Imágenes de páginas

THE NATURAL AND CIVIL HISTORY OF 1 The bite of the Cobra de Capello is not so' Immediately CEYLON.

fatal as is commonly supposed; fowls have been known to V. OF THE ANIMALS IN CEYLON-REPTILES. live two days after being bitten, though they frequently die Of the animals known in this island, the principal is the

within half-an-hour. Upon dissection, it has been found that

the lungs are the principal seat of diseased action. This is elephant, which is found in large herds, and is an object

the snake which the jugglers exhibit, and it is generally of very profitable traffic. The Ceylon elephant is par

imagined to be perfectly harmless when exhibited, in conticularly valued, and always fetches a high price. The next

sequence of its fangs having been extracted by these adepts most remarkable animal is the Elk, of which there is a

in the art of legerdemain; but this is a mistake.

It differs from species, I imagine, peculiar to this island.

The fangs

are not extracted, and the creature is presented to the the common elk, in having a short thick mane, that covers the neck and throat. When full-grown, it measures about

spectator with all its powers of mischief unimpaired. five feet fiom the extremity of the fore-hoof to the top of

The bite of a snake of this species shown by any of these the shoulder. Its colour is dark-brown, except on the

itinerant conjurors would as certainly prove fatal as from

one encountered in the jungle. This will, perhaps, appear neck, belly, and hind part of the thighs, where it an

strange to those who have heard of these reptiles being con. proaches nearly to black. The habits of this animal are

stantly shown in the houses of the curious, and more espe. gregar.ous, though it is occasionally met with alone in the :

cially when they are told that this snake is frequently perwools. Its appearance betokens gentleness, and even timidity, but it is, nevertheless, very tenacious of a stranger's

mitted to put its head against the cheeks of the children of

those who show them. The dexterity of the jugglers in approach; and at a particular season it is extremely dangerous to go near it. It is very difficult to tame, for though

managing these dangerous reptiles is truly extraordinary. plavfui and harmless while young, as soon as it begins to

They easily excite them to the most desperate rage, and by a have a consciousness of its power, it becomes wid, and so

certain circular motion of the arms appease them as readily; impatient of restraint, that it cannot be reconciled even to

then, without the least hesitation, they will take them in its keeper. The female precisely resembles the male, except

their hands, coil them round their necks, and put their that it is smaller, and has no horns.

fingers to their mouths, eren while their jaws are furnished Buffaloes are common in Ceylon, and the white huffalo

with deadly venoin, and the slightest pui.cture from their is sometimes found; but these are very rare, and have a

| fangs would most probably produce death. sickly appearance. It is therefore probable, as many of the

The power which these people exercise orer this species natives suppose, that the whiteness is occasioned by some

of venomous snake, remains no longer a mystery, when its disorder, siinilar to that kind of leprosy in the blacks which

habits are known. It is a remarkable peruliarity in the turns their skin to a dull sickly white.

Cobra de Capello, and I believe in most poisonous snakes

of this class, that they have an extreme reluctance to put The SNAKES OF CEYLON.

