Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 131.djvu/454

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

443

SECRET SOCIETIES IN CHINA.

makes rebellion successful. At any time the Hung League might turn the day by throwing in its weight on the side of one of two equally-matched combatants, but it is as an instrument and not as a principal that its action will be felt.




A correspondent writes to us: "'Young Bengal'" is apt to boast of its acquirements in the direction of European literature, and is especially proud of its skill and potency in drawing from the well of English pure and undefiled.' There can be no doubt that the Calcutta University annually bestows numerous B.A. and M.A. degrees upon Bengali students, who have a marvellous talent of repeating and adapting phrases from our most eloquent writers, whether in prose or verse, but especially in the latter; though, when they are called upon to arrange their own ideas in homely English, they utterly and entirely fail to write even common sense. At this moment I have lying before me a letter addressed by an educated Bengali youth to a deputy commissioner, asking for employment, with an evidently complacent faith in his peculiar qualifications for serving the government. It runs as follows: 'I, the student entrance class of the school, undersigned, most respectfully beg to offer myself a Candidate for a Service under your Mortified feeling, which I have a clear hope, and entirely out of secret errors in my mind, will not fail to enlist my name. It will not be out of its place to add here regarding my qualification that I appeared last year in the university examination. Let me Conclude, adding that if I be so fortunate as to have the post for I hope, I will not fail to give you very satisfaction in the faithful discharge of the duties that will confer upon me." Pall Mall Budget.




Snakes that Eat Snakes. — One of these creatures, which is now at the gardens of the Zoological Society, has, during its stay in this climate, devoured an enormous number of common English snakes. We learn from an American contemporary that some years ago Professor Cope described the snake-eating habits of the Oxyrrhopus plumbeus (Weid), a rather large species of snake which is abundant in the intertropical parts of America. A specimen of it from Martinique was observed to have swallowed the greater part of a large fer-de-lance, the largest venomous snake in the West Indies. The Oxyrrhopus had seized the fer-de-lance by the snout, thus preventing it from inflicting fatal wounds, and had swallowed a greater part of its lengthy when caught and preserved by the collector. More recently a specimen was brought by Mr. Gabb from Costa Rica, almost five feet in length, which had swallowed nearly three feet of a large harmless snake (Herpetrodryas carinatus) about six feet in length. The head was partially digested, while three feet projected from the mouth of the Oxyrrhopus in a sound condition. The Oxyrrhopus is entirely harmless, although spirited and pugnacious in its manners. Professor Cope suggests that its introduction into regions infested with venomous snakes, like the island of Martinique, would be followed by beneficial results. The East-Indian snake-eater, Naja elaps, is unavailable for this purpose, as it is itself one of the most dangerous of venomous snakes. Popular Science Review.




Singular Custom Adopted by a Tree-Frog. — Professor Peters has lately described the mode of deposit of its eggs employed by a species of tree-frog (Polypedates) from tropical western Africa. "This species deposits its eggs, as is usual among batrachians, in a mass of albuminous jelly; but instead of placing this in the water, it attaches it to the leaves of trees which border the shore and overhang a water-hole or pond. Here the albumen speedily dries, forming a horny or glazed coating of the leaf, inclosing the unimpregnated eggs in a strong envelope. Upon the advent of the rainy season, the albumen is softened, and with the eggs is washed into the pool below, now filled with water. Here the male frog finds the masses, and occupies himself with their impregnation. Popular Science Review.