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lie comes, the tall jungle before him loud crashing,
"The king of the beasts" is a name applied to the lion, with which every one is familiar. In strength he certainly is unequalled, and being formed to live on animal food, he is fitted for the destruction of animal life, and reigns superior among the weaker quadrupeds. The lion is principally a native of Africa, but is also found in the hotter regions of Asia. The Puma, or American Lion, is a much smaller animal, but very ferocious. The true lion belongs to the Old World exclusively, and the race was formerly very numerous. That they were once found in Europe there can be no doubt. Herodotus records that the baggagecamels of Xerxes were attacked by lions near Mount Athos. Pausanias repeats the same story, and also remarks, that lions often descended into the plains at the foot of Olympus, and that a celebrated wrestler, named Polydenus, slew one of them, although he was unarmed.
Nor is Europe the only part of the world from which the lion has disappeared. They are no longer to be found in Egypt, Palestine, or Syria, where they once were evidently far from uncommon. The frequent allusions to the lion in Holy Scriptures, and the various Hebrew terms there used to distinguish the different ages and sex of the animal, prove a familiarity with the habits of the race. Population and civilisation have driven them within narrower limits, and their extermination has been rapidly worked in modern times, by the introduction of fire-arms. The Romans formerly caused great destruction in the race. Finnennan has shown that a thousand lions were killed at Rome in forty years. Sylla gave a combat of one hundred lions at a time, but this cruel exhibition is insignificant when compared with those of Pompey and Caesar, the former of whom exhibited a fight of six hundred, and the latter of four.
The office of keeper of the wild beasts in the Tower was once thought worthy of being held by persons of high rank. In the first year of Henry VII. we find that he appointed John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, to the keeping of the lions, lionesses, and leopards, in the Tower, with a stipend of twelve pence a-day for himself, and sixpence a-day for every lion, lioness, and leopard. This was to be paid on Michaelmas and Easter days, the Chancellor of England having the power of examining the said keeper, or his deputy, upon oath as to the number of the animals, before the order for the payment for their keeping was given.
The ordinary length of the lion from the end of the muzzle to the insertion of the tail is about six feet, and his height about three feet. The tail is from three to four feet long, and terminated by a tuft of black hair. His colour is a pale tawny brown above, and a somewhat lighter colour beneath. His enormous mane is a characteristic no one can forget, the upper part of his head, his neck and shoulders, being completely covered with
long shaggy hair; on the body the hair is short and smooth. The hind legs are extremely muscular, the spring of the lion depending on the haunches and thighs. The paws, like the rest of the cat kind, are large, and furnished with strong claws between each toe, which the animal can contract or project at pleasure. Soft pads on the toes and middle of the paws enable it to walk silently, and also serve to break the shocks to which its violent leaps and springs would otherwise expose it. The female differs from the male in the want of a mane, in the more slender proportions of her body, and in the comparative smallness of her head. The lion, like the tiger, frequently conceals himself in order to spring upon his prey, bounding to the distance of a great many feet, and seizing it with his claws. It has been stated that a single stroke of his paw is sufficient to break the back of a horse, and that he carries off a middle-sized ox or buffalo with ease. He does not often prey in open sunshine, but at the close of day. The roaring of the lion when in quest of prey resembles the sound of distant