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animal, and he is, besides, of a most magnanimous disposition. We have heard, indeed, lately numerous stories of the cowardice of the lion ; but it must be remembered that in unnatural confinement his character often swiftly degenerates. Take him in his native grandeur, as he roams the African wilds, and a nobler beast is not to be seen in the forests. His natural home is in the torrid zone, and he deteriorates when removed from it, just as we might suppose a healthful and high-spirited peasant who breathes the bracing air of the hills would soon dwindle both in body and mind if transferred to the close courts and stilling air of a crowded city. A full-sized African lion will measure from eight to nine feet from head to tail, and will stand about four feet high. The majestic head, the fire-flashing eyes, the shaggy mane, the lithe and muscular limbs of the king of the forest, make him an imposing spectacle. Strength and activity and beauty are all combined, and there is no other animal who possesses these characteristics in an equal degree. His huge teeth, worked by powerful jaws; his tongue, covered with a horny rasping substance, something like a coarse file ; his forelimbs, measuring often as much as eighteen inches in circumference, and capable of giving a blow.comparable to nothing so much as the stroke of a steam-hammer; his limbs and teeth, perfectly subservient to an immensely strong muscular constitution, make him an ugly customer to contend with in a pitched battle. A full-grown lion will seize a heifer and carry it off with as much ease, and probably as much satisfaction, as a cat will pounce upon a mouse and retire to a quiet corner to devour it. He is agile in all his movements, and can leap as much as twenty feet at a single bound. His foot is as soft as velvet, but conceals claws that when vigorously used can tear furrows an inch deep in the thick hide of a buffalo. He is perfectly noiseless when hunting his prey, and moves along as quietly as his own shadow. The ingenious mechanism in the feet that secures perfect noiselessness of tread answers at the same time another important purpose, and preserves his claws sound and sharp and ready for business. His quiet motion is very much aided by certain feelers or whiskers that grow on the sides of the mouth, and, communicating with a highly sensitive substance, give speedy intelligence of everything they touch. In crawling through the woods he can find his way by the use of his whiskers alone, and may use his eyes entirely for the purpose of searching for or following his
The female lion is rather less in size than the male, and has no mane. But she is not inferior in intelligence, for as the main duty of watching over her cubs falls to her, she frequently manifests traces of instinct, or of understanding even, of a high order. For example, to prevent her tracks leading her foes to the den where her little ones are hid, she is frequently known to walk backwards and forwards, placing her feet in every track she had made, so as to obliterate any notices of the direction she had last taken. Sometimes again she will sweep the ground to and fro with her tail, so as to leave
behind her no footprints at all. The lion is nocturnal in his habits, seeking his food by night and invariably returning to his lair by sunrise. During the day he either sleeps in his den or basks in the warm sunshine, and to see him by daylight is to see him at a disadvantage, when he has not half his wits about him.
Not unfrequently lions are to be found in troops of from six to nine. Travellers telī of a very cunning method they adopt in South Africa, where, by reason of the large plains, they sometimes meet with a difficulty in securing their prey, and feel in consequence the sharp pangs of hunger. One of these parties will divide ; a few crouching down under cover at a little distance from each other, the rest circuitously going a considerable distance from them, but always up the wind. When the latter have got a mile or two from their companions, they make an impetuous charge down the wind, with that terrific roar which, heard in the night and re-echoed by the distant hills, sounds almost like thunder. In frantic haste away rush the herds, and losing their usual caution they become an easy prey to the formidable ambuscade patiently waiting for them. The power to lay plans and act in concert indicates the high place they hold in Nature. Men they generally avoid—the only being of whom they show any fear—but when driven to extremities by hunger, a single lion has been known to attack an entire caravan.
