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Title: Heads and Tales
       or, Anecdotes and Stories of Quadrupeds and Other Beasts,
              Chiefly Connected with Incidents in the Histories of More
              or Less Distinguished Men.

Author: Various

Editor: Adam White

Release Date: June 28, 2008 [EBook #25918]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Julia Miller, Janet Blenkinship and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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Second Edition.

The Tasmanian Wolf. The Tasmanian Wolf. Thylacinus Cynocephalus.


In this work, a part of which is, so far as it extends, a careful compilation from an extensive series of books, the great order mammalia, or, rather, a few of its subjects, is treated anecdotically. The connexion of certain animals with man, and the readiness with which man can subdue even the largest of the mammalia, are very curious subjects of thought. The dog and horse are our special friends and associates; they seem to understand us, and we get very much attached to them. The cat or the cow, again, possess a different degree of attachment, and have "heads and hearts" less susceptible of this education than the first mentioned. The anecdotes in this book will clearly show facts of this nature. In the Letter of the Gorilla, under an appearance of exaggeration, will be found many facts of its history. We have a strong belief that natural history, written as White of Selborne did his Letter of Timothy the Tortoise, would be very enticing and interesting to young people. To make birds and other animals relate their stories has been done sometimes, and generally with success. There are anecdotes hinging, however, on animals which have more to do with man than the other mammals referred to in the little story. These stories we have felt to be very interesting when they occur in biographies of great men. Cowper and his Hares, Huygens and his Sparrow, are tales—at least the [Pg vi]former—full of interesting matter on the history of the lower animal, but are of most value as showing the influence on the man who amused himself by taming them. We like to know that the great Duke, after getting down from his horse Copenhagen, which carried him through the whole battle of Waterloo, clapped him on the neck, when the war-charger kicked out, as if untired.

We could have added greatly to this book, especially in the part of jests, puns, or cases of double entendre. The few selected may suffice. The so-called conversations of "the Ettrick Shepherd" are full of matter of this kind, treated by "Christopher North" with a happy combination of rare power of description and apt exaggeration of detail, often highly amusing. One or two instances are given here, such as the Fox-hunt and the Whale. The intention of this book is primarily to be amusing; but it will be strange if it do not instruct as well. There is much in it that is true of the habits of mammalia. These, with birds, are likely to interest young people generally, more than anecdotes of members of orders like fish, insects, or molluscs, lower in the scale, though often possessing marvellous instincts, the accounts of which form intensely interesting reading to those who are fond of seeing or hearing [Pg vii]of "the works of the Lord," and who "take pleasure" in them.


Gainsborough's Joke—Skull of Julius Cęsar when a boy2
Sir David Wilkie's simplicity about Babies3
James Montgomery translates into verse a description of Man, after the manner of Linnęus4
Addison and Sir Richard Steele's Description of Gimcrack the Collector5
The Gorilla and its Story9
The Orang-Utan11
The Chimpanzee12
Letter of Mr Waterton20
Mr Mitchell and the Young Chimpanzee22
Lady Anne Barnard pleads for the Baboons24
S. Bisset and his Trained Monkeys25
Lord Byron's Pets26
The Ettrick Shepherd's Monkey27
The Findhorn Fisherman and the Monkey29
"We ha'e seen the Enemy!"29
The French Marquis and his Monkey30
George IV. and Happy Jerry.—Mr Cross's Rib-nosed Baboon at Exeter Change31
The Young Lady's pet Monkey and the poor Parrot33
Monkeys "poor relations"34
Sydney Smith on Monkeys34
Mrs Colin Mackenzie on the Apes at Simla35
The Aye-Aye, or Cheiromys of Madagascar36
One of Captain Cook's Sailors sees a Fox-Bat, and describes it as a devil39
Fox Bats (with a Plate)41
Dr Mayerne and his Balsam of Bats47
Robert Southey to his Critics48
Mole, cause of Death of William III.49
Brown Bear56
The Austrian General and the Bear—"Back, rascal, I am a general!"58
Lord Byron's Bear at Cambridge59
Charles Dickens on Bear's Grease and Bear-keepers59
A Bearable Pun60
A Shaved Bear61
Polar Bear61
General History and Anecdotes of Polar Bear, as observed on recent Arctic Expeditions (with a Plate)61
Nelson and the Polar Bear67
A Clever Polar Bear67
Captain Ommaney and the Polar Bear70
"A Gone Coon"71
Hugh Miller sees the "Drawing of the Badger"72
The Laird of Balnamoon and the Brock75
Collins and the Rat-catcher, with the Ferret76
Fox and the Poll-Cat77
Phrases about Dogs77
Cowper's Dog79
Cowper and his dog Beau81
Burns's "Twa Dogs"81
Dog of Assyrian Monument86
Bishop Blomfield bitten by a Dog88
Sydney Smith's Remark on it88
Bishop of Bristol—"Puppies never see till they are nine days old"88
Mrs Browning, the Poetess, and her dog Flush89
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Bart., and his dog Speaker93
Lord Byron and his dog Boatswain94
Lady's reason for calling her dog Perchance96
Collins the Artist and his dog Prinny—the faithful Model96
Soldier and Dog97
Bark and Bite!—Curran on Lord Clare and his Dog98
Mrs Drew and the two Dogs98
Gainsborough and his Wife and their Dogs100
Sir William Gell's Dog, which was said to speak101
The Duke of Gordon's Wolf-hounds102
Frederick the Great and his Italian Greyhounds104
The Dog and the French Murderers104
Hannah More on Garrick's Dog105
Rev. Robert Hall and the Dog106
A Queen (Henrietta Maria) and her Lap-Dog106
The Clever Dog that belonged to the Hunters of Polmood107
The Irish Clergyman and the Dogs108
Washington Irving and the Dog108
Douglas Jerrold and his Dog109
Sheridan and the Dog109
Charles Lamb and his dog "Dash"110
French Dogs of Louis XII.110
Martin Luther observes a Dog at Lintz111
Poor Dog at the Grotta del Cane111
Dog a Postman and Carrier113
South and Sherlock—Dog-matic113
General Moreau and his Greyhound113
Duke of Norfolk and his Spaniels114
Lord North and the Dog115
Perthes derives Hints from his Dog115
Peter the Great and his dog Lisette116
The Light Company's Poodle and Sir F. Ponsonby118
Admiral Rodney and his dog Loup119
Ruddiman and his dog Rascal119
Mrs Schimmelpenninck and the Dogs120
Sir Walter Scott and his Dogs122
Sheridan on the Dog-Tax123
Sydney Smith dislikes Dogs.—An ingenious way of getting rid of them124
Sydney Smith on Dogs125
Sydney Smith.—"Newfoundland Dog that breakfasted on Parish Boys"126
Robert Southey on his Dogs126
A Dog that was a good judge of Elocution.—Mr True and his Pupil127
Dog that tried to please a Crying Child128
Horace Walpole's pet dog Rosette128
Horace Walpole.—Arrival of his dog Tonton129
Horace Walpole.—Death of his dog Tonton130
Archbishop Whateley and his Dogs131
Archbishop Whately on Dogs132
Sir David Wilkie.—A Dog Rose133
Ulysses and his Dog133
Polson and the Last Wolf in Sutherlandshire135
"If the tail break, you'll find that"137
An Enthusiastic Fox-hunting Surgeon138
Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, on the Pleasures of Fox-hunting, and the gratification of the Fox139
Arctic Foxes converted into Postmen, with Anecdotes (with a plate)142
Burke on the Jackal and Tiger149
Jeremy Bentham and his pet cat "Sir John Langborn150
S. Bisset and his Musical Cats152
Constant, Chateaubriand, and their Cats153
Liston, the Surgeon, and his Cat153
The Banker Mitchell's Antipathy to Kittens154
James Montgomery and his Cats155
David Ritchie's Cat157
Sir Walter Scott's Visit to the Black Dwarf157
Southey, the Poet, and his Cats158
Archbishop Whateley and the Cat that used to ring the Bell160
Tiger and Lion161
Bussapa, the Tiger-slayer, and the Tiger162
John Hunter and the Dead Tiger164
Mrs Mackenzie on the Indian's regard and awe for the Tiger165
Jolly Jack-tar on Lion and Tiger166
Androcles and the Lion167
Sir George Davis and the Lion170
Canova's Lions and the Child171
Admiral Napier and the Lion in the Tower173
Old Lady and the Beasts on the Mound173
Dr Adam Clarke on Shetland Seals175
Dr Edmonstone and the Shetland Seals176
The Walrus or Morse (with a Plate)182
Charles Lamb on its Peculiarities188
Captain Cooke's Sailor and the first Kangaroo seen189
Charles Lamb on Kangaroos having Purses in front189
Kangaroo Cooke189
Tiger Wolf190
Squirrel, &c.194
Jekyll on a Squirrel195
Pets of some of the Parisian Revolutionary Butchers195
Sir George Back and the poor Lemming196
McDougall and Arctic Lemming197
Rats and Mice198
Duke of Wellington and Musk-Rat200
Lady Eglinton and the Rats200
General Douglas and the Rats201
Hanover Rats202
Irishman Shooting Rats203
James Watt and the Rat's Whiskers204
Gray the Poet compares Poet-Laureate to Rat-catcher204
Jeremy Bentham and the Mice205
Robert Burns and the Field Mouse206
Fuller on Destructive Field Mice208
Baron Von Trenck and the Mouse in Prison209
Alexander Wilson, the American Ornithologist, and the Mouse211
Hares, Rabbits, Guinea-Pig212
William Cowper on his Hares213
Lord Norbury on the Exaggeration of a Hare-Shooter220
Duke of L. prefers Friends to Hares221
S. Bisset and his Trained Hare and Turtle221
Lady Anne Barnard on a Family of Rabbits all blind of one eye222
Thomas Fuller on Norfolk Rabbits222
Dr Chalmers and the Guinea-Pig223
Sydney Smith on the Sloth—a Comparison224
The Great Ant-Eater (with a Plate)225
Lord Clive—Elephant or Equivalent?230
Canning on the Elephant and his Trunk232
Sir R. Phillips and Jelly made of Ivory Dust233
J. T. Smith and the Elephant234
Sydney Smith on the Elephant and Tailor235
Elephant's Skin—a teacher put down236
Fossil Pachydermata236
Cuvier's Enthusiasm over Fossils236
"There's a hantle o' miscellaneous eatin' aboot a Pig"238
"Pig-Sticking at Chicago"238
Monument to a Pig at Luneberg239
Wild Boar (with a Plate)239
The River Pig (with a Plate)245
S. Bisset and his Learned Pig250
Quixote Bowles fond of Pigs251
On Jekyll's treading on a small Pig251
Good enough for a Pig251
Gainsborough's Pigs252
Theodore Hook and the Litter of Pigs253
Lady Hardwicke's Pig—her Bailiff253
Pigs and Silver Spoon253
Sydney Smith on Beautiful Pigs254
Joseph Sturge, when a boy, and the Pigs255
The Lord Keeper Guildford and the Rhinoceros in the
City of London230
Horse shot under Albert256
Bell-Rock Lighthouse Horse257
Edmund Burke and the Horse257
David Garrick and his Horse, "A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!"258
Bernard Gilpin's Horses stolen and recovered260
The Herald and George III.'s Horse261
Rev. Rowland Hill and his Horse261
Holcroft on the Horse263
Lord Mansfield, his Joke about a Horse267
Sir John Moore and his Horse at Corunna268
Neither Horses nor Children can explain their Complaints269
Horses with Names270
Rennie the Engineer and the Horse Old Jack270
Sydney Smith and his Horses271
Sydney Smith.—He drugs his Domestic Animals273
Horseback, an Absent Clergyman273
Judge Story and the Names he gave his Horses274
Short-tailed and Long-tailed Horses at Livery, difference of Charge275
Ass and Zebra276
Coleridge on the Ass276
Collins and the old Donkey at Odell276
Gainsborough kept one to Study from277
Irishman on the Ramsgate Donkeys278
Douglas Jerrold and the Ass's Foal278
The Judge and the Barrister279
Ass that loved Poetry279
Warren Hastings and the refractory Donkey279
Northcote, an Angel at an Ass281
Sydney Smith's Donkey with Jeffrey on his back281
Sydney Smith on the Sagacity of the Ass283
Sydney Smith's Deers, how he introduced them into his Grounds to gratify Visitors284
Asses' Duty Free284
Thackeray on Egyptian Donkey285
Zebra, a Frenchman's double-entendre287
Captain William Peel, R.N., on Camel287
Captain in Royal Navy measures the progress of the Ship of the Desert289
Lord Metcalfe on a Camel when a Boy290
Red Deer291
Earl of Dalhousie and the ferocious Stag291
The French Count and the Stag293
Fallow Deer294
Venison Fat, Reynolds and the Gourmand294
Goethe on Stag-trench at Frankfort-on-Maine294
"Fancy Two Yards of Sore Throat!"295
Sheep and Goat295
How many Legs has a Sheep?296
Goethe on Roos's Etchings of Sheep296
Lord Cockburn and the Sheep298
Erskine's Sheep—an Eye to the Woolsack298
Sandy Wood and his Pet Sheep and Raven298
General Carnac and She-goat299
John Hunter and the Shawl-goat300
Commodore Keppel beards the Dey of Algiers303
Irish Bulls304
A great Calf! "The more he sucked the greater Calf he grew!"304
Veal ad nauseam! too much of a good thing304
James Boswell should confine himself to the Cow305
Rev. Adam Clarke and his Bullock Pat305
Samuel Foote and the Cows pulling the Bell of Worcester College306
The General's Cow at Plymouth308
Gilpin's Love of the Picturesque carried out—a reason for keeping three Cows308
King James on a Cow getting over the Border309
Duke of Montague and his Hospital for Old Cows and Horses309
Philip IV. of Spain in the Bull-ring310
Sydney Smith and his "Universal Scratcher"311
Rev. Augustus Toplady on the Future State of Animals—the Rev. William Bull312
Windham on the Feelings of a Baited Bull313
A Porpoise not at Home315
"What's to become o' the puir Whales?"316
Very like a Whale!316
Christopher North on the Whale316


[Pg 1]


In this collection, like Linnæus, we begin with man as undoubtedly an animal, as opposed to a vegetable or mineral. Like Professor Owen, we are inclined to fancy he is well entitled to separate rank from even the Linnæan order, Primates, and to have more systematic honour conferred on him than what Cuvier allowed him. That great French naturalist placed man in a section separate from his four-handed order, Quadrumana, and, from his two hands and some other qualities, enrolled our race in an order, Bimana. Surely the ancients surpassed many modern naturalists of the Lamarckian school, who would derive him from an ourang, a chimpanzee, or a gorilla. One of them has nobly said—

"Os homini sublime dedit, cœlumque tueri."

Our own Sir William Hamilton, in a few powerful words has condensed what will ever be, we are thankful to suppose, the general idea of most men, be they naturalists or not, that mind and soul have much to distinguish us from every other animal:—

"What man holds of matter does not make up his per[Pg 2]sonality. Man is not an organism. He is an intelligence served by organs. They are his, not he."

As a mere specimen, we subjoin two or three anecdotes, although the species, Homo sapiens, has supplied, and might supply, many volumes of anecdotes touching on his whims and peculiarities. As a good example of the Scottish variety, who is there that does not know Dean Ramsay's "Reminiscences?" Surely each nation requires a similar judicious selection. Mr Punch, especially when aided by his late admirable artist, John Leech, shows seemingly that John Bull and his family are as distinct from the French, as the French are from the Yankees.

Thomas Gainsborough the Artist, and the Tailor.

Gainsborough, the painter, was very ready-witted. His biographer[2] records the following anecdote of him as very likely to be authentic. The great artist occasionally made sketches from an honest old tailor, of the name of Fowler, who had a picturesque countenance and silver-gray locks. On the chimney-piece of his painting-room, among other curiosities, was a beautiful preparation of an infant cranium, presented to the painter by his old friend, Surgeon Cruickshanks. Fowler, without moving his position, continually peered at it askance with inquisitive eye. "Ah! Master Fowler," said the painter, "that is a mighty curiosity." "What might it be, sir, if I may be so bold?" "A whale's eye," replied Gainsborough. "Oh! not so; never say so,[Pg 3] Muster Gainsborough. Laws! sir, it is a little child's skull!" "You have hit upon it," said the wag. "Why, Fowler, you are a witch! But what will you think when I tell you that it is the skull of Julius Cæsar when he was a little boy?" "Do you say so!" exclaimed Fowler, "what a phenomenon!"

This reminds us of a similar story told of a countryman, who was shown the so-called skull of Oliver Cromwell at the museum in Oxford, and expressed his delight by saying how gratifying it was to see skulls of great men at different ages, for he had just seen at Bath the skull of the Protector when a youth!

Sir David Wilkie and the Baby.

A very popular novelist and author of the present day tells the following anecdote of the simplicity of Sir David Wilkie, with regard to his knowledge of infant human nature:—

On the birth of his first son, at the beginning of 1824, William Collins,[3] the great artist, requested Sir David Wilkie to become one of the sponsors for his child.[4] The painter's first criticism on his future godson is worth recording from its simplicity. Sir David, whose studies of human nature extended to everything but infant human nature, had evidently been refreshing his faculties for the occasion, by taxing his boyish recollections of puppies and[Pg 4] kittens; for, after looking intently into the child's eyes as it was held up for his inspection, he exclaimed to the father, with serious astonishment and satisfaction, "He sees!"

Man Defined Somewhat in the Linnæan Manner.

One who is partial to the Linnæan mode of characterising objects of natural history has amused himself with drawing up the following definition of man:—"Simia sine cauda; pedibus posticis ambulans; gregarius, omnivorus, inquietus, mendax, furax, rapax, salax, pugnax, artium variarum capax, animalium reliquorum hostis, sui ipsius inimicus acerrimus."

Montgomery translated the description thus:—

"Man is an animal unfledged,
A monkey with his tail abridged;
A thing that walks on spindle legs,
With bones as brittle, sir, as eggs;
His body, flexible and limber,
And headed with a knob of timber;
A being frantic and unquiet,
And very fond of beef and riot;
Rapacious, lustful, rough, and martial,
To lies and lying scoundrels partial!
By nature form'd with splendid parts
To rise in science—shine in arts;
Yet so confounded cross and vicious,
A mortal foe to all his species!
His own best friend, and you must know,
His own worst enemy by being so!"[5]
[Pg 5]

Addison and Steele on some of the Peculiarities of the Natural History Collectors of the day.

In one of the early volumes of Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, there was a very curious paper entitled "Nat Phin." Although considerably exaggerated, no one who had the happiness of knowing the learned, amiable, and excellent Dr Patrick Neill, could fail to recognise, in the transposed title, an amusing description of his love of natural history pets, zoological and botanical. The fun of the paper is that "Nat" gets married, and, coming home one day from his office, finds that his young wife has caused the gardener to clear out his ponds of tadpoles and zoophytes.

Addison or Sir Richard Steele, or both of them, in the following paper of the Tatler (No. 221, Sept. 7, 1710), has given one of those quietly satiric pictures of many a well-known man of the day, some Petiver or Hans Sloane. The widow Gimcrack's letter is peculiarly racy. Although old books, the Tatler and Spectator still furnish rare material to many a popular magazine writer of the day, who sometimes does little more than dilute a paper in these and other rare repertories of the style and wit of a golden age. We meditated offering various extracts from Swift and Daniel Defoe; but our space limits us to one, and the following may for the present suffice.

"From my own Apartment, September 6.

"As I was this morning going out of my house, a little boy in a black coat delivered me the following letter. Upon asking who he was, he told me that he belonged to[Pg 6] my Lady Gimcrack. I did not at first recollect the name, but, upon inquiry, I found it to be the widow of Sir Nicholas, whose legacy I lately gave some account of to the world. The letter ran thus:—

"'Mr Bickerstaff,—I hope you will not be surprised to receive a letter from the widow Gimcrack. You know, sir, that I have lately lost a very whimsical husband, who, I find, by one of your last week's papers, was not altogether a stranger to you. When I married this gentleman, he had a very handsome estate; but, upon buying a set of microscopes, he was chosen a Fellow of the Royal Society; from which time I do not remember ever to have heard him speak as other people did, or talk in a manner that any of his family could understand him. He used, however, to pass away his time very innocently in conversation with several members of that learned body: for which reason I never advised him against their company for several years, until at last I found his brain quite turned with their discourses. The first symptoms which he discovered of his being a virtuoso, as you call him, poor man! was about fifteen years ago; when he gave me positive orders to turn off an old weeding woman, that had been employed in the family for some years. He told me, at the same time, that there was no such thing in nature as a weed, and that it was his design to let his garden produce what it pleased; so that, you may be sure, it makes a very pleasant show as it now lies. About the same time he took a humour to ramble up and down the country, and would often bring home with him his pockets full of moss and pebbles. This, you may be sure, gave me a heavy heart; though, at the same time, I must needs say, he had the character of a very[Pg 7] honest man, notwithstanding he was reckoned a little weak, until he began to sell his estate, and buy those strange baubles that you have taken notice of. Upon midsummerday last, as he was walking with me in the fields, he saw a very odd-coloured butterfly just before us. I observed that he immediately changed colour, like a man that is surprised with a piece of good luck; and telling me that it was what he had looked for above these twelve years, he threw off his coat, and followed it. I lost sight of them both in less than a quarter of an hour; but my husband continued the chase over hedge and ditch until about sunset; at which time, as I was afterwards told, he caught the butterfly as she rested herself upon a cabbage, near five miles from the place where he first put her up. He was here lifted from the ground by some passengers in a very fainting condition, and brought home to me about midnight. His violent exercise threw him into a fever, which grew upon him by degrees, and at last carried him off. In one of the intervals of his distemper he called to me, and, after having excused himself for running out his estate, he told me that he had always been more industrious to improve his mind than his fortune, and that his family must rather value themselves upon his memory as he was a wise man than a rich one. He then told me that it was a custom among the Romans for a man to give his slaves their liberty when he lay upon his death-bed. I could not imagine what this meant, until, after having a little composed himself, he ordered me to bring him a flea which he had kept for several months in a chain, with a design, as he said, to give it its manumission. This was done accordingly. He then made the will, which I have[Pg 8] since seen printed in your works word for word. Only I must take notice that you have omitted the codicil, in which he left a large concha veneris, as it is there called, to a Member of the Royal Society, who was often with him in his sickness, and assisted him in his will. And now, sir, I come to the chief business of my letter, which is to desire your friendship and assistance in the disposal of those many rarities and curiosities which lie upon my hands. If you know any one that has an occasion for a parcel of dried spiders, I will sell them a pennyworth. I could likewise let any one have a bargain of cockle-shells. I would also desire your advice whether I had best sell my beetles in a lump or by retail. The gentleman above mentioned, who was my husband's friend, would have me make an auction of all his goods, and is now drawing up a catalogue of every particular for that purpose, with the two following words in great letters over the head of them, Auctio Gimcrackiana. But, upon talking with him, I begin to suspect he is as mad as poor Sir Nicholas was. Your advice in all these particulars will be a great piece of charity to, Sir, your most humble servant,

"'Elizabeth Gimcrack.'

"I shall answer the foregoing letter, and give the widow my best advice, as soon as I can find out chapmen for the wares which she has to put off."

[Pg 9]


The Gorilla and its Story.

In the British Museum, in handsome glass cases, and on the floors of the three first rooms at the top of the stairs, may be seen the largest collection of the skins and skeletons of quadrupeds ever brought together. In the third, or principal room, will be found a nearly complete series of the Quadrumana or four-handed Mammalia. Monkeys are quadrumanous mammalia. The resemblance of these animals to men is most conspicuous, in the largest of them, such as the gorilla, orang-utan, chimpanzee, and the long-armed or gibbous apes. Such resemblance is most distant in the ferocious dog-faced baboons of Africa, the Cynocephali of the ancients. It is softened off, but not effaced, in the pretty little countenances of those dwarf pets from South America, the ouistities or marmosets, and other species of new-world monkeys, some of which are not larger than a squirrel.

They are well called Monkeys, Monnikies, Mannikies—little men, "Simiæ quasi bestiæ hominibus similes," "monkeys, as if beasts resembling man," or "mon," as the word man is pronounced in pure Doric Saxon, whether in York or Peebles.

"Monkey! you very degraded little brute, how much you resemble us!" said old Ennius, without ever fancying that the day would come when some men would regard their own race as little better than highly-advanced monkeys.[Pg 10]

Let us never for a moment rest in such fallacious theories, or accept the belief of Darwin and Huxley, with a few active agitating disciples, that animals, and even plants, may pass into each other.

"I think we are not wholly brain,
Magnetic mockeries; ...
Not only cunning casts in clay;
Let science prove we are, and then
What matters science unto men,
At least to me! I would not stay:
Let him, the wiser man who springs
Hereafter, up from childhood shape
His action, like the greater ape,
But I was born to other things."

In Memoriam, cxix.

Darwin and Huxley cannot change nature. They may change their minds and opinions, as their fathers did before them. It is, we suspect, only the old heathen materialism cropping out,—

"Our little systems have their day—
They have their day and cease to be.
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And Thou, O Lord! art more than they."

In Memoriam.

No artists or authors have ever pictured or described monkeys like Sir Edwin Landseer and his brother Thomas. Surely a new edition of the Monkeyana is wanted for the rising generation. Oliver Goldsmith, that great writer, who was most feeble in knowledge of natural history from almost total ignorance of the subject, over which he threw the graces of his charming style, noticed, as remarkable, that in countries "where the men are barbarous and stupid, the brutes are the most active and sagacious." He[Pg 11] continues, that it is in the torrid tracts, inhabited by barbarians, that animals are found with instinct so nearly approaching reason. Both in Africa and America, accordingly, he tells us, "the savages suppose monkeys to be men; idle, slothful, rational beings, capable of speech and conversation, but obstinately dumb, for fear of being compelled to labour."

For the present, I shall suppose that the gorilla, largest of all the apes, can not only speak, but write; and is speaking and writing to an orang-utan of Borneo. Even a Lamarckian will allow this to be within the range of possibility. Were it possible to get Gay or Cowper to write a new set of fables, animals, in the days of postoffices and letters, would become, like the age, epistolary. But a word on the imaginary correspondent.

The orang, as the reader knows, is the great red-haired "Man of the Woods," as the name may be rendered in English. My old friend, Mr Alfred Wallace, lately in New Guinea, and the adjoining parts, collecting natural history subjects, and making all kinds of valuable observations and surveys, sent to Europe most of the magnificent specimens of this "ugly beast" now in the museum. He has detailed its habits and history in an able account, published some years ago in "The Annals and Magazine of Natural History."

Its home seems to be the fine forests which cover many parts of the coast of Borneo. The home of the gorilla and chimpanzee are in the tropical forests of the coasts of Western Africa.

There would seem to be but three or four well established species of these apes, though there are, as in man[Pg 12] and most created beings, some marked or decided varieties. These apes are altogether quadrupeds, adapted for a life among trees. The late Charles Waterton, of Walton Hall, whom I deem it an honour to have known for many years, personally and in his writings, has well shown this in his "Essays on Natural History." Professor Owen, with his osteologies, and old Tyson, with his anatomies, have each demonstrated that—draw what inferences the followers of Mr Darwin may choose—monkeys are not men, but quadrupeds.

The structure of chimpanzee, orang, and gorilla considerably resembles that of man, but so more distantly does a frog's, so does Scheuchzer's fossil amphibian in the museum, so does a squirrel's, so does a parrot's. Yet, because parrots, squirrels, frogs, and asses have skulls, a pelvis, and fore-arms, they are not men any more than fish are. Linnæus has given the real specific, the real class, order, and generic character of man, unique as a species, as a genus, as an order, or as a class, as even the greatest comparative anatomist of England regards him; "Nosce teipsum:" "Γνωθι σεαυτον"—KNOW THYSELF. Man alone expects a hereafter. He is immortal, and anticipates, hopes for, or dreads a resurrection. Melancholy it is that he alone, as an American writer curiously remarks, collects bodies of men of one blood to fight with each other. He alone can become a drunkard.

The reader must leave rhapsody, and may now be reminded, in explanation of allusions in the following letter, that the arm of Dr Livingstone, the African traveller, was crushed and crunched by the bite and "chaw" of a lion. He will also please to notice, that the skeleton of the[Pg 13] gorilla in the museum has the left arm broken by some dreadful accident. This injury may possibly have been caused by a fall when young, or more probably by the empoisoned bite of a larger gorilla, or of a tree-climbing Leopard. So much may be premised before giving a letter, supposed to be intercepted on its way between the Gaboon and London, and London and Borneo, opened at St Martin's-le-Grand, and detained as unpaid.

"I was born in a large baobab tree, on the west coast of Africa, not very far from Calabar. We gorillas are good time-keepers, rise early and go to bed early, guided infallibly by the sun. But though our family has been in existence at least six thousand years, we have no chronology, and care not a straw about our grandfathers. I suppose I had a grandmother, but I never took any interest in any but very close relationships.

"We never toiled for our daily food, and are not idle like these lazy black fellows who hold their palavers near us, and whom I, for my part, heartily despise. They cannot climb a tree, as we do, although they can talk to each other, and make one another slaves. At least they so treat their countrymen far off where the fine sweet plantains grow, and some other juicy tit-bits, the memory of which makes my mouth water. These fellows have ugly wives, not nearly so big-mouthed as ours, without our noble bony ridge, small ears, and exalted presence. They are actually forced to walk erect, and their fore-legs seldom touch the ground, except in the case of piccanninies. These little creatures crawl on the ground, are much paler when born, and are then perfectly helpless; and have no hair except on their heads, whereas our[Pg 14] beautiful young are fine and hairy, and can swing among the branches, shortly after birth, nearly as well as their parents. When I was very young, I could soon help myself to fruits which abound on our trees.

"Have you dates, plantains, and soursops—so sweet—at Sarawak, Master Redhair? We have, and all kinds of them. I should like, for a variety, to taste yours. Mind you send me some of the durian.[6] Make haste and send it, for Wallace's description makes my mouth water.

"I have told you our little ones soon learn to help themselves, whereas I have seen the piccaninnies of the blacks nursed by their mothers till many rainy seasons had come and gone. I really think nothing of the talking blacks who live near us. They put on bits of coloured rags, not nearly so bright, so regular, nor so contrasting as the feathers of our birds.

"Beautifully coloured are the green touraco and the purple plantain-eater, a rascally bird! who eats some of our finest plantains, and has bitten holes in many a one I thought to get entirely to myself. Why, our parrots beat these West-African negroes to sticks! Even our common gray parrot, so prettily scaled with gray, and with the red feathers under his tail, is more natural than these blacks, with their dirty-white, yellow, blue, green, and red rags.

"Besides, that gray parrot beats them hollow both in its voice and in the way it imitates. Do you know that when I have been giving my quick short bark, to tell that I am not well pleased, I have heard one of these fellows near me actually make me startle—its bark was so like to[Pg 15] that of one of our kind! I cannot bear the blacks! I have had a grudge against them since some little urchins shot at me when I was young, and made my hand bleed. How it bled! My mother, with whom I had been, kept out of the way of these blackguards, but I was playing with another little gorilla, and forgot to keep a look-out. I have kept a good look-out ever since I got that wound, I assure you. I licked it often, and so did my mother with her delicious mouth. It soon left off bleeding and healed. We gorillas have no brandy, no whisky, no wine, not even small beer, to inflame our blood. We sleep, too, among the trees, clear off the ground, where there are dangerous vapours, so that we are free from all miasmata. West Africa is my lovely home, and I am big and beautifully pot-bellied. It is the home of the large-eared chimpanzee, a near relative of ours, though we never marry. He is an active fellow, with rather large vulgar-looking ears; while mine, though I ought not to say so, are beautifully small, and denote my more exalted birth. Master Chimpanzee needs all his ears, for he is not so strong as I, and as you will hear, we anthropoids have enemies in our trees, just as you perhaps have, Master Redhair. We are both cautious of getting on the ground, and when there, I assure you I keep a sharp look-out.

"I have told you of one adventure I had in my youth, and now listen to another which I have not forgotten to this day. My left arm aches now as I think of it.

"As I was one day gambolling with another playfellow in a large tree, with great branches standing out from the trunk, and at a good height from the ground, my companion, another young gorilla, but with smaller mouth,[Pg 16] larger nose, and other features uglier than mine, suddenly shrieked, and looked frightened and angry. No sooner had I noticed him than my whole frame was shaken. I was seized by two paws in the small of my back—a very painful part to be dug into—by ten hooked claws, nearly as long as tenpenny nails, but horribly sharp and hooked.—Oh my arm!

"I tried to turn round, and there was a most ferocious leopard growling at me. I tried to bite, and to scratch his eyes out, but the pain in the small of my back made me quite giddy. The spotted scoundrel seized my left arm—how it aches!—and gave me a crunch or two. I hear, I feel the teeth against my bones as I write. My whole body is full of pain.

"My mother came and released me. She was large, handsome, and well-to-do, with such long and strong arms, and with a magnificent bulging and pouting mouth. In those days of my infancy I used to fancy I should like to try to take as large a bite of a plantain as she could. I tried twice or thrice, but could only squash a tenth of the juice of the fruit into my mouth. She had glorious white teeth. Her grin clearly frightened the leopard, as well as a pinch she gave him in the 'scruff' of the neck with one of her hands, while with the other she caught hold of his tail and made him yell. How he roared! He fell off the branch on to another; but soon, like all the cats, recovered his hold and jumped down to the ground, when he skulked away with his tail behind him.

"I must really leave off, warned both by my paper and your impatience. Well, I grew stronger and bigger every day, and swung by one arm almost as well as the rest did[Pg 17] with their two. I got, in fact, so strong on my hind feet, that my toes were actually in time thicker than those of any of my race. It is well, my dear Orang, to use what you have left you, and to try as soon as possible to forget what has been taken from you.

"... Look at my portrait, I am as strong, and as bony, and as bonnie, as any gorilla. But I begin to boast, so I will leave off."

No doubt that gorilla's injured arm affected its habits and its activity every day of its life. The broken arm, never set by some gorilla surgeon of celebrity, formed a highly important feature in its biography. Reader! when next thou visitest the noble Museum in Bloomsbury, look at the skeleton of that gorilla, whose probable story Arachnophilus hath tried to give thee, and remember that both skin and skeleton were exhibited there before Du Chaillu became "a lion."

The gorilla is a native of West Africa. It is closely allied to the chimpanzee, but grows to a larger size, and has many striking anatomical characters and external marks to distinguish it. It is certainly much dreaded by the natives on the banks of the Gaboon, and, doubtless, dreads them equally. Dr Gray procured a large specimen in a tub from that district. It was skinned and set up by Mr Bartlett. I have seen photographs in the hands of my excellent old friend—that admirable natural history and anatomical draughtsman—Mr George Ford of Hatton Garden. These photographs were taken from its truly ugly face as it was pulled out of the stinking brine. Life in death, or death in life, it was most repulsive.[Pg 18]

Professor Owen read a most elaborate paper on the gorilla before the Zoological Society. The great comparative anatomist and zoologist shows that it may have been the very species whose skins were brought by Hanno to Carthage, in times before the Christian era, as the skins of hairy wild men. The historian refers to them as "gorullai" (γωριλλαι.)

The natives of West Africa name it "N'Geena."

The stuffed specimen at the Museum is a young male. Its preparation does great credit to Mr Bartlett's care and knowledge, for the hair over nearly all the body was in patches among the spirit—thoroughly corrupted in its alcoholic strength by animal matter. The peculiarly anthropoid and morbidly-disagreeable look that even the face of the young gorilla had was, of course, perfect in the photograph. In the Leisure Hour, a tolerably good cut of it was given, but the artist did not copy the label accurately, for on the photograph from which that cut was derived, another name was rendered by that sun, who pays no compliments and tells no lies. Professor Owen, the greatest of comparative anatomists, has made the subject of anthropoid apes his own, by the perfection of his researches, continued and continuous. He would have liked, at least I may venture, I believe, to say so (if the matter gave him more than a moment's thought), that the name of Dr Gray had been on that label.

Letter from C. Waterton, Esq., mentioning a young gorilla.

Walton Hall, Feb. 4, 1856.

"Dear Sir,—As your favour of the 28th did not seem[Pg 19] to require an immediate answer I put it aside for a while, having a multiplicity of business then on hand, and being obliged to be from home for a couple of days.

"I beg to enclose you the letter to which you allude.

"Pray do not suppose that for one single moment I should be illiberal enough to undervalue a 'closet naturalist.' 'Non cuivis homini contingit adire corinthum.' It does not fall to every one's lot to range through the forests of Guiana, still, a gentleman given to natural history may do wonders for it in his own apartments on his native soil; and had Audubon, Swainson, Jameson, &c., not attacked me in all the pride of pompous self-conceit, I should have been the last man in the world to expose their gross ignorance.

"You ask me 'If we are to have another volume of essays?' I beg to answer, no. Last year, Mrs Loudon (to whom I made a present of the essays) wrote to me, and asked for a few papers to be inserted in a forthcoming edition. I answered, that as I had had some strange and awful adventures since the 'Autobiography' made its appearance, I would tack them on to it. But from that time to this, I have never had a line, either from Mrs Loudon or from her publishers. But some months ago, having made a present of a superb case of preserved specimens in natural history to the Jesuits' College in Lancashire, I gave directions to my stationer at Wakefield to procure me from London the fourth or last edition of the essays; and I made references to it accordingly. But, lo and behold, when I had opened this supposed fourth edition, I saw printed on the title page 'a new edition.' Better had they printed a fifth edition. This threw all my references[Pg 20] wrong. Should you be passing by Messrs Longman, perhaps you will have the goodness to ask when this 'new edition' was printed.

"I am sorry you did not show me your drawing of the chimpanzee before it was engraved. The artist has not done justice to it. He has made the ears far too large.[7] The little brown chimpanzee has very small ears; fully as small in proportion as those of a genuine negro. I am half inclined to give to the world a little treatise on the monkey tribe. I am prepared to show that Linnæus, Buffon, and all our hosts of naturalists who have copied the remarks of these celebrated naturalists, are perfectly in the dark with regard to the true character of all the monkey tribe. Yesterday, I sent up to the Gardener's Chronicle a few notes on the woodpecker.—Believe me, dear sir, very truly yours,

Charles Waterton.

"P.S.—Many thanks for your nice little treatise on the chimpanzee."

Mr Waterton enclosed me a copy of the following letter, which he published in a Yorkshire newspaper:—

To Mrs Wombwell.

"Madam,—I am truly sorry that the inclemency of the weather has prevented the inhabitants of this renowned watering-place from visiting your wonderful gorilla, or brown orang-outang.

"I have passed two hours in its company, and I have been gratified beyond expression.[Pg 21]

"Would that all lovers of natural history could get a sight of it, as, possibly, they may never see another of the same species in this country.

"It differs widely in one respect from all other orang-outangs which have been exhibited in England—namely, that, when on the ground, it never walks on the soles of its fore-feet, but on the knuckles of the toes of those feet; and those toes are doubled up like the closed fist of a man. This must be a painful position; and, to relieve itself, the animal catches hold of visitors, and clings caressingly to Miss Bright, who exhibits it. Here then, it is at rest, with the toes of the fore-feet performing their natural functions, which they never do when the animal is on the ground.

"Hence I draw the conclusion that this singular quadruped, like the sloth, is not a walker on the ground of its own free-will, but by accident only.

"No doubt whatever it is born, and lives, and dies aloft, amongst the trees in the forests of Africa.

"Put it on a tree, and then it will immediately have the full use of the toes of its fore-feet. Place it on the ground, and then you will see that the toes of the fore-feet become useless, as I have already described.

"That it may retain its health, and thus remunerate you for the large sum which you have expended in the purchase of it, is, madam, the sincere hope of your obedient servant and well-wisher,

Charles Waterton."

Scarborough Cliff, No. 1, Nov. 1, 1855.

"P.S.—You are quite at liberty to make what use you[Pg 22] choose of this letter. I have written it for your own benefit, and for the good of natural history."[8]

Mr Mitchell on a Young Chimpanzee.

The writer of a most readable article on the acclimatisation of animals in the Edinburgh Review,[9] gives an amusing recital of the arrival of a chimpanzee at the Zoological Gardens. It was related to him by the late Mr Mitchell, who was long the active secretary of the society, and who did much to improve the Gardens. "One damp November evening, just before dusk, there arrived a French traveller from Senegal, with a companion closely muffled up in a burnoose at his side. On going, at his earnest request, to speak to him at the gate, he communicated to me the interesting fact that the stranger in the burnoose was a young chim, who had resided in his family in Senegal for some twelve months, and who had accompanied him to England. The animal was in perfect health; but from the state of the atmosphere required good lodging, and more tender care than could be found in a hotel. He proposed to sell his friend. I was hard; did not like pulmonic property[10] at that period of the year, having already two of the race in moderate health, but could not refrain from an offer of hospitality during Chim's residence in London. Chim was to go to Paris if I did not buy him. So we carried him, burnoose and all, into the house where the lady[Pg 23] chims were, and liberated him in the doorway. They had taken tea, and were beginning to think of their early couch. When the Senegal Adonis caught sight of them, he assumed a jaunty air and advanced with politeness, as if to offer them the last news from Africa. A yell of surprise burst from each chimpanzella as they successively recognised the unexpected arrival. One would have supposed that all the Billingsgate of Chimpanzeedom rolled from the voluble tongues of these unsophisticated and hitherto unimpressible young ladies; but probably their gesticulations, their shrill exclamations, their shrinkings, their threats, were but well-mannered expressions of welcome to a countryman thus abruptly revealed in the foreign land of their captivity. Sir Chim advanced undaunted, and with the composure of a high-caste pongo; if he had had a hat he would have doffed it incontinently, as it was, he only slid out of his burnoose and ascended into the apartment which adjoined his countrywomen with agile grace, and then, through the transparent separation, he took a closer view. Juliana yelled afresh. Paquita crossed her hands, and sat silently with face about three quarters averted. Sir Chim uttered what may have been a tranquillising phrase, expressive of the great happiness he felt on thus being suddenly restored to the presence of kinswomen in the moment of his deepest bereavement. Juliana calmed. Paquita diminished her angle of aversion, and then Sir Chim, advancing quite close to the division, began what appeared to be a recollection of a minuet. He executed marvellous gestures with a precision and aplomb which were quite enchanting, and when at last he broke out into a quick movement with loud smacking stamps, the ladies were completely carried[Pg 24] away, and gave him all attention. Friendship was established, refreshments were served, notwithstanding the previous tea, and everybody was apparently satisfied, especially the stranger. Upon asking the Senegal proprietor what the dance meant, he told me that the animal had voluntarily taken to that imitation of his slaves, who used to dance every evening in the courtyard."

So far Mr Mitchell's narrative; the reviewer relates how a chimpanzee, placed for a short time in the society of the children of his owner in this country, not only throve in an extraordinary manner, was perfectly docile and good-tempered, but learnt to imitate them. When the eldest little boy wished to tease his playfellow, he used, childlike, to make faces at him. Chim soon outdid him, and one of the funniest things imaginable was to see him blown at and blowing in return; his protrusible lips converted themselves into a trumpet-shaped instrument, which reminded one immediately of some of the devils of Albert Dürer, or those incredible forms which the old painters used to delight in piling together in their temptations of Saint Anthony.

Lady Anne Barnard pleads for the Baboons.

Lady Anne Barnard, whose name as the writer of "Auld Robin Gray" is familiar to every one who knows that most pathetic ballad, spent five years with her husband at the Cape (1797-1802). Her journal letters to her sisters are most amusing, and full of interesting observations.[11] After describing "Musquito-hunting" with her husband, she[Pg 25] writes:—"In return, I endeavoured to effect a treaty of peace for the baboons, who are apt to come down from the mountain in little troops to pillage our garden of the fruit with which the trees are loaded. I told him he would be worse than Don Carlos if he refused the children of the sun and the soil the use of what had descended from ouran-outang to ouran-outang; but, alas! I could not succeed. He had pledged himself to the gardener,[12] to the slaves, and all the dogs, not to baulk them of their sport; so he shot a superb man-of-the-mountain one morning, who was marauding, and electrified himself the same moment, so shocked was he at the groan given by the poor creature as he limped off the ground. I do not think I shall hear of another falling a sacrifice to Barnard's gun; they come too near the human race" (p. 408).

In another letter she says (p. 391), "The best way to get rid of them is to catch one, whip him, and turn him loose; he skips off chattering to his comrades, and is extremely angry, but none of them return the season this is done. I have given orders, however, that there may be no whipping."

S. Bisset and his Trained Monkeys.

We have elsewhere referred to S. Bisset as a trainer of animals. Among the earliest of his trials, this Scotchman[Pg 26] took two monkeys as pupils. One of these he taught to dance and tumble on the rope, whilst the other held a candle with one paw for his companion, and with the other played a barrel organ. These animals he also instructed to play several fanciful tricks, such as drinking to the company, riding and tumbling upon a horse's back, and going through several regular dances with a dog. The horse and dog referred to, were the first animals on which this ingenious person tried his skill. Although Bisset lived in the last century, few persons seem to have surpassed him in his power of teaching the lower animals. We have seen a man in Charlotte Square, in 1865, make a new-world monkey go through a series of tricks, ringing a bell, firing a pea-gun, and such like. Poor Jacko was to be pitied. His want of heart in his labours was very evident. Poor fellow, no time for reflection was allowed him. Like some of the masters in the Old High School,—such cruelty dates back more than thirty years,—a ferule, or a pair of tawse kept Jacko to his work. It was play to the onlookers, but no sport to master Cebus. Had he possessed memory and reflection, how his thoughts must have wandered from Edinburgh to the forests of the Amazon!

Lord Byron's Pets.

Beside horses and dogs, the poet Byron, like his own Don Juan, had a kind of inclination, or weakness, for what most people deem mere vermin, live animals.

Captain Medwin records, in one of his conversations, that the poet remarked that it was troublesome to travel about with so much live and dead stock as he did, and[Pg 27] adds—"I don't like to leave behind me any of my pets, that have been accumulating since I came on the Continent. One cannot trust to strangers to take care of them. You will see at the farmer's some of my pea-fowls en pension. Fletcher tells me that they are almost as bad fellow-travellers as the monkey, which I will show you." Here he led the way to a room where he played with and caressed the creature for some time. He afterwards bought another monkey in Pisa, because he saw it ill-used.[13]

Lord Byron's travelling equipage to Pisa in the autumn of 1821, consisted, inter cætera, of nine horses, a monkey, a bull-dog, and a mastiff, two cats, three pea-fowls, and some hens.[14]

The Ettrick Shepherd's Monkey.

(From the "Noctes Ambrosianæ," Dec. 1825.[15])

Shepherd. I wish that you but saw my monkey, Mr North. He would make you hop the twig in a guffaw. I ha'e got a pole erected for him, o' about some 150 feet high, on a knowe ahint Mount Benger; and the way the cretur rins up to the knob, looking ower the shouther o' him, and twisting his tail roun' the pole for fear o' playin' thud on the grun', is comical past a' endurance.

