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showing his teeth, in a manner that would have terrified his mistress, had she not so well known his good qualities.
'Brave!' she said, 'be quiet, Brave! what do you see, fellow?'
At the sound of her voice, the rage of the mastiff, instead of being at all diminished, was very sensibly increased. He stalked in front of the ladies, and seated himself at the feet of his mistress, growling louder than before, and occasionally giving vent to his ire by a short, surly barking. 'What does he see?' said Elizabeth; there must be some animal in sight.'
Hearing no answer from her companion, Miss Temple turned her head, and beheld Louisa, standing with her face whitened to the color of death, and her finger pointing upward, with a sort of flickering, convulsed motion. The quick eye of Elizabeth glanced in the direction indicated by her friend, where she saw the fierce front and glaring eyes of a female panther, fixed on them in horrid malignity, and threatening instant destruction.
'Let us fly!' exclaimed Elizabeth, grasping the arm of Louisa, whose form yielded like melting snow, and sunk lifeless to the earth.
There was not a single feeling in the temperament of Elizabeth Temple, that could prompt her to desert a companion in such an extremity; and she fell on her knees, by the side of the inanimate Louisa, tearing from the person of her friend, with an instinctive readiness, such parts of her dress as might obstruct her respiration, and encouraging their only safe-guard, the dog, at the same time, by the sound of her voice.
'Courage, Brave!' she cried-her own tones beginning to tremble-' courage, courage, good Brave!'
A quarter-grown cub, that had hitherto been unseen, now appeared, dropping from the branches of a sapling, that grew under the shade of the beech which held its dam. This ignorant but vicious creature approached near to the dog, imitating the actions and sounds of its parent, but exhibiting a strange mixture of the playfulness of a kitten with the ferocity of its race. Standing on its hind legs, it would rend the bark of a tree with its fore paws, and play all the antics of a cat, for a moment; and then, by lashing itself with its tail, growling, and scratching the earth, it would attempt the manifestations of anger that rendered its parent so terrific. All this time, Brave stood firm and undaunted, his short
tail erect, his body drawn backward on its haunches, and his eyes following the movements of both dam and cub. At every gambol played by the latter, it approached nigher to the dog, the growling of the three becoming more horrid at each moment, until the younger beast, overleaping its intended bound, fell directly before the mastiff. There was a moment of fearful cries and struggles; but they ended almost as soon as commenced, by the cub appearing in the air, hurled from the jaws of Brave, with a violence that sent it against a tree so forcibly as to render it completely senseless. Elizabeth witnessed the short struggle, and her blood was warming with the triumph of the dog, when she saw the form of the old panther in the air, springing twenty feet from the branch of the beech to the back of the mastiff. No words of ours can describe the fury of the conflict that followed. It was a confused struggle on the dried leaves, accompanied by loud and terrible crics, barks and growls. Miss Temple continued, on her knees, bending over the form of Louisa, her eyes fixed on the animals, with an interest so horrid, and yet so intense, that she almost forgot her own stake in the result.
So rapid and vigorous were the bounds of the inhabitant of the forest, that its active frame seemed constantly in the air, while the dog nobly faced his foe, at each successive leap. When the panther lighted on the shoulders of the mastiff, which was its constant aim, old Brave, though torn with her talons, and stained with his own blood, that already flowed from a dozen wounds, would shake off his furious foe, like a feather, and, rearing on his hind legs, rush to the fray again, with his jaws distended, and a dauntless eye.
But age, and his pampered life, greatly disqualified the noble mastiff for such a struggle. In every thing but courage, he was only the vestige of what he had once been. A higher bound than ever, raised the wary and furious beast far beyond the reach of the dog-who was making a desperate, but fruitless dash at her from which she alighted, in a favorable position, on the back of her aged foe. For a single moment, only, could the panther remain there, the great strength of the dog returning with a convulsive effort.
Elizabeth saw, as Brave fastened his teeth in the side of his enemy, that the collar of brass around his neck, which had been glittering throughout the fray, was of the color of blood, and, directly, that his frame was sinking to the earth, where it soon lay prostrate and helpless. Several mighty efforts
of the wild-cat to extricate herself from the jaws of the dog, followed; but they were fruitless, until the mastiff turned on his back, his lips collapsed, and his teeth loosened; when the short convulsions and stillness that succeeded, announced the death of poor Brave.
Elizabeth now lay wholly at the mercy of the beast. There is said to be something in the front of the image of the Maker, that daunts the hearts of the inferior beings of his creation; and it would seem that some such power, in the present instance, suspended the threatened blow. The eyes of the monster and the kneeling maiden met, for an instant, when the former stooped to examine her fallen foe; next to scent her luckless cub. From the latter examination it turned, however, with its eyes apparently emitting flashes of fire, its tail lashing its sides furiously, and its claws projecting for inches from its broad feet.
