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this is pretty play, but the merciless planter puts a tragical end to it. He comes up with his unerring rifle; the barrel drops into his left hand; the stock is at his shoulder; a momentary sightcrack ! --down falls the gamesome squirrel, plunging through the green leaves, and plumps heavily on the earth. A drop of blood on each side, staining the white fur of the belly, shows that the fatal ball has passed right through. The planter loads again; as much powder as will just cover the ball lying in the hollow of his left hand, is the charge; the ramrod twice springs half out of the barrel, and again the rifle points upward. The other falls; and these two we carry in to furnish a dinner for the family. I admire, as they lie warm and flexible, yet motionless, in my hand, the soft thick fur, mottled grey on the back, and pure white beneath ; the feet, the nose, and the ears, likewise spotless white, and the tail pencilled with long parted hairs of a delicate light grey. Truly it is a pretty little animal.
Occasionally we see Squirrels differing greatly from this in colour, but of the same size and manners. One is almost wholly black; another has the upper parts dark brown, and the belly rustred; the latter is not uncommon. Both of these are considered by Dr. Bachinan, of South Carolina, as varieties of the Foxsquirrel.
Stewed, or made into a pie, squirrel is excellent eating; the fat is apt to be rank, especially of the males; the meat is white, much like that of the rabbit, but superior in flavour. Roasted I do not much admire it, as it is somewhat flabby.
There is a much smaller grey Squirrel, as common as the former, but haunting somewhat different situations. This is the Carolina Squirrel (S. Carolinensis); it is coloured nearly as the Foxsquirrel, but the grey coat of the back inclines to rusty. It is much less active and playful ; frequents rather the dark sombre woods around the swamps and rivers, and hides under the long ragged tufts of Spanish moss (Tillandsia) that stream from the branches. Both kinds make a comfortable dray or nest in the fork of a tree; externally of twigs, sticks, and leaves, internally lined with moss and lichen. This is not only for the rearing of the offspring, but for the habitation of the adults, at least during the summer.
The value of the flesh to make or eke out a dinner is not the only motive which induces the planter to shoot these little truants. A rifle-ball, or a charge of powder, is worth more here than a pound or two of meat. They are incorrigible robbers. They appear to imagine that the planter's corn is sown exclusively for them, and fail not to make all the use they can of his liberality. Morning, noon, and eve, Squggy is in the corn-field : from the time that the young and tender grain begins to form within the enveloping sheath, till it has grown large, and hard, and yellow, and is housed (at least what remains of it) in the barn. But especially does the Squirrel like it (and unremittingly he' pays his devotions to it) when the grain is of that plump but soft and pulpy substance that resembles cream; when the planter's palate, too, is particularly pleased with it, and when he plucks the ears, and, just parching them over the fire, brings them to table under the appellation of roseneers, q. d. roasting-ears. This similarity of taste between planter and squirrel induces rivalry, and the result is as I have stated-væ victis.
Some time ago a very clever fellow announced that he had discovered an infallible preventive of the depredations of the Squirrels. So important a declaration was of course received with open ears ; a considerable remuneration was collected for the secret, and the planters of the neighbourhood met him to be instructed. The sage received the cash, buttoned his pockets, and bowed. “Gentlemen," he said, “my scheme is simple, but effective. I have observed that the Squirrels invariably begin their attacks on the outside row of corn in the field. Omit the outside row, and they won't know where to begin!” The door was open-the speaker was gone not waiting even for the applause which his ingenious plan so much merited.
[To be continued.]
AMERICAN GLEANINGS.No. I.
In the year 1842, in the city of New York, the American Ethnological Society was established, “For the promotion of a most important and interesting branch of knowledge-that of Man and the Globe he inhabits, as comprised in the term Ethnology in its widest acceptation.”
Its first meeting was held on November 19, 1842. Since that time, during the winter months, like the Ethnological Societies of London and Paris, it has had its regular meetings, at which papers connected with the science have been read, and subjects bearing upon it discussed by the members of the society there assembled.
There is now a general sense and conviction of the importance of ethnological investigations. These are now felt to be of daily-increasing value in relation to the commercial and maritime interests of nations, the enterprises of missionaries, the study of comparative philology, and many other objects of practical utility.
Our voyagers and travellers, and those of Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France, Spain, Italy, the United States of America, and other countries, are continually bringing us in curious information about the globe and its highest occupant-Man : but this knowledge requires to be systematized ; how many lights must be brought to one focus and rendered visible to all the civilized nations, whether of the Old World or of the New! The publications now issuing from the presses of London, Paris, and New York, will tend to this consummation; and from many of them the traveller, now starting on his career, may learn what researches to pursue or follow out, what inquiries to make, and what comparisons to institute between different races, or different branches of the same race, as modified by difference of climate and other influences ; and from some of these works he may take a profitable lesson as to the arrangement of his matter, and the unadorned precision and simplicity of style best adapted to such writing, where facts and not rhetoric are wanted.
