THE CHETAH, OR HUNTING LEOPARD.
Very different were the feelings by which the Roman generals and people were swayed even in their most civilized times and at the height of their unequalled power. Through all the gloss which history has thrown over the character of these masters of the universe there appears a spirit of unreclaimed barbarity which was never entirely shaken off. From the scenes of their distant conquests their pr?tors sent to the metropolis[xii] of the world bears and lions and leopards and tigers; but a love of science had no share in the motives for the gratification of which they were transmitted, and the chief curiosity manifested on such occasions by the people of Rome was to ascertain how speedily hundreds or thousands, as the case might happen, of these ferocious beasts would destroy each other when turned out half-famished into the public amphitheatre, or how long a band of African slaves, of condemned criminals, or of hired gladiators, would be able to maintain the unequal contest against them. The consul or emperor who exhibited at one time the greatest number of animals to be thus tortured before the eyes of equally brutal spectators was held in the highest esteem among a people who regarded themselves as civilized, and whose chief delight was in witnessing these wanton effusions of blood. It was only under the later C?sars that a few private individuals brought together in their vivaria a considerable number of rare and curious animals; and the Natural History of Pliny derives most of its zoological value from the opportunities which he had of consulting these collections. But the monstrous fables and the innumerable errors, which the most superficial examination would have taught him to correct, with which every page of this vast compilation absolutely teems, speak volumes with regard to the wretched state of natural science in the most splendid days of Roman greatness.
The other individual at present in the Tower is a Tigress of great beauty from Bengal, scarcely a twelvemonth old, who also promises to become an exceedingly fine animal. During her passage from Calcutta she was allowed to range about the vessel unrestricted, became perfectly familiar with the sailors, and showed not the slightest symptom of ferocity. On her arrival, however, in the Thames, the irritation produced by the sight of strangers completely and instantly changed her temper, rendering her irascible and dangerous. Her deportment was so sulky and savage that Mr. Cops could scarcely be prevailed on by her former keeper, who saw her shortly afterwards, to allow him to enter her den: but no sooner did she recognise her old friend, than she fawned upon him, licked him, and caressed him, exhibiting the most extravagant signs of pleasure; and when he left her she cried and whined for the remainder of the day. To her new residence and her new keeper she is now perfectly reconciled.
In conclusion we have only to add that the fine little Elephant from which our figure was taken appears from his dimensions and from the very small size of his tusks to be little more than three years old. He is extremely good tempered, and became reconciled to his situation almost from the very moment of his arrival.