Page images

he often performs a journey of three hundred leagues in eight days."'*

With a view to his predatory expeditions, the Arab instructs, rears, and exercises his Camels. A few days after their birth he folds their limbs under their belly, forces them to remain on the ground, and in this situation loads them with a pretty heavy weight, which is never removed but for the purpose of replacing it by a greater. Instead of allowing them to feed at pleasure, and to drink when they are thirsty, he begins with regulating their meals, and makes them gradually travel long journies, diminishing at the same time the quantity of their aliment. When they acquire some strength they are trained to the course, and their emulation is excited by the example of horses, which, in time, renders them not only fleet, but more robust than they would otherwise be. In Egypt their value is, according to their goodness, from two to five hundred livres.

The saddle used by the Arabs is hollowed in the middle, and has at each bow a piece of wood placed upright, or sometimes horizontally, by which the rider keeps himself on his seat. This, with a long pocket to hold provision for himself and his beast, a skin of water for the rider (the animal being otherwise well supplied) and a leather thong, are the whole of the equipage that the Arab traveller stands in need of, and with nothing more than these he is able to cross the desarts.

* Buff. Quad.


The pace of the Camel being a high trot, this mode of travelling, to those unused to it, is fatiguing to excess : the loins are broken ; the hands, soon galled, become very painful, and the burning air, which is divided with rapidity, impedes the breath, so as almost to induce suffocation.—Perhaps the most extraordinary journey that was ever made on Camels was that mentioned by M. Sonniri. A Bedouin Arab travelled from Cairo to Mecca, a distance of more than four hundred leagues, in five days : this journey usually occupies, with the caravan of pilgrims, above a month.

When the traveller is not in haste, or when he accompanies a caravan, the progress of which is always slow on account of the Camels of burthen, a kind of covered litter is fixed on one of these animals, in which he is tolerably at his ease, and where he may even sleep if he chuscs.*

The drivers of the loaded Camels have each a stick, which they use sparingly, if occasion requires ; and those who ride, whip their animals with a long strap of leather, at the same time urging them with a clicking of the tongue, the same as the Europeans use to their Horses. It has been asserted by Mr. Pennant and some other writers, that Camels may be made to go more freely by whistling to them ; this, however, is a mistake; and the Bedouin Arabs, who own immense numbers of Camels, not only never whistle themselves, but it even gives them pain to hear any others do it.t

[ocr errors]

• Sonnini. ii. 103.

+ Ibid. ii. 105.

The mode in which the loaded Camels were made to cross the Nile, attracted the particular attention of Mr. Norden, as extremely singular : a man, he says, swam before, with the bridle of the first Camel in his mouth; the second Camel was tied to the tail of the first, and a third to the tail of the second : another man, sitting on a truss of straw, brought up the rear, and, by his directions, was employed in keeping the second and third Camels in their course. *

Camels were formerly taught to use some awkward dancing gestures for the amusement of the

populace, to whom they were exhibited for money.-In this acquisition they bad to undergo an ordeal similar to that horrid one which is even yet adopted with the Bear. Whilst very young they were put, for about half an hour at a time, into a kind of stove, the floor of which was made hot by means of fires beneath it : a drum was beat, and the tortured animals, fron excess of pain, lifted their legs in quick succession one after another. Being accustomed to this exercise, at stated times, for near a year, they were presented to the public, and, from a natural association, whenever the noise of the drum was repeated, which invariably accompanied their former tortures, they always commenced the same unnatural motions.t

It has been attempted, but without success, to introduce Camels into our West India islands. The people were unaccustomed to their habits and man

[blocks in formation]

ner of feeding ; and this, together with the insects called Chigoes,* insinuating themselves into their soft feet, and producing inflammations, and, at length, painful ulcers, seem to have rendered them totally unfit for service.t

The flesh of the Camel is dry and hard, but not unpalatable. It is so much esteemed by the inhabitants of Egypt, that, in Cairo and Alexandria it was, not long ago, forbidden to be sold to the Christians. In Barbary, the tongues are salted and smoked for exportation to Italy and other countries, and they form a very good dish. The hair is an important article of cominerce, serving for the fabrication of the tents and carpets of the Arabs ; and leather is made of the skin. In the materia medica of China, the different parts of the Camel óccupy a conspicuous place: the fat is called the oil of bunches, and the flesh, the milk, the hair, and even their dung, are admitted into the prescriptions of the Chinese physicians.

THE LAMAI. This animal inhabits the high mountains of Peru, Chili, and other parts of South America. Its height is about four feet and a half, and its length, from the neck to the tail, near six feet. The usual weight is about 300 pounds. The back is nearly even, and instead of a hunch there the animal has a protuberance on the breast. The head is small, with fine

[ocr errors]


Pulex Penetrans of Linnæus, see vol. iii. + Browne's Jamaica, 488.

I SYNONYMS. - Camelus Glana. Linn.-Llama. Penn.---Lama. Buff--Glama. Kerr.Shaw's Gen. 2001. ii. iab. 168.

black cyes, and the neck is very long and arched. The general shape is that of a Camel without the dorsal protuberance. In a wild state the hair of the Larna is long and coarse ; but, when domesticated, it becomes short and smooth : the colour is white, grey, and russet, disposed in spots.

The Lamais mild, gentle, and tractable, and used in many parts of South America for the carrying of burthens. In the Spanish settlements, before the introduction of mules, it was employed in ploughing of land. These animals go on their journies with great gravity, and nothing can induce them to change their pace. Like the Camcl, they lie down to be loaded ; and, when they are wearied, no blows will provoke them to proceed. Their disposition is indeed so capricious, that sometimes when they are struck, they instantly lie down, and caresses only will induce them again to rise. When provoked, they have no other mode of avenging themselves but by spitting, and they have the power of ejecting their saliva to the distance of nine or ten yards : this is of such a corroding quality, that if it falls on the skin, it raises an itching, and causes some degree of inflammation.*

They are employed in transporting the rich ores out of the mines of Potosi. In their journies, they will sometimes walk four or five days successively before they seem desirous of repose ; and they then rest spontaneously twenty or thirty hours before they resume their toil. Sometimes, when they


* Penn. Quad, i. 122.

« PreviousContinue »