North. Think you, James, that he is a link?

Shepherd. A link in creation? Not he, indeed. He is merely a monkey. Only to see him on his observatory,[Pg 28] beholding the sunrise! or weeping, like a Laker, at the beauty o' the moon and stars!

North. Is he a bit of a poet?

Shepherd. Gin he could but speak and write, there can be nae manner o' doubt that he would be a gran' poet. Safe us! what een in the head o' him! Wee, clear, red, fiery, watery, malignant-lookin een, fu' o' inspiration.

Tickler. You should have him stuffed.

Shepherd. Stuffed, man! say, rather, embalmed. But he's no likely to dee for years to come—indeed, the cretur's engaged to be married; although he's no in the secret himsel yet. The bawns are published.

Tickler. Why really, James, marriage I think ought to be simply a civil contract.

Shepherd. A civil contract! I wuss it was. But, oh! Mr Tickler, to see the cretur sittin wi' a pen in 's hand, and pipe in 's mouth, jotting down a sonnet, or odd, or lyrical ballad! Sometimes I put that black velvet cap ye gied me on his head, and ane o' the bairns's auld big-coats on his back; and then, sure aneugh, when he takes his stroll in the avenue, he is a heathenish Christian.

North. Why, James, by this time he must be quite like one of the family?

Shepherd. He's a capital flee-fisher. I never saw a monkey throw a lighter line in my life.... Then, for rowing a boat!

Tickler. Why don't you bring him to Ambrose's?

Shepherd. He's sae bashfu'. He never shines in company; and the least thing in the world will make him blush.[Pg 29]

The Findhorn Fisherman and the Monkey.

Sir Thomas Dick Lauder[16] records the adventures of a monkey in Morayshire, whose wanderings sadly alarmed the inhabitants who saw him, all unused as they were to the sight of such an exotic stranger.

"We knew a large monkey, which escaped from his chain, and was abroad in Morayshire for some eight or ten days. Wherever he appeared he spread terror among the peasantry. A poor fisherman on the banks of the Findhorn was sitting with his wife and family at their frugal meal, when a hairy little man, as they in their ignorance conceived him to be, appeared on the window sill and grinned, and chattered through the casement what seemed to them to be the most horrible incantations. Horror-struck, the poor people crowded together on their knees on the floor, and began to exorcise him with prayers most vehemently, until some external cause of alarm made their persecutor vanish. The neighbours found the family half dead with fear, and could with difficulty extract from them the cause. 'Oh! worthy neebours!' at last exclaimed the goodman with a groan, 'we ha'e seen the Enemy glowrin' at us through that vera wundow there. Lord keep us a'!!' He next alarmed a little hamlet near the hills; appearing and disappearing to various individuals in a most mysterious manner; till at last a clown, with a few grains of more courage than the rest, loaded his gun and put a sixpence into it, with the intention of stealing upon him as he sat most mysteriously chattering on the[Pg 30] top of a cairn of stones, and then shooting him with silver, which is known never to fail in finishing the imps of the Evil One. And lucky indeed was it for pug that he chanced, through whim, to abscond from that quarter; for if he had not so disappeared, he might have died by the lead, if not by the silver. As it was, the bold peasant laid claim to the full glory of compelling this dreaded goblin to flee."

Sir Thomas Lauder kept several pets in his beautiful seat at the Grange, long occupied by the Messrs Dalgleish of Dreghorn Castle as a genteel boarding-school, and now by the Misses Mouatt as one for young ladies. We have often seen the tombstones to his dogs, which were buried to the south of that mansion, in which Principal Robertson the historian died, and where Lord Brougham, his relation, used to go when a boy at the High School.

The French Marquis and his Monkey.

Dr John Moore, the father of General Moore, who fell at Corunna, in one of the graphic sketches of a Frenchman which he gives in his work on Italy, records a visit he paid to the Marquis de F—— at Besançon. After many questions, he says, "Before I could make any answer, I chanced to turn my eyes upon a person whom I had not before observed, who sat very gravely upon a chair in a corner of the room, with a large periwig in full dress upon his head. The marquis, seeing my surprise at the sight of this unknown person, after a very hearty fit of laughter, begged pardon for not having introduced me sooner to that gentleman (who was no other than a large[Pg 31] monkey), and then told me, he had the honour of being attended by a physician, who had the reputation of possessing the greatest skill, and who certainly wore the largest periwigs of any doctor in the province. That one morning, while he was writing a prescription at his bedside, this same monkey had catched hold of his periwig by one of the knots, and instantly made the best of his way out at the window to the roof of a neighbouring house, from which post he could not be dislodged, till the doctor, having lost patience, had sent home for another wig, and never after could be prevailed on to accept of this, which had been so much disgraced. That, enfin, his valet, to whom the monkey belonged, had, ever since that adventure, obliged the culprit by way of punishment to sit quietly, for an hour every morning, with the periwig on his head.—Et pendant ces moments de tranquillité je suis honoré de la société du venerable personage. Then, addressing himself to the monkey, "Adieu, mon ami, pour aujourdhui—au plaisir de vous revoir;" and the servant immediately carried Monsieur le Médicin out of the room.[17]

This is a most characteristic bit, which could scarcely have occurred out of France, where monkeys and dogs are petted as we never saw them petted elsewhere. These things were so when we knew Paris under Louis-Philippe. Frenchmen, surely, have not much changed under Louis Napoleon.

The Mandrill and George the Fourth.

One of the attractive sights of Mr Cross's menagerie,[Pg 32] some forty years or so ago, was a full-grown baboon, to which had been given the name of "Happy Jerry." He was conspicuous from the finely-coloured rib-like ridges on each side of his cheeks, the clear blue and scarlet hue of which, on such a hideous long face and muzzle, with its small, deeply-sunk malicious eyes, and projecting brow and cheeks, seemed almost as if beauty and bestiality were here combined. But Jerry had a habit which would have made Father Matthew loathe him and those who encouraged him. He had been taught to sit in an armchair and to drink porter out of a pot, like a thirsty brickmaker; and, as an addition to his accomplishments, he could also smoke a pipe, like a trained pupil of Sir Walter Raleigh. This rib-nosed baboon, or mandrill, as he is often called, obtained great renown; and among other distinguished personages who wished to see him was his late majesty King George the Fourth. As that king seldom during his reign frequented places of public resort, Mr Cross was invited to bring Jerry to Windsor or Brighton, to display the talents of his redoubtable baboon. I have heard Mr Cross say, that the king placed his hands on the arm of one of the ladies of the Court, at which Jerry began to show such unmistakable signs of ferocity, that the mild, kind menagerist was glad to get Jerry removed, or at least the king and his courtiers to withdraw. He showed his great teeth and grinned and growled, as a baboon in a rage is apt to do. Jerry was a powerful beast, especially in his fore-legs or arms. When he died, Mr Cross presented his skin to the British Museum, where it has been long preserved. The mandrill is a native of West Africa, where he is much dreaded by the negroes.[Pg 33]

In Cross's menagerie at Walworth, nearly twenty years ago, there was generally a fine mandrill. We remember the sulky ferocity of that restless eye. How angry the mild menagerist used to be at the ladies in the monkey-room with their parasols! These appendages were the feelers with which some of the softer sex used to touch Cross's monkeys, and, as the old gentleman used to insist, helped to kill them. Parasols were freely used to touch the boas and other snakes feeding in the same warm room. No doubt a boa-constrictor could not live comfortably if his soft, muscular sides got fifty pokes a day from as many sticks or parasols. Edward Cross, mild, gentle, gentlemanly, Prince of show-keepers, used to be very indignant at the inquisitorial desire possessed, especially by some of the fairer sex, to try the relative hardness and softness of serpents and monkeys, and other mammals and creatures. This story of the mandrill may excuse this pendant of an episode.

The Young Lady's Pet Monkey and her Parrot.

Horace Walpole tells an anecdote of a fine young French lady, a Madame de Choiseul. She longed for a parrot that should be a miracle of eloquence. A parrot was soon found for her in Paris. She also became enamoured of General Jacko, a celebrated monkey, at Astley's. But the possessor was so exorbitant in his demand for Jacko, that the General did not change proprietors. Another monkey was soon heard of, who had been brought up by a cook in a kitchen, where he had learned to pluck fowls with inimitable dexterity. This accomplished pet was bought and presented to Madame, who accepted him.[Pg 34] The first time she went out, the two animals were locked up in her bed-chamber. When the lady returned, the monkey was alone to be seen. Search, was made for Pretty Poll, and to her horror she was found at last under bed, shivering and cowering, and without a feather. It seems that the two pets had been presented by rival lovers of Madame. Poll's presenter concluded that his rival had given the monkey with that very view, challenged him; they fought, and both were wounded: and a heroic adventure it was![18]

Monkeys Poor Relations.

One of Luttrell's sayings, recorded by Sydney Smith, was,—

"I hate the sight of monkeys, they remind me so of poor relations." Here follows a fine passage of Sydney Smith, which he might have written after hearing the lectures of Professor Huxley.[19] "I confess I feel myself so much at my ease about the superiority of mankind,—I have such a marked and decided contempt for the understanding of every baboon I have yet seen,—I feel so sure that the blue ape without a tail will never rival us in poetry, painting, and music,—that I see no reason whatever why justice may not be done to the few fragments of soul, and tatters of understanding, which they may really possess. I have sometimes, perhaps, felt a little uneasy at Exeter 'Change, from contrasting the monkeys with the 'prentice[Pg 35] boys who are teasing them; but a few pages of Locke, or a few lines of Milton, have always restored my tranquillity, and convinced me that the superiority of man had nothing to fear."[20]

Mrs Colin Mackenzie observes Apes at Simla.[21]

The monkey she alludes to seems to be the Semnopithecus Entellus, a black-faced, light-haired monkey, with long legs and tail, much venerated by the Hindoos.

"Mrs L. and I were very much amused, early this morning (July 5), by watching numbers of huge apes, the size of human beings, with white hair all round their faces, and down their backs and chests, who were disporting themselves and feeding on the green leaves, on the sides of the precipice close to the house. Many of them had one or two little ones—the most amusing, indefatigable little creatures imaginable—who were incessantly running up small trees, jumping down again, and performing all sorts of antics, till one felt quite wearied with their perpetual activity. When the mother wished to fly, she clutched the little one under her arm, where, clinging round her body with all its arms, it remained in safety, while she made leaps of from thirty to forty feet, and ran at a most astonishing rate down the khad, catching at any tree or twig that offered itself to any one of her four arms. There were two old grave apes of enormous size sitting together[Pg 36] on the branch of a tree, and deliberately catching the fleas in each other's shaggy coats. The patient sat perfectly still, while his brother ape divided and thoroughly searched his beard and hair, lifted up one arm and then the other, and turned him round as he thought fit; and then the patient undertook to perform the same office for his friend."

The Aye-Aye (Chiromys Madagascariensis).

Zoologists used to know a very curious animal from Madagascar, by name, or by an indifferent specimen preserved in the Paris Museum. Sonnerat, the naturalist, obtained it from that great island so well known to geographical boys in former days by its being, so they were told, the largest island in the world. This strange quadruped was named by a word which meant "handed-mouse," for such is the signification of chiromys, or cheiromys, as it used to be spelled. This creature, when its history was better known, was believed to be not far removed in the system from the lemurs and loris. Its soft fur, long tail, large eyes, and other features and habits connected it with these quadrumana, while its rodent dentition seemed to refer it to the group containing our squirrels, hares, and mice. It has been the subject of a profound memoir by Professor Owen, our greatest comparative anatomist; and I remember, with pleasure, the last time I saw him at the Museum he was engaged in its dissection. I may here refer to one of the Professor's lighter productions—a lecture at Exeter Hall on some instances of the "power of God as manifested in His animal creation"—for a very nice notice of this curious quadruped. In one of the French journals, there was an[Pg 37] excellent account given of the peculiar habits of the little nocturnal creature. In those tropical countries the trees are tenanted by countless varieties of created things. Their wood affords rich feeding to the large, fat, pulpy grubs of beetles of the families Buprestidæ, Dynastidæ, Passalidæ, and, above all, that glorious group the Longicornia. These beetles worm their way into the wood, making often long tunnels, feeding as they work, and leaving their ejecta in the shape of agglomerated sawdust. It is into the long holes drilled by these beetles that the Aye-Aye searches with his long fingers, one of which, on the fore-hand, is specially thin, slender, and skeleton-like. It looks like the tool of some lock-picker. Our large-eyed little friend, like the burglar, comes out at night and finds these holes on the trees where he slept during the day. His sensitive thin ears, made to hear every scratch, can detect the rasping of the retired grub, feasting in apparent security below. Naturalists sometimes hear at night, so Samouelle once told me, the grubs of moths munching the dewy leaves. Our aye-aye is no collector, but he has eyes, ears, and fingers too, that see, hear, and get larvæ that, when grown and changed into beetles, are the valued prizes of entomologists. Into that tunnelled hole he inserts his long finger, and squash it goes into a large, pulpy, fat, sweet grub. It takes but a moment to draw it out; and if it be a pupa near the bark, so much the better for the aye-aye, so much the worse for the beetle or cossus. I might dilate on this subject, but prefer referring the reader to Professor Owen's memoir, and to his lecture.[22] The aye-aye, in every point of its structure,[Pg 38] like every created thing, is full of design. Its curious fingers, especially the skeleton-like chopstick of a digit referred to, attract especial notice, from their evident adaptation to the condition of its situation and existence, as one of the works of an omnipotent and beneficent Creator.


A highly curious, if not the strangest, order of the class are these flying creatures called bats. It is evident from Noel Paton's fairy pictures that he has closely studied their often fantastic faces. The writer could commend to his attention an African bat, lately figured by his friend Mr Murray.[23] Its enormous head, or rather muzzle, compared with its other parts, gives it an outrageously hideous look. In the late excellent Dr Horsfield's work on the animals of Java, there are some engravings of bats by Mr Taylor, who acquired among engravers the title of "Bat Taylor," so wonderfully has he rendered the exquisite pileage or fur of these creatures. It is wonderful how numerous the researches of naturalists, such as Mr Tomes, of Welford, near Stratford, have shown the order Cheiroptera to be in genera and species. Their profiles and full faces, even in outline, are often most bizarre and strange. Their interfemoral membranes, we may add, are actual "unreticulated" nets, with which they catch and detain flies as they skim through the air. They pick these[Pg 39] out of this bag with their mouths, and "make no bones" of any prey, so sharp and pointed are their pretty insectivorous teeth. Their flying membranes, stretched on the elongated finger-bones of their fore-legs, are wonderful adaptations of Divine wisdom, a capital subject for the natural theologian to select.

Our poet-laureate must be a close observer of natural history. In his "In Memoriam," xciv., he distinctly alludes to some very curious West African bats first described by the late amiable Edward T. Bennett, long the much-valued secretary of the Zoological Society. These bats are closely related to the fox bats, and form a genus which is named, from their shoulder and breast appendages, Epomophorus:—

"Bats went round in fragrant skies,
And wheel'd or lit the filmy shapes
That haunt the dusk, with ermine capes,
And woolly breasts and beaded eyes."

The species Mr Bennett named E. Whitei, after the good Rev. Gilbert White, that well-known worthy who wrote "The Natural History of Selborne," wherein are many notices of bats.

Captain Cook's Sailor and His Description of a Fox-Bat.

It is curious, now that Australia is almost as civilised, and in parts nearly as populous, as much of Europe, to read "Lieutenant Cook's Voyage Round the World," in vol. iii. of Hawkesworth's quartos, detailing the discoveries of June, July, and August 1770—that is close upon a[Pg 40] century ago. What progress has the world made since that period! We do not require long periods of ages to alter, to adapt, to develop the customs and knowledge of man. At p. 156 we get an account of a large bat. On the 23d June 1770 Cook says:—"This day almost everybody had seen the animal which the pigeon-shooters had brought an account of the day before; and one of the seamen, who had been rambling in the woods, told us, at his return, that he verily believed he had seen the devil. We naturally inquired in what form he had appeared, and his answer was in so singular a style that I shall set down his own words. 'He was,' says John, 'as large as a one-gallon keg, and very like it; he had horns and wings, yet he crept so slowly through the grass, that if I had not been afeared I might have touched him.' This formidable apparition we afterwards discovered to have been a bat, and the bats here must be acknowledged to have a frightful appearance, for they are nearly black, and full as large as a partridge; they have indeed no horns, but the fancy of a man who thought he saw the devil might easily supply that defect."

Having seen some of the very curious fox-bats alive, and given some condensed information about them in Dr Hamilton's series of volumes called "Excelsior," the writer may extract the account, with some slight additions, especially as the article is illustrated with a truly admirable figure of a fox-bat, from a living specimen by Mr Wolf. In Sir Emerson Tennent's "Sketches of the Natural History of Ceylon," p. 14, Mr Wolf has represented a whole colony of the "flying-foxes," as they are called.

[Pg 41]

Fox-Bats (Pteropus).

Flying Fox. (Pteropus ruficollis.) Flying Fox. (Pteropus ruficollis.)

In this country that bat is deemed a large one whose wings, when measured from tip to tip, exceed twelve inches, or whose body is above that of a small mouse in bulk. In some parts of the world, however, there are members of this well-marked family, the wings of which, when stretched and measured from one extremity to the other, are five feet and upwards in extent, and their bodies large in proportion. These are the fox-bats, a pair of which were lately procured for the Zoological Gardens. It is from one of this pair that the very characteristic figure of Mr Wolf has been derived.[24] There is something very odd in the appearance of such an animal, suspended as it is during the day head downwards, in a position the very sight of which suggests to the looker-on ideas of nightmare and apoplexy. As the head peers out from the membrane, contracted about the body and investing it as in a bag, and the strange creature chews a piece of apple presented by its keeper, the least curious observer must be struck with the peculiarity of the position, and cannot fail to admire the velvety softness and great elasticity of the membrane which forms its wings. It must have been from an exaggerated account of the fox-bats of the Eastern Islands that the ancients derived their ideas of the dreaded Harpies, those fabulous winged monsters sent out by the relentless Juno, and whose names are synonymous with rapine and cruelty.

Some of these bats, before they were thoroughly known,[Pg 42] frightened British sailors not a little when they met with them. We have given an anecdote, illustrative of this, in a preceding page.

Dr Forster, who accompanied Captain Cook on the voyage round the world from 1772 to 1775, observed fox-bats at the Friendly Islands, where they were seen in large groups of hundreds. Our traveller even notices that some of them flew about the whole day, doubtless from being disturbed by the wandering crews of the British discovery ships. He saw a Casuarina tree of large size, the branches of which were festooned with at least five hundred of these pendent Cheiroptera in various attitudes of ease, according to the habits and notions of the bat tribes, who can hang either by the hind or by the fore-feet. He noticed that they skimmed over the water with wonderful facility, and he saw one in the act of swimming, though he cannot say that it did so with either ease or expertness; they are known, however, to frequent the water in order to wash themselves from any impurities on their fur and wings, as well as to get rid of the vermin which may be infesting them.

Captain Lort Stokes found the red-necked species to be very abundant, during his survey of the north coast of Australia in H.M.S. Beagle. As the boats were engaged in the survey, flights of these bats kept hovering over them, uttering a disagreeable screeching noise and filling the air with a faint mildewy odour, far from agreeable to the smell. The sailors gave these bats the name of "monkey-birds," without being aware that naturalists in their system consider them as following closely the order which contains these four-handed lovers of trees. Captain Stokes observes that the leathern wings have a singular heavy flap, and[Pg 43] that a flight of bats would suddenly alight on a bamboo and bend it to the ground with their weight. Each individual struggles on alighting to settle on the same spot, and like rooks or men in similar circumstances, they do not succeed in fixing themselves without making a great deal of noise. When first they clung to the bamboo, they did so by means of the claw on the outer edge of the flying membrane, and then they gradually settled.

Among the wild and varied scenery of those groups of islands called the Friendly Islands, the Feejees, and the Navigators, species of fox-bat form one of the characteristics of the place to the observant eye; while, if the traveller should happen to be blind, their presence among the otherwise fragrant forests would be readily perceived from the strong odour which taints the atmosphere, and which, says the Naturalist of the United States Exploring Expedition, "will always be remembered by persons who have visited the regions inhabited by these animals." Mr Titian Peale mentions that a specimen of the fox-bat was kept in Philadelphia for several years; and like most creatures, winged as well as wingless, was amiable to those persons who were constantly near it, while it showed clearly and unmistakably its dislike to strangers.

On its voyage, this strange passenger was fed on boiled rice, sweetened with sugar; while at the Museum, it was solaced and fed during its captivity chiefly on fruit, and now and then appeared to enjoy the picking from the bones of a boiled fowl. The fox-bat is but seldom brought alive to this country. The late Mr Cross of the Surrey Zoological Gardens kept one for a short time, and deemed it one of his greatest rarities; and, till the arrival lately of the pair[Pg 44] alluded to at the Gardens in the Regent's Park, we have not heard of other specimens having been exhibited in this country. They are difficult to keep, and seem to feel very sensibly the changes of our climate, while it is a hard thing to get for them the food on which they live when in a state of liberty.

Mr Macgillivray discovered a new species of fox-bat on Fitzroy Island, off the coast of Australia, when he was naturalist of H.M.S. Rattlesnake.[25] He fell in with this large fruit-eating bat (Pteropus conspicillatus) on the wooded slope of a hill. They were in prodigious numbers, and presented the appearance, as they flew along in the bright sunshine, of a large flock of rooks. As they were approached, a strong musky odour became apparent, and a loud incessant chattering was heard. He describes the branches of some of the trees as bending beneath the loads of bats which clung to them. Some of these were in a state of inactivity, sleeping or composing themselves to sleep, while many specimens scrambled along among the boughs and took to flight on being disturbed. He shot several specimens, three or four at a time, as they hung in clusters. Unless they were killed outright, they continued suspended for some time; when wounded they are difficult to handle, as they bite severely, and at such times their cry resembles somewhat the squalling of a child. The flesh of these bats is described to be excellent, and no wonder, when they feed on the sweetest fruits; the natives regard it as nutritious food, and travellers in Australia, like the adventurous Leichhardt on his journey to Port Essington, sometimes are furnished with a welcome meal from the fruit-eating fox-[Pg 45]bats which fall in their way. Even the polished French, in the Isle of Bourbon, as they used to call the Mauritius, sometimes stewed a Pteropus, in their bouillon or broth to give it a relish.

Travellers observe that in a state of nature the fox-bats only eat the ripest and the best fruit, and in their search for it they climb with great facility along the under side of the branches. In Java, as Dr Horsfield observes, these creatures, from their numbers and fruit-eating propensities, occasion incalculable mischief, as they attack every kind that grows there, from the cocoa-nut to the rarer and more delicate productions, which are cultivated with care in the gardens of princes and persons of rank. The doctor observes, that "delicate fruits, as they approach to maturity, are ingeniously secured by means of a loose net or basket, skilfully constructed of split bamboo. Without this precaution little valuable fruit would escape the ravages of the kalong."

We have mentioned that the fox-bats are occasionally eaten in Australia. Colonel Sykes alludes to the native Portuguese in Western India eating the flesh of another species of Pteropus; and it would seem that but for prejudice, their flesh, like that of the young of the South American monkeys, is extremely delicate; the colonel says, writing of the Pteropus medius, a species found in India, "I can personally testify that their flesh is delicate and without disagreeable flavour."

The Javanese fox-bat occasionally affords amusement to the colonists as well as natives, who chase it, according to Dr Horsfield, "during the moonlight nights, which, in the latitude of Java, are uncommonly serene. He is watched in[Pg 46] his descent to the fruit-trees, and a discharge of small shot readily brings him to the ground. By this means I frequently obtained four or five individuals in the course of an hour." The natives of New Caledonia, according to Dr Forster, use the hair of these great bats in ropes, and in the tassels to their clubs, while they interweave the hair among the threads of the Cyperus squarrosus, a grassy-looking plant which they employ for that purpose.

William Dampier,[26] in 1687, observed the habits of a fox-bat on one of the Philippine Islands, though he has exaggerated its size when he judged "that the wings stretched out in length, could not be less asunder than seven or eight foot from tip to tip." He records that "in the evening, as soon as the sun was set, these creatures would begin to take their flight from this island in swarms like bees, directing their flight over to the main island. Thus we should see them rising up from the island till night hindered our sight; and in the morning, as soon as it was light, we should see them returning again like a cloud to the small island till sunrising. This course they kept constantly while we lay here, affording us every morning and evening an hour's diversion in gazing at them and talking about them." Dr Horsfield describes the species, which is abundant in the lower parts of Java, as having the same habit. During the day it retreats to the branches of a tree of the genus Ficus, where it passes the greater portion of the day in sleep, "hanging motionless, ranged in succession, and often in close contact, they have little resemblance to living beings, and by a person not accustomed to their economy, are readily mistaken for a part of the tree, or for a fruit of[Pg 47] uncommon size suspended from its branches." The doctor describes their society as being generally silent during the day, except when a contention arises among them to get out of the influence of the sun, when they utter a sharp piercing shriek. Their claws are so sharp, and their attachment is consequently so strong, that they cannot readily leave their hold without the assistance of their wings, and if shot when in this position, they remain suspended.

Dr Mayerne and His Balsam of Bats.

Dr Mayerne, a learned English physician, who died, aged eighty-two, in 1655, showed by his prescriptions that his enlightenment was not more than that of the prevailing ignorance of the period. The chief ingredient in his gout-powder was "raspings of a human skull unburied;" "but," writes Mr Jeaffreson,[27] "his sweetest compound was his 'balsam of bats,' strongly recommended as an unguent for hypochondriacal persons, into which entered adders, bats, sucking whelps, earth-worms, hogs' grease, the marrow of a stag, and the thigh-bone of an ox."

No doubt the doctor imagined that a combination of the virulence, flightiness, swiftness, strength, and other qualities of all these animals would in some mysterious way be communicated to his melancholy patient; and, indeed, by acting on the imagination of such persons a favourable direction is given to their thoughts, and in this way their severe malady may at times have been removed.[Pg 48]


This well-armed genus of insect-eating quadruped has sometimes given to describing zoologists, at least so it is said, an opportunity of paying a sly compliment, concealing an allusion to the touchy or supposed irritable disposition of the party after whom the species has been named. When Southey wrote the following paragraph, he happily expressed what is too commonly the meaning and wish of critics and criticised. If my readers look into any system of mammalia of recent date, under the article Erinaceus, he will see one or more instances of concealed allusions to touchiness of disposition in the persons of the naturalists, honoured by the seeming compliment. The hedgehog is itself a very useful and very harmless quadruped. It is of great use in a garden, and also in a kitchen frequented by crickets or black-beetles. Its food is chiefly grubs, insects, worms, and such like. The creature is easily tamed, and becomes a lovable and not a touchy pet. It is eminently nocturnal.

Southey and his Critics.

Robert Southey ("Common-Place Book," 4th series, p.44) writes:—

"I intend to be a hedgehog, and roll myself up in my own prickles: all I regret is that I am not a porcupine, and endowed with the property of shooting them to annoy the beasts who come near enough to annoy me."[Pg 49]


This is perhaps the most remarkable of all our quadrupeds. Its subterranean haunts and curious aptitudes for a life below the surface of the ground are peculiarly worthy of study. The little hillocks it turns up in its excavations are noticed by every one. Its pursuit of worms and grubs, its nest, its soft plush-like fur, the pointed nose, the strong digging fore-feet, the small all but hidden eyes, and hundreds of other properties, render it a noticeable creature. The following passage from Lord Macaulay's latest writings, although rather long, may interest some in the story of this curious creature:—

The Mole and King William.

"A fly, if it had God's message, could choke a king."[28] I never knew till the 9th January 1862, when reading vol. v. of Macaulay's England, that a horse, stumbling on a mole-hill, was the immediate cause of the death of the great William III.

Lady Trevelyan, the sister of Macaulay, published vol. v. of her brother's work, and added an account of the death of the illustrious Dutchman, who did so much for our religious and civil liberties. The historian was very partial to William, and the account of that monarch's last days is Macaulay's last finished piece: it is here quoted in full from the history:[29]

"Meanwhile reports about the state of the king's health[Pg 50] were constantly becoming more and more alarming. His medical advisers, both English and Dutch, were at the end of their resources. He had consulted by letter all the most eminent physicians of Europe; and, as he was apprehensive that they might return flattering answers if they knew who he was, he had written under feigned names. To Fagon he had described himself as a parish priest. Fagon replied, somewhat bluntly, that such symptoms could have only one meaning, and that the only advice which he had to give to the sick man was to prepare himself for death. Having obtained this plain answer, William consulted Fagon again without disguise, and obtained some prescriptions which were thought to have a little retarded the approach of the inevitable hour. But the great king's days were numbered. Headaches and shivering fits returned on him almost daily. He still rode, and even hunted; but he had no longer that firm seat, or that perfect command of the bridle, for which he had once been renowned. Still all his care was for the future. The filial respect and tenderness of Albemarle had been almost a necessary of life to him. But it was of importance that Heinsius should be fully informed both as to the whole plan of the next campaign, and as to the state of the preparations. Albemarle was in full possession of the king's views on these subjects. He was therefore sent to the Hague. Heinsius was at that time suffering from indisposition, which was indeed a trifle when compared with the maladies under which William was sinking. But in the nature of William there was none of that selfishness which is the too common vice of invalids. On the 20th of February he sent to Heinsius a letter, in which he did not even[Pg 51] allude to his own sufferings and infirmities. 'I am,' he said, 'infinitely concerned to learn that your health is not yet quite re-established. May God be pleased to grant you a speedy recovery. I am unalterably your good friend, William.' These were the last lines of that long correspondence.

"On the 20th of February, William was ambling on a favourite horse named Sorrel through the park of Hampton Court. He urged his horse to strike into a gallop just at the spot where a mole had been at work. Sorrel stumbled on the mole-hill, and went down on his knees. The king fell off, and broke his collar-bone. The bone was set, and he returned to Kensington in his coach. The jolting of the rough roads of that time made it necessary to reduce the fracture again. To a young and vigorous man such an accident would have been a trifle; but the frame of William was not in a condition to bear even the slightest shock. He felt that his time was short, and grieved, with a grief such as only noble spirits feel, to think that he must leave his work but half finished. It was possible that he might still live until one of his plans should be carried into execution. He had long known that the relation in which England and Scotland stood to each other was at best precarious, and often unfriendly, and that it might be doubted whether, in an estimate of the British power, the resources of the smaller country ought not to be deducted from those of the larger. Recent events had proved that without doubt the two kingdoms could not possibly continue for another year to be on the terms on which they had been during the preceding century, and that there must be between them either absolute union or[Pg 52] deadly enmity. Their enmity would bring frightful calamities, not on themselves alone, but on all the civilised world. Their union would be the best security for the prosperity of both, for the internal tranquillity of the island, for the just balance of power among European states, and for the immunities of all Protestant countries. On the 28th of February, the Commons listened, with uncovered heads, to the last message that bore William's sign-manual. An unhappy accident, he told them, had forced him to make to them in writing a communication which he would gladly have made from the throne. He had, in the first year of his reign, expressed his desire to see a union accomplished between England and Scotland. He was convinced that nothing could more conduce to the safety and happiness of both. He should think it his peculiar felicity if, before the close of his reign, some happy expedient could be devised for making the two kingdoms one; and he, in the most earnest manner, recommended the question to the consideration of the Houses. It was resolved that the message should be taken into consideration on Saturday the 7th of March.

"But, on the 1st of March, humours of menacing appearance showed themselves in the king's knee. On the 4th of March he was attacked by fever; on the 5th, his strength failed greatly; and on the 6th he was scarcely kept alive by cordials. The Abjuration Bill and a money bill were awaiting his assent. That assent he felt that he should not be able to give in person. He therefore ordered a commission to be prepared for his signature. His hand was now too weak to form the letters of his name, and it was suggested that a stamp should be prepared. On the[Pg 53] 7th of March the stamp was ready. The Lord Keeper and the Clerks of the Parliament came, according to usage, to witness the signing of the commission. But they were detained some hours in the ante-chamber while he was in one of the paroxysms of his malady. Meanwhile the Houses were sitting. It was Saturday the 7th, the day on which the Commons had resolved to take into consideration the question of the union with Scotland. But that subject was not mentioned. It was known that the king had but a few hours to live; and the members asked each other anxiously whether it was likely that the Abjuration and money bills would be passed before he died. After sitting long in the expectation of a message, the Commons adjourned till six in the afternoon. By that time William had recovered himself sufficiently to put the stamp on the parchment which authorised his commissioners to act for him. In the evening, when the Houses had assembled, Black Rod knocked. The Commons were summoned to the bar of the Lords; the commission was read, the Abjuration Bill and the Malt Bill became law, and both Houses adjourned till nine o'clock in the morning of the following day. The following day was Sunday. But there was little chance that William would live through the night. It was of the highest importance that, within the shortest possible time after his decease, the successor designated by the Bill of Rights and the Act of Succession should receive the homage of the Estates of the Realm, and be publicly proclaimed in the Council: and the most rigid Pharisee in the Society for the Reformation of Manners could hardly deny that it was lawful to save the state, even on the Sabbath.[Pg 54]

"The king meanwhile was sinking fast. Albemarle had arrived at Kensington from the Hague, exhausted by rapid travelling. His master kindly bade him go to rest for some hours, and then summoned him to make his report. That report was in all respects satisfactory. The States General were in the best temper; the troops, the provisions, and the magazines were in the best order. Everything was in readiness for an early campaign. William received the intelligence with the calmness of a man whose work was done. He was under no illusion as to his danger. 'I am fast drawing,' he said, 'to my end.' His end was worthy of his life. His intellect was not for a moment clouded. His fortitude was the more admirable because he was not willing to die. He had very lately said to one of those whom he most loved, 'You know that I never feared death; there have been times when I should have wished it, but, now that this great new prospect is opening before me, I do wish to stay here a little longer.' Yet no weakness, no querulousness disgraced the noble close of that noble career. To the physicians the king returned his thanks graciously and gently. 'I know that you have done all that skill and learning could do for me, but the case is beyond your art; and I submit.' From the words which escaped him he seemed to be frequently engaged in mental prayer. Burnet and Tenison remained many hours in the sick-room. He professed to them his firm belief in the truth of the Christian religion, and received the sacrament from their hands with great seriousness. The antechambers were crowded all night with lords and privy-councillors. He ordered several of them to be called in, and exerted himself to take leave of them with a few[Pg 55] kind and cheerful words. Among the English who were admitted to his bedside were Devonshire and Ormond. But there were in the crowd those who felt as no Englishman could feel, friends of his youth, who had been true to him, and to whom he had been true, through all vicissitudes of fortune; who had served him with unalterable fidelity when his Secretaries of State, his Treasury, and his Admiralty had betrayed him; who had never on any field of battle, or in an atmosphere tainted with loathsome and deadly disease, shrunk from placing their own lives in jeopardy to save his, and whose truth he had at the cost of his own popularity rewarded with bounteous munificence. He strained his feeble voice to thank Auverquerque for the affectionate and loyal services of thirty years. To Albemarle he gave the keys of his closet and of his private drawers. 'You know,' he said, 'what to do with them.' By this time he could scarcely respire. 'Can this,' he said to the physicians, 'last long?' He was told that the end was approaching. He swallowed a cordial, and asked for Bentinck. Those were his last articulate words. Bentinck instantly came to the bedside, bent down, and placed his ear close to the king's mouth. The lips of the dying man moved, but nothing could be heard. The king took the hand of his earliest friend, and pressed it tenderly to his heart. In that moment, no doubt, all that had cast a slight passing cloud over their long and pure friendship was forgotten. It was now between seven and eight in the morning. He closed his eyes, and gasped for breath. The bishops knelt down and read the commendatory prayer. When it ended William was no more!"[Pg 56]

It was assuredly the stumbling of his horse against a mole-hill that led more immediately to the death of this great monarch. It is but one link in the chain of many providences affecting his life. We all remember the schoolboy ditty—

"For want of a nail the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe the rider was lost;
For want of the rider the battle was lost;
For want of the battle the kingdom was lost."

How much the death of King William retarded progress in Great Britain can never be judged or determined. His appointed hour had come. It was no bullet with its billet on the banks of the Boyne that laid the Dutchman low, but the cast-up earth of a specimen of a little insectivorous quadruped called the mole, which laid him on that bed from which he never arose.


A most comfortably clad set of plantigrade creatures, as fond, most of them, of fruits as they are of flesh. No creatures are more amusing in zoological gardens to children, who wonder at their climbing powers. Who is so heartless as not to have pitied the roving polar bear, caged, on a sultry July day, in a small paddock with a puddle, and wandering about restlessly in his few feet of ground, as the well-dressed mob lounged to hear the military band performing in the Regent's Park Zoological[Pg 57] Gardens? Even young bears have an adult kind of look about them. The writer remembers the manner of one, disappointed at its bread sap, most of the milk of which had been absorbed. A little girl standing by, not two years old, perfectly understood what the little creature was searching for, and, looking up, said "milka," or something closely resembling it. We recently saw a little brown bear, on board a Russian ship at Leith. He acted as a capital guard. The little creature had a grown-up face, more easily observed than described.

Bear hams, we speak from rare experience, are truly excellent. Bears, in our early London days, were kept by many hairdressers and perfumers. The anecdote or passage from Dickens's "Humphrey's Clock" is very characteristic.

In one of Wilkie's pictures the brown bear is figured on its way with its owners to the parish beadle's "house of detention." We remember the very bear and its owners. A fine chapter might be written on the animals that used to be led about the country by wandering foreigners. Our first sight of guinea-pigs, our first view of the black-bellied hamster, our first sight of the camel and dromedary, with a monkey on his neck, and our first bear, were seen in this way. Boys and girls in those days seldom saw menageries. A muzzled bear on its hind legs in Nicolson Street, or at the Sciennes, was an exotic sight seldom witnessed, and not easily forgotten. The last we saw was in Bernard Street, Leith, in 1869. That very day, the police were hunting for Bruin and its leaders all over Edinburgh. Bears are now debarred from parading our streets.[Pg 58]

An Austrian General and a Bear.[30]

Mr Paget was told an excellent story of a bear hunt, which took place in the mountains of Transylvania, and in the presence of the gentleman who told him the story.

"General V——, the Austrian commander of the forces in this district, had come to Cronstadt to inspect the troops, and had been invited by our friend, in compliment to his rank, to join him in a bear hunt. Now, the general, though more accustomed to drilling than hunting, accepted the invitation, and appeared in due time in a cocked hat and long gray greatcoat, the uniform of an Austrian general. When they had taken up their places, the general, with half a dozen rifles arrayed before him, paid such devoted attention to a bottle of spirits he had brought with him, that he quite forgot the object of his coming. At last, however, a huge bear burst suddenly from the cover of the pine forest, directly in front of him. At that moment the bottle was raised so high that it quite obscured the general's vision, and he did not perceive the intruder till he was close upon him. Down went the bottle, up jumped the astonished soldier, and, forgetful of his guns, off he started, with the bear clutching at the tails of his greatcoat as he ran away. What strange confusion of ideas was muddling the general's intellect at the moment it is difficult to say, but I suspect he had some notion that the attack was an act of insubordination on the part of Bruin, for he called out most lustily, as he ran along, 'Back, rascal! back! I am a general!' Luckily, a poor[Pg 59] Wallack peasant had more respect for the epaulettes than the bear, and, throwing himself in the way, with nothing but a spear for his defence, he kept the enemy at bay till our friend and the jägers came up, and finished the contest with their rifles."

Byron's Bear at Cambridge.

When at Trinity College, Cambridge, Lord Byron had a strange pet. He "brought up a bear for a degree." He said to Captain Medwyn,[31] "I had a great hatred of college rules, and contempt for academical honours. How many of their wranglers have ever distinguished themselves in the world? There was, by the by, rather a witty satire founded on my bear. A friend of Shelley's made an ourang-outang (Oran Hanton, Esq.) the hero of a novel ('Melincourt'), had him created a baronet, and returned for the borough of One Vote."

Charles Dickens on Bears' Grease and its Producers.

Any one who has been long resident in London, or who has passed through Fenchurch Street, or Everett Street, Russell Square, must have been struck with the way in which "bears' grease" is or used to be advertised in these localities. Dickens makes Mr Samuel Weller tell of an enthusiastic tradesman of this description.[32]

"His whole delight was in his trade. He spent all his money in bears, and run in debt for 'em besides, and there[Pg 60] they wos a growling away in the front cellar all day long and ineffectually gnashing their teeth, vile the grease o' their relations and friends wos being retailed in gallipots in the shop above, and the first floor winder wos ornamented with their heads; not to speak o' the dreadful aggrawation it must have been to 'em to see a man always a walkin' up and down the pavement outside, with the portrait of a bear in his last agonies, and underneath, in large letters, 'Another fine animal was slaughtered yesterday at Jenkinson's!' Hous'ever, there they wos, and there Jenkinson wos, till he was took very ill with some inward disorder, lost the use of his legs, and wos confined to his bed, vere he laid a wery long time; but sich wos his pride in his profession even then, that wenever he wos worse than usual the doctor used to go down-stairs, and say, 'Jenkinson's wery low this mornin', we must give the bears a stir;' and as sure as ever they stirred 'em up a bit, and made 'em roar, Jenkinson opens his eyes, if he wos ever so bad, calls out, 'There's the bears!' and rewives agin."

The author of a most amusing article in the seventy-seventh volume of the Edinburgh Review, on the modern system of advertising, records that, in his puff, the first vendor of bears' grease cautioned his customers to wash their hands in warm water after using it, to prevent them from assuming the hairy appearance of a paw.

A Bearable Pun.

An illiterate vendor of beer wrote over his door at Harrowgate, "Bear sold here." "He spells the word[Pg 61] quite correctly," said Theodore Hook, "if he means to apprise us that the article is his own Bruin."[33]

Polar Bear. (Thalassarctos maritimus.) Polar Bear. (Thalassarctos maritimus.)

Shaved Bear.

Robert Southey ("Common-Place Book," 4th ser., p. 359) says:—"At Bristol I saw a shaved monkey shown for a fairy; and a shaved bear, in a check waistcoat and trousers, sitting in a great chair as an Ethiopian savage. This was the most cruel fraud I ever saw. The unnatural position of the beast, and the damnable brutality of the woman-keeper, who sat upon his knee, put her arm round his neck, called him husband and sweetheart, and kissed him, made it the most disgusting spectacle I ever witnessed. Cottle was with me."

He also tells of a fellow exhibiting a dragon-fly under a magnifier at a country fair, and calling it the great High German "Heiter-Keiter."

The Polar Bear.

(Thalassarctos maritimus.[34])

Notwithstanding ice and snow, and the darkness of a nine months' winter, the Arctic regions are tenanted by several mammalia. Some of these are constant residents, the rest are migratory visitors. Of the former division, one of the most conspicuous, as it is certainly the most formidable, is the polar bear,—a creature between eight and nine feet in length, which, shuffling along the snow at a very quick[Pg 62] pace, and being an excellent swimmer besides, cannot fail to inspire dread. The large wide head and fearfully armed jaws are united by a strong neck to powerful shoulders, from which spring the thick and muscular fore-legs. The paws, both of the fore and of the hind feet, are broad and admirably adapted, with their long hairy covering, to keep the polar bear from sinking in the snow. Although the creature has an appearance of clumsiness, it is the reverse of inactive. Every one who knows the boundless spaces it has to traverse, when in a state of liberty and the "monarch of all it surveys," cannot but pity it as a prisoner in the Regent's Park, where a tolerably capacious den, supplied with a bath of water of very limited dimension, affords the restless creature less liberty than a squirrel has in its round-about, or a poor lark in its cage.

Voyagers to the Arctic regions describe it as wandering over the fields of ice, mounting the hummocks,[35] and look[Pg 63]ing around for prey. With outstretched head, its little but keen eye directed to the various points of a wide horizon, the polar bear looks out for seals; or scents with its quick nostrils the luscious smell of some stinking whale-blubber or half-putrid whale-flesh. Dr Scoresby relates[36] that a piece of the kreng of a whale thrown into the fire drew a bear to a ship from the distance of miles. Captain Beechey mentions, that his party in 1818, as they were off the coast of Spitzbergen, by setting on fire some fat of the walrus, soon attracted a bear to their close vicinity. This polar Bruin was evidently unaccustomed to the sight of masts, and, when approaching, occasionally hesitated, and seemed half inclined to turn round and be off. So agreeable a smell as burning walrus fat dispelled all distrust, and brought him within musket-shot. On receiving the first ball, he sprang round, growled terrifically, and half raised himself on his hind-legs, as if expecting to seize the object which had caused so much pain; woe to any one who had at that moment been within reach of his merciless paws! Although a second and third ball laid him writhing on the ice, he was not mastered; and on the butt end of a musket directed at his head breaking short off, the bear quickly seized the thigh of his assailant, and, but for the immediate assistance of two or three of his shipmates, the man would have been seriously injured. In these very seas—nearly fifty years before—the hero of Trafalgar encountered this Arctic tyrant, and, when missed from his ship, was discovered with a comrade attacking[Pg 64] a large specimen, separated from them by a chasm in the ice. On being reprimanded by his captain for his foolhardiness, "Sir," said the young middy, pouting his lips, as he used to do when excited, "I wished to kill the bear that I might carry the skin to my father."[37]

Barentz, in his celebrated voyage in 1595, had two of his men killed by "a great leane white beare." In these early days, so unused were polar bears to man, that though thirty of their comrades attempted a rescue, the prey was not abandoned. The purser, "stepping somewhat farther forward, and seeing the beare to be within the length of a shot, presently levelled his peece, and discharging it at the beare, shot her into the head, betweene both the eyes, and yet shee held the man still fast by the necke, and lifted up her head with the man in her mouth, but shee beganne somewhat to stagger; wherewith the purser and a Scottishman drew out their courtlaxes (cutlasses), and stroke at her so hard, that their courtlaxes burst, and yet shee would not leave the man. At last Wm. Geysen went to them, and with all his might stroke the beare upon the snowt with his peece, at which time the beare fell to the ground, making a great noyse, and Wm. Geysen leaping upon her cut her throat. The 7th of September wee buried the dead bodies of our men in the States Island, and having fleaed the beare, carryed her skinne to Amsterdam."

This is about the earliest record of an encounter with this formidable creature; sailors now find that they can be attacked with most advantage in the water. When in this element, they try to escape by swimming to the ice, and when the ice is in the form of loose and detached[Pg 65] small floes, Dr Sutherland has seen them dive underneath, and appear on the opposite side. Scoresby records, that when shot at a distance, and able to escape, the bear has been observed to retire to the shelter of a hummock, and, as if aware of the styptical effect of cold, apply snow to the wound.

