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The serpent-species, however, have no
claim to a monopoly in the way of eccentric
eating. The taste of other creatures has
often been equally unaccountable. Among
the earliest recollections of our childhood the
figure of a large house-dog holds a prominent
position. He was of the mongrel species
commonly known as a retriever,—black,
gaunt, and hideous. He was remarkable
both for his powers of abstinence and for his
appetite; the latter being rather voracious than
discriminating. No rubbish came amiss to
him; but woollen manufactures seemed
peculiarly grateful to his palate. We well
remember our feeling of dismay on letting fall
a woollen glove, of tiny dimensions, from our
nursery window, in sight of "Ned," who was
gambolling beneath. We rushed down stairs,
and out into the garden; but arrived too
latethe mangled remains of our little
property were just disappearing down the throat
of the thief. A boy's stiff cloth caprather a
tough morsel, one would thinkwas left upon
the grass while the owner was at play, and
shared the same fate. A large sheet of brown
paper, on another occasion, afforded him a
dainty meal. But Ned could do more than
this. The housekeeper was sitting by the
kitchen fire one winter afternoon, engaged in
darning coarse cloths, with a large piece of
flannel on her knee, stuck full of needles of a
large size; in fact, stocking-needles; when in
stalked Ned, grim and awkward, as usual.
Observing the tempting piece of flannel, he at
once pounced upon it, and swallowed it,
needles and all, before the terrified sempstress
could interfere! This unprecedented feat
excited universal consternation in the
household; but Ned galloped and tumbled about as before, apparently not in the least
discomposed by his perilous repast. Nor did he
ever seem the worse for it: he lived many
years after, and died at last, not of indigestion,
but old age. The history of Ned is both
attested and preserved in the family archives
of Holbrooke House, Derbyshire.

But as for the wonders of digestion in
some creatures, the daring and romantic
character of their exploits in attempting
novelties as objects of foodwe know of
few that can approach to any rivalry with
the powers of the ostrich. One day a
carpenter, in the Regent's Park Gardens, was
at work in a stable, the side of which was
open to a corner of the cage of an ostrich.
A pretty nursery-maid chanced to pass that
way, and the carpenter having engaged
her in conversation, ceased his work for a
while, and stood smiling and chatting, with
his hands behind him; in which he held
a gimlet he had been using. His back was
towards the cage. The ostrich observed the
gimletsaw that it was niceand, darting
forth his head and long neck between the
bars, snapped it out of the carpenter's
hands. The man turned hastily round, but
before he could make an effort to regain his
gimlet, the ostrich gave a toss with his head,
the gimlet disappeared, his neck made a
stiff arch for a moment, and the gimlet was
safely down.

But the performances of the bird were not
to cease with this feat; his reputation was
to have other facts to rest upon. Not long
after, he saw a young gentleman standing
near his cage, displaying, to a friend, a knife
which he had just purchased. It was a
many-bladed knife. Directly the ostrich
caught sight of this, he knew that it must be
very good indeed. Watching his opportunity,
he made a sudden dart upon it, and
caught it in his beak. The gentleman made
a rush at the bars of the cage; but the ostrich,
taking a long stride back, stood out of reach,
with an insolent straddle, in the middle of his
cage; and, with one jerk of his neck, bolted
the delicious curiosity.

The keepers watched the bird, and
examined his cage very narrowly for a long
time; but no traces of his preposterous
fancies were ever restored to sight, neither
did the ostrich appear in any degree
incommoded.

Three months after these performances,
the ostrich, from some unknown cause or
other, got into a bad state of mind with the
bars of his cage, and in a contest which
ensued, he broke his back. His death
speedily followed, and a post-mortem
examination was immediately made; but no trace whatever, either of the gimlet or the many-
bladed knife, was discovered in any part of
his wonderful interior.

NEAPOLITAN STATE PRISONERS.

NAPLES, Oct. 8.

SEEKING health here in Naples, and
meddling not at all with European politics,
I yet find it impossible to walk with an
impassive mind among the scenes that are
presented daily to my notice.

Once, when I was looking down upon the
Bay, enjoying the tranquillity of sunset, a party
of condemned prisoners went by; it included
men condemned for moral offences various in
hue; and men condemned for political opinions.
The wrists of all were bound with cords, so
tightly, that on many hands the flesh was
swollen; and soldiers behind beat, with the
but-end of their muskets, those who lagged.
These " condannati " were tried men,
sentenced to a banishment of six or ten years.

The kingdom of the Two Sicilies, not having
any colonies, can of course banish its
prisoners only to different districts in the
Neapolitan dominions, and especially distributes
them among the islands of the coast.
The prisoners are of two classes: those who
have been tried and condemnedthe
condannatiand those who, having been tried
and acquitted, are retained in prison; or those
who are imprisoned before trial, in charge of
the police, "alla disposizione della Polizia."

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