Page images

To the Editor of the Oxford Enter.

small ones. After they had gone taininy Miscellany.

through their religious ceremo.

nies most devontly, they appeared MR. EDITOR,

to take an eternal farewell of each If you think the other : this done, one of them refollowing account, of the Arabian tired from the room, and shut the method of charming serpents, door tight after him. The Arab will amuse any of your numerous within seemed to be in dreadful readers, you will oblige me by distress : I could observe his inserting it.

heart throb, and his bosom heave X.

most violently; and he cried out A person who was a spectator very loudly, “ Allah honakibeer," of this horrible ceremony, thus three times; which is, as I undercommences his description of it. stood it, “God have mercy on

I was placed by one of the me.” The Arab was at the fara priests, so that I could look freely thest end of the room : at that and uninterruptedly into the room instant the cage was opened, and where the ceremony was to be a serpent crept out slowly; he performed. It was about 20 feet was about 4 feet long, and 8 inchlong, and 15 broad, paved with es in circumference; his colours tiles, and plastered within. The were the most beautiful in nature, windows had also been secured being bright, and variegated with by an additional grating, made of a deep yellow, a purple, a cream wire, in such a manner as render- colour, black and brown; spotted, ed it impossible for the serpents &c. As soon as he saw the Arab to escape from the room ; it had in the room, his eyes, which were but one door, and that had a hole small and green, kindled aś with cut through it 6 or 8 inches square; fire; he erected himself in a sethis hole was also secured by a cond, his head 2 feet high; and grating In the room stood two darting on the defenceless Arab, men who appeared to be Arabs, seized him between the folds of with long bushy hair and beards; his neck, just above his right hip and I was told they were a parti-bone, hissing most horribly; the cular kind of men who could Arab gave a horrid shriek when charm serpents. A wooden box, another serpent came out of the about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, cage. The last was black, very was placed near the doors, with a shining, and appeared to be 7 or string fastened to a slide at one 8 feet long, but no more than 2 end of it; this string went inches in diameter. As soon as through a hole in the door. The he had cleared the cage, he cast two serpent eaters were dressed his red fiery eyes on his intends inaiks only, and those veryl od victim, thrust out his forked

[ocr errors]


tongue, threw himself into a coil, til he ceased to move, and

appearerected his head 3 feet from the ed to have expired. In his last floor, and, flattening out the skin struggle he had wounded the above his head and eyes, in the black serpent with his teeth, as form, and nearly the size of a hu- he was striving as it were, to man heart, and springing like force his head into his mouth, lightning on the Arab, struck its which wound seemed to increase fangs into his neck, near the ju- its rage. At this instant I heard gular vein, while his tail and bo- the shrill sound of a whistle, and dy flew round his neck and arms looking towards the door, saw in two or three folds. The Arab the other Arab applying a call to set up the most hideous and piti- his mouth; the serpents listened ous yelling; foamed and frothed to the music; their fury seemed at the mouth ; grasping the folds to forsake them by degrees; they of the serpent, which were round disengaged themselves leisurely his arms, with his right hand; from the apparently lifeless carand seemed to be in the greatest case; and, creeping towards the agony, striving to tear the reptile cage, they soon entered it, and from around his neck; while, were immediately fastened in.with his left, he seized hold of it The door of the apartment was near its head, but could not break now opened, and he without ran its hold. By this time the other to assist his companion; he had a had turned itself round his legs phial of blackish liquor in one and had kept biting all around band, and an iron chisel in the the other parts of his body, mak-other. Finding the teeth of his ing apparently deep incisions : companion set, he thrust in the the blood issuing from every chisel, forced them open, and wound, streamed all over his back then poured a little of the liquor and skin. My blood was chilled into his mouth; and, holding the in my veins with horror at this lips together, applied his mouth sight; and it was with difficulty to the dead man's nose, and filled my legs would support my frame. his lungs with 'air. He next aNotwithstanding the Arab's great- nointed his numerous wounds est exertions to tear away the ser- with a little of the same liquid, pents with his hands, they turned and yet no sign of life appeared. themselves still tighter, stopped I thought he was dead in earnhis breath, and he fell to the floor; est : his neck and veins were exwhere he continued for a moment ceedingly swollen, when his com

if in the most inconceiv- radę taking up the lifeless trunk able agony, rolling over, and co- in his arms, brought it into the vering every part of bis body open air and then continued the with his own blood and froth, un-operation of blowing for several


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

minutes before any sign of life ap- that he and his associates were of peared ; at length he gasped, and that favored number. The Moors after a time, recovered so far as and Arabs call the thick and to be able to speak. The swell, beautiful serpent, El Effal, and ings in his neck, body, and legs, the long, black, and heart-headed gradually subsided, as they con- one, El Bushfar. They are said tinued washing the wounds with to be very numerous on or about clear cold water and a sponge, and the south Atlas mountains and applying the black liquor occasi- border of the desert, where these onally. A clean haik was wrap- were caught when young, and ped about him: but his strength where they often attack both men seemed so far exhausted, that he and beasts. These poor Arabs could not support himself stand- who thus torture themselves are ing; so his companion laid him not ignorant Arabs; as far as on the ground by a wall, where relates to the subject in question, he sunk into a sleep. This exhi- neither are they deluded; they bition lasted for about a quarter voluntarily submit to these torof an hour from the time the ser- tures, because the result of them pents were let loose, until they is the most unbounded veneration were called off; and it was more and respect from their fellow-citithan an hour from that time be- zens, who look up to them as perfore he could speak. I thought sons peculiarly hallowed and faI could discover that the poison- vored by the Deity. ous fangs had been pulled out of What will not the love of powthese formidable serpents' jaws, er urge the ambitious to attempt ? and mentioned that circumstance to the showman, who said that they had been extracted ; and