into operation the deadly power with which they are It has been supposed that the island of Ceylon is par- endowed. The Cobra nerer bites unless excited by actual ticularis infested with renomous snakes; I shall, therefore, injury, or extreme prolocation, and even then, before it confine myself chietly to an account of the snakes found darts upon its aggressor, it always gives bim timely notice there, by which it will be seen how far that idea is well of his danger not to be mistaken. It dilates the rest foun'lel. The Pimberah, as it is called by the natives, and upon its ne«k, which is a large tlexible membrane, having the Rock-snake by Europeans, is the largest of the serpent on the upper surface two black circular spots, like a pair of tribe known in Ceylon. It does not belong to the Boa spectacles, waves its head to and fro with a gentle unduspecies, but to the new genus Python of Cuvier. In size: latory motion, the eye sparkling with intense lustre, it never excee Is thirty feet, and seldom atlains to this and commences a hiss so loud, as to be heard at a conlength. It has a couple of sharp horny spurs, a short dis- | siderable distance: su that the juggler has always warning tance from the extremity of its tail, which are useful to the of his danger when it is perilius to approach his captive. creature in climbing trees, and in holding fast its prey. The snake never bites while the hood is closell, and as The colour of this snake is generally a mixture of brown long as this is not erected, it may be approached and and yellow; the back and sides are strongly and rather han lled with impunity. Even when the hood is spread, handsomely marked with irregular patches of dark brown, while the creature continues silent there is no danger. Its with very dark margins. The jaws are powerful, and fearful biss is at once the signal of aggression and of capable of great dilatation ; and they are armed with large, peril. Though the cobra is so deadly when under excitestrong, sharp teeth, reclioing backward. As the muscular ment, it is, nevertheless, astonishing to see how readily it strength of this snake is iminense, and its activity and is appeased, even in the bighest state of exasperation, and courage considerable, it may be credited that it will occa this merely by the droning music with which its exhibitors sionally attack man. There can be no doubt that it over seem to charm it. It appears to be fascinated by the dispoivers deer, and swallows them entire*.

cordant sounds that issue from their pipes and tomtoms *. “ The body of this creature," says Knox, “is as big as The snake called Carawilla, by the Cingalese, is the most a man's middle, and the length proportionable. It is not common of the poisonous kind in Ceylon, but its bite is swifi, but by subtilty catches its prey. He lies in the path scarcely more fatal than that of the viper in this country. where the deer use to pass, and as they go, he claps hold Its average length is about a foot. Its back is of a dull of them by a kind of peg that grows on his tail, with which reddish-brown colour, its belly nearly silver-white, and lie strikes them. He will swallow a roebuck whole, horns grayish towards the tail. On each side, bet reen the ridge and all, so that it happens sometimes the horns run of the back and the boundary-lines between the back and through his belly, and kill him. A stag was caught by the belly, there are two rows of black velvety spots; and one of these Pimberahs, which seized him by the buttock, of these there are three in the tail. The head is nearly and held him so fast, that he could not get away, but ran triangular, and compressed; it is of a darker colour than a few steps this way and that way. An Indian seeing the the body, and is free from spots. Its jaws are very dilatestag run thus, supposed him in a snare, and having a gun, able. Its fang teeth are long, slender, and shiarp. It sbot him, at which he gave so strong a jerk, that it pulled lies coiled up, its head projecting nearly at right angles to the serpent's head off, while his tail was encompassing a its body. When provoked, it hisses, darts its liead with tree, to hold the stag the better."

great rapidity at the irritating object, and wounds almost The first among the poisonous snakes known in Ceylon to a certainty. It is active, and when frightened and is the Cobra de Capello of the Portuguese, the Hooded-snake anxious to escape, moves with great rapidity. From of the English, the Noya of the Cingalese, and the Coluber several experiments made by Dr. Davy, it appears that the naja of Linnæus. Its length is from three to six feet. bite of this snake is not usually fatal, even to small animals. It varies much in colour, from light to dark brown. The The symptoms are pretty uniform, and quite different from natives in general rather venerate this snake than dread it. those produced by the poison of the Hoviled-srake; the They conceive that it belongs to another world, and that diseased action being more local, and much more inflaniwhen it appears in this, it comes merely as a visiter. They matory, commencing in the part bitten, spreading progresimagine that it possesses great power, being somewhat sively, losing its force as it extends, and, probably, never akin io the gods, and greatly superior to man. In conse- proving fatal, except it happen to reach a vital organ. quence of this notion, they superstitiously refrain from The snake cailed by the Cingalese Ticpolonga, is by no killing it, and always avoid it, if possible. Even should means common. It is considered, and no doubt justly, the they happen to find one in their house, they will not destroy most dangerous snake on this island; though, if we take its it, but put it into a bag, and throw it into the water. scarcity into the account, it would really be the least • See Davi's Account of the Interior of Ceylon,