In common with nearly every animal, this huge despot of the North is strongly attached to its young. Captain Inglefield, on his return home from Baffin's Bay in 1852, pursued three bears, as he was anxious to get a supply of fresh meat for his Esquimaux dogs. The trio were evidently a mother and twins. The captain was anxious to secure the cubs alive as trophies, and was cautious in shooting at the mother. All three fell, and were brought on board the Isabel. He records that it was quite heartrending to see the affection that existed between them. When the cubs saw their mother was wounded, they commenced licking her wounds, regardless of their own sufferings. At length the mother began to eat the snow, a sure sign that she was mortally wounded. "Even then her care for the cubs did not cease, as she kept continually turning her head from one to the other, and, though roaring with pain, she seemed to warn them to escape if possible. Their attachment was as great as hers, and I was thus obliged to destroy them all. It went much against my feelings, but the memory of my starving dogs reconciled me to the necessity."

The female bear when pursued carries or pushes her cubs forwards, and the little creatures are described as placing themselves across her path to be shoved forwards. Scoresby mentions an instance where, when projected some yards in advance, the cubs ran on until she overtook them,[Pg 66] when they alternately adjusted themselves for a second throw.

It is chiefly on the seal that this bear feeds, and it displays great cunning in catching them as they sleep on the ice, or come to the holes in the ice to breathe, when it destroys them with one blow of its formidable and heavy paw. For its mode of getting the walrus we refer the reader to "Excelsior," vol. i. p. 37. Notwithstanding his strength and ferocity, the Esquimaux frequently kill the polar bear, as they esteem its flesh and fat, and highly prize its skin. The flesh is not so prized by Saxons, whether they be European or American. Dr Kane's opinion would differ but little from that of Arctic voyagers on our side of the Atlantic. The surgeon to the "Grinnell Expedition" in search of Sir John Franklin thus characterises its flesh: "Bear is strong, very strong, and withal most capricious meat; you cannot tell where to find him. One day he is quite beefy and bearable; another, hircine, hippuric, and detestable."

It is but fair to say that Captain Parry[38] regards the flesh of the polar bear to be as wholesome as any other, though not quite so palatable. His men suffered from indigestion after eating it; but this he attributes to the quantity, and not to the quality, of the meat they had eaten.

There seems to be little doubt that the liver is highly deleterious. Some of the sailors of Barentz, who made a meal of it, were very sick, "and we verily thought we should have lost them, for all their skins came off from the foot to the head."

The skin of the bear is covered with long yellowish[Pg 67] white hair, which, is very close, and forms a wonderful defence against the cold, and against the tusk of the animals on which it feeds. We heard of another use of this hair from an officer on one of the late Arctic searching expeditions. A bear was seen to come down a tolerably high and steep declivity by sliding down on its hinder quarters, in an attitude known, in more than one part of the British Islands, by the expressive name of "katy-hunkers;" the shaggy hair with which it was covered serving like a thick mat to protect the creature from injury. The Esquimaux prepare the skin sometimes without ripping it up, and turning the hairy side inward a warm sack-like bed is formed, into which they creep, and lie very comfortably. Otho Fabricius, in his "Fauna Grænlandica" (p. 24), informs us that the tendons are converted into sewing threads. The female bear has one or two, and sometimes three, cubs at a time. They are born in the winter, and the mother generally digs for them and for herself a snug nestling-place in the snow. The males in the winter time leave the coast, and go out on the ice-fields, to the edge of the open water after seals.—Adam White, in "Excelsior" (with additions).

Nelson and the Polar Bear.

In 1773, Captain Phipps, afterwards Lord Mulgrave, sailed on a voyage of discovery towards the North Pole. In this expedition sailed two Norfolk young men, one in his twenty-third year, the other a mere lad in his fifteenth year. The former sailed from a spirit of curiosity, and being sorely distressed by sea-sickness was landed in Norway. He afterwards became famous in the British Parlia[Pg 68]ment, and the speeches of the Right Hon. William Windham, Secretary at War, are often referred to even now. The younger man was Horatio Nelson, cockswain under Captain Lutwidge, who was killed at the battle of Trafalgar, thirty-two years after his Polar expedition, and left a name which is synonymous with the glory of the British navy.

Southey, in his admirable life,[39] records an instance of his hardihood on this expedition:—"One night, during the mid-watch, he stole from the ship with one of his comrades, taking advantage of a rising fog, and set off over the ice in pursuit of a bear. It was not long before they were missed. The fog thickened, and Captain Lutwidge and his officers became exceedingly alarmed for their safety. Between three and four in the morning the weather cleared, and the two adventurers were seen at a considerable distance from the ship attacking a huge bear. The signal for them to return was immediately made; Nelsons' comrade called upon him to obey it, but in vain; his musket had flashed in the pan; their ammunition was expended; and a chasm in the ice, which divided him from the bear, probably preserved his life. 'Never mind,' he cried; 'do but let me get a blow at this devil with the butt-end of my musket, and we shall have him.' Captain Lutwidge, however, seeing his danger, fired a gun, which had the desired effect of frightening the beast; and the boy then returned, somewhat afraid of the consequences of his trespass. The captain reprimanded him sternly for conduct so unworthy of the office which he filled, and desired to know what motive he could have for hunting a bear. 'Sir,' said he,[Pg 69] pouting his lip, as he was wont to do when agitated, 'I wished to kill the bear, that I might carry the skin to my father.'"

A Clever Polar Bear.

Mr Markham,[40] when the ship Assistance was in the Wellington Channel, observed several bears prowling about in search of seals. "On one occasion," he writes, "I saw a bear swimming across a lane of water, and pushing a large piece of ice before him. Landing on the floe, he advanced stealthily towards a couple of seals, which were basking in the sun at some little distance, still holding the ice in front to hide his black muzzle; but this most sagacious of bears was for once outwitted, for the seals dived into a pool of water before he could get within reach. On another occasion, a female Bruin having been shot from the deck of the Intrepid, her affectionate cub, an animal about the size of a large Newfoundland dog, remained resolutely by the side of its mother, and on the approach of the commander of the Intrepid with part of his crew, a sort of tournament ensued, in which the youthful bear, although belaboured most savagely, showed a gallant resistance, and at length rushing between the legs of the corporal of marines, laid him prostrate on the ice, floored another man, who had seized hold of his tail, and effected his escape.[Pg 70]"

Captain Ommaney and the Polar Bear.

Captain Ommaney,[41] who led one of the travelling parties in 1851 sent out from the ships under Austin in search of Franklin on the 12th of June, the day before he arrived at the ships, met with a laughable accident, although it might have had a serious termination. They had all of them but just got into their blanket bags, when a peculiar noise, as if something was rubbing up the snow, was heard outside. The gallant captain instantly divined its cause, seized, loaded, and cocked his gun, and ordered the tent door to be opened, upon which a huge bear was seen outside. Captain Ommaney fired at the animal, but, whether from the benumbed state of his limbs, or the dim glimmering light, he unfortunately missed him, and shot away the rope that supported the tent instead. The enraged monster then poked his head against the poles, and the tent fell upon its terrified inmates, and embraced them in its folds. Their confusion and dismay can more easily be imagined than described, but at length one man, with more self-possession than the rest, slipped out of his bag, scrambled from under the prostrate tent, and ran to the sledge for another gun; and it was well that he did so, for no sooner had he vacated his sleeping sack than Bruin seized it between his teeth, and shook it violently, with the evident intention of wreaking his vengeance on its inmate. He was, however, speedily despatched by a well-aimed shot from the man, the tent was repitched, and tranquillity restored.[Pg 71]


A strikingly pretty, well-clad, and pleasingly coloured North American quadruped, of which many zoological anecdotes might be given. Linnæus named it Ursu lotor, or the Washer, from its curious habit of putting any food offered to it, at least when in confinement, into water, before attempting to eat it.

"A Gone Coon."

An American phrase for "the last extremity," or, "it's all up." They say that a Major, or Colonel, or General Scott "down South" was notorious as a dead shot. Once on a time, when out with his gun, he espied a raccoon on a lofty tree. The poor raccoon, noticing the gun pointed at him, cried to the dead shot, "Air you General Scott?"—"I air."—"Then wait, I air a comin' down, for I air a gone coon."


The badger, or brock, as it is called in Scotland, is yearly becoming more and more rare. In a few years, this curious and powerful member of the feræ, will figure, like the bear and beaver, as among the extinct quadrupeds of these islands. Naturalists will be recording that in the days of Robert Burns it must have been not at all uncommon, and not rare in those of Hugh Miller, since low dram-[Pg 72]shops kept them for the entertainment of their guests. The Ayrshire bard makes the Newfoundland dog, Cæsar, say to his comrade Luath, the collie, when, speaking of most of the gentry of his day—

"They gang as saucy by poor folk
As I wad by a stinking brock."[42]

The author of "Old Red Sandstone" and "My Schools and Schoolmasters," has recorded in the latter work the history of his employment as a hewer of great stones under the branching foliage of the elm and chestnut trees of Niddry Park, near Edinburgh, and how, in the course of a strike among the masons, he marched into town with several of them to a meeting on the Links, where, conspicuous from the deep red hue of their clothes and aprons, they were cheered as a reinforcement from a distance. On adjourning, Hugh Miller, in his racy style, gives the following account of a badger-baiting more than forty years ago:—

Hugh Miller and the Badger-Baiting in the Canongate.

"My comrades proposed that we should pass the time until the hour of meeting in a public-house, and, desirous of securing a glimpse of the sort of enjoyment for which they sacrificed so much, I accompanied them. Passing not a few more inviting-looking places, we entered a low tavern in the upper part of the Canongate, kept in an old half-ruinous building, which has since disappeared. We passed[Pg 73] on through a narrow passage to a low-roofed room in the centre of the erection, into which the light of day never penetrated, and in which the gas was burning dimly in a close, sluggish atmosphere, rendered still more stifling by tobacco-smoke, and a strong smell of ardent spirits. In the middle of the crazy floor there was a trap-door, which lay open at the time; and a wild combination of sounds, in which the yelping of a dog, and a few gruff voices that seemed cheering him on, were most noticeable, rose from the apartment below. It was customary at this time for dram-shops to keep badgers housed in long narrow boxes, and for working men to keep dogs; and it was part of the ordinary sport of such places to set the dogs to unhouse the badgers. The wild sport which Scott describes in his 'Guy Mannering,' as pursued by Dandy Dinmont and his associates among the Cheviots, was extensively practised twenty-nine years ago amid the dingier haunts of the High Street and Canongate. Our party, like most others, had its dog,—a repulsive-looking brute, with an earth-directed eye; as if he carried about with him an evil conscience; and my companions were desirous of getting his earthing ability tested upon the badger of the establishment; but on summoning the tavern-keeper, we were told that the party below had got the start of us. Their dog was, as we might hear, 'just drawing the badger; and before our dog could be permitted to draw him, the poor brute would require to get an hour's rest.' I need scarce say, that the hour was spent in hard drinking in that stagnant atmosphere; and we then all descended through the trap-door, by means of a ladder, into a bare-walled dungeon, dark and damp, and where the pestiferous air smelt like that of a burial vault.[Pg 74] The scene which followed was exceedingly repulsive and brutal,—nearly as much so as some of the scenes furnished by those otter-hunts in which the aristocracy of the country delight occasionally to indulge. Amid shouts and yells the badger, with the blood of his recent conflict still fresh upon him, was again drawn to the box-mouth; and the party returning satisfied to the apartment above, again betook themselves to hard drinking. In a short time the liquor began to tell, not first, as might be supposed, on our younger men, who were mostly tall, vigorous fellows, in the first flush of their full strength, but on a few of the middle-aged workmen, whose constitutions seemed undermined by a previous course of dissipation and debauchery. The conversation became very loud, very involved, and though highly seasoned with emphatic oaths, very insipid; and leaving with Cha—who seemed somewhat uneasy that my eye should be upon their meeting in its hour of weakness—money enough to clear off my share of the reckoning, I stole out to the King's Park, and passed an hour to better purpose among the trap rocks than I could possibly have spent it beside the trap-door of that tavern party. I am not aware that a single individual, save the writer, is now living; its very dog did not live out half his days. His owner was alarmed one morning, shortly after this time, by the intelligence that a dozen of sheep had been worried during the night on a neighbouring farm, and that a dog very like his had been seen prowling about the fold; but in order to determine the point, he would be visited, it was added, in the course of the day, by the shepherd and a law-officer. The dog meanwhile, however, conscious of guilt,—for dogs do seem to have consciences[Pg 75] in such matters,—was nowhere to be found, though, after the lapse of nearly a week, he again appeared at the work; and his master, slipping a rope round his neck, brought him to a deserted coal-pit half-filled with water, that opened in an adjacent field, and flinging him in, left the authorities no clue by which to establish his identity with the robber and assassin of the fold."[43]

The Laird of Balnamoon and the Brock.

The laird, so Dean Ramsay had the story sent him, once riding past a high steep bank, stopped opposite a hole in it, and said, "John, I saw a brock gang in there."—"Did ye?" said John; "wull ye haud my horse, sir?"—"Certainly," said the laird, and away rushed John for a spade. After digging for half an hour, he came back, nigh speechless to the laird, who had regarded him musingly. "I canna find him, sir," said John.—"'Deed," said the laird, very coolly, "I wad ha' wondered if ye had, for it's ten years sin' I saw him gang in there."[44]


A truly blood-thirsty member of that slim-bodied but active race, the weasel tribe. He is certainly an inhabitant of a warmer climate than this, being very sensitive to[Pg 76] cold. He is used in killing rats and ferreting out rabbits, a verb indeed derived from his name. He has been known to attack sleeping infants.

Collins and the Rat-catchers grip of his Ferrets.

That delightful painter of cottage life, says his son,[45] often found cottagers who gloried in being painted, and who sat like professional models, under an erroneous impression that it was for their personal beauties and perfections that their likenesses were portrayed. The remarks of these and other good people, who sat to the painter in perfect ignorance of the use or object of his labours, were often exquisitely original. He used to quote the criticism of a celebrated country rat-catcher, on the study he had made from him, with hearty triumph and delight. When asked whether he thought his portrait like, the rat-catcher, who—perhaps in virtue of his calling—was a gruff and unhesitating man, immediately declared that the face was "not a morsel like," but vowed with a great oath, that nothing could ever be equal to the correctness of the dirt shine on his old leather breeches, and the grip that he had of the necks of his ferrets!


An equally blood-thirsty member of the weasel family, with the subject of the preceding paragraph.[Pg 77]

Fox and the Pole-Cat.—(Poll-cat.)[46]

Francis Grose relates the following as having happened during one of the famous Westminster elections:—"During the poll, a dead cat being thrown on the hustings, one of Sir Cecil Wray's party observed it stunk worse than a fox, to which Mr Fox replied, there was nothing extraordinary in that, considering it was a poll-cat."


One who seems to love the race of dogs, and who has written a most readable book on them,[47] remarks, that the dog "even now is rarely the companion of a Jew, or the inmate of his house." He quotes various terms of reproach still common among us, and which seem to have originated from a similar feeling to that of the Jew. For instance, we say of a very cheap article, that it is "dog cheap." To call a person "a dog," or "a cur," or "a hound," means something the very opposite of complimentary. A surly person is said to have "a dogged disposition." Any one very much fatigued is said to be "dog weary." A wretched room or house is often called "a dog hole," or said to be only fit for "a dog." Very poor verse is "doggerel." It is told of Lady Mary Wortley Montague,[Pg 78] that when a young nobleman refused to translate some inscription over an alcove, because it was in "dog-latin," she observed, "How strange a puppy shouldn't understand his mother tongue."

What, too, can be more expressive of a man being on the verge of ruin, than the common phrase, that "such a one is going to the dogs." Of modern describers of the very life and feelings of dogs, who can surpass Dr John Brown of Edinburgh? His "Rab," and his "Our Dogs," are worthy of the brush of Sir Edwin Landseer. Who has not heard the answer said to have been given by Sydney Smith to the great painter, when he wanted to make a portrait of the witty canon, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?"

There is great diversity of standard in matters of taste. In China, a well-roasted pup, of any variety of the very variable Canis familiaris, is a dainty dish. In London the greatest exquisite delights in the taste of a half-cooked woodcock, but would scruple to eat a lady's lap-dog, even though descended, by indubitable pedigree, from a genuine "liver-and-tan" spaniel, that followed King Charles II. in his strolls through St James's Park; and which was given to her ladyship's ancestress on a day recorded, perhaps, in the diary of Mr Samuel Pepys. Again, in the country of the Esquimaux, who has not read in the intensely interesting narratives of the Moravian missionaries, how the dogs of the "Innuit"—of "the men," as they call themselves—are, in winter, indispensable to their very existence? Parry, Lyon, Franklin, Richardson, Ross, Rae, Penny, Sutherland, Inglefield, and Kane, have told us what excellent "carriage"-pullers these hardy children[Pg 79] of the snow become from early infancy; and how the more they work, like the wives of savages in Australia, the more they are kicked. Passing over the dogs of the Indian tribes of North America and the gaunt race in Patagonia, the reader may remember that the Roman youth, like the young Briton, had, in the days of Horace, his outer marks—one was, that he loved to have a dog, or a whole pack beside him—"gaudet canibus." This attachment to the dog is given us "from above," and is one of the many "good gifts" which proceed from Him, who made man and dog "familiar," as the apt specific name of Linnæus denominates the latter. One of our greatly-gifted poets, in a cynical mood, could write an epitaph on a favourite Newfoundlander, and end it with the dismal lines on his views of "earthly friends"—

"He never knew but one,—and here he lies."

Our genial and home-loving Cowper has made his dog Beau classical. We must beg our readers to refresh their memories, by looking into the Olney bard's exquisite story,

"My spaniel, prettiest of his race,
And high in pedigree,"

and they will find that that story of "The Dog and the Water-lily" was "no fable," and that Beau really understood his master's wish when he fetched him a water-lily out of "Ouse's silent tide." How graceful are the last two stanzas of that sweet little poem—

"Charm'd with the sight, 'The world,' I cried,
'Shall hear of this thy deed;
My dog shall mortify the pride
[Pg 80]Of man's superior breed.

'But chief myself I will enjoin,
Awake at duty's call,
To show a love as prompt as thine
To Him who gives me all.'"[48]


That the world might know the very "mark and figure" of this spaniel, the late able illustrator of so many topographical works (Mr James Storer) published in his "Rural Walks of Cowper"[49] a figure of Beau, from the[Pg 81] stuffed skin in the possession of Cowper's kinsman, the Rev. Dr Johnson.

Mr Montague, in a letter to the son and biographer of Sir James Mackintosh,[50] gives many reminiscences of that eminent man, who was much attached to the memory of Cowper. He says, "We reached Dereham about mid-day (it was in 1801), and wrote to Mr Johnson, the clergyman, who had protected Cowper in the last years of his life, and in whose house he died. He instantly called upon us, and we accompanied him to his house. In the hall, we were introduced to a little red and white spaniel, in a glass case—the little dog Beau, who, seeing the water-lily which Cowper could not reach, 'plunging, left the shore.'"

"I saw him with that lily cropp'd,
Impatient swim to meet
My quick approach, and soon he dropp'd
The treasure at my feet."

We saw the room where Cowper died, and the bell which he last touched. We went to his grave, and to Mrs Unwin's, who is buried at some distance. I lamented this, "Do not live in the visible, but the invisible," said your father,—"his attainments, his tenderness, his affections, his sufferings, and his hardships, will live long after both their graves are no more."

We could linger over a prized octavo volume, published in Edinburgh in 1787; the first poem of this, "The Twa Dogs, a Tale," occupies some thirteen pages, written with that "rare felicity" so common to the Bard of Scotland.[Pg 82] We mention it, because of the peculiar happiness with which the collie, or Scottish shepherd-dog, is described in lines that Sir Edwin Landseer alone has equalled on canvas, or his brother Thomas with the graver—

"He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, bawsn't[51] face,
Aye gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his touzie back
Weel clad wi' coat of glossy black;
His gaucie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdies wi' a swirl."

That's the shepherd-dog, as we have heard him described from a specimen, which was the friend and follower of a valued one, who, when a boy ('tis many years ago), frisked with the dog, over one of the many ferny haughs that margin the lovely Tweed above and below Peebles. It is the collie we have seen, on one of the sheep-farms of Lanarkshire, obey its young master by a word or two, as unintelligible to us as Japanese. But to the Culter "Luath," to hear was to obey; and in a quarter of an hour a flock of sheep, which had been feeding on a hillSide half a mile off, were brought back, driven by this faithful "bit doggie." We wonder not that shepherds love their dogs. Why, even the New Smithfield cattle-drovers, who drive sheep along the streets of London on a Monday or Friday, never even require to urge their faithful partners. Well may the gifted authoress of "The Dream" address "the faithful guardian"[Pg 83]

"Oh, tried and trusted! thou whose love
Ne'er changes nor forsakes,
Thou proof, how perfect God hath stamp'd
The meanest thing He makes;
Thou, whom no snare entraps to serve,
No art is used to tame
(Train'd, like ourselves, thy path to know,
By words of love and blame);
Friend! who beside the cottage door,
Or in the rich man's hall,
With steadfast faith still answerest
The one familiar call;
Well by poor hearth and lordly home
Thy couchant form may rest,
And Prince and Peasant trust thee still,
To guard what they love best."
Hon. Mrs Norton, "The Dream," &c., p. 192.

No ordinary-sized volume, much less a short article, could give a tithe of the true anecdotes of members of the dog race. Mere references to their biography would take up a volume of Bibliography itself, just as their forms, and character, and "pose," give endless subject to the painter. Of modern authors, no one loved dogs more truly than Sir Walter Scott, as the reader of his writings and of his biography is well aware;[52] but it may not be generally known that, on the only occasion when the great novelist met the Ayrshire peasant,—

"Virgilium tantum vidi,"—

the poem, which had made Burns a wonder to the boy then "unknown," was that of "The Twa Dogs;" so that, even then, Scott had commenced to show his attachment to these faithful followers. It was in the house of Sir Adam Ferguson, when Scott was a mere lad; and the scene was[Pg 84] described most vividly to the writer by the late Scottish knight, after whose battle in South Italy the author of "Marmion" named his pet staghound Maida, or, as Scott pronounced it, "Myda." It was as the author of "The Twa Dogs" that young Ferguson and Scott regarded Burns on his entrance into the room with such wistful attention. The story is told in Lockhart, and we will not quote it further; but, leaving dogs of our own days and lands to Mr Jesse, who has given an interesting volume on them, we will close with a few paragraphs on the dog of the East—a very differently treated animal to that generally prized and esteemed "friend" of man in these lands of the West.

The Holy Scriptures show us that dogs were generally despised. We select three, out of many instances. "Is thy servant a dog that he should do this thing?" was the question with which Hazael, ignorant of the deceitfulness of his own heart, indignantly replied to Elisha, when the prophet told him of the evil that he would yet do unto the children of Israel (2 Kings viii. 13). He, "who spake as never man spake," knowing the faith of the Syrophœnician woman, and giving her an opportunity of manifesting it "for our example," said, in the Syriac fashion of thought, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to the dogs" (Mark vii. 27). And the apostle John, in that wondrous close of the prophetical writings, says, "For without," i.e., outside of the New Jerusalem, "are dogs" (Rev. xxii. 5). In the East up to the present day, with but few exceptions, dogs are treated with great dislike. We might quote passages in proof from almost every Eastern traveller, and may venture to extract one from the graphic page of the Rev. W. Graham, who lived five years[Pg 85] in Syria, and who has given some noble word-pictures of men, and streets, and scenes in Damascus and other Turkish towns. Writing of Damascus,[53] he remarks, "The dogs are considered unclean, and are never domesticated in the East. They are thin, lean, fox-like animals, and always at the starving point. They live, breed, and die in the streets. They are useful as scavengers. They are neither fondled nor persecuted, but simply tolerated; and no dog has an owner, or ever follows and accompanies a man as the sheep do. I once went out in the evening at Beyrout, with my teacher to enjoy the fresh air and talk Arabic. My little English dog, the gift of a friend, followed us. We passed through a garden, where a venerable Moslem was sitting on a stone, silently and solemnly engaged in smoking his pipe. He observed the dog following us, and was astonished at it, as something new and extraordinary; and rising, and making out of the way, he cried out, 'May his father be accursed! Is that a dog or a fox?'" Again, in Damascus, should a worn-out horse, donkey, or camel die in the streets, in a few hours the dogs have devoured it; and the powerful rays of the sun dry up all corrupt matter. Mr Graham tells us that the dogs of Damascus are brown, blackish, or of an ash colour, and that he saw no white or spotted specimens. He never saw a case of hydrophobia, nor did he hear a bark. The dogs "howl, and make noise enough," he continues, "but the fine, well-defined bow-wow is entirely wanting." With a quiet humour, he hints at the bark being a mark of the civilised, domesticated dog, and as denoting, apparently, "the refinement of canine education." We have been struck with[Pg 86] the attempts of Penny's Esquimaux dogs, deposited by the gallant Arctic mariner in the Zoological Gardens, to get up a bark somewhat like the "well-bred" dogs in the cages near them. Mr Graham tells us of the Damascus dogs having established a kind of police among themselves, and, like the rooks, driving all intruders far from their district.

Dogs were not always disregarded in the East. Herodotus informs us,[54] during the Persian occupation the number of Indian dogs kept in the province of Babylon for the use of the governor was so great, that four cities were exempted from taxes for maintaining them. In the mountain parts of India, travellers describe the great dogs of Thibet and Cashmere as being much prized.

"The domestic dog of Ladak," says Major Cunningham,[55] "is the well-known shepherd's dog, or Thibetan mastiff. They have shaggy coats, generally quite black, or black and tan; but I have seen some of a light brown colour. They are usually ill-tempered to strangers; but I have never found one that would face a stick, although they can fight well when attacked. The only peculiarity that I have noticed about them is, that the tail is nearly always curled upward on to the back, where the hair is displaced by the constant rubbing of the tail." And that the same massive variety was also prized in ancient times we know, by a singularly fine, small bas-relief in baked clay, found in 1849 in the Birs-i-Nimrud, Babylon, by Sir Henry Rawlinson, which is preserved in the British Museum, to which it was presented by the late Prince Albert, and an outline of which, reduced one-half, will convey a good idea[Pg 87] to the reader of its form. We may add that this bas-relief was first noticed and figured, in 1851, in the third edition of a truly learned and excellent work on "Nineveh and Persepolis," by Mr Vaux of the British Museum (p. 183). These dogs, then, were nothing else than big, "low jowled" Thibetan mastiffs, such as we occasionally see brought over by some Indian officer; and the use for which they were employed by the ancient kings and their attendants is strikingly exhibited on some slabs from a chamber in the north palace of Koujunjik, a part of the great Nineveh. On some of these slabs, dogs are seen engaged in pulling down wild asses, deer, and other animals; and they were evidently kept also to assist in securing nobler game—"the king of beasts;"—the sport of which animals shows how truly the Assyrian king was named "Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord."—Adam White, in "Excelsior" (with additions).

[Pg 88]

Bishop Blomfield bitten by a Dog.

His natural temperament was quick, and he was fond of authority. "A saying of Sydney Smith's has been preserved, humorously illustrative of the view which he took of Bishop Blomfield's character. The bishop had been bitten by a dog in the calf of the leg, and fearing possible hydrophobia in consequence, he went, with characteristic promptitude, to have the injured piece of flesh cut out by a surgeon before he returned home. Two or three on whom he called were not at home; but, at last, the operation was effected by the eminent surgeon, Mr Keate. The same evening the bishop was to have dined with a party where Sydney Smith was a guest. Just before dinner, a note arrived, saying that he was unable to keep his engagement, a dog having rushed out from the crowd and bitten him in the leg. When this note was read aloud to the company, Sydney Smith's comment was, 'I should like to hear the dog's account of the story.'

"When this accident occurred to him, Bishop Blomfield happened to be walking with Dr D'Oyly, the rector of Lambeth. A lady of strong Protestant principles, mistaking Dr D'Oyly for Dr Doyle, said that she considered it was a judgment upon the bishop for keeping such company."[56]

"Puppies never See till they are Nine Days Old."

It is related, that when a former Bishop of Bristol held the office of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, he one day met a couple of under-graduates, who[Pg 89] neglected to pay the accustomed compliment of capping. The bishop inquired the reason of the neglect. The two men begged his lordship's pardon, observing they were freshmen, and did not know him. "How long have you been in Cambridge?" asked his lordship. "Only eight days," was the reply. "Very good," said the bishop; "puppies never see till they are nine days old."[57]

Mrs Elizabeth Barrett Browning's dog Flush.

Few have written so lovingly on the dog as this gifted poetess. Her dog Flush is described so well that Landseer could paint the creature almost to a hair. She has entered into the very feeling created in us by this favoured pet of our race. The beautiful stanzas[58] I have copied give also many little touches of her autobiography. This gifted lady was long an invalid. She could enter with rare sympathy into Cowper's attachments to animals. Her experience of the friendship of Flush is well told in the following lines, so different from Lord Byron's misanthropic verses on his dog:—

To Flush, my Dog.

Loving friend, the gift of one
Who her own true faith has run
Through her lower nature,
Be my benediction said
With my hand upon thy head,
[Pg 90]Gentle fellow-creature!

Like a lady's ringlets brown
Flow thy silken ears adown
Either side demurely
Of thy silver-suited breast,
Shining out from all the rest
Of thy body purely.

Darkly brown thy body is,
Till the sunshine, striking this,
Alchemise its dulness,
When the sleek curls manifold
Flash all over into gold
With a burnish'd fulness.

Underneath my stroking hand,
Startled eyes of hazel bland
Kindling, growing larger,
Up thou leapest with a spring,
Full of prank and curveting
Leaping like a charger.

Leap! thy broad tail waves a light;
Leap! thy slender feet are bright,
Canopied in fringes;
Leap! those tassell'd ears of thine
Flicker strangely, fair and fine,
Down their golden inches.

Yet, my pretty, sporting friend,
Little is 't to such an end
That I praise thy rareness;
Other dogs may be thy peers
Haply in these drooping ears
[Pg 91]And this glossy fairness.

But of thee it shall be said,
This dog watch'd beside a bed
Day and night unweary—
Watch'd within a curtain'd room,
Where no sunbeam brake the gloom,
Round the sick and dreary.

Roses gather'd for a vase
In that chamber died apace,
Beam and breeze resigning;
This dog only waited on,
Knowing that, when light is gone,
Love remains for shining.

Other dogs in thymy dew
Track'd the hares, and follow'd through
Sunny moor or meadow;
This dog only crept and crept
Next a languid cheek that slept,
Sharing in the shadow.

Other dogs of loyal cheer
Bounded at the whistle clear,
Up the woodside hieing;
This dog only watch'd in reach
Of a faintly-utter'd speech,
Or a louder sighing.

And if one or two quick tears
Dropp'd upon his glossy ears,
Or a sigh came double,
Up he sprang in eager haste,
Fawning, fondling, breathing fast
[Pg 92]In a tender trouble

And this dog was satisfied
If a pale, thin hand would glide
Down his dewlaps sloping,
Which he push'd his nose within,
After—platforming his chin
On the palm left open.

This dog, if a friendly voice
Call him now to blither choice
Than such chamber-keeping,
"Come out!" praying from the door,
Presseth backward as before,
Up against me leaping.

Therefore to this dog will I,
Tenderly, not scornfully,
Render praise and favour:
With my hand upon his head
Is my benediction said,
Therefore, and for ever.

And because he loved me so,
Better than his kind will do,
Often man or woman,
Give I back more love again
Than dogs often take of men,
Leaning from my Human.

Blessings on thee, dog of mine,
Pretty collars make thee fine,
Sugar'd milk make fat thee!
Pleasures wag on in thy tail,
Hands of gentle motion fail
[Pg 93]Nevermore to pat thee!

Downy pillow take thy head,
Silken coverlet bestead,
Sunshine help thy sleeping!
No fly's buzzing wake thee up,
No man break thy purple cup
Set for drinking deep in.

Whisker'd cats arointed flee,
Sturdy stoppers keep from thee
Cologne distillations;
Nuts lie in thy path for stones,
And thy feast-day macaroons
Turn to daily rations!

Mock I thee in wishing weal?
Tears are in my eyes to feel
Thou art made so straightly;
Blessing needs must straighten too;
Little canst thou joy or do,
Thou who lovest greatly.

Yet be blessèd to the height
Of all good and all delight
Pervious to thy nature;
Only loved beyond that line,
With a love that answers thine,
Loving fellow-creature!

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Bart., and his dog "Speaker."

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton was very fond of dogs; his son[59] tells an anecdote of the singular manner in which[Pg 94] one of his pets came into his possession. "He was standing at the door of the House of Commons talking to a friend, when a beautiful black and tan terrier rushed between them, and immediately began barking furiously at Mr Joseph Pease, who was speaking. All the members jumped up, shouting and laughing, while the officers of the house chased the dog round and round, till at last he took refuge with Mr Buxton, who, as he could find no traces of an owner, carried him home. He proved to be quite an original. One of his whims was, that he would never go into the kitchen nor yet into a poor man's cottage; but he formed a habit of visiting by himself at the country houses in the neighbourhood of Cromer, and his refined manners and intelligence made 'Speaker' a welcome guest wherever he pleased to go."

Lord Byron and his dog Boatswain.

In November 1808 Lord Byron lost his favourite dog Boatswain; the poor animal having been seized with a fit of madness, at the commencement of which so little aware was Byron of the nature of the malady, that he more than once, with his bare hand, wiped away the slaver from the dog's lips during the paroxysms. In a letter to his friend Mr Hodson, he thus announces this event:—"Boatswain is dead! he expired in a state of madness on the 18th, after suffering much, yet retaining all the gentleness of his nature to the last, never attempting to do the least injury to any one near him. I have now lost everything except old Murray."

The monument raised by him to this dog—the most[Pg 95] memorable tribute of the kind since the dog's grave, of old, at Salamis—is still a conspicuous ornament of the gardens of Newstead. The misanthropic verses engraved upon it may be found among his poems, and the following is the inscription by which they are introduced:—

"Near this spot Are deposited the remains of one Who
possessed beauty without vanity, Strength without insolence, Courage
without ferocity, And all the virtues of man without his vices. This
praise, which would be unmeaning flattery If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the memory of Boatswain, a dog, Who was born at
Newfoundland, May 1803, And died at Newstead Abbey, November 18, 1805."

The poet Pope, when about the same age as the writer of this inscription, passed a similar eulogy on his dog, at the expense of human nature; adding that "histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends." In a still sadder and bitterer spirit, Lord Byron writes of his favourite:—

"To mark a friend's remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one, and here he lies."[60]

Moore relates a story of this dog, indicative, not only of intelligence, but of a generosity of spirit, which might well win for him the affections of such a master as Byron. A fox-terrier of his mother's, called Gilpin, was an object of dislike to Boatswain, who worried him nearly to the death. Gilpin was sent off and Boatswain was missed for a day.[Pg 96] To the surprise of the servants, towards evening Gilpin and Boatswain were in company, the former led by the latter, who led him to the kitchen fire, licked him and lavished on him every possible demonstration of joy. He had been away to fetch him, and ever after caressed him, and defended him from the attacks of other dogs. (P. 44.)

"Perchance"—a Lady's reason for so naming her Dog.

A lady had a favourite lap-dog, which she called Perchance. "A singular name," said somebody, "for a beautiful pet, madam; where did you find it?"—"Oh," drawled she, "it was named from Byron's dog. You remember where he says, 'Perchance my dog will howl.'"[61]

Collins the Artist and his dog "Prinny"—a model of "a model."

William Wilkie Collins, after a most graphic account of the companions of his artist-father's home,[62] notices "one who was ever as ready to offer his small aid and humble obedience as were any of his superiors, to confer the benefit of their penetrating advice." I refer to Mr Collins's dog "Prinny" (Prince). This docile and affectionate animal had been trained by his master to sit in any attitude, which the introduction of a dog in his picture (a frequent occurrence) might happen to demand. So strict was "Prinny's" sense of duty, that he never ventured to move from his set position until his master's signal gave him permission to[Pg 97] approach his chair, when he was generally rewarded with a lump of sugar, placed, not between his teeth, but on his nose, where he continued to balance it, until he was desired to throw it into the air and catch it in his mouth, a feat which he very seldom failed to perform. On one occasion his extraordinary integrity in the performance of his duties was thus pleasantly exemplified:—"My father had placed him on the backs of two chairs, his fore-legs on the rails of one, and his hind-legs on the rails of the other; and in this rather arduous position had painted from him for a considerable time, when a friend was announced as waiting for him in another apartment. Particularly desirous of seeing this visitor immediately, the painter hurried from the room, entirely forgetting to tell 'Prinny' to get down, and remained in conversation with his friend for full half an hour. On returning to his study the first object that greeted him was poor 'Prinny,' standing on his 'bad eminence' exactly in the position in which he had been left, trembling with fatigue, and occasionally vending his anguish and distress in a low piteous moan, but not moving a limb, or venturing even to turn his head. Not having received the usual signal he had never once attempted to get down, but had remained disconsolate in his position 'sitting' hard, with nobody to paint him, during the long half hour that had delayed his master's return."

The Soldier and the Mastiff.

A soldier passing through a meadow, a large mastiff ran at him, and he stabbed the dog with a bayonet. The master of the dog asked him why he had not rather struck[Pg 98] the dog with the butt-end of his weapon? "So I should," said the soldier, "if he had run at me with his tail!"[63]

Bark and Bite.

Lord Clare, who was much opposed to Curran, one day brought a Newfoundland dog upon the bench, and during Curran's speech turned himself aside and caressed the animal. Curran stopped. "Go on, go on, Mr Curran," said Lord Clare.—"Oh, I beg a thousand pardons," was the rejoinder. "I really thought your lordship was employed in consultation."[64]

Mrs Drew and the Two Dogs.

(a curiously near approach to moral perception.)

In the biography of Samuel Drew, A.M., a great name among the metaphysical writers of this country, we read a very interesting anecdote of two dogs.

His father, a farmer and mail-carrier in Cornwall, had procured a Newfoundland dog for protection on his journeys, having been attacked by highwaymen. There was a smaller dog which had been bred in the house. The son was living at Poplea, in Cornwall, when the following circumstance occurred, and he witnessed it:[65]

"Our dairy was under a room which was used occasionally as a barn and apple-chamber, into which the fowls[Pg 99] sometimes found their way; and, in scratching among the chaff, scattered the dust on the pans of milk below, to the great annoyance of my mother-in-law. In this a favourite cock of hers was the chief transgressor. One day in harvest she went into the dairy, followed by the little dog, and finding dust again on her milk-pans, she exclaimed, 'I wish that cock were dead!' Not long after, she being with us in the harvest field, we observed the little dog dragging along the cock, just killed, which, with an air of triumph, he laid at my mother-in-law's feet. Highly exasperated at the literal fulfilment of her hastily-uttered wish, she snatched a stick from the hedge, and attempted to give the dog a beating. The luckless animal, seeing the reception he was likely to meet with, where he expected marks of approbation, left the bird and ran off, she brandishing her stick, and saying, in a loud angry tone, 'I'll pay thee for this by and by.' In the evening, when about to put her threat into execution, she found the little dog established in a corner of the room, and the large one standing before it. Endeavouring to fulfil her intention by first driving off the large dog, he gave her plainly to understand that he was not at all disposed to relinquish his post. She then sought to get at the small dog behind the other, but the threatening gesture, and fiercer growl of the large one, sufficiently indicated that the attempt would be not a little perilous. The result was that she was obliged to abandon her design. In killing the cock I can scarcely think that the dog understood the precise import of my stepmother's wish, as his immediate execution of it would seem to imply. The cock was a more recent favourite, and had received some attentions which[Pg 100] had previously been bestowed upon himself. This, I think, had led him to entertain a feeling of hostility to the bird, which he did not presume to indulge, until my mother's tone and manner indicated that the cock was no longer under her protection. In the power of communicating with each other, which these dogs evidently possess, and which, in some instances, has been displayed by other species of animals, a faculty seems to be developed of which we know very little. On the whole, I never remember to have met with a case in which to human appearance there was a nearer approach to moral perception than in that of my father's two dogs."

The Difference of Exchange.—"Dog-cheap."

Dining at a nobleman's table, where the company were praising the claret, his lordship told them that he had received that hogshead of wine in return for a couple of hounds, which he sometime before presented to Count Lauragais. "Why, then, my lord," cried Foote, "I not only think your wine excellent, but dog-cheap."[66]

Gainsborough and his Wife and their Dogs.

Thomas Gainsborough, the rival of Sir Joshua in portraiture, wanted that evenness of temper which the President of the Royal Academy so abundantly possessed. He was easily angered, but as soon appeased, and says his[Pg 101] biographer,[67] "If he was the first to offend, he was the first to atone. Whenever he spoke crossly to his wife, a remarkably sweet-tempered woman, he would write a note of repentance, sign it with the name of his favourite dog 'Fox,' and address it to his Margaret's pet spaniel, 'Tristram.' Fox would take the note in his mouth, and duly deliver it to Tristram. Margaret would then answer—'My own dear Fox, you are always loving and good, and I am a naughty little female ever to worry you, as I too often do, so we will kiss and say no more about it; your own affectionate Tris.'" The writers of such a correspondence could not have led what is called "a cat and dog life." Husbands and wives might derive a hint from this anecdote; for we know, from the old ballad, that they will be sulky and quarrel at times even about getting

"Up to bar the door, O!"

Sir William Gell's Dog.

The reviewer[68] of Sir Thomas Browne's works says—"We ourselves have witnessed an example of the curious and credulous exaggeration which has construed certain articulations in animals into rational speech. Some time since, in travelling through Italy, we heard, in grave earnest, from several Italians, of the prodigy of a Pomeranian dog that had been taught to speak most intelligibly by Sir William Gell. Afterwards, in visiting that accomplished and lamented gentleman at Naples, we requested to hear[Pg 102] an animal possessed of so unusual a gift. And, as the friends of the urban scholar can bear witness, the dog undoubtedly could utter a howl, which, assisted by the hand of the master in closing the jaw at certain inflections, might be intelligibly construed into two words not to be repeated. Such a dog, with such an anathema in his vocabulary, would have hanged any witch in England three centuries ago."

Elizabeth, the last Duchess of Gordon, and the Wolf-dog Kaiser.

The Rev. A. Moody Stuart, in his "Life of the last Duchess of Gordon,"[69] that truly Christian lady, refers to some old pets of the duke's and her own, which, on her becoming a widow, she took with her from Gordon Castle to Huntly Lodge, a bullfinch, an immense Talbot mastiff named Sall, and others. He adds—"To a stranger, the most remarkable of the duke's old favourites was Kaiser, an Hungarian wolf-dog, with a snow-white fleece, and most sheep-like aspect in the distance, but at whose appearance out of doors, man, woman, and child fled as from a wolf. The duchess called him 'The wolf in sheep's clothing.' Her husband's tastes having brought her much into contact with all sorts of dogs, she had learned to pat them confidently at their first introduction, when a large space between their eyes betokened a kindly temper. This open breadth of forehead was strongly marked in Sall, a fine old mastiff that used at this time to walk round the dining[Pg 103]-room after breakfast, with her noble head reaching the level of the table. But the duke had chosen Kaiser for other qualities. Two of those wolf-dogs had been brought to him for sale when travelling on the Continent; the other was the larger and handsomer animal; but Kaiser's eyes, sunk deep in the head, and all but meeting under his shaggy hair, at once fixed his choice on him as 'likest his work.' That work was to defend the sheep from the wolves, and one mode of defence was by laying a strange trap for the enemy. The dog was remarkably like a sheep, his hair white without a dark speck, and he carried a great load of it, long and fleecy like wool. In the Hungarian steppes four or five of those dogs would lay themselves down on the grass in the evening, sleeping there like so many harmless lambs, with their faces inward for the heat of each other's breath. The keen eye of the wolf was soon attracted by the white fleeces, with no shepherd near to guard them. Eager for blood, he careered swiftly over the plain, and sprang unsuspecting into the midst of the flock, only to find himself clenched in the relentless jaws of Kaiser and his comrades, wolves more terrible than himself under the clothing of timid sheep. A conversation once took place at the Lodge on the character ascribed to dogs in Scripture. It slightly vexed the good duchess that they were so often mentioned in the Bible, but only as emblems of what is foul and fierce, except in a single instance, and that not of commendation, but neutrality. This exception, she said, occurred in the Book of Proverbs, where the greyhound is named, along with the lion and the goat, as 'comely in going,' yet merely in praise of his external beauty. But[Pg 104] her difficulty was relieved by the reply, that in Isaiah lvi. 10, the "dog" is really used in a good sense as applied to the spiritual watchmen of the Lord's flock. For the unfaithful shepherds, being there likened to dumb dogs that cannot bark, were not censured under the simple image of watch-dogs, but because, as such, they were faithless and useless; implying that the good watch-dog is an honourable emblem of the true pastor, watching for the souls committed to his care, and solemnly warning them of approaching danger."

Frederick the Great and his Italian Greyhounds.

Dr John Moore, when travelling with the Duke of Hamilton, saw and heard a good deal of Frederick the Great, and has given in his second volume of "A View of Society and Manners in France," &c., many interesting particulars of his private and public life. Among these, he alludes to his using "a very large gold snuff-box, the lid ornamented with diamonds," and his taking "an immoderate quantity of Spanish snuff, the marks of which very often appear on his waistcoat and breeches. These are also liable to be soiled by the paws of two or three Italian greyhounds, which he often caresses" (vol. ii. p. 236).

The Dog and the French Murderers. (an occurrence in the spring of 1837.)

Thomas Raikes,[70] in his Journal 8th March 1837, records:—"Eight years ago, a labouring man in the depart[Pg 105]ment of the Loire was found murdered in a wood near his house, and his dog sitting near the body. No clue could be gained to the perpetrators of the crime, and his widow continued to live in the same cottage, accompanied always by the faithful animal. Last week two men, apparently travellers, stopped at the house, requesting shelter from the storm, which was granted; but no sooner had the dog perceived them, than he flew at them with fury, and could not be pacified. As they were quitting the house, one of them said to the other, 'That rascally dog has not forgotten us.' This raised the suspicion of the widow, who overheard it, and applying to the gendarmes in the neighbourhood, they followed and arrested them. The result has been that, after a long examination, one of them has confessed the crime, and impeached his associate."

Hannah More wrote an ode addressed to Garrick's famous house-dog Dragon. A copy of this she gave to Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1777, while still unprinted, under an oath neither to take nor give a copy of it, which oath Sir Joshua had observed (she says) like a true knight, only reading it to his visitors till some of them learned it by heart. The "charming bagatelle" was afterwards printed, that posterity might be enabled to wonder what a small expenditure of wit in metre sufficed to purchase a large modicum of fame among the blues of that day.[71][Pg 106]

Robert Hall and the Dog.

