Page images



These names do not make two distinct kinds, but are only given to a variety of the same animal, which has, however, subsisted time immemorial. The principal, and perhaps the only sensible difference, by which those two races are distinguished, consists in this, that the camel bas two bunches upon his back, whereas the dromedary has but one; the latter also, is neither so large nor so strong as the camel.* These two races, however, produce with each other, and the mixed breed formed between them is considered the best, the most patient, and the most indefatigable of all the kind.

Of the two varieties, the dromedary is by far the most numerous ; the camel being scarcely found except in Turkey and the countries of

(The Camel.) the Levant, while the other is found spread over all the deserts of Arabia, the southern parts of Africa, Persia, Tartary, and a great part of the Eastern Indies. Thus the one inhabits an immense tract of country, the other in comparison is confined to a province ; the one inhabits the sultry countries of the torrid zone, the other delights in a warm, but not a burning climate ; neither, however, can subsist or propagate in the variable climes towards the north; they seem formed for those countries where shrubs are plenty and water scarce; where they can travel along the sandy desert without being impeded by rivers, and find food at expected distances; such a country is Arabia, and this, of all others, seems the most adapted to the support and production of this anima..

The camel is the most temperate of all animals, and it can continue to travel several days without drinking: In those vast deserts, where the earth is every where dry and sandy; where there are neither birds nor beasts, neither insects nor vegetables, where nothing is to be seen but hills of sand and heaps of bone, there the camel travels, posting forward, without requiring either drink or pasture, and is often found six or seven days without any sustenance whatsoever. Its feet are formed for travelling upon sand, and utterly unfit for moist or marshy places; the inhabitants, therefore, find a most useful assistant in this animal, where no other could subsist, and by its means, cross those deserts with safety, which would be unpassable by any other method of conveyance.t

CAMEL AND DROMEDARY.—The term tles on the pavement, its foot-fall is silent dromedary properly applies to a very swift and unheard. “What always struck mo,” species of camel

. A dromedary is to a camel says Mr. Macfarlane, in his Constantinople what a racer is to a horse of burden. There in 1828,' “as something extremely romanare one-humped and two-humped dromeda- tic and mysterious, was the noiseless step ries, and one-humped and two-humped camels. of the camel, from the spongy nature of

+ Camel's Foot.—The camels tread is his foot. Whatever be the nature of the perfectly noiseless : unlike the horse, whose ground, sánd, or rock, or turf, or paved heavy tramp sounds over the plain, and rat- stones, you hear no foot-fall; you see an imAn animal thus formed for a sandy and desert region, cannot be propagated in one of a different nature. Many vain efforts have been tried to propagate the camel in Spain; they have been transported into America, but have mulitiplied in neither. It is true, indeed that they may be brought into these countries, and may, perhaps, be found to produce there; but the care of keeping them is so great, and the accidents to which they are exposed, from the changeableness of the climate, are so many, that they cannot answer the care of keeping. In a few years also, they are seen to degenerate: their strength and their patience forsake them; and instead of making the riches, they become the burden of their keepers.


But it is very different in Arabia, and those countries where the camel is turned to useful purposes. It is there considered as a sacred animal, without whose belp the natives could neither subsist, traffic, nor travel ; its milk makes a part of their nourishment; they feed upon its flesh, particularly when young; they clothe themselves with its hair, which it is seen to molt regularly once a year; and if they fear an invading enemy, their camels serve them in flight, and in a single day they are known to travel above a hundred miles. Thus, by means of the camel, an Arabian finds safety in his deserts : all the armies upon earth might be lost in the pursuit of a flying squadron of this country, mounted upon their camels, and taking refuge in solitudes where nothing interposes to stop their flight, or to force them to wait the invader.* Nothing can be more

mense animal approaching you stilly as a their tent coverings over the obnoxious cloud Hoating on air; and unless he wear a ground, in order to conceal its appearance, bell, your sense of hearing, acute as it may and induce the animal to proced.—RELIGIOUS be, will give you no intimation of his pre- Tract Society's Natural History. sence.”

