« AnkstesnisTęsti »
the entrance of the cave, in the most wild and impetuous manner; then stood still, and stretching out his neck in the direction of the forest, broke forth into a deafening howl.
Frank now returned from the lower end of the den, and a glance showed us what he had been doing. In each hand, and dangling from the end of a string, were the two cubs, He had strangled them; and before we were aware what he intended, he threw them through the opening to the tiger. No sooner did the animal perceive them, than he gazed earnestly upon them, and began to examine them closely, turning them cautiously from side to side. As soon as he became aware that they were dead, he uttered so piercing a howl of sorrow, that we were obliged to put our hands to
The thunder had now ceased, and the storm had sunk to a gentle gale: the songs of birds were again heard in the neighbouring forest, and the sunbeams sparkled in the drops that hung from the leaves. We saw, through the aperture, how all nature was reviving, after the wild war of elements which had so recently taken place; but the contrast only made our situation the more horrible. We were in a grave, from which there was no deliverance; and a monster, worse than the fabled Cerberus,' kept watch over us. The tiger had laid himself down beside his whelps. He was a beautiful animal, of great size and strength; and his limbs, being stretched out at their full length, displayed his immense power of muscle. A double row of great teeth stood far enough apart to show his large red tongue, from which the white foam fell in large drops. All at once, another roar was heard at a distance, and the tiger immediately rose and answered it with a mournful howl. At the same instant, our Indians uttered a shriek, which announced that some new danger threatened us. A few moments confirmed our worst fears; for another tiger not quite so large as the former, came rapidly towards the spot where we were.
The howls which the tigress gave, when she had examined the bodies of her cubs, surpassed every thing of horrible that we had yet heard; and the tiger mingled his mournful cries with hers. Suddenly her roaring was lowered to a hoarse growling, and we saw her anxiously stretch out her head,
1 The three-headed dog of the Infernal Regions, whose body was covered with snakes instead of hair. He guarded the gate of Piuto's palace.
extend her wide and smoking nostrils, and look as if she were determined to discover immediately the murderers of her young. Her eyes quickly fell upon us, and she made a spring forward, with the intention of penetrating to our place of refuge. Perhaps she might have been enabled, by her immense strength, to push away the stone, had we not, with all our united power held it against her. When she found that all her efforts were fruitless, she approached the tiger, who lay stretched out beside his cubs, and he rose and joined in her hollow roarings. They stood together for a few moments, as if in consultation, and then suddenly went off at a rapid pace, and disappeared from our sight. Their howling died away in the distance, and then entirely ceased.
Our Indians descended from the tree, and called upon us to seize the only possibility of our yet saving ourselves, by instant flight for that the tigers had only gone round the height to seek another inlet to the cave, with which they were, no doubt, acquainted. In the greatest haste the stone was pushed aside, and we stept forth from what we had considered a living grave.
We had proceeded for about a quarter of an hour, when we found that our way led along the edge of a rocky cliff, with innumerable fissures. We had just entered upon it, when suddenly the Indians who were before us, uttered one of their piercing shrieks, and we immediately became aware that the tigers were in pursuit of us. Urged by despair. we rushed towards one of the breaks, or gulfs, in our way, over which was thrown a bridge of reeds, that sprang up and down at every step, and could be trod with safety by the light foot of the Indians alone. Deep in the hollow below rushed an impetuous stream, and a thousand pointed and jagged rocks threatened destruction on every side.
Lincoln, my huntsman, and myself, passed over the chasm in safety; but Wharton was still in the middle of the waving bridge, and endeavouring to steady himself, when both the tigers were seen to issue from the adjoining forest; and the moment they descried us, they bounded towards us with dreadful roarings. Meanwhile, Wharton had nearly gained the safe side of the gulf, and we were all clambering up the rocky cliff, except Lincoln, who remained at the reedy bridge to assist his friend to step upon firm ground. Wharton, though the ferocious animals were close upon him, never lost
his courage or presence of mind. As soon as he had gained the edge of the cliff, he knelt down, and with his sword divided the fastenings by which the bridge was attached to the rock.
He expected that an effectual barrier would thus be put to the further progress of our pursuers, but he was mistaken; for he had scarcely accomplished his task, when the tigress, without a moment's pause, rushed towards the chasm, and attempted to bound over it. It was a fearful sight to see the mighty animal suspended for a moment in the air above the abyss; but the scene passed like a flash of lightning. Her strength was not equal to the distance: she fell into the gulf, and before she reached the bottom, she was torn into a thousand pieces by the jagged points of the rocks. Her fate did not in the least dismay her companion; he followed her with an immense spring, and reached the opposite side, but only with his fore claws; and thus he clung to the edge of the precipice endeavouring to gain a footing. The Indians. again uttered a wild shriek, as if all hope had been lost.
