Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/388

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of confinement. Three or four specimens are at the present day alive in England.

The flesh of the rhinoceros varies greatly in quality. That of the "black" species, from its leanness, and the animal feeding on the "wait-a-bit" thorn bushes, which gives it an acrid and bitter flavor, is not over-esteemed. That of the white, on the other hand, whose sustenance consists of grass, which imparts to it an agreeable taste, coupled with its usual fatness, is greatly sought after by natives and colonists. Indeed, the flesh of this animal seems always to have been in repute in the Cape Colony. Kolben, when speaking of it, says, "The flesh of a rhinoceros, which I have often eaten with a great deal of satisfaction, is not so sinewy as some writers have represented."

The horns of the rhinoceros, which are capable of a high polish, are a valuable article of commerce. At the Cape this commodity fetches half as much as ordinary elephant ivory. It is extensively used in the manufacture of swordhandles, drinking-cups, ramrods for rifles, and a variety of other purposes. In Turkey the rhinoceros horn is much esteemed, more especially such as have a reddish tint about the grain. These, when made into cups, the Turks believe to have the virtue of detecting poison.

"The horns of the rhinoceros," says Thunberg, "were kept by some people, both in town and country, not only as rarities, but also as useful in diseases, and for the purpose of detecting poison. As to the former of these intentions, the fine shavings of the horns taken internally were supposed to cure convulsions and spasms in children. With respect to the latter, it was generally believed that goblets made of these horns in a turner's lathe would discover a poisonous draft that was put into them by making the liquor ferment till it ran quite out of the goblet. Such horns as were taken from a rhinoceros calf were said to be the best, and the most to be depended upon."