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vegetable food, and is particularly fond of the prickly branches of trees, feeding upon such thorny shrubs, as it would be dangerous for other animals either to gather or swallow. It is in general peaceful and harmless, but when attacked becomes furious and very formidable. It fights with the elephant, and often kills it. Huntsmen do not openly assail it, but track it at a distance, till it has lain down to sleep, when they fire at the belly, the only penetrable part in its almost invulnerable body. The rhinoceros, though so huge and seemingly unwieldy, has the power of running with very great swiftness.
The Hippopotamus, though celebrated from the earliest ages, was but imperfectly known to the ancients. It resides chiefly in the great rivers and lakes of Africa, the Nile, the Niger, and the Zara, where it leads an indolent and swinish life. It subsists chiefly on vegetables and fish. It is a strong swimmer, but is generally seen walking at the bottom of the water, where it can remain thirty or forty minutes without rising to take breath. It is seven feet long, and fifteen in circumference, with very short legs, and no horns. Its shape is something between that of an ox and a hog; and its cry resembles the neighing of a horse, which seems the sole reason for giving it the name of hippopotamus or river-horse. It sometimes leaves the river, and comes in quest of food to the higher grounds, committing dreadful havoc among the plantations of the natives, who, by lighting fires and beating drums, frighten it back to its favourite element. Its teeth are strong, and of so hard a substance as to strike fire with a piece of iron ; which circumstance may have given rise to the fable of the ancients, who assert, that the hippopotamus vomits fire. It has been known, when attacked by a party in a boat, to bite a piece out of the side of the boat, and nearly sink it; but in general the hippopotamus is inoffensive.
XIII.-BAMBOO, BANNIAN, AND MANGROVE TREES. In Brazil are various species of Bamboo, surprising alike for their size and their beauty. Some with a stem of considerable thickness, send out large lateral branches, and resemble forest trees. Others of equal magnitude, without any branches, rise in a single stalk, divided into regular joints, smooth and tapering to a point, till they attain a very great height. Some of these, of no great thickness, run up till they reach nearly one hundred feet, and become so slender, that they bend down, and are seen waving across the road like long fishing-rods. The upper half of one measured forty-five feet (the entire length being ninety), and, when carried in the hand, felt lighter than a cart-whip. Another kind of bamboo is so prolific of leaves, as to give a tinge of beautiful verdure to the whole forest, climbing to the tops of the highest trees, and clothing them with its foliage. This the natives call the “grass of the thicket.”
Very different from the light and elegant bamboo, is the enormous bulk, and massy majesty of the Bannian Tree. The bannian or Burr Tree, is a native of India, and may be regarded as the most remarkable vegetable production in the world. Each tree is in itself a grove, covering many acres of ground, and supported by many apparently independent trunks or roots.
These are formed in a very curious way. The horizontal branches throw out small tender fibres, which are at first very flexible, and hang dangling from the parent bough, like so many thongs. These increasing in length and thickness, at last reach the ground, where they take root, and become new stems, which in time swell into stately trunks. These perpendicular stems put forth no shoots, but the lateral branches go on extending, shooting forth sprouts which drop new fibres to become stems still more distant from the parent trunk; so that a bannian tree, with its hundreds of trunks, forms the most beautiful walks, vistas, and cool recesses, that can be imagined. The Hindoos regard the tree as sacred ; and such is its length of duration, that it is said to be exempted from decay. The leaves are large, soft, and of a lively green. The fruit is a small fig, when ripe of a bright scarlet, affording sustenance to monkeys, squirrels, parrots, and various other birds, which dwell among the branches. On the banks of the Nerbudda,
in the province of Guzerat, is a bannian tree, distinguished by the name of the Cubbeer Burr, which was given to it in honour of a famous saint. High floods have, at different times, swept away a considerable part of this extraordinary tree, but what still remains is two thousand feet in circumference; the large trunks amount
e; to three hundred and fifty, and the number of smaller stems is more than three thousand. The Cubbeer Burr is famed throughout Hindostan, not only on account of its great extent, but also for its surpassing beauty. It is regarded as a natural temple, and thousands of votaries from all parts of what was once the Mogul empire, repair to the sacred spot at stated seasons, to attend solemn festivals. Seven thousand persons may repose under its shade.
