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birds and water fowl: the warlike ostrich; the emu; the cassowary; and the crane; the towering falcon; the painted parrot, and the crimson-feathered flamingo; with a hundred other kinds of a smaller size. These are the works of God! Every specimen, perfect in its kind, proclaiming his Almighty care! Infinite Wisdom comprehends what to us is incomprehensible. Of what an innumerable family is God the almighty, the indulgent Father. He says, “ Every beast of the forest.is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills: I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine."
What amazing antlers have the wapiti deer! and what a merciful provision is the act of shedding them, when their weight becomes burdensome!
The elephant is in the pond; how he rolls about his giant bulk, like a huge leviathan! Now he has dived altogether beneath the surface. Again he emerges as an island in the water, and slowly stalks forward, discontinuing his watery gambols.
Who can observe the childlike obedience of the bulky animal to his keeper, without reading therein a fulfilment of the promise made by the Almighty to Noah and his descendants ?_ And the fear of
and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all that moveth upon the earth."
And these are the giraffes, the objects of general attraction. Stately.creatures, what pigmies ye make of us ! The cloven foot, the over-lapping lip, the tufted tail, the spotted body, and the towering neck, are all worthy of a separate regard. The eye has the fullness and the į fearlessness, though not the fierceness, of that of the ostrich; and the black, sleek, serpent-like tongue, has a
character altogether its own. What news from afar, fleet coursers of the desert sands? bear ye no message from the wilderness?
Your feet have trod the burning sand,
Where the lion's lair is known;
And fiery blasts are blown.
In haunts where man's exiled;
In the tempest of the wild. It seems but a short time since, in one of my visits to this place, in turning abruptly into the side walk near the giraffe house, I came upon two oriental figures, in earnest conversation. For the moment I had quite forgotten that the giraffes were accompanied by Arabs, so that I was both surprised and pleased by the unexpected meeting
The most imposing in appearance of the two was Monsieur Thibauld, a French traveller of much information, speaking seven languages, though not conversant with the English. He had succeeded in the enterprise of taking the giraffes in the desert, and bringing them in safety to England.
The following extract from his letter, dated Malta, Jan. 8, 1836, states some particulars relative to the capture of the largest of the giraffes :
“ It was on the 15th of August, at the southwest of Kordofan, that I saw the first two giraffes. A rapid chase, on horses accustomed to the fatigues of the desert, put us in possession, at the end of three hours, of the largest of the two: the mother of one of those now in my charge. Unable to take her alive, the Arabs killed her with blows of the sabre, and cutting her to pieces, carried the meat to the head-quarters which we
had established in a wooded situation; an arrangement necessary for our own comfort, and to secure pasturage for the camels of both sexes which we had brought with us in aid of the object of our chase. We deferred until the morrow the pursuit of the young giraffe, which my companions assured me they would have no difficulty in again discovering. The Arabs are very fond of the animal. I partook of their repast. The live embers were quickly covered with slices of the meat, which I found to be excellent eating.
“ On' the following day, the 16th of August, the Arabs started at day-break in search of the young one, of which we had lost sight not far from our camp. The sandy nature of the soil of the desert is well adapted to afford indications to a hunter, and in a very short time we were on the track of the animal which was the object of our pursuit. We followed the traces with rapidity and in silence, cautious to avoid alarming the animal while it was yet at a distance from us. Unwearied myself, and anxious to act in the same manner as the Arabs, I followed them impatiently, and at 9 o'clock in the morning I had the happiness to find myself in possession of the giraffe. A premium was given to the hunter whose horse had first come up with the animal; and this reward is the more merited, as the laborious chase is pursued in the midst of brambles and thorny trees.
“ Possessed of the Giraffe, it was necessary to rest for three or four days, in order to render it sufficiently tame. During this period an Arab constantly holds it at the end of a long cord. By degrees it gets accustomed to the
and takes a little nourishment. To furnish milk for it, I had brought with me female camels. It became gradually reconciled to its condition, and was soon willing to follow, in short stages, the route of our caravan.
“ The first giraffe, captured at four days' journey to the south-west of Kordofan, will enable us to form some judgment as to its probable age at present; as I have observed its growth and its mode of life. When it first came into my hands, it was necessary to insert a finger into its mouth in order to deceive it into a belief that the nipple of the dam was there; then it sucked freely. According to the opinion of the Arabs, and the length of time I have had it, this first giraffe cannot, at the utmost, be more than nineteen months old. Since I have had it, its size has fully doubled.”
In the days of my youth I read over the wanderings of Mungo Park with delight, and of Monsieur Vaillant chasing the giraffe; and suddenly to be in company with those who had passed through the same scenes, was a treat to me. The figure, dress, beard, and moustachios of Monsieur Thibauld, rendered him an object of much attraction; in conversation he was very animated. I told him that I had seen a giraffe years before in Paris, but that I had never seen a giraffe hunter; and in parting I obtained one of his best bows, by the remark that he had outdone other African travellers; for that Monsieur Vaillant only knew how to kill giraffes, but Monsieur Thibauld knew how to take them alive.
How rapidly has time flown! but there will be time yet for a hasty peep at the Surrey Gardens. I must escape by the turnstile gate.
And these are the Gardens of Surrey! I have wandered through the various avenues of this agreeable place; given a bun to the bears, and nuts to the monkeys. I have stroked the antelopes; patted the trunks of the elephants ; placed my hands on the scaly backs of the boa and the python ; and am now standing near the eagle-rock ; it is a pleasant spot.
This running stream, with the tall green flags growing on each side, and the ponds almost covered over with the broad leaves and the fair flowers of the waterlily, remind me of quiet, retired nooks and corners in country places, where the wild duck dives in the secluded reedy pool, and the moor-hen hides herself under the overhanging branches of the trees.
The lake and the drooping willows form a lovely scene, and recall every thing that we have witnessed of silvery streams and luxuriant foliage.
Would you gaze with emotions far purer than mirth
From the seat by the lake, 'neath these wild willow-trees! I could loiter here long without weariness. Here grows a scarlet-flowered geranium, just such a one as I have seen in a window of an alms-house; where might be discerned the aged inmate, with her spectacles, bending over the Book of life, the Holy scriptures of eternal 'truth. I love the gilly-flower, because it will bloom even on a mouldering wall, and smile in desolate places; and I love the geranium, because it gives cheerfulness to the abodes of poverty.
The principle points of these Surrey Gardens are, the beautiful lake, the eagle-rock, the choice collection of forest trees, and the great superiority of many of the wild animals ; but I must not omit the glass conservatory.