jackal at sunset, but infinitely louder, clearer, and more prolonged.

The lion has been found represented on the pictorial tablets in clay found in Chaldæa ("Travels and Researches in Chaldaea, &c.," by W. K. Loftus, p. 258), as also on the Assyrian sculptures, in which the triumphs of the king over that noble animal are deemed no less worthy of record than his victories over his enemies. The bones of a lion have also been discovered by Dr. Roth, in gravel, near the Jordan, showing that the lion, as well as Bos primigenius, or Bison priscus, or some other species of once formidable ox, as also elk, and a large red deer or stag, once dwelt in Syria and Palestine.



There was then an officer at Cawnpoor whose career was more celebrated than that of Conolly, and whose fate was more fortunate than to perish by the cruel fiat of a "barbaric king." It was the heroic Havelock, who was then only a subaltern in a marching regiment, but you could find scarcely any officer in the cantonment there, who was (whether his rank was high or low) not aware of Havelock's abilities. The man who struggles through want and adverse circumstances, and "the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes," is really in his calamitous circumstances, greater than when, in after-life, he achieves greatness. The lengthened ordeal of suffering, which is nobly borne, makes one reverence the afflictions of a good man. Havelock was equally remarkable as a good Christian and as an oriental scholar, and, when the fierce breath of war blew in his ears he showed himself the man to lead the Anayandron who had been ridden over by the contemptible rules which decreed that one in possession of coin should supersede any competitor, however meritorious he should be. And just at this time, also, Charles Kane and his bride returned from the hills to Cawnpoor.

The round of gaiety and the reckless pursuit of pleasure was as much the prevailing character of the cantonment as it was when Charles was a single man; but, happily now he had no temptation to lure him from home. India to a married couple who are truly attached to one another, and wholly undesirous of other pursuits than those which a contented home affords, has its advantages. But how few are the married people who are completely absorbed in home! Rouchefaucauld says "there are few marriages that are even of an average happiness, and none that are completely happy!"

But the French cynic was not cognisant of the influence which a spirit of true Christianity may effect. And, indeed, we may hope that there are many households which under its benign banner are in the enjoyment of true peace. But there were certainly numerous instances of those who were inconstant couples, and one couple was there also that made a short visit to Cawnpore on their way from the hills to Calcutta. The lady was that far-famed

« AnteriorContinuar »