The eloquent Robert Hall and Dr Leifchild were often in each other's company when at Bristol, travelling and preaching together at anniversaries and ordinations. The son and biographer of the latter says:[72]—"I rode with them from Bristol to Wells, and can now, in imagination, see Mr Hall smoking and reclining on one seat of the carriage, while my father sat on the other. I can see Mr Hall descending at a blacksmith's shop to re-light his pipe, making his way directly to the forge, and jumping aside with unwonted agility, when a huge dog growled at him. I can recall his look, when rallied on his agility, after his return to the carriage. 'You seemed afraid of the dog, sir,' said my father. 'Apostolic advice, sir—Beware of dogs,' rejoined Mr Hall." Dr Leifchild, in another part of the memoir (p. 360), relates that some housekeeper would exclaim to him, as he was about to enter the house of friend or stranger, "Don't be afraid of the dog, sir, he never bites."—"Are you quite sure he never bites?" was his prompt question.—"Quite sure, sir," rejoined the servant.—"Then," rejoined the good-humoured doctor, "if he never bites, how does he live?"

A Queen and her Lap-dog.

Henrietta Maria, Queen of Charles I., on her return to Burlington Bay with assistance for her husband, was attacked in the house where she slept by the cannonade of[Pg 107] five ships of war belonging to the Parliament. She left the house amid the whistling of balls, one of which killed one of her servants. When on her way to the shelter of a ditch, she remembered that an aged lap-dog, called "Mitte," was left behind. She was much attached to this old favourite, and returned to the house she had left. Rushing up-stairs into her chamber, she caught up her old pet, which was reposing on her bed, and carried her off in safety. Having done this, the queen and her ladies gained the ditch, and crouched down in it, while the cannon played furiously over their heads.[73]

The Clever Dog that belonged to the Hunters of Polmood.

The estate of Polmood, in Peeblesshire, was the subject of extraordinary litigation, and a volume of considerable bulk is devoted to its history. This work contains much curious evidence from aged country folks in the western parts of the country. Mr Chambers[74] tells us that in the history "reminiscences concerning a wonderfully clever dog are put forward as links in the line of propinquity." The deponent has heard his father say that Robert Hunter had a remarkable dog called "Algiers;" and that, when Robert lived at Woodend, he used to tie a napkin round the dog's neck with money in it, and send him for snuff to Lammington, which is about three miles from Woodend, and[Pg 108] that the dog executed his message faithfully, and prevented everybody from laying hold of or stopping him. Another venerable deponent, aged eighty-nine, had heard his mother tell many stories about a dog belonging to Uncle Robert, which went by the name of "Algiers;" that they used to cut a fleece off him every year sufficient to make a pair of stockings; and that Uncle Robert used to tie a purse round his neck, with money in it, and the dog then swam the Tweed, and brought back tobacco from the Crook! And a third declares that "Algiers" could be sent to Edinburgh with a letter, and bring back a letter to his master.

The Irish Clergyman and the Dogs.

Mr Fitzpatrick, in his anecdotal memoirs of Archbishop Whately, tells a story of an eccentric Irish parson. This person, when preaching, was interrupted in his homily by two dogs, which began to fight in church. He descended the pulpit, and endeavoured to separate them. On returning to his place, the clergyman, who was rather an absent man, asked the clerk, "Where was I a while ago?"—"Wasn't yer Riverence appaising the dogs?" responded the other.[75]

Washington Irving and the Dog.

Patrick Fraser Tytler, author of "The History of Scotland," in a letter to his wife in 1830, says—"At Lady Morton's, one evening, I met with Washington Irving. I had[Pg 109] heard him described as a very silent man, who was always observing others, but seldom opened his lips. Instead of which, his tongue never lay still; and he gets out more wee wordies in a minute than any ordinary converser does in five. But I found him a very intelligent and agreeable man. I put him in mind of his travelling with our dear Tommy. He had at first no recollection; but I brought it back to his memory by the incident of the little black dog, who always went before the horses in pulling up hill, and pretended to assist them. I put him in mind of his own wit, 'that he wondered if the doggie mistook himself for a horse;' at which he laughed, and added, 'Yes, and thought it very hard that he was not rubbed down at the end of the journey.'"[76]

Douglas Jerrold and his Dog.

Jerrold had a favourite dog that followed him everywhere. One day in the country, a lady, who was passing, turned round and said audibly, "What an ugly little brute!" Whereupon Jerrold, addressing the lady, replied, "Oh, madam! I wonder what he thinks about us at this moment."[77]

Sheridan and the Dog.

After witnessing the first representation of a dog-piece by Reynolds, called the "Caravan," Sheridan suddenly came into the green-room, on purpose, it was imagined, to[Pg 110] wish the author joy. "Where is he?" was the first question; "where is my guardian angel?"—"Here I am," answered Reynolds.—"Pooh!" replied Sheridan, "I don't mean you, I mean the dog."[78]

Charles Lamb and his Dog.

Thomas Hood had a dog called "Dash." This dog he gave to Charles Lamb. The ready-witted Elia often took the creature out with him when walking at Enfield. On one occasion, the dog dashed off to chase some young sheep. The owner of the muttons came out quite indignant at the owner, to expostulate with him on the assault of Lamb's dog on his sheep. Elia, with his quiet ready wit, replied, "Hunt Lambs, sir?—why, he never hunted me."[79]

French Dogs, time of Louis XI.—History of his dog "Relais" by Louis XII.

Horace Walpole, in one of his gossiping letters to the Countess of Ossory in 1781, writes, "You must not be surprised if I should send you a collection of Tonton's bons-mots. I have found a precedent for such a work. A grave author wrote a book on the 'Hunt of the Grand Senechal of Normandy,' and of les Dits du bon chien Souillard, qui fut au Roi Loy de France onzieme du nom. Louis XII., the reverse of the predecessor of the same name, did not leave to his historian to celebrate his dog[Pg 111] "Relais," but did him the honour of being his biographer himself; and for a reason that was becoming so excellent a king. It was pour animer les descendans d'un si brave chien à se rendre aussi bons que lui, et encore meilleurs. It was great pity the Cardinal d'Amboise had no bastard puppies, or, to be sure, his Majesty would have written his Prime Minister's life too, for a model to his successors."[80]

Martin Luther observes a Dog at Lintz.

In the "Table Talk" of Martin Luther, it is recorded:—"I saw a dog at Lintz, in Austria, that was taught to go with a hand-basket to the butchers' shambles for meat. When other dogs came about him, and sought to take the meat out of the basket, he set it down and fought lustily with them; but when he saw they were too strong for him, he himself would snatch out the first piece of meat, lest he should lose all. Even so does now our Emperor Charles; who, after having long protected spiritual benefices, seeing that every prince takes possession of monasteries, himself takes possession of bishoprics, as just now he has seized upon those of Utrecht and Liège."[81]

The Poor Dog at the Grotta del Cane.

Henry Matthews,[82] like other visitors of Naples, went to the celebrated Grotta del Cane, or Dog Grotto, on the[Pg 112] borders of Lake Agnano, so called from the vapour in the cave, destructive to animal life, being shown by means of a dog. In his diary, of March 3, 1818, he records:—"Travellers have made a great display of sensibility in their strictures upon the spectacle exhibited here; but to all appearance the dog did not care much about it. It may be said, with truth of him, that he is used to it; for he dies many times a day, and he went to the place of execution wagging his tail. He became insensible in two minutes; but upon being laid on the grass, he revived from his trance in a few seconds, without the process of immersion in the lake, which is generally mentioned as necessary to his recovery. From the voracity with which he bolted down a loaf of bread which I bought for him, the vapour does not seem to injure the animal functions. Addison seems to have been very particular in his experiments upon the vapour of this cavern. He found that a pistol would not take fire in it; but upon laying a train of gunpowder, and igniting it beyond the sphere of the vapour, he found that it could not intercept the train of fire when it had once begun flashing, nor hinder it from running to the very end. He subjected a dog to a second trial in order to ascertain whether he was longer in expiring the first than the second time; and he found there was no sensible difference. A viper bore it nine minutes the first time he put it in, and ten minutes the second; and he attributes the prolonged duration of the second trial to the large provision of air that the viper laid in after his first death, upon which stock he supposes it to have existed a minute longer the second time."[Pg 113]

Dog, a Postman and Carrier.

Robert Southey says, that "near Moffat a dog used for many years to meet the mail and receive the letters for a little post-town near."[83]

How often may you see a dog carrying a basket or a parcel. No enticement, even of a dog-friend or of a great bone, will induce this faithful servant to abandon his charge. Every one must have observed this.


In the great dispute between South and Sherlock, the latter, who was a great courtier, said—"His adversary reasoned well, but he barked like a cur." To which the other replied, "That fawning was the property of a cur as well as barking."[84]

General Moreau and his Greyhound.

"The day after the battle of Dresden (27th Aug. 1812), a greyhound was brought to the King of Saxony, the ally of Napoleon. The dog was moaning piteously. On the collar were engraved the words, 'I belong to the General Moreau.' Where was the dog's master? By the side of the Emperor Alexander. Moreau had been mortally wounded. The dog had remained with his master until his death. While Moreau was conversing with the Emperor Alexander a cannon-shot nearly carried off both[Pg 114] his legs. It is said that throughout the five days during which he lingered he uttered not a murmur of pain."[85]

At the battle of Solferino, where rifled cannon were first brought to bear in warfare, a dog excited great attention by its attachment to the body of its slain master. It became the chief object in a painting of the circumstance, from which an engraving was executed.

A Duke of Norfolk and his Spaniels.

In Southey's "Common-place Book," 4th ser. p. 479, he writes—"Our Marlborough and King James's spaniels are unrivalled in beauty. The latter breed (black and tan, with hair almost approaching to silk in fineness, such as Vandyke loved to introduce into his portraits) were solely in the possession of the late Duke of Norfolk. He never travelled without two of his favourites in the carriage. When at Worksop he used to feed his eagles with the pups; and a stranger to his exclusive pride in the race, seeing him one day employed in thus destroying a whole litter, told his grace how much he should be delighted to possess one of them. The duke's reply was a characteristic one. 'Pray, sir, which of my estates should you like to have?'"

There are shepherds who possess collies, such proud, useful servants and friends, that no bribe would induce them to part with them. But what old favourite dog or even bird is there that any one would part with? Man, be he scavenger or duke, is very similar in this species of attachment.[Pg 115]

Lord North and the Dog.

In several of the caricatures published about the year 1783, when Fox and Burke had joined Lord North, and helped to form what is called the Coalition Ministry, a dog is represented. This, says Mr Wright,[86] is said to be an allusion to an occurrence in the House of Commons. During the last defensive declamation of Lord North, on the eve of his resignation, a dog, which had concealed itself under the benches, came out and set up a hideous howling in the midst of his harangue. The house was thrown into a roar of laughter, which continued until the intruder was turned out; and then Lord North coolly observed, "As the new member has ended his argument, I beg to be allowed to continue mine."

Perthes derives Hints From his Dog.

In a letter, written when he first came to Gotha, Perthes, the publisher, says—"Do not laugh if I tell you that my dog has given me many a hint upon human nature. I never before had a dog constantly with me, and I now ask myself whether the poodle be not a man, and men poodles. I am not led to this thought by the animal propensities which we have in common, such as eating, drinking, &c., but by those of a more refined character. He too is cheerful and dejected, excited and supine, playful and morose, gentle and bold, caressing and snappish, patient[Pg 116] and refractory; just like us men in all things, even in his dreams! This likeness is not to me at all discouraging; on the contrary, it suggests a pleasing hope that this flesh and blood which plagues and fetters us, is not the real man, but merely the earthly clothing which will be cast off when he no longer belongs to earth, provided he has not sinfully chosen to identify himself with the merely material. The devil's chief seat is not in matter but in the mind, where he fosters pride, selfishness, and hatred, and by their means destroys not what is transitory but what is eternal in man."[87]

Peter the Great and his favourite dog Lisette.

Mr Stœhlin[88] relates the following anecdote of the Czar Peter, on the authority of Miss Anne Cramer, the chambermaid to the empress. In the cabinet of natural history of the academy at St Petersburg, is preserved, among a number of uncommon animals, Lisette, the favourite dog of the Russian monarch. She was a small, dun-coloured Italian greyhound, and very fond of her master, whom she never quitted but when he went out, and then she laid herself down on his couch. At his return she showed her fondness by a thousand caresses, followed him wherever he went, and during his afternoon nap lay always at his feet.[Pg 117]

A person belonging to the court, having excited the anger of the czar—I do not know by what means—was confined in the fort, and there was reason to suppose that he would receive the punishment of the knout on the first market-day. The whole court, and the empress herself, thought him innocent, and considered the anger of the czar as excessive and unjust. Every means was tried to save him, and the first opportunity taken to intercede in his favour. But, so far from succeeding, it served only to irritate the emperor the more, who forbade all persons, even the empress, to speak for the prisoner, and, above all, to present any petition on the subject, under the pain of incurring his highest displeasure.

It was supposed that no resource remained to save the culprit. However, those who in concert with the czarina interested themselves in his favour, devised the means of urging their suit without incurring the penalty of the prohibition.

They composed a short but pathetic petition, in the name of Lisette. After having set forth her uncommon fidelity to her master, she adduced the strongest proofs of innocence of the prisoner, entreated the czar to take the matter into consideration, and to be propitious to her prayer, by granting him his liberty.

This petition was tied to her collar, in such a manner as to be easily visible.

On the czar's return from the Admiralty and Senate, Lisette, as usual, came leaping about him; and he perceived the paper, folded in the form of a petition. He took, and read it—"What!" said he; "Lisette, do you also present me petitions? Well, as it is the first time, I[Pg 118] grant your prayer." He immediately sent a denthtchick[89] to the fort, with orders to set the prisoner at liberty.

The Light Company's Poodle and Sir F. Ponsonby.

Captain Gronow, in his gossiping book,[90] says—"Every regiment has a pet of some sort or another. One distinguished Highland regiment possesses a deer; the Welsh Fusiliers a goat, which is the object of their peculiar affection, and which generally marches with the band. The light company of my battalion of the 1st Guards in 1813 rejoiced in a very handsome poodle, which, if I mistake not, had been made prisoner at Vittoria. At the commencement of the battle of the 9th of December 1813, near the mayor's house, not far from Bidart, we observed the gallant Frederick Ponsonby well in front with the skirmishers, and by the side of his horse the soldiers' poodle. The colonel was encouraging our men to advance, and the poodle, in great glee, was jumping and barking at the bullets, as they flew round him like hail. On a sudden we observed Ponsonby struggling with a French mounted officer, whom he had already disarmed, and was endeavouring to lead off to our lines; when the French skirmishers, whose numbers had increased, fired several shots, and wounded Ponsonby, forcing him to relinquish his prisoner, and to retire. At the same time, a bullet broke one of the poor dog's legs. For his gallant conduct in this affair, the poodle became, if possible, a still greater[Pg 119] favourite than he was before; and his friends, the men of the light company, took him to England, where I saw my three-legged friend for several years afterwards, the most prosperous of poodles, and the happiest of the canine race."

Admiral Rodney and his dog Loup.

Earl Stanhope, in his History,[91] remarks—"To those who love to trace the lesser lights and shades of human character, I shall owe no apology if I venture to record of the conqueror of De Grasse, that even in his busiest hours he could turn some kindly thoughts not only to his family and friends, but to his dog in England. That dog, named Loup, was of the French fox-breed, and so attached to his master, that when the admiral left home to take the command of his fleet, the faithful animal remained for three days in his chamber, watching his coat, and refusing food. The affection was warmly returned. On many more than one occasion we find Rodney wrote much as follows to his wife—'Remember me to my dear girls and my faithful friend Loup; I know you will kiss him for me.'"[92]

Ruddiman and his dog Rascal.

George Chalmers, in his Life of the learned Thomas[Pg 120] Ruddiman,[93] tells us that "young Ruddiman was initiated in grammar at the parish-school of Boyndie, in Banffshire, which was distant a mile from his father's dwelling; and which was then taught by George Morison, whom his pupil always praised for his attention and his skill. To this school the boy walked every morning, carrying his daily provisions with him. He is said to have been daily accompanied by a dog, which, when he had proceeded to the top of Tooting-hillock, the halfway resting-place, always returned home after partaking of his victuals. This story is still (1794) remembered, as if there were in it something supernatural. We may suppose, however, that the excursion was equally agreeable to both parties; and when it was once known that the dog was to eat at a particular place at a stated hour, an appropriate allowance was constantly made for him. Whether Ruddiman had a natural fondness for dogs, or whether a particular attachment began, when impressions are easily made, which are long remembered, cannot now be ascertained. He certainly, throughout a long life, had a succession of dogs, which were invariably called Rascal; and which, being springing spaniels, ever accompanied him in all his walks. He used, with affectionate recollection, to entertain his friends with stories of dogs, which all tended to show the fidelity of that useful animal to man."

Mrs Schimmelpenninck, authoress of "Select Memoirs of Port Royal," died in 1856. Her interesting Autobio[Pg 121]graphy and Life were published in 1858 by her relation, Christiana C. Hankin. In p. 467 it is remarked that "her love of animals formed quite a feature in her daily habits. Like St Francis, she delighted to attract the little birds, by tempting them with dainty food upon her verandah; and it was a positive pleasure to her to watch their feast. She had a bag made, which was always filled with oats, to regale any stray horse or ass; and she has been seen surrounded by four goats, each standing on its hind legs, with its uplifted front feet resting on her, and all eagerly claiming the salt she had prepared for them. But her great delight was in dogs. She never forgot those sad hours in childhood, when, unable to mix in the sports of children from illness (perhaps, too, from her want of sympathy in the usual pleasures of that age), the beautiful dogs at Barr were her companions and friends.

"It is no figure of speech to say that she had a large acquaintance amongst the dogs at Clifton. She always carried a pocketful of biscuit to feed them; and she had a canine friend who for years was in the daily habit of waiting at her door to accompany her morning walk, after which he received his little portion of biscuit, and returned to his home. Timid as Mrs Schimmelpenninck was by nature and by habit, she had no idea of personal fear of animals, and especially of dogs. I have seen her go up without hesitation to some splendid specimen of the race, of which everybody else was afraid, to stroke him, or offer food; when the noble creature, with that fine perception often so remarkably manifested by dogs and children, would look up in her face, and then return her caress, and crouch down at her feet in love and confidence. Her own[Pg 122] two beautiful little spaniels were her constant companions in her walks; their happy gambols were always a source of pleasure."[94]

Sir Walter Scott loved dogs dearly. In his novels and poetical works his knowledge of them and his regard often appear. He loved them, from the stately deerhound to the wiry terrier. He was quite up to the ways of their education. Dandie Dinmont, in "Guy Mannering," speaking of his terriers, says, "I had them a' regularly entered, first wi' rottens, then wi' stots and weasels, and then wi' the tods and brocks, and now they fear naething that ever comes wi' a hairy skin on't." Then, again, read Washington Irving's description of his visit to Abbotsford, and how, on Scott taking him out for a walk, a host of his dogs attended, evidently as a matter of course. He often spoke to them during the walk. The American author was struck with the stately gravity of the noble staghound Maida, while the younger dogs gambolled about him, and tried to get him to gambol. Maida would occasionally turn round suddenly, and give one of the playful creatures a tumble, and look at Scott and Irving, as much as to say, "You see, gentlemen, I cannot help giving way to this nonsense;" when on he would go as grave as ever. "I make no doubt," said Scott to his companion, "when Maida is alone with these young dogs, he throws gravity aside, and plays the boy as much as any of them; but he is ashamed to do so in our company, and seems to say, "Ha' done with your[Pg 123] nonsense, youngsters; what will the laird and that other gentleman think of me if I give way to such foolery?" A little volume might almost be made on Sir Walter Scott and his dogs. Wilkie, Allan, and especially Sir Edwin Landseer, have handed down to us the portraits of many of them. His works, and biography by Lockhart, and the writings of his many visitors, would afford many an interesting extract.

Sheridan on the Dog-Tax.

In 1796, a tax, which caused great discontent and ridicule, was laid for the first time upon dogs. Mr Wright, in his "England under the House of Hanover," says—"The debates on this tax in the House of Commons appear to have been extremely amusing. In opposing the motion to go into committee, Sheridan objected that the bill was most curiously worded, as it was, in the first instance, entitled, 'A bill for the protection of his Majesty's subjects against dogs.' 'From these words,' he said, 'one would imagine that dogs had been guilty of burglary, though he believed they were a better protection to their masters' property than watchmen.' After having entertained the House with some stories about mad dogs, and giving a discourse upon dogs in general, he asked, 'Since there was an exception in favour of puppies, at what age they were to be taxed, and how the exact age was to be ascertained?' The Secretary at War, who spoke against the bill, said, 'It would be wrong to destroy in the poor that virtuous feeling which they had for their dog.' In committee, Mr Lechmere called the attention of the House[Pg 124] to ladies' 'lap-dogs.' He knew a lady who had sixteen lap-dogs, and who allowed them a roast shoulder of veal every day for dinner, while many poor persons were starving; was it not, therefore, right to tax lap-dogs very high? He knew another lady who kept one favourite dog, when well, on Savoy biscuits soaked in Burgundy, and when ailing (by the advice of a doctor) on minced chicken and sweetbread! Among the caricatures on this subject, one by Gillray (of which there were imitations) represented Fox and his friends, hanged upon a gallows, as 'dogs not worth a tax;' while the supporters of Government, among whom is Burke, with 'G. R.' on his collar, are ranged as well-fed dogs 'paid for.'"[95]

Sydney Smith dislikes Dogs.

an ingenious way of getting rid of them.

Lady Holland tells us[96] that her father, the witty canon of St Paul's, disliked dogs. "During one of his visits to London, at a dinner at Spencer House, the conversation turned upon dogs. 'Oh,' said my father, 'one of the greatest difficulties I have had with my parishioners has been on the subject of dogs.'—'How so?' said Lord Spencer.—'Why, when I first went down into Yorkshire, there had not been a resident clergyman in my parish for a hundred and fifty years. Each farmer kept a huge mastiff dog ranging at large, and ready to make his morning meal on clergy or laity, as best suited his particular taste. I never could approach a cottage in pursuit of my[Pg 125] calling but I rushed into the jaws of one of these shaggy monsters. I scolded, preached, and prayed without avail; so I determined to try what fear for their pockets might do. Forthwith appeared in the county papers a minute account of the trial of a farmer, at the Northampton Sessions, for keeping dogs unconfined; where said farmer was not only fined five pounds and reprimanded by the magistrates, but sentenced to three months' imprisonment. The effect was wonderful, and the reign of Cerberus ceased in the land.'—'That accounts,' said Lord Spencer, 'for what has puzzled me and Althorp for many years. We never failed to attend the sessions at Northampton, and we never could find out how we had missed this remarkable dog case.'"

Sydney Smith on Dogs.[97]

"No, I don't like dogs; I always expect them to go mad. A lady asked me once for a motto for her dog Spot. I proposed, 'Out, damned Spot!' But she did not think it sentimental enough. You remember the story of the French marquise, who, when her pet lap-dog bit a piece out of her footman's leg, exclaimed, 'Ah, poor little beast! I hope it won't make him sick.' I called one day on Mrs ——, and her lap-dog flew at my leg and bit it. After pitying her dog, like the French marquise, she did all she could to comfort me by assuring me the dog was a Dissenter, and hated the Church, and was brought up in a Tory family. But whether the bite came from madness or Dissent, I knew myself too well to neglect it, and went on the instant to a surgeon, and had it cut out, making a mem. on the way to enter that house no more."[Pg 126]

Sydney Smith's "Newfoundland Dog that breakfasted on Parish Boys."

The Rev. Sydney Smith used to be much amused when he observed the utter want of perception of a joke in some minds. One instance we may cite from his "Memoirs:"[98] "Miss ——, the other day, walking round the grounds at Combe Florey, exclaimed, 'Oh, why do you chain up that fine Newfoundland dog, Mr Smith?'—'Because it has a passion for breakfasting on parish boys.'—'Parish boys!' she exclaimed; 'does he really eat boys, Mr Smith?'—'Yes, he devours them, buttons and all.' Her face of horror made me die of laughing."

Southey on Dogs.

Southey was likewise not a little attached to the memory at least of dogs, as may be inferred by the following passage in a letter to Mr Bedford, Jan. 27, 1823. Snivel was a dog belonging to Mr B. in early days. "We had an adventure this morning, which, if poor Snivel had been living, would have set up her bristles in great style. A foumart was caught in the back kitchen; you may perhaps know it better by the name of polecat. It is the first I ever saw or smelt; and certainly it was in high odour. Poor Snivel! I still have the hairs which we cut from her tail thirty years ago; and if it were the fashion for men to wear lockets, in a locket they should be worn, for I never had a greater respect for any creature upon four legs than for poor Sni. See how naturally men fall into relic[Pg 127] worship; when I have preserved the memorials of that momentary whim so many years, and through so many removals."[99]

Dog, a Good Judge of Elocution.

When Dr Leifchild, of Craven Chapel, London, was a student at Hoxton Academy, there was a good lecturer on elocution there of the name of True. In the Memoir, published in 1863, are some pleasing reminiscences by Dr Leifchild of this excellent teacher, who seems to have taken great pains with the students, and to have awakened in their breasts a desire to become proficients in the art of speaking. The doctor himself was an admirable example of the proficiency thus attained under good Mr True. He records[100] a ludicrous circumstance which occurred one day. "In reciting Satan's address to the evil spirits from 'Paradise Lost,' a stout student was enjoined to pronounce the three words, 'Princes, potentates, warriors,' in successively louder tones, and to speak out boldly. He hardly needed this advice, for the first word came out like distant thunder, the second like approaching thunder, and the third like a terribly near and loud clap. At this last the large housedog, Pompey, who had been asleep under the teacher's chair, started up and jumped out of the window into the garden. 'The dog is a good judge, sir,' mildly remarked Mr True."[Pg 128]

Cowper's dog Beau and the Water-Lily.

illustrated by the story of as intelligent a dog.

In Blackwood's Magazine for 1818 there is an address, in blank verse, by Mr Patrick Fraser Tytler, "To my Dog." Mr Tytler's brother-in-law, Mr Hog,[101] recorded the fact on which this address was founded in his diary at the time. "Peter tells a delightful anecdote of Cossack, an Isle of Skye terrier, which belonged originally to his brother at Aldourie. It was amazingly fond of his children, one of which, having fallen on the gravel and hurt itself, began to cry out. Cossack tried in vain to comfort it by leaping upon it and licking its face. Finding all his efforts to pacify the child fruitless, he ran off to a mountain-ash tree, and leaping up, pulled a branch of red rowan berries and carried it in his mouth to the child."

Horace Walpole's pet dog Rosette.

Horace Walpole, writing to Lord Nuneham in November 1773,[102] says:—"The rest of my time has been employed in nursing Rosette—alas! to no purpose. After suffering dreadfully for a fortnight from the time she was seized at Nuneham, she has only languished till about ten days ago. As I have nothing to fill my letter, I will send you her epitaph; it has no merit, for it is an imitation, but in coming from the heart if ever epitaph did, and therefore your dogmanity will not dislike it[Pg 129]

'Sweetest roses of the year,
Strew around my Rose's bier,
Calmly may the dust repose
Of my pretty, faithful Rose!
And if yon cloud-topp'd hill[103] behind
This frame dissolved, this breath resign'd,
Some happier isle, some humbler heaven,
Be to my trembling wishes given;
Admitted to that equal sky,
May sweet Rose bear me company!'"

Arrival of Tonton, a pet dog, to Walpole.—Tonton does not understand English.

Horace Walpole, in May 1781,[104] had announced Tonton's arrival to his correspondent, the Hon. H. S. Conway. He says:—"I brought him this morning to take possession of his new villa, but his inauguration has not been at all pacific. As he has already found out that he may be as despotic as at St Joseph's, he began with exiling my beautiful little cat, upon which, however, we shall not quite agree. He then flew at one of my dogs, who returned it by biting his foot till it bled, but was severely beaten for it. I immediately rung for Margaret (his housekeeper) to dress his foot; but in the midst of my tribulation could not keep my countenance, for she cried, 'Poor little thing; he does not understand my language!' I hope she will not recollect, too, that he is a Papist!" In a postscript he tells the general that Tonton "is a cavalier, and a little of the mousquetaire still; but if I do not correct his vivacities,[Pg 130] at least I shall not encourage them, like my dear old friend."

In a letter of about the same date to Mason the poet, he again alludes to his fondness of Tonton, but adds—"I have no occasion to brag of my dogmanity."[105]

Horace Walpole, in 1774, thus refers to Margaret, in a letter to Lady Ossory:—"Who is to have the care of the dear mouse in your absence? I wish I could spare Margaret, who loves all creatures so well that she would have been happy in the ark, and sorry when the deluge ceased; unless people had come to see Noah's old house, which she would have liked still better than cramming his menagerie."[106] A sly allusion to the numerous fees Margaret got from visitors. Horace, in another of his letters, alludes to this, and, in a joke, proposes to marry Margaret to enrich himself.

Horace Walpole.—Death of his dog Tonton.

Horace Walpole, writing to the Countess of Ossory, Feb. 24, 1789,[107] says:—"I delayed telling you that Tonton is dead, and that I comfort myself. He was grown stone deaf, and very nearly equally blind, and so weak that the two last days he could not walk up-stairs. Happily he had not suffered, and died close by my side without a pang or a groan. I have had the satisfaction, for my dear old friend's sake and his own, of having nursed him up, by constant attention, to the age of sixteen, yet always afraid[Pg 131] of his surviving me, as it was scarcely possible he could meet a third person who would study his happiness equally. I sent him to Strawberry, and went thither on Sunday to see him buried behind the chapel near Rosette. I shall miss him greatly, and must not have another dog; I am too old, and should only breed it up to be unhappy when I am gone. My resource is in two marble kittens that Mrs Damer has given me, of her own work, and which are so much alive that I talk to them, as I did to poor Tonton! If this is being superannuated, no matter; when dotage can amuse itself it ceases to be an evil. I fear my marble playfellows are better adapted to me, than I am to being your ladyship's correspondent." Poor Tonton was left to Walpole by "poor dear Madame de Deffand." In a letter to the Rev. Mr Cole, in 1781, he announces its arrival, and how "she made me promise to take care of it the last time I saw her. That I will most religiously, and make it as happy as is possible."[108]

Archbishop Whately and his Dogs.

"In these rambles he was generally attended by three uncompromising-looking dogs, the heads of which, if it were possible to draw them together in shamrock form, would forcibly suggest Cerberus. Richard Whately found, or thought he found, in the society of these dogs far brighter intelligence, and infinitely more fidelity, than in many of the Oxford men, who had been fulsomely praised for both.

"In devotion to his dogs, Dr Whately continued true to the end of his life, and during the winter season might be[Pg 132] daily seen in St Stephen's Green, Dublin, playing at 'tig' or 'hide and seek' with his canine attendants. Sometimes the old archbishop might be seen clambering up a tree, secreting his handkerchief or pocket-knife in some cunning nook, then resuming his walk, and, after a while, suddenly affecting to have lost these articles, which the dogs never failed immediately to regain.

"That he was a close observer of the habits of dogs and other quadrupeds we have evidence in his able lecture on 'Animal Instinct.' Dr Whately, when referring to another subject, once said not irrelevantly, 'The power of duly appreciating little things belongs to a great mind: a narrow-minded man has it not, for to him they are great things.' Dr Whately was of opinion that some brutes were as capable of exercising reason as instinct. In his 'Lectures and Reviews' (p. 64) he tells of a dog which, being left on the bank of a river by his master, who had gone up the river in a boat, attempted to join him. He plunged into the water, but not making allowance for the strength of the stream, which carried him considerably below the boat, he could not beat up against it. He landed, and made allowance for the current of the river by leaping in at a place higher up. The combined action of the stream and his swimming carried him in an oblique direction, and he thus reached the boat. Dr Whately adopts the following conclusion—'It appears, then, that we can neither deny reason universally and altogether to brutes, nor instinct to man; but that each possesses a share of both, though in very different proportions.'"[109][Pg 133]

Sir David Wilkie could not see a Pun.—"A Dog-Rose."

The son and biographer of William Collins, the Royal Academician,[110] quotes from a manuscript collection of anecdotes, written by that charming painter of country life and landscape, the following on Sir David Wilkie:—"Wilkie was not quick in perceiving a joke, although he was always anxious to do so, and to recollect humorous stories, of which he was exceedingly fond. As instances, I recollect once when we were staying at Mr Wells's, at Redleaf, one morning at breakfast a very small puppy was running about under the table. 'Dear me,' said a lady, 'how this creature teases me!' I took it up and put it into my breast-pocket. Mr Wells said, 'That is a pretty nosegay.'—'Yes,' said I, 'it is a dog-rose.' Wilkie's attention, sitting opposite, was called to his friend's pun, but all in vain. He could not be persuaded to see anything in it. I recollect trying once to explain to him, with the same want of success, Hogarth's joke in putting the sign of the woman without a head ('The Good Woman') under the window from which the quarrelsome wife is throwing the dinner into the street."

Ulysses and his Dog.

Richard Payne Knight, in his "Inquiry into the Principles of Taste,"[111] when treating of the "sublime and[Pg 134] pathetic," quotes the story of Ulysses and his dog, as follows:—"No Dutch painter ever exhibited an image less imposing, or less calculated to inspire awe and terror, or any other of Burke's symptoms or sources of the sublime (unless, indeed, it be a stink), than the celebrated dog of Ulysses lying upon a dunghill, covered with vermin and in the agonies of death; yet, when in such circumstances, on hearing the voice of his old master, who had been absent twenty years, he pricks his ears, wags his tail, and expires, what heart is not at once melted, elevated, and expanded with all those glowing feelings which Longinus has so well described as the genuine effects of the true sublime? That master, too—the patient, crafty, and obdurate Ulysses, who encounters every danger and bears every calamity with a constancy unshaken, a spirit undepressed, and a temper unruffled—when he sees this faithful old servant perishing in want, misery, and neglect, yet still remembering his long-lost benefactor, and collecting the last effort of expiring nature to give a sign of joy and gratulation at his return, hides his face and wipes away the tear! This is true sublimity of character, which is always mixed with tenderness—mere sanguinary ferocity being terrible and odious, but never sublime. Αγαθοι πολυδαχρυτοιανδρες—Men prone to tears are brave, says the proverbial Greek hemistich; for courage, which does not arise from mere coarseness of organisation, but from that sense of dignity and honour which constitutes the generous pride of a high mind, is founded in sensibility."[Pg 135]


Surely the man should get a monument who is proved to have killed the last she-wolf in these islands. How closely allied the wolf is to the dog may be clearly read in the accounts of Polar winterings. Some of the larger butchers' dogs are singularly wolf-like, and it seems to be that variety which occasionally, as it were, resumes its wolfish habits of prowling at night and killing numbers of sheep in certain districts, as we sometimes read in the country papers of the day. In Strathearn, we lately heard of a very recent instance of this wolf-like ferocity breaking out. The dog was traced with great difficulty, and at last shot. He proved to be of the kind alluded to.

Polson and the last Scottish Wolf.

Mr Scrope[112] describes, from traditions still existing on the east coast of Sutherland, the destruction of what is supposed to have been the last Scottish wolf and her cubs. This was between 1690 and 1700. This wolf had committed many depredations on their flocks, and the inhabitants had been unsuccessful in their attempts to hunt it down.

A man named Polson, attended by two herd boys, went in search of it.

Polson was an old hunter, and had much experience in tracing and destroying wolves and other predatory[Pg 136] animals. Forming his own conjectures, he proceeded at once to the wild and rugged ground that surrounds the rocky mountain-gulley which forms the channel of the burn of Sledale. Here, after a minute investigation, he discovered a narrow fissure in the midst of a confused mass of large fragments of rock, which, upon examination, he had reason to think might lead to a larger opening or cavern below, which the wolf might use as his den. Stones were now thrown down, and other means resorted to, to rouse any animal that might be lurking within. Nothing formidable appearing, the two lads contrived to squeeze themselves through the fissure, that they might examine the interior, while Polson kept guard on the outside. The boys descended through the narrow passage into a small cavern, which was evidently a wolf's den, for the ground was covered with bones and horns of animals, feathers, and egg-shells; and the dark space was somewhat enlivened by five or six active wolf cubs. Not a little dubious of the event, the voices of the poor boys came up hollow and anxious from below, communicating this intelligence. Polson at once desired them to do their best, and to destroy the cubs. Soon after, he heard the feeble howling of the whelps as they were attacked below, and saw almost at the same time, to his great horror, a full-grown wolf, evidently the dam, raging furiously at the cries of her young, and now close upon the mouth of the cavern, which she had approached unobserved, among the rocky irregularities of the place. She attempted to leap down at one bound from the spot where she was first seen. In this emergency, Polson instinctively threw himself forward on the wolf, and succeeded in catching a firm[Pg 137] hold of the animal's long and bushy tail, just as the forepart of the body was within the narrow entrance of the cavern. He had unluckily placed his gun against a rock, when aiding the boys in their descent, and could not now reach it. Without apprising the lads below of their imminent peril, the stout hunter kept firm grip of the wolf's tail, which he wound round his left arm; and although the maddened brute scrambled, and twisted, and strove with all her might to force herself down to the rescue of her cubs, Polson was just able, with the exertion of all his strength, to keep her from going forward. In the midst of this singular struggle, which passed in silence—for the wolf was mute, and the hunter, either from the engrossing nature of his exertions, or from his unwillingness to alarm the boys, spoke not a word at the commencement of the conflict—his son within the cave, finding the light excluded from above, asked in Gaelic, and in an abrupt tone, "Father, what is keeping the light from us?"—"If the root of the tail break," replied he, "you will soon know that." Before long, however, the man contrived to get hold of his hunting-knife, and stabbed the wolf in the most vital parts he could reach. The enraged animal now attempted to turn and face her foe, but the hole was too narrow to allow of this; and when Polson saw his danger, he squeezed her forward, keeping her jammed in, whilst he repeated his stabs as rapidly as he could, until the animal, being mortally wounded, was easily dragged back and finished.

A similar story has been given, with the wilds of Canada for the scene. The young Highlander was said to be dirk[Pg 138]ing pigs, while the father was keeping guard. "Phat's keeping out the licht, fayther?" shouts the son.—"If ta tail preaks, tou 'lt fine tat," were the question and answer.


The sharp-faced fox is a very epitome of cunning, and his name is a by-word for slyness. Farmers know well that no fox, nestling close to their houses, ever meddles with their poultry. Reynard rambles a good way from home before he begins to plunder. How admirable is Professor Wilson's description of fox-hunting, quoted here from the "Noctes." Sir Walter Scott, in one of his topographical essays, has given a curious account of the way in which a fox, acquainted with the "ins and outs" of a certain old castle, outwitted a whole pack of dogs, who had to jump up singly to get through a small window to which Reynard led them. His large tail, so bushy and so free, is of great use to Reynard. He often brushes the eyes of his pursuers with it when sprinkled with water anything but sweet, and which, by its pungency, for a time blinds them. The pursuit of the fox is most exciting, and turns out the lord "of high degree," and the country squire and farmer. It is the most characteristic sport of the "better classes" in this country.

An Enthusiastic Fox-Hunting Surgeon.[113]

A medical gentleman, named Hansted, residing near[Pg 139] Newbury, who was very fond of fox-hunting, ordered his gardener to set a trap for some vermin that infested his garden. As ill luck would have it, a fox was found in the morning with his leg broken, instead of a plant-eating rabbit. The gardener took Reynard to the doctor, when he exclaimed, "Why did you not call me up in the night, that I might have set the leg?" Better late than never: the surgeon set the leg; the fox recovered, and was killed in due form, after a capital run.


(From the "Noctes Ambrosianæ," April 1826.)[114]

North. It seems fox-hunting, too, is cruel.

Shepherd. To wham? Is't cruel to dowgs, to feed fifty or sixty o' them on crackers and ither sorts o' food, in a kennel like a Christian house, wi' a clear burn flowin' through 't, and to gie them, twice a-week or aftener, during the season, a brattlin rin o' thretty miles after a fox? Is that cruelty to dowgs?

North. But the fox, James?

Shepherd. We'll come to the fox by and by. Is't cruel to horses, to buy a hundred o' them for ae hunt, rarely for less than a hundred pounds each, and aften for five hundred—to feed them on five or sax feeds o' corn per diem—and to gie them skins as sleek as satin—and to gar them nicher (neigh) wi' fu'ness o' bluid, sae that every vein in their bodies starts like sinnies (sinews)—and to gallop them like deevils in a hurricane, up hill and doun[Pg 140] brae, and loup or soom canals and rivers, and flee ower hedges, and dikes, and palings, like birds, and drive crashin' through woods, like elephants or rhinoceroses—a' the while every coorser flingin' fire-flaughts (flakes) frae his een, and whitening the sweat o' speed wi' the foam o' fury—I say, ca' you that cruelty to horses, when the hunt charge with all their chivalry, and plain, mountain, or forest are shook by the quadrupedal thunder?

North. But the fox, James?

Shepherd. We'll come to the fox by and by. Is 't cruel to men to inspirit wi' a rampagin happiness fivescore o' the flower o' England or Scotland's youth, a' wi' caps and red coats, and whups in their hauns—a troop o' lauchin, tearin', tallyhoin' "wild and wayward humorists," as the doctor ca'd them the tither Sunday?

North. I like the expression, James.

Shepherd. So do I, or I would not have quoted it. But it's just as applicable to a set o' outrageous ministers, eatin' and drinkin', and guffawin' at a Presbytery denner.

North. But the fox, James?

Shepherd. We'll come to the fox by and by. Is't cruel to the lambs, and leverets, and geese, and turkeys, and dyucks, and patricks, and wee birds, and ither animal eatables, to kill the fox that devoors them, and keeps them in perpetual het water?

North. But the fox, James?

Shepherd. Deevil take baith you and the fox; I said that we would come to the fox by and by. Weel, then, wha kens that the fox isna away snorin' happy afore the houn's? I hae nae doubt he is, for a fox is no sae complete a coward as to think huntin' cruel; and his haill[Pg 141] nature is then on the alert, which in itsel' is happiness. Huntin' him fa'in into languor and ennui, and growin' ower fat on how-towdies (barn-door fowls). He's no killed every time he's hunted.

North. Why, James, you might write for the "Annals of Sporting."

Shepherd. So I do sometimes—and mair o' ye than me, I jalouse; but I was gaun to ask ye if ye could imagine the delicht o' a fox gettin' into an undiggable earth, just when the leadin' houn' was at his hainches?—ae sic moment is aneuch to repay half an hour's draggle through the dirt; and he can lick himsel' clean at his leisure, far ben in the cranny o' the rock, and come out a' tosh and tidy by the first dawn o' licht, to snuff the mornin' air, and visit the distant farm-house before Partlet has left her perch, or Count Crow lifted his head from beneath his oxter on his shed-seraglio.

North. Was ye ever in at a death? Is not that cruel?

Shepherd. Do you mean in at the death o' ae fox, or the death o' a hundred thousand men and sixty thousand horses?—the takin' o' a Brush, or a Borodino?

North. My dear James, thank ye for your argument. As one Chalmers is worth a thousand Martins, so is one Hogg worth a thousand Chalmerses.

Shepherd. Ane may weel lose patience, to think o' fules being sorry for the death o' a fox. When the jowlers tear him to pieces, he shows fecht, and gangs aff in a snarl. Hoo could he dee mair easier?—and for a' the gude he has ever dune, or was likely to do, he surely had leeved lang eneuch.[Pg 142]

Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus).

This inoffensive and pretty little creature is found in all parts of the Arctic lands. Its fur is peculiarly fine and thick; and as in winter this is closer and more mixed with wool than it is in summer, the intense cold of these regions is easily resisted. When sleeping rolled up into a ball, with the black muzzle buried in the long hairs of the tail, there is not a portion of the body but what is protected from the cold, the shaggy hairs of the brush acting as a respirator or boa for the mouth and a muff for the paws. Our Arctic travellers have remarked, that it is a peculiarly cleanly animal, and its vigilance is extreme. It is almost impossible to come on it unawares, for even when appearing to be soundly asleep, it opens its eyes on the slightest noise being made. During the day it appears to be listless, but no sooner has the night set in than it is in motion, and it continues very active until morning. The young migrate to the southward in the autumn, and sometimes collect in great numbers on the shores of Hudson's Bay. Mr Graham noticed that they came there in November and left in April.

Arctic Fox. (Canis Lagopus.) Arctic Fox. (Canis Lagopus.)

Sir James Ross found a fox's burrow on the sandy margin of a lake in the month of July. It had several passages, each opening into a common cell, beyond which was an inner nest, in which the young, six in number, were found. These had the dusky, lead-coloured livery worn by the parents in summer; and though four of them were kept alive till the following winter, they never acquired the pure white coats of the old fox, but retained the dusky colour on the face and sides of the body. The parents had[Pg 143] kept a good larder for their progeny, as the outer cell and the several passages leading to it contained many lemmings and ermines, and the bones of fish, ducks, and hares, in great quantities. Sir John Richardson[115] observed them to live in villages, twenty or thirty burrows being constructed close to each other. A pair were kept by Sir James Ross for the express purpose of watching the changes which take place in the colour of their fur. He noticed that they threw off their winter dress during the first week in June, and that this change took place a few days earlier in the female than in the male. About the end of September the brown fur of the summer gradually became of an ash colour, and by the middle of October it was perfectly white. It continued to increase in thickness until the end of November.[116] A variety of a blackish-brown colour is occasionally met with, but this is rare: such specimens, Ross remarks, must have extreme difficulty in surprising their prey in a country whose surface is of an unvaried white, and must also be much more exposed to the persecutions of their enemies. The food of this fox is various, but seems to consist principally of lemmings and of birds and their eggs. He eats, too, the berries of the Empetrum nigrum, a plant common on our own hills, and goes to the shore for mussels and other shell-fish. Otho Fabricius[117] says he catches the Arctic salmon as that fish approaches the shore to spawn, and that he seizes too the haddock, having enticed it near by beating the water. Crantz, in his "History of Greenland," evidently alludes to this[Pg 144] cunning habit when he observes, "They plash with their feet in the water, to excite the curiosity of some kinds of fishes to come and see what is going forward, and then they snap them up; and the Greenland women have learnt this piece of art from them." Captain Lyon noticed a fox prowling on a hill-side, and heard him for some hours afterwards in the neighbourhood imitating the cry of the brent-goose. In another part of his Journal he mentions that the bark is so modulated as to give an idea that it proceeds from a distance, though at the time the fox lies at your feet. It struck him that the creature was gifted "with this kind of ventriloquism in order to deceive its prey as to the distance it is from them." It sometimes catches the ptarmigan; and though it cannot swim, it manages occasionally to get hold of oceanic birds; in fact, nothing alive which it can master seems to come amiss, and failing to make a meal from something it has caught and killed, the Arctic fox is glad, like foxes in more favoured lands, to feed on carrion.