Many circumstances concur to render the present time propitious to ethnological science. The artificial barriers which so long divided nations, and kept them from a knowledge of each other, are everywhere seen falling before the advance of commerce and its attendant civilization. There is not a sea, strait, or bay into which our ships do not penetrate; every corner of the world is told that it must not expect to be allowed to segregate itself from the rest of mankind. China may almost be said to be thrown open, and even Japan is no longer the sealed book that it was. New and extensive regions are thus opened to the enterprise of the traveller ; and even in better-known but imperfectly-described countries the successful results of recent scientific explorations show how much yet remains to be learned and to be done. No two clever, qualified men will travel, the one after the other, over the same regions, without making (each of them) an addition to our ethnological stock of knowledge.
The mystery that still envelops the history and origin of the diversified American races of man; the phenomena connected therewith ; the diversity of languages; the remains of ancient art and traces of ancient civilization among the aborigines of Peru, Mexico, and Central America; the earthworks of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and their founders; the spontaneous growth of arts, sciences, and mythology among the different American peoples -these are among the leading topics to be taken up and dealt with by the American Ethnological Society; and there are few individuals in the western country who may not, by bestowing a little time and attention, obtain interesting materials for their elucidation.
This society, however, does not strictly confine itself to American subjects. They have already treated, in a general way, of the Phallic Worship in the Old World ; of the progress of ethnology in Europe ; of some Phænician ruins on Mount Lebanon ; of the languages of Northern Africa ; of the Foolah nation, &c. We have before us three volumes of their Transactions, the first published in 1848, and the last in 1853; and from these we propose to make some gleanings for the benefit of our readers, few of whom are likely ever to see the thick New York volumes. The matter is much more moral, wholesome, and in every way better than that contained in the American works of fiction with which certain of our publishers are stocking our cheap bookshops and inundating our railway-stations, merely because (as the international law at present stands) they have nothing to pay for copyright to the American author, and can pirate and reprint any American book, just as the American publishers have long been accustomed to deal with our books, to the great detriment of many a popular and deserving English writer. There are exceptions, but, generally speaking, these purloined, transatlantic productions, which glare at us, from every corner, in their glossy, shining covers of blue, pea-green, scarlet, or yellow, ought to be put in an Index Expurgatorium, as things offensive to good taste, and subversive of all taste to the young, as rhapsodical extravagances that go to confound and to corrupt the language of Chaucer and Spenser, Bacon and Jeremy Taylor, Shakspeare and Milton.
There are none of the vices of language or style in the volumes hitherto put forth by the American Ethnological Society. Some of the papers in the Transactions,' by Mr. A. Gallatin, Dr. Hawkes, Mr. W. B. Hodgson, Mr. T. Dwight, junior, and others, appear to us to be models of good, straightforward, unaffected writing.
For the present we can do no more than extract a wild Indian legend, from a letter to the society, by the Rev. C. C. Copeland. We would observe, that the wonder as to what becomes of the setting sun, and how it is that the glorious orb which sets in the west should rise next morning in the east, is common to all barbarous people, who know nothing of the rotundity or the rotatory
motion of the earth. It is strongest where such people dwell in inland countries, among mountains far in the interior of a continent, where all that the poor people know is that the sun drops behind one ridge and rises from behind another. We have ourselves heard the astonishment expressed by Turkish peasants, not very far in the interior of Asia Minor, who had never seen the sea, or travelled to any distance from the valley in which they were born. Once an English traveller, coming from the west, arrived, between night and morning, at one of these Turkish villages, and complained of the inconvenience and danger of travelling in the dark. “How?” said a Turk, “ had you not light? you were coming from the west - did you not meet the sun ? When he leaves us he always goes in that direction !"
A CHOCTAW LEGEND. “I send you herewith a tradition in regard to the setting of the sun. The native expression for the setting of the sun, “Hoshi vt okatula,' signifies that “The sun falls in the water.' The tradition is as follows:
“Many, many generations ago, when the Choctaws were assembled on a great national occasion, the inquiry arose as to what became of the sun when it disappeared at the close of the day. None of their great men, chiefs, prophets, or doctors, could give any satisfactory answer to the inquiry. The next question was, Whether it was not possible to ascertain, to a good degree of certainty, in regard to the matter? Whether by travelling in the direction of the point where the sun disappeared, one could not find the place of its rest? And then, who would voluntarily undertake the task of discovering what became of the sun ?
“After a long consultation in regard to the matter, a young man, in all the freshness and vigour of early manhood, volunteered for the task. He would leave his people, his friends, and his country, all that the Indian counts dear, and devote his life to the task, that he might gratify his people. Accordingly, he bade them all farewell, charging them to remember him daily, and talk of him and his undertaking to their children, so that he should be always had in remembrance by the tribe. And assuring them that he would one day return to gratify them in regard to the object of their desires, he departed.
“His people remembered him, and talked of him and the object of his journey, and the day of his return. The old men died ; the young men became old, and many of them passed away to the grave. Still the young man came not. The people had looked for him, the prophets had spoken of his coming, but he came not. Years rolled away, and even generations passed, but no tidings from the young man who had gone to find what became of the sun, till finally his name and the object of his journey were quite forgotten.
“ The nation were again assembled. The old men, the young men, the women and children were there. They were suddenly checked in their mirth and rejoicing by the appearance of an old man—a very, very old man. His form was bent, his hair white, his eye dim, and he leaned upon a