« PoprzedniaDalej »
hurting in its tongue; and we have been more fully convinced of it from dissection. The sting appears considerably larger than that of a bee. We found a little bag at the other end of the tongue, and probably, if we had had a microscope, should have found the tongue perforated. This snake had no teeth ; but very hard gums. I have taken care to preserve
the tongue for your inspection.
As I think it has always been supposed, that serpents hurt only with their teeth, I thought this might be worthy of your notice. It is true, that the darting out of the tongue is a trick of the whole serpent tribe ; but this animal seemed to do it with peculiar ferocity, and to strike it with violence against our sticks. It was this that put us upon the examination.
I don't recollect that this singularity is mentioned in any book of natural history, but possibly I may be mistaken ; nor indeed do I remember either to have seen or heard of
any animal armed in this manner :-unless you will suppose me to adopt the sentiments of
poor Mr. S, who,ever since his marriage, alleges, that the tongues
females are formed after this singular inanner : and remarks one peculiarity, that the sting seldom or never appears till after matrimony.
He is very
learned on this subject, and thinks it may possibly have proceeded from their original connection with the serpent. Let this be as it may, I sincerely hope that you and I shall never have such good reason for adopting that opinion.
A little after nine we embarked. The night was delightful; but the wind had died away about sun-set, and we were obliged to ply our oars to get into the canal of Malta. The coast of Sicily began to recede ; and in a short time we found ourselves in the ocean. There was a profound silence, except the noise of the waves breaking on the distant shore, which only served to render it more solemn. It was a dead calm, and the moon shone bright on the waters. The waves from the late storm were still high, but smooth and even, and followed one another with a slow and equal pace. The scene had naturally sunk us into meditation: we had remained near an hour without speaking a word, when our sailors began their midnight hymn to the Virgin. The music was simple, solemn, and melancholy, and in perfect harmony with the scene, and with all our feelings. They beat exact time with their oars, and observed the harmony and the cadence with the utmost precision. We listened with infinite pleasure to this melancholy concert, and felt the vanity
operas and oratorios. There is often a solemnity and a pathetic in the modulation of these simple productions, that causes a much stronger effect, than the composition of the greatest masters, assisted by all the boasted rules of counter-point.
At last they sung us asleep, and we awoke forty miles distant from Sicily. We were now on the main ocean, and saw no land but Mount Ætna ; which is the perpetual polar star of these
We had a fine breeze, and about two o'clock we discovered the island of Malta ; and in less than three hours more, we reached the city of Valletta. The approach of the island is very fine, although the shore is rather low and rocky. It is every where made inaccessibic to an enemy, by an infinite number of fortifi. cations. The rock, in many places, has been sloped into the form of a glacis, with strong parapets and intrenchments ranning behind it.
The entry into the port is very narrow, and is commanded by a strong castle on either side. We were hailed from each of these, and obliged w give a strict account of ourselves ; and on cur arrival at the side of the qnay, we were visited by an officer from the health office, and obliged to give oath with regard to the circumstances of our voyage. He behaved in the
civilest manner, and immediately sent us Mr. Rutter, the English consul, for whom we had letters of recommendation.
On getting on shore, we found ourselves in a new world indeed. The streets crowded with well-dressed people, who have all the appearance of health and affluence ; whereas at Syracuse, there was scarce a creature to be seen ; and even those few had the appearance of disease and wretchedness.-Mr. Rutter immediately conducted us to an inn, which had more the appearance of a palace. We have had an excellent supper, and good Burgundy; and as this is the king's birthday, we have almost got tipsy to his health. We are now going into clean, comfortable beds, in expectation of the sweetest slumbers. Think of the luxury of this, after being five long days without throwing off our clothes.-Good night. I would not lose a moment of it for the world. People may say what they please, but there is no enjoyment in living in perpetual ease and affluence, and the trug luxury is only to be attained by undergoing a sew bardships.—But this is no time to philoso. plise. So adieu.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
Glasgow : Printed by R. Chapman. 1817.