Many stories of their intelligence and affection are told. A lion in the Dublin Zoological Gardens, that had grown very old and feeble, was greatly annoyed by the rats who boldly entered the den when they found they could do it with impunity; they actually had' impudence enough to crawl over his majestic person, and when they could not get enough of his food, nibbled at his extremities. To drive away the rats the keeper put a terrier in the den. The presence of the dog was a great outrage on the lion, who plainly manifested every mark of intense aversion. One day, however, the lion saw the terrier in the very act of catching and worrying a rat. It became thoughtful and reflective at once, and narrowly observed the actions of the dog until another rat met with a similar fate. The reason of the dog's presence seemed to be suddenly understood, and from that moment the dislike was converted into strong affection. It fondled the terrier with its paws and tongue, it showed every sign of gratitude, and the pair lived together, as the story books say, "happily ever after.” At Birr, in Ireland, in 1839, a keeper of wild beasts having fallen accidentally upon a tiger while in its cage, the tiger seized him by the thigh in the presence of a number of spectators, but a lion in the same compartment rose up in a rage, and, furiously attacking the maddened tiger, compelled him to let go, and thus saved the life of his friend the keeper. Quite a number of authentic instances might be given of lions having spared the lives of human beings thrown to them to be devoured. Punishment by wild beasts was reserved by the Romans for those they accounted guilty of the worst crimes. This was their favourite method of showing their hatred to the Christians, and though sword, and fire, and crucifixion, and ponds full of hungry fishes were at their command, they devoted many Christians to be devoured by hungry lions, believing this to be the most painful possible death. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, one of the noblest of the Christian martyrs, was sentenced by the Emperor Trajan to this punishment. But instances are on record in which the beasts actually refused to do the cruel work set them. On one occasion a runaway slave was cast into the den of a hungry lion, and, to the astonishment of the spectators, who anticipated the same kind of amusement that brutal men take in the sports of the rat-pit, the slave and the lion behaved towards each other with the mutual affection of a dog and his master. A while before, this slave had hid in the very den of this lion, and the noble beast, made tame by his pain, had suffered him to extract a huge thorn from the soft ball of his foot. It would seem as if sometimes, while brutal ferocity entered into the human heart, human compassion found expression by savage beasts of prey.
Lions often contributed to the barbarous sports of the Romans, who delighted in everything of the nature of a race, or fight, or competition. A combat of lions was an ordinary attraction of the theatre, and especially a combat between lions and condemned criminals. The Colosseum was built by Vespasian for these cruel displays—a huge building, of an ovalshape, capable of accommodating ninety thousand spectators. Pompey, it is said, kept six hundred lions for the purpose of this cruel sport.
The lion has always been regarded as the emblem of power, not only among the Hebrews and the various pagan nations of the old world, but also amongst many nations who have flourished during the Christian era. Other nations have as their emblems the eagle, the cock, the bear, but the national ensign of England is the lion in all his beauty, and activity, and courage. In the twelfth century the lion was in great favour, for he held a leading position on the coat, armour, and war standards of the kings of England, Scotland, Denmark, and several of the wild princes of Wales. The lion was the standard of the tribe of Judah and its kings, who were valiant, courageous, and terrible to their enemies. From its being the noblest of beasts it is an ordained metaphor of strength and valour. Hence such passages as Prov. xxviii, 1, “The righteous are bold as the lion. The heart of the valiant is said to be o as the heart of a lion." It is elevated into a figure by which the mighty and invincible power of Christ is expressed—“The lion of the tribe of Judah is mighty, and hath prevailed.” Most of the Scriptural allusions to this noble beast are full of poetic grandeur. - The lion hath roared, who will not fear?" “ Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion ? or fill the appetites of the young lions when they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?" " Thou makest darkness, and it is night, wherein the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions
roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens." The opinion seems favoured by the Scripture, and is certainly warranted by an inquiry into his habits and nature, that the lion is, next to man, the noblest creature made by God, and in his structura, and intelligence, and activity we behold many marks of the surpassing wisdom of the Creator.
PAPERS FOR THOUGHTFUL BOYS.
