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THE COCOA NUT.
refreshing exceedingly utensil THE tree which produces this fruit is a kind of palm: its trunk resembles a stately column, fourteen or fifteen feet in length, and three in diameter, and crowned at the summit with narrow leaves; amidst these hangs the fruit. The external rind of the cocoa-nut is brown, smooth, and approaches a triangular form. This covering encloses an extremely fibrous substance of considerable thickness, which immediately surrounds the nut: the latter has a thick and hard shell, with three holes at the base, each closed by a black membrane. The kernel is about an inch in thickness; it lines the shell, and encloses a sweet, refreshing liquid. The cocoa-nut tree affords the Indians food, clothing, and means of shelter. Before the kernel comes to maturity, it is soft and pulpy, may be scraped out with a spoon, and affords the natives an agreeable and nutritious food; when pressed in a mill, it yields an oil. By making incisions in the tree during the spring, a cool, refreshing liquor flows out, which, if allowed to stand any time, ferments, becomes spirituous, and is exceedingly intoxicating; it is called toddy. By soaking the fibrous trunk in water, it becomes soft, and can be manufactured into sail-cloth, or twisted into cordage of any description, which surpasses in durability that formed of hemp. The woody shells are used for cups, ladles, or other domestic utensils. The trunk of the tree furnishes either beams or rafters for their habitations, or is made into boats. The leaves platted together form an excellent thatch; they are also used for umbrellas, mats, and various other useful articles.
Guiana perpendicularly fabulous
solitary Cayenne quadruped wood-cutters Europeans interior
abandoned The vampire is chiefly found in South America; it is about the size of a squirrel, and its wings, when extended, measure four or five feet. It has a sharp black nose, large and upright ears, the tongue pointed, talons very crooked and strong, and no tail. At the end of the nose, it has a long, conic, erect membrane, bending at the top, and flexible. They vary in colour, some being entirely of a reddish brown, others dusky. They live on flesh, fish, and fruits, and are peculiarly fond of blood.
The vampire of India, and that of South America, I consider distinct species. I have never yet seen a bat from India with a membrane rising perpendicularly from the end of its nose; nor have I ever been able to learn that bats in India suck animals, though I have questioned many people on this subject. I could only find two species of bats in Guiana with a membrane rising from the nose. Both these kinds suck animals and eat fruit; while those bats, without a membrane on the nose, seem to live entirely upon fruit and insects, but chiefly upon the latter. A gentleman, by name Walcott, from Barbadoes, lived far up the river Demerara. While I was passing a day or two at his house, the vampires sucked his son, a boy of about ten or eleven years old, some of his fowls, and his jack
The youth showed me his forehead at daybreak; the wound was still bleeding apace, and I examined it with minute attention. The poor ass was doomed to be a prey to these sanguinary imps of night. I saw, by the numerous sores on his body, and by his apparent debility, that he would soon sink under his afflictions. Mr. Walcott told me, that it was with the greatest difficulty he could keep a few fowls, on account of the smaller vampire; and that the larger kind were killing his poor ass by inches. It was the only quadruped he had brought up with him into the forest.
Although I was so long in Dutch Guiana, and visited the Orinoco and Cayenne, ranged through part of the interior of Portuguese Guiana, still I could never find out how the vampires actually
draw the blood; and, at this day, I am as ignorant of the real process, as though I had never been in the vampire's country. I should not feel so mortified at my total failure in attempting the discovery, had I not made such diligent search after the vampire, and examined its haunts. Europeans may consider as fabulous the stories related of the vampire; but, for my own part, I must believe in its powers of sucking blood from living animals, as I have repeatedly seen both men and beasts that had been repeatedly sucked; and, moreover, I have examined very minutely their bleeding wounds. Wishful of having it in my power to say that I had been sucked by the vampire, and not caring for the loss of ten or twelve ounces of blood, I frequently and designedly put myself in the way of trial.
But the vampire seemed to take a personal dislike to me; and the provoking brute would refuse to give my claret one solitary trial, though he would tap the more favoured Indian's toe, in a hammock within a few yards of mine. For the space of eleven months, I slept alone on the loft of a woodcutter's abandoned house in the forest; and though the vampire came in and out every night, and I had the finest opportunity of seeing him, as the moon shone through apertures where windows had once been, I never could be certain, that I saw him make a positive attempt to quench his thirst from my veins, though he often hovered over the hammock.
SHIPWRECK OF THE CHILDREN OF HENRY I.
Normandy ambition revelling
investiture multitude Southampton mariner benumbed Blois
conveying catastrophe Anjou
unfurled dispensation The ambition of Henry was now gratified. His foreign foes had been compelled to solicit peace; his Norman enemies had been crushed by the weight of his arms; and if further security were wanted, it had been obtained by the investiture of the duchy of Normandy, which had been granted to his son William. After an absence of four years, he resolved to return in triumph to England, November, 1120. At Barfleur he was met by a Norman mariner, called Fitz-Stephen, who offered him a mark of gold, and solicited the honour of conveying him in his own vessel,“ The White Ship.” It was, he observed, new, and manned with fifty of the most able seamen. His father had carried the king's father, when he sailed to the conquest of England; and the service by which he held his fee, was that of providing for the passage of his sovereign. Henry replied, that he had already chosen a vessel for himself; but that he would confide his son and his treasures to the care of Fitz-Stephen. With the young prince (he was in his eighteenth year) embarked his