The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.

The Arctic fox resembles greatly the European species, but is considerably smaller; and, owing to the great quantity of white woolly fur with which it is covered, is somewhat like a little shock dog.  The brush is very large and full, affording an admirable covering for the nose and feet, to which it acts as a muff when the animal sleeps.  The fur is in the greatest perfection during the months of winter, when the colour gradually becomes from an ashy grey to a full and pure white, and is extremely thick, covering even the soles of the feet.  Captain Lyon has given very interesting accounts of the habits of this animal, and describes it as being cleanly and free from any unpleasant smell:  it inhabits the most northern lands hitherto discovered.

[Illustration:  SYRIAN FOX.]

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The Plain of Esdraelon, in Palestine, is often mentioned in sacred history, as the great battle-field of the Jewish and other nations, under the names of the Valley of Mejiddo and the Valley of Jizreel, and by Josephus as the Great Plain.  The convenience of its extent and situation for military action and display has, from the earliest periods of history down to our own day, caused its surface at certain intervals to be moistened with the blood, and covered with the bodies of conflicting warriors of almost every nation under heaven.  This extensive plain, exclusive of three great arms which stretch eastward towards the Valley of the Jordan, may be said to be in the form of an acute triangle, having the measure of 13 or 14 miles on the north, about 18 on the east, and above 20 on the south-west.  Before the verdure of spring and early summer has been parched up by the heat and drought of the late summer and autumn, the view of the Great Plain is, from its fertility and beauty, very delightful.  In June, yellow fields of grain, with green patches of millet and cotton, chequer the landscape like a carpet.  The plain itself is almost without villages, but there are several on the slopes of the inclosing hills, especially on the side of Mount Carmel.  On the borders of this plain Mount Tabor stands out alone in magnificent grandeur.  Seen from the south-west its fine proportions present a semi-globular appearance; but from the north-west it more resembles a truncated cone.  By an ancient path, which winds considerably, one may ride to the summit, where is a small oblong plain with the foundations of ancient buildings.  The view from the summit is declared by Lord Nugent to be the most splendid he could recollect having ever seen from any natural height.  The sides of the mountain are mostly covered with bushes and woods of oak trees, with occasionally pistachio trees, presenting a beautiful appearance, and affording a welcome and agreeable shade.  There are various tracks up its sides, often crossing each other, and the ascent generally occupies about

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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