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IN THE INDIAN SEA.

narrow

HALF-WAY ISLAND,

suspended from the top of the tree, and, thus

hanging into the shell below, formed a Half-way Island rises out of the ocean, a pretty channel, or leafy water-coursc. All the shells were green spot on yellow sand. Here we arrived early in in like manner supplied with these strips, and on the the evening; a safe place was selected, and we ground round them, were quantities of the same anchored for the night after which, to our great material, nicely rolled up, as if ready for suspending delight, the captain declared his intention to remain when the others failed. the next day.

The dew and rain there, we may suppose, are the The natives of this island watched our approach, only means by which the natives can procure fresh and no sooner perceived that we were fairly at rest, water; the dew, rising from the ground, and than they betook themselves to a large heavy-looking adhering to the leaves and branches of the trees, falls vessel, something like a Chinese junk, and went out in scanty, but daily portions, whilst the occasional to sea, keeping just within sight of the ship. The shower from heaven fills their shell to overflowing. captain sent a boat's crew on shore, to see if they Only one tree, that we saw, bore any appearance were really all gone, and not a creature appeared, of having fruit, and that was too high to judge if though there were marks of feet of all sizes in the good for food : fish, therefore, is probably their sand, so that it was concluded that they had all greatest, if not only support, and may account for taken refuge in their boat. Late in the evening, the little idol, if such it were, having a fish's head. however, they returned, lighted their fires, and There were rude marks of a cross, and a circle, on seemed busily employed in preparing their supper.

some stones on the shore, but whether cut by themThe next morning, by dawn of day, they again went selves, or sailors touching there, could only be a on board, remaining, as on the preceding evening, matter of conjecture. just within sight of the ship. A boat's crew was

We picked up a great many stones, with the again sent to examine the shore, and finding no one

brown, circular mark in the centre, commonly called there, the captain wished us to have the enjoyment the eye-stone. We brought away with us some of of being a few hours on land ; an unexpected their large shells, some of the leafy rolls prepared pleasure in the midst of the ocean. Our dogs, for the water-course, and some of their matting, Captain and Carlo, seemed to understand, and like twine, and cocoa-nuts ; leaving in their stead, the plan, as well as ourselves, and, after a little potatoes, and glass beads, of which savage nations necessary arrangement, we were safely landed, and are always fond. Whether they liked the exchange, began our ramble. I shall relate all we saw, as I do or considered us cheats, I know not, for they not think any detailed account of the Half-Way continued at sea in their ark of safety, and were, it is Island in the Torres' Straits, has before been given more than likely, wishing our departure from their to the public.

island home. The native huts are placed close under the

[Two Years at Sea, by Jane ROBERTS.] protection of the trees, and consist of staves forced into the ground, and nicely interwoven with branches

WHENCE is this delicate scent in the rose and violet? It of trees. These huts are only high enough for persons is not from the root,—that smells of nothing; not from the in a sitting position. Close to them, is their cooking- stalk,-that is as scentless as the root; not from the earth place, formed by four sticks, stuck upright in the whence it grows, which contributes no more to these flowers ground, and forked at the top, across which were laid than to the grass that grows by them; not from the leaf, other sticks, of hard, heavy, black wood, forming a not from the bud, before it be disclosed, which yields no kind of gridiron ; in and about this place, lay oyster

more fragrance than the leaf, or stalk, or root; yet here I and other shells, as articles of cookery, and drinking- ordinary course of nature ; for all violets and roses of this

now find it; neither is there any miraculous way, but in an cups.

kind yield the same redolence; it cannot be, but that it was In each hut, there were small mats, made by the potentially in that root and stem from which the flowers natives, in different stages of progress ; one was a proceed, and there placed, and thence drawn by that beautiful specimen, very fine, and quite finished. It Almighty Power which hath given these admirable virtues was rolled up with all the working apparatus in it, to several plants, and induces them in his due seasons to which consisted of the leaf of the brab-tree, prepared

these excellent perfections. --Bishop Hall. for plaiting, and a long bone, apparently human, nicely notched and marked in lengths, as if for Give not thy tongue too great a liberty, lest it take thee counting the number and difference of the plait or

prisoner. A word unspoken, is, like the sword in the stitch. There were also string and twine beautifully If thou desire to be held wise, be so wise as to hold thy

scabbard, thine: if vented, thy sword is in another's hand. made from the fibre of the cocoa-nut: numbers of tongue.-QUARLES. these nuts lay about, but they were merely a mass of fibrous substance, without either fruit or moisture. THERE is so much infelicity in the world, that scarce any

