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To the Lion the title of the King of the Beasts is universally allowed. It was, however, originally conferred at a period when strength, courage, and the power of spreading terror were considered as paramount qualities. Had the palm been given, as it ought always to be, to sagacity and to mildness, the sovereignty over the animal race would have been awarded to the half-reasoning elephant. It must, nevertheless, be confessed that, of all the carnivorous




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quadrupeds, the Lion, whether considered with respect to his appearance or to his conduct, has the best claim to the dignity which has been bestowed on him. He is not, like some of his genus, a mere sanguinary destroyer; but is capable, in a very high degree, of forbearance, generosity, and even affection.

The Lion is a native of Africa and Asia, and sometimes grows to the length of six or eight feet, but is usually not more than half that length. He is a longlived animal; having been known to attain the age

of seventy. He has a striking figure, a bold look, a majestic gait, a terrific voice, and a compact well proportioned form. Such is his strength, that he can break the back of a horse with a single stroke of his paw, and throw a strong man to the ground with the sweep of his tail, and he is no less agile than strong. He has a very broad face surrounded with a long mane, the eyes are bright and fiery, and the tongue is beset with prickles as hard as a cat’s claws. The hair on the hinder parts of the body is short and smooth, and its general colour a pale yellow, inclining to white beneath,

The roaring of the Lio so loud, that when heard in the night, and reechoed by the mountains, it resembles distant thunder. This roar is a deep hollow growl: but when enraged, he has a different cry, which is short, broken, and reiterated. This is always excited by opposition; and upon those occasions, when the Lion summons up all his terrors for the combat, nothing can be more formidable. He then lashes his sides with his long tail, his mane seems to rise, and stand like bristles round his head; the skin and muscles of his face are all in agitation; his huge eyebrows half cover his glaring eyeballs; he discovers his formidable teeth and tongue, and extends his claws, which appear almost as long as a man's fingers. Prepared in this manner for war, even the boldest of the human kind are daunted at his approach ; and there

are no animals, excepting the elephant, the rhinoceros, the tiger, and the hippopotamus, that will venture singly to engage him, which rarely happens, except with the tiger; for the Lion is in general the undisputed master of the forest.

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In all her dimensions, the Lioness is about one-third less than the male, and is destitute of that mane which is such an ornament to him. Though less powerful, and, in general, less mischievous than the lion, she surpasses him in ferocity when she has to make provision for her young. She goes five months, and usually brings forth in the most sequestered places : and when she fears to have her retreat discovered, she often hides her tracks, by retracing her ground, or by brushing them out with her tail. Sometimes also, when her apprehensions are great, she transports her offspring from one place to another; and, if obstructed, defends them with determined courage, and fights to the last extremity. The young ones, four or five in number, when first brought forth, are about the size of a pug dog, harmless, pretty, and playful : they continue at the teat nearly twelve months, and are about five years in coming to perfection. In a state of confinement, the Lioness never produces more than two whelps.

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