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About Giraffes - Harper's

 

OF the many features which will hereafter stamp the nineteenth century as "Centuria Mirabilissima," not the least will be the vast number of animals and birds introduced into Europe, and the great stride made in our knowledge of Natural History during its progress. The precise date of the extinction of a genus or a species has interest; the dodo of the Mauritius and the dinornis of New Zealand have disappeared within the historical period, and there is no reason to suppose that such gaps have been, or will be, filled up by new creations. Second only in interest to the occurrence of these blanks in the list of living inhabitants of the surface of this globe is the record of the introduction of a new race into a part of our planet where it was previously unknown. In such instances the last twenty years have been prolific; the graceful bower-birds and the Tallegalla or mound-raising birds, those wondrous denizens of the Australian wilderness, may now be seen in the Regent's Park for the first time in this hemisphere. For the first time, also, the wart hog of Africa there roots, and the hippopotamus displays his quaint gambols; and that "fairest animal," the giraffe, is now beheld in health and vigor, a naturalized inhabitant of Great Britain.

A giraffe presented by the Pasha of Egypt to the king of England, was conveyed to Malta under the charge of two Arabs, and was from thence forwarded to London in the "Penelope," which arrived on the 11th of August, 1827. She was conveyed to Windsor two days afterward, and was kept in the royal menagerie at the Sandpit-gate. George the Fourth took much interest in this animal, visiting her generally twice or thrice a week, and sometimes twice a day. It would have been better if he had left her to the management of the keepers; but, acting on some vague instructions left by the Arabs, his majesty commanded that she should be fed on milk alone—a most unnatural diet when the animal had attained the age of two years. From this cause, and in consequence of an injury which she had received during her journey from Sennaar to Cairo, the giraffe became so weak as to be unable to stand; a lofty triangle was built, and the animal kept suspended on slings to relieve its limbs from the support of its weight. The apparatus was provided with wheels, and, in order that she might have exercise, it was pushed along by men, her feet just moving and touching the ground. It may well be supposed that such an artificial existence could not be prolonged to any great length of time, and although the giraffe lived between two and three years, and grew eighteen inches in height, she gradually sank and died in the autumn of 1829, to the great regret of the king. Her body was dissected by the sergeant-surgeon, Sir Everard Home, and an account thereof published by him.

Those who frequented the British Museum in the days of Montague-house, shortly before the present building was erected, will remember a hairless stuffed giraffe, which stood at the top of the stairs, mounting sentry, as it were, over the principal door. This miserable skin was interesting, as being the remains of the first entire specimen recorded. Its history was as follows: The late Lady Strathmore sent to the Cape, to collect rare flowers and trees, a botanist of the name of Paterson, who seems to have penetrated a considerable distance into the interior—sufficiently far, at least, to have seen a group of six giraffes. He was so fortunate as to kill one, and brought the skin home for Lady Strathmore; her ladyship presented it to the celebrated John Hunter, and it formed part of the Hunterian collection until a re-arrangement of that museum took place on its removal to the present noble hall in the College of Surgeons. This stuffed specimen, with many others of a similar description, was handed over to the British Museum, and for some years occupied the situation on the landing above mentioned; being regarded as "rubbish," it was destroyed, and the "stuffing" used to expand some other skin. There are now, however, two noble stuffed specimens in the first zoological room of the Museum; one especially remarkable for its dark-brown spots is no less than eighteen feet in height. It is from the southern parts of Africa, and was presented by that veteran zoologist, the Earl of Derby; the other was one of the giraffes brought by M. Thibaut to the Zoological Gardens.

The Zoological Society having made known its wish to possess living specimens of the giraffe, the task of procuring them was undertaken by M. Thibaut, who having had twelve years' experience in African travel, was well qualified for the arduous pursuit.

