H́nh ảnh trang

lowed the fissures formed between the sand-hills in mud baked by the rays of the sun. A crust of salt covered the surface, and resembled a snowy plain, from which a few stunted shrubs raised their heads. We arrived, all at once, at the lake; I say all at once, because I thought we were yet at a considerable distance from it. No murmur, no cooling breeze announced the approach to its margin. The strand, bestrewed with stones, was hot; the waters of the lake were motionless, and absolutely dead along the shore.

"It was quite dark. The first thing I did on alighting, was to walk into the lake up to the knees, and to taste the water. I found it impossible to keep it in my mouth. It far exceeds that of the sea in saltness, and produces upon the lips the effect of a strong solution of alum. Before my boots were completely dry, they were covered with salt; our clothes, our hats, our hands, were, in less than three hours, impregnated with this mineral.

"We pitched our camp on the brink of the lake, and the Bethlehemites made fire to prepare coffee. There was no want of wood, for the shore was strewed with branches of tamarind-trees brought by the Arabs. Besides the salt which these people find ready formed in this place they extract it from the water by ebullition. Such is the force of habit, that our Bethlehemites, who had proceeded with great caution over the plain, were not afraid to kindle a fire which might so easily betray us.

"My companions went to sleep, while I alone remained awake with our Arabs. About midnight I heard a noise upon the lake. The Bethlehemites told me it proceeded from legions of small fish which come and leap about on the shore. This contradicts the opinion generally adopted, that the Dead Sea produces no living creature. Pococke, when at Jerusalem, heard of a missionary who had seen fish in Lake Asphaltites. Hasselquist and Maundrell discovered shell-fish on the shore.

"The moon, rising at two in the morning, brought with her a strong breeze, which, without cooling the air, produced a slight undulation on the surface of the lake. The waves charged with salt, soon subsided by their own weight, and scarcely broke against the shore. A dismal sound proceeded from the lake of death, like the stifled clamours of the people engulphed in its waters. The dawn appeared on the opposite mountains of Arabia. The Dead Sea, and the valley of the Jordan, glowed with an admirable tint; but this rich appearance served only to heighten the desolation of the scene. "The shores of the Dead Sea are without birds, without trees, without verdure; and its waters excessively bitter, and so heavy, that the most impetuous winds can scarcely ruffle their surface." [Having in the morning quit ted its banks, and advanced to some considerable distance, he says,] "The Arabs all at once stopped, and pointed at something that I had not yet remarked, at the bottom of a ravine. Unable to make out what it was, I perceived what appeared to be sand in motion. On drawing nearer this singular object, I beheld a yellow current which I could scarcely distinguish from the sand on its shores. It was deeply sunk below its banks, and its sluggish stream rolled slowly on. This was

the Jordan."

M. Chateaubriand's visit, on his return to Egypt and Barbary, was very transient; and is chiefly remarkable for an examination of the ruins of Carthage, the account of which it was not necessary to introduce by a whole history of the fortunes of that city. -He returned through Spain, in order to inspect the Alhambra, and the other Moorish remains; but he has not taken the opportunity of amplifying his work by describing them.

By reason of the want of a map, we have found our author's account of the ruins of Carthage, confused and imperfect. The slightest sketch would have remedied this evil. He confesses, however, that he "danced on the ruins of Carthage :" as he visited a family, which kept the carnival with dancings though surrounded by Moors and Barbarians. This occurrence gives occasion to some just remarks on the character of nations, and the recollection of a story, that is amusing enough: with it, we conclude our account of these mixed but entertaining volumes :

"The national character cannot be extinguished. Our seamen have a saying, that in founding new colonies, the Spaniards begin with building a church, the English a tavern, and the French a fort, and, I would add, a ball-room. When I was in America, on the fortiers of the country of the Savages, I was informed that in the next day's journey I should meet with a 'countryman of mine among the Indians. On my arrival among the Cayougas, a tribe belonging to the Iroquois nation, my guide conducted me into a forest. In the midst of this forest stood a kind of barn, in which I found about a score of savages of both sexes, bedaubed like conjurers, with their bodies half naked, their ears cut into figures, ravens' feathers on their heads, and rings passed through their nostrils. A little Frenchman, powdered and frizzed in the old fashion, in a pea-green coat, a drugget waistcoat, muslin frill and ruffles, was scraping away on his kit, and making these Iroquois dance to the tune of Madelon Friquet. M. Violet, for that was his name, followed the profession of dancing-master among the Savages, by whom he was paid for his lessons in beaver skins and bears' hams. He had been a scullion in the service of General Rochambeau, during the American war; but remaining at New York after the return of the French army, he resolved to give the Americans instructions in the fine arts. His views having enlarged with his success, the new Orpheus resolved to introduce civilization even among the roving hordes of the New World. In speaking to me of the Indians, he always styled them: Ces messieurs Sauvages, and Ces dames Sauvages. He bestowed great praise on the agility of his scholars, and in truth never did I witness such gambols in my life. M. Violet, holding his fiddle between his chin and his breast, tuned the fatal instrument; he then cried out in Iroquois : To your places! and the whole troop fell a capering like a band of demons. Such is the genius of nations!


3 E




With Observations on its intellectual Faculties. By Cuvier.