By Thos. STONELEY.
II. NATURAL PRODUCTS-GOLD.
platinum, being rather more than nineteen times
surfaces in other instances require to be rubbed with some hard substance before they assume the ordinary appearance of manufactured gold. Gold is not so hard as iron, copper, or silver, but is harder than either lead or tin. It is extremely tough or tenacious; but when broken by repeated bendings it present a fibrous, silk-like structure, which is more or less fine in accordance with the purity of the specimen. Gold is extremely malleable, so much so that one grain of it may be beaten out into a leaf having a surface of fifty-six square inches, and of which the thickness is only one twothousandth part of an inch. When reduced to very thin leaves, gold is to a certain degree transparent, and on being held against the light appears of a beautiful green colour. In addition to its malleable character, it is remarkable for its great power of divisibility. A grain of gold has been found by Muncke to admit of being divided into ninety-five thousand millions of visible parts-that is, by the aid of a microscope magnifying one thousand times. A sovereign is thus capable of division into ten millions of millions of visible particles, being ten thousand times as many such particles as there are men, women, and children in all the world. Gold is not dissolved by any of the pure acids, but a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids will dissolve it, in consequence of giving out chlorine, an element which freely dissolves gold. As a conductor of heat gold is the best of all metals, silver being the next, and copper the next.
Gold is invariably found in the metallic state, but is never quite pure, and usually contains a certain proportion of silver, and not unfrequently iron. Geologists tell us that this precious metal is almost entirely found associated with some of the older stratified rocks, and as these constitute the subsoil of but a comparatively small part of the world gold is not to be looked for over very wide areas.
It occurs in lodes or veins, in laminæ or thin scales, among the detritus of the old rocks, and mixed with quartz rock in such a way that, mineralogically, it is to be looked upon as having been laid down at the same time with the quartz. It is sometimes found in pure nuggets, seldom in very large masses. Nugget gold has generally the appearance of having been melted. Gold in recent workings is. described "
"as resembling drops of metal poured into sand, the indentations being visible even upon the smallest particles of the gold when microscopically examined.” These indentations may be observed in most specimens. Job speaks of the place where they fine it,” evidently referring to the work of washing or crushing, to separate the ore from its natural bed. This is by no means an easy task; the mixture of quartz pebbles with the auriferous ore earth rendering it very tenacious and difficult to wash. Gold is found in most hot countries—the East Indies, Brazil, New Mexico, and North America, in the Ural Mountains, California, Australia, the north-eastern border of Europe, in parts of Russia, and also in the sand of rivers in Africa. The principal gold mines in Europe are those of Saltzburg and Hungary. The British Islands also furnish from time to time small quantities of gold, although seldom in sufficient quantities to be equivalent to the cost of procuring it. The principal localities in which gold has been found in the United Kingdom are in Ireland and Wales, although specimens are occasionally obtained from the Cornish stream-works, and
from the district of Lead-bills in Scotland, where, in the time of Elizabeth, extensive washings were carried on for this metal. Specimens of native gold have also, at different periods, been procured from various parts of Devonshire. Gold likewise occurs in Cumberland, in Lanarkshire, and at Glen Turret, in Perthshire. In Ireland a considerable quantity of native gold was accidentally discovered, towards the close of the last century, disseminated in the beds of the stream which flows from the northern Hank of Croghan, Kinshela, on the confines of Wicklow and Wexford, and in the immediate vicinity of the granite and clay slate. This gold was chiefly found in massive lumps, one of which weighed nine, another eighteen, and a third twenty-two
THE USES OF GOLD.
We discover the practice of working in gold soon after the rise of the arts. The golden earring presented by Abraham's steward to Rebekah weighed half a shekel, and the two bracelets for her hands were ten shekels' weight of gold. The ark of the covenant, though made of wood, was to be overlaid with pure gold, within and without. It was also to have a crown of gold round about, and rings of