Travels. when I wished to know how swellings on his neck and other parts could be assumed, he assured me,

An Abridgment of the Travels of a that though their deadly fangs

Gentleman through France, Italy, were out, yet, that the poisonous

Turkey in Europe, the Holy Land, quality of their breath and spittle

Arubia, Egypt, &c. would cause the death of those they attacked : that after a bite from either of these serpents, no

(Continued from page 144.) man could exist longer than 15 mi- From Fontainebleau we had a nutes and that there was no re- pleasant day's journey to Sens in medy for any, but those who were Champagne. This ancient city endowed by the Almighty to stands on the river Yonne, is large charm and to manage them; and and well built. The cathedral,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

dedicated to St. Stephen, is a deemed the pleasantest city ip magnificent structure, with two France, is situated at the conflux great towers; at the foot of the of the Rhone and the Saone, about ehief altar is a golden table, en- 260 miles south-east of Paris.riched with precious stones, upon This city has six gates and an which are the four Evangelists in old castle upon a rock, called bass-relief, with St. Stephen on bis Pierre-encise, where the prisoners knees, in the middle of them. The of state are confined ; and also the wine of Champagne has a great strong fort of St. John, on the hill reputation, but we found by ex-called St. Sebastian's. Part of the perience that they send the best town lies high, part low; one may to market.

live on the side of the river, or at From Sens we proceeded to a distance from the water: in Dijon, which is pleasantly situated some streets we have all the hurry in a plain between two rivers. Its of business ; in others we have a fortifications are strong, though pleasing stillness ; and in the aneient; and it has a castle, Alank- skirts of the place we enjoy the ed with four large round towers. beauties of the country, without The public buildings in this city being at a great distance from the are numerous.-Having staid here heart of the city. In short, here about a week, we proceeded to is a vast variety, out of which Chalons, a well-built spacious every taste may find something town; it has good fortifications that is agreeable. and a citadel with four royal bas- The cathedral, dedicated to St. tions. The antiquity of this place John, is a magnificent and veneappears from the great punber of rable pile. This church is famous statues and inscriptions, as also for the surprising mechanism and from the ruins of an amphitheatre, motions of its clock, which is and other public buildings. placed in an isle near the choir,

At Chalons we took water, and on the top whereof stands a cock, had a very agreeable passage to which every three hours claps his Lyons, having on each hand of us wings, and crows thrice; in a such a variegated prospect of vil- gallery underneath, a door opens lages, country-seats, and vine- on one side, out of which comes yards, as afforded the finest land- the Virgin Mary; and from a door. scapes imaginable. We arrived on the other side, the angel Gaabout sunset, highly delighted briel, who meets and salutes her; with the beauty of the country at the same time a door opens in through which we had passed, the the alcove part, out of wbieh the politeness of its inhabitants, and form of a dove, representing the the good entertainment we had Holy Ghost, descends on the Virmet with. Lyons, which may be lgin's head : after which they re


turn in again, and from a door in the Atlantic ocean, and thereby a the middle, comes a figure of a trade opened to England, Holland, Reverend Father, lifting up his and the north. From the Loire, hands, and giving his benediction also, goods are conveyed by the to the spectators. The days of the canal of Orleans into the Loings, week are represented by seven and from thence down the Seine figures, each of which takes place to Paris. · The neighbourhood of in a niche on the morning of the Savoy and Swisserland, and Geday it represents, and continues neva, onght to be reckoned among. there till midnight. But, per- its other advantages. By these. haps, the greatest singularity is means Lyons is the centre of a an oval plate, marked with the prodigious trade, keeps a vast minutes of an hour, which are ex. number of artificers and inechaactly pointed out by a hand reach- nics employed, and is filled with ing the circumference, and which merchants of all nations. They insensibly dilates and contracts ito have four free fairs every year. self during its revolution. One of the principal commodities

The church of St. Nizier is not at these fairs is books, the nummuch inferior to that already de- ber of which is inconceivable to scribed ; the choir being adorned any but those who have seen them. with excellent paintings, exhibit- This city is also famous for having ing the history of our Saviour.

been a considerable time the resi. The Jesuits have two colleges dence of Augustus, and the birthin this city.

place of Claudius Cæsar. It was The Hospital of Charity is a the theatre of the fifth persecularge building, wherein many hun- tion, under the Emperor Septimi. dreds of poor are constantly kept us Severus, when it is said that at work.

nineteen thousand christians sufThe antiquity of this city is fered martyrdom in this place. evident from the ruins of several Roman structures, particularly of

To be continued. an amphitheatre, divers aqueducks, public baths, &c. This ćity enjoys a situation so commo- Etymologies, &c.—Before the dious for trade as is hardly to be use of parchment and paper, the paralleled. The Rhone opens a Romans ingeniously contrived to gate to the commerce of Italy and use the thin peel which was Spain, to that of Africa and the found on trees, between the wood Levant. Twelve leagues of land and the bark. The skin they

sorts of mer- called liber, whence the Latin chandise to the Loire, by which a word liber, a book; and we have

. communication is acquired with derived the names of library and

carriage sends along

« PreviousContinue »