The Mangrove Tree, a native of Jamaica, though in no respect worthy to be compared with the bannian, has yet one peculiarity in which it resembles that wonderful production of the East. The mangrove tree is generally found on the borders of the sea, in whose waters only it seems to thrive, and in such places as have a soft bottom. The larger branches throw out soft leafless shoots, which bend downward, and in a short time reach the mud, where they strike root, and become supports to the parent tree. The American oyster attaches itself to those branches of the mangrove tree which dip in the water, and hence has arisen the fabulous account of this shell-fish growing on trees. The mangrove tree varies in height from thirty to fifty feet.
XIV.—THE CAMEL, AND CAMEL-LEOPARD. IN
appearance and habits the Camel and the Dromedary are very closely allied ; the principal difference consisting in the camel having two humps on its back, while the dromedary has only one. The whole appearance of the camel is rugged and uninviting. Its neck, which is long and bending, supports a small head, surmounted by short ears, and furnished with a pair of eyes, large, dull, and unintelligent. Its lips are thin and projecting—the upper one being divided, and the two lobes or portions capable of separate motion, thus serving in some measure the purpose of a hand, and enabling the animal to grasp and secure the higher branches of the plants on which it feeds. Its nostrils are of a peculiar slit-like form, and the power which it possesses of shutting them at pleasure, admirably adapts it for inhabiting the arid deserts of Arabia, where it has frequently in its journey to encounter blasts of drifting sand, and but for some such contrivance, would be constantly exposed to suffocation.
A very singular part of its external conformation consists in the hump, or protuberance on its back, which, as has been mentioned, is single in the Arabian species or dromedary, and double in the Bactrian one. It consists of the same kind of fatty matter, which is found on the backs of some species of oxen, the Brahminee bull of India, for instance, and forms a provision against the time of want, to which in the desert it is frequently exposed; for the animal does not die of inanition, until the whole substance of the hump has been absorbed, and applied to the general nourishment of the system. Other parts of the camel no less strikingly display the hand of the all-wise Creator. The feet are peculiarly adapted to the soil on which it is to tread. On moist or slippery ground it cannot well support itself, and its broad and tender feet are liable to be injured by the resistance of stones ; but it treads with perfect ease and security on dry and yielding sand. But the peculiar and distinguishing characteristic of the camel, is its faculty of abstaining from water longer than any other animal-a property so necessary in these immense deserts. For this the God of nature has provided, by a singular internal conformation ; for, besides the four stomachs, which it has in common with other ruminating animals, the camel is furnished with a fifth bag, serving as a reservoir to contain a quantity of water, which, by a contraction of the muscles, it can throw up into the mouth, and by this means is enabled to swallow the driest food, and go for several days together without
6 No crea
a fresh supply of drink. The prevailing colour of the Arabian camels is brown or black. In Egypt, the hue becomes of a somewhat lighter cast; and towards Nubia, they are mostly white.
The camel, though to the eye of a European a clumsy and unwieldy animal, is held in the highest estimation in these parched countries, where, but for the assistance derived from this “ship of the desert,” as it is called in the allegorical language of the East, man would be unable to exist. Its milk supplies the Arabs with nourishment; its flesh with food; its hair, which is shed regularly once a year, with clothing; and its strength enables them to transport their merchandise through dreary plains parched by excessive heat. ture,” says Volney, seems so peculiarly fitted to the climate in which he exists, as the camel. Designing this animal to dwell in a country in which it can find little nourishment, nature has been sparing of her materials in the whole of its formation. She has not bestowed on it the fleshiness of the ox, horse, or elephant; but, limiting herself to what is strictly necessary, has given it a long head without ears, at the end of a long neck without flesh ; has taken from its legs and thighs every muscle not immediately requisite for motion ; and, in short, bestowed upon its withered body only the vessels and tendons necessary to connect its frame together.”
In Turkey, Persia, Arabia, Barbary, and Egypt, all commerce is carried on by means of camels. Travellers and merchants form themselves into a body for the sake of securing their persons and property from banditti. This assemblage is called a caravan, and sometimes musters several thousand strong. The large camels are capable of carrying from ten to twelve hundred weight; the common load. is about four. They travel slowly, never exceeding thirty-five miles a-day, though when the camel is not heavily laden, it is capable of travelling at a much greater rate. Patient under its duties, it kneels down at the command of its driver, and rises up cheerfully with its load. It requires no whip or spur during the monotonous march ; but, like many other