Captain M'Clintock, who commanded the yacht Fox on the Franklin Arctic search in 1857 and 1858, wintered in the ice pack of Baffin's Bay. One of the party shot an Arctic fox when they were 140 miles from the land. He records in a letter to his brother,[118] that this wanderer from the shore "was very fat, living upon such few dovekies as were silly enough to spend their winter in the pack."

Martens, in his "Spitzbergen," says, that some of the ship's crew informed him, that the fox when he is hungry "lies down as if he was dead, until the birds fly to him to eat him, which by that trick he catches and eats." Our[Pg 145] author believed it a fable, but it may nevertheless be one of the many expedients used by a species of a group whose name is proverbial for craftiness and cunning.

The flesh of the fox is occasionally eaten by the Esquimaux: Captain Lyon, in his "Private Journal," says that at first all of his party were horrified at the idea of eating foxes—"But very many soon got the better of their fastidiousness and found them good eating; not being myself very nice, I soon made the experiment, and found the flesh much resembling that of kid, and afterwards frequently had a supper of it."

Sir James Clarke Ross, during his five years' imprisonment in Boothia Felix and the adjoining seas, had ample means of judging of its flavour; he tells us that some of his party, who were the first to taste them, named them "lambs," from their resemblance in flavour to very young lamb. He adds, that the flesh of the old fox is by no means so palatable. During that disastrous expedition the flesh of this fox formed one of the principal luxuries of their table, and it was always "reserved for holidays and great occasions. We ate them boiled, or, more frequently after being parboiled, roasted, in a pitch kettle."

When the Arctic Expedition in search of Franklin wintered in Leopold Harbour in 1848-49, the commander, Sir J. C. Ross, made use of the Arctic fox as a messenger. Having caught some of these animals in traps, a collar with information for the missing parties was put round the neck of each before liberation, as the fox is known to travel great distances in search of food. On Captain Austin's subsequent expedition in 1850-51 the same plan was carried out, but it was found to be equally without result.[Pg 146] Commander Osborn thus facetiously describes the circumstance.[119] "Several animals thus intrusted with despatches or records were liberated by different ships; but, as the truth must be told, I fear in many cases the next night saw the poor 'postman,' as Jack termed him, in another trap, out of which he would be taken, killed, the skin taken off, and packed away to ornament at some future day the neck of some fair Dulcinea. As a 'sub,' I was admitted into this secret mystery, or, otherwise, I with others might have accounted for the disappearance of the collared foxes by believing them busy on their honourable mission. In order that the crime of killing 'the postmen' may be recognised in its true light, it is but fair that I should say, that the brutes, having partaken once of the good cheer on board or around the ships, seldom seemed satisfied with the mere empty honours of a copper collar, and returned to be caught over and over again. Strict laws were laid down for their safety, such as that no fox taken alive in a trap was to be killed: of course no fox was after this taken alive; they were all unaccountably dead, unless it was some fortunate wight whose brush and coat were worthless; in such case he lived either to drag about a quantity of information in a copper collar for the rest of his days, or else to die a slow death, as being intended for Lord Derby's menagerie. The departure of 'a postman' was a scene of no small merriment; all hands, from the captain to the cook, were out to chase the fox, who, half frightened out of its wits, seemed to doubt which way to run, whilst loud shouts and roars of laughter, breaking the cold, frosty air, were heard from ship to ship, as the fox[Pg 147]hunters, swelled in numbers from all sides, and those that could not run mounted some neighbouring hummock of ice and gave a loud halloo, which said far more for robust health than for tuneful melody."

The Arctic fox as a captive has often amused our Arctic voyagers, and accounts of it are to be met with in most of their narratives. Captain Lyon made a pet of one he captured, and confined it on deck in a small kennel with a piece of chain. The little creature astonished the party very much by his extraordinary sagacity, for, on the very first day, having been repeatedly drawn out by his chain, he at length drew his chain in after him whenever he retreated to his hut, and took it in with his mouth so completely, that no one who valued his fingers would venture afterwards to take hold of the end attached to the staple.

Sir J. C. Ross observed in Boothia Felix a good deal of difference in the disposition of specimens, some being easily tamed, whilst others would remain savage and untractable even with the kindest treatment. He found the females much more vicious than the males. A dog-fox which his party captured lived several months with them, and became so tame in a short time that he regularly attended the dinner-table like a dog, and was always allowed to go at large about the cabin. When newly caught their rage is quite ungovernable, and yet when two are put together they very seldom quarrel. They soon get reconciled to confinement. Captain Lyon[120] notices that their first impulse on getting food is to hide it as soon as possible, and this, he observed, they did, even when hungry and by themselves; when there was snow on the ground they piled it over their[Pg 148] stores, and pressed it down forcibly with their nose. When no snow was to be obtained, he noticed his pet fox gather the chain into his mouth, and then carefully coil it so as to cover the meat. Having gone through this process, and drawn away his chain after him on moving away, he has sometimes repeated his useless labours five or six times, until disgusted, apparently, at the inability of making the morsel a greater luxury by previous concealment, he has been forced to eat it. These creatures use snow as a substitute for water, and it is pleasing to see them break a large lump with their feet, and roll on the pieces with evident delight. When the snow lay lightly scattered on the decks, they did not lick it up as dogs do, but by pressing it repeatedly with their nose, collected a small lump which they drew into their mouth.

It may be added that the specific name lagopus, or "hare-foot," was given to this fox from the soles of its feet being densely covered with woolly hair, which gives them some resemblance to the feet of a hare. Cuvier remarks that other foxes acquire this hair on the soles when taken to northern lands.

The specimens, figured so admirably by Mr Wolf, were drawn from some brought alive to the Zoological Gardens by one of the late Arctic expeditions.—A. White, in "Excelsior" (with additions).


The boy who used to read, long ago, "The Three Hundred Animals," was ever familiar with "the Lion's[Pg 149] Provider," as the menagerie showmen, even now, somewhat pompously style this hungry howler of the desert.

The jackal is a social kind of dog, and a pack of hungry or excited jackals can howl in notes fit to pierce the ears of the deafest. He is a mean, starved-looking creature in ordinary circumstances, seeming as if his social life prevented his getting what is called a lion's share on any occasion.

Jackal and Tiger.

As Burke was declaiming with great animation against Hastings, he was interrupted by little Major Scott. "Am I," said he, indignantly, "to be teased by the barking of this jackal, while I am attacking the royal tiger of Bengal?"[121]


Another fertile subject for anecdote. Who has not some faithful black Topsy, Tortoise-shell, or Tabby, or rather succession of them, whose biographies would afford many a curious story? Professor Bell[122] has well defended the general character of poor pussy from the oft-repeated calumnies spread about it. Cats certainly get much[Pg 150] attached to individuals, as well as to houses and articles in them. They want the lovableness and demonstrativeness of dogs; but their habits are very different, and they are strictly organised to adapt them to watch and to pounce on their prey.

As we have elsewhere remarked, and the remark was founded on observation of our eldest daughter when a very young child, "Your little baby loves the pussy, and pussy sheathes her claws most carefully, but should baby draw back her arm suddenly, and pussy accidentally scratch that tender skin, how the little girl cries! It is, perhaps, her first lesson that sweets and bitters, pleasures and pains, meekness and ferocity, are mingled in this world."[123]

Jeremy Bentham and his pet Cat "Sir John Langborn."

Dr, afterwards Sir John, Bowring, in the life of that diligent eccentric "codificator," Jeremy Bentham,[124] thus alludes to some of his pets:—"Bentham was very fond of animals, particularly 'pussies,' as he called them, 'when they had domestic virtues;' but he had no particular affection for the common race of cats. He had one, however, of which he used to boast that he had 'made a man of him,' and whom he was wont to invite to eat maccaroni at his own table. This puss got knighted, and rejoiced in[Pg 151] the name of Sir John Langborn. In his early days, he was a frisky, inconsiderate, and, to say the truth, somewhat profligate gentleman; and had, according to the report of his patron, the habit of seducing light and giddy young ladies of his own race into the garden of Queen's Square Place; but tired at last, like Solomon, of pleasures and vanities, he became sedate and thoughtful—took to the church, laid down his knightly title, and was installed as the Reverend John Langborn. He gradually obtained a great reputation for sanctity and learning, and a doctor's degree was conferred upon him. When I knew him, in his declining days, he bore no other name than the Reverend Doctor John Langborn; and he was alike conspicuous for his gravity and philosophy. Great respect was invariably shown his reverence; and it was supposed he was not far off from a mitre, when old age interfered with his hopes and honours. He departed amidst the regrets of his many friends, and was gathered to his fathers, and to eternal rest, in a cemetery in Milton's Garden.[125]

"'I had a cat,' he said, 'at Hendon, which used to follow me about even in the street. George Wilson was very fond of animals too. I remember a cat following him as far as Staines. There was a beautiful pig at Hendon, which I used to rub with my stick. He loved to come and lie down to be rubbed, and took to following me like a dog. I had a remarkably intellectual cat, who never failed to attend one of us when we went round the garden. He grew quite a tyrant, insisting on being fed and on being noticed. He interrupted my labours. Once[Pg 152] he came with a most hideous yell, insisting on the door being opened. He tormented Jack (Colls) so much, that Jack threw him out of the window. He was so clamorous that it could not be borne, and means were found to send him to another world. His moral qualities were most despotic—his intellectual extraordinary; but he was a universal nuisance."

"'From my youth I was fond of cats, as I am still. I was once playing with one in my grandmother's room. I had heard the story of cats having nine lives, and being sure of falling on their legs; and I threw the cat out of the window on the grass-plot. When it fell it turned towards me, looked in my face and mewed. "Poor thing!" I said, "thou art reproaching me with my unkindness." I have a distinct recollection of all these things. Cowper's story of his hares had the highest interest for me when young; for I always enjoyed the society of tame animals. Wilson had the same taste—so had Romilly, who kept a noble puss, before he came into great business. I never failed to pay it my respects. I remember accusing Romilly of violating the commandment in the matter of cats. My fondness for animals exposed me to many jokes.'"

Bisset and his Musical Cats.

S. Bisset, to whom we referred before, was a Scotchman, born at Perth. He went to London as a shoemaker; but afterwards turned a broker. About 1739 he turned his attention to the teaching of animals. He was very successful, and among the subjects of his experiments were three young cats. Wilson, in his "Eccentric Mirror,"[126] has[Pg 153] recorded that "he taught these domestic tigers to strike their paws in such directions on the dulcimer, as to produce several tunes, having music-books before them, and squalling at the same time in different keys or tones, first, second, and third, by way of concert. In such a city as London these feats could not fail of making some noise. His house was every day crowded, and great interruption given to his business. Among the rest, he was visited by an exhibitor of wonders. Pinchbeck advised him to a public exhibition of his animals at the Haymarket, and even promised, on receiving a moiety, to be concerned in the exhibition. Bisset agreed, but the day before the performance, Pinchbeck declined, and the other was left to act for himself. The well-known Cats' Opera was advertised in the Haymarket; the horse, the dog, the monkeys, and the cats went through their several parts with uncommon applause, to crowded houses, and in a few days Bisset found himself possessed of nearly a thousand pounds to reward his ingenuity."

Constant, Chateaubriand, and the Cat.

"Benjamin Constant was accustomed to write in a closet on the third story. Beside him sat his estimable wife, and on his knee his favourite cat; this feline affection he entertained in common with Count de Chateaubriand."[127]

Liston the Surgeon and his Cat.

Robert Liston, the great surgeon, was, it seems, very[Pg 154] fond of a cat. Dr Forbes Winslow asks, "Who has not seen Liston's favourite cat Tom? This animal is considered to be a unique specimen of the feline tribe; and so one would think, to see the passionate fondness which he manifests for it. This cat is always perched on Liston's shoulder, at breakfast, dinner, and tea, in his carriage, and out of his carriage. It is quite ludicrous to witness the devotion which the great operator exhibits towards his favourite."[128]

Liston was a curious man. He often called on his friends as early as six o'clock in the morning. In most cases, such calls must have been visits of formality or quiet jokes at the lazy manners of most men of the present age. We know one person whom he called on usually at this early hour. It would be more healthy for the young, if they would imitate this talented surgeon. We may here say that he used to allow one particular nail to grow long. It was a nail he used to guide his knife when operating. When at college in 1833 or 1834, we heard a student, who knew this clever operator well, happily apply the double-entendre, "homo ad unguem factus," a phrase, Dr Carson, our noble rector at the High School, taught us to translate "an accomplished man."

The Banker Mitchell's Antipathy to Kittens.

Mr J. T. Smith, once Keeper of the Prints in the British Museum, author of the "Life and Times of Nollekens, the[Pg 155] Royal Academician,"[129] tells a story of Mr Matthew Mitchell, a banker, who collected prints.

"Mr Mitchell had a most serious antipathy to a kitten. He could sit in a room without experiencing the least emotion from a cat; but directly he perceived a kitten, his flesh shook on his bones, like a snail in vinegar. I once relieved him from one of these paroxysms by taking a kitten out of the room; on my return he thanked me, and declared his feelings to be insupportable upon such an occasion. Long subsequently, I asked him whether he could in any way account for this agitation. He said he could not, adding that he experienced no such sensations upon seeing a full-grown cat; but that a kitten, after he had looked at it for a minute or two, in his imagination grew to the size of an overpowering elephant."

James Montgomery and his Cats.[130]

The poet Montgomery was very fond of cats. His biographers say—"We never recollect the time when some familiar 'Tabby' or audacious 'Tom' did not claim to share the poet's attention during our familiar interviews with him in his own parlour. We well recollect one fine brindled fellow, called 'Nero,' who, during his kittenhood, 'purred' the following epistle to a little girl who had been his playmate:[Pg 156]

"Hartshead, near the Hole-in-the-Wall,
"July 23, 1825.


"Mew, wew, auw, mauw, hee, wee, miaw, waw, wurr, whirr, ghurr, wew, mew, whew, isssss, tz, tz, tz, purrurrurrur."



"This comes to tell you that I am very well, and I hope you are so too. I am growing a great cat; pray how do you come on? I wish you were here to carry me about as you used to do, and I would scratch you to some purpose, for I can do this much better than I could while you were here. I have not run away yet, but I believe I shall soon, for I find my feet are too many for my head, and often carry me into mischief. Love to Sheffelina, though I was always fit to pull her cap when I saw you petting her. My cross old mother sends her love to you—she shows me very little now-a-days, I assure you, so I do not care what she does with the rest. She has brought me a mouse or two, and I caught one myself last night; but it was in my dream, and I awoke as hungry as a hunter, and fell to biting at my tail, which I believe I should have eaten up; but it would not let me catch it. So no more at present from


"P.S.—They call me Tiny yet, you see; but I intend to take the name of Nero, after the lion fight at Warwick next week, if the lion conquers, not else.

"2d P.S.—I forgot to tell you that I can beg, but I like better to steal,—it's more natural, you know.

"Harriet, at Ockbrook."[Pg 157]

Sir Walter Scott's Visit to the Black Dwarf.—David Ritchie's Cat.

David Ritchie, the prototype of the "Black Dwarf," inhabited a small cottage on the farm of Woodhouse, parish of Manor, Peeblesshire. In the year 1797, Walter Scott, then a young advocate, was taken by the Fergusons to see "Bowed Davie," as the poor misanthropic man was generally called.

Mr William Chambers,[131] the historian of his native county, describes the visit at greater length than Scott has done in the introduction to his novel. He says—"At the first sight of Scott, the misanthrope seemed oppressed with a sentiment of extraordinary interest, which was either owing to the lameness of the stranger—a circumstance throwing a narrower gulf between this person and himself than what existed between him and most other men—or to some perception of an extraordinary mental character in this limping youth, which was then hid from other eyes. After grinning upon him for a moment with a smile less bitter than his wont, the dwarf passed to the door, double-locked it, and then coming up to the stranger, seized him by the wrist with one of his iron hands, and said, 'Man, hae ye ony poo'er?' By this he meant magical power, to which he had himself some vague pretensions, or which, at least, he had studied and reflected upon till it had become with him a kind of monomania. Scott disavowed the possession of any gifts of that kind, evidently to the great disappointment of the inquirer, who then turned[Pg 158] round and gave a signal to a huge black cat, hitherto unobserved, which immediately jumped up to a shelf, where it perched itself, and seemed to the excited senses of the visitors as if it had really been the familiar spirit of the mansion. 'He has poo'er,' said the dwarf in a voice which made the flesh of the hearers thrill, and Scott, in particular, looked as if he conceived himself to have actually got into the den of one of those magicians with whom his studies had rendered him familiar. 'Ay, he has poo'er,' repeated the recluse; and then, going to his usual seat, he sat for some minutes grinning horribly, as if enjoying the impression he had made, while not a word escaped from any of the party. Mr Ferguson at length plucked up his spirits, and called to David to open the door, as they must now be going. The dwarf slowly obeyed, and when they had got out, Mr Ferguson observed that his friend was as pale as ashes, while his person was agitated in every limb. Under such striking circumstances was this extraordinary being first presented to the real magician, who was afterwards to give him such a deathless celebrity."

Mr Chambers doubtless received the particulars of this visit from Sir Adam Ferguson, Scott's friend and companion.

Robert Southey, like Jeremy Bentham, with whom the Quarterly Reviewer would have grudged to have been classified, loved cats. His son, in his "Life and Correspondence," vol. vi. p. 210, says—"My father's fondness for cats has been occasionally shown by allusion in his letters,[132] and in 'The Doctor' is inserted an amusing me[Pg 159]morial of the various cats which at different times were inmates of Greta Hall. He rejoiced in bestowing upon them the strangest appellations, and it was not a little amusing to see a kitten answer to the name of some Italian singer or Indian chief, or hero of a German fairy tale, and often names and titles were heaped one upon another, till the possessor, unconscious of the honour conveyed, used to 'set up his eyes and look' in wonderment. Mr Bedford had an equal liking for the feline race, and occasional notices of their favourites therefore passed between them, of which the following records the death of one of the greatest:—

"'To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.

"'Keswick, May 18, 1833.

"'My Dear G—— ... —Alas! Grosvenor, this day poor old Rumpel was found dead, after as long and happy a life as cat could wish for, if cats form wishes on that subject. His full titles were:—"The Most Noble the Archduke Rumpelstiltzchen, Marquis M'Bum, Earl Tomlemagne, Baron Raticide, Waowhler, and Skaratch." There should be a court mourning in Catland, and if the Dragon[133] wear a black ribbon round his neck, or a band of crape à la militaire round one of the fore paws, it will be but a becoming mark of respect.

"'As we have no catacombs here, he is to be decently interred in the orchard, and cat-mint planted on his grave. Poor creature, it is well that he has thus come to his end after he had become an object of pity, I believe we are,[Pg 160] each and all, servants included, more sorry for his loss, or rather more affected by it, than any one of us would like to confess.

"'I should not have written to you at present, had it not been to notify this event.

R. S.'"

In a letter from Leyden to his son Cuthbert, then in his seventh year, he says—"I hope Rumpelstiltzchen has recovered his health, and that Miss Cat is well; and I should like to know whether Miss Fitzrumpel has been given away, and if there is another kitten. The Dutch cats do not speak exactly the same language as the English ones. I will tell you how they talk when I come home."[134]

Archbishop Whately's Anecdote of the Cat that used to Ring the Bell.

Archbishop Whately[135] records a case of an act done by a cat, which, if done by a man, would be called reason. He says—"This cat lived many years in my mother's family, and its feats of sagacity were witnessed by her, my sisters, and myself. It was known, not merely once or twice, but habitually, to ring the parlour bell whenever it wished the door to be opened. Some alarm was excited on the first occasion that it turned bell-ringer. The family had retired to rest, and in the middle of the night the parlour-bell was rung violently; the sleepers were startled from their repose, and proceeded down-stairs, with pokers[Pg 161] and tongs, to interrupt, as they thought, the predatory movement of some burglar; but they were agreeably surprised to discover that the bell had been rung by pussy; who frequently repeated the act whenever she wanted to get out of the parlour."

A friend (D. D., Esq., Edinburgh) tells me of a cat his family had in the country, that used regularly to "tirl at the pin" of the back door when it wished to get in to the house.


These most ferocious of the Carnivora have afforded interesting subjects to many a traveller. An extensive volume of truly sensational adventure might be compiled about them, adding a chapter for the jaguar and the leopard, two extremely dangerous spotted cats, that can do what neither tigers nor lions are able to do—namely, climb trees. Having once asked a friend, who was at the death of many a wild beast, which was the most savage animal he had ever seen, he replied, "A wounded leopard." It was to such an animal that Jacob referred when he saw Joseph's clothes, and said—"Some evil beast hath devoured him." Colonel Campbell's work, from which the first paragraph is derived, contains much about the pursuit of the tiger. Dr Livingstone's travels and Gordon Cumming's books on South Africa, neither of which we have quoted, have thrilling pages about the lordly presence of "the king of beasts." Mr Joseph Wolf and Mr Lewis are perhaps the best draughtsmen of the lion among recent artists. The public[Pg 162] admire much Sir Edwin Landseer's striking bronze lions on the pedestal of the Nelson Monument. That artist excels in his pictures of the lion. On the Assyrian monuments in the British Museum are many wonderfully executed lion hunts, as perfectly preserved as if they had been chiselled in our day. Parts of these bas-reliefs were certainly designed from actual sketches made from the lions and dogs, which took the chief part in the amusements of some "Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord." Even our Scottish kings kept a lion or lions as ornaments of their court. At Stirling Castle and Palace, a room which we saw in 1865, still bears the name of the "Lion's Den." The British lion is an old emblem of both Scotland and England, and it is not twenty-five years ago since we, in common with every visitor to the Tower, were glad to see "the Royal Lion." Dr Livingstone's experience, we have not the slightest wish to prove its accuracy, shows that the lion has a soothing, or rather paralysing power over his prey, when he has knocked it down or bitten it.

Bussapa, the Tiger-slayer, and the Tiger.

The following striking anecdote recounts the extraordinary presence of mind and determined courage of a celebrated Mahratta hunter named Bussapa. This man acquired the name of the "Tiger-slayer," and wore on his breast several silver medals granted by the Indian Government for feats of courage in destroying tigers. Colonel Campbell met him, and in "My Indian Journal" (pp. 142, 143), published in 1864, has recorded from his brother's[Pg 163] diary the following anecdote:—"Bussapa, a hunter of 'Lingyat' caste, with whom I am well acquainted, was sent for by the headman of a village, to destroy a tiger which had carried off a number of cattle. He came, and having ascertained the brute's usual haunts, fastened a bullock near the edge of a ravine which he frequented, and quietly seated himself beside it, protected only by a small bush. Soon after sunset the tiger appeared, killed the bullock, and was glutting himself with blood, when Bussapa, thrusting his long matchlock through the bush, fired, and wounded him severely. The tiger half rose, but being unable to see his assailant on account of the intervening bush, dropped again on his prey with a sudden growl. Bussapa was kneeling within three paces of him, completely defenceless; he did not even dare to reload, for he well knew that the slightest movement on his part would be the signal for his immediate destruction; his bare knees were pressed upon gravel, but he dared not venture to shift his uneasy position. Ever and anon, the tiger, as he lay with his glaring eyes fixed upon the bush, uttered his hoarse growl of anger; his hot breath absolutely blew upon the cheek of the wretched man, yet still he moved not. The pain of his cramped position increased every moment—suspense became almost intolerable; but the motion of a limb, the rustling of a leaf, would have been death. Thus they remained, the man and the tiger, watching each other's motions; but even in this fearful situation, his presence of mind never for a moment forsook the noble fellow. He heard the gong of the village strike each hour of that fearful night, that seemed to him 'eternity,' and yet he lived; the tormenting mosquitoes[Pg 164] swarmed round his face, but he dared not brush them off. That fiend-like eye met his whenever he ventured a glance towards the horrid spell that bound him; and a hoarse growl grated on the stillness of the night, as a passing breeze stirred the leaves that sheltered him. Hours rolled on, and his powers of endurance were well-nigh exhausted, when, at length, the welcome streaks of light shot up from the eastern horizon. On the approach of day, the tiger rose, and stalked away with a sulky pace, to a thicket at some distance, and then the stiff and wearied Bussapa felt that he was safe.

"One would have thought that, after such a night of suffering, he would have been too thankful for his escape, to venture on any further risk. But the valiant Bussapa was not so easily diverted from his purpose; as soon as he had stretched his cramped limbs, and restored the checked circulation, he reloaded his matchlock, and coolly proceeded to finish his work. With his match lighted, he advanced close to the tiger, lying ready to receive him, and shot him dead by a ball in the forehead, while in the act of charging."

Colonel Campbell relates, that most of Bussapa's family have fallen victims to tigers. But the firm belief of the "tiger-slayer" in predestination, makes him blind to all danger.

John Hunter and the Dead Tiger.

The greatest comparative anatomist our country has produced, John Hunter, obtained the refusal of all animals which happened to die in the Tower or in the travelling[Pg 165] menageries. In this way he often obtained rare subjects for his researches. Dr Forbes Winslow[136] alludes to a well-known fact, that all the money Hunter could spare, was devoted to procuring curiosities of this sort, and Sir Everard Home used to state, that as soon as he had accumulated fees to the amount of ten guineas, he always purchased some addition to his collection. Indeed, he was not unfrequently obliged to borrow of his friends, when his own funds were at a low ebb, and the temptation was strong. "Pray, George," said he one day to Mr G. Nicol, the bookseller to the king, with whom he was very intimate, "have you got any money in your pocket?" Mr N. replied in the affirmative. "Have you got five guineas? Because, if you have, and will lend it me, you shall go halves."—"Halves in what?" inquired his friend.—"Why, halves in a magnificent tiger, which is now dying in Castle Street." Mr Nicol lent the money, and Hunter purchased the tiger.


Mrs Colin Mackenzie[137] records the death of a man from the wounds of a tiger. "The tiger," she says, "was brought in on the second day. He died from the wound he had received. I gave the body to the Dhers in our service, who ate it. The claws and whiskers are greatly prized by the natives as charms. The latter are supposed to give the possessor a certain malignant power over his[Pg 166] enemies, for which reason I always take possession of them to prevent our people getting them. The tiger is very commonly worshipped all over India. The women often prostrate themselves before a dead tiger, when sportsmen are bringing it home in triumph; and in a village, near Nagpur, Mr Hislop found a number of rude images, almost like four-legged stools, which, on inquiry, proved to be meant for tigers, who were worshipped as the tutelary deities of the place. I believe a fresh image is added for every tiger that is slain."

Lion and Tiger.

A jolly jack-tar, having strayed into Atkin's show at Bartholomew Fair, to have a look at the wild beasts, was much struck with the sight of a lion and a tiger in the same den. "Why, Jack," said he to a messmate, who was chewing a quid in silent amazement, "I shouldn't wonder if next year they were to carry about a sailor and a marine living peaceably together!"—"Ay," said his married companion, "or a man and wife."[138]

We may add that we have long regarded it as a vile calumny to two animals to say of a man and wife who quarrel, that they live "a cat and dog life." No two animals are better agreed when kept together. Each knows his own place and keeps it. Hence they live at peace—speaking "generally," as "Mr Artemus Ward" would say of "such an observation."[Pg 167]

Androcles and the Lion.

Addison,[139] in the 139th Guardian, has given us the story of Androcles and the Lion. He prefaces it by saying that he has no regard "to what Æsop has said upon the subject, whom," says he, "I look upon to have been a republican, by the unworthy treatment which he often gives to the king of beasts, and whom, if I had time, I could convict of falsehood and forgery in almost every matter of fact which he has related of this generous animal."

Better observation of it, however, from the time of Burchell to that of Livingstone, shows that Æsop's account is on the whole to be relied on, and that the lion is a thorough cat, treacherous, cruel, and, for the most part, with a good deal of the coward in him.

The story of Androcles was related by Aulus Gellius, who extracted it from Dion Cassius. Although likely to be embellished, there is every likelihood of the foundation of the story being true. Addison relates this, "for the sake of my learned reader, who needs go no further in it, if he has read it already:—Androcles was the slave of a noble Roman who was proconsul of Afric. He had been guilty of a fault, for which his master would have put him to death, had not he found an opportunity to escape out of his hands, and fled into the deserts of Numidia. As he was wandering among the barren sands, and almost dead with heat and hunger, he saw a cave in the side of a rock. He went into it, and finding at the farther end of it a place to sit down upon, rested there for some time. At length,[Pg 168] to his great surprise, a huge overgrown lion entered at the mouth of the cave, and seeing a man at the upper end of it, immediately made towards him. Androcles gave himself up for gone;[140] but the lion, instead of treating him as he expected, laid his paw upon his lap, and with a complaining kind of voice, fell a licking his hand. Androcles, after having recovered himself a little from the fright he was in, observed the lion's paw to be exceedingly swelled by a large thorn that stuck in it. He immediately pulled it out, and by squeezing the paw very gently made a great deal of corrupt matter run out of it, which, probably freed the lion from the great anguish he had felt some time before. The lion left him upon receiving this good office from him, and soon after returned with a fawn which he had just killed. This he laid down at the feet of his benefactor, and went off again in pursuit of his prey. Androcles, after having sodden the flesh of it by the sun, subsisted upon it until the lion had supplied him with another. He lived many days in this frightful solitude, the lion catering for him with great assiduity. Being tired at length with this savage society, he was resolved to deliver himself up into his master's hands, and suffer the worst effects of his displeasure, rather than be thus driven out from mankind. His master, as was customary for the proconsuls of Africa, was at that time getting together a present of all the largest lions that could be found in the country, in order to send them to Rome, that they might furnish out a show to the Roman people. Upon his poor slave surrendering himself into his hands, he ordered him to be carried away to Rome as soon as the lions were in readiness to be sent,[Pg 169] and that for his crime he should be exposed to fight with one of the lions in the amphitheatre, as usual, for the diversion of the people. This was all performed accordingly. Androcles, after such a strange run of fortune, was now in the area of the theatre, amidst thousands of spectators, expecting every moment when his antagonist would come out upon him. At length a huge monstrous lion leaped out from the place where he had been kept hungry for the show. He advanced with great rage towards the man, but on a sudden, after having regarded him a little wistfully, fell to the ground, and crept towards his feet with all the signs of blandishment and caress. Androcles, after a short pause, discovered that it was his old Numidian friend, and immediately renewed his acquaintance with him. Their mutual congratulations were very surprising to the beholders, who, upon hearing an account of the whole matter from Androcles, ordered him to be pardoned, and the lion to be given up into his possession. Androcles returned at Rome the civilities which he had received from him in the deserts of Afric. Dion Cassius says, that he himself saw the man leading the lion about the streets of Rome, the people everywhere gathering about them, and repeating to one another, 'Hic est leo hospes hominis; hic est homo medicus leonis.' 'This is the lion who was the man's host; this is the man who was the lion's physician.'"

We are glad to repeat this anecdote, although some may call it "stale and old." The last time we were at the Zoological Gardens, in the Regents Park, London, we saw a lion very kindly come and rub itself against the rails of its den, on seeing a turbaned visitor come up, who addressed it. The man had been kind to it on its passage home.[Pg 170] It was by no means a tame lion, nor one that its keeper would have ventured to touch.

Sir George Davis and the Lion

Steele, in the 146th Guardian,[141] has followed up a paper by Addison, on the subject of lions, and gives an anecdote sent him, he says, by "a worthy merchant and a friend of mine," who had it in the year 1700 from the gentleman to whom it happened.

"About sixty years ago, when the plague raged at Naples, Sir George Davis, consul there for the English nation, retired to Florence. It happened one day he went out of curiosity to see the great duke's lions. At the farther end, in one of the dens, lay a lion, which the keepers in three years' time could not tame, with all the art and gentle usage imaginable. Sir George no sooner appeared at the grates of the den, but the lion ran to him with all the marks of joy and transport he was capable of expressing. He reared himself up, and licked his hand, which this gentleman put in through the grates. The keeper affrighted, took him by the arm and pulled him away, begging him not to hazard his life by going so near the fiercest creature of that kind that ever entered those dens. However, nothing would satisfy Sir George, notwithstanding all that could be said to dissuade him, but he must go into the den to him. The very instant he entered, the lion threw his paws upon his shoulders, and licked his face, and ran to and fro in the den, fawning and full of[Pg 171] joy, like a dog at the sight of his master. After several embraces and salutations exchanged on both sides, they parted very good friends. The rumour of this interview between the lion and the stranger rung immediately through the whole city, and Sir George was very near passing for a saint among the people. The great duke, when he heard of it, sent for Sir George, who waited upon his highness, to the den, and to satisfy his curiosity, gave him the following account of what seemed so strange to the duke and his followers:—

"'A captain of a ship from Barbary gave me this lion when he was a young whelp. I brought him up tame, but when I thought him too large to be suffered to run about the house, I built a den for him in my courtyard; from that time he was never permitted to go loose, except when I brought him within doors to show him to my friends. When he was five years old, in his gamesome tricks, he did some mischief by pawing and playing with people. Having griped a man one day a little too hard, I ordered him to be shot, for fear of incurring the guilt of what might happen; upon this a friend who was then at dinner with me begged him: how he came here I know not.'

Here Sir George Davis ended, and thereupon the Duke of Tuscany assured him that he had the lion from that very friend of his."

Canova's Lions and the Child.

The mausoleum of Pope Clement XII., whose name was Rezzonico, is one of the greatest works of Antonio Canova,[Pg 172] the celebrated Italian sculptor. It is in St Peter's, at Rome, and was erected in 1792. It is only mentioned here on account of two lions, which were faithfully studied from nature.

His biographer, Mr Memes,[142] tells us that these lions were formed "after long and repeated observation on the habits and forms of the living animals. Wherever they were to be seen Canova constantly visited them, at all hours, and under every variety of circumstances, that he might mark their natural expression in different states of action and of repose, of ferocity or gentleness. One of the keepers was even paid to bring information, lest any favourable opportunity should pass unimproved."

One of these lions is sleeping, while the other, which is under the figure of the personification of religion, couches—but is awake, in attitude of guarding inviolate the approach to the sepulchre, and ready with a tremendous roar to spring upon the intruder.

Canova himself was much pleased with these lions. Mr Memes illustrates their wonderful force and truth by a little anecdote.

"One day, while the author (a frequent employment) stood at some distance admiring from different points of view the tomb of Rezzonico, a woman with a child in her arms advanced to the lion, which appears to be watching. The terrified infant began to scream violently, clinging to the nurse's bosom, and exclaiming, 'Mordera, mamma, mordera!' (It will bite, mamma; it will bite.) The mother turned to the opposite one, which seems asleep;[Pg 173] her charge was instantly pacified; and smiling through tears, extended its little arm to stroke the shaggy head, whispering in subdued accents, as if afraid to awake the monster, 'O come placido! non mordero quello, mamma.' (How gentle! this one will not bite, mother.")

Admiral Napier and the Lion in the Tower.

Admiral Sir Charles Napier, K.C.B., when a boy in his fourteenth year, visited London on his way to join his first ship at Spithead, the Renown. His biographer tells us he was staying at the house of a relative, who, "after showing the youngster all the London sights, took him to see the lions at the Tower. Amongst them was one which the keeper represented as being so very tame that, said he, 'you might put your hand into his mouth.' Taking him at his word, the young middy, to the horror of the spectators, thrust his hand into the jaws of the animal, who, no doubt, was taken as much by surprise as the lookers-on. It was a daring feat; but providentially he did not suffer for his temerity."[143] This reminds the biographer of Nelson's feat with the polar bear, and of Charles Napier's (the soldier) bold adventure with an eagle in his boyhood, as related by Sir William Napier in the history of his gallant brother's life.

Old Lady and the Beasts on the Mound.

When the houses were cleared from the head of the Mound in Edinburgh, a travelling menagerie had set up its caravans on that great earthen bridge, just at the time[Pg 174] when George Ferguson, the celebrated Scotch advocate, better known by his justiciary title of Lord Hermand, came up, full of Pittite triumph that the ministry of "all the talents" had fallen. "They are out! they are all out! every mother's son of them!" he shouted. A lady, who heard the words, and perceived his excited condition, imagined that he referred to the wild beasts; and seizing the judge by his arm, exclaimed, "Gude heaven! we shall a' be devoored!"[144]


A most intelligent group of creatures, some of which the compiler has watched in Yell Sound, close to Mossbank. He has even seen them once or twice in the Forth, close to the end of the pier. In the Zoological Gardens a specimen of the common seal proved for months a great source of attraction by its mild nature, and its singular form and activity. It soon died, and, had a coroner's jury returned a verdict, it would have been "Death from the hooks swallowed with the fish" daily provided. We have heard seal-fishers describe the great rapidity of the growth of seals in the Arctic seas. They seem in about a fortnight after their birth to attain nearly the size of their mothers. The same has been recorded of the whale order. Both seals and whales have powers of assimilating food and making fat that are unparalleled even by pigs. The intelligence of seals is marvellous. Many who visited the Zoological[Pg 175] Gardens in the Regent's Park in May and June 1866 witnessed instances of this in a seal from the South Seas, recently exhibited in London. Persons on the sea-side might readily domesticate these interesting and truly affectionate creatures. Hooker's sea-bear, the species exhibited in London, was at first, so the kind Frenchman told us, very fierce, but soon got reconciled to him, and, when I saw it, great was the mutual attachment. It was a strangely interesting sight to see the great creature walk on its fin-like legs, and clamber up and kiss the genial-bearded French sailor.

Dr Adam Clarke on Shetland Seals.

In Shetland, Dr Adam Clarke tells us the popular belief is that the seals, or, as they call them, selkies, are fallen spirits, and that it is dangerous to kill any of them, as evil will assuredly happen to him who does. They think that when the blood of a seal touches the water, the sea begins to rise and swell. Those who shoot them notice that gulls appear to watch carefully over them; and Mr Edmonston assured him that he has known a gull scratch, a seal to warn it of his approach. Dr Clarke, in the second of his voyages to Shetland, had a seal on board, which was caught on the Island of Papa. He says:—"It refuses all nourishment; it is very young, and about three feet long; it roars nearly like a calf, but not so loud, and continually crawls about the deck, seeking to get again to sea. As I cannot bear its cries, I intend to return it to the giver. Several of them have been tamed by the Shetlanders, and these will attend their owners to the place where the cows[Pg 176] are milked, in order to get a drink. This was the case with one Mr Henry of Burrastow brought up. When it thought proper it would go to sea and forage there, but was sure to return to land, and to its owner. They tell me that it is a creature of considerable sagacity. The young seal mentioned above made his escape over the gangway, and got to sea. I am glad of it; for its plaintive lowing was painful to me. We saw it afterwards making its way to the ocean."[145]

Dr Edmonston on Shetland Seals.

Every one familiar with seals is struck with their plaintive, intelligent faces, and any one who has seen the seals from time to time living in the Zoological Gardens must have been pleased with the marks of attention paid by them to their keepers. Dr Edmonston of Balta Sound has published in the "Memoirs of the Wernerian Society"[146] a graphic and valuable paper on the distinctions, history, and hunting of seals in the Shetland Isles. As that gentleman is a native of Unst, and had, when he wrote the Memoir, been for more than twenty years actively engaged in their pursuit, both as an amusement and as a study, we may extract two or three interesting passages.

He remarks (p. 29) on the singular circumstance that so few additions have been made to the list of domestic animals bequeathed to us from remote antiquity, and mentions the practicability of an attempt being made to tame seals; and also says that it is yet to be learned whether[Pg 177] they would breed in captivity and remain reclaimed from the wild state. The few instances recorded in books of natural history of tame seals refer to the species called Phoca vitulina, but of the processes of rearing and education we have no details. "The trials," continues Dr Edmonston, "I have made on these points have been equally numerous on the great as on the common seal. By far the most interesting one I ever had was a young male of the barbata species: he was taken by myself from a cave when only a few hours old, and in a day or two became as attached as a dog to me. The varied movements and sounds by which he expressed delight at my presence and regret at my absence were most affecting; these sounds were as like as possible to the inarticulate tones of the human voice. I know no animal capable of displaying more affection than he did, and his temper was the gentlest imaginable. I kept him for four or five weeks, feeding him entirely on warm milk from the cow; in my temporary absence butter-milk was given to him, and he died soon after.

"Another was a female, also of the great seal species, which we captured in a cave when about six weeks old, in October 1830. This individual would never allow herself to be handled but by the person who chiefly had the charge of her, yet even she soon became comparatively familiar.

"It was amusing to see how readily she ascended the stairs, which she often did, intent, as it seemed, on examining every room in the house; on showing towards her signs of displeasure and correction, she descended more rapidly and safely than her awkwardness seemed to promise.[Pg 178]

"She was fed from the first on fresh fish alone, and grew and fattened considerably. We had her carried down daily in a hand-barrow to the sea-side, where an old excavation admitting the salt water was abundantly roomy and deep for her recreation and our observation. After sporting and diving for some time she would come ashore, and seemed perfectly to understand the use of the barrow. Often she tried to waddle from the house to the water, or from the latter to her apartment, but finding this fatiguing, and seeing preparations by her chairman, she would of her own accord mount her palanquin, and thus be carried as composedly as any Hindoo princess. By degrees we ventured to let her go fairly into the sea, and she regularly returned after a short interval; but one day during a thick fall of snow she was imprudently let off as usual, and, being decoyed some distance out of sight of the shore by some wild ones which happened to be in the bay at the time, she either could not find her way back or voluntarily decamped.

"She was, we understood, killed very shortly after in a neighbouring inlet. We had kept her about six months, and every moment she was becoming more familiar; we had dubbed her Finna, and she seemed to know her name. Every one that saw her was struck with her appearance.

"The smooth face without external ears—the nose slightly aquiline—the large, dark, and beautiful eye which stood the sternest human gaze, gave to the expression of her countenance such dignity and variety that we all agreed that it really was super-animal. The Scandinavian Scald, with such a mermaid before him, would find in her eye a[Pg 179] metaphor so emphatic that he would have no reason to borrow the favourite oriental image of the gazelles from his Caucasian ancestors.

"This remarkable expressiveness and dignity of aspect of the Haff-fish, so superior to all other animals with which the fishermen of Shetland were acquainted, and the human character of his voice, may have procured for him that peculiar respect with which he was regarded by those who lived nearest his domains, and were admitted to most frequent intercourse with him. He was the favourite animal of superstition, and a few tales of him are still current. These, however, are not of much interest or variety, the leading ideas in them being these: That the great seal is a human soul, or a fallen angel in metempsychosis, and that to him who is remarkable for hostility to the phocal race some fatal retribution will ensue. I can easily conceive the feeling of awe with which a fisherman would be impressed when, in the sombre magnificence of some rocky solitude, a great seal suddenly presented himself, for an interview of this kind once occurred to myself.

"I was lying one calm summer day on a rock a little elevated above the water, watching the approach of seals, in a small creek formed by frowning precipices several hundred feet high, near the north point of the Shetland Islands.

"I had patiently waited for two hours, and the scene and the sunshine had thrown me into a kind of reverie, when my companion, who was more awake, arrested my attention. A full-sized female haff-fish was swimming slowly past, within eight yards of my feet, her head askance, and her eyes fixed upon me; the gun, charged with two balls,[Pg 180] was immediately pointed. I followed her with the aim for some distance, when she dived without my firing.

"I resolved that this omission should not recur, if she afforded me another opportunity of a shot, which I hardly hoped for, but which actually in a few moments took place. Still I did not fire, until, when at a considerable distance, she was on the eve of diving, and she eluded the shot by springing to a side. Here was really a species of fascination. The wild scene, the near presence and commanding aspect of the splendid animal before me, produced a spellbound impression which, in my sporting experience, I never felt before.

"On reflection, I was delighted that she escaped.

"The younger seals are the more easy to tame, but the more difficult to rear; under a month old they must be fed, and, especially the barbata, almost entirely on milk, and that of the cow seems hardly to agree with them.

"Perhaps their being suckled by a cow fed chiefly on fish, the giving them occasionally a little salt water, and then by degrees inducing them to eat fish, might be the best mode until they attained the age of being sustained on fish alone. In the barbata, to insure rapid taming, it appears to be necessary to capture them before the period of casting the fœtal hair, analogous to what I have observed in the case of the young of water-birds before getting up their first feathers, and when they are entirely covered with the egg down.

"These changes seem connected with a great development of the wild habits, and attachment to, and knowledge of, the localities where they have first seen the light. As the barbata is until this period in reality a land animal, the[Pg 181] chief difficulty we have to surmount with it is in the quality of the milk to be given it. The vitulina is essentially an inhabitant of the water from its birth, yet the care of the mother is perhaps for weeks necessary to judge how long and how often it should be on land, and this we can hardly expect to imitate. In the young of this species a few days old, which we have tried to rear, a want of knowledge of this kind of management may have led to failure. I have not attempted to rear them at a greater age.

"The Greenland seal is, I have been informed, occasionally kept for a month or two on board the whalers, and thrives sufficiently well on the flesh of sea-birds. This species appears to bring forth in January, and therefore it is subjected to captivity.

"I know but comparatively little of its capability of being easily tamed; but this quality, of itself, is no evidence of superior intelligence.

"Might it not be easy to induce Greenland shipmasters to bring some of these animals to England, where they would be accessible to the observation of zoologists.

"One mode of attempting to tame them might be to take half-grown animals in a net, or surprise them on land, and then keep them in salt-water ponds in a semi-domestic state: if any of them were pregnant when caught, or could be got to breed, the main difficulty would be overcome."

Long as these extracts are, they possess great interest as being derived from observations on living animals made by one who was a friend of the Duke of Wellington, and was always welcomed by him. His northern Island of Unst is a fine field for studying marine animals. The sweeping currents of the Arctic oceans bring creatures to[Pg 182] the quiet voes and sounds. Shetland in spring, summer, and autumn is a favoured locality for the naturalist and painter.

The Walrus.

There was some likelihood, a few years ago, that a most attractive animal would be added to the collection of the Zoological Society. But, unfortunately for the public gratification, as well as the remuneration of the spirited captain who brought the creature, it reached the gardens in a dying state, and only survived a few days. But it is not the first of its family which has travelled so far to the southward. Nearly 250 years ago a specimen was brought alive by some of the Arctic adventurers, and excited no little surprise, as old Purchas tells us. It was in the year 1608, when "the king and many honourable personages beheld it with admiration, for the strangeness of the same, the like whereof had never before beene seene alive in England. Not long after it fell sicke and died. As the beast in shape is very strange, so is it of strange docilitie, and apt to be taught, as by good experience we often proved."