THE female ourang-outang, which forms the subject of my observations, belonged to the same species with the ourang-outangs described by Tulpius, Edwards, Vosmaer, Allamand, and Buffon: it is the Sima Satyrus of Linnæus. When erect in its natural position its height did not exceed from 26 to 30 inches: the length of the arms from the armpits to the tips of the fingers was 18 inches, and the lower extremities from the top of the thigh to the tarsus were only from eight to nine inches. The upper jaw had four sharp incisors, the two in the middle were double the breadth of the lateral, two short canine teeth, similar to those of men, and three molaria on each side, with soft tubercles. The lower jaw had also four incisors, two canine teeth, and six molaria, but the incisors were of equal size. The number of the molaria was not complete. The germ of a tooth was seen on each side at the extremity of the upper and under jaws, and it is probable that others would be produced at subsequent periods. The form of these teeth was the same with that of the molaria of men and apes in general.

The hands had five fingers precisely like those of men, only the thumb extended no further than the first joint of the fore finger. The feet also had five toes, but the great toe was placed much lower than that of a man, and in its ordinary position, instead of being parallel to the other toes, it formed with them nearly a right angle. All the toes were similar in structure to the fingers, and were very free in their motions, and the whole of them without exception had nails. It had almost no calves to the legs, or buttocks. The head resembled that of a man, much more than that of any animal; the forehead was high and salient, and the capacity of the cranium was great; but the neck was very short. The tongue was soft and similar to that of other apes;

and, although the lips were extremely thin and scarcely apparent, they possessed the power of extension in a considerable degree. The nose, which was completely flat and on a level with the face at its base, was slightly salient at its extremity, and the nostrils opened downwards. The eyes were like those of other apes, and the ears completely resembled those of men.

The vulva was very small, its labia scarcely perceptible, and the clitoris entirely hid; but on each side of the vulva there was a flesh-coloured streak where the skin seemed to be softer than that of the other parts. Is this an indication of labia? Two mammæ were placed on the breast like those of females. The belly was naturally very large. This animal had neither tail nor callosities.

It was almost entirely covered with a reddish hair, more or less dark in colour, and of various thicknesses on the different parts of the body. The colour of the skin was generally that of slate; but the ears, the eyelids, the muzzle, the inside of the hands and feet, the mammæ, and a longitudinal band on the right side of the belly, were of copper-coloured skin. The hair of the head, of the fore arms, and of the legs, was of a deeper red than that of the other parts; and on the head, the back, and the upper part of the arms it was thicker than any where else: the belly was but scantily supplied with it, and the face still less: the upper lip, the nose, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet, alone were bare. The nails were black, and the eyes brown. All the hair was woolly, that of the fore-arm grew upwards, as did that of the arm downwards to the elbow. The hair of the head, which was harder in general than that of the other parts, grew forward. The skin, but chiefly that of the face, was coarse and rough, and that under the neck was so flabby that the animal seemed to have a goitre when lying on its side.

The ourang-outang in question was entirely formed for living among trees. When it wanted to ascend a tree, it laid hold of the trunk or branches with its hands and feet, making use of its arms only and not of its thighs, as a man would do in similar circumstances. It could pass easily from one tree to another when the branches met, so that in a thick forest it would never be necessary for it to descend to the ground, on which it moves with considerable difficulty. In general, all its motions are slow, but they seem to be painful when it is made to walk from one place to another; at first it rests its two hands on the ground, and brings its hinder parts slowly forward until its feet are between its hands or fore paws; afterwards, supporting itself on its hind legs, it advances the upper part of its body, rests again on its hands as at first, and thus moves forward. It is only when we take it by one hand that it walks on its feet, and in this case it uses its other hand to

support it. I have scarcely ever seen it stand firmly on the sole of the foot; most frequently it only rested on the outer edge, apparently desirous of preserving its toes from all friction on the ground; nevertheless it sometimes rested on the whole of the foot, but in this case it kept the two last phalanges bent inwards except the great toe, which was stretched out. When resting, it sat on its buttocks with its legs folded under it in the manner of the inhabitants of the East. It lay indiscriminately on its back or on its side, drawing up its legs and crossing its hands over its breast; and it was fond of being covered, for it drew over it all the clothes it could reach.

This animal used its hands in all the essential motions in which men employ theirs; and it is evident that it only requires experience to enable it to use them on almost every occasion. It generally carried its food to its mouth with its fingers; but sometimes also it seized it with its long lips; and it was by suction that it drank, like all other animals which have lips capable of being lengthened. It made use of its sense of smelling in order to decide upon the nature of the aliments which were presented to it, and which it was not acquainted with, and it seemed to consult this sense with great assiduity. It ate, almost indiscriminately, fruit, pulse, eggs, milk, and animal food: bread, coffee, and oranges, were its most favourite aliments; and it once emptied an ink-bottle which came in its way, without being incommoded. It had no particular times for going to meals, and ate at all seasons like an infant. Its sight and hearing were good. Music made no impression upon it. The mammiferæ are not formed by nature to be sensible to its charms, none of their wants seem to require it, and even with mankind it is an artificial want; on savages it has no other effect than a noise would have.

When defending itself, our ourang-outang bit and struck with its hands; but it was only against children that it showed any roguery, and it was always caused by impatience rather than anger. In general it was gentle and affectionate, and seemed to delight in society. It was fond of being caressed, gave real kisses, and seemed to experience a great deal of pleasure in sucking the fingers of those who approached it; but it did not suck its own fingers. Its cry was guttural and sharp, but it was only heard when it eagerly wanted any thing. All its signs were then very expressive; it darted its head forward in order to show its disapprobation, pouted when it was not obeyed, and when angry it cried very loudly, rolling itself on the ground. On these occasions its neck was prodigiously swelled.

By the above description, it will be seen that the ourang-outang in question had attained a size sufficiently great for its age, which was not more than 15 or 16 months; its teeth, limbs, and powers,

« TrướcTiếp tục »