Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Its eye

of the neck of the swan and peacock. is large, prominent, and very quick in catching objects at a great distance; it is well defended by the brow, and it can see, without turning the head, behind and below it. The ears are well formed to receive sounds, and are constantly bent forward. The tongue has very peculiar properties, and can be so tapered as to enter the ring of a very small key.

The Giraffe's taste and smell are acute and very delicate, especially as regards the artificial food given it. It is a small feeder, but drinks about eight or ten quarts of milk in the day. The upper lip is longer than the lower one, which assists the tongue in drawing in boughs; but when grinding its food it is contracted. has no teeth or nippers in the upper jaw, and the two outside ones are divided to the sockets. It lies down, when it chews the cud.

Library of Entertaining Knowledge.

ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE.

HIS MANUFACTURE OF POTTERY.

I HAD long studied, by some means or other, to make myself some earthen vessels, which indeed I wanted much, but knew not where to come at them: however, considering the heat of the climate, I did not doubt, but, if I could find out any clay, I might botch up some such pot as might, being dried in the sun, be hard and strong enough to bear handling, and to hold anything that was dry and required to be kept so; and as this was necessary in the preparing corn, meal, &c., which was the thing I was upon, I resolved to make some as large as I could, and fit only to stand like jars to hold what should be put into them.

[ocr errors]

to spare

It would make the reader pity me, or rather laugh at me, to tell how

many
awkward ways

I took to raise this jar; what odd, misshapen, ugly things I made; how many of them fell in, and how many fell out, the clay not being stiff enough to bear its own weight; how many cracked by the over-violent heat of the sun, being set out too hastily; and how many fell in pieces with only removing, as well before as after they were dried: and, in a word, how, after having laboured hard to find the clay, to dig it, to temper it, to bring it home and work it, I could not make above two large earthen ugly things (I cannot call them jars) in about two months' labour.

However, as the sun baked these two very dry and hard, I lifted them very gently up and set them down again in two great wicker baskets which I had made on purpose for them that they might not break; and as between the pot and the basket there was a little room

I stuffed it full of the rice and barley straw; and these two pots being to stand always dry, I thought

I would hold my dry corn, and perhaps the meal when the corn was bruised.

Though I miscarried so much in my design for large pots, yet I made several smaller things with better success; such as little round pots, flat dishes, pitchers, and pipkins, and anything my hand turned to; and the heat of the sun baked them very hard.

But all this would not answer my end, which was to get an earthen pot to hold liquids and bear the fire, which none of these could do. It happened some time after, making a pretty large fire for cooking my meat, when I went to put it out after I had done with it, I found a broken piece of one of my earthenware vessels in the fire, burnt as hard as a stone, and red as a tile. I was agreeably surprised to see it; and said to myself, that certainly they might be made to burn whole, if they would burn broken.

This set me to study how to order my fire, so as to make it burn some pots. I had no notion of a kiln such as the potters burn in, or of glazing them with lead, though I had some lead to do it with; but I placed the three largest pipkins and two or three pots in a pile one upon another, and placed my firewood all round it, with a great heap of embers under them. I plied the fire with fresh fuel round the outside and upon the top, till I saw the pots in the inside red-hot quite through, and observed that they did not crack at all: when I saw them clear red, I let them stand in that heat about five or six hours, till I found one of them, though it did not crack, did melt or run; for the sand, which was mixed with the clay, melted by the violence of the heat, and would have run into glass if I had gone on; so I slacked my fire gradually, till the pots began to abate of the red colour; and watching them all night, that I might not let the fire abate too fast, in the morning I had three very good, I will not say handsome, pipkins, and two other earthen pots as hard burnt as could be desired; and one of them perfectly glazed with the running of the sand. After this experiment, I need not say that I wanted no sort of earthenware for my use; but I must needs say, as to the shapes of them, they were very indifferent (as any one may suppose), as I had no way of making them but as the children make dirt pies, or as a woman would make pies, that never learned to raise paste. No joy at a thing of so mean a nature was ever equal to mine, when I found I had made an earthen pot that would bear the fire; and I had hardly patience to stay till they were cold, before I set one on the fire again with some water in it to boil me some meat, which it did admirably well; and with a piece of a kid I made some very good broth, though I wanted oatmeal and several other ingredients requisite to make it so good as I would have had it.

THE EARTH.

THE earth on which we live is not flat, but round. Any one can satisfy himself of that, if he is by the sea-side, if he will only look out through a telescope at a vessel when approaching the land. He will see the top of the mast first, then more of the rigging, and last of all the hull of the ship, just as if it were coming up over the top of a hill.

The earth then is a globe, like an orange. Look at an orange,

and

you will see at its top a little white or light brown spot in the centre, where the orange has been attached to the stalk of the tree. That point of the globe is what we call the North Pole, and at a similar spot at the bottom is the South Pole. Hold the orange with the spot uppermost, and I will explain to you the divisions of the globe. The top is the North, as I have said, and the bottom the South. The left hand is the West, and the right hand the East.

If I take a paint brush and paint a broad band of blue round the bottom, and about a quarter of the way up the orange, that will represent the great body of water that runs quite round the globe. It is continuous, so that a ship can sail quite round the globe and come back to the very spot from which it started. This continuous expanse of water we call an ocean.

Running down into it is a large piece of land, shaped like a leg of mutton, called Africa, which has water on all sides of it, except just at one corner towards the right hand of its top side, where it is joined on by a narrow piece of land to another larger piece. This narrow joining is like the piece of your body which holds your head on to the larger portion of your body, the trunk, and which is called your neck: so, too, we call the piece of land that joins Africa on to a larger

name.

body, a neck of land, or an isthmus, which is its proper

This isthmus is the Isthmus of Suez, and is about 60 miles across.

The large country to which it is joined is Asia, running eastwards till it is stopped by the ocean, and again joined on to another large tract towards the west, called Europe, which extends to the south till it almost touches Africa, and would touch it, if there were not a sheet of water between them. At the western side they come very close together, and only a very narrow channel (as it is called) of water separates them. This channel is so narrow, that it is called a strait (which means “narrow)—the Strait of Gibraltar. These two large continuous tracts of land, Europe and Asia, reach up towards the North Pole, where they are lost in ice and snow.

They are called continents. Passing on westward from the edge of Europe and Africa we come to the ocean, which runs up to the extreme north, and down to the extreme south. It is 3,000 miles wide; but when we have crossed it (which steam vessels do now in about ten days), we come to another continent, like Asia, reaching almost to the North Pole, and with another leg-of-mutton-shaped land joined on to it by an isthmus (the Isthmus of Darien)—just as Africa is united to Asia. This is the Continent of America; the larger portion is North America, and the lower South America.

But, instead of landing there, let us sail on round the bottom of South America, for, as I have told you, the ocean goes all round the globe, and again we get into a wide expanse of water reaching to the extreme north and extreme south. It is 10,000 miles across; and, after crossing it, we come to Asia again at the north, and to a new continent toward the south, called Australasia, which is almost square in shape.

The ocean between Europe and America is called the Atlantic; but when we have passed America, though it

« VorigeDoorgaan »