The figure which accompanies this paper was drawn from our late lamented visitor by Mr Wolf, who sketched it before its removal to the Zoological Gardens. Captain Henry caught it during a whaling expedition, and sent it to London. Though quite young, it was nearly four feet in length; and when the person who used to feed it came into the room, it would give him an affectionate greeting, in a voice somewhat resembling the cry of a calf, but considerably louder. It walked about, but, owing to its[Pg 183] weakness, soon grew tired, and lay down. Unlike the seals, to which it is closely allied, the walrus has considerable power with its limbs when out of the water, and can support its bulky body quite clear of the ground. Its mode of progression, however, is awkward when compared with ordinary quadrupeds; its hind-limbs shuffling along, as if inclosed in a sack. In some future season, when a lively specimen reaches the Gardens, and is accommodated with an extensive tank of water, there is no reason why the walrus should not thrive as well as the seal, or his close, though not kind, neighbour of the North, the Polar bear.

The Walrus. The Walrus.

The walrus, morse, or sea-horse (Trichechus rosmarus, Linn.[147]), is one of the most characteristic inhabitants of the Arctic regions. There it is widely distributed, and thence it seldom wanders. One or two specimens were killed on the shores of the northern Scottish islands in 1817 and 1825; but these instances seem hardly to admit of its introduction into our fauna, any more than West Indian beans, brought by the currents, are admissible into our flora. It is mentioned by some old Scottish writers[148] among our native animals, and at one time may have been carried to our coasts on some of the bergs, which are occasionally seen in the German Ocean after the periodical disruptions of the Arctic ice. Like the Polar bear, however, the walrus has evidently been formed by its Creator for a life among icy seas, and there it is now found often in large herds. Captain Beechey and other voyagers to[Pg 184] the seas around Spitzbergen, describe them as being particularly abundant on the western coast of that inclement island. The captain says that in fine weather they resort to large pieces of ice at the edge of the main body, where herds of them may be seen of sometimes more than a hundred individuals each. "In these situations they appear greatly to enjoy themselves, rolling and sporting about, and frequently making the air resound with their bellowing, which bears some resemblance to that of a bull. These diversions generally end in sleep, during which these wary animals appear always to take the precaution of having a sentinel to warn them of any danger." The only warning, however, which the sentinel gives, is by seeking his own safety; in effecting which, as the herd lie huddled on one another like swine, the motion of one is speedily communicated to the whole, and they instantly tumble, one over the other, into the sea, head-foremost, if possible; but failing that, anyhow.

Scoresby remarks that the front part of the head of the young walrus, without tusks, when seen at a distance, is not unlike the human face. It has the habit of raising its head above the water to look at ships and other passing objects; and when seen in such a position, it may have given rise to some of the stories of mermaids.

There is still a considerable uncertainty as to the food of the walrus. Cook found no traces of aliment in the stomachs of those shot by his party. Crantz says that in Greenland shell-fish and sea-weeds seem to be its only subsistence. Scoresby found shrimps, a kind of craw-fish, and the remains of young seals, in the stomachs of those which he examined. Becchey mentions, that in the inside[Pg 185] of several specimens he found numerous granite pebbles larger than walnuts. These may be taken for the same purpose that some birds, especially of the gallinaceous order, swallow bits of gravel. Dr Von Baer concludes, from an analysis of all the published accounts, that the walrus is omnivorous.[149] A specimen that died at St Petersburg was fed on oatmeal mixed with turnips or other vegetables; and the little fellow, who lately died in the Regent's Park, seems to have been fed by the sailors on oatmeal porridge.

One of the chief characteristics of the walrus is the presence of two elongated tusks (the canine teeth) in the upper jaw. According to Crantz, it uses these to scrape mussels and other shell-fish from the rocks and out of the sand, and also to grapple and get along with, for they enable it to raise itself on the ice. They are also powerful weapons of defence against the Polar bear and its other enemies.

The walrus attains a great size. Twelve feet is the length of a fine specimen in the British Museum. Beechey's party found some of them fourteen feet in length and nine feet in girth, and of such prodigious weight that they could scarcely turn them over.

Gratifying accounts are given of the attachment of the female to its young, and the male occasionally assists in their defence when exposed to danger, or at least in revenging the attack. Lord Nelson, when a lad, was cox[Pg 186]wain to one of the ships of Phipps's expedition to the Arctic seas, and commanded a boat, which was the means of saving a party belonging to the other ship from imminent danger. "Some of the officers had fired at and wounded a walrus. As no other animal," says Southey, "has so human-like an expression in its countenance, so also is there none that seems to possess more of the passions of humanity. The wounded animal dived immediately, and brought up a number of its companions; and they all joined in an attack upon the boat. They wrested an oar from one of the men; and it was with the utmost difficulty that the crew could prevent them from staving or upsetting her, till the Carcass's boat (commanded by young Horatio Nelson) came up: and the walruses, finding their enemies thus reinforced, dispersed." And Captain Beechey gives the following pleasing picture of maternal affection which he witnessed in the seas around Spitzbergen: "We were greatly amused by the singular and affectionate conduct of a walrus towards its young. In the vast sheet of ice which surrounded the ships, there were occasionally many pools; and when the weather was clear and warm, animals of various kinds would frequently rise and sport about in them, or crawl from thence upon the ice to bask in the warmth of the sun. A walrus rose in one of these pools close to the ship, and, finding everything quiet, dived down and brought up its young, which it held to its breast by pressing it with its flipper. In this manner it moved about the pool, keeping in an erect posture, and always directing the face of the young towards the vessel. On the slightest movement on board, the mother released her flipper, and pushed the young one under[Pg 187] water; but, when everything was again quiet, brought it up as before, and for a length of time continued to play about in the pool, to the great amusement of the seamen, who gave her credit for abilities in tuition, which, though possessed of considerable sagacity, she hardly merited."

The walrus has two great enemies in its icy home—the Polar bear and the Esquimaux. Captain Beechey thus graphically describes the manœuvres of that king of the Bruin race, which must often be attended with success. The bears, when hungry, are always on the watch for animals sleeping upon the ice, and try to come on them unawares, as their prey darts through holes in the ice. "One sunshiny day a walrus, of nine or ten feet length, rose in a pool of water not very far from us; and after looking around, drew his greasy carcase upon the ice, where he rolled about for a time, and at length laid himself down to sleep. A bear, which had probably been observing his movements, crawled carefully upon the ice on the opposite side of the pool, and began to roll about also, but apparently more with design than amusement, as he progressively lessened the distance that intervened between him and his prey. The walrus, suspicious of his advances, drew himself up preparatory to a precipitate retreat into the water in case of a nearer acquaintance with his playful but treacherous visitor; on which the bear was instantly motionless, as if in the act of sleep; but after a time began to lick his paws, and clean himself, occasionally encroaching a little more upon his intended prey. But even this artifice did not succeed; the wary walrus was far too cunning to allow himself to be entrapped, and suddenly plunged into the pool; which the bear no sooner observed[Pg 188] than he threw off all disguise, rushed towards the spot, and followed him in an instant into the water, where, I fear, he was as much disappointed in his meal, as we were of the pleasure of witnessing a very interesting encounter."

The meat of the walrus is not despised by Europeans, and its heart is reckoned a delicacy. To the Esquimaux there is no greater treat than a kettle well filled with walrus-blubber; and to the natives along Behring's Straits this quadruped is as valuable as is the palm to the sons of the desert. Their canoes are covered with its skin; their weapons and sledge-runners, and many useful articles, are formed from its tusks; their lamps are filled with its oil; and they themselves are fed with its fat and its fibre. So thick is the skin, that a bayonet is almost the only weapon which can pierce it. Cut into shreds, it makes excellent cordage, being especially adapted for wheel-ropes. The tusks bear a high commercial value, and are extensively employed by dentists in the manufacture of artificial teeth. The fat of a good-sized specimen yields thirty gallons of oil.—A. White, from "Excelsior."


What dissertation on the strange outward form, or stranger mode of reproduction to which this famed member of the Marsupialia belongs, could contain as much in little space as Charles Lamb's happy description in his letter to Baron Field, his "distant correspondent" in New South Wales? When that was written, and for long after, it may be[Pg 189] necessary to tell some, Australia was chiefly known as the land of the convict.

"Tell me," writes Elia, "what your Sidneyites do? Are they th-v-ng all day long? Merciful heaven! what property can stand against such a depredation? The kangaroos—your aborigines—do they keep their primitive simplicity un-Europe-tainted, with those little short forepuds, looking like a lesson framed by nature to the pickpocket! Marry, for diving into fobs they are rather lamely provided a priori; but if the hue and cry were once up, they would show as fair a pair of hind-shifters as the expertest locomotor in the colony."[150]

In one of his letters to another of his favoured correspondents he alludes to his friend Field having gone to a country where there are so many thieves that even the kangaroos have to wear their pockets in front, lest they be picked!

Kangaroo Cooke.

Major-General Henry Frederick Cooke, C.B. and K.C.H., commonly called Kang-Cooke, was a captain in the Coldstream Guards, and aide-de-camp to the Duke of York. He was called the kangaroo by his intimate associates. It is said that this arose from his once having let loose a cageful of these animals at Pidcock's Menagerie, or from his answer to the Duke of York, who, inquiring how he fared in the Peninsula, replied that he "could get nothing to eat but kangaroo."[151] Moore, in his Diary,[152][Pg 190] December 13, 1820, records that he dined with him and others at Lord Granard's. Cooke told of Admiral Cotton once (at Lisbon, I think) saying during dinner, "Make signals for the Kangaroo to get under way;" and Cooke, who had just been expressing his anxiety to leave Lisbon, thought the speech alluded to his nickname, and considered it an extraordinary liberty for one who knew so little of him as Admiral Cotton to take. He found out afterwards, however, that his namesake was a sloop-of-war.


(Thylacinus cynocephalus.)

The great order, or rather division, of mammalia, the Marsupialia,[153] is furnished with a pouch, into which the young are received and nourished at a very early period of their existence. The first species of the group, known to voyagers and naturalists, was the celebrated opossum of North America, whose instinctive care to defend itself from danger causes it to feign the appearance of death. As the great continent of Australia became known, it was found that the great mass of its mammalia, from the gigantic kangaroo to the pigmy, mouse-like potoroo, belonged to this singular order. The order contains a most anomalous set of animals, some being exclusively carnivorous, some chiefly subsisting on insects, while others browse on grass; and many live on fruits and leaves, which they climb trees to procure; a smaller portion sub[Pg 191]sisting on roots, for which they burrow in the ground. The gentle and deer-faced kangaroo belongs to this order; the curious bandicoots, the tree-frequenting phalangers and petauri, the savage "native devil,"[154] and the voracious subject of this notice.

The "tiger-wolf" is a native of Van Diemen's Land, and is strictly confined to that island. It was first described in the ninth volume of the "Linnean Transactions," under the name of Didelphis cynocephalus, or "dog-headed opossum," the English name being an exact translation of its Latin one. Its non-prehensile tail, peculiar feet, and different arrangement of teeth, pointed out to naturalists that it entered into a genus distinct from the American opossums; and to this genus the name of Thylacinus[155] has been applied; its specific name cynocephalus being still retained in conformity with zoological nomenclature, although M. Temminck, the founder of the genus, honoured the species with the name of its first describer, and called it Thylacinus Harrisii.

Mr Gould has given a short account of this quadruped in his great work, "The Mammals of Australia," accompanied with two plates, one showing the head of the male, of the natural size, in such a point of view as to exhibit the applicability of one of the names applied to it by the colonists, that of "zebra-wolf." He justly remarks that it must be regarded as by far the most formidable of all the marsupial animals, as it certainly is the most savage[Pg 192] indigenous quadruped belonging to the Australian continent. Although it is too feeble to make a successful attack on man, it commits great havoc among the smaller quadrupeds of the country; and to the settler it is a great object of dread, as his poultry and other domestic animals are never safe from its attacks. His sheep are, especially, an object of the colonist's anxious care, as he can house his poultry, and thus secure them from the prowler; but his flocks, wandering about over the country, are liable to be attacked at night by the tiger-wolf, whose habits are strictly nocturnal. Mr Gunn has seen some so large and powerful that a number of dogs would not face one of them. It has become an object with the settler to destroy every specimen he can fall in with, so that it is much rarer than it was at the time Mr Harris, its first describer, wrote its history, at least in the cultivated districts. Much, however, of Van Diemen's Land is still in a state of nature, and as large tracts of forest-land remain yet uncleared, there is abundance of covert for it still in the more remote parts of the colony, and it is even now often seen at Woolnoth and among the Hampshire hills. In such places it feeds on the smaller species of kangaroos and other marsupials,—bandicoots, and kangaroo-rats, while even the prickle-covered echidna—a much more formidable mouthful than any hedgehog—supplies the tiger-wolf with a portion of its sustenance. The specimen described by Mr Harris was caught in a trap baited with the flesh of the kangaroo. When opened, the remains of a half-digested echidna[156] were found in its stomach.[Pg 193]

The tiger-wolf has a certain amount of daintiness in its appetite when in a state of nature. From the observations of Mr Gunn it would seem that nothing will induce it to prey on the wombat,[157] a fat, sluggish, marsupial quadruped, abundant in the districts which it frequents, and whose flesh would seem to be very edible, seeing that it lives on fruits and roots. No sooner, however, was the sheep introduced than the tiger-wolf began to attack the flocks, and has ever since shown a most unmistakable appetite for mutton, preferring the flesh of that most useful and easily-mastered quadruped to that of any kangaroo however venison-like, or bandicoot however savoury. The colonists of Van Diemen's land have applied various names to this animal, according as its resemblance to other ferocious quadrupeds of different climates struck their fancy. The names of "tiger," "hyena," and "zebra-wolf," are partly acquired from its ferocity, somewhat corresponding with that of these well-known carnivorous denizens of other lands, and partly from the black bands which commence behind the shoulders, and which extend in length on the haunches, and resemble in some faint measure those on the barred tyrant of the Indian jungles, and the other somewhat similarly ornamented mammalia implied in the names. These bars are well relieved by the general grayish-brown colour of the fur, which is somewhat woolly in its texture, from each of the hairs of which it is composed being waved.[Pg 194]

The specimens in the Zoological Gardens are very shy and restless; when alarmed they dash and leap about their dens and utter a short guttural cry somewhat resembling a bark. This shyness is partly to be attributed to their imperfect vision by day, and partly to their resemblance in character to the wolf, whose treachery and suspicious manners in confinement must have struck every one who has gazed on this "gaunt savage" in his den in the Regent's Park. The specimens exhibited are the first living members of the species first brought to Europe. The male was taken in November 1849, and the female at an earlier period in the same year, on the upper part of St Patrick's River, about thirty miles north-east of Launceston. After being gradually accustomed to confinement by Mr Gunn, they were shipped for this country, and reached the Gardens in the spring of 1850. It is very seldom, indeed, that they are caught alive; and when so caught they are generally at once killed, so that it was with some difficulty and by offering a considerable pecuniary inducement to the shepherds, that they were at last secured for the Zoological Society.[158] In their den they show great activity, and can bound upwards nearly to the roof of the place where they are confined.—A. White, from "Excelsior."


The one with its long plume-like tail, organised for a life among trees, the other with its home in the arctic[Pg 195] regions, belong to an order not generally distinguished for intelligence, although, the beaver, once reputed a miracle of mind, belongs to it. The glirine or rodent animals are generally of small or moderate size, though some, like the water-loving capybara, are of considerable dimensions.

The squirrel is a fine subject for a painter. There is a picture by Sir Edwin Landseer, of a squirrel and bullfinch. On an engraving of it, published in 1865, is inscribed "a pair of nut-crackers,"—a happy title, and very apposite.

Jekyll saw in Colman's chambers a squirrel in the usual round cage. "Ah! poor devil," said Jekyll, "he's going the home circuit."[159]

If you come upon a squirrel on the ground, he is not long in getting to the topmost branch of the highest tree, so perfectly is he adapted for "rising" at a "bar"!

Pets of some of the Revolutionary Butchers. A Squirrel.

Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Bart., in his novel, "Zanoni,"[160] pictures Citizen Couthon fondling a little spaniel "that he invariably carried in his bosom, even to the Convention, as a vent for the exuberant sensibilities which overflowed his affectionate heart."

In a note the novelist remarks—

"This tenderness for some pet animal was by no means peculiar to Couthon; it seems rather a common fashion[Pg 196] with the gentle butchers of the Revolution. M. George Duval informs us ('Souvenirs de la Terreur,' iii. p. 183), that Chaumette had an aviary, to which he devoted his harmless leisure; the murderous Fournier carried, on his shoulders, a pretty little squirrel attached by a silver chain; Panis bestowed the superfluity of his affections upon two gold pheasants; and Marat, who would not abate one of the three hundred thousand heads he demanded, reared doves! Apropos of the spaniel of Couthon, Duval gives us a characteristic anecdote of Sergent, not one of the least relentless agents of the massacre of September. A lady came to implore his protection for one of her relations confined in the Abbaye. He scarcely deigned to speak to her. As she retired in despair, she trod by accident on the paw of his favourite spaniel. Sergent, turning round, enraged and furious, exclaimed, 'Madam, have you no humanity?'"

Arctic Voyager and the Lemming.

Captain Back, on his arctic land expedition, when returning in September 1835, encountered a severe gale, which forced them to land their boat, and as the water rose they had three times to haul it higher on the bank. He introduces an affecting little incident: "So completely cold and drenched was everything outside, that a poor little lemming, unable to contend with the floods, which had driven it successively from all its retreats, crept silently under the tent, and snuggled away in precarious security within a few paces of a sleeping terrier. Unconscious of its danger, it licked its fur coat, and darted its bright eyes from object to object, as if pleased and surprised with its[Pg 197] new quarters; but soon the pricked ears of the awakened dog announced its fate, and in another instant the poor little stranger was quivering in his jaws!"[161]

Mr McDougall?][162] records several amusing anecdotes of the little arctic lemming, named Arctomys Spermophilus Parryi, after the great arctic voyager. He says,—"My own experience of those industrious little warriors tended to prove that they possessed a strange combination of sociality and combativeness. Industrious they most certainly are, as is shown by the complicated excavation of their subterranean cities; besides which, every feather and hair of bird and animal found in the vicinity of their dwellings, is made to contribute its iota of warmth and comfort to the interior of their winter quarters.

"I had," continues the master of the Resolute, "many opportunities of watching their movements during my detention at Winter Harbour. My tent happened to be pitched immediately over one of their large towns, causing its inhabitants to issue forth from its thousand gates to catch a view of the strangers. Frequently on waking we have found the little animals, rolled up in a ball, snugly ensconced within the folds of our blanket-bags; nor would they be expelled from such a warm and desirable position without showing fight. On several occasions I observed Naps, the dog, fast asleep with one or two lemmings huddled away between its legs, like so many pups."[Pg 198]

He says that Lieutenant Mecham noticed an Esquimaux dog, named Buffer, trudging along, nose to the ground, quite unconscious of danger, when a lemming, suddenly starting from its cavern, seized poor Buffer by the nose, inflicting a severe wound. The dog, astounded at such an unsuspected assault, gave a dismal howl, and at length shook the enemy off, after which he became the attacking party, and in less than a minute the presumptuous assailant disappeared between the jaws of the Tartar he had attempted to catch.


Why should we not, like Grainger, begin this section as the writer of "The Sugar-Cane" does one of his paragraphs—

"Come muse! let's sing of rats."

The "restless rottens" and mice need little introduction. They are a most fertile race, and some species of them seem only to be in human habitations. They are terrible nuisances, and yet rat-skins are said to be manufactured in Paris into gloves.

Sydney Smith's comparison of some one dying like a poisoned rat in a ditch is a powerful one. The same writer, in hunting down an unworthy man, with his cutting criticism, says, that he did it not on account of his power, but to put down what might prove noisome if not settled, much as a Dutch burgomaster might hunt a rat, not for its value, but because by its boring it might cause[Pg 199] the water to break through his dikes, and thus flood his native land.

Robert Browning, in one of his poems, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," has powerfully described an incursion of rats. A few lines may be quoted:—

"Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in their cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

"And ere three shrill notes the pipes had uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling—
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats;
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails, and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives—
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped, advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser
Wherein all plunged and perished,
Save one."
[Pg 200]

The Duke of Wellington and the Musk-rat.

Mr Taylor, in his notes to the artist Haydon's Autobiography, tells us that a favourite expression of the Duke of Wellington, when people tried to coax him to do what he had resolved not to do, was, "The rat has got into the bottle." This not very intelligible expression may refer to an anecdote I have heard of the Duke's once telling, in his later days, how the musk-rats in India got into bottles, which ever after retained the odour of musk. "Either the rats must be very small," said a lady who heard him, "or the bottles very large." "On the contrary, madam," was the Duke's reply, "very small bottles and very large rats." "That is the style of logic we have to deal with at the Horse Guards," whispered Lord ——.

Lady Eglintoun and the Rats.

Mr Robert Chambers, in his "Traditions of Edinburgh" (p. 191), gives an interesting account of the elegant Susanna, Countess of Eglintoun, who was in her eighty-fifth year when Johnson and Boswell visited her. She died in 1780, at the age of ninety-one, having preserved to the last her stately mien and fine complexion. She is said to have washed her face periodically with sow's milk.

"This venerable woman amused herself latterly in taming and patronising rats. She kept a vast number of these animals in her pay at Auchans, and they succeeded in her affections the poets and artists she had loved in early life. It does not reflect much credit upon the latter, that her ladyship used to complain of never having met with true[Pg 201] gratitude except from four-footed animals. She had a panel in the oak wainscot of her dining-room, which she tapped upon and opened at meal times, when ten or twelve jolly rats came tripping forth, and joined her at table. At the word of command or a signal from her ladyship, they retired again to their native obscurity—a trait of good sense in the character and habits of the animals which, it is hardly necessary to remark, patrons do not always find in two-legged protégés."

General Douglas and the Rats.

The biographer of this highly-distinguished military engineer-officer relates an anecdote of him when a lieutenant at Tynemouth. The future author of well-known works on Gunnery and Military Bridges, early began to show ability in mechanics. "Lieutenant Douglas occupied a room barely habitable, and had to contest the tenancy with rats, which asserted their claim with such tenacity, that he went to sleep at the risk of being devoured. Their incursions compelled him to furnish himself with loaded pistols and a tinder-box, and he kept watch one night, remaining quiet till there was an irruption, when he started up and struck a light. But his vigilance proved of no avail, for the clink of the flint and steel caused a stampede, and not a rat remained by the time he had kindled the tinder. Their flight suggested to him another device. He looked out all the holes, and covered them with slides, connected with each other by wires, and these he fastened to a string, which enabled him to draw them all with one pull, and thus close the outlets. The con[Pg 202]trivance claims to be mentioned as his first success in mechanics, foreshadowing his future expertness. It came into use the same night: he pulled the string without rising from bed, then struck a light, while the rats flew off to the holes to find them blocked, and he shot them at leisure. Two or three such massacres cleared off the intruders, and left him undisturbed in his quarters."[163]

Hanover Rats.

How amusingly does Mr Waterton show his attachment to the extinct Stuarts in his essays. Go where he may, "a Hanover rat" pops up before him. In his charming autobiography appended to the three series of his graphic essays, whether he be in Rome or Cologne, in York or London, at a farm-house, or on board a steamer on the Rhine, "a Hanover rat" is sure to be encountered. We could cite many amusing illustrations.

Earl Stanhope[164] speaks of the Jacobites after the death of Anne reviling all adherents of the court as "a parcel of Roundheads and Hanover rats." This is the phrase used by Squire Western in Fielding's novel of "Tom Jones." He tells us that the former of these titles was the by-word first applied to the Calvinistic preachers in the civil wars, from the close cropped hair which they affected as distinguished from the flowing curls of the cavaliers. The[Pg 203] second phrase was of far more recent origin. It so chanced that not long after the accession of the House of Hanover, some of the brown, that is, the German or Norway rats, were first brought over to this country in some timber, as is said; and being much stronger than the black, or till then, the common rats, they in many places quite extirpated the latter. The word, both the noun and the verb "to rat," was first levelled at the converts to the government of George the First, but has by degrees obtained a wider meaning, and come to be applied to any sudden and mercenary change in politics. The ravages of rats might form the subject of a curious volume. They are not at all literary in their tastes, though they are known to eat through bales of books, should they be placed in the way of their runs. The booksellers in the Row always leave room between the wall and the books in their cellars, to allow room for this predacious vermin.

Mr Cole, when examined before the Committee of the House on the condition of the depositories of the Records some time ago, stated that "six or seven perfect skeletons of rats were found imbedded (in the Rolls); bones of these vermin were generally distributed throughout the mass, and a dog was employed in hunting the live ones."

Irishman Employed Shooting Rats.

Luttrell visited Sydney Smith at his parsonage in Somersetshire. The London wit told some amusing Irish stories, and his manner of telling them was so good. "One: 'Is your master at home, Paddy?' 'No, your honour.' 'Why, I saw him go in five minutes ago.'[Pg 204] 'Faith, your honour, he's not exactly at home; he's only there in the back yard a-shooting rats with cannon, your honour, for his devarsion.'"[165]

James Watt and the Rat's Whiskers.

Mrs Schimmelpenninck in her youth lived at Birmingham, where she often met James Watt. In her autobiography (p. 34), she says, "Everybody practically knew the infinite variety of his talents and stores of knowledge. When Mr Watt entered a room, men of letters, men of science, nay, military men, artists, ladies, even little children thronged round him. I remember a celebrated Swedish artist having been instructed by him that rats' whiskers made the most pliant and elastic painting-brush; ladies would appeal to him on the best means of devising grates, curing smoky chimneys, warming their houses, and obtaining fast colours. I can speak from experience of his teaching me how to make a dulcimer, and improve a Jew's harp."

The Poet Gray compares the Poet-Laureate to a Rat-catcher.

The poet Gray very much despised such offices as that of the poet-laureate, or that held by Elkanah Settle, the last of the city poets whose name is held up to ridicule by Pope in the "Dunciad." In a letter to the Rev. Wm. Mason,[166] he puts this very strikingly:[Pg 205]

"Though I very well know the bland emolient saponaceous qualities both of sack and silver, yet if any great man would say to me, 'I make you rat-catcher to his Majesty, with a salary of £300 a year, and two butts of the best Malaga; and though it has been usual to catch a mouse or two, for form's sake, in public once a year, yet to you, sir, we shall not stand upon these things,' I cannot say I should jump at it; nay, if they would drop the very name of the office, and call me Sinecure to the King's Majesty, I should still feel a little awkward, and think everybody I saw smelt a rat about me: but I do not pretend to blame any one else that has not the same sensations. For my part, I would rather be serjeant-trumpeter or pinmaker to the palace."

Jeremy Bentham and the Mice.

The biographer of Jeremy Bentham[167] tells us that among the animals he was fond of were mice. They were encouraged "to play" about in his workshop. I remember, when one got among his papers, that he exclaimed, "Ho! ho! here's a mouse at work; why won't he come into my lap?—but then I ought to be writing legislation, and that would not do."

One day, while we were at dinner, mice had got, as they frequently did, into the drawers of the dinner-table, and were making no small noise. "O you rascals," exclaimed Bentham, "there's an uproar among you. I'll tell puss of you;" and then added, "I became once very intimate[Pg 206] with a colony of mice. They used to run up my legs, and eat crumbs from my lap. I love everything that has four legs; so did George Wilson. We were fond of mice, and fond of cats; but it was difficult to reconcile the two affections."

Jeremy Bentham records: "George Wilson had a disorder which kept him two months to his couch. The mouses used to run up his back and eat the powder and pomatum from his hair. They used also to run up my knees when I went to see him. I remember they did so to Lord Glenbervie, who thought it odd."[168]

Burns and the Field Mouse.

The history of the origin of this well-known piece of the Scottish poet is thus given by Mr Chambers in that edition of the Life and Works of Robert Burns,[169] which will ever be regarded, by Scotchmen at least, as the most complete and carefully-edited of the numerous editions of that most popular poet.

"We have the testimony of Gilbert Burns that this beautiful poem was composed while the author was following the plough. Burns ploughed with four horses, being twice the amount of power now required on most of the soils of Scotland. He required an assistant, called a gaudsman, to drive the horses, his own duty being to hold and guide the plough. John Blane, who had acted as gaudsman to Burns, and who lived sixty years afterwards, had a distinct recollection of the turning-up of the mouse.[Pg 207] Like a thoughtless youth as he was, he ran after the creature to kill it, but was checked and recalled by his master, who, he observed, became thereafter thoughtful and abstracted. Burns, who treated his servants with the familiarity of fellow-labourers, soon after read the poem to Blane.


"Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou needna start awa sae hasty
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin and chase thee
Wi' murd'ring pattle.[170]

"I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
And fellow-mortal!

"I doubt na whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave[171]
'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin' wi' the laive,
And never miss't.

"Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin"!
And naething now to big a new ane
O, foggage green,
And bleak December's winds ensuin'
[Pg 208]Baith snell and keen!

"Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter passed
Out through thy cell.

"That wee bit heap o' leaves and stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
And cranreuch cauld!

"But, mousie, thou art no thy lane;
Improving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice and men
Gang aft a-gley,
And lea'e us nought but grief and pain
For promised joy.

"Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee;
But, och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
And forward, though I canna see,
I guess and fear."

It was on the farm of Mossgiel, in the parish of Mauchline, where he resided nearly nine years, that the occurrence took place so pathetically recorded and gloriously commented on in this piece.

Destructive Field Mice.

Thomas Fuller, in "The Farewell" to his description of the "Worthies of Essex," says, "I wish the sad casualties may never return which lately have happened in this[Pg 209] county; the one, 1581, in the Hundred of Dengy, the other, 1648, in the Hundred of Rochford and Isle of Foulness (rented in part by two of my credible parishioners, who attested it, having paid dear for the truth thereof); when an army of mice, nesting in ant-hills, as conies in burrows, shaved off the grass at the bare roots, which, withering to dung, was infectious to cattle. The March following, numberless flocks of owls from all parts flew thither, and destroyed them, which otherwise had ruined the country, if continuing another year. Thus, though great the distance betwixt a man and a mouse, the meanest may become formidable to the mightiest creature by their multitudes; and this may render the punishment of the Philistines more clearly to our apprehensions, at the same time pestered with mice in their barns and pained with emerods in their bodies."[172]

The Baron Von Trenck and the Tame Mouse in Prison.

The unfortunate Baron Von Trenck was a Prussian officer, whose adventures, imprisonments, and escape form the subject of memoirs which he wrote in Hungary. He at last settled in France, and there, in 1794, perished by the guillotine.

Before he obtained his liberty, he lost a companion which had for two years helped to beguile the solitude of his captivity. This was a mouse, which he had tamed so perfectly, that the little creature was continually playing with him, and would eat out of his mouth. "One night it skipped about so much that the sentinels heard a noise[Pg 210] and reported it to the officer of the guard. As the garrison had been changed at the peace (between Austria and Prussia), and as Trenck had not been able to form at once so close a connexion with the officers of the regular troops as he had done with those of the militia, one of the former, after ascertaining the truth of the report with his own ears, sent to inform the commandant that something extraordinary was going on in the prison. The town-major arrived in consequence early in the morning, accompanied by locksmiths and masons. The floor, the walls, the baron's chains, his body, everything in short, were strictly examined. Finding all in order, they asked the cause of the last evening's bustle. Trenck had heard the mouse, and told them frankly by what it had been occasioned. They desired him to call his little favourite; he whistled, and the mouse immediately leaped upon his shoulder. He solicited that its life might be spared; but the officer of the guard took it into his possession, promising, however, on his word of honour, to give it to a lady who would take great care of it. Turning it afterwards loose in his chamber, the mouse, who knew nobody but Trenck, soon disappeared, and hid himself in a hole. At the usual hour of visiting his prison, when the officers were just going away, the poor little animal darted in, climbed up his legs, seated itself on his shoulder, and played a thousand tricks to express the joy it felt on seeing him again. Every one was astonished, and wished to have it. The major, to terminate the dispute, carried it away, gave it to his wife, who had a light cage made for it; but the mouse refused to eat, and a few days after was found dead."[173][Pg 211]

Alexander Wilson and the Mouse.

About the time when Alexander Wilson formed the design of drawing the American birds, and writing those descriptions which, when published, gave him that name which has clung to him, "the American Ornithologist" he had a school within a few miles of Philadelphia. He was then a keen student of the animal life around him. In 1802 he wrote to his friend Bertram, and tells him of his having had "live crows, hawks, and owls; opossums, squirrels, snakes, lizards," &c. He tells him that his room sometimes reminded him of Noah's ark, and comically adds, "but Noah had a wife in one corner of it, and in this particular our parallel does not altogether tally. I receive every subject of natural history that is brought to me; and, though they do not march into my ark from all quarters, as they did into that of our great ancestor, yet I find means, by the distribution of a few fivepenny bits, to make them find the way fast enough. A boy, not long ago, brought me a large basketful of crows. I expect his next load will be bull-frogs, if I don't soon issue orders to the contrary. One of my boys caught a mouse in school a few days ago, and directly marched up to me with his prisoner. I set about drawing it the same evening, and all the while the pantings of its little heart showed it to be in the most extreme agonies of fear. I had intended to kill it, in order to fix it in the claws of a stuffed owl; but, happening to spill a few drops of water near where it was tied, it lapped it up with such eagerness, and looked in my face with such an eye of supplicating terror, as perfectly overcame me. I immediately restored it to life and[Pg 212] liberty. The agonies of a prisoner at the stake, while the fire and instruments of torture are preparing, could not be more severe than the sufferings of that poor mouse; and, insignificant as the object was, I felt at that moment the sweet sensation that mercy leaves in the mind when she triumphs over cruelty."[174]


All gnawing creatures, belonging to the Glirine or Rodentia order. Charles Lamb has written on the hare, in one view of that finely-flavoured beast, as only Elia could write. But the poet Cowper has made the hare's history peculiarly pleasing and familiar. How often in his letters he alludes to his hares! Mrs E. B. Browning, in her exquisitely delicate and pathetic poem, "Cowper's Grave," thus alludes to Cowper's pets—

"Wild, timid hares were drawn from woods to share his home caresses,
Uplooking to his human eyes with sylvan tendernesses;
The very world, by God's constraint, from falsehood's ways removing,
Its women and its men became, beside him, true and loving."

Not many years ago the compiler saw traces of the holes the poet had cut in the skirting-boards of the room for their ingress and egress, that they might have ampler room for wandering. His epitaphs on two of them are often quoted. Rabbits are peculiarly the pets of boys,[Pg 213] and though, when wild, often great vermin, from their destructive habits and their mining operations, are yet said to contribute much to the revenue of one European monarch.

How Mr Malthus ought to have hated guinea-pigs, those fertile little lumps of blotched fur! Few creatures can be more productive.

William Cowper on his Hares.

What a model description of the habits of an animal we have in the gentle Cowper's account of his hares! Would that he had made pets of other animals, and written descriptions of them, like that which follows, and which is here copied from the original place to which he contributed it.[175]

"May 28.

"Mr Urban,—Convinced that you despise no communications that may gratify curiosity, amuse rationally, or add, though but a little, to the stock of public knowledge, I send you a circumstantial account of an animal, which, though its general properties are pretty well known, is for the most part such a stranger to man, that we are but little aware of its peculiarities. We know indeed that the hare is good to hunt and good to eat; but in all other respects poor Puss is a neglected subject. In the year 1774, being much indisposed, both in mind and body, incapable of diverting myself either with company or books, and yet[Pg 214] in a condition that made some diversion necessary, I was glad of anything that would engage my attention without fatiguing it. The children of a neighbour of mine had a leveret given them for a plaything; it was at that time about three months old. Understanding better how to tease the poor creature than to feed it, and soon becoming weary of their charge, they readily consented that their father, who saw it pining and growing leaner every day, should offer it to my acceptance. I was willing enough to take the prisoner under my protection, perceiving that in the management of such an animal, and in the attempt to tame it, I should find just that sort of employment which my case required. It was soon known among the neighbours that I was pleased with the present; and the consequence was, that in a short time, I had as many leverets offered to me as would have stocked a paddock. I undertook the care of three, which it is necessary that I should here distinguish by the names I gave them—Puss, Tiney, and Bess. Notwithstanding the two feminine appellatives, I must inform you that they were all males. Immediately commencing carpenter, I built them houses to sleep in. Each had a separate apartment, so contrived that their ordure would pass through the bottom of it; an earthen pan placed under each received whatsoever fell, which being duly emptied and washed, they were thus kept perfectly sweet and clean. In the daytime they had the range of a hall, and at night retired each to his own bed, never intruding into that of another.

"Puss grew presently familiar, would leap into my lap, raise himself upon his hinder feet, and bite the hair from my temples. He would suffer me to take him up, and[Pg 215] to carry him about in my arms, and has more than once fallen fast asleep upon my knee. He was ill three days, during which time I nursed him, kept him apart from his fellows that they might not molest him (for, like many other wild animals, they persecute one of their own species that is sick), and by constant care, and trying him with a variety of herbs, restored him to perfect health. No creature could be more grateful than my patient after his recovery,—a sentiment which he most significantly expressed by licking my hand, first the back of it, then the palm, then every finger separately; then between all the fingers, as if anxious to leave no part of it unsaluted,—a ceremony which he never performed but once again upon a similar occasion. Finding him extremely tractable, I made it my custom to carry him always after breakfast into the garden, where he hid himself generally under the leaves of a cucumber vine, sleeping or chewing the cud till evening; in the leaves also of that vine he found a favourite repast. I had not long habituated him to this taste of liberty, before he began to be impatient for the return of the time when he might enjoy it. He would invite me to the garden by drumming upon my knee, and by a look of such expression as it was not possible to misinterpret. If this rhetoric did not immediately succeed, he would take the skirt of my coat between his teeth, and pull at it with all his force. Thus Puss might be said to be perfectly tamed; the shyness of his nature was done away, and on the whole it was visible, by many symptoms which I have not room to enumerate, that he was happier in human society than when shut up with his natural companions.[Pg 216]

"Not so Tiney. Upon him the kindest treatment had not the least effect. He, too, was sick, and in his sickness, had an equal share of my attention; but if, after his recovery, I took the liberty to stroke him, he would grunt, strike with his fore-feet, spring forward, and bite. He was, however, very entertaining in his way, even his surliness was matter of mirth, and in his play he preserved such an air of gravity, and performed his feats with such a solemnity of manner, that in him, too, I had an agreeable companion.

"Bess, who died soon after he was full grown, and whose death was occasioned by his being turned into his box, which had been washed, while it was yet damp, was a hare of great humour and drollery. Puss was tamed by gentle usage; Tiney was not to be tamed at all; and Bess had a courage and confidence that made him tame from the beginning. I always admitted them into the parlour after supper, where the carpet affording their feet a firm hold, they would frisk, and bound, and play a thousand gambols, in which Bess, being remarkably strong and fearless, was always superior to the rest, and proved himself the Vestris of the party. One evening, the cat, being in the room, had the hardiness to pat Bess upon the cheek, an indignity which he resented by drumming upon her back with such violence, that the cat was happy to escape from under his paws and hide herself.

"You observe, sir, that I describe these animals as having each a character of his own. Such they were in fact, and their countenances were so expressive of that character, that, when I looked only on the face of either, I immediately knew which it was. It is said that a shepherd,[Pg 217] however numerous his flock, soon becomes so familiar with their features, that he can by that indication only distinguish each from all the rest, and yet to a common observer the difference is hardly perceptible. I doubt not that the same discrimination in the cast of countenances would be discoverable in hares, and am persuaded that among a thousand of them no two could be found exactly similar; a circumstance little suspected by those who have not had opportunity to observe it. These creatures have a singular sagacity in discovering the minutest alteration that is made in the place to which they are accustomed, and instantly apply their nose to the examination of a new object. A small hole being burnt in the carpet, it was mended with a patch, and that patch in a moment underwent the strictest scrutiny. They seem, too, to be very much directed by the smell in the choice of their favourites; to some persons, though they saw them daily, they could never be reconciled, and would even scream when they attempted to touch them; but a miller coming in, engaged their affections at once—his powdered coat had charms that were irresistible. You will not wonder, sir, that my intimate acquaintance with these specimens of the kind has taught me to hold the sportsman's amusement in abhorrence. He little knows what amiable creatures he persecutes, of what gratitude they are capable, how cheerful they are in their spirits, what enjoyment they have of life, and that, impressed as they seem with a peculiar dread of man, it is only because man gives them peculiar cause for it.

"That I may not be tedious, I will just give you a short summary of those articles of diet that suit them best, and[Pg 218] then retire to make room for some more important correspondent.

"I take it to be a general opinion that they graze, but it is an erroneous one, at least grass is not their staple; they seem rather to use it medicinally, soon quitting it for leaves of almost any kind. Sowthistle, dent-de-lion, and lettuce are their favourite vegetables, especially the last. I discovered, by accident, that fine white sand is in great estimation with them, I suppose as a digestive. It happened that I was cleaning a bird cage while the hares were with me; I placed a pot filled with such sand upon the floor, to which being at once directed by a strong instinct, they devoured it voraciously; since that time I have generally taken care to see them well supplied with it. They account green corn a delicacy, both blade and stalk, but the ear they seldom eat; straw of any kind, especially wheat-straw, is another of their dainties; they will feed greedily upon oats, but if furnished with clean straw, never want them; it serves them also for a bed, and, if shaken up daily, will be kept sweet and dry for a considerable time. They do not indeed require aromatic herbs, but will eat a small quantity of them with great relish, and are particularly fond of the plant called musk; they seem to resemble sheep in this, that if their pastures be too succulent, they are very subject to the rot; to prevent which, I always made bread their principal nourishment; and, filling a pan with it cut into small squares, placed it every evening in their chambers, for they feed only at evening and in the night; during the winter, when vegetables are not to be got, I mingled this mess of bread with shreds of carrot, adding to it the rind of apples cut extremely thin; for,[Pg 219] though they are fond of the paring, the apple itself disgusts them. These, however, not being a sufficient substitute for the juice of summer herbs, they must at this time be supplied with water; but so placed that they cannot overset it into their beds. I must not omit, that occasionally they are much pleased with twigs of hawthorn and of the common briar, eating even the very wood when it is of considerable thickness.

"Bess, I have said, died young; Tiney lived to be nine years old, and died at last, I have reason to think, of some hurt in his loins by a fall. Puss is still living, and has just completed his tenth year, discovering no signs of decay nor even of age, except that he is grown more discreet and less frolicsome than he was. I cannot conclude, sir, without informing you that I have lately introduced a dog to his acquaintance, a spaniel that had never seen a hare, to a hare that had never seen a spaniel. I did it with great caution, but there was no real need of it. Puss discovered no token of fear, nor Marquis the least symptom of hostility. There is, therefore, it should seem, no natural antipathy between dog and hare, but the pursuit of the one occasions the flight of the other, and the dog pursues because he is trained to it; they eat bread at the same time out of the same hand, and are in all respects sociable and friendly.—Yours &c.,

W. C.

"P.S.—I should not do complete justice to my subject, did I not add, that they have no ill scent belonging to them, that they are indefatigably nice in keeping themselves clean, for which purpose nature has furnished them with a brush under each foot; and that they are never infested by any vermin."[Pg 220]

Our readers know his fine verses or epitaphs on his hares. We may quote from the biographer to whom Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington left all their papers and memoirs, a sentence or two on Cowper's hares, and on the other pets of that lovable man. Earl Stanhope[176] says of this poet and "best letter-writer in the English language—"Such, indeed, were his powers of description and felicity of language, that even the most trivial objects drew life and colour from his touch. In his pages, the training of three tame hares, or the building of a frame for cucumbers, excite a warmer interest than many accounts compiled by other writers, of great battles deciding the fate of empires. In his pages, the sluggish waters of the Ouse,—the floating lilies which he stooped to gather from them,—the poplars, in whose shade he sat, and over whose fall he mourned, rise before us as though we had known and loved them too. As Cowper himself declares, 'My descriptions are all from nature, not one of them second-handed; my delineations of the heart are from my own experience, not one of them borrowed from books.'"

Hairs or Hares!

A gentleman on circuit, narrating to Lord Norbury some extravagant feat in sporting, mentioned that he had lately shot thirty-three hares before breakfast. "Thirty-three hairs!" exclaimed Lord Norbury; "zounds, sir! then you must have been firing at a wig."[177]

Sportsmen are very apt to exaggerate. They did so at[Pg 221] least in Horace's days. We have heard of a man of rank, who actually made a gamekeeper, who was a first-rate marksman, fire whenever he discharged his piece. The story goes, that that man was regarded as having shot everything that fell.

The Duke of L.'s reply, when it was observed to him that the gentlemen bordering on his estates were continually hunting upon them, and that he ought not to suffer it, is worthy of imitation. "I had much rather," said he, "have friends than hares."[178]

The time must be coming, when every farmer or peasant will be allowed to shoot hares. It is surely cruel to imprison or fine a man for shooting and shouldering a hare. Having lately traversed a goodly part of the Perthshire Highlands, we were struck with the numbers of Arctic hares that scudded away out of our path. What a fine help one of them would be to a poor family.

S. Bisset and his trained Hare and Turtle.

S. Bisset, whose training of other animals is elsewhere recorded, like the poet Cowper, procured a leveret, and reared it to beat several marches on the drum with its hind legs, until it became a good stout hare. This creature, which is always set down as the most timid, he declared to be as mischievous and bold an animal, to the extent of its power, as any with which he was acquainted. He taught canary-birds, linnets, and sparrows, to spell the name of any person in company, to distinguish the hour and minute of time, and play many other surprising tricks. He trained six turkey-cocks to go through a regular country[Pg 222] dance; but in doing this he confessed he adopted the eastern method, by which camels are made to dance, by heating the floor. In the course of six months' teaching, he made a turtle fetch and carry like a dog; and having chalked the floor, and blackened its claws, could direct it to trace out any given name of the company.[179]

A Family of Rabbits all Blind of one Eye.

Lady Anne Barnard, in her Cape Journal,[180] referring to Dessin or Rabbit Island at the Cape of Good Hope, says that it is "dreadfully exposed to the south-east winds. A gentleman told me of a natural phenomenon he had met with when shooting there; his dog pointed at a rabbit's hole, where the company within were placed so near the opening that he could see Mynheer, Madame, and the whole rabbit family. Pompey, encouraged, brought out the old coney, his wife, and seven young ones,—all, like the callenders in the 'Arabian Nights' Entertainments,' blind of one eye, and that the same eye. The question was, on which side of the island was the rabbit's hole? With a very little reasoning and comparing, it was found that from its position, the keen blast must have produced this effect. The oddest part of this story is, that it is true, but I do not expect you to believe it."

Thomas Fuller on Norfolk Rabbits.

"These are an army of natural pioneers whence men[Pg 223] have learned cuniculos agere, the art of undermining. They thrive best on barren ground, and grow fattest in the hardest frosts. Their flesh is fine and wholesome. If Scottish men tax our language as improper, and smile at our wing of a rabbit, let us laugh at their shoulder of a capon.