* ARABIAN HORSE AND CAMEL.-It is an The foot of this animal, (so often referred erroneous opinion which believes Arabia to to, and not without reason, as an evidence of be very rich in horses. Many tribes are design,) is divided into two toes, each having wholly unprovided with them, and Burcka horny tip; the division is not, however, hardt supposes that there do not exist 50,000 complete; for an elastic pad or cushion, con- of those animals between the extreme bounstituting the main part upon which the daries of the Euphrates and Syria, a much pressure falls, spreads broadly beneath, con- smaller number than the same extent of necting them together, but leaving the points ground would furnish in any other part of free. On pressing the ground, the elastic Asia or Europe. The Syrian districts, especushion expands, and the toes diverge, socially Hauran produce the best; but of pure that a larger surface is brought in contact Arabian blood of the choicest breeds, few with the sandy earth, a circumstance which, have ever been exported. If a Bedouin in connexion with the elastic nature of the wishes to express his admiration of the speed sole, if we may so call it, enables the cream of another's mare, he blesses the animal coture to tread over the yielding desert, or the piously, and addressing her master, says, hard and arid plain, with almost equal com- “Go and wash your mare's feet and drink fort.

up the water.” The best Arabian camel, The foot of the camel, certainly formed by after three whole days' abstinence from wanature to tread a loose sandy soil, “ does not, ter, shows manitest signs of great distress ; however, appear to me," says the writer just in case of absolute necessity, it might possiquoted, " to suffer from stony or hard roads. bly go five days without drinking; but this In Asia Minor there are mountains in every trial can never be required, since there is no direction; the paths across them are hard, route across the Arabian desert in which rough, and loose, as rocks and bruken stones wells are farther distant from each other than can make them; yet I have often seen camels three days and a half. Burckhardt never treading them without any appearance of heard an instance of a camel being slaughsuffering; and though I have met them in tered for the sake of the water in its stomach. my travels, hundreds in a day, I do not re- The extremity of thirst, indeed, induces the member having ever seen a wounded hoof.” traveller, unable to support the exertion of

The soil most inimical to the foot of the walking, to cling as a last resouce to this camel is such as is soft and muddy; here the serviceable animal, nor does its stomach, unaniina!, slipping at every step, keeps on its less on the first day's watering, afford by any legs with difficulty. It is said that so great means a copious supply. The swiftness of is its dislike to venture upon such a track, the camel has been greatly exaggerated : 115 that its drivers have been obliged to spread miles in eleven hours, during which occured

dreary than the aspect of these sandy plains, that seem entirely forsaken of life and vegetation : wherever the eye turns, nothing is presented but a steril and dusty soil, sometimes torn up by the winds, and moving in great waves along, which, when viewed from an eminence, resemble less the earth than the ocean; here and there a few shrubs appear, that only teach us to wish for the grove, that remind us of the shade in these sultry climates, without affording its refreshment; the return of morning, which, in other places, carries an idea of cheerfulness, here serves only to enlighten the endless and dreary waste, and to present the traveller with an unfinished prospect of his forlorn situation ; yet in this chasm of nature, by the help of the camel, the Arabian finds safety and subsistence. There are here and there found spots of verdure, which, though remote from each other, are, in a manner, approximated by the labour and industry of the camel. Thus these deserts, which present the stranger with nothing but objects of danger and sterility, afford the inhabitant protection, food, and liberty. The Arabian lives independent and tranquil in the midst of his solitudes; and instead of considering the vast solitudes spread round him as a restraint upon his happiness, he is by experience taught to regard them as the ramparts of his freedom.