Towards the centre of the island, was a place, man has leisure from his own distresses, to estimate the marked out with sticks, stones, and shells, which was

comparative happiness of others. Knowledge is certainly supposed to be either for the burial of the dead, or

one of the means of pleasure, as is confessed by the natural some kind of religious ceremony. , It contained a

desire which every mind feels of increasing its ideas small, black wooden figure, with the head of a fish, duced : it is a vacuity in which the soul sits motionless and

Ignorance is mere privation, by which nothing can be proand ornamented with feathers.

torpid for want of attraction; and, without knowing why, As we could not perceive any appearance of a we always rejoice when we learn, and grieve when we forget. spring or well, the sailors separated to find out what I am therefore inclined to conclude, that if nothing counmeans they had of procuring fresh water, and the teracts the natural consequence of learning, we grow more following ingenious and remarkable contrivance happy as our minds take a wider range.—Johnson. seemed to indicate that it was a luxury which cost the inhabitants some pains to procure.

The world cannot show us a more exalted character, than At the foot of most of the high trees, were placed all things to the glory of God; who, in the objects of his

that of a truly religious philosopher, who delights to turn very large shells of the scollop kind, into which

sight, derives improvement to his mind; and in the glass descended a narrow strip of the brab-tree leaf: we of things tem poral, sees the image of things spiritual.traced this upwards, and it was found to be Jones of Nayland.

THE WILD ASS:

made a pause, and allowed me to approach within THERE will be but few of our readers, we shoula pistol-shot of him. He then darted off again with imagine, who have not been struck with the beautiful the quickness of thought, capering, kicking, and and graphic description of this rare animal, which sporting in his flight, as if he were not blown in the occurs in the book of Job :

least, and the chase were his pastime. Who hath sent out the wild ass free? Or who hath

“He appeared to me to be about ten or twelve loosed the bonds of the wild ass ?

hands high, the skin smooth like a deer's, and of a Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren reddish colour, the belly and hinder parts partaking land * his dwellings.

of a silvery gray; his neck was finer than that of a He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth common ass, being longer, and bending like a stag's, he the crying of the driver.

and his legs beautifully slender; the head and ears The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he seemed large, in proportion to the gracefulness of searcheth after every green thing.

these forms, and by them I first recognised that the As it is one of the objects of the Saturday Magazine object of my chase was of the ass-tribe. The mane to furnish notices of any remarkable or interesting was short and black, as was also a tuft which terspecimen of natural history, we have thought it minated his tail. No line whatever ran along his desirable to draw up the subjoined sketch of the back, or crossed his shoulders, as are seen on the history and habits of an animal, which has never yet tame species with us. When my followers of the been brought beneath the control of man, and of country came up, they regretted I had not shot the which, the species will, in all probability, cease to creature when he was so within my aim, telling me exist at no great distance of time; for experience his flesh is one of the greatest delicacies in Persia ; tells us, that as civilization advances, the haunts of but it would not have been to eat him that I should wild animals are gradually but effectually invaded, have been glad to have had him in my possession, until their scanty remnants are either applied to the prodigious swiftness and peculiar manner with useful purposes, or the race has become utterly which he fled across the plain exactly, coincided with extinct.

the description that XENOPHON I gives of the same The Ass is mentioned at a very early period in the animal in Arabia. sacred records, and has, from time immemorial, been

“ I was informed by the Mehmandár , who had held in Eastern countries, in as high estimation for been in the desert when making a visit to the shrine ordinary purposes as the horse is with ust. Of the of Alill, that the wild ass of Irak Arabi differs in Wild Ass, we are not aware that any mention is nothing from the one I had just seen. He had made, of an earlier date than that in the Book of observed them often, for a short time, in the possesJob above quoted. It is also alluded to by the sion of the Arabs, who told him the creature was prophet Jeremiah, and in other passages of Scripture ; perfectly untameable.' and the singular correctness of these passages, as