. See the Oriental Annual for 1835,

dangerous, as it is much more rarely met with than those were bitten. One of the unfortunate men was a Sepoy, already mentioned. The natives have great dread of it. the other a grass-cutter. When full-grown, it is from four to five feet long, and There is a snake, sometimes, but very rarely, found in very thick in proportion to its length. It has not the Ceylon, which appears to be the same mentioned by gracefully tapering symmetry of the Cobra de Capello, Dr. Russell in his account of Indian serpents, under the neither is it of so brilliant a hue. The head is small, and name of Bodroo Pam. The Cingalese have no name for nearly triangular; its tail is tapering, round and short, it, which is sufficiently accounted for, by its being so something like that of the common English viper. The seldom seen. It is little more than two feet long, its colour of its upper surface, is a dark, dull, brownish-gray ; head is large, and shaped like a heart, but irregularly. of its under surface, light-yellow. Its belly is not spotted, Its neck is small, and its body thin; its sides are combut its back is marked very regularly. In some specimens pressed, and the tail is rather abrupt and tapering, like the mark is oval, in some they are more pointed, having that of the Ticpolonga. Between the eye and nostril it has the form of a trapezoid ; in some they are surrounded with two large cavities, one on each side, the diameter of which a white margin; in others, the spots are lightest in the mid- rather exceeds one-tenth of an inch. Its lower surface is dle. This snake is rather indolent and inactive. It is very yellow, variegated with green ; its upper, bright appleaverse to exercise the deadly powers with which Providence green. This colour is confined to the scales; the cutis has gifted it. It lies coiled up like the Carawilla, and also, beneath is black, consequently, where the scales are very like that snake, when irritated much, darts suddenly for close, as they are in patches along the back, black is ward, and strikes with a precision and activity that seldom excluded : and where they do not overlap, the green fails of producing the most fatal consequences. From appears to be shaded with black. A line of black scales several experiments which Dr. Davy made with this snake, may be mentioned, as occurring above the upper jaw, and on a dog and fowls, he found that its poison was much more a few of the same colour appear along the back. suddenly fatal, than that of any other snake in India. The fowls that were bitten, all died within two minutes,

REPTILES. and some within one. A rat expired within a few seconds It will appear from this, that the vulgar notion of Ceylon after it was bitten, the poison causing convulsions, and abounding with venomous reptiles, is quite erroneous. almost instant death.

Scorpions, centipedes, and two or three species of spiders, After a very minute inquiry into the matter, and con are the only other poisonous creatures known in this firming his researches by experiments, Dr. Davy has come island. Dr. Davy considers the sting of the scorpion lille to the conclusion, that there are only two species of snake more severe than that of a wasp or a bee, but I think this in Ceylon, the bite of which is likely to prove fatal to man, is underrating its severity, as I knew of its proving fatal in the Hooded-snake and the Ticpolonga, and that the danger one instance to a European artilleryman, at Poonah, who from the latter, is very much greater than that from the was stung in the finger by a large black scorpion. The former. He, moreover, seems to think, that the bite of inflammation was so great, that he died within twenty-four the Cobra de Capello is much less fatal than is generally hours. There might have been some inflammatory represented; for he states, that he has seen several men tendency in the man's constitution, which was excited by who had recovered from the bite of that snake, and that the poison; but I have known several in which the suffering he had heard of two or three only to whom it had proved has been intense, and for a considerable period. fatal. If this be the case, the poison of the Ceylon snakes It is astonishing, that where snakes and other poisonous must be of a less virulent kind than that of similar snakes reptiles are supposed to abound, not only in Ceylon, but in on the peninsula, for I have known two instances, in which India generally, so few accidents should occur, and indeed, death has ensued within a few hours after the persons their infrequency is a strong presumptive proof that they

See Dr. Dary's Account of the Interior of Ceylon, and DR. are much less abundant than is commonly supposed. Russell on Indian Serpents.