Their skins were formerly much used, when furs were in fashion; till of late our citizens, of Romans are turned Grecians, have laid down their grave gowns and taken up their light cloaks; men generally disliking all habits, though emblems of honour, if also badges of age.

Their rich or silver-hair skins, formerly so dear, are now levelled in prices with other colours; yea, are lower than black in estimation, because their wool is most used in making of hats, commonly (for the more credit) called half-beavers, though many of them hardly amount to the proportion of semi-demi castors."[181]

Dr Chalmers and the Guinea-Pig.

Mr Aitken alludes in a pleasing manner to an instance of Dr Chalmers's fondness for animals. He had just been appointed the head-master of one of the Glasgow parish schools (St John's). "Early in the week following my appointment, I received my first private call. One circumstance occurred during the visit which I still remember most vividly. One of my children had been presented with a pair of guinea-pigs. These had found their way into the apartment where we were sitting, and ran about in all directions. I could have wished to turn them out,[Pg 224] but had not the power to rise from my chair. He soon observed them, followed them with his eye as they now retreated under his chair and again ventured out into his presence—he even changed the position of his feet to give them scope. That same kindly eye, one glance of which we all loved so much to catch in after-life, beamed only the more warmly as the creatures frisked in greater confidence around him. It was to me an omen for good. He who could enjoy thus the innocent gamble of these guinea-pigs could not fail to be accessible for good when occasion required. It was the first flush of that largeness of heart which afterwards appeared in all I ever heard him say or saw him do."[182]


Reverend Sydney Smith on the Sloth.

Few anecdotes can be published of this curious creature, though Waterton and Burchell, or Dr Buckland, for him and his friend Bates, have recorded much that is interesting of its habits. The following bit is peculiarly happy: "The sloth, in its wild state, spends its life in trees, and never leaves them but from force or accident. The eagle to the sky, the mole to the ground, the sloth to the tree; but what is most extraordinary, he lives not upon the branches, but under them. He moves suspended, rests[Pg 225] suspended, sleeps suspended, and passes his life in suspense—like a young clergyman distantly related to a bishop."[183]


(Myrmecophaga jubata, L.)[184]

The Great Ant-Eater. (Myrmecophaga jabata). The Great Ant-Eater. (Myrmecophaga jabata).

A few months ago a handbill was distributed in the neighbourhood of Seven Dials, inviting the public to visit a "wonderful animal fed with ants, and possessing strength to kill the lion, tiger, or any other animal under its claws." We entered the miserable apartment where it was exhibited, and any spectator must at once have been struck with the creature's want of resemblance to any other he had ever seen. Its head so small, so long and slender; the straight, wiry, dry hair with which it was covered, and its singularly large and bushy tail, first attracted notice. A second glance showed its enormously thick fore-legs, and the claws of its feet turned in, so that it walked on the sides of its soles. Oken and St Hilaire would have said that it was "all extremity." A cup, with the contents of one or two eggs, was brought, and it sucked them with great avidity, every now and then darting from its small mouth a very long tongue, which looked like a great, black worm, whisking about in the custard. One of its showmen told us that it had attacked the woman of the house the preceding day, and had scratched her arm. Whether this was true or grossly exaggerated, we know not; but if so, we suspect that the[Pg 226] woman herself must have been in fault, and not the inoffensive stranger.

On the payment of a handsome consideration to her owners, the poor captive was transferred from her unwholesome lodging in St Giles's, to the Gardens of the Zoological Society in the Regent's Park. And within the last few weeks her solitude has been cheered by the arrival of a companion from her native forests. The new-comer is in beautiful condition, though not nearly so large. He has a head decidedly shorter and stronger, and is probably not yet fully grown.

The great ant-eater seems to be scattered over a wide extent of South America—Guiana, Brazil, and Paraguay, being its places of abode. It is a stout animal, measuring from the end of the snout to the tip of the long tail six or seven feet, of which the tail takes nearly the half; so that the actual size of its body is much reduced. In Paraguay it is named Nurumi or Yogui. The former name is altered from the native word for small mouth, and indicates a striking peculiarity in its structure. The Portuguese call it Tamandua; the Spaniards, Osa hormiguero (i.e., ant-hill bear). In Paraguay it prefers sides of lakes where ants, at least termites or white ants, are abundant; but it also frequents woods. In Guiana, Mr Waterton found it chiefly "in the inmost recesses of the forest," where it "seems partial to the low and swampy parts near creeks, where the troely tree grows."[185] It sleeps a great deal, reclining on its side, as the visitor to the Gardens may frequently see it do, with its head between its fore-legs, joining its fore and hind[Pg 227]feet, and spreading the tail so as to cover the whole body. Huddled up under this thatch, it might almost be taken for a bundle of coarse and badly dried hay. The tail is thickly covered with long hairs, placed vertically, the hairs draggling on the ground. When the creature is irritated, the tail is shaken straight and elevated. The natives of Paraguay, like other persecutors of harmlessness, kill every specimen they meet, so that the ant-eater gets rare, and so rare is it on the Amazon that Mr Wallace, who travelled there from 1848 to 1852, honestly tells us he never saw one. He heard, however, that during rain it turns its bushy tail over its head and stands still. The Indians, knowing this habit, when they meet an ant-eater, make a rustling noise among the leaves. The creature instantly turns up its tail, and is easily killed by the stroke of a stick on its little head.[186]

The ant-eater is slow in its movements—never attempting to escape. When hard pressed it stops, and, seated on its hind-legs, waits for the aggressor. Its object is to receive him between its fore-legs; and one has only to look at its arms and claws in order to fancy what a frightful squeeze it would give. Nothing but death, they say, will make the creature relax its grasp. It is asserted that the jaguar—the tiger of South America, and the most formidable beast of the New World—dares not attack it. This Azara, with good reason, doubts. A single bite from a jaguar, or the stroke of his paw, would fracture an ant-eater's skull before it had time to turn round; for the movements of this edentate quadruped are as sluggish as those of the toothed carnivorous tyrant are rapid.[Pg 228]

As seen in its handsome and roomy cage, the ant-eater gives us an impression of dulness and stupidity; and always smelling and listening and looking at the door where its keeper introduces its food, its mind, when awake, appears to be constantly occupied about "creature comforts." In the course of the day it laps up with its darting tongue, and sucks in through its long taper snout a dozen eggs, and almost the whole of a rabbit, chopped into a fine mince-meat. With such dainty fare, and with the anxious attention which it receives from its sagacious curators, it is scarcely surprising that it thrives; and when the warm weather comes, it will be a fine sight to see these animals enjoying the range of a paddock, which will doubtless be provided for their use, and exercising their brawny forelimbs and powerful claws in pulling down conical mounds, which may remind them of departed joys and balmier climes. Nor will it be the least charm of the spectacle that it will enable us to compare this living species with other Edentata of South America—such as the Megatherium, now only found in the fossil state, but so admirably restored by Mr Hawkins for the Crystal Palace.

We need not dwell on the admirable adaptation of the ant-eater to its position and to its few and simple wants. To those who have not studied "the works of the Lord," it may appear uncouth and unattractive. Compared with a dog, it is stupid; and alongside of a lion, it is slow. It has not the symmetry of the horse, nor the beautiful markings of the zebra and leopard. But its Creator has given it the instincts, the form, the muscular powers, and the colours which best answer its purpose. And no one can say that it is plain and ugly, who looks at its legs so pret[Pg 229]tily variegated with white and black, and its noble black collar.

Those of our readers who wish further information will find it in the Literary Gazette for October 8, 1853. In that article it is easy to recognise the Roman hand of the facile princeps among living comparative anatomists. Long may it be before either of our new acquaintances in the Garden afford him a subject for dissection; but when that day arrives, we hope that he will not delay to publish the memoir.[187]A. White, in "Excelsior" (with additions).


Two genera of the bulkiest among terrestrial beasts. Just imagine the great rhinoceros at the Zoological Gardens taking it into its head, with that little eye, target hide, and bulky bones, and other items about it, to fondle its keeper!—he was nearly crushed to death. How the great thick-skinned creature enjoys a bath!

As for the elephant, he is a mountain of matter as well as of animal intelligence. Sir Emerson Tennant in his "Ceylon," but especially in his "Natural History," volumes, has given some truly readable chapters on the Asiatic elephant. We could have extracted many an anecdote, even from recent works, of the intelligent sagacity of the[Pg 230] Indian as well as the African elephants. The account of the shooting of Mr Cross's well-known elephant Chunie, at Exeter Change, has been very curiously and fully detailed by Hone in his "Every-Day Book." A skull of an elephant in the British Museum, shows how wonderfully an elephant is at times able to defend itself from attack. Many a shot that "rogue elephant" had received, years before the three or four Indian sportsmen, who presented its skull as a trophy, succeeded in planting a shot in its brain, or in its heart. Think of the feelings of Lord Clive's relations, at the prospect of his sending home an elephant for a pet. The good folks, not without some motive, as the great Indian ruler conceived, other than mere love for him, had been sending him presents. Samuel Rogers, who wrote the neatest of hands, records that Clive wrote the worst and certainly the most illegible of scrawls. Instead of "elephant," as they read it, their liberal relative had written "equivalent!"

The Lord Keeper Guilford and his Visit to the Rhinoceros in the City of London.[188]

It is strange to read in the life of the Lord Keeper Guilford, that his lordship's court enemies, "hard put to it to find, or invent, something tending to the diminution of his character," took advantage of his going to see a rhinoceros, to circulate a foolish story of him, which much annoyed him. It was in the reign of James II. his biographer thus[Pg 231] records it. The rhinoceros, referred to, was the first ever brought to England. Evelyn, in his "Memoirs," says, that it was sold for £2000, a most enormous sum in those days (1685).

Roger North relates the story:—"It fell out thus—a merchant of Sir Dudley North's acquaintance had brought over an enormous rhinoceros, to be sold to showmen for profit. It is a noble beast, wonderfully armed by nature for offence, but more for defence, being covered with impenetrable shields, which no weapon would make any impression upon, and a rarity so great that few men, in our country, have in their whole lives the opportunity of seeing so singular an animal. This merchant told Sir Dudley North that if he, with a friend or two, had a mind to see it, they might take the opportunity at his house before it was sold. Hereupon Sir Dudley North proposed to his brother, the Lord Keeper, to go with him upon this exhibition, which he did, and came away exceedingly satisfied with the curiosity he had seen. But whether he was dogged to find out where he and his brother housed in the city, or flying fame carried an account of the voyage to court, I know not; but it is certain that the very next morning a bruit went from thence all over the town, and (as factious reports used to run) in a very short time, viz., that his lordship rode upon the rhinoceros, than which a more infantine exploit could not have been fastened upon him. And most people were struck with amazement at it, and divers ran here and there to find out whether it was true or no. And soon after dinner some lords and others came to his lordship to know the truth from himself, for the setters of the lie affirmed it positively as of their own[Pg 232] knowledge. That did not give his lordship much disturbance, for he expected no better from his adversaries. But that his friends, intelligent persons, who must know him to be far from guilty of any childish levity, should believe it, was what roiled him extremely, and much more when they had the face to come to him to know if it were true. I never saw him in such a rage, and to lay about him with affronts (which he keenly bestowed upon the minor courtiers that came on that errand) as then; for he sent them away with fleas in their ear. And he was seriously angry with his own brother, Sir Dudley North, because he did not contradict the lie in sudden and direct terms, but laughed as taking the question put to him for a banter, till, by iteration, he was brought to it. For some lords came, and because they seemed to attribute somewhat to the avowed positiveness of the reporters, he rather chose to send for his brother to attest than to impose his bare denial, and so it passed; and the noble earl (of Sunderland), with Jeffries, and others of that crew, made merry, and never blushed at the lie of their own making, but valued themselves upon it as a very good jest."

And so it passed. What a sensation would have been caused by the sudden apparition in that age of a few numbers of Punch. What a subject for a cartoon, some John Leech of 1685 would have made of the stately Lord Keeper on the back of a rhinoceros, and the infamous Judge Jeffries leering at him from a window.

The Elephant and his Trunk.

Canning and another gentleman were looking at a picture of the deluge; the ark was seen in the middle dis[Pg 233]tance, while in the fore-sea an elephant was struggling with his fate. "I wonder," said the gentleman, "that the elephant did not secure an inside place!"—"He was too late, my friend," replied Canning; "he was detained packing up his trunk."[189]

Sir Richard Phillips and Jelly made of Ivory Dust.—A Vegetarian taken in.

The biographers of James Montgomery[190] relate an amusing anecdote of Sir Richard Phillips, the eccentric London bookseller and author. He visited Sheffield in October 1828. "He had lived too long amidst the bustle and business of the great world, and was too little conscious of any feeling at all like diffidence, to allow him to hesitate about calling upon any person, whether of rank, genius, or eccentricity, when the success of his project was likely to be thereby promoted. The time selected by the free and easy knight for his unannounced visitation of Montgomery was Sunday at dinner time. He was at once asked to sit down and partake of the chickens and bacon which had just been placed on the table, but here was a dilemma; Sir Richard, although neither a Brahmin nor a Jew, avowed himself a staunch Pythagorean—he could eat no flesh! Luckily there was a plentiful supply of carrots and turnips, and—jelly. But was the latter made from calves' feet? Montgomery assured his guest that it was not; but, added he, with a conscientious regard for his visitor's scruples, from ivory dust. We believe the poet fancied the hypothesis of an[Pg 234] animal origin of this viand could not be very obscure; it was, however, swallowed; the clever bibliopole perhaps believing, with some of the Sheffield ivory-cutters, that elephants, instead of being hunted and killed for their tusks, shed them when fully grown, as bucks do their antlers!"

J. T. Smith and the Elephant.

That gossiping man, J. T. Smith, once Keeper of the Prints in the British Museum, and author of "Nollekens and his Times," relates, that when he and a friend were returning late from a club, and were approaching Temple Bar, "about one o'clock, a most unaccountable appearance claimed our attention,—it was no less than an elephant, whose keepers were coaxing it to pass through the gateway. He had been accompanied with several persons from the Tower wharf with tall poles, but was principally guided by two men with ropes, each walking on either side of the street, to keep him as much as possible in the middle, on his way to the menagerie, Exeter Change, to which destination, after passing St Clement's Church, he steadily trudged on, with strict obedience to the command of his keepers.[191]

"I had the honour afterwards of partaking of a pot of Barclay's entire with this same elephant, which high mark of his condescension was bestowed when I accompanied my friend, the late Sir James Wintel Lake, Bart., to view the rare animals in Exeter Change,—that gentleman being assured by the elephant's keeper that, if he would offer the beast a shilling, he would see the noble animal nod his head and drink a pot of porter. The elephant had no[Pg 235] sooner taken the shilling, which he did in the mildest manner from the palm of Sir James's hand, than he gave it to the keeper, and eagerly watched his return with the beer. The elephant then, after placing his proboscis to the top of the tankard, drew up nearly the whole of the beverage. The keeper observed, 'You will hardly believe, gentlemen, but the little he has left is quite warm;' upon this we were tempted to taste it, and it really was so. This animal was afterwards disposed of for the sum of one thousand guineas."

The Elephant and the Tailor.

This old story has been often told, but never so well as by Sydney Smith in one of his lectures at the Royal Institution. "Every one knows the old story of the tailor and the elephant, which, if it be not true, at least shows the opinion the Orientals, who know the animal well, entertain of his sagacity. An eastern tailor to the Court was making a magnificent doublet for a bashaw of nine tails, and covering it, after the manner of eastern doublets, with gold, silver, and every species of metallic magnificence. As he was busying himself on this momentous occasion, there passed by, to the pools of water, one of the royal elephants, about the size of a broad-wheeled waggon, rich in ivory teeth, and shaking, with its ponderous tread, the tailor's shop to its remotest thimble. As he passed near the window, the elephant happened to look in; the tailor lifted up his eyes, perceived the proboscis of the elephant near him, and, being seized with a fit of facetiousness, pricked the animal with his needle; the mass of[Pg 236] matter immediately retired, stalked away to the pool, filled his trunk full of muddy water, and, returning to the shop, overwhelmed the artisan and his doublet with the dirty effects of his vengeance."

Dr Johnson alluded to as "an Elephant."

"If an elephant could write a book, perhaps one that had read a great deal would say, that an Arabian horse is a very clumsy, ungraceful animal." This was written by Horace Walpole to Miss Berry, in 1791, in allusion to Dr Johnson's depreciation of Thomas Gray the poet.[192] It is an acute observation, well worth being wrought out. There is a grandeur and even a grace about this bulky beast and its motions well deserving the study of any one who has the opportunity. Elephants in our streets are not now so rare as they used to be. We saw three in one procession in the streets of Edinburgh in 1865.

Elephant's Skin.

"Did any of you ever see an elephant's skin?" asked the master of an infant school in a fast neighbourhood. "I have!" shouted a six-year-old at the foot of the class. "Where?" inquired the master, amused by his earnestness. "On the elephant!" was the reply.


Cuvier and the Fossil.

George Cuvier was perhaps the first man who, by his[Pg 237] admirable works and researches, gave zoology its true place among the sciences.

His discoveries of the structure of molluscous and other animals of the obscurer orders are perhaps eclipsed by his researches in osteology. He has enabled the comparative anatomist to tell from a small portion of bone not only the class, but the order, genus, and even the species to which animal that bone belonged.

Mrs Lee,[193] in her Life of the Baron, gives an example of his enthusiasm in his researches.

M. Laurillard was afterwards his secretary and the draftsman who executed nearly all the drawings in his "Ossemens fossiles." At the time of this story he had not particularly attracted Cuvier's notice.

"One day Cuvier came to his brother Frederic to ask him to disengage a fossil from its surrounding mass, an office he had frequently performed. M. Laurillard was applied to in the absence of F. Cuvier. Little aware of the value of the specimen confided to his care, he cheerfully set to work, and succeeded in getting the bone entire from its position. M. Cuvier, after a short time, returned for his treasure, and when he saw how perfect it was, his ecstasies became incontrollable; he danced, he shook his hands, he uttered expressions of delight, till M. Laurillard, in his ignorance both of the importance of what he had done, and of the ardent character of M. Cuvier, thought he was mad. Taking, however, his fossil foot in one hand, and dragging Laurillard's arm with the other, he led him up-stairs to present him to his wife and sister-in-law, saying, 'I[Pg 238] have got my foot, and M. Laurillard found it for me.' It seems that this skilful operation confirmed all M. Cuvier's previous conjecture concerning a foot, the existence and form of which he had already guessed, but for which he had long and vainly sought. So occupied had he been by it, that, when he appeared to be particularly absent, his family were wont to accuse him of seeking his fore-foot. The next morning the able operator and draftsman was engaged as secretary."


A very gross but useful animal, which can, by feeding, be stuffed into such a state of fatness as only one who has seen a Christmas cattle show in England could believe it possible for beast to acquire. Dean Ramsay, in a happy anecdote, refers to a good quality of the sow as food. He tells, that a Scottish minister had been persuaded to keep a pig, and that the good wife had been duly instructed in the mysteries of black-puddings, pork-chops, pig's-head, and other modes of turning poor piggy to account. The minister remarked to a friend, "Nae doubt there's a hantle o' miscellaneous eating aboot a pig." The author of "A Ramble," published by Edmonstone and Douglas in 1865, has devoted some most amusing pages of his work to an account of "Pig-sticking in Chicago," as witnessed by him during the late American war. The wholesale and scientific off-hand way in which living pigs enter into one part of a machine, and come out prepared pork, could only have been devised by a Yankee.

The essay of Charles Lamb on Roast Pig, and his his[Pg 239]tory of how the Chinaman discovered it, is a most characteristic bit of the productions of Elia. We have cut from a recent paper, what seems an authentic story, of one of this race having obtained a kind of mausoleum. We hope it is not a hoax, but that it is as genuine as all that is in one of "Murray's Handbooks:"—

The Wild Boar of Syria and Egypt. (Sus Scrofa.) The Wild Boar of Syria and Egypt. (Sus Scrofa.)

Monument to a Pig.—"Up to the present time," says the Europe of Frankfort, "no monument that we are aware of had ever been erected to the memory of a pig. The town of Luneburg, in Hanover, has wished to fill up that blank; and at the Hotel de Ville, in that town, there is to be seen a kind of mausoleum to the memory of a member of the swinish race. In the interior of that commemorative structure is to be seen a glass case, inclosing a ham still in good preservation. A slab of black marble attracts the eye of visitors, who find thereon the following inscription in Latin, engraved in letters of gold—'Passer-by, contemplate here the mortal remains of the pig which acquired for itself imperishable glory by the discovery of the salt springs of Luneburg.'"

The Wild Boar (Sus scrofa).

We have a specimen of the family of swine in that well-known and useful animal, with whose portrait Sir Charles Bell furnishes the reader, as an example of a head as remote as possible from the head of him who designed and executed the Elgin marbles. Although the learned anatomist brought forward the profile of this animal as the type of a "non-intellectual" being, yet there are instances enough on record to show that pigs are not devoid of in[Pg 240]telligence, and are even, when trained, capable of considerable docility. "Learned pigs," however, such as are exhibited at country fairs, are a rare occurrence, and the family to which they belong is essentially one "gross" in character, and far from gainly in appearance. The most handsome of the race is one from West Africa, recently added to the Zoological Gardens, and described by Dr Gray under the name of Potamochærus penicillatus. The wild swine of Africa are, with this bright exception, anything but handsome, either in shape or colour; and the large excrescences on their cheeks and face give the "warthogs" a ferocious look, which corresponds with their habits. In the East there are several species of wild swine. One of the most celebrated is the Babyrusa of the Malay peninsula, distinguished by its long recurved teeth, with which it was once fancied that they suspended themselves from trees, or rather supported themselves when asleep. Mrs M'Dougall[194] refers to the wild hogs of Borneo, which seem to be dainty in their diet, as they think nothing of a swim of four miles from their jungle home to places on the river where they know there are trees laden with ripe fruit. These Borneo swine are active creatures too, as they can leap fences nearly six feet high. In South America the sow family is represented by the Peccaries (Dicotyles), of which there are two species, one of which is very abundant in the woods, and forms a most important article in the diet of the poor Indians. They, too, can swim across rivers, and although their legs are short, they can run very fast.

It is chiefly in the warmer parts of the world that the[Pg 241] species of this family are found. They are all distinguished by the middle toes of each foot being larger than the others, and armed with hoofs,[195] the side toe or toes being shorter, and scarcely reaching the ground. The nose terminates in a truncated, tough, grissly disk, which is singularly well adapted for the purpose of the animals, which all grub in the ground for their food. In some parts of France it is said that they are trained to search for truffles.

Having briefly alluded to different species "de grege porci," we now limit ourselves to our immediate subject.

The wild boar, at no very remote period, was found in the extensive woods which covered great portions of this island. The family of Baird derives its heraldic crest of a wild boar's head from a grant of David I., King of Scotland. This monarch was hunting in Aberdeenshire, and when separated from his attendants, the infuriated pig turned upon him; one of his people came up and killed it, and in memory of his feat received from the grateful king the device still borne by the family. The name of a Scottish parish, and of one of the oldest baronial families in Scotland—Swinton of Swinton, in Berwickshire—is derived also from this animal, the first of the Swintons having cleared that part of the country from the wild swine which then infested it. It is curious to know that some large fields in the neighbourhood of Swinton still carry in their names traces of these early occupants. Dr Baird informed the writer that there are four of these fields so distinguished:—"Sow-causeway," and "Pike[Pg 242]rigg," where the wild swine used to feed ("pick their food"); "Stab's Cross," where Sir Alan Swinton with his spear pierced some monarch of the race; and "Alan's Cairn," where a heap of stones was raised as a monument of his hardihood. In the southern part of our island only the nobility and gentry were allowed to hunt this animal; and in the reign of William the Conqueror any one convicted of killing a wild boar in any of the royal demesnes was punished with the loss of his eyes.

In many parts of the Continent the wild boar is still far from rare, and affords, to those who are fond of excitement, that peculiar kind of "pleasure" which involves a certain amount of danger. Scenes somewhat similar to those depicted by Snyders may still be witnessed in some parts of Germany; and in the sketches of Mr Wolf, the able artist whose designs illustrate these papers, we have seen animated studies of this truly hazardous sport.

The nose of the wild boar is very acute in the sense of smell. A zealous sportsman tells us, "I have often been surprised, when stealing upon one in the woods, to observe how soon he has become aware of my neighbourhood. Lifting his head, he would sniff the air inquiringly, then, uttering a short grunt, make off as fast as he could."[196] The same writer has also sometimes noticed in a family of wild boars one, generally a weakling, who was buffeted and ill-treated by the rest. "Do what he would, nothing was right; sometimes the mother, uttering a disapproving grunt, would give him a nudge to make him move more quickly, and that would be a sign for all the rest of his relations to begin showing their contempt for him too.[Pg 243] One would push him, and then another; for, go where he might, he was sure to be in the way." In the extensive woods frequented by this animal in Europe, abundant supplies of food are met with in the roots of various plants which it grubs up, in the beech-mast, acorns, and other tree productions, which, during two or three months of the year, it finds on the ground. Although well able to defend itself, it is a harmless animal, and being shy, retires to those parts of the forests most remote from the presence of man. A site in the neighbourhood of water is preferred to any other.

Travellers in the East frequently refer to this animal and to its ravages when it gets into a rice-field or a vineyard; for although its natural food be wild roots and wild fruits, if cultivated grounds be in the neighbourhood, its ravages are very annoying to the husbandmen, who can fully and feelingly understand the words of the Psalmist, "The boar out of the wood doth waste it" (Ps. lxxx. 13).

Messrs Irby and Mangles,[197] as they approached the Jordan, saw a herd of nine wild pigs, and they found the trees on the banks of a stream near that river all marked with mud, left by the wild swine in rubbing themselves. A valley which they passed was grubbed up in all directions with furrows made by these animals, so that the soil had all the appearance of having been ploughed up.

Burckhardt mentions the occurrence of the wild boar and panther together, or the ounce, as he calls it, on the mountain of Rieha, and also in the wooded part of Tabor. He mentions "a common saying and belief among the Turks, that all the animal kingdom was converted by[Pg 244] their prophet to the true faith, except the wild boar and buffalo, which remained unbelievers; it is on this account that both these animals are often called Christians. We are not surprised that the boar should be so denominated; but as the flesh of the buffalo, as well as its Leben or sour milk, is much esteemed by the Turks, it is difficult to account for the disgrace into which that animal has fallen among them; the only reason I could learn for it is, that the buffalo, like the hog, has a habit of rolling in the mud, and of plunging into the muddy ponds in the summer time up to the very nose, which alone remains visible above the surface."[198] Wild boars were frequently fallen in with by this traveller during his Syrian travels in the neighbourhood of rush-covered springs, where they could easily return to their "wallowing in the mire;" he also met with them on all the mountains he visited in his tour. In the Ghor they are very abundant, and so injurious to the Arabs of that valley that they are unable to cultivate the common barley on account of the eagerness with which the wild swine feed on it, and are obliged to grow a less esteemed kind, with six rows of grains which the swine will not touch.

Messrs Hemprich and Ehrenberg tell us that the wild boar is far from scarce in the marshy districts around Rosetta and Damietta, and that it does not seem to differ from the European species. The head of a wild boar which these travellers saw at Bischerre, a village of Lebanon, closely resembled the European variety, except in being a little longer. The Maronites there, who ate its flesh in their company, called it chansir,[199] a name evi[Pg 246][Pg 245]dently identical with the Hebrew word chasir, which occurs in the Bible. The Turks, according to Ehrenberg, keep swine in their stables, from a persuasion that all devils who may enter will be more likely to go into the pigs than the horses, from their alliance to the former unclean animals.—A. White, in "Excelsior."

The River Pig, or Painted Pig of the Camaroon.[200]

The River Pig. The River Pig.

The other day we revisited the Zoological Gardens, and found that two old friends had got—the one, a companion, the other, a neighbour. The latter was the bulky hippopotamus, now most bearish, and more and more unmistakably showing the minute accuracy of those master lines in the Book of Job, in which Behemoth's portrait, pose, and character are depicted. The former was the subject of this article—evidently, as far as colour goes, "the chieftain of the porcine race."

The poet tells us, however, "Nimium ne crede colori;" and observation, as well as the Scripture, shows us daily that "fair havens" in summer are but foul places to "winter in;" that fair speeches, and a flattering tongue, and the kisses of an enemy, "are deceitful;" and that beneath a fine spotted or barred coat, the jaguar and the tiger, the cobra and the hornet, conceal both the power and the propensity for mischief. So with our old friend Potamochœrus. The pretty creature,—beauty is relative—the Cameroon pig is the prettiest, the gaudiest of the race,—the pretty creature, we repeat, is of a fine bay red, made[Pg 247] to look more bright from the circumstance of the face, ears, and front of the legs being black, while the red is relieved, and the black is defined, by the pencilled lines of white which edge the ears, streak over and under the eye, and ornament the long whiskers, another long white line traversing the middle of the back; a very attractive combination of colour—the painting of "Him who made the world"—and one which must make the Potamochœrus penicellatus most conspicuous among the bright green shrubs and dark marshes of the rivers of equinoctial Africa, on whose banks the race has been planted. The present largest specimen was taken, when a "piggie," by a trading captain, as it was swimming across the Cameroon River. He brought it to Liverpool; Dr Gray, of the British Museum, gave an account of it in the "Illustrated Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London for 1852"—an excellent work—where its figure, drawn and coloured by the hand of Wolf, shows the condition of the African sow four years ago. It was then a round, comfortable, kind-looking creature, which one might almost have fondled as a pet. The pig now looks rather a dangerous beast, and its beauty is not increased by its face having grown longer, and by the bump and hollow on each cheek being larger and deeper; nor is its mouth so attractive or innocent, now that its tusks—those ivory daggers and knives of the family of Swine—have grown longer. The creature, partly it may be from familiarity, jumps up against the iron palisade which separates the visitor from its walk, but a poor pannage as a substitute for its African home. We would advise him to read the notice: "Visitors are requested not to tease the animals;" "not to touch"[Pg 248] would be a good reprint—for few, we fancy, would try to tease.

One, however, especially a lady, likes to know and to feel texture; and sadly used the fine, mild Edward Cross, of Exeter Change and the Surrey Zoological Gardens, once the Nestor as well as the King among keepers of wild beasts—a gentle, gentlemanly, white-haired, venerable man,—sadly, we say, used Mr Cross to lament that there were parasols, and that he could not keep them out of his garden. Mr C. told the writer that he lost many a beast and bird from the pokes of that insinuating weapon. We dissuade any lady from touching or going near a zebra's mouth, or the horns of an ibex or an algazel, or the pointed bill of a heron or stork, or from putting her hand near this fine painted pig.

Up jumps Potamochœrus—eye rather vindictive, however—and mark, as that big specimen is foreshortened before you, the profile of the little companion pig of the same species, standing within a few feet, but safe from the poke of any umbrella or parasol; look how innocent and inviting—how quiet, and sleek, and polished, and painted, and mild it looks, all but that little suspicious eye, with its wink oblique, and its malicious twinkle.

Of the habits of this pig we can find no written record, though in the journals of the Scottish or Wesleyan Missionaries there may be some notices of it. We do not know whence the Society procured the second specimen, but it shows that Africa's wild animals, like its chain of internal Caspian seas, and its mountain-ranges and rivers, are becoming gradually known. Old Bosman, who was chief factor for the Dutch on the Gold Coast 150 years[Pg 249] ago, refers to the swine near Fort St George d'Elmina being not nearly so wild as those of Europe, and adds, "I have several times eaten of them here, and found them very delicious and very tender meat, the fat being extraordinarily fine."[201] He evidently refers to some other species.

Travellers in South Africa have made us familiar with the habits, and specimens in the Zoological Gardens, in a pannage close to that of the "painted pig," show us the form and ugliness, of the bush pig and flat pig (Choiropotamus Africanus) of that southern land, with their long heads, long legs, upturned tails, and horrid tusks. They have a strange habit of kneeling on their fore-legs. In South Africa they abound; and the natives—our excellent friend, the Rev. Henry Methuen, tells us—often bring their jaws for barter. They are of a dingy, dirty gray; the boar is two feet and a half high, and his tusks sometimes measure "eleven inches and a half each from the jawbone," are five inches and a half in circumference at the base, and are thirteen inches apart at their extremities.

No animal is more formidably armed; and his rapidity and lightness of movement make him a very marked object to the African Nimrod, who, midst "clumps of bush"—be they Proteacæ, heaths, or Diosmeæ—not unfrequently comes on a herd of wild pigs "headed by a noble boar," with tail erect. We could enter largely on the history of this active species, and quote many a stirring anecdote of travellers' rencontres with this fearless animal. The lion skulks away from him, but the rhinoceros—at least one[Pg 250] species—the buffalo, with his formidable front of horn and bone, and the bush pig, with his dreaded tusks, show but little fear; and it is well for the huntsman that he has a sure eye, a steady hand, and a double-barrelled gun, and not a few Caffir followers to help him, should his eye be dim, his hand waver, or his gun "flash in the pan." Dogs avail but little; a deadly gash lays open their ribs, and a side-thrust of a wild boar will cut into the most muscular leg, and for ever destroy its tendons. We have done with pigs, and would only recommend a visit—a frequent visit—to that paradise of animals, the Zoological Gardens, where, a fortnight ago, we saw wild boars from Hesse Darmstadt; wild boars from Egypt; bush pigs from Africa; peccaries from South America; and two painted pigs from West Africa; all "de grege porci," and in excellent health: to say nothing of two hippopotamuses; four "seraphic" giraffes; antelopes (we did not number them); brush turkeys from Australia; an apteryx from New Zealand; the curious white sheathbills from the South Seas; the refulgent metallic green and purple-tinted monaul, or Impeyan pheasant, strutting with outspread, light-coloured tail, just as he courts his plain hen-mate on the Indian mountains; a family of the funny pelicans—cleanliness, ugliness, and contentment in one happy combination; a band of flamingoes; eagles and vultures; the harpy—that Picton of the birds—looking defiance as he stands, with upraised crest, flashing eye, and clenched talons, over his food; the wily otter; the amiable seal, which carries us to the seas and rocks of much-loved Shetland, with their long, winding voes, their bird-frequented cliffs, and outlying skerries; the Indian thrush, which reminds one of a "mavis" at[Pg 251] home; the parrot-house, with its fine contrasts of colour and its discordant noises; Penny's Esquimaux dog—poor fellow, a prisoner, unlike to what he was when, with our dear friends Dr Sutherland and Captain Stewart, this very dog breasted the blast before a sledge in the Wellington Channel.[202] Look at that wondrous sloth, organised for a life in a Brazilian forest—those two restless Polar bears; and though last, not least, those wonders of the great deep, "the sea-anemones," the exquisite red and white "feathery" tentacles of the long cylindrical-twisted serpulæ, and marvellously-transparent streaked shrimps, all leg, and feeler, and eye, and "nose"—in the salt-water tanks in the Vivarium.—A. White, in "Excelsior."

S. Bisset and his Learned Pig.

S. Bisset, formerly referred to, when at Belfast bought a black sucking pig, and after several experiments succeeded in training a creature, so obstinate and perverse by nature, to become most tractable and docile. In August 1783, he took his learned pig to Dublin for exhibition. "It was not only under full command, but appeared as pliant and good-natured as a spaniel. He had taught it to spell the names of any one in the company, to tell the hour, minute, and second, to make his obeisance to the company, and he occasioned many a laugh by his pointing out the married and the unmarried. Some one in authority forced him to[Pg 252] leave Dublin, and he died broken-hearted shortly after at Chester, on his way to London, where forty and more years before he had first been induced to train animals."[203]

Quixote Bowles fond of Pigs.

Southey records of Quixote Bowles that he "had a great love for pigs; he thought them the happiest of all God's creatures, and would walk twenty miles to see one that was remarkably fat. This love extended to bacon; he was an epicure in it; and whenever he went out to dinner, took a piece of his own curing in his pocket, and requested the cook to dress it."[204]

On Jekyll nearly thrown down by a very small Pig.

"As Jekyll walk'd out in his gown and his wig,
He happen'd to tread on a very small pig;
'Pig of science,' he said, 'or else I'm mistaken,
For surely thou art an abridgment of Bacon.'"[205]

Good Enough for a Pig.

An Irish peasant being asked why he permitted his pig to take up its quarters with his family, made an answer abounding with satirical naïveté. "Why not? Doesn't the place afford every convenience that a pig can require?"[206][Pg 253]

Mrs Fry, in 1827, visited Ireland on one of her Christian and philanthropic tours. In a letter to her children from Armagh she says—"Pigs abound; I think they have rather a more elegant appearance than ours, their hair often rather curled. Perhaps naturalists may attribute this to their intimate association with their betters!"[207]

The Countryman's Criticism on the Pigs in Gainsborough's Picture of the Girl and Pigs.

Thomas Gainsborough, the great English painter, exhibited, in 1782, among pictures of noblemen, gentlemen, and ladies, his well-known "Girl and Pigs."[208]

Wolcot, better known as "Peter Pindar," in his first "Ode to the Royal Academicians," refers to this picture.

"And now, O Muse, with song so big,
Turn round to Gainsborough's Girl and Pig,
Or Pig and Girl, I rather should have said;
The pig in white, I must allow,
Is really a well painted sow,
I wish to say the same thing of the maid."

"The expression and truth of nature in the Girl and Pigs," remarks Northcote, "were never surpassed. Sir Joshua Reynolds was struck with it, though he thought Gainsborough ought to have made her a beauty." Reynolds, indeed, became the purchaser of the painting at one hundred guineas, Gainsborough asking but sixty. During its exhibition, it is said to have attracted the attention of a countryman, who remarked—"They be deadly like pigs,[Pg 254] but nobody ever saw pigs feeding together but what one on 'em had a foot in the trough."

Hook and the Litter of Pigs.

Once a gentleman, who had the marvellous gift of shaping a great many things out of orange-peel, was displaying his abilities at a dinner-party before Theodore Hook and Mr Thomas Hill, and succeeded in counterfeiting a pig. Mr Hill tried the same feat; and after destroying and strewing the table with the peel of a dozen oranges, gave it up, with the exclamation, "Hang the pig! I can't make him." "Nay, Hill," exclaimed Hook, glancing at the mess on the table, "you have done more; instead of one pig, you have made a litter."[209]

Hook, we may add, was an original wit. He did not, like most professed wits, study his sayings before, and arrange with his seeming opponent for an imaginary war of words. He was an impromptu wit.

Jests about Swine.

Lord Chancellor Hardwicke's bailiff, having been ordered by his lady to procure a sow of a particular description, came one day into the dining-room when full of company, proclaiming with a burst of joy he could not suppress—"I have been at Royston Fair, my lady, and I have got a sow exactly of your ladyship's size."[210]

John was thought to be very stupid. He was sent to a[Pg 255] mill one day, and the miller said—"John, some people say you are a fool! Now, tell me, what you do know, and what you don't know."—"Well," replied John, "I know millers' hogs are fat!"—"Yes, that's well, John; now, what don't you know?"—"I don't know whose corn fats 'em."[211]

Pigs and Silver Spoon.

The Earl of P—— kept a number of swine at his seat in Wiltshire, and crossing the yard one day, he was surprised to see the pigs gathered round one trough, and making a great noise. Curiosity prompted him to see what was the cause, and on looking into the trough he perceived a large silver spoon. A servant-maid came out, and began to abuse the pigs for crying so. "Well they may," said his lordship, "when they have got but one silver spoon among them all."

We have heard of one nobleman in Strathearn, who, when a young man, used to be thus addressed by his mother—"William! how are the children and your pigs?"[212]

Sydney Smith on Beautiful Pigs.

definition of beauty by a utilitarian.

"Go to the Duke of Bedford's piggery at Woburn, and you will see a breed of pigs with legs so short, that their[Pg 256] stomachs trail upon the ground; a breed of animals entombed in their own fat, overwhelmed with prosperity, success, and farina. No animal could possibly be so disgusting, if it were not useful; but a breeder who has accurately attended to the small quantity of food it requires to swell this pig out to such extraordinary dimensions,—the extraordinary genius it displays for obesity,—and the laudable propensity of the flesh to desert the cheap regions of the body, and to agglomerate on those parts which are worth ninepence a pound,—such an observer of its utility does not scruple to call these otherwise hideous quadrupeds a beautiful race of pigs!"[213]

Joseph Sturge, when a boy, and the Pigs.

When Joseph Sturge, that good Quaker, was in his sixth year, his biographer, Henry Richard,[214] records that he was on a visit to a friend of his mother's at Frenchay, near Bristol. Sauntering about one day, he came near the house of an eccentric man, a Quaker, who was much annoyed by the depredations of his neighbour's pigs. Half in jest, and half in earnest, he told the lad to drive the pigs into a pond close by. Joseph, nothing loath, set to work with a will, delighted with the fun. The woman, to whom the pigs belonged, came out presently, broom in hand, flourishing it over the young sinner's head. The tempter was standing by, and sought to cover his share of the transaction by shaking his head and saying—"Ah,[Pg 257]

'Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.'

The child looked up at him indignantly, and said, 'Thee bee'st Satan then, for thee told'st me to do it.'"


The noblest animal employed by man, and consequently the subject of many volumes of anecdote,—a study for the painter and sculptor, from the days of the Greek and Assyrian artists to the present day. Charles Darwin and Sir Francis Head have given graphic descriptions of the catching of the wild horse, which swarms on the Pampas of South America.

How pathetic to see the led horse following the bier of a soldier! It was, perhaps, the most affecting incident in the long array of the funeral of the great Duke.

In the Museum at Brussels, Dr Patrick Neill observed, in 1817, "the stuffed skin of the horse belonging to one of the Alberts, who governed the Low Countries in the time of the Spaniards. It was shot under him in the field, and the holes made in the thorax by the musket bullets are still very evident."[215]

Poor Copenhagen, the Duke's charger at Waterloo, was buried. Many would have liked his skin or skeleton. The Duke resisted all attempts to give his old friend up for such a purpose. We hope no resurrectionist succeeded in getting up his bones, years after his burial at Strathfieldsaye.[Pg 258]

Bell-Rock Horse.

The Bell-Rock Lighthouse, built on a dangerous range of rocks twelve miles south by east from Arbroath, was begun by Robert Stevenson on the 17th August 1807, and finished in October 1810. Mr Jervise[216] records that "one horse, the property of James Craw, a labourer in Arbroath, is believed to have drawn the entire materials of the building. The animal latterly became a pensioner of the Lighthouse Commissioners, and was sent by them to graze on the Island of Inchkeith, where it died of old age in 1813. Dr John Barclay, the celebrated anatomist, had its bones collected and arranged in his museum, which he bequeathed at his death to the Royal College of Surgeons, and in their museum at Edinburgh the skeleton of the Bell-Rock horse may yet be seen."

Burke and the Horse.

An anecdote of the humanity of the great Edmund Burke in the year 1762 has been preserved.[217] "An Irishman, of the name of Johnson, was astonishing the town by his horsemanship. All London crowded to see his feats of agility and his highly-trained steeds. Dr Johnson and Boswell talked of this man's wonderful ability, and the Doctor thought that he fully deserved encouragement on philosophical grounds. He proved what human perseverance[Pg 259] could do. One who saw him riding on three horses at once, or dancing upon a wire, might hope, that with the same application in the profession of his choice, he should attain the same success. Burke, always ready to encourage his countrymen, and curious in all the ramifications of ingenuity, went frequently to the circus. The favourite performance of the evening was that of a handsome black horse, which, at the sound of Johnson's whip, would leave the stable, stand with much docility at his side, then gallop about the ring, and on hearing the crack of the lash again return obediently to its master. On one unfortunate occasion, the signal was disregarded. The horse-rider flew into a rage, and by a blow between the ears, struck the noble animal to the earth. The spectators thought the horse was dying, but they had little time to reflect on the sight before they were surprised at seeing a gentleman jump into the ring, rush up to Johnson, and with his eyes flashing, and every muscle in the face quivering with emotion, shout out, 'You scoundrel! I have a mind to knock you down.' And Johnson would certainly have been laid sprawling in the sawdust beside his panting steed, had not the friends of the gentleman interposed, and prevented him inflicting such summary chastisement. This incident was long remembered. When the relater of it, many years afterwards, heard Burke declaiming, on the floor of the House of Commons, against injustice and oppression, his mind naturally reverted to the time when he saw the same hatred of all cruelty displayed by the same individual as he stood over the prostrate body of the poor black horse, prepared to punish the miscreant who had felled it to the ground."[Pg 260]

David Garrick and his Horse.

In 1778 Sir Joshua Reynolds visited Dr Warton at Winchester College. Here he was particularly noticed by George III. and his queen, who were then making a tour through the summer encampments. The father of Lord Palmerston, and David Garrick, the great actor, with others, visited Warton at the same time.

Mr Northcote[218] relates that a whimsical accident occurred to Garrick at one of the reviews, which Sir Joshua afterwards recounted with great humour.

"At one of those field-days in the vicinity, Garrick found it necessary to dismount, when his horse escaped from his hold and ran off; throwing himself immediately into his professional attitude, he cried out, as if on Bosworth field, 'A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!'"

This exclamation, and the accompanying attitude, excited great amazement amongst the surrounding spectators, who knew him not; but it could not escape his majesty's quick apprehension, for, it being within his hearing, he immediately said, "Those must be the tones of Garrick! see if he is not on the ground." The theatrical and dismounted monarch was immediately brought to his majesty, who not only condoled with him most good humouredly on his misfortune, but flatteringly added, that his delivery of Shakspeare could never pass undiscovered.

This anecdote of Garrick at Winchester is told in the Rev. John Wool's "Life of Warton." Mr Taylor says—"One can't help suspecting Roscius took care to make his speech when he knew the king was within earshot—a little[Pg 261] bit of that 'artifice' of his which has left such an impression in the theatre, that the phrase, 'As deep as Garrick,' is still current stage slang."[219]

Bernard Gilpin's Horses Stolen and Recovered.[220]

The biographer of the saintly Bernard Gilpin, the apostle of the northern counties of England in the days of Edward VI., and Queens Mary and Elizabeth, relates that, by the carelessness of his servant, his horses were one day stolen. The news was quickly propagated, and every one expressed the highest indignation. The thief was rejoicing over his prize, when, by the report of the country, he found whose horses he had taken. Terrified at what he had done, he instantly came trembling back, confessed the fact, returned the horses, and declared he believed the devil would have seized him directly had he carried them off, knowing them to have been Mr Gilpin's. The biographer gives an instance of his benevolent temper. "One day returning home, he saw in a field several people crowding together; and judging that something more than ordinary had happened, he rode up to them, and found that one of the horses in a team had suddenly dropped down, which they were endeavouring to raise; but in vain, for the horse was dead. The owner of it seeming much dejected with his misfortune, and declaring how grievous a loss it was to him, Mr Gilpin bade him not be disheartened; "I'll let you have, honest man, that horse of mine," and[Pg 262] pointed to his servant's. "Ah! master," replied the countryman, "my pocket will not reach such a beast as that." "Come, come," says Mr Gilpin, "take him, take him; and when I demand my money, then thou shalt pay me."[221]

No wonder that the horses of the apostolic rector of Houghton-le-Spring were safe, even in those horse-stealing times, and in that Border county.