M. Thibaut quitted Cairo in April, 1834, and after sailing up the Nile as far as Wadi Halfa, the second cataract, took camels and proceeded to Debbat, a province of Dongolah, whence he started for the Desert of Kordofan. Being perfectly acquainted with the locality and on friendly terms with the Arabs, he attached them still more by the desire of profit; all were desirous of accompanying him in pursuit of the giraffes, for up to that time, they had hunted them solely for the sake of the flesh, which they ate, and the skin, of which they made bucklers and sandals. The party proceeded to the southwest of Kordofan, and in August were rewarded by the sight of two beautiful giraffes; a rapid chase of three hours, on horses accustomed to the fatigues of the desert, put them in possession of the largest of these noble animals; unable to take her alive, the Arabs killed her with blows of the sabre, and cutting her to pieces, carried the meat to their head-quarters, which had been established in a wooded situation, an arrangement necessary for their own comfort, and to secure pasturage for their camels. They deferred till the following day the pursuit of the motherless young one, which the Arabs knew they would have no difficulty in again discovering. The Arabs quickly covered the live embers with slices of the meat, which M. Thibaut pronounces to be excellent.

On the following morning the party started at daybreak in search of the young giraffe, of which they had lost sight not far from the camp. The sandy desert is well adapted to afford indications to a hunter, and in a very short time they were on the track of the object of their pursuit: they followed the traces with rapidity and in silence, lest the creature should be alarmed while yet at a distance; but after a laborious chase of several hours through brambles and thorny trees, they at last succeeded in capturing the coveted prize.

It was now necessary to rest for three or four days, in order to render the giraffe sufficiently tame, during which period an Arab constantly held it at the end of a long cord; by degrees it became accustomed to the presence of man, and was induced to take nourishment, but it was found necessary to insert a finger into its mouth to deceive it into the idea that it was with its dam; it then sucked freely. When captured, its age was about nineteen months. Five giraffes were taken by the party, but the cold weather of December, 1834, killed four of them in the desert, on the route to Dongolah; happily that first taken survived, and reached Dongolah in January, 1835, after a sojourn of twenty-two days in the desert. Unwilling to leave with a solitary specimen, M. Thibaut returned to the desert, where he remained three months, crossing it in all directions, and frequently exposed to great hardships and privations; but he was eventually rewarded by obtaining three giraffes, all smaller than the first. A great trial awaited them, as they had to proceed by water the whole distance from Wadi Halfa to Cairo, and thence to Alexandria and Malta, besides the voyage to England. They suffered considerably at sea during a passage of twenty-four days in very tempestuous weather, and on reaching Malta in November, were detained in quarantine twenty-five days more; but despite of all these difficulties, they reached England in safety, and on the 25th of May were conducted to the Gardens. At daybreak, the keepers and several gentlemen of scientific distinction arrived at the Brunswick Wharf, and the animals were handed over to them. The distance to the Gardens was not less than six miles, and some curiosity, not unmingled with anxiety, was felt as to how this would be accomplished. Each giraffe was led between two keepers, by means of long reins attached to the head; the animals walked along at a rapid pace, generally in advance of their conductors, but were perfectly tractable. It being so early in the morning, few persons were about, but the astonishment of those who did behold the unlooked-for procession, was ludicrous in the extreme. As the giraffes stalked by, followed by M. Thibaut and others, in Eastern costume, the worthy policemen and early coffee-sellers stared with amazement, and a few revelers, whose reeling steps proclaimed their dissipation, evidently doubted whether the strange figures they beheld were real flesh and bone, or fictions conjured up by their potations; their gaze of stupid wonder indicating that of the two they inclined to the latter opinion. When the giraffes entered the park, and first caught sight of the green trees, they became excited, and hauled upon the reins, waving the head and neck from side to side, with an occasional caracole and kick out of the hind legs, but M. Thibaut contrived to coax them along with pieces of sugar, of which they were very fond, and he had the satisfaction of depositing his valuable charges, without accident or misadventure, in the sanded paddock prepared for their reception.

The sum agreed on with M. Thibaut was £250 for the first giraffe he obtained, £200 for the second, £150 for the third, and £100 for the fourth, in all £700; but the actual cost to the society amounted to no less than £2386. 3s. 1d., in consequence of the heavy expenses of freight, conveyance, &c.

