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the feelings to such a degree as to produce the keenest agony. You are not, therefore, to mistake the agonizing conviction of the awakened sinner for the effect of superstition.

It is madness to sport upon the brink of eternal ruin ; and he who can look unmoved upon the gulf of dark de spair, is as void of feeling as of hope. Though cheerfulness is a characteristic of true religion, it becomes not the ungodly; and none but such as are in a state of grace and favour with God have any incentive to joy. While the sincerely pious stand before God in the endearing relation of children, and are entitled to all the privileges of their Father's house, the obstinately wicked have nothing to expect, while they continue impenitent, but the fierce indignation of the Almighty, that must for ever crush their souls beneath the weight of impending wrath !—Thayer's Letters.

THE AMERICAN OTTER. The otter inhabits South as well as various parts of North America, along the fresh-water streams and lakes, as far north as the Copper Mine river. In the southern, middle, and eastern States of the Union, they are comparatively scarce ; but in the western States they are in many places still found in considerable numbers. On the tributaries of the Missouri they are very common; but it is in the Hudson's Bay possessions that these animals are obtained in the greatest abundance, and supply the traders with the largest number of their valuable skins. Seventeen thousand three hundred otter skins have been sent to England in one year by the Hudson's Bay company.

Nature appears to have intended the otter for one among her efficient checks upon the increase of the finny tribes, and every peculiarity of its conformation seems to have this great object in view. The length of body, short and flat head, abbreviated ears, dense and close fur, flattened tail, and disproportionately short legs with webbed feet, all conspire to facilitate the otter's movements through the water. swiftly-moving and destructive animal, which unites to the qualities enabling him to swim with fish-like celerity and ease, the peculiar sagaciousness of a class of beings far superior in the intellectual scale to the proper tenants of the flood. In vain does the pike scud before this pursuer,

and spring into the air in eagerness to escape; or the trout dart with the velocity of thought from shelter to shelter ; in vain does the strong and supple eel seek the protection of the shelving bank, or the tangled ooze in the bed of the stream; the otter supplies by perseverance what may be wanting in swiftness, and by cunning what may be deficient in strength; and his affrighted victims, though they may for a short time delay, cannot avert their fate. When once his prey is seized, a single effort of his powerful jaws is sufficient to render its struggles unavailing; one crush with his teeth breaks the spine of the fish behind the dorsal fin, and deprives it of the ability to direct its motions, even if it still retain the least power to move.

The residence of the otter is a burrow or excavation in the bank of a stream or river, and the entrance to this reweat is under water; at some distance from the river an air-hole is generally to be found opening in the midst of a bush, or other place of concealment. The burrow is frequently to be traced for a considerable distance, and in numerous instances leads to the widely-spreading roots of large trees, underneath which the otter finds a secure and comfortable abode. The winter residence is generally chosen in the vicinity of falls or rapids, where the water is least liable to be closed from the severity of the cold, and where the otter may find the readiest access to the fish, upon which his subsistence depends. Otters have been seen during the coldest parts of winter at very considerable distances from their usual haunts, or from any known open water, as well as upon the ice of large lakes; a circumstance that appears the more singular, as this animal is not known to kill game. on land at this season. When the otter is in the woods where the snow is light and deep, it dives if pursued, and moves with considerable rapidity under the snow.

But its

the feelings to such a degree as to produce the keenest agony. You are not, therefore, to mistake the agonizing conviction of the awakened sinner for the effect of superstition.

It is madness to sport upon the brink of eternal ruin ; and he who can look unmoved upon the gulf of dark de spair, is as void of feeling as of hope. Though cheerfulness is a characteristic of true religion, it becomes not the ungodly; and none but such as are in a state of grace and favour with God have any incentive to joy. While the sincerely pious stand before God in the endearing relation of children, and are entitled to all the privileges of their Father's house, the obstinately wicked have nothing to expect, while they continue impenitent, but the fierce indignation of the Almighty, that must for ever crush their souls beneath the weight of impending wrath !—Thayer's Letters.