The Honouravle Mountstuart Elphinstone, in his descriptive of the peculiar characteristics of this account of his embassy to Cabul, states that this animal, will be speedily recognised, when compared animal is an inhabitant of the desert between India with the more recent accounts furnished by modern and Affghánistán, where it is sometimes met with travellers, amongst which, one of the most full and alone, but more frequently in herds. It resembles a interesting is that furnished by the gentleman from mule rather than an ass, but is of the colour of the whose work we have borrowed the illustration of latter. It is remarkable for its shyness, and still this article; viz., Sir Robert Ker Porter, now His

more for its speed, as at a kind of shuffling trot it Majesty's Consul at Caraccas.

leaves the swiftest horse behind. We may suppose, Sir Robert, on his route from Isfahán to Shiraz, from this account, that the animal noticed by Mr. had just entered the province of Fars, when his grey. Elphinstone differs in colour from those seen by Sir hound suddenly started off in pursuit of an animal, Robert Porter, and this would also seem to be the which was stated by the Persians in company, from

case in other respects with those found in Cutch, the glimpse they had of it, to be an antelope. The judging from the description of them furnished by party immediately put spurs to their horses, and a correspondent of the Asiatic Journal, (vol. i., p. 156,) after an unrelaxed gallop of full three miles, they who states that the singular marshy tract in that came up with the dog which was then within a short province termed the Runn, is resorted to by them. stretch of the creature he pursued, and to Sir Robert's On one occasion, he discovered several herds, and surprise and vexation, he saw it to be an ass. "But,” wishing to have a better view, he galloped towards to use his own words, on a moment's reflection,

them, but was unable to get nearer than twenty judging, from its fleetness, it must be a wild one, a yards, though they did not appear to be at full speed. species little known in Europe, but which the Per. He says distinctly, that the ears and shoulder-stripe şians prize above all others as an object of chase, I

were like those of the common kind, while the head determined to approach as near to it as the very appeared longer, and the limbs more strongly and swift Arab horse on which I was mounted, would roughly formed. They breed on the banks and saltcarry me,

But the single instance of checking my islands of the Runn, and live longer than the tame horse to consider, had given our game such a head

species. of us, that notwithstanding all our speed, we could

In Buffon's System of Natural History, they are not recover our ground on him, I, however, hap- said to be found in the Archipelago, and in the pened to be considerably before my companions, deserts of Northern Africa; they go in troops, are when, at a certain distance, the animal in its turn very swift, and of a gray colour, but not of so elegant In KLEIN's Système Naturel du Règne Animal, they animal appeared to Mr. Moorcroft to be about fourare named as follows :-ANE SAUVAGE, Asinus Syl- teen hands high, of a round muscular form, and with vestris, Asini ferus, or Onager; which last term is remarkably clean limbs. derived from the Greek, and is sometimes spelt The Wild Ass is termed in Persia Kúr or Gúr, and Angra.

. It is remarkable that this is rendered salt places in the margin, a figure as the zebra. and the wild ass is still found in the salige marshes of Cutch, as will be noticed hereafter,

Vide Anabasis, b. 1. + One of the peculiarities of Bagdad 18 its race

white asses,

An officer especially appoimed to attend strangers visiting Persia. which, as at Cairo, are saddled and bridled for the convenience of || Meshed Ali, the burial-place of Ali, (nephew to Mohammed, passengers from one part of the town to another; wheeled carriages and by the Persians considered his legitimate successor,) is a small of any description being unknown. These are equally as large and town situated in the desert near the Euphrates, several hours' journey spirited as the Egyptian ass, and have as easy and speedy a pace. from Hillah, the site of the anciegt Babylon. It is, singularly They are frequently spotted over with colours, and otherwise fan enough, chiefly inhabited by Sunnis, or those who hold that Oma” tasacally marked with red stains of the Henna plant.- BUCKING- was the rightful heir to the Khalifat; their opponents, the followers HAN's Travels

of Ali are termed Shiúhs.

in Sinde and Cabul, as before mentioned, Górkhar. The slight discrepancies which occur in these The chase of this animal seems to have been at all various descriptions, may very easily be accounted times a favourite amusement with the people of the for, by supposing that they relate to different varieties East, for Josephus mentions that Herod the Great of the same species, or to the influence of local cir- killed forty of them on one occasion; and to the cumstances.

national passion of the Persians for hunting so wild An account of a similar species of animal, found an object, that country owed the loss of one of its by the late Mr. Moorcroft* in Ladákh, is given by most estimable sovereigns, Baharam the Fifth, sur. that gentleman, in the Transactions of the Royal named Gúr, from his fondness for this sport, and his Asiatic Society.“ In the eastern part of this princi- general success in the pursuit of an animal