During the following months of June and July the giraffes excited so much interest, that as much as £120 was sometimes taken at the Gardens in one day, and the receipts reached £600 in the week; they then decreased, and never, until the arrival of the hippopotamus, attained any thing like that sum again. Shortly after their arrival one of the animals struck his head with such force against the brickwork of the house, while rising from the ground, that he injured one of his horns, and probably his skull, as he did not long survive. Guiballah died in October, 1846, and Selim in January, 1849; Zaida, that worthy old matron, is still alive, and may be recognized by her very light color.

An unusual birthday fête was celebrated on the 9th of June, 1839, when Zaida presented the society with the first giraffe ever born in Europe; but alas! it only survived nine days. A spirited water-color sketch was made of the dam and young one when a day old by that able artist, the late Robert Hills; and we recently had an opportunity of seeing this interesting memento. Two years afterward a second was born, and throve vigorously; this fine animal was sent to the Zoological Gardens at Dublin, in 1844. It was rather a ticklish proceeding, but was managed as follows: He was taken very early in the morning to Hungerford market, where a lighter with tackles had been previously arranged. With some dexterity slings were placed under him, and to his great astonishment, he was quickly swung off his feet, and hoisted by a crane into the lighter, and from the lighter, by tackle, on board the deck of the steamer; he had a fine passage, and was welcomed with enthusiasm by the warm-hearted Hibernians, and is now one of the chief ornaments of the Dublin Gardens. Another remarkably fine male, named Abbas Pasha, was born in February, 1849, and is thriving in great vigor in the Gardens at Antwerp.

The giraffes at present in the Regent's Park are Zaida, with her offspring, Alfred and Ibrahim Pasha, Alice, presented by his highness, Ibrahim Pasha, and Jenny Lind, purchased by Mr. Murray. With the exception of Ibrahim Pasha, they are exceedingly good-tempered, but this fine animal is obliged to be kept separate, as he is very apt to fight with his brother. Their mode of fighting is peculiar; they stand side by side, and strike obliquely with their short horns, denuding the parts struck to the magnitude of a hand. One of them met with an awkward accident some time ago, which, had it not been for the presence of mind of Mr. Hunt, the head keeper, who had the especial charge of these animals, might have been attended with fatal consequences. In rising quickly from the ground, the giraffe struck the wall with such force that one of the horns was broken, and bent back flat upon the head; Hunt seeing this, tempted him with a favorite dainty with one hand, and taking the opportunity while his head was down, grasped the fractured horn, and pulled it forward into its natural position; union took place, and no ill effects followed. We may here remark, that the horns are distinct bones, united to the frontal and parietal bones by a suture, and exhibiting the same structure as other bones. The protuberance on the forehead is not a horn (as supposed by some), but merely a thickening of the bone. The horns of the male are nearly double the size of those of the female, and their expanded bases meet in the middle line of the skull, whereas, in the female, the bases are two inches apart.

Each of the giraffes eats daily eighteen pounds of clover hay, and the same quantity of a mixed vegetable diet, consisting of turnips, mangel-wurzel, carrots, barley, and split beans; in spring they have green tares and clover, and are exceedingly fond of onions. It was curious to see the impatience they exhibited in our presence when a basket of onions was placed in view; their mouths watered to a ludicrous and very visible extent; they pawed with their fore legs, and rapidly paced backward and forward, stretching their long necks and sniffing up the pungent aroma with eager satisfaction. Each drinks about four gallons of water a day.

Soon after the arrival of the giraffes at the Regent's Park, Mr. Warwick obtained three for Mr. Cross, of the Surrey Gardens. These were exhibited in an apartment in Regent-street, in the evening as well as by day; their heads almost touched the ceiling, and the room being lighted with gas, they were fully exposed to the influence of foul air, and, as might be expected, did not long survive.

It has been stated that giraffes utter no sound; we have, however, heard Ibrahim Pasha make a sort of grunt, or forcible expiration, indicating displeasure, and the little one which died bleated like a calf.

