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close behind that a recently swallowed mouse. Galley was of opinion that the first viper could not pass the mouse, and that consequently there was no room for the second young one." There is a ring of truth and accuracy in the above statement which is difficult to ignore.
The Editor of the Zoologist himself narrated the next incident somewhat bearing upon the point. “My late friend William Christy, jun.,” he writes, “ found a fine specimen of the common scaly lizard with two young ones, which, like the viper, brings forth its young alive. Taking an interest in everything relating to natural history, he put them into a small pocket vasculum to bring home; but when he next opened the vasculum the young ones had disappeared, and the belly of the parent was greatly distended; he concluded she had devoured her own offspring. At night the vasculum was laid on a table, and the lizard was therefore at rest; in the morning the young ones had reappeared, and the mother was as lean as at first." This is specific proof that reptiles smaller than adders can thus shelter the young ones.
The latest evidence bearing directly upon the question comes from the neighbourhood of Chepstow. On September 10, 1885, a viper was seen to swallow her young ones by the roadside between St. Arvans and Midcliff, Chepstow. When the snake had been killed by a blow from a stone, thirteen young vipers—nine alive and four dead—were discovered within. Nine were preserved in spirit by the writer " J. H. M.," in whose possession they remain. Here, again, we have a detailed statement which is most convincing in its directness; and if the testimony fails to carry conviction, the only alternative is that numbers of individuals are evolving deliberate untruths, an assertion that I for one emphatically repudiate.
In the attempted elucidation of this subject, it may not be irrelevant to inquire into the habits of some foreign reptiles in various parts of the world.
On the banks of the Homochitto Lake, near the Mississippi, Mr. Caleb J. Forshey, Fellow of the New Orleans Academy of Science, was engaged in survey work. He there had ocular proof that alligators swallow their young, thus establishing the truth of a universal tradition amongst blacks and whites alike in Louisiana. He writes: “ The day was warm and sunny, and as I halted near the margin of a pond nearly dried up to pick up some shells, I startled a litter of young alligators that scampered off, yelping like puppies; and retreating some twenty yards, to the bank of the lake, I saw them reach their refuge in the mouth of a five-foot alligator. She evidently
held open her mouth to receive them, as, in single file, they passed in beyond my observation. The dam then turned slowly round and slid down beneath the water, passing into a large opening in the bank, beneath the foot of an ash tree. I made a communication of the facts to Sir Charles Lyell, who visited me shortly afterwards. Some notice was given of it, I think, in the volume of his ‘Second Visit to the United States.' The writer adds,“ doubtless the refuge is temporary; the descent is partial, in no way interfering with the process of digestion.” This, I think, is sufficient testimony to the fact that alligators at least possess the singular habit, which is also claimed for serpents.
In America, also, the rattlesnake has been many times reported to swallow its young at the approach of danger. In one instance, the eye-witnesses swore to the details before a judge, in order to establish proof of the facts. A female serpent raised her head with a hissing sound; upwards of a dozen entered her mouth, to remain in safety until the danger had passed away. Ultimately the small serpents were seen to come forth through the mouth in a lively condition.
Turning to another quarter of the globe, I obtained convincing proof myself in Australia that the Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) performs the same feat. At the time that I was in Sydney, Mr. H. J. M'Cooey, a Fellow of the New South Wales Royal Society, well known in Sydney scientific circles, witnessed a female snake swallow eighteen young ones. He startled the group amid the scrub at Coogee Bay, near Sydney. The parent made a strange hissing or gulping noise, and opened her mouth widely, into which her young glided with extraordinary rapidity, and disappeared down her throat. Mr. M'Cooey instantly despatched the reptile, and on dissecting her killed thirteen of the young snakes, the remainder making their escape in the grass. “Mr. M'Cooey," says the Sydney Herald, March 28, 1888, “thus sets at rest a question which has always been regarded by scientific men with scepticism, viz., whether or no snakes swallow their young in order to protect them.”
Mr. Taylor, a well-known Australian shipper that I met in Melbourne, also informed me that he had witnessed a black snake, or some closely allied species, swallow her young on the banks of the Burdekin River, Queensland.
For myself, I am convinced that alligators, rattlesnakes, black snakes, and lizards have, on credible authority, been proved to indulge in this peculiar habit, not from cannibalistic tendencies, but as a mode of protection in cases of sudden emergency.
