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and other countries included in the chain of islands which nearly unites Australia to Asia ; the remainder belong to America. It was in America that animals of this description first became known to Europeans, the Englishmen who went to settle in Virginia being amazed with the sight of "a beast which," said they, “carries her little ones in a piece of her own skin, like as in a bag, which she can open and shut to let them out or take them in, as she pleaseth.” This was the common Opossum, which, like all the marsupial animals of America, has very much the look of a rat, only that it is much larger. It has a long tail which curls itself round everything that it lays hold of, and by which the opossum swings- itself from bough to bough. Its abode is in the woods, but it comes forth sometimes to rob the poultry-yard. The largest, and all the most curious and beautiful marsupial animals, belong to Australia, and at the head of them all we must place the Kangaroo. All the kangaroo tribe are marked by their hind-legs being very large and strong, and thus well fitted for leaping, which is the motion by which the animal advances. The fore-legs are extremely short, the kangaroo drops them to the ground while grazing, but the leaps which it makes on all-fours are short and awkward: when flying from pursuit, or ranging over the plains and forests at its own will, it uses the hindlegs only, and springs much higher and farther than a horse could leap. Sometimes it stands erect, partly supported by its tail, which it uses on those occasions as a third leg ; but, in general, it sits upright, resting on the hind-feet, the soles of which are furnished with a hard pad to enable them to bear the weight of the body without inconvenience. In this position, the fore-legs hang down by its side, and the animal has very much the shape of a cone, the lower part of the body being broad, and the upper part slender and tapering. Its head is very pretty: the erect ears and large soft eyes are like those of the deer or the antelope. It has large cutting teeth in both jaws, and belongs to the number of grass-eating animals ; and some kinds have been observed to chew the cud. A writer, who had often watched these creatures in their native haunts, said of them
Yet, notwithstanding this seeming disagreement of one part of the body with another, he adds
The colonists take great numbers of these animals by setting snares in the places where they feed : to catch or kill them in any other way is not easy, for they are exceedingly timid and always on their guard. But the Australian savage displays great skill in hunting them ; dull and heavy at all other times, he brightens directly there is a chance of meeting with a kangaroo. Accompanied by his wives and children,
he watches for hours near the spot where he knows one is grazing, and at these times he stands so still, that if it were not for his quick glancing eyes, which move from side to side incessantly, you would take the dark motionless form for some half-burned stump of a tree, such as are seen every day in Australia. When the kangaroo comes to the place, it stands erect and looks and listens as intently as the hunter, and a little head peers out from the pouch to inquire if anything has alarmed its mother. But neither mother nor child concern themselves about the black log yonder, though it is long before the cautious creature feels quite secure, and many times yet, will she leave off feeding and stand up to look round her. And all this time neither the hunter nor those who are with him make the least sound or motion, but the women and children lie close upon the ground, hidden amongst the long grass and bushes. It is not till the kangaroo begins to graze in full security, and to fondle and play with her little one, that the hunter ventures to advance, very slowly and stealthily, moving no part of his body but the legs, until he is near enough to aim a spear. As soon as it is heard whistling through the air, the whole party start up with shouts, and run after the poor wounded animal, , trying in vain to escape from its pursuers by leaping high and far. For the spear, still sticking in its body, encumbers every movement, till, faint with loss of blood, it turns and sets its back against a tree, prepared by a desperate effort to seize the hunter in its fore-paws, and rend him open with the claws of the hind-feet. He is much too wily, however, to expose himself to such danger, but stands at a safe distance,
and throws spears into its breast until the kangaroo falls utterly exhausted. The poor little one perishes with its mother, and then there is great feasting. The fur of most kinds is brown, or reddish-brown, but on the west coast of Australia, there is a small species covered with beautiful light-blue fur, which is crossed upon the back with black bands. Next to the kangaroos, the most beautiful marsupial animals are to be found amongst those which dwell in the trees, and which are generally divided by writers on Natural History into two classes—the Phalangers, and the Petaurists. But Australians have other names for them, “ Ring-tailed Opossums,” “Squirrels,”“
Flying Opossums," and many more, for there are many different species, some smaller than a mouse, and others larger than a cat. Several of the Phalanger family resemble the American opossum in having a tail which curls itself round anything it can lay hold of; they are pretty furry creatures, with large eyes suited to animals which lie still in the holes of the trees all day, and come out at night to feed and frisk among the branches. But it is amongst the Petaurists that we must look for the prettiest of these dwellers in trees, the flying opossums; they are covered with beautiful soft fur, brown above and white or yellow underneath, have a handsome bushy tail, and are most graceful in all their movements. They rarely come to the ground, but leap surprising distances from tree to tree, buoyed up by a skin which extends from the fore to the hind legs; but they are not rightly named flying opossums, for although this skin-sail of theirs is something like a bat's wing, they cannot fly as a bat does. In moon
light nights, they are seen running along the boughs in pursuit of insects, and feeding on the young leaves or sucking honey out of the flowers of the gum-tree, which renews its blossoms with almost every rising sun, and thus offers an inexhaustible store of sweets, not only to the flying opossums, but to the many honey-eating birds of Australia.
TAEY sin, who tell us love can die!
All others are but vanity.
Earthly these passions of the earth,
But love is indestructible.
Too oft on earth a troubled guest,
At times deceived, at times opprest,
Then hath in heav'n its perfect rest.
Hath she not then, for pains and fears,
For all her sorrows, all her tears,