But Wharton, who was nearest the edge of the rock, advanced courageously towards the tiger, and struck his sword into the animal's breast. Enraged beyond all measure, the wild beast collected all his strength, and, with a violent effort, fixing one of his hind legs upon the edge of the cliff, he seized Wharton by the thigh. That heroic man still preserved his fortitude; he grasped the trunk of a tree with his left hand to steady and support himself, while, with his right, he wrenched and violently turned the sword, that was still in the breast of the tiger. All this was the work of an instant. The Indians, Frank, and myself, hastened to his assistance; but Lincoln who was already at his side, had seized Wharton's gun, which lay near upon the ground, and struck so powerful a blow with the butt end upon the head of the tiger, that the animal stunned and overpowered, let go his hold, and fell back into the abyss.-Edinburgh Literary Journal.
1. What know you of Quito, and of Chimborazo?
2. Where found they shelter from the storm?
3. What sort of place was the cave?, 4. What took place in the cave while the Indians were away?
5. Describe the animals that Lincolu and the huntsman found.
6. What exclamatio: did Wharton make on seeing them?
7 What interrupted him before he had finished his sentence?
8. Where did the Indians hide? 9. How was the tiger prevented from entering the cave?
10. On seeing the tiger through the open space what did Wharton order?
11. Why did Frank's gun and Lincoln's pistols miss fire?
12. What did Wharton now say and do? 13. What did Frank do with the cord?
14. How did the animal act on seeing the cubs ?
15. Describe the appearance of nature after the storm.
16. What was the fabled Cerberus? 17. Describe the tiger as he lay beside his whelps.
18. What new danger caused the Indians to shriek?
19. What sort of howl did the tigress give on seeing the dead cubs ?
20. How did she now act? 21. Finding it impossible to enter the cave, what did the animals do?
22. When the beasts were gone, what did our travellers do?
23. Along what did their way lead?
26. Who got over in safety first?
on was on the middle of the bridge?
28. When Wharton reached the other side, how did he attempt to arrest the wild beasts?
29. What did the tigress do the moment she came to the edge of the chasm? 30. How did she succeed in the attempt? 31. Did her fate deter the tiger? 32. Did he make the opposite side? 33. What did Wharton now do? 34. When the tiger caught him by the thigh, what did Wharton do?
35. How was the monster finally got rid of?
36. Did not these men make a narrow escape for their lives?
37. Towards whom should they have felt grateful?
38. In whose hand is our life, and whose are all our ways?
39. Where then should we look in all our difficulties?
In the year 1754, a dreadful war broke out in Canada,1 between the French and the English. The Indians took part with the French, and made excursions as far as Pennsylvania,2 where they plundered and burned all the houses they came to, and murdered the people. In 1755, they reached the dwelling of a poor family from Wirtemberg while the wife and one of the sons were gone to a mill, four miles distant, to get some corn ground. The husband, the eldest son, and two little girls, named Barbara and Regina, were at home.
1 Canada, the northern part of N. America, was colonized by the French in 1608, and continued in their possession till 1759, when it was conquered by the British. 2 Pennsylvania, one of the United states, and, next to New York, the most important,-granted to W. Penn, by James II, in 1681.
3 Wirtemberg, a kingdom in S. W. of Germany,-its capital city is called Stuttgard.
The father and his son were instantly killed by the savages, but they carried the two little girls away into captivity, with a great many other children, who were taken in the same manner. They were led many miles through woods and thorny bushes, that nobody might follow them. In this condition they were brought to the habitations of the Indians, who divided among themselves all the children whom they had taken captive.
Barbara was at this time ten years old, and Regina nine. It was never known what became of Barbara; but Regina, with a little girl of two years old, whom she had never seen before, were given to an old widow, who was to them very cruel. In this melancholy state of slavery these children remained nine long years, till Regina, reached the age of nineteen, and her little companion was eleven years old. While captives their hearts seemed to have been drawn towards what was good. Regina continually repeated the verses from the Bible, and the hymns which she had learned when at home, and she taught them to the little girl. They often used to cheer each other with one hymn, from the hymnbook used at Halle,' in Germany :
"Alone, yet not alone am I,
Though in this solitude so drear."
They constantly hoped that the Lord Jesus would, some time, bring them back to their Christian friends.
In 1764, the hope of these children was realized. The merciful providence of God brought the English Colonel Bouquet to the place where they were in captivity. He conquered the Indians, and forced them to ask for peace. The first condition he made was, that they should restore all the prisoners they had taken. Thus the two poor girls were released. More than 400 captives were brought to Colonel Bouquet. It was an affecting sight to see so many young people wretched and distressed. The colonel and his soldiers gave them food and clothes, brought them to the town of Carlisle, and published in the Pennsylvania newspapers, that all parents who had lost their children might come to this place, and in case of their finding them, they should be restored. Poor Regina's sorrowing mother came, among many
1 Hal-le, the principal town in Merseburg, Prussian Saxony, famous for its school of divinity, and for its mines of wait, which yield 5000 tons annually, whence its name, (Lat. sal.; Gr. hals)-salt.