Miss Temple did not, or could not, move. Her hands were clasped in the attitude of prayer; but her eyes were still drawn to her terrible enemy; her cheeks were blanched to the whiteness of marble, and her lips were slightly separated with horror. The moment seemed now to have arrived for the fatal termination; and the beautiful figure of Elizabeth was bowing meekly to the stroke, when a rustling of leaves from behind seemed rather to mock the organs, than to meet her ears.
'Hist! Hist!' said a low voice; 'stoop lower, gall; your bunnet hides the creater's head.'
It was rather the yielding of nature, than a compliance with this unexpected order, that caused the head of our heroine to sink on her bosom; when she heard the report of the rifle, the whizzing of the bullet, and the enraged cries of the beast, who was rolling over on the earth, biting its own flesh, and tearing the twigs and branches within its reach. At the next instant, the form of the Leather-stocking rushed by her; and he called aloud—' Come in, Hector; come in, you old fool; 't is a hard-lived animal, and may jump ag'in.'
Natty maintained his position in front of the maidens, most fearlessly, notwithstanding the violent bounds and threatening aspect of the wounded panther, which gave several indications of returning strength and ferocity, until his rifle was again loaded; when he stepped up to the enraged animal, and, placing the muzzle close to its head, every spark of life was extinguished by the discharge.
The Dead Sea.-SCOTT.
THE burning sun of Syria had not yet attained its highest point in the horizon, when a Knight of the Red Cross, who had left his distant northern home, and joined the host of the crusaders in Palestine, was pacing slowly along the sandy deserts, which lie in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, or, as it is called, the lake Asphaltites, where the waves of the Jordan pour themselves into an inland sea, from which there is no discharge of waters.
The warlike pilgrim had toiled among cliffs and precipices during the earlier part of the morning; more lately, issuing from those rocky and dangerous defiles, he had entered upon that great plain, where the accursed cities provoked, in ancient days, the direct and dreadful vengeance of the Omnipotent.
The toil, the thirst, the dangers of the way, were forgotten, as the traveller recalled the fearful catastrophe, which had converted into an arid and dismal wilderness the fair and fertile valley of Siddim, once well watered, even as the Garden of the Lord, now a parched and blighted waste,· condemned to eternal sterility.
Crossing himself as he viewed the dark mass of rolling waters, in color as in quality unlike those of every other lake, the traveller shuddered as he remembered, that beneath these sluggish waves lay the once proud cities of the plain, whose grave was dug by the thunder of the heavens, or the eruption of subterraneous fire, and whose remains were hid even by that sea which holds no living fish in its bosom, bears no skiff on its surface, and, as if its own dreadful bed were the only fit receptacle for its sullen waters, sends not, like other lakes, a tribute to the ocean.
The whole land around, as in the days of Moses, was 'brimstone and salt; it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth thereon:' the land as well as the lake may be termed dead, as producing nothing having resemblance to vegetation, and even the very air was entirely devoid of its ordinary winged inhabitants, deterred probably by the odor of bitumen and sulphur,which the burning sun exhaled from the water of the lake, in steaming clouds, frequently assuming the appearance of water spouts.
Masses of the slimy and sulphureous substance called naphtha, which floated idly on the sluggish and sullen waves, supplied those rolling clouds with new vapors, and seemed to give awful testimony to the truth of the Mosaic history.
Upon this scene of desolation the sun shone with almost intolerable splendor, and all living nature appeared to have hidden itself from the rays, excepting the solitary figure which moved through the flitting sand at a foot's pace, and appeared the sole breathing thing on the wide surface of the plain.
Reception of Columbus on his Return to Spain.—IRVING.
THE fame of his discovery had resounded throughout the nation, and as his route lay through several of the finest and most populous provinces of Spain, his journey appeared like the progress of a sovereign. Wherever he passed, the surrounding country poured forth its inhabitants, who lined the road and thronged the villages. In the large towns, the streets, windows, and balconies, were filled with eager spectators, who rent the air with acclamations.
His journey was continually impeded by the multitude pressing to gain a sight of him, and of the Indians, who were regarded with as much admiration, as if they had been natives of another planet. It was impossible to satisfy the craving curiosity which assailed himself and his attendants, at every stage, with innumerable questions: popular rumor, as usual, had exaggerated the truth, and had filled the newly found country with all kinds of wonders.
It was about the middle of April, that Columbus arrived at Barcelona, where every preparation had been made to give him a solemn and magnificent reception. The beauty and serenity of the weather, in that genial season and favored climate, contributed to give splendor to this memorable ceremony. As he drew near the place, many of the more youthful courtiers, and hidalgos of gallant bearing, together with a vast concourse of the populace, came forth to meet and welcome him.
His entrance into this noble city has been compared to