The extensibility, flexibility, and extraordinary command which the giraffe possesses over the movements of its tongue had long attracted notice, but it was reserved for Professor Owen to point out their true character. Sir Everard Home, who had examined the giraffe which died at Windsor, described the wonderful changes of size and length, which occur in the tongue, as resulting from vascular action, the blood-vessels being at one time loaded, at another empty; but the Hunterian professor proved that the movements of the tongue are entirely due to muscular action, and adds the following interesting remarks: "I have observed all the movements of the tongue, which have been described by previous authors. The giraffe being endowed with an organ so exquisitely formed for prehension, instinctively puts it to use in a variety of ways, while in a state of confinement. The female in the Garden of Plants, at Paris, for example, may frequently be observed to amuse itself by stretching upward its neck and head, and, with the slender tongue, pulling out the straws which are plaited into the partition separating it from the contiguous compartment of its inclosure. In our own menagerie, many a fair lady has been robbed of the artificial flower which adorned her bonnet, by the nimble, filching tongue of the object of her admiration. The giraffe seems, indeed, to be guided more by the eye than the nose in the selection of objects of food; and, if we may judge of the apparent satisfaction with which the mock leaves and flowers so obtained are masticated, the tongue would seem by no means to enjoy the sensitive in the same degree as the motive powers. The giraffes have a habit, in captivity at least, of plucking the hairs out of each other's manes and tails, and swallowing them. I know not whether we must attribute to a fondness for epidermic productions, or to the tempting green color of the parts, the following ludicrous circumstance, which happened to a fine peacock, which was kept in the giraffes' paddock. As the bird was spreading his tail in the sunbeams, and curvetting in presence of his mate, one of the giraffes stooped his long neck, and entwining his flexible tongue round a bunch of the gaudy plumes, suddenly lifted the bird into the air, then giving him a shake, disengaged five or six of the tail feathers, when down fluttered the astonished peacock, and scuffled off, with the remains of his train dragging humbly after him."

The natural food of the giraffe is the leaves, tender shoots, and blossoms of a singular species of mimosa, called by the colonists kameel doorn, or giraffe thorn, which is found chiefly on dry plains and sandy deserts. The great size of this tree, together with its thick and spreading top, shaped like an umbrella, distinguish it at once from all others. The wood, of a dark red color, is exceedingly hard and weighty, and is extensively used by the Africans in the manufacture of spoons and other articles, many being ingeniously fashioned with their rude tools into the form of the giraffe.

The class to which the giraffe belongs, is the deer tribe. It is, in fact, as pointed out by Professor Owen, a modified deer; but the structure by which so large a ruminant is enabled to subsist in the tropical regions of Africa, by browsing on the tops of trees, disqualifies it for wielding antlers of sufficient strength and size to serve as weapons of offense. The annual shedding of the formidable antlers of the full-grown buck has reference to the preservation of the younger and feebler individuals of his own race; but, as the horns of the giraffe never acquire the requisite development to serve as weapons of attack, their temporary removal is not needed.

When looking at a giraffe, it is difficult to believe that the fore-legs are not longer than the hind-legs. They are not so, however, for the greater apparent length results from the remarkable depth of the chest, the great length of the processes of the anterior dorsal vertebræ, and the corresponding length and position of the shoulder blade, which is relatively the longest and narrowest of all mammalia. In the simple walk the neck is stretched out in a line with the back, which gives them an awkward appearance; this is greatly diminished when the animals commence their undulating canter. In the canter the hind-legs are lifted alternately with the fore, and are carried outside of and beyond them, by a kind of swinging movement; when excited to a swifter pace, the hind-legs are often kicked out, and the nostrils are then widely dilated. The remarkable gait is rendered still more automaton-like by the switching at regular intervals of the long black tail which is invariably curled above the back, and by the corresponding action of the neck, swinging as it does like a pendulum, and literally giving the creature the appearance of a piece of machinery in motion. The tail of the giraffe is terminated by a bunch of wavy hair, which attains a considerable length, but the longest hairs are those which form a fringe, extending about three inches on its under side. Two of these in our possession, from the tail of Alfred, are each rather more than four feet two inches in length; this long whisp of hair must be of great service in flicking off flies and other annoyances.