'J. H.C.

[graphic][merged small]

LONDON. Published by JOHN WILLIAN PARKER, WEST STRAND; and sold by all Booksellers.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]



[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

CONVENT IN THE ISLE OF MURANO, I viewed it as one of those objects of cu

| deriving their interest from association or some other It may hardly be necessary to tell our readers, less-definable cause, which deserve the notice of the that the famous city of Venice is built on a traveller, though not registered amongst the wonders cluster of small islands, or rather shoals, in the of a place. midst of a shallow muddy estuary, called the Lagoon, “Having visited the manufactories of Murano and which intervenes between the open sea and the dry Burano,” says that gentleman, “and witnessed such land, at the head of the Adriatic. Besides the a scene of promiscuous misery, as I feel no tempislands which the city, strictly so called, occupies, tation to describe, I prolonged my voyage, and landed there are several smaller ones, which were formerly on the nearly desert island of Torzelo, about six well inhabited, and some of which even now possess miles from Venice.' This spot, once the summer a rather thick population.,

resort of the Venetian patricians, and covered with To the north-east of the city is the town of their villas and gardens, presented a very different Murano ; a sort of miniature Venice, being built on character of desolation. My eyes were neither several smaller islands in the Lagoon, and intersected pained by the visible progress of ruin, nor disgusted by a number of canals. In former times, it had a by the meanness of the instrument which had separate Podestà (or governor) to itself, and enjoyed wrought it. Time was here the great destroyer, and the privilege of coining money ; fifty years ago it moreover, time had done his work. had 7000 inhabitants, it is now said to have only “I was favoured by one of those delicious days of 4000. It used to possess four parish-churches, six sunshine, common even in a Lombard winter, which monasteries, one convent of regulars, one oratory or in some degree mitigated the melancholy of the private chapel, and two colleges for the education of prospect, and enabled me to saunter and view youth. The churches are not very remarkable for without inconvenience, all the circumstances of the their architecture, but like many others in Venice, scene. Amidst the vestiges of departed grandeur they are curious for the interesting specimens of were left some poor and scattered houses, and mosaic work which they present in their interior. a church, the restoration of which dates, I believe,

Murano is chiefly remarkable for its manufactory from the eleventh century. A broken column of glass, which used in former times to be very much marks the centre of what had been the piazza (or celebrated. “I passed over,” says the celebrated place), and from which had once waved the standard John Evelyn*, “to Murano, famous for the best of St. Mark. Amidst these remains glided a few glasses of the world, where having viewed their human beings, the miserable tenants of the place. furnaces and seene their work, I made a collection There was nothing striking in the architecture, of divers curiosities and glasses which I sent for nothing picturesque in the landscape, but the whole England by long sea. 'Tis the white flints which made an impression upon me which no other ruins they have from Pavia, which they pound and sift | ever produced. Whilst I was musing upon the exceedingly small, and mix with ashes made of a prospect before me, a clock from a half-ruined tower sea-weede brought out of Syria, and a white sand, tolled twenty. Time only had suffered no change, that causes this manufacture to excell. The Towne together with the monuments he had overthrown. is a Podestaria by itselfe, at some miles distant He spoke an antiquated language, hardly intelligible

rom Venice, and like it built upon to the generation of the day.” . several small islands. In this place are excellent The church here mentioned, was the Cathedral of oysters, small and well tasted like our Colchester, the bishopric of Torcello. According to the Italian and they were the first as I remember that I ever writer before quoted, it was built in the year 1008, could eate, for I had naturally an aversion to them." by the then bishop Urso Urseolo, son of the famous At the present day, the glass-manufacture of Murano Doge, Pietro Urseolo the Second, under whose rule possesses a sort of local pre-eminence; it gives em- the power of the Republic had so much increased, ployment to a considerable portion of the population and who was the first to add to the title of Duke of of the city.