The camel is easily instructed in the methods of taking up and supporting his burthen; their legs, a few days after they are produced, are bent under their belly ; they are in this manner loaded, and taught to rise; their burthen is every day thus increased, by insensible degrees, till the animal is capable of supporting a weight adequate to its force: the same care is taken in making them patient of hunger and thirst : while other animals receive their food at stated times, the camel is restrained for days together, and these intervals of famine are increased in proportion as the animal seems capable of sustaining them. By this method of education, they live five or six days without food or water; and their stomach is formed most admirably by nature to fit them for long abstinence : besides the four stomachs wbich all animals have that chew the cud, (and the camel is of the number,) it has a fifth stomach which serves as a reservoir, to hold a greater quantity of water than the animal has an immediate occasion for. It is of a sufficient capacity to contain a large quantity of water, where the fluid remains without corrupting, or without being adulterated by the other aliments : when the camel finds itself pressed with thirst, it has here an easy resource for quenching it; it throws up a quantity of this water two passages over the Nile in a ferry-boat, size, of one-fourth of the whole body. The each requiring twenty minutes, is the most full growth of the camel is attained at twelve extraordinary performance which Burckhardt years; he lives forty, but at about or under ever heard authenticated; and this, probably, thirty his activity declines. In Egypt, camels has been surpassed by an English trotting are kept closely shorn, and are guided by a mare. He thinks that, if left to its own free string attached to the nose-ring. Those of will, this animal would have travelled 200 Arabia are seldom perforated in the nose; miles in twenty-four hours ; twelve miles an and readily obey the short stick of the rider. hour is the utmost trotting pace of a camel ; The camel-saddle of the Arabian women is it may gallop nine miles in half an hour, but gaudily fitted out, and a lady of Nadja conit cannot support that pace, which is unnatu- siders it a degradation to mount any other ral to it, for a longer time. Nothing can be than a black camel, while an Æzenian beauty easier than its common amble of five and a prefers one which is grey or white. Cautery half miles an hour, and if properly fed every to the chest of the hump is usually applied evening, or in case of emergency once in two when their broken-winded caravan-camel is days, it will continue this pace uninterrupt- exhausted by fatigue. Towards the close of edly for five or even six days. While the a long journey, scarcely an evening passes hump continues full, the animal will endure without this operation, yet the load is reconsiderable fatigue on a very short allowance, placed on the following morning on the part feeding, as the Arabs say, on the fat of its recently burned, and no degree of pain inown hump. After a long journey the hump duces the patient animal to refuse or throw it almost entirely subsides, and it is not until off. If it once sinks, however, overpowered after three or four months' repose, and a con- either by hunger or toil, it cannot be comsiderable time after the rest of the carcass pelled to rise again.–ARCANA OF SCIENCE, has acquired flesh, that it resumes its natural 1833.

by a simple contraction of the muscles, into the other stomachs, and this serves to macerate its dry and simple food; in this manner, as it drinks but seldom, it takes in a large quantity at a time, and travellers, when straightened for water, have been olten known to kill their camels for that which they expected to find within them.

In Turkey, Persia, Arabia, Barbary, and Egypt, their whole commerce is carried on by means of camels, and no carriage is more speedy, an none less expensive in these countries. Merchants and travellers unite themselves into a body, furnished with camels, to secure themselves from the insults of the robbers that infest the countries in which they live. This assemblage is called a caravan, in which the numbers are sometimes known to amount to above ten thousand, and the number of camels is often greater than those of the men : each of these animals is loaded according to his strength, and he is so sensible of it himself, that when his burthen is too great, he remains still upon his belly, the posture in which he is loaded, refusing to rise, till bis burthen be lessened or taken away. In general, the large camels are capable of carrying a thousand weight, and sometimes twelve hundred; the dromedary from six to seven. In these trading journeys they travel but slowly; their stages are generally regulated, and they seldom go above thirty, or at most about five and thirty miles a day. Every evening, when they arrive at a stage, which is usually some spot of verdore, where water and shrubs are in plenty, they are permitted to feed at liberty ; they are then seen to eat as much in an hour as will supply them for lwenty-four: they seem to prefer the coarsest weeds to the softest pasture; the thistle, the nettle, the cassia, and other prickly vegetables, are their favourite food; but their drivers take care to supply them with a kind of paste composition, wbich serves as a more permanent nourishment. As these animals have often gone the same track, they are said to know their way precisely, and to pursue their passage when their guides are utterly astray: when they come within a few miles of their haiting place in the evening, they sagaciously scent it a distance, and increasing their speed, are often seen to trot with vivacity to their stage.