I am pre
pared to find the English adder performing a similar feat. In several of the cases cited I admit that the evidence is incomplete; either the names of the actual eye-witnesses are withheld, the locality is not stated, or the events are related from memory after the lapse of some years. In some cases the facts are capable of alternative explanations; but there remains a formidable array of testimony which cannot be explained away. It appears to confirm a deeply rooted popular tradition, and I am driven to the conclusion that the incidents have been duly witnessed on more than one occasion.
THE ROYAL HOUSE OF STEWART.
In Two Parts.
THE history of the Royal House of Stewart reads like that of a
T family doomed to destruction by inexorable destiny. Had such a subject suggested itself to the poets of ancient Greece, the tale of woe would have been traced to an oracular prediction in fulfilment of which so many puppets, morally irresponsible, would have been represented as unconsciously “dreeing their weird.” Fate, however, in the ordinary acceptation of the word, had little, if any. thing, to do with the almost unbroken record of misery and disaster. Each individual of the race filled up his, or her, own complement of crime and folly, and in due time was overtaken by the inevitable consequences. Not that the Stewarts were sinners above all other men, or were in any respect worse than their contemporaries. Far from it. Not unfrequently they were in advance of the age in which they lived, and were, for the most part, more civilised and polished than the rude, tumultuous nobility in the midst of whom their lots were cast. With rare exceptions, they were not only staunch and valiant warriors, but were comparatively humanised by their love of music and letters, and especially of poetry. Their intellectual gifts and attainments, however, were barely tolerated by the Lowland aristocracy, while in the eyes of the Highland chieftains they appeared as the outward and visible signs of innate effeminacy and lack of manliness. A barbarous Court would have shown more respect for an illiterate athlete and reveller, only controlled, if at all, by the unstable principles and unwritten laws of chivalrous sentiment, than for a refined and cultured prince, brave in the hour of battle, but averse from savage strife and purposeless bloodshed. At the same time the Stewarts were no milksops, nor were they deterred from atrocious acts of violence by any fear of bloodguiltiness. Though indulgent to their own iniquities, they could be harsh and unrelenting towards the evil-doers by whom they were surrounded. They were likewise
VOL. CCLxxiv. NO. 1947.
addicted to favouritism, a sure symptom of weakness and laxity of moral fibre in a monarch, and the invariable source of woes unnumbered to both prince and people. Their characters and dispositions were, moreover, hereditary in an unusual and remarkable degree. An astounding obstinacy, an incurable duplicity, and an extraordinary faith in their own divine prerogative, were transmitted as heirlooms from father to son, down to the last pretender to a Royal Crown. They were untaught, and unteachable, by experience. As in the case of the Bourbons, the lessons of adversity were wasted upon their self-sufficiency and unquestioning belief in the divine right of kings. In every remonstrance their answer would have been, “Gods and godlike kings can do no wrong."
Tradition traces the Stewart family from Bancho, or Banquo, thane of Lochaber, supposed to have been murdered by Macbeth about the middle of the eleventh century. His son Fleance is reported to have married Nesta, daughter of Gruffydd ap Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, and to have met with death at the hands of certain Welsh ruffians, three or four years subsequent to his father's assassination. Banquo's grandson, Walter, appears to have retired to the Court of Edward the Confessor, where he became involved in a quarrel which caused him to seek refuge with his mother's kinsman, Alan, Count of Brittany, whose daughter he married, and whom he accompanied in the Norman invasion of England. Misconduct or mischance still clinging to him, he incurred the displeasure of William the Conqueror, and had again to seek a new service. This time he returned to his fatherland, and was graciously welcomed by Malcolm III., who appointed him “Dapifer Domini Regis." His death is assigned to the year 1093.
His son Alan was enrolled among the followers of Godfrey of Bouillon, and was present at the taking of Jerusalem in 1099, after which notable feat of arms he made his way back to Scotland and was honoured with the dignity of Lord High Steward of that ancient realm. He was succeeded by his son Walter, whose name is affixed to several charters in the reign of David I., under the style and title of “Walterus filius Alani.” We now emerge from the mists of fable into the clearer light of authentic history, and accept the assurance of Mr. Andrew Stuart, compiler of “The Genealogical History of the Stewarts," that this Walter was a real entity, though he dismisses the preceding four generations as spurious, or at least as mythical. It is, however, satisfactory to learn from Sir David Dalrymple that "in the reign of David I., before the middle of the twelfth century, the family of the Stewarts was opulent and powerful ;" and that "it may there