Venice, that of Duke of Dalmatia. “Every where," Among the other islands which are to be found in says our author, in the description of the church as the neighbourhood, one of the most interesting among it existed in the last century, " is seen the utmost the islands belonging to Venice, is that which bears splendour and magnificence. Two rows of columns, the name of Torcello, or Torzelo. In the days of the fashioned of Greek marble, divide the body of the old Venetian Republic, it formed with Burano, and edifice into three portions ; its pavement is mosaic, some smaller isles, a separate district, with a Podestà, and the walls also are decorated in the same manner.” or governor of its own ; it was also the seat of a Mr. Rose says, that the architecture of the church bishopric, the jurisdiction of which extended over is not very striking, yet the edifice possesses some Murano. The city of Torcello was originally founded interesting features.Its stone-shutters, carrying by the inhabitants of Altino, when they fled from the one's ideas back to days of violence, are, as far as my approach of Attila, in the middle of the fifth century ; l observation goes, a singular remnant of such an age; and two hundred years afterwards it afforded the and some very curious mosaics in the inside, may same citizens a similar shelter against the attack of vie in beauty and in antiquity with those of St. the Lombards. In the earlier ages of the Republic, Mark.” it was a very flourishing place; but its prosperity would seem to have flown for many years. « Of the A DUKE of Brunswick was once accosted in Venice, by a ancient greatness of this city,” says an Italian writer

boy who solicited charity. The duke told him that he had in the year 1787, " and of its wealth, from which it

no small change; on which the boy offered to get him

change for a piece of gold. The duke thought this a was called, by the Emperor Constantine, Porphy-ridiculous circumstance, and to rid himself of the applicant, rogenitus, ' the great emporium, Torcello,' there he gave him a ducat, in the certainty that the young scarcely remain the smallest vestiges ; it is become beggar would keep it. After a very short time, the lad one of the most deserted islands in the Venetian returned, to his great surprise, with the full change for his Lagoon.” Its present condition is well described in

ducat, in the small coin of Venice. The duke, struck with the following passage from the pen of Mr. Rose, who

his honesty, not only gave him the gold, but undertook to

provide for him, and afterwards promoted him to honourable See Saturday Magazine, Vol. II., p. 68, employment,




| that of the fluid within it, to equal or exceed the

weight of the air displaced. ANY substance immersed in a heavy fluid, in addition Fluids lighter than the air may be obtained from a to those horizontal pressures which, acting equally in variety of different substances, and in a variety of opposite directions, produce no tendency to hori- different ways. The gas commonly burnt in our zontal motion, sustains also certain vertical pressures, streets is a fluid of this kind; and large silken bags whose effects not being thus neutralized, produce in filled with this gas, displace a quantity of air whose it a tendency to upward motion, equal to the weight weight is greater than their own weight, and are for of fluid it displaces.

that reason made to ascend by the upward pressure Our bodies then being immersed in the air, sustain, of the air. Bags so filled with gas will carry with each, an upward pressure equal to the weight of air them a weight nearly equal to the difference between which they displace. Why then, it may be said, are their own weight and that of the air which they we not conscious of that upward pressure? The displace. auswer is obvious ; Because the weight of the body! Not only, however, can we make artificially other erceeds the weight of the air it displaces. The down- | liquids lighter than the air, but we can make any one ward pressure, exceeds the upward pressure ; and portion of the air lighter than the rest. This we we are, therefore, only conscious of weight.