, almost pality," he says, “there is a nondescript wild variety as fleet as the wind. With the account of this cataof horse, which I shall call Equus Kiáng, perhaps more strophe, which, although it occurred fourteen hundred nearly allied to the ass than the horse, in some par- years ago, yet forms the subject of a romantic tale ticulars, but differing from the Gúrkhar of Sinde, of related to the passing traveller by the natives of the which I obtained a female of great beauty. It is an spot, we conclude this article. animal, which, excepting its ears, resembles more an “ The ruling passion of Baharam was the love of antelope, in the beauty of its eye, and the vivacity of the chase. His favourite game was the gour, or wild its movements, than the sluggish animal with which ass, which is both strong and fleet; and it was in it is classed, though unquestionably of the same pursuit of one of these that he lost his life, having family with the ass.” Mr. M. proceeds to state, that suddenly come upon a deep pool, into which his he set out on an expedition, estimated to last two horse plunged, and neither the animal nor his royal months, with the view of shooting some Kiángs. He rider was seen again. This accident happened in a had just reached the country in which they were to fine valley between Shiráz and Isfahán, which to be found, after eighteen days' march, during which this day is called the Vale of Heroes, from being (on his party suffered considerably from the severity of account of its fine pasture and abundance of game) the weather, when he was recalled on urgent business. the favourite resort, from the earliest ages, of He, however, directed a native to lie in wait, and the kings and nobles of Persia. The whole of this offered him a suitable remuneration for the skin, valley abounds in springs, some of which are very head, and organs of voice, for dissection. The large, and of great depth; their sources under ground

• The premature death of this enterprising traveller, has unfortu- are supposed to communicate. It is not surprising, nately, prevented the

execution of many plans which he had formed, therefore, that the body of Baharam was never for the introduction of new animals and other natural products into found, although every search was made for it by his Great Britain ; and even the manuscripts which he left behind him have been hitherto lost to the world: but we are happy to learn, on the

inconsolable mother t." authority of Lieutenant Burnes, that steps have recently been taken to obtain possession of them, from the parties who now hold them.

+ Sur Joux Malcola's History of Persia.

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THE WILD ASS OF THE DESERT.

LONDON : Published by JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND; and sold by all Booksellers,

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THE TALAPAT PÁLM.

brought home by Mr. J. W. Bennett, and now to We have already* described a singular specimen of be seen in the Museum of King's College, London, the rich and varied natural productions of Ceylon,

measures thirty-six feet in circumference. namely, the “Forbidden Fruit," or · Eve's Apple

The pith resembles that of the Sago-palm, (Catree,” of that island. We now present an engraving ryota urens), and is used as food in times of scarcity. frorn the original drawing t by the late Mr. S. Daniell, This

is also the case in Malabar, where, according to of another interesting object, belonging to the same

Dr. Buchanan Hamilton, one tree yields ten puddies, class. The properties of the former plant, so far as

or rather more than two pecks and a quarter, of a they have yet been discovered, are of a noxious quality, powder fit for this purpose. The period when it is but the noble Palm which we now describe, is not

most employed in Malabar, is from the middle of only worthy of admiration for its appearance, but July to the middle of August; the people in general almost every part of it is capable of being applied to being so improvident, that by this time their stock purposes of practical utility.

of grain is nearly exhausted, and sells for almost The Talapát Palm, called also Codda Pana, Taliha, double the price that is demanded immediately after &c., is the Corypha umbraculifera of Willdenow : and harvest. Many of these palms are raised from the is named in Dr. Davy's work Licuala spinosa. It is a seed, in the gardens of the middle divisions of native of Ceylon, where it grows among the mountains Malabar. The leaves serve for thatch, umbrellas, and in the interior, but is not confined to that island,

as a substitute for paper; but for the former purpose being also found in the Burman empire, and in some

they are not considered so eligible as those of the parts of the southern peninsula of India. The largest Coco-palm, (Cocos nucifera,) the latter being twice dimensions which are generally assigned to it, are

as durable as those of the Talapát. Ten leaves are one hundred and fifty or sixty feet in height, and nine produced annually by this palm: it flowers, if peror ten feet in circumference round the trunk. Perhaps mitted to live so long, at the age of twenty years, the average height may be taken at about 140 feet, and dies soon after having ripened its fruit; but and the duration of the tree at about eighty years.

it is generally cut down when about fifteen years The brief and quaint, but accurate description of old. Dr. Davy, who also saw one of the Talapáts it by Knox is as follows. “ This tree is as big

in and tall as a ship's mast, and very straight, bears "blossom, states that it is never found wild.

