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Nor does it appear that the females ever prepare any kind of nest for their young, whom they suckle sitting up on their hind legs; the woolly hair of these little fellows, even at their tenderest age, with the aid of parental warmth, being a sufficient protection from the cold, which all these animals are much better calculated to endure than an opposite degree of temperature.


The grand place of resort for the seals on the Cornish coast is in a deep indenture in some high and precipitous cliffs, about a mile to the eastward of Boscastle. Like similar retreats, it is only at the time of the lowest spring tides and very smooth water, that a boat can be forced through the low and narrow aperture that forms its only point of entry; yet as soon as this is past, it expands almost suddenly within, and becomes so lofty that in many parts, even with the assistance of such torches as are usually provided for the occasion, you are unable to discern the roof. Some loose idea of the great extent of this cavern may be formed almost as soon as you have passed within its contracted portal, by the far distant hollow crashing sound you instantly detect, and which is caused by the wash of the sea amongst the loose pebbles at its furthest extremity. What the exact length from the entrance to the water's edge at the further end is, we have as yet been unable to ascertain; nor can we collect that the distance has been attempted to be measured by any one at all competent to the While it must be apparent to every one that a very imperfect guess can be made by those few who only occasionally venture there, and who it is scarcely possible can form anything like an accurate judgment whilst groping their way on the unstable element through subterranean gloom, which the faint torch light rather adds to than dispels-amidst the rushing sound of waters re-echoing like distant thunder through vaulted depths, within whose dark recesses the light of day has never penetrated, where the very air becomes so close and unwholesome that respiration is sensibly impeded; with a consciousness all this time that a very slight commotion of the fickle elements without, or even two or three feet sudden rise in the tide, would instantly interpose an impenetrable barrier to escape, and the dreary prison in which they are thus pent up, must then ere long become their sepulchre. Thoughts such as these, which will intrude themselves unbidden even into the company of the boldest of us, and which a situation such as we have been attempting to describe is nearly certain to excite, will be likely to magnify both distance and danger; and thus it is that those who give the greatest latitude of extent as to the length, breadth, depth, and height of this strange cavern, are those persons whose courage, like that of Bob Acres, oozing out through their finger ends, has compelled them to turn tail before they had penetrated half way through it.

In reality, except from a sudden rise of the sea, or allowing the tide to flow high enough to close the aperture, the only danger is in passing through the entrance, where the heave of a wave higher or stronger than was anticipated might suddenly bring the gunwale of the boat in contact with some projection from the sides, and so cause it to upset or fill with water; or you may receive a violent blow in the head against the top of the low archway, from a similar cause,

unless you keep a good look-out; yet both these perils with a little skill and care may effectually be guarded against, and when once beyond the straitened passage, the water becomes more smooth, with ample space all around you. And although the distant booming sound you hear bellowing away at the other end would seem to indicate that a violent surf was there expending its fury, it will be found to diminish away by degrees the nearer you approach it, till at last you discover that the whole is produced by nothing more than a few tiny waves rolling about the small pebbles at the landing place, and causing them to clash and rattle together with the concussion, which resounding through the long vaulted passages, and multiplied by distance, produce altogether an effect which could hardly be anticipated from so insignificant a cause.

Although the seals, when they betake themselves to repose on shore, are partial to a long nap, still they have usually some one more wakeful than the rest on the look-out to warn his companions of any approaching danger. If, therefore, your object in invading their territories is with the view of knocking any of them in the head and possessing yourself of their carcase, the best plan is to propel your boat as well as you can through the darkness to the further extremity of the cave, to which the sound of the surf will afford a certain guide, and not attempt to light a single torch till you are fairly grounded on the pebbly beach; otherwise the chances are that long before you have reached it, every seal has given you the slip by scrambling slyly off into the water, far beyond your reach: still at such times it not unfrequently happens that you may surprise some little ones who have overslept themselves, and whose anxious mothers had forgotten to awaken them previous to their hurried departure. But the real truth of the matter it must be candidly owned is, that somehow or other the full grown seals do generally contrive to give their pursuers the slip. Expert sealers are very scarce in these parts, whilst from inexperienced amateurs but little success could reasonably be anticipated; so that what with the imperfect light the torches afford, to which sometimes perhaps may be added a little nervous trepidation at the uncouth appearance and gait of these animals as they shuffle along, kicking up such an infernal dust as they never fail to do with the gravel and sand, they are allowed to pass without being hit at-like a swift leg ball passing wide of the wicket where a novice is the batsman-or if struck at the animal is missed, or hit in the wrong place; for unless struck right over the muzzle it must be a hard blow indeed that impedes a seal's progress, which, slow as it may seem, it will require an active man to overtake.

