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least prospect of having, for a time, a roof to preserve them from the scorching rays of the sun, must soon, from the heavy rains of the autumn and winter, be deprived of every resource ; for the few effects they have been able to save, must be sold for their sustenance.
RENCONTRE BETWEEN ONE OF THE MISSIONARIES AND A TIGER.
raine Mr. Latrobe relates a rencontre between Mr. Schmitt, one of the missionaries, and a tiger; which, though published in some of their accounts, cannot fail to prove interesting to many readers. It happened in 1811; and Mr. Latrobe visited the spot in company with Mr. Sehmitt, and heard him there relate it :
autem “ Wolves having done much mischief at Groene Kloof, an attempt was made to destroy them. For that purpose, the missionaries, set out early in the morning towards the Lanweskloof hill. One of these animals was seen, and lamed by a shot, but escaped and entered the bushes. The Hottentots followed, and called to the missionaries, that the wolf was in the thicket. Brother Schmitt rode back, and, alighting, entered with a Hottentot of the name of Philip Moses. The dog started some animal, which those within the thicket could not see; but the Hottentots on the outside perceiving it to be tiger, called aloud to the missionary to return. He, therefore, with Philip, began the retreat backwards, pointing his gun, and ready to fire, in case the animal made its appearance. Suddenly a tiger sprang forwards, but from a quarter not expected, and, by a flying leap over the bushes, fastened upon the Hottentot, seizing his nose and face with claws and teeth. I measured the distance from whence the tiger made his spring, to that on which the Hottentot stood, and found it full twenty feet, over bushes from six to eight feet high. Brother Schmit observed, that had it not been for the horror of the scene, it would have been an amusing sight, to behold the enraged creature fly, like a bird, over that length of ground and bushes, with open jaw and lashing tail, screaming with violence. Poor Philip was thrown down, and, in the conflict, lie now upon, now under the tiger. The missionary might easily have effected his escape, but his own safety never entered his thoughts,-duty and pity made him instantly run forwards to the assistance of the sufferer. He pointed his gun, but the motions both of the Hottentot and tiger, in rolling about and struggling, were so swift, that he durst not venture to pull the trigger, lest he should injure Philip. The tiger perceiving him take aim, instantly quitted its hold, worked himself from under the Hottentot, and flew like lighting upon Brother Schmitt. As the gun was of no use in such close quarters, he let it fall, and presented his left arm to shield his face. The tiger seized it with its jaw,- Brother Schmitt, with the same arm, catching one of its paws, to prevent its outstretched claws from reaching his body. With the other paw, however, the tiger continued striking towards his breast, and tearing his clothes. Both fell in the scuffle, and, providentially, in such a position, that the missionary's knee came to rest on the pit of the tiger's stomach. At the same time, he grasped the animal's throat with his right-hand, keeping him down with all his might. The seizure of his throat made the tiger instantly quit its hold, but not before brother Schmitt had received another bite, 'nearer the elbow. His face lie right over that of the tiger's, whose open mouth, from the pressure of the windpipe, sent forth the most hideous, hoarse, and convulsive groans, while its starting eyes, like live coals, seemed to flash with fire. In this situation, brother Schmitt called aloud to the Hottentots, to come to his rescue, for his strength was fast failing; rage and agony supplying to the animal extraordinary force in its attempts to disengage himself
. The Hottentots at last ventured to enter the thicket; and one of them, snatching the loaded gun, presented it, and shot the tiger, under the missionay's hand, right through the heart. Brother Schmitt and Philip were materially injured in the conflict.”
At Tunbridge, in the year 1715, a gentleman, whose name was Hedges, made a very brilliant appearance : he had been married about two years to a young lady of great beauty and large fortune ; they had one child, a boy, on whom they bestowed all that affection which they could spare from each other. He knew nothing of gaming, nor seemed to have the least passion for play, but he was unacquainted with his own heart; he began by degrees to bet at the tables for triling sums, and his soul took fire at the prospect of immediate gain;, he was soon surrounded with sharpers, who with calmness lay in ambụsh for his fortune, and coolly took advantage of the precipitancy of his passions,
His lady perceived the ruin of her family approaching, but at first, without being able to form any scheme to prevent it. She advised with her brother, who at that time was possessed of a fellowship in Cambridge. It was easily seen, that whatever passion: took the lead in her husband's mind, seemed to be there fixed unalterably; it was determined therefore, to let him pursue fortune, but previously take measures to prevent the pursuit being fatal. Accordinglyt
this gentleman was a constant attendant at the hazard tables, he understood neither the arts of sharpers, nor even the allowed strokes of a connoisseur, yet he still played. The consequence is obvious; he lost his estate, his equipage, . his wife's jewels, and every other moveable that could be parted with, except a repeating watch. His agony upon this occasion was inexpressible , he was even mean enough to ask a gentleman who sat near him, to lend him a few pieces, in order to turn his fortune ; but this prudent gamester, who plainly saw there were no expectations of being repaid, refused to lend a farthing, alledging a former resolution against lending. Hedges was at last furious with the continuance of ill success, and pulling out his watch, asked if any person in company would set him sixty guineas upon; it ; the company were silent; he then demanded ifty; still no answer ; he sunk to forty, thirty, twenty ; finding the company still without answering, he cried out, by G-d it shall never go for less, and dashed it against the floor ; at the same time, attempting to dash out his brains against the marble chimney-piece.