may do by heating it. All bodies expand or increase This, however, is not only true of the aggregate of their dimensions by the application of heat, and of all the upward pressures upon different parts of the bodies the air is probably that which expands most body, but each in particular. If, for instance, we readily, or is most sensitive to the variations of heat. imagine the body to be divided into any number of If we take any portion of the air around us, and expand slender vertical columns, then the upward pressure that air, by the application of heat, over a larger space, upon that portion of its surface which forms the base then will it displace a portion of the surrounding air, of any one of these columns will equal the weight of greater than itself in bulk, and the result will be, a column of air of precisely the same dimensions; that on the principles we have explained, it will be the downward pressure of the column will equal made to ascend. This expansion of certain portions its weight, and, therefore, will exceed the upward of the air, and their consequent ascent through the pressure; we shall thus be unconscious of any surrounding air, is a process which we observe to be upward pressure upon the surface spoken of; and continually going on around us. The smoke which the same is true of every other portion of the surface ascends through our chimneys, is air rarefied by the of the body. .

heat of the fire, and carrying with it small portions If we could by any means lighten the substance of of unconsumed coal. The operation takes place, our bodies, so as to render them lighter than the air however, on a much more magnificent scale under they displace we should immediately ascend and the influence of the sun. Within the tropics, where float in the air. This seems to be in a great measure its power is greatest, the air is continually underthe case with birds; their bodies are exceedingly going rarefaction, and is thus rendered lighter than light, probably not much heavier than the air they that on either side of them; it is, therefore, weighed displace, and they have also probably the power of up, and made continually to ascend by the pressure rendering them still lighter in comparison with it by of that air, which as continually occupies the space distending the cavity of the chest, or some other which it leaves, As the heated air ascends, it loses hollow portions of the body, without, at the same its heat, and therefore contracts its dimensions, and time, admitting any portion of the external air*. moving off towards the poles eventually descends to

Birds stand in this respect pretty nearly in the the earth's surface, to return again to the equator in same relation to the air, that fishes do to the water. its turn. Thus, there is a continual circulation of Fishes have the power to expand certain portions of air kept up between the polar and equatorial regions their bodies, so as to cause the quantity of water of the earth; combining with the rotation of the they displace to exceed their own weights, or be earth to constitute that prevailing direction of the less than them, according as they wish to rise to the wind towards the tropics, so well known to sailors surface of the water, or to sink to any required depth under the name of the Trade Windt. beneath. Some of them would seem to have the Similar effects to these, produced on the surface power of carrying this expansion still further, so as of the earth by local variations of temperature, conto pass from the water into the air, and displace stitute winds. Thus a sudden fall of rain or snow, a quantity thereof, weighing nearly the same with at any particular spot, may there so increase the themselves; these are called Flying-fish. In the weight of the air, as to make it weigh up all the sur. same manner, there are certain birds which would rounding air ; high winds will be the result, having seem to be able so to contract their dimensions, as to on the earth's surface a direction from the spot where sink in water to any depth they may wish.

condensation has thus taken place. We may easily construct bodies lighter than the We have shown it to be possible, that the air air they displace; the upward pressure of the air which surrounds us may be a heavy fluid, exercising upon such bodies will then exceed their weight, and great pressure upon the surface of our bodies, atthey will ascend in it.

tended by all the phenomena observable in other It is upon this principle that balloons are made. cases of Auid pressure, and yet we ourselves be Certain fluids may be artificially produced which are altogether unconscious of that pressure. We may greatly lighter than the air they displace. These fluids be living in a fluid at the bottom of an ocean, as we are of the kind called gases, or elastic fluids. If a see fish to be living in the sea, receiving large quanlight vessel, capable of containing one of these fluids tities of it at every instant into our bodies, and ex

as, for instance, a bag of glazed paper, or of thin haling it, as we observe a current of water to pass silk--be filled with that fluid, and then left to itself, through the gills of fishes, and yet perceive but few it will immediately begin to ascend, provided the of its properties, scarcely even be made aware of weight of the vessel be not such, as, together with its existence. Accordingly, philosophers reasoned

and speculated for two thousand years on the subject • Which if they did, the air so admitted would increase the of the atmosphere before they discovered that it was weight of the whole by precisely the same quantity by which the air externally displaced was increased.

+ See Saturday Magazine, Vol. IV., p. 6.

« AnteriorContinuar »