The patience of this animal is most extraordinary; and it is probable that its sufferings are great, for when it is loaded, it sends forth most lamentable cries, but never offers to resist the tyrant that oppresses it. At the slightest sign, it bends its knees, and lies upon its belly, suffering itself to be loaded in this position; by this practice the burthen is more easily laid upon it, than if lifted up while standing ; at another sign it rises with its load, and the driver getting upon its back between the two panniers, which, like hampers, are placed upon each side, he encourages the camel to proceed with his voice and with a song. In this manner the creature proceeds contentedly forward, with a slow uneasy walk of about four miles an hour, and when it comes to its stage, lies down to be unloaded as before.

Buffon seems to consider the camel to be the most domesticated of all other creatures, and to have more marks of the tyranny of man imprinted on its form. He is of opinion that this animal is not now to be found in a state of nature, that the bumps on its back, the callosities upon its breast and its legs, and even the great reservoir for water, are all marks of long servitude and domestic constraint. The deformities he supposes to be perpetuated by generation, and what at first was accident at last becomes nature. However this be, the humps upon the back grow large in proportion as the animal is well fed, and if examined, they will be found composed of a substance not unlike the udder of

The inhabitants generally leave but one male to wait on ten females ; the rest they castrate, and though they thus become weaker, they are more manageable and patient. The female receives the male in the same position as when these animals are loaded; she goes with young for about a year, and like all other great animals, produces but one at a time. The camel's milk is abundant and nourishing, and mixed with water makes a principal part of the beverage of the Arabians. These animals begin to engender at three years of age, and they

a cow.

ordinarily live from forty to fifty years. The genita' part of the male resembles that of the bull, but is placed pointing backwards, so that its urine seems to be ejected in the manner of the female. This, as well as the dung, and almost every part of this animal, is converted to some useful purpose by the keepers. Of the urine sal ammoniac is made; and of the dung, litter for the horses, and tire, for the purpose of dressing their victuals. Thus this animal alone seems to comprise within itself a variety of qualities, any one of which serves to render other quadrupeds absolutely necessary for the welfare of man: like the elepbant, it is manageable and tame; like the borse, it gives the rider security; it carries greater burthens than the ox or the mule ; and its milk is furnished in as great abun

(The Dromedary.) dance as that of the cow; the flesh of the young ones is supposed to be as delicate as veal; their hair is more beautiful, and more in request than wool; while even of its very excrements, no part is useless.




As almost all the quadrupeds of America are smaller than the resembling ones

of the ancient continent, so the llama, which may be considered as the camel of the new world, is every way less than that of the old.* This animal, like that described in the former chapter, stands bigb upon its legs, has a long neck, a small bead, and resembles the camel, not only in its natural mildness, but its aptitude for servitude, its moderation, and its patience. The Americans early found out its useful qualities, and availed

themselves of its labours : like the (The Llama.)

camel, it serves to carry goods over

places inaccessihle to other beasts of burthen; like that it is obedient to its driver, and often dies under, but never resists his cruelty.

* LLAMAS OP SOUTH AMERICA.—The lla- mined by the temperature. The llamas are mas of South America furnish a beautiful stationed upon different stages of the Cordil. example of the determination of the locality leras, and are found, or disappear, throughout of a particular group of animals, according to that enormous chain of mountains, as the the elevation of the surface where they find summits are elevated or depressed. Thus their food. The selection is probably deter. they range considerably below the line of per

« PreviousContinue »