« AnteriorContinuar »
thus presented to our sight, after having been buried for ages ụnder ground. There was a violent eruption of this mountain in the year 1737. It vomited by several mouths large torrents of burning metallic matter, which flowed like rivers of fire over the country and into the sea. M. Montesquieu, wino communicated this relation to the Academy of Sciences in France, observed, with horror, one of these streams of fire, and saw its course for six or seven miles, till it reached the sea : its breadth was sixty or seventy feet, and it was of great depth; the matter which flowed was like the scum which issues from the furnace of a forge.
In Asia, Africa, and America, and in several islands near them there are also a great number of burning mountains.
Chiefly from Buffon.
ON A ROBIN RED-BREAST SINGING IN A CHURCH DURING THE PLAYING OF
By duty and desire as late we trod
If such devotion catch the fcather'd choir,
Destroying Hedges and Fences.
DESTROYING HEDGES AND FENCES.
To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
SIR, In your valuable little work which I always read with pleasure, (and it must be my own fault if it is without profit) you have given several useful directions for planting and raising strong and durable hedges; but I do not at this moment recollect your having noticed a prevailing offence among the poor in most villages, viz. the destroying and pulling liedges and fences to pieces for firewood: it occasions great injury and inconvenience to every proprietor of land, which even money cannot remedy, as a hedge once destroyed by the hands of the pilferer cannot at any expence be durably repaired; and the offence itself shews the right principle of honesty to be wanting. Very probably you imagined, that the readers of the Cottage Visitor were not persons likely to be guilty of this crime, and I should have been of the same opinion, had I not myself witnessed the other day a most respectable looking person, one who has been in a good way of business, and the dress of whose family (especially on Sundays) would lead one to suppose he ought to know better, pulling down and carrying away (as he thought unseen) large pieces of my neighbour's fence.
Should you consider this hint likely to be of use, , I shall be obliged to you to print it.
From a SINCERE WELL-WISHER. Surry, 4th October, 1827.
EYES OF BIRDS AND HORSES; STOMACH AND
FOOT OF A CAMEL; FOOT OF A HORSE.
There is so much entertainment in the study of natural history, that even those who do not wish to enter deeply into the subject find great pleasure in it; and even children delight in the accounts which their little books give them of the habits and manners of birds, beasts and fishes. A very slight acquaintance with the nature of animals shews the great power, as well as goodness, of the Creator, in fashioning them all in a way so exactly suited to their wants and necessities; and the more we enter into the subject the more we become assured that they were all formed by an Almighty, and all merciful hand. There are many curious circumstances connected with the formation of animals, which we do not perceive at first sight; and there are many parts of which a common observer does not see the use, but which, when understood, shew most plainly that they have a distinct and particular use, and are highly conducive to the advantage and comfort of the animal.
For instance ;-in a bird, there is a very wonderful provision for keeping the surface of the eye clean, just as we should wipe the dust off the glass of our telescope or spectacles. It is a sort of additional eye-lid, and, besides wiping the eye clean, it serves to protect it whilst the bird is flying through the air and through thickets, and yet it does not hinder the sight, being a very fine thin membrane or skin ; it is worked in a very curious manner with muscles and loops so as to enable the bird to work it very quickly over the eye,--and these muscles are so placed as not to hinder the sight of the eye.
“ A third eye-lid of the same kind is found in the horse, and called the haw; it is moistened with a
Eyes of Birds, of Horses, fc. 553 pulpy substance (mucilage) to take hold of the dust on the eye-ball, and wipe it clean off, so that the eye of a horse is hardly ever seen with any thing upon it, though greatly exposed by its size and situation. The swift motion of the haw is given to it by a gristly, elastic substance placed between the eyeball and the socket, and striking so as to drive out the haw with great rapidity over the eye, and then letting it come back as quickly. Ignorant persons, when this haw is inflamed from cold, and swells so as to appear, (which it never does in a healthy state), often mistake it for an imperfection, and cut it off. So nearly does ignorance produce the same effect as cruelty."
“The camel, which lives in sandy deserts, has broad spreading hoofs to support him on the loose soil
, and an apparatus in his body by which water is kept for many days, to be used during his long journey in the deserts when no water is to be had. In the camel's foot, between the horny sole and the bones, there is a cushion like a ball, of soft matter. This cushion has such an elastic spring, that the bones of the foot press on it uninjured by the heavy body which they support,-and this large animal steps as softly as a cat.”
“ The bones of the foot of a horse are not placed directly under the weight. If they were in an upright position, they would make a firm pillar, and every motion would cause a shock. They are placed slanting, and tied together by an elastic binding on their lower surfaces, so as to form springs as exact as those which we make of leather or steel for carriages. Then the flatness of the hoof, which sketches out on each side, and the frog coming down in the middle between the quarters, adds greatly to the elasticity of the machine. Ignorant of this, some ill-informed farriers nail the shoe too far back, fixing the quarters, and causing permanent contraction, so that the con
NO. 12.-VOL. VII.
tracted hoof loses its elasticity; every step is a shock; inflamation and lameness follow *."
ANECDOTE OF ROOKS.
THE habits of rooks are almost as orderly as those of ants, bees, and beavers, and their attachment to places near the dwellings of men not only affords us frequent opportunities of observing them, but interests us in their well-being and preservation. The following incident came within my own obsetvation.- A large colony of rooks had subsisted many years in a grove on the banks of the river Irwell, near Manchester. One serene evening, I placed myself within the view of it, and marked, with attention, the various labours, flights, and pastimes of this crowded society. The idle members amused themselves with chasing each other through endless mazes ; and, in their flight, they made the air resound with their different noises. In the midst of these playful exertions it unfortumately happened, that one rook, by a sudden türn, struck his beak against the wing of another. The sufferer instantly fell into the river. A general cry of distress followed. The birds ho- . vered, with every expression of anxiety and sorrow, over their distressed companion. Animated by their compassionate assistance, and perhaps by the language of counsel known to themselves, he sprang into the air, and, by one strong effort, reached the point of a rock which projected into the water. The delight of them all was shewn in the loud and
* Library of Useful Knowledge.