Major Gordon relates an anecdote of a giraffe slain by himself, which illustrates the gentle, confiding disposition of these graceful creatures. Having been brought to the ground by a musket-ball, it suffered the hunter to approach, without any appearance of resentment, or attempt at resistance. After surveying the crippled animal for some time, the major stroked its forehead, when the eyes closed as if with pleasure, and it seemed grateful for the caress. When its throat was cut, preparatory to taking the skin, the giraffe, while struggling in the last agonies, struck the ground convulsively with its feet with immense force, as it looked reproachfully on its assailant, with its fine eyes fast glazing with the film of death, but made no attempt to injure him.

Some of the best and most animating accounts of giraffe hunts are contained in the works of Sir W. Cornwallis Harris and Mr. R.G. Cumming. Of that magnificent folio, "Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of South Africa," by the former of these gallant sportsmen, we can not speak too highly; it is equal, in many respects, to the truly-superb folios of Mr. Gould. From it we extract the following spirit-stirring adventures:

"It was on the morning of our departure from the residence of his Amazoola Majesty, that I first actually saw the giraffe. Although I had been for weeks on the tiptoe of expectation, we had hitherto succeeded in finding the gigantic footsteps only of the tallest of all the quadrupeds upon the earth; but at dawn of that day, a large party of hungry savages, with four of the Hottentots on horseback, having accompanied us across the Mariqua in search of elands, which were reported to be numerous in the neighborhood, we formed a long line, and, having drawn a great extent of country blank, divided into two parties, Richardson keeping to the right, and myself to the left. Beginning, at length, to despair of success, I had shot a hartebeeste for the savages, when an object, which had repeatedly attracted my eye, but which I had as often persuaded myself was nothing more than the branchless stump of some withered tree, suddenly shifted its position, and the next moment I distinctly perceived that singular form of which the apparition had ofttimes visited my slumbers, but upon whose reality I now gazed for the first time. Gliding rapidly among the trees, above the topmost branches, of many of which its graceful head nodded like some lofty pine, all doubt was in another moment at an end—it was the stately, the long-sought giraffe, and, putting spurs to my horse, and directing the Hottentots to follow, I presently found myself half-choked with excitement, rattling at the heels of an animal which, to me, had been a stranger even in its captive state, and which, thus to meet free on its native plains, has fallen to the lot of but few of the votaries of the chase; sailing before me with incredible velocity, his long swan-like neck, keeping time to the eccentric motion of his stilt-like legs—his ample black tail curled above his back, and whisking in ludicrous concert with the rocking of his disproportioned frame—he glided gallantly along 'like some tall ship upon the ocean's bosom,' and seemed to leave whole leagues behind him at each stride. The ground was of the most treacherous description; a rotten, black soil, overgrown with long, coarse grass, which concealed from view innumerable gaping fissures that momentarily threatened to bring down my horse. For the first five minutes, I rather lost than gained ground, and, despairing over such a country of ever diminishing the distance, or improving my acquaintance with this ogre in seven-league boots, I dismounted, and the mottled carcase presenting a fair and inviting mark, I had the satisfaction of hearing two balls tell roundly upon his plank-like stern. But as well might I have fired at a wall; he neither swerved from his course nor slackened his pace, and pushed on so far ahead during the time I was reloading, that, after remounting, I had some difficulty in even keeping sight of him among the trees. Closing again, however, I repeated the dose on the other quarter, and spurred my horse along, ever and anon sinking to his fetlock—the giraffe now flagging at each stride—until, as I was coming up hand-over-hand, and success seemed certain, the cup was suddenly dashed from my lips, and down I came headlong—my horse having fallen into a pit, and lodged me close to an ostrich's nest, near which two of the old birds were sitting. Happily, there were no bones broken, but the violence of the shock had caused the lashings of my previously-broken rifle to give way, and had doubled the stock in half, the barrels only hanging to the wood by the trigger-guard. Nothing dismayed, however, by this heavy calamity, I remounted my jaded beast, and one more effort brought me ahead of my wearied victim, which stood still and allowed me to approach. In vain did I now attempt to bind my fractured rifle with a pocket-handkerchief, in order to admit of my administering the coup de grace. The guard was so contracted that, as in the tantalizing phantasies of a night-mare, the hammer could not by any means be brought down upon the nipple. In vain I looked around for a stone, and sought in every pocket for my knife, with which either to strike the copper-cap and bring about ignition, or hamstring the colossal but harmless animal, by whose towering side I appeared the veriest pigmy in the creation. Alas! I had lent it to the Hottentots to cut off the head of the hartebeeste, and, after a hopeless search in the remotest comers, each hand was withdrawn empty. Vainly did I then wait for the tardy and rebellious villains to come to my assistance, making the welkin ring, and my throat tingle with reiterated shouts. Not a soul appeared, and in a few minutes the giraffe, having recovered his wind, and being only slightly wounded on the hind-quarters, shuffled his long legs, twisted his bushy tail over his back, walked a few steps, then broke into a gallop, and, diving into the mazes of the forest, presently disappeared from my sight. Disappointed and annoyed at my discomfiture, I returned toward the wagons, now eight miles' distant, and on my way overtook the Hottentots, who, pipe in mouth, were leisurely strolling home, with an air of total indifference as to my proceedings, having come to the conclusion that 'Sir could not fung de kameel' (catch the giraffe), for which reason they did not think it worth while to follow me, as I had directed. Two days after this catastrophe, having advanced to the Tolaan River, we again took the field, accompanied by the whole of the male inhabitants of three large kraals, in addition to those that had accompanied us from the last encampment. The country had now become undulating, extensive mimosa groves occupying all the valley, as well as the banks of the Tolaan winding among them, on its way to join the Mariqua. Before we had proceeded many hundred yards, our progress was opposed by a rhinoceros, who looked defiance, but quickly took the hints we gave him to get out of the way. Two fat elands had been pointed out at the verge of the copse the moment before. One of which Richardson disposed of with little difficulty, the other leading me through all the intricacies of the labyrinth to a wide plain on the opposite side. On entering which, I found the fugitive was prostrate at my feet in the middle of a troop of giraffes, who stooped their long necks, astounded at the intrusion, then consulted a moment how they should best escape the impending danger, and in another were sailing away at their utmost speed. To have followed upon my then jaded horse would have been absurd, and I was afterward unable to recover any trace of them.