THE AMERICAN OTTER. The otter inhabits South as well as various parts of North America, along the fresh-water streams and lakes, as far north as the Copper Mine river. In the southern, middle, and eastern States of the Union, they are comparatively scarce ; but in the western States they are in many places still found in considerable numbers. On the tributaries of the Missouri they are very common; but it is in the Hudson's Bay possessions that these animals are obtained in the greatest abundance, and supply the traders with the largest number of their valuable skins. Seventeen thousand three hundred otter skins have been sent to England in one year by the Hudson's Bay company.

Nature appears to have intended the otter for one among her efficient checks upon the increase of the finny tribes, and every peculiarity of its conformation seems to have this great object in view. The length of body, short and flat head, abbreviated ears, dense and close fur, flattened tail, and disproportionately short legs with webbed feet, all conspire to facilitate the otter's movements through the water. swiftly-moving and destructive animal, which unites to the qualities enabling him to swim with fish-like celerity and ease, the peculiar sagaciousness of a class of beings far superior in the intellectual scale to the proper tenants of the flood. In vain does the pike scud before this pursuer, and spring into the air in eagerness to escape ; or the trout dart with the velocity of thought from shelter to shelter ; in vain does the strong and supple eel seek the protection of the shelving bank, or the tangled ooze in the bed of the stream ; the otter supplies by perseverance what may be wanting in swiftness, and by cunning what may be deficient in strength ; and his affrighted victims, though they may for a short time delay, cannot avert their fate. When once his prey is seized, a single effort of his powerful jaws is sufficient to render its struggles unavailing; one crush with his teeth breaks the spine of the fish behind the dorsal fin, and deprives it of the ability to direct its motions, even if it still retain the least power to move.

The residence of the otter is a burrow or excavation in the bank of a stream or river, and the entrance to this reweat is under water; at some distance from the river an air-hole is generally to be found opening in the midst of a bush, or other place of concealment. The burrow is frequently to be traced for a considerable distance, and in numerous instances leads to the widely-spreading roots of large trees, underneath which the otter finds a secure and comfortable abode. The winter residence is generally chosen in the vicinity of falls or rapids, where the water is least liable to be closed from the severity of the cold, and where the otter may find the readiest access to the fish, upon which his subsistence depends. Otters have been seen during the coldest parts of winter at very considerable distances from their usual haunts, or from any known open water, as well as upon the ice of large lakes; a circumstance that appears the more singular, as this animal is not known to kill game. on land at this season. When the otter is in the woods where the snow is light and deep, it dives if pursued, and moves with considerable rapidity under the snow. But its bent mass; and numbers of them are occasionally killed with clubs by the Indians, while thus endeavouring to make their escape. The old otters, however, are often able to disappoint their pursuers by force, if not by address; for they turn upon them with great fury and ferocity; and so desperate are the wounds inflicted by their teeth, that few persons are willing to encounter the severity of their bite. The Indians have various methods of killing the otter; one of which is that of concealing themselves near the haunts of the animal on moon-light nights, and shooting them when they come forth for the purpose of feeding or sporting. A common mode of taking them is by sinking a steel trap near the mouth of their burrow, over which the animal must pass in entering or leaving the den.

We have alluded to the sporting of the otter ; and may now remark that its disposition in this respect is singular and interesting. Their favourite sport is sliding; and for this

purpose in winter the highest ridge of snow is selected, to the top of which the otters scramble, where lying on the belly, with the fore-feet bent backwards, they give themselves an impulse with their hind-legs, and swiftly glide head-foremost down the declivity, sometimes for the distance of twenty yards. This sport they continue, apparently with the keenest enjoyment, until fatigue or hunger induces them to desist.

In the summer this amusement is obtained by selecting a spot where the river-bank is sloping, has clayey soil, and the water at its base is of a considerable depth. The otters then remove from the surface, for the breadth of several feet, the sticks, roots, stones, and other obstructions, and render the surface as smooth as possible. They climb up the bank at a less precipitous spot, and starting from the top, slip with velocity over the inclining ground, and plump into the water to a depth proportioned to their weight and rapidity of motion. After a few slides and plunges the surface of the clay becomes very smooth and slippery, and the rapid succession of the sliders shows how much these animals are delighted by the game, as well as how capable

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