It rarely if ever happens on the Cornish coast, that these animals are sufficiently numerous in any of their retreats, to endanger their pursuers by trampling them underfoot, from the rush and pressure of the crowd that on the instant of alarm bolt forward to gain the water; though in some of these caves in Scotland it appears that the seal hunters are obliged to station themselves behind some projec tion, lest they should be overborne by the confused body that bundle forth on the first alarm; and it is not till the main throng are passed that the invading party commence hostilities, which are confined to a

few lazy stragglers that bring up the rear, who are dispatched by a blow over the nose with a club or bat provided for that express purpose.

The young are often taken alive, and may be very easily tamed; they exhibit a considerable degree of attachment to their keepers, as also to dogs and other animals with whom they are associated; and what is very remarkable, that, although possessing voracious appetites, they will allow the very meat to be taken from their mouths without showing any resentment at such uncourteous treatment. With such exceedingly tractable dispositions it seems very possible that they might even be trained to forage for their masters, yet it does not appear that any successful experiment of the kind has ever been made; nor are we even aware that it has been attempted, as far as seals are concerned, though undoubted instances have occurred of otters being usefully employed for that purpose.

On those parts of the coast that are but little frequented by mankind, seals are occasionally found basking on the rocks; yet so suspicious are they, that it requires great tact to get even within rifle shot of them, as they seem at those times even to exceed the men of Bristol in watchfulness; for not, like the latter, content merely to sleep with one eye open, these wary animals when reposing on the shore raise their heads almost every minute, and taking a look around to satisfy them that no danger is at hand, again betake themselves to their momentary slumbers. The reason of their making so much use of their eyes is by some attributed to their defective powers of hearing, as they possess no external ears, but merely orifices that but imperfectly answer the purpose. Be this as it may, certain it is that they are capable of distinguishing sounds; nor are well-authenticated accounts wanting of their being attracted by them. Mr. Low, who was for several years the officiating minister of the church of Hay, in the Orknies, informs us that when the bells of that church, which was situated near the sea, rung for divine service, all the seals within hearing would make directly for the shore, and there remain as long as the bells continued ringing, ing about with much appearance of wonder, but without exhibiting any alarm. It is even said that they delight much in the sound of a violin, which, if played upon in a boat within a seal's hearing, will never fail to bring them to the surface, where they will continue to follow the boat as long as the music continues, staring about all the time with wonder and admiration at the whole proceeding. We our selves have never had a violin amongst our company whilst paddling about near any of the seal haunts; but a young friend of ours, and who, we trust, may live to prove an old one, who occasionally joined us in our rambles along shore, used to make noise enough with a key-bugle he was then learning to play upon, to astonish all the seals within a league of him, though we never knew an instance of his raising one in admiring curiosity to the surface; and we candidly be lieve that, notwithstanding the honesty of his intentions, and his most strenuous exertions in the cause, he never would have succeeded in obtaining the ear of the seals, however successful he may some day prove in obtaining that of the House of which he has been lately elected an honourable member.

