Page:Tale of Paraguay - Southey.djvu/174

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the pursuit after the flock. He repairs to some high way or frequented path, and has been known, in the kingdom of Tunis, to interrupt the road to a market for several weeks; and in this he persists, till hunters or soldiers are sent out to destroy him." Dobrizhoffer saw the skin of a jaguar which was as long as the standard hide. He says, also, that he saw one attack two horses which were coupled with a thong, kill one, and drag the other away after it.

A most unpleasant habit of the beast is, that in cold or wet weather he chooses to lodge within doors, and will steal into the house. A girl at Corrientes, who slept with her mother, saw one lying under the bed when she rose in the morning; she had presence of mind to bid her mother lie still, went for help, and soon rid the house of its perilous visitor. Cat-like, the jaguar is a good climber; but Dobrizhoffer tells us how a traveller who takes to one for shelter may profit by the position: In promptu consilium; urina pro armis est: hac si tigridis ad arboris pedem minitantis oculos consperseris, salva res est. Quâ dutâ portâ fuget illico. (i. 280.) He who first did this must have been a good marksman as well as a cool fellow, and it was well for him that he reserved his fire till the jaguar was within shot.

Dobrizhoffer seems to credit an opinion (which is held in India of the tiger also) that the jaguar's claws are in a certain degree venomous; the scar which