This last act of desperation immediately excited the attention of the whole company ; they instantly gathered round, and prevented the effects of his passion, and after he again became cool, he was permitted to return home, with sullen discontent to his wife. Upon his entering her apartment, she received him with her usual tenderness and satisfaction; while he answered her caresses with contempt and severity ; his disposition being quite altered by his misfortunes. But, my dear Jemmy, says his wife, perhaps you do not know the news I have to tell; my mamma's old uncle is dead, the messenger is now in the house, and you know his estate is settled upon you.” This account only seemed to increase his agony, and looking angrily at her, said, "You mistake, madam, his estate is not settled upon me.” “I beg your pardon" says she, I really thought it was, at least you have always told me so.” "No" returned he was sure as you and I are to be miserable here, and our children' beggars hereafter, I have sold the reversion of it to-day, and have lost every farthing I got for it at the hazard table." *** What, all ?" replied the lady,
Yes, every farthing," returned he, “and I owe á thousand pounds more than I have to pay. Thus speaking, he took a few frantic steps across the room. When the lady had a little enjoyed his perplexity" No, my dear,", cried she, you have lost but a trifle, and you'owe nothing ; our brother and I have taken care to prevent your rashness, and are the only persons who have won your fortune; we employed proper persons for this purpose, who brought their winnings to me; your money, and'equipage, are in my possession, and I return them to you, from whom they were unjustly taken. I only ask permission to keep my jewels, and to keep you, my dearest jewel, from such dangers for the futhre. Her prútlence had the proper effect; he ever after retained a sense of his former follies, and neyer played with the smallest sums, even för amusement.
Now shifting gales with milder influence blow, time
The earlier part of this month may still be reckoned winter; though the cold generally begins to abate. The days are sensibly lengthened ; and the sun has power enough gradually to melt away the snow and ice. Sometimes a sudden thaw comes on, with a south wind, and rain, which at once dissolves the snow. Torrents of water then descend from the hills ; every little brook and rill is swelled to a large stream ; and the ice is swept away with great violence from the rivers. The frost, however, returns for a time ; fresh snow falls, often in great quantities ; and thus the weather alternately changes during most part of this month.
Various signs of returning spring occur at different times in February. The woodlark, one of the earliest and sweetest of our songsters, often begins his note at the very entrance of the month. Not long after rooks begin to pair, and geese to lay. The thrush and Chaffinch then add to the early music of the groves.
Moles go to work in throwing up their hillocks as soon as the earth is softened.—Under some of the largest, a little below the surface of the earth, they make their nests of moss, in which four or five young are found at a time. These animals live on worms, insects, and the roots of plants. They do mnch mischief in gardens, by loosening and devouring flower-roots ; but in the fields do no other damage than rendering the surface of the ground unequal by their hillocks, which obstruct the sithe in mowing. They are said also to pierce the sides of dams and canals, and let out the water : but this can only be an accidental occurence, attended with their own destruction.
Many plants emerge from under ground in February, but few flowers yet adorn the fields or gardens. Snow-drops in general are fully opened from the beginning of the month, often peeping from the midst of the snow:
Already now the snow-drop dares appear,
The alder-tree discloses its flower-buds; the cakins of hazel become very conspicuous in the edges; and young leaves appear on the gooseberry and current bushes. The farmer is impatient to begin his work in the fields, as soon as the ground is sufficiently thawed. He ploughs up his fallows ; sows beans and pease, rye and spring wheat; sets early potatoes; drains his wet land; dresses and repairs hedges ; lops trees and plants, those kinds which love a wet soil, as poplars and willows.