"Many days elapsed before we again beheld the tall giraffe, nor were our eyes gladdened with his sight until, after we had crossed the Cashan Mountains to the country of the Baquaina, for the express purpose of seeking for him. After the many contretemps, how shall I describe the sensations I experienced as, on a cool November evening, after rapidly following some fresh traces in profound silence, for several miles, I at length counted from the back of Breslau, my most trusty steed, no fewer than thirty-two of various sizes, industriously stretching their peacock necks to crop the tiny leaves that fluttered above their heads, in a flowering mimosa grove which beautified the scenery. My heart leapt within me, and my blood coursed like quicksilver through my veins, for, with a firm wooded plain before me, I knew they were mine; but, although they stood within a hundred yards of me, having previously determined to try the boarding system, I reserved my fire.

"Notwithstanding that I had taken the field expressly to look for giraffes, and in consequence of several of the remarkable spoors of these animals having been seen the evening before, had taken four mounted Hottentots in my suite, all excepting Piet had, as usual, slipped off unperceived in pursuit of a troop of koodoos. Our stealthy approach was soon opposed by an ill-tempered rhinoceros, which, with her ugly old-fashioned calf, stood directly in the path, and the twinkling of her bright little eyes, accompanied by a restless rolling of the body, giving earnest of her mischievous intentions, I directed Piet to salute her with a broadside, at the same time putting spurs to my horse. At the report of the gun, and sudden clattering of the hoofs, away bounded the herd in grotesque confusion, clearing the ground by a succession of frog-like leaps, and leaving me far in their rear. Twice were their towering forms concealed from view by a park of trees, which we entered almost at the same instant, and twice, on emerging from the labyrinth, did I perceive them tilting over an eminence far in advance, their sloping backs reddening in the sunshine, as with giant port they topped the ridges in right gallant style. A white turban that I wore round my hunting-cap, being dragged off by a projecting bough, was instantly charged and trampled under foot by three rhinoceroses, and long afterward, looking over my shoulder, I could perceive the ungainly brutes in the rear fagging themselves to overtake me. In the course of five minutes the fugitives arrived at a small river, the treacherous sands of which receiving their spider-legs, their flight was greatly retarded, and by the time they had floundered to the opposite side and scrambled to the top of the bank, I could perceive that their race was run. Patting the steaming neck of my good steed, I urged him again to his utmost, and instantly found myself by the side of the herd. The lordly chief being readily distinguishable from the rest by his dark chestnut robe, and superior stature, I applied the muzzle of my rifle behind his dappled shoulder with my right hand, and drew both triggers; but he still continued to shuffle along, and being afraid of losing him should I dismount, among the extensive mimosa groves with which the landscape was now obscured, I sat in my saddle, loading and firing behind the elbow, and then placing myself across his path to obstruct his progress. Mute, dignified, and majestic stood the unfortunate victim, occasionally stooping his elastic neck toward his persecutor, the tears trickling from the lashes of his dark humid eye, as broadside after broadside was poured into his brawny front.

