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Ostrich Riding

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A gentleman tells how, during the time of his residence at Podor, a French
factory on the banks of the river Niger, there were two ostriches, though
young, of gigantic size, which afforded him a very remarkable sight. "They
were," he says, "so tame, that two little blacks mounted both together on
the back of the largest. No sooner did he feel their weight, than he began
to run as fast as possible, and carried them several times round the
village, as it was impossible to stop him otherwise than by obstructing
the passage. This sight pleased me so much, that I wished it to be
repeated, and to try their strength, directed a full-grown negro to mount
the smallest, and two others the largest. This burthen did not seem at all
disproportionate to their strength. At first they went at a tolerably
sharp trot, but when they became heated a little, they expanded their
wings as though to catch the wind, and moved with such fleetness, that
they scarcely seemed to touch the ground. Most people have, at one time or
another, seen a partridge run; and consequently know that there is no man
whatever able to keep up with it; and it is easy to imagine, that if this
bird had a longer step, its speed would be considerably augmented. The
ostrich moves like the partridge, with this advantage; and I am satisfied
that those I am speaking of would have distanced the fleetest racehorses
that were ever bred in England. It is true they would not hold out so long
as a horse; but they would undoubtedly go over a given space in less time.
I have frequently beheld this sight, which is capable of giving one an
idea of the prodigious strength of an ostrich, and of showing what use it
might be of, had we but the method of breaking and managing it as we do a
horse."





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