When swimming in the water, seals will permit you to approach much nearer to them than when on land; and sometimes, so far from avoiding you, they will often follow the boat, as if excited by curiosity, staring those on board boldly in the face with their large sparkling eyes, at only a few yards distance. Yet this apparent temerity is perhaps owing to the confidence they feel of being able to sink beyond the reach of danger on the slightest appearance of it. This they do almost instantaneously, dropping without any apparent effort right downwards the instant their suspicions are excited, which a small change of your position is quite sufficient to arouse, so that it is just as difficult to get a shot at them from a boat as from the land; and if you succeed in hitting, or even killing them outright, they are sure to sink to the bottom, so that your chance of recovering the carcase is a very small one; and even if you succeed, is likely to be attended with more trouble than would repay your labour. We ourselves, indeed, never felt inclined to abuse the confidence Master Sealchee seemed to place in us whilst following in the wake of our fishingboat, as several of those animals were often wont to do, though their company was by no means likely to improve our sport; still, for all this, we found something agreeable in their quick and lively eyes, and were some way or other interested by the general appearance of these queer and strange-looking animals, being certainly "neither fish, flesh, fowl, or good red herring"-possessing the rounded head of a man, with an otter's nose, a dog's teeth, a serpent's tongue, a fish's tail, and a whale's lungs; having, in fact, some of the characteristics of man, beast, fish, reptile, and cetaceous animal, which we believe are all associated in no other creature whatever. The attitude it assumes whilst swimming, with its stout shoulders high above water, on a sudden glance presents something like the appearance of a human being similarly employed; which similitude is still further increased by its heavy respirations, resembling those of a person out of breath, as we may often notice in persons when in the act of swimming. Well, indeed, do we remember being exceedingly startled by what at the moment seemed to be the apparition of a drowning man! We were alone in a small boat, trailing for whiting pollocks, and about a mile or so from the land; the sea was glassy smooth, so that the presence of a very small object floating upon it could be readily detected, even at a considerable distance. We were paddling slowly along, when we suddenly heard, close to us, a slight motion in the water, accompanied by a sound resembling the hard breathing of a person nearly exhausted by his efforts to keep himself above water, when, instantly looking round to the place from whence the sound seemed to proceed, we saw what appeared to be the round dark head of a man sink down and disappear within a foot or two of the boat. In the immediate hurry of the moment, the thought of a seal did not occur to us, and having before kept a look-out on all sides, we knew it was impossible that any man could have approached so near from any direction without our having previously observed him; but our doubts were soon removed by a large black seal rising within a short distance of the boat, who, there was little doubt, was the identical apparition we were then marvelling about.

This great black shaggy fellow was the largest of his kind I ever saw, nor did I ever meet with another that was of an uniform dark colour on any part of the coast; the prevailing colours of the greater part resemble an old blanket marked with brown or dark blotches or spots, but you rarely meet with any two that are marked precisely alike, and yet it seems that all the young, when first produced, are of a white colour all over.

If a jackass, barring his ears, were to be turned adrift in body clothes, made of a washerwoman's ironing-cloth, well burnt with the iron marks, it would afford no bad resemblance of a seal.

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Of all the capitals in the world there is not one where the presence of an imposing military force is so little obvious as in London; yet where is the city, town, or fortress garrisoned by such a body of men as our household troops? In one of his splenetic allusions to George the Fourth, when Regent, Byron says, "The Prince is all for the land service." Whatever may have been the taste of that monarch, or however the bias of his successors may have inclined, they certainly intruded it but little upon the nonce of their subjects. Take the surface of England from January to December, and less is seen of the "profession of arms" than of any other known employment, calling, business, trade, or office in which her population are engaged. In the streets of London a barrister's wig is a much more ordinary head-dress than a trooper's helmet, and in the provinces a bashaw of three tails would create less sensation than a hussar with his suspensory jacket. This proposition being admitted-and it is too selfevident to be gainsaid-it will be held as the natural result of our design that a military spectacle should be selected for one of the earliest of our "Metropolitan Sketches." To this intent our present scene is "The Horse Guards," which, with the reader's leave, we will treat with reference to the double meaning attaching to the term.

First, then, a few words upon the noble building so called, that, as it were, coquets with Whitehall, while it gives its beauties, in all their expanded glory, to the fauns and dryads of St. James's Park. Probably there is not in Europe a spot more characteristic of its purpose than the mall that spreads between the Horse Guards and the lovely combination of lawn and water that constitutes the abovenamed park; the distance crowned by the palace of our fair young

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