'His drooping head sinks gradually low,
And through his side the last drops ebbing slow
From the red gash fall heavy one by one,
Like the first of a thunder shower.'

"Presently a convulsive shivering seized his limbs, his coat stood on end, his lofty frame began to totter, and at the seventeenth discharge from the deadly grooved bore, like a falling minaret bowing his graceful head from the skies, his proud form was prostrate in the dust. Never shall I forget the intoxicating excitement of that moment! At last, then, the summit of my ambition was actually attained, and the towering giraffe laid low! Tossing my turban-less cap into the air, alone in the wild wood, I hurraed with bursting exultation, and unsaddling my steed, sank, exhausted with delight, beside the noble prize that I had won.

"While I leisurely contemplated the massive form before me, seeming as though it had been cast in a mould of brass, and wrapped in a hide an inch and a half in thickness, it was no longer matter of astonishment that a bullet discharged from a distance of eighty or ninety yards should have been attended with little effect upon such amazing strength.

"Two hours were passed in completing a drawing, and Piet still not making his appearance, I cut off the ample tail, which exceeded five feet in length, and was measureless the most estimable trophy I had ever gained. But on proceeding to saddle my horse, which I had left quietly grazing by the running brook, my chagrin may be conceived when I discovered that he had taken advantage of my occupation to free himself from his halter and abscond. Being ten miles from the wagons, and in a perfectly strange country, I felt convinced that the only chance of saving my pet from the clutches of the lion, was to follow his trail; while doing which with infinite difficulty, the ground scarcely deigning to receive a foot-print, I had the satisfaction of meeting Piet and Mohanycom, who had fortunately seen and recaptured the truant. Returning to the giraffe, we all feasted merrily on the flesh, which, although highly scented with the rank mokaala blossoms, was far from despicable, and losing our way in consequence of the twin-like resemblance of two scarped hills, we did not finally regain the wagons until after the setting sunbeams had ceased to play upon the trembling leaves of the light acacias, and the golden splendor which was sleeping upon the plain had gradually passed away."

Singular and striking as is the form of the giraffe, it only furnishes a proof of the wonderful manner in which an all-wise Creator has adapted means to ends. A vegetable feeder, but an inhabitant of sterile and sandy deserts, its long slender neck and sloping body, enable it to reach with ease its favorite food: leaf by leaf is daintily plucked from the lofty branch by the pliant tongue, and a mouthful of tender and juicy food is speedily accumulated. The oblique and narrow apertures of the nostrils, defended even to their margins by a chevaux de frise of strong hairs, and surrounded by muscular fibres by which they can be hermetically sealed, effectually prevent the entrance of the fine particles of sand which the suffocating storms of the desert raise in fiery clouds, destructive to the lord of the creation. Erect on those stilt-like legs, the giraffe surveys the wide expanse, and feeds at ease, for those mild, large eyes are so placed that it can see not only on all sides, but even behind, rendering it next to impossible for an enemy to approach undiscovered. As we reflect on these and numberless other points for admiration presented by the giraffe, we involuntarily exclaim with the Psalmist, "Oh, Lord! how manifold are thy works; in wisdom hast thou made them all!"

"Nature to these, without profusion kind,
The proper organs, proper powers assigned;
Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force;
All in exact proportion to the state,
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate."