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 English visitors, on being conducted to this, as the tomb of Virginia, always asked to see that of Paul also, determined on building a similar one, to which he gave that appellation.  Many have been the visitors who have been gratified, consequently, by the conviction that they had looked on the actual burial-place of that unfortunate pair.  These ‘tombs’ are scribbled over with the names of the various persons who have visited them, together with verses and pathetic ejaculations and sentimental remarks.  St. Pierre’s story of the lovers is very prettily written, and his description of the scenic beauties of the island are correct, although not even his pen can do full justice to them; but there is little truth in the tale.  It is said that there was indeed a young lady sent from the Mauritius to France for education, during the time that Monsieur de la Bourdonnais was governor of the colony—­that her name was Virginia, and that she was shipwrecked in the St. Geran.  I heard something of a young man being attached to her, and dying of grief for her loss; but that part of the story is very doubtful.  The ‘Bay of the Tomb,’ the ‘Point of Endeavour,’ the ’Isle of Amber,’ and the ‘Cape of Misfortune,’ still bear the same names, and are pointed out as the memorable spots mentioned by St. Pierre.”

[Illustration:  Letter O.]

    Oh! gentle story of the Indian Isle! 
      I loved thee in my lonely childhood well,
    On the sea-shore, when day’s last purple smile
      Slept on the waters, and their hollow swell
      And dying cadence lent a deeper spell
    Unto thine ocean pictures.  ’Midst thy palms
      And strange bright birds my fancy joy’d to dwell,
    And watch the southern Cross through midnight calms,
    And track the spicy woods.  Yet more I bless’d
      Thy vision of sweet love—­kind, trustful, true—­
    Lighting the citron-groves—­a heavenly guest—­
      With such pure smiles as Paradise once knew. 
    Even then my young heart wept o’er this world’s power,
    To reach and blight that holiest Eden flower.


* * * * *


The Mangoustes, or Ichneumons, are natives of the hotter parts of the Old World, the species being respectively African and Indian.  In their general form and habits they bear a great resemblance to the ferrets, being bold, active, and sanguinary, and unrelenting destroyers of birds, reptiles, and small animals, which they take by surprise, darting rapidly upon them.  Beautiful, cleanly, and easily domesticated, they are often kept tame in the countries they naturally inhabit, for the purpose of clearing the houses of vermin, though the poultry-yard is not safe from their incursions.

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