Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/303

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thought could not all be deduced from the cries of birds at night. He thus generalises the sounds:—

"They are heard sometimes flying in this direction, then in the opposite through the air; mostly, they are heard as though coming down out of the sky; but at other times as if rising from the ground. They resemble occasionally various musical instruments; occasionally also the clash of arms, or the rattle of drums, or the blare of trumpets. Sometimes they are like the tramp of horses, or the discharge of distant artillery. But sometimes, also, they consist in an indescribably hollow, thrilling, sudden scream. Very commonly they resemble all kinds of animal tones, mostly the barking of dogs. Quite as often they consist in a loud call, so that the startled hearer believes himself to be called by name, and to hear articulate words addressed to him. In some instances, Greeks have believed they were spoken to in the language of Hellas, whereas Romans supposed they were addressed in Latin. The modern Highlanders distinctly hear their vernacular Gaelic. These aërial voices accordingly are so various that they can be interpreted differently, according to the language of the hearer, or his inner conception of what they might say."

The Jews call the mysterious voice that falls from the heaven Bathkol, and have many traditions relative to it. The sound of arms and of drums and artillery may safely be set down to the real vibrations of arms, drums, and artillery at a great distance, carried by the wind.

In the desert of Gobi, which divides the mountainous snow-clad plateau of Thibet from the milder regions of Asia, travellers assert that they have heard