The leaves when dried are of a coriaceous texture, ing only leaves, which are of great use and benefit and may be folded up like a fan, the ribs or joints to the inhabitants of Ceylon: one single leaf being

being hard and firm, like canes. The thin connecting so broad and large, that it will cover fifteen or twenty portions, or folds, are prepared for writing upon, by men, and keep them dry when it rains. The leaf, being steeped in milk : they will then readily take an being dried, is very strong and limber, and most impression from the point of an iron stylus, such as wonderfully made for men's convenience to carry

was anciently used by the Romans & for writing with along with them, for though it be thus broad when

on tablets of wax; these leaves are commonly open, yet it folds close like a lady's fan, and then is

termed olas, and books made of them are remarkably no bigger than a man's arm, and extremely light.”

durable, for many which have been in existence In the first volume of the Oriental Annual, edited upwards of five centuries, are in excellent preservation. by the Rev. Hobart Caunter, is a description of Some very fine palms will yield folds five inches in the scene represented in our engraving.

« On the width, and these are very valuable; but when these banks of the Calany-river,” says Mr. Caunter,

cannot be met with, the natives ingeniously contrive had the gratifying opportunity of seeing a Talipát to fasten two together, and give them a polished Palm in full blossom, which is by no means a thing the case with the splendid manuscripts containing

surface of varnish and gilding: this is particularly of common occurrence. The scene in which we witnessed this remarkable effort of nature was very

the sacred writings of the Budd'hists, many of which through which the river wound its irregular way, obtained from a peculiar kind of tree, named by the novel and imposing; it opened on a confined valley, were brought from Ava, during the late war: the and upon whose transparent bosom were several boats pursuing their quiet course, to the rough, but Burmese, P'heet-tsee, or wood-oil tree. not discordant, song of the Ceylonese mariner. Our

All books relating to their religion, and other works attention was also particularly arrested by several of importance are written on these leaves; but in Mala. rafts on this river, over each of which a complete bar, accounts, and matters of inferior moment, are kept canopy was thrown, formed of a single leaf of the

on the leaves of the palmyra. The Royal Asiatic Society Talipát, that entirely covered both freight and crew.

possesses a fine collection of all the various kinds of This extraordinary tree, certainly among the palm-leaf manuscripts, and among them, a complete most singular productions of the vegetable kingdom, and perfect copy of the most important of the grows sometimes to the height of 200 feet. It

Budd'hist records, called the Pansiyapanasjatakáya, blossoms only once during its existence, then dies, which comprises 1172 leaves or 2344 pages, each and in dying, like the fabled phoenix, sheds the seeds leaf being inscribed on both sides. A native, it is of a future generation around it: the flower, which estimated, will write on an average, about four of bursts forth with a loud explosion, is occasionally this book must have occupied about 586 days. The

these pages each day; consequently, the copying of thirty feet in length. The tree which we saw was not above 100 feet high, and measured nearly seven

title of this extraordinary work, is derived from pan, feet round; but they are sometimes much larger: five; siya, hundred ; panas, fifty; jatakúya, incarnathe fruit is about the size of a twenty-four pound tions : signifying the history of the five hundred cannon-shot, and contains a thick pulp, with seeds and fifty transmigrations, through every state of like the Palmyra, (Borassus flabelliformis.)"

existence, from reptile to Deity, which Budd'ha Mr. Caunter adds, that a leaf of ordinary dimen- underwent during his probation for that brightest and sions, which he saw, covered fourteen men; one

most sacred character: it was originally written in

Páli, and was translated subsequently, into Singhalese. See Saturday Magazine, Vol. V., p. 90.

It is very difficult to meet with an entire copy, and + The Palm in the annexed illustration is copied by permission, the one in question was copied for Sir ALEXANDER froin a drawing in the collection formed by the Right Hon. Sir Alexander Jolinston, to which we have before been indebted

See Saturday Magazine, Vol. V., p.51

JOHN W. PARKER, Printer, Wont Slrund, London

we

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