The Herald and George III.'s Horse.

One day, when Sir Isaac Heard was in company with George III., it was announced that his majesty's horse was ready for hunting. "Sir Isaac," said the king, "are you a judge of horses?"—"In my younger days, please your majesty, I was a great deal among them," was the reply.—"What do you think of this, then?" said the king, who was by this time preparing to mount his favourite; and, without waiting for an answer, added, "We call him Perfection."—"A most appropriate name," replied the courtly herald, bowing as his majesty reached the saddle, "for he bears the best of characters."[222]

Rowland Hill and his Horse at Dunbar.

Many stories of the excellent but eccentric Rowland Hill are told, but often with considerable exaggeration. The following may be depended on for its accuracy, as it was told by Robert Haldane.[223] It occurred at Dunbar, in September 1797, during an evangelistic tour Hill and Haldane were making in Scotland. They were sleeping[Pg 263] at Mr Cunningham's, when, in the morning, intending to proceed southward, on Mr Hill's carriage being brought to the door, his horse was found to be dead lame. A farrier was sent for, who, after careful examination, reported that the seat of the mischief was in the shoulder, that the disease was incurable, and that they might shoot the poor animal as soon as they pleased. To this proposal Mr Hill was by no means prepared to accede. Indeed, it seemed to Mr Haldane as precipitate as the conduct of an Irish sailor on board the Monarch, who, on seeing another knocked down senseless by a splinter, and supposing his companion to be dead, went up to Captain Duncan, on the quarter-deck, in the midst of the action with Languara, off St Vincent, and exclaimed, "Shall we jerk him overboard, sir?" On that occasion the sailor revived in a short time, and was even able to work at his gun. In the present instance the horse, too, recovered, and was able to carry his master on many a future errand of mercy. Meanwhile, however, the travellers availed themselves of Mr Cunningham's hospitality, and remained for two days more at his place, near Dunbar. In the evening Mr Hill conducted family worship, and after the supplications for the family, domestics, and friends, added a fervent prayer for the restoration of the valuable animal which had carried him so many thousands of miles, preaching the everlasting gospel to his fellow-sinners. Mr Cunningham, who was remarkable for the staid and orderly, if not stiff, demeanour, which characterised the anti-burghers, was not only surprised but grieved, and even scandalised, at what he deemed so great an impropriety. He remonstrated with his guest. But Mr Hill stoutly defended his conduct by an appeal to Scripture, and the superintending watchfulness of Him without[Pg 264] whom a sparrow falls not to the ground. He persisted in his prayer during the two days he continued at Dunbar, and, although he left the horse, in a hopeless state, to follow in charge of his servant by easy stages, he continued his prayer, night and morning, till one day, at an inn in Yorkshire, while the two travellers were sitting at breakfast, they heard a horse and chaise trot briskly into the yard, and, looking out, saw that Mr Hill's servant had arrived, bringing up the horse perfectly restored. Mr Hill did not fail to return thanks, and begged his fellow-traveller to consider whether the minuteness of his prayers had deserved the censure which had been directed against them.

A Saying of Rowland Hill's.

Rowland Hill rode a great deal, and exercise preserved him in vigorous health. On one occasion, when asked by a medical friend, who was commenting on his invariably good health, what physician and apothecary he employed, he replied, "My physician has always been a horse, and my apothecary an ass!"[224]

Holcroft on the Horse.

Thomas Holcroft, the novelist and play-writer, when a lad, was a stable boy to a trainer of running horses. In his memoirs he has written a good deal about the habits of the race-horse. He says of them:—"I soon learned that the safehold for sitting steady was to keep the knee and the calf of the leg strongly pressed against the sides of the animal that endeavours to unhorse you; and as little accidents afford frequent occasions to remind the boys of this[Pg 265] rule, it becomes so rooted in the memory of the intelligent, that their danger is comparatively trifling. Of the temperaments and habits of blood-horses there are great varieties, and those very strongly contrasted. The majority of them are playful, but their gambols are dangerous to the timid or unskilful. They are all easily and suddenly alarmed, when anything they do not understand forcibly catches their attention, and they are then to be feared by the bad horseman, and carefully guarded against by the good. Very serious accidents have happened to the best. But, besides their general disposition to playfulness, there is a great propensity in them to become what the jockeys call vicious. High bred, hot in blood, exercised, fed and dressed so as to bring that heat to perfection, their tender skins at all times subject to a sharp curry-comb, hard brushing, and when they take sweats, to scraping with wooden instruments, it cannot be but that they are frequently and exceedingly irritated. Intending to make themselves felt and feared, they will watch their opportunity to bite, stamp, or kick; I mean those among them that are vicious. Tom, the brother of Jack Clarke, after sweating a gray horse that belonged to Lord March, with whom he lived, while he was either scraping or dressing him, was seized by the animal by the shoulder, lifted from the ground, and carried two or three hundred yards before the horse loosened his hold. Old Forrester, a horse that belonged to Captain Vernon, all the while that I remained at Newmarket, was obliged to be kept apart, and being foundered, to live at grass, where he was confined to a close paddock. Except Tom Watson, he would suffer no lad to come near him; if in his paddock, he would run[Pg 266] furiously at the first person that approached, and if in the stable, would kick and assault every one within his reach. Horses of this kind seem always to select their favourite boy. Tom Watson, indeed, had attained to man's estate, and in his brother's absence, which was rare, acted as superintendent. Horses, commonly speaking, are of a friendly and generous nature; but there are anecdotes of the malignant and savage ferocity of some, that are scarcely to be credited; at least many such are traditional at Newmarket.

Of their friendly disposition towards their keepers, there is a trait known to every boy that has the care of any one of them, which ought not to be omitted. The custom is to rise very early, even between two and three in the morning, when the days lengthen. In the course of the day, horses and boys have much to do. About half after eight, perhaps, in the evening, the horse has his last feed of oats, which he generally stands to enjoy in the centre of his smooth, carefully made bed of clean long straw, and by the side of him the weary boy will often lie down; it being held as a maxim, a rule without exception, that were he to lie even till morning, the horse would never lie down himself, but stand still, careful to do his keeper no harm.[225]

In one of Thomas Holcroft's novels, "Alwyn; or, The Gentleman Comedian," founded on his own adventures when a travelling actor, he gives the character of an enthusiast who had conceived the idea of establishing a humane asylum for animals, the consequences of which he describes. "I am pestered, plagued, teased, tormented to death. I[Pg 267] believe all the cats in Christendom are assembled in Oxfordshire. I am obliged to hire a clerk to pay the people; and the village where I live is become a constant fair. A fellow has set up the sign of the Three Blind Kittens, and has the impudence to tell the neighbours, that if my whims and my money only hold out for one twelvemonth, he shall not care a fig for the king. I thought to prevent this inundation, by buying up all the old cats and secluding them in convents and monasteries of my own, but the value of the breeders is increased to such a degree, that I do not believe my whole fortune is capable of the purchase. Besides I am made an ass of. A rascal, who is a known sharper in these parts, hearing of the aversion I had to cruelty, bought an old one-eyed horse, that was going to the dogs, for five shillings; then taking a hammer in his hand, watched an opportunity of finding me alone, and addressed me in the following manner: 'Look you, master, I know that you don't love to see any dumb creature abused, and so, if you don't give me ten pounds, why, I shall scoop out this old rip's odd eye with the sharp end of this here hammer, now, before your face.' Ay, and the villain would have done it too, if I had not instantly complied; but what was worse, the abominable scoundrel had the audacity to tell me, when I wanted him to deliver the horse first, for fear he should extort a further sum from me, that he had more honour than to break his word. A whelp of a boy had yesterday caught a young hedgehog, and perceiving me, threw it into the water to make it extend its legs; then with the rough side of a knotty stick sawed upon them till the creature cried like a child; and when I ordered him to desist, told me he would not,[Pg 268] till I had given him sixpence. There is something worse than all this. The avaricious rascals, when they can find nothing that they think will excite my pity, disable the first animal which is not dignified with the title of Christian, and then bring it to me as an object worthy of commiseration; so that, in fact, instead of protecting, I destroy. The women have entertained a notion that I hate two-legged animals; and one of them called after me the other day, to tell me I was an old rogue, and that I had better give my money to the poor, than keep a parcel of dogs and cats that eat up the village. I perceive it is in vain to attempt carrying on the scheme much longer, and then my poor invalids will be worse off than they were before."[226]

A Joke of Lord Mansfield's about a Horse.

Lord Campbell[227] tells an anecdote of George Wood, a celebrated special pleader at the time when Lord Mansfield was Chief-Justice. Though a subtle pleader, George was very ignorant of horse-flesh, and had been cruelly cheated in the purchase of a horse on which he had intended to ride the circuit. He brought an action on the warranty that the horse was "a good roadster, and free from vice." At the trial before Lord Mansfield, it appeared that when the plaintiff mounted at the stables in London, with the intention of proceeding to Barnet, nothing could induce the animal to move forward a single step. On hearing this[Pg 269] evidence, the Chief-Justice with much gravity exclaimed, "Who would have supposed that Mr Wood's horse would have demurred when he ought to have gone to the country." Any attempt, adds Lord Campbell, to explain this excellent joke to lay gents would be vain, and to lawyers would be superfluous.

General Sir John Moore and his Horse at the Battle of Corunna.

Charles Napier served in Lord William Bentinck's brigade during the retreat of the truly great and ill-used Moore at the battle of Corunna; he was covered with wounds, and was carried off a prisoner. In his "Biography" General Sir William Napier[228] has published a most interesting description of the part his brother took in that battle, and written in his own words. I extract a few vivid lines in which Moore and his horse are brought before you. A heavy French column was descending rapidly on the British line at the part where Napier was. "Suddenly I heard the gallop of horses, and turning saw Moore. He came at speed, and pulled up so sharp and close he seemed to have alighted from the air; man and horse looking at the approaching foe with an intenseness that seemed to concentrate all feeling in their eyes. The sudden stop of the animal, a cream-coloured one, with black tail and mane, had cast the latter streaming forward, its ears were pushed out like horns, while its eyes flashed fire, and it snorted loudly with expanded nostrils, expressing terror, astonishment, and muscular exertion. My first thought was, it will be away like the wind; but then I[Pg 270] looked at the rider, and the horse was forgotten. Thrown on its haunches the animal came, sliding and dashing the dirt up with its fore-feet, thus bending the general forward almost to its neck; but his head was thrown back, and his look more keenly piercing than I ever before saw it. He glanced to the right and left, and then fixed his eyes intently on the enemy's advancing column, at the same time grasping the reins with both his hands, and pressing the horse firmly with his knees; his body thus seemed to deal with the animal, while his mind was intent on the enemy, and his aspect was one of searching intenseness, beyond the power of words to describe; for a while he looked, and then galloped to the left, without uttering a word."

Neither Horses nor Children can explain their Complaints.

Dr Mounsey, the Chelsea doctor, an eccentric physician, who was a great friend of David Garrick, related to Taylor that he was once in company with another physician and an eminent farrier. The physician stated that among the difficulties of his profession, was that of discovering the maladies of children, because they could not explain the symptoms of their disorder. "Well," said the farrier, "your difficulties are not greater than mine, for my patients, the horses, are equally unable to explain their complaints."—"Ah!" rejoined the physician, "my brother doctor must conquer me, as he has brought his cavalry against my infantry!"[229][Pg 271]

Horses with Names.

In this country most horses have a name, but in Germany this custom must be unusual. Perthes, when on his way from Hamburg to Frankfort, remarked at Böhmte—"It is a pleasing custom they have here of giving proper names to horses. The horse is a noble and intelligent animal, and quite as deserving of such a distinction as the dog; and when it has a name, it has made some advance towards personality."[230]

"Old Jack" of Waterloo Bridge.

In building Waterloo Bridge, the finest of Rennie's bridges, the whole of the stone required was hewn in some fields on the Surrey side. Nearly the whole of this material was drawn by one horse called "Old Jack," a most sensible animal. Mr Smiles, in his "Life of John Rennie,"[231] thus speaks of this favourite old horse—"His driver was, generally speaking, a steady and trustworthy man; though rather too fond of his dram before breakfast. As the railway along which the stone was drawn passed in front of the public-house door, the horse and truck were usually pulled up, while Tom entered for his 'morning.' On one occasion the driver stayed so long that 'Old Jack,' becoming impatient, poked his head into the open door, and taking his master's coat collar between his teeth, though in a gentle sort of manner, pulled him out from the midst of his companions, and thus forced him to resume the day's work."[Pg 272]

Sydney Smith and his Horses.

Sydney Smith, when rector of Foston-le-Clay, in Yorkshire, a living which he got from Lord Chancellor Erskine in 1806, was in the habit of riding a good deal. His daughter says that, "either from the badness of his horses, or the badness of his riding, or perhaps from both (in spite of his various ingenious contrivances to keep himself in the saddle), he had several falls, and kept us in continual anxiety."[232] He writes in a letter—"I used to think a fall from a horse dangerous, but much experience has convinced me to the contrary. I have had six falls in two years, and just behaved like the three per cents. when they fall. I got up again, and am not a bit the worse for it any more than the stock in question." In speaking of this he says, "I left off riding for the good of my parish and the peace of my family; for, somehow or other, my horse and I had a habit of parting company. On one occasion I found myself suddenly prostrate in the streets of York, much to the delight of the Dissenters. Another time my horse Calamity flung me over his head into a neighbouring parish, as if I had been a shuttlecock, and I felt grateful it was not into a neighbouring planet; but as no harm came of it, I might have persevered perhaps, if, on a certain day, a Quaker tailor from a neighbouring village to which I had said I was going to ride, had not taken it into his head to call, soon after my departure, and request to see Mrs Sydney. She instantly, conceiving I was thrown, if not killed, rushed down to the man, exclaiming, 'Where[Pg 273] is he?—where is your master?—is he hurt?' The astonished and quaking snip stood silent from surprise. Still more agitated by his silence, she exclaimed, 'Is he hurt? I insist upon knowing the worst!'—'Why, please, ma'am, it is only thy little bill, a very small account, I wanted thee to settle,' replied he, in much surprise.

"After this, you may suppose, I sold my horse; however, it is some comfort to know that my friend, Sir George, is one fall ahead of me, and is certainly a worse rider. It is a great proof, too, of the liberality of this county, where everybody can ride as soon as they are born, that they tolerate me at all.

"The horse 'Calamity,' whose name has been thus introduced, was the first-born of several young horses bred on the farm, who turned out very fine creatures, and gained him great glory, even amongst the knowing farmers of Yorkshire; but this first production was certainly not encouraging. To his dismay a huge, lank, large-boned foal appeared, of chestnut colour, and with four white legs. It grew apace, but its bones became more and more conspicuous; its appetite was unbounded—grass, hay, corn, beans, food moist and dry, were all supplied in vain, and vanished down his throat with incredible rapidity. He stood, a large living skeleton, with famine written in his face, and my father christened him 'Calamity.' As Calamity grew to maturity, he was found to be as sluggish in disposition as his master was impetuous; so my father was driven to invent his patent Tantalus, which consisted of a small sieve of corn, suspended on a semicircular bar of iron, from the ends of the shafts, just beyond the horse's nose. The corn, rattling as the vehicle proceeded, stimu[Pg 274]lated Calamity to unwonted exertions; and under the hope of overtaking this imaginary feed, he did more work than all the previous provender which had been poured down his throat had been able to obtain from him."

He was very fond of his young horses, and they all came running to meet him when he entered the field. He began their education from their birth; he taught them to wear a girth, a bridle, a saddle; to meet flags, music; to bear the firing of a pistol at their heads from their earliest years; and he maintained that no horses were so well broken as his! At p. 388 she records, "At ten we always went down-stairs to prayers in the library. Immediately after, if we were alone, appeared the 'farmer' at the door, lantern in hand. 'David, bring me my coat and stick,' and off he set with him, summer and winter, to visit his horses, and see that they were all well fed, and comfortable in their regions for the night. He kept up this custom all his life!"

Sydney Smith, when at Foston, used to exercise his skill in medicine on the poor, and often did much good; his daughter gives some instances of his practice as a farrier.

"On one occasion, wishing to administer a ball to Peter the Cruel,[233] the groom, by mistake, gave him two boxes of opium pills in his bran mash, which Peter composedly munched, boxes and all. My father, in dismay, when he heard what had happened, went to look, as he thought, for the last time on his beloved Peter; but soon found, to his great relief, that neither boxes nor pills had produced any visible effects on him. Another time he found all his pigs[Pg 275] intoxicated; and, as he declared, 'grunting "God save the King" about the stye,' from having eaten some fermented grains which he had ordered for them. Once he administered castor-oil to the red cow, in quantities sufficient to have killed a regiment of Christians; but the red cow laughed alike at his skill and his oil, and went on her way rejoicing."[234]

Sydney Smith tells a story, or made one, of a clergyman who was rather absent. "I heard of a clergyman who went jogging along the road till he came to a turnpike. 'What is to pay?'—'Pay, sir, for what?' asked the turnpike man.—'Why, for my horse, to be sure.'—'Your horse, sir? what horse? here is no horse, sir.'—'No horse? God bless me!' said he, suddenly, looking down between his legs, 'I thought I was on horseback.'"[235]

Judge Story and the Names he gave his Horses.

The son and biographer of the eminent American judge, Joseph Story, relates of him[236]—"To dumb creatures he was kind and considerate, and indignant at any ill usage of them. His sportive nature showed itself in the nicknames which, in parody of the American fondness of titles, he[Pg 276] gave to his horses and dogs, as, 'The Right Honourable Mr Mouse,' or 'Colonel Roy.'"

Wordsworth on Cruelty to Horses in Ireland.

The Rev. Cæsar Otway,[237] in a lecture full of interesting anecdotes, records:—"I remember an observation made to me by one of the most gifted of the human race—one of the stars of this generation—the poet of nature and of feeling—the good and the great Mr Wordsworth. Having the honour of a conversation with him, after he had made a tour through Ireland, I, in the course of it, asked what was the thing that most struck his observation here, as making us differ from the English; and he, without hesitation, said it was the ill treatment of our horses; that his soul was often, too often, sick within him at the way in which he saw these creatures of God abused."

Use of Tail.—Short-Tailed and Long-Tailed Horses.

In an Irish paper was an advertisement for horses to stand at livery on the following terms:—"Long-tailed horses at 3s. 6d. per week; short-tailed horses at 3s. per week." On inquiry into the cause of the difference, it was answered, that the horses with long tails could brush the flies off their backs while eating, whereas the short-tailed horses were obliged to take their heads from the manger, and so ate less.[238][Pg 277]


It is strange that one of the most sagacious of animals should have supplied us with a by-word for "a fool." Coleridge was conscious of this when, in writing his address to a young ass's foal,[239] he exclaimed—

"I hail thee, brother, spite of the fool's scorn."

How well has he expressed his love for "the languid patience" of its face.

In warmer climes the ass attains a size and condition not seen here, though when cared for in this rougher climate, the donkey assumes somewhat of the size and elegance he has in the East. But who can bear his voice? Surely Coleridge was very fanciful when, in any condition of asshood, he could write—

"Yea, and more musically sweet to me
Thy dissonant, harsh bray of joy would be,
Than warbled melodies that soothe to rest
The aching of pale Fashion's vacant breast."

The wild ass, as it roams over the plains of Asia, or is seen in the Zoological gardens along with the gracefully-shaped and prettily-striped zebra, must be admired by every one.

Collins and the Old Donkey of Odell, Cowper's Messenger at Olney.

In July 1823, William Collins, R.A., visited Turvey, in Bedfordshire. His son remarks—"Besides the attractions presented to the pencil by the natural beauties of this[Pg 278] neighbourhood, its vicinity to Olney, the favourite residence of the poet Cowper, gave it, to all lovers of poetry, a local and peculiar charm. Conspicuous among its inhabitants at the time when my father visited it was 'old Odell,' frequently mentioned by Cowper as the favourite messenger who carried his letters and parcels. The extreme picturesqueness and genuine rustic dignity of the old man's appearance made him an admirable subject for pictorial study. Portraits of him, in water-colours and oils, were accordingly made by my father, who introduced him into three of his pictures. The donkey on which he had for years ridden to and fro with letters, was as carefully depicted by the painter as his rider. On visiting 'old Odell' a year or two afterwards, Mr Collins observed a strange-looking object hanging against his kitchen wall, and inquired what it was. 'Oh, sir,' replied the old man, sorrowfully, 'that is the skin of my poor donkey. He died of old age, and I did not like to part with him altogether, so I had his skin dried, and hung up there.' Tears came into his eyes as he spoke of the old companion of all his village pilgrimages. The incident might have formed a continuation of Sterne's exquisite episode in the 'Sentimental Journey.'"[240]

In his picture of "The Cherry-Seller," painted for Mr Higgins of Turvey House, old Odell and his donkey are chief figures.

Gainsborough kept an Ass.

The Rev. William Gilpin, in his "Forest Scenery,"[Pg 279] refers to the picturesque beauty of the ass in a landscape Berghem often introduced it; "and a late excellent landscape-painter (Mr Gainsborough), I have heard, generally kept this animal by him, that he might have it always at hand to introduce in various attitudes into his pictures. I have heard also that a plaster cast of an ass, modelled by him, is sold in the shops in London."[241]

Irishman on the Ramsgate Donkeys.

In former times, when excise officers were not so sharp, there was a good deal of smuggling carried on at Ramsgate. Sir Thomas Dick Lauder[242] tells an anecdote of an Irishman there, who being asked to name the hardest wrought creature in existence, replied, "Och! a Ramsgate donkey, to be sure; for, faith, afthur carrying angels all day, be the powers he is forced to carry speerits all night."

Ass's Foal.

Douglas Jerrold and a company of literary friends were out in the country. In the course of their walk they stopped to notice the gambols of an ass's foal. A very sentimental poet present vowed that he should like to send the little thing as a present to his mother. "Do," replied Jerrold, "and tie a piece of paper round its neck, bearing this motto, 'When this you see, remember me.'"[243][Pg 280]


A judge, joking a young barrister, said—"If you and I were turned into a horse and an ass, which would you prefer to be?"—"The ass, to be sure," replied the barrister. "I've heard of an ass being made a judge, but a horse never."[244]

Ammonianus, the grammarian, had an ass which, as it is said, when he attended the lectures upon poetry, often neglected his food when laid before him, though at the same time he was hungry, so much was the ass taken with the love of poetry.[245]

Warren Hastings and the Refractory Donkey.

The fondness of the first Governor-General of India for horse exercise, and indeed for the horse itself, was quite oriental, as his biographer relates.[246] He was a fine rider, and piqued himself on his abilities in this way.

"Nothing pleased him," continues Mr Gleig, "more than to undertake some animal which nobody else could control, and to reduce it, as he invariably did, to a state of perfect docility. The following anecdote, which I have from my friend Mr Impey, himself an actor in the little drama, may suffice to show the extent to which this passion was carried. It happened once upon a time, when Mr Impey[Pg 281] was, with some other boys, on a visit at Daylesford, that Mr Hastings, returning from a ride, saw his young friends striving in vain to manage an ass which they had found grazing in the paddock, and which one after another they chose to mount. The ass, it appears, had no objection to receive the candidates for equestrian renown successively on his back, but budge a foot he would not; and there being neither saddle nor bridle, wherewith to restrain his natural movements, he never failed, so soon as a difference of opinion arose, to get the better of his rider. Each in his turn, the boys were repeatedly thrown, till at last Mr Hastings, who watched the proceedings with great interest, approached.

"Why, boys," said he, "how is it that none of you can ride?"

"Not ride!" cried the little aspirants; "we could ride well enough, if we had a saddle and a bridle; but he's such an obstinate brute, that we don't think even you, sir, could sit him bare-backed."

"Let's try," exclaimed the Governor-General.

Whereupon he dismounted, and gave his horse to one of the children to hold, and mounted the donkey. The beast began to kick up his heels, and lower his head as heretofore; but this time the trick would not answer. The Governor-General sat firm, and finally prevailed, whether by fair means or foul, I am not instructed, in getting the quadruped to move wheresoever he chose. He himself laughed heartily as he resigned the conquered thistle-eater to his first friends; and the story when told, as told it was, with consummate humour, at the dinner-table, afforded great amusement to a large circle of guests.[Pg 282]

Northcote, the Royal Academician, an Angel at an Ass.

Fuseli, the artist, was a most outspoken man. His biographer[247] says that he never concealed his sentiments with regard to men, even to their faces.

"Every one knows," writes Mr Knowles, "who is acquainted with art, the powers which Northcote displays when he paints animals of the brute creation. When his picture of 'Balaam and the Ass' was exhibited at the Macklin Gallery, Northcote asked Fuseli's opinion of its merits, who instantly said, 'My friend, you are an angel at an ass, but an ass at an angel.'"

Sydney Smith's accomplished Donkey, with Francis Jeffrey on his Back.

Lady Holland[248] gives the following picture of her father's pet donkey:—

"Amongst our rural delights at Heslington was the possession of a young donkey which had been given up to our tender mercies from the time of its birth, and in whose education we employed a large portion of our spare time; and a most accomplished donkey it became under our tuition. It would walk up-stairs, pick pockets, follow us in our walks like a huge Newfoundland dog, and at the most distant sight of us in the field, with ears down[Pg 283] and tail erect, it set off in full bray to meet us. These demonstrations on Bitty's part were met with not less affection on ours, and Bitty was almost considered a member of the family.

"One day, when my elder brother and myself were training our beloved Bitty with a pocket-handkerchief for a bridle, and his head crowned with flowers, to run round our garden, who should arrive in the midst of our sport but Mr Jeffrey. Finding my father out, he, with his usual kindness towards young people, immediately joined in our sport, and to our infinite delight, mounted our donkey. He was proceeding in triumph, amidst our shouts of laughter, when my father and mother, in company, I believe, with Mr Horner and Mr Murray, returned from their walk, and beheld this scene from the garden-door. Though years and years have passed away since, I still remember the joy-inspiring laughter that burst from my father at this unexpected sight, as, advancing towards his old friend, with a face beaming with delight, and with extended hands, he broke forth in the following impromptu:

'Witty as Horatius Flaccus,
As great a Jacobin as Gracchus;
Short, though not as fat as Bacchus,
Riding on a little jackass.'

"These lines were afterwards repeated by some one to Mr —— at Holland House, just before he was introduced for the first time to Mr Jeffrey, and they caught his fancy to such a degree that he could not get them out of his head, but kept repeating them in a low voice all the time Mr Jeffrey was conversing with him.

"I must end Bitty's history, as he has been introduced,[Pg 284] by saying that he followed us to Foston; and after serving us faithfully for thirteen years, on our leaving Yorkshire, was permitted by our kind friend, Lord Carlisle, to spend the rest of his days in idleness and plenty, in his beautiful park, with an unbounded command of thistles."

Sydney Smith on the Sagacity of the Ass; a Lady scarcely so wise as one.

The Rev. Sydney Smith[249] writes to Colonel Fox in October 1836:—

"My Dear Charles,—If you have ever paid any attention to the habits of animals, you will know that donkeys are remarkably cunning in opening gates. The way to stop them is to have two latches instead of one. A human being has two hands, and lifts up both latches at once; a donkey has only one nose, and latch a drops, as he quits it to lift up latch b. Bobus and I had the grand luck to see little Aunty engaged intensely with this problem. She was taking a walk, and was arrested by a gate with this formidable difficulty: the donkeys were looking on to await the issue. Aunty lifted up the first latch with the most perfect success, but found herself opposed by a second; flushed with victory, she quitted the first latch, and rushed at the second; her success was equal, till in the meantime the first dropped. She tried this two or three times, and, to her utter astonishment, with the same results; the donkeys brayed, and Aunty was walking away in great dejection, till Bobus and I recalled her with loud laughter, showed her that she had[Pg 285] two hands, and roused her to vindicate her superiority over the donkeys. I mention this to you to request that you will make no allusion to this animal, as she is remarkably touchy on this subject, and also that you will not mention it to Lady Mary!"

Lady Holland relates a practical joke of her father's, which the witty canon carried out at his rectory of Combe Florey. "Opposite was a beautiful bank, with a hanging wood of fine old beech and oak, on the summit of which presented themselves, to our astonished eyes, two donkeys with deers' antlers fastened on their heads, which ever and anon they shook, much wondering at their horned honours; whilst the attendant donkey boy, in Sunday garb, stood grinning and blushing at their side. 'There, Lady ——! you said the only thing this place wanted to make it perfect was deer; what do you say now? I have, you see, ordered my game gamekeeper to drive my deer into the most picturesque point of view. Excuse their long ears, a little peculiarity belonging to parsonic deer. Their voices, too, are singular; but we do our best for you, and you are too true a friend of the Church to mention our defects.' All this, of course, amidst shouts of laughter, whilst his own merry laugh might be heard above us all, ringing through the valley, and making the very echoes laugh in chorus."

Asses' Duty Free!

During the debate on Sir Robert Peel's tariff, the admission of asses' duty free caused much merriment. Lord T., who had just read "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation," remarked that the House had, he supposed,[Pg 286] passed the donkey clause out of respect to its ancestors.—"It is a wise measure," said a popular novelist, "especially as it affects the importation of food; for, should a scarcity come, we should otherwise have to fall back on the food of our forefathers."—"And, pray, what is that?" asked an archæologist.—"Thistles," replied Lord T.[250]

Thackeray and the Egyptian Donkey.

When the English author landed at Alexandria, there were many scenes and sounds to dispel all romantic notions; among these "a yelling chorus of donkey boys shrieking, 'Ride, sir!—donkey, sir!—I say, sir!' in excellent English. The placid sphinxes, brooding o'er the Nile, disappeared with that wild shriek of the donkey boys. You might be as well impressed with Wapping as with your first step on Egyptian soil.

"The riding of a donkey is, after all, not a dignified occupation. A man resists the offer first, somehow as an indignity. How is that poor little, red-saddled, long-eared creature to carry you? Is there to be one for you and another for your legs? Natives and Europeans, of all sizes, passed by, it is true, mounted upon the same contrivance. I waited until I got into a very private spot, where nobody could see me, and then ascended—why not say descended at once?—on the poor little animal. Instead of being crushed at once, as perhaps the writer expected, it darted forward, quite briskly and cheerfully, at six or seven miles an hour; requiring no spur or admonitive to haste, except[Pg 287] the shrieking of the little Egyptian gamin, who ran along by asinus's side."[251]

Best to let Mules have their own Way.

Dr John Moore, in crossing the Alps, found they had nothing but the sagacity of their mules to trust to. "For my own part," he says, "I was very soon convinced that it was much safer on all dubious occasions to depend on theirs than on my own. For as often as I was presented with a choice of difficulties, and the mule and I were of different opinions, if, becoming more obstinate than he, I insisted on his taking my track, I never failed to repent it, and often was obliged to return to the place where the controversy had begun, and follow the path to which he had pointed at first.

"It is entertaining to observe the prudence of these animals in making their way down such dangerous rocks. They sometimes put their heads over the edge of the precipice, and examine with anxious circumspection every possible way by which they can descend, and at length are sure to fix on that which, upon the whole, is the best. Having observed this in several instances, I laid the bridle on the neck of my mule, and allowed him to take his own way, without presuming to control him in the smallest degree. This is doubtless the best method, and what I recommend to all my friends in their journey through life, when they have mules for their companions."[252][Pg 288]

Zebra.—"Un âne rayée."

a frenchman's "double-entendre."

When, in 1805, Patrick Lattin, an officer of the Irish Brigade, was residing in Paris, a M. de Montmorency, whose Christian name was Anne, made his appearance, announcing that he was enabled to return to France, in consequence of the First Consul having scratched his name on the list of émigrés. "A present donc," observed Lattin, "mon cher Anne, tu es un Zèbre—un âne rayée."[253]


Truly the Ship of the Desert, and one that by Lewis and Henry Warren has afforded the subject of many a pleasing picture. The camel has a most patriarchal look about him.

Captain William Peel, R.N. Remarks on Camels.

Captain William Peel, in his "Ride through the Nubian Desert" (p. 89), writes—"We met once at a hollow, where some water still remained from the rains, 2000 camels, all together admirably organised into troops, and attended by only a few Arabs. On another occasion, we passed some camels grazing at such a distance from the Nile, that I asked the Arab attending where they went to drink? He said, he marches them all down together to the Nile, and they drink every eleventh day. It is now the cool season,[Pg 289] and the heat is tempered by fresh northerly breezes. The Arab, of course, brings water skins for his own supply. All these camels were breeding stock. They live on thorns and the top shoots of the gum-arabic tree, although it is armed with the most frightful spikes. But very little comes amiss to the camel; he will eat dry wood to keep up digestion, if in want of a substitute. Instinct or experience has taught him to avoid the only two tempting-looking plants that grow in the desert,—the green eusha bush, which is full of milk-coloured juice, and a creeper, that grows in the sand where nothing else will grow, and which has a bitter fruit like a melon. I was surprised to learn that the leopard does not dare to attack the camel, whose tall and narrow flanks would seem to be fatally exposed to such a supple enemy. Nature, however, has given him a means of defence in his iron jaw and long powerful neck, which are a full equivalent for his want of agility. He can also strike heavily with his feet, and his roar would intimidate many foes. I never felt tired of admiring this noble creature, and through the monotony of the desert would watch for hours his ceaseless tread and unerring path. Carrying his head low, forward, and surveying everything with his black brilliant eye, he marches resolutely forward, and quickens his pace at the slightest cheer of the rider. He is too intelligent and docile for a bridle; besides, he lives on the march, and with a sudden sweep of the neck will seize, without stopping, the smallest straw. When the day's march is over, he passes the night in looking for food, with scarcely an hour to repose his limbs, and less than that for sleep. He closes the eye fitfully, the smallest noise will awake him. When lying down for rest,[Pg 290] every part of the body is supported; his neck and head lie lightly along the sand, a broad plate of bone under the breast takes the weight off his deep chest, and his long legs lay folded under him, supporting his sides like a ship in a cradle."

A Captain in the Royal Navy Measures the Progress of "the Ship of the Desert."

The dromedary has long and deservedly been called "the Ship of the Desert." A very gallant captain in the Royal Navy, the late Captain William Peel, son of the Prime Minister, calculated its rate of motion much after the manner in which he might have measured the path of his ship. He writes[254]—"In crossing the Nubian Desert I paid constant attention to the march of the camels, hoping it may be of some service hereafter in determining our position. The number of strides in a minute with the same foot varied very little, only from 37 to 39, and 38 was the average; but the length of the stride was more uncertain, varying from 6 feet 6 to 7 feet 6. As we were always urging the camels, who seemed, like ourselves, to know the necessity of pushing on across that fearful tract, I took 7 feet as the average. These figures give a speed of 2.62 geographical miles per hour, or exactly three English miles, which may be considered as the highest speed that camels lightly loaded can keep up on a journey. In general, it will not be more than two and a half English miles. My dromedary was one of the tallest, and the seat of the saddle was 6 feet 6 above the ground."[Pg 291]

Lord Metcalfe on a Camel when a Boy.

Charles Metcalfe, "first and last Lord Metcalfe," to whose care were successively intrusted the three greatest dependencies of the British crown, India, Jamaica, and Canada, and who died in 1846, was sent to Eton when eleven years old. His biographer relates,[255] that "it is on record, and on very sufficient authority, that he was once seen riding on a camel. 'I heard the boys shouting,' said Dr Goodall, many years afterwards, 'and went out and saw young Metcalfe riding on a camel; so you see he was always orientally inclined.'" This anecdote will serve as a comrade to that told by Mr Foss, in his "Lives of the Justices of England," of Chief-Baron Pollock. When a lad, one of his schoolmasters, fretted by the boyish energy and exuberant spirits of his scholar, said petulantly, "You will live to be hanged." The old gentleman lived to see his pupil Lord Chief-Baron, and, not a little proud of his great scholar, said, "I always said he would occupy an elevated position."


The deer family is rather numerous, and found in many different parts of the world. Reindeers abound in some parts even of Spitzbergen, and with musk oxen can find their food even under the winter snows of the Parry Islands.[Pg 292] The wapiti and heavy large-headed elk or moose, retreat before the advancing civilisation of North America. The Indian mountains and plains have noble races of deer. No species, however, is more celebrated than our red deer. The giraffe is closely allied to the stag family. The Arabs name it the seraph, and indeed, that is the origin of its now best-known English name. Visitors should beware of going too near the male, for we have seen the dent made by one of the giraffe's bony knobs on a pannel close to its stall. We have heard of a young lady, who entered the garden one of those summer days when straw bonnets had great bunches of ripe barley mingled with artificial poppies as an ornament, and, going too near the lofty pallisade, found to her confusion and terror that the long lithe tongue of the giraffe had whisked off her Leghorn, flowers and all, and had begun leisurely to munch it with somewhat of the same gusto with which it would have eaten the branch of a graceful mimosa.

Earl of Dalhousie and the ferocious Stag.

Mr Scrope relates an instance of unprovoked ferocity in a red deer at Taymouth, in which the present Earl of Dalhousie might have been seriously injured.

"In October 1836, the Hon. Mr and Mrs Fox Maule had left Taymouth with the intention of proceeding towards Dalguise; and in driving through that part of the grounds where the red deer were kept, they suddenly at a turn of the road came upon the lord of the demesne standing in the centre of the passage, as if prepared to dispute it against all comers. Mr Maule being aware[Pg 293] that it might be dangerous to trifle with him, or to endeavour to drive him away (for it was the rutting season), cautioned the postilion to go slowly, and give the animal an opportunity of moving off. This was done, and the stag retired to a small hollow by the side of the road. On the carriage passing, however, he took offence at its too near approach, and emerged at a slow and stately pace, till he arrived nearly parallel with it. Mr Maule then desired the lad to increase his pace, being apprehensive of a charge in the broadside.

"The deer, however, had other intentions; for as soon as the carriage moved quicker, he increased his pace also, and came on the road about twelve yards ahead of it, for the purpose of crossing, as it was thought, to a lower range of the parks; but to the astonishment and no little alarm of the occupants of the carriage, he charged the offside horse, plunging his long brow antler into his chest, and otherwise cutting him.

"The horse that was wounded made two violent kicks, and is supposed to have struck the stag, and then the pair instantly ran off the road; and it was owing solely to the admirable presence of mind and sense of the postilion, that the carriage was not precipitated over the neighbouring bank. The horses were not allowed to stop till they reached the gate, although the blood was pouring from the wounded animal in a stream as thick as a man's finger. He was then taken out of the carriage, and only survived two or three hours. The stag was shortly afterwards killed."[256][Pg 294]

The French Count and the Stag.

Mr Scrope, in his "Deer-Stalking," describes a grand deer-drive to Glen-Tilt, headed by the Duke of Athole. Many an incident of this and subsequent drives was watched by "Lightfoot," who was present, and whose pictures, under his name of Sir Edwin Landseer, have rendered the life of the red deer familiar to us, in mist, amid snow, swimming in the rapid of a Highland current, pursued and at rest, fighting and feeding, alive and dead, in every attitude, and at every age.

In this encounter, the Duke killed three first-rate harts, Lightfoot two, and other rifles were all more or less successful. A French count, whose tongue it was difficult to restrain,—and silence is essential to success in the pursuit,—at last fired into a dense herd of deer.

Mr Scrope adds,[257] "Everything was propitious—circumstance, situation, and effect; for he was descending the mountain in full view of our whole assemblage of sportsmen. A fine stag in the midst of the herd fell to the crack of his rifle. 'Hallo, hallo!' forward ran the count, and sat upon the prostrate deer triumphing. 'Hé bien, mon ami, vous êtes mort, donc! Moi, je fais toujours des coups sûrs. Ah! pauvre enfant!' He then patted the sides of the animal in pure wantonness, and looked east, west, north, and south, for applause, the happiest of the happy; finally he extracted a mosaic snuff-box from his pocket, and with an air which nature has denied to all save the French nation, he held a pinch to the deer's nose—'Prends, mon ami, prends donc!' This operation had scarcely been performed[Pg 295] when the hart, who had only been stunned, or perhaps shot through the loins, sprang up suddenly, overturned the count, ran fairly away, and was never seen again. 'Arrêtes, toi traître! Arrêtes, mon enfant! Ah! c'est un enfant, perdu! Allez donc à tous les diables!'"

Venison Fat.—Reynolds and the Gourmand.

Northcote[258] says—"I have heard Sir Joshua Reynolds relate an anecdote of a venison feast, at which were assembled many who much enjoyed the repast.

"On this occasion, Reynolds addressed his conversation to one of the company who sat next to him, but to his great surprise could not get a single word in answer, until at length his silent neighbour, turning to him, said, 'Mr Reynolds, whenever you are at a venison feast, I advise you not to speak during dinner-time, as in endeavouring to answer your questions, I have just swallowed a fine piece of the fat, entire, without tasting its flavour.'"

Stag-trench at Frankfort-on-the-Maine.

Goethe was born at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, August 28th, 1749. In his autobiography[259] he says—"The street in which our house was situated passed by the name of the Stag-trench; but as neither stags nor trenches were to be seen, we naturally wished to have the expression explained. They told us that our house stood on a spot that was once[Pg 296] outside the town, and that where the street now ran had formerly been a trench in which a number of stags were kept. The stags were preserved and fatted here, because the Senate every year, according to an ancient custom, feasted publicly on a stag which was always at hand in the trench for such a festival, in case princes or knights interfered with the city's right of chase outside, or the walls were encompassed and besieged by an enemy. This pleased us, and we wished that such a lair for tame wild animals could have been seen in our times. Where is there a boy or girl who could not join in the wish of this man, who has been called the first European poet and literary man of the nineteenth century?"


"Fancy," said Sydney Smith to some ladies, when he was told that one of the giraffes at the Zoological Gardens had caught a cold,—"fancy a giraffe with two yards of sore throat."

In one of the numbers of Punch, published in 1864, the quiz of an artist has made the giraffes twist their necks into a loose knot by way of a comforter to keep them from catching a cold, or having a sore throat. He has very audaciously caused to be printed under his cut, "A Fact."


These are animals, at least the former, which seem to have been created in a domestic state. They are repre[Pg 297]sented on the most ancient monuments. A head of a Lybian ram of very large size, in the British Museum, has great resemblance to nature, and there is one slab at least among the Assyrian monuments where sheep and goats, as part of the spoil of a city, are rendered with great skill. In the writings of the Ettrick Shepherd, many curious anecdotes of Scottish sheep are given.

How many Legs has a Sheep?

When the Earl of Bradford was brought before the Lord Chancellor to be examined upon application for a statute of lunacy against him, the Chancellor asked him, "How many legs has a sheep?"—"Does your lordship mean," answered Lord Bradford, "a live sheep or a dead sheep?"—"Is it not the same thing?" said the Chancellor.—"No, my lord," said Lord Bradford, "there is much difference: a live sheep may have four legs, a dead sheep has only two; the two fore-legs are shoulders; there are only two legs of mutton."[260]

Goethe on Roos's Etchings of Sheep.

In the "Conversations of Goethe with Eckerman and Soret"[261] in 1824, he handed me some etchings by Roos, the famous painter of animals; they were all of sheep, in every posture and position. The simplicity of their countenances, the ugliness and shagginess of the fleece—all was represented with the utmost fidelity, as if it were nature itself.[Pg 298]

"I always feel uneasy," said Goethe, "when I look at these beasts. Their state—so limited, dull, gaping, and dreaming—excites in me such sympathy, that I fear I shall become a sheep, and almost think the artist must have been one. At all events, it is most wonderful how Roos has been able to think and feel himself into the very soul of these creatures, so as to make the internal character peer with such force through the outward covering. Here you see what a great talent can do when it keeps steady to subjects which are congenial with its nature."

"Has not, then," said I, "this artist also painted dogs, cats, and beasts of prey with similar truth; nay, with this great gift of assuming a mental state foreign to himself, has he not been able to delineate human character with equal fidelity?"

"No," said Goethe; "all that lay out of his sphere, but the gentle, grass-eating animals—sheep, goats, cows, and the like—he was never weary of repeating; this was the peculiar province of his talent, which he did not quit during the whole course of his life. And in this he did well. A sympathy with these animals was born with him, a knowledge of their psychological condition was given him, and thus he had so fine an eye for their bodily structure. Other creatures were perhaps not so transparent to him, and therefore he felt neither calling nor impulse to paint them."[262][Pg 299]

Lord Cockburn and the Sheep.

Lord Cockburn, the proprietor of Bonaly, that pretty place on the slopes of the Pentlands, was sitting on the hill-side with the shepherd, and, observing the sheep reposing in the coldest situation, he observed to him, "John, if I were a sheep, I would lie on the other side of the hill." The shepherd answered, "Ay, my lord, but if ye had been a sheep, ye would hae had mair sense."[263]


Colman and Banister, dining one day with Lord Erskine, the ex-chancellor, amongst other things, observed that he had then about three thousand head of sheep. "I perceive," interrupted Colman, "your lordship has still an eye to the woolsack."[264]

Sandy Wood and his Pets, a Sheep and a Raven.

Alexander Wood, a kind-hearted surgeon, who died in his native town of Edinburgh in May 1807, aged eighty-two, is alluded to by Sir Walter Scott in a prophecy put into the mouth of Meg Merrilees in "Guy Mannering"—"They shall beset his goat; they shall profane his raven," &c.

The editor of "Kaye's Edinburgh Portraits"[265] says that,[Pg 300] besides his kindness of disposition to his fellow-creatures, "he was almost equally remarkable for his love of animals. His pets were numerous, and of all kinds. Not to mention dogs and cats, there were two others that individually were better known to the citizens of Edinburgh—a sheep and a raven, the latter of which is alluded to by Scott in 'Guy Mannering.' Willy, the sheep, pastured in the ground adjoining to the Excise Office, now the Royal Bank, and might be daily seen standing at the railings, watching Mr Wood's passing to or from his house in York Place, when Willy used to poke his head into his coat-pocket, which was always filled with supplies for his favourite, and would then trot along after him through the town, and sometimes might be found in the houses of the doctor's patients. The raven was domesticated at an ale and porter shop in North Castle Street, which is still, or very lately was, marked by a tree growing from the area against the wall. It also kept upon the watch for Mr Wood, and would recognise him even as he passed at some distance along George Street, and, taking a low flight towards him, was frequently his companion during some part of his forenoon walks; for Mr Wood never entered his carriage when he could possibly avoid it, declaring that unless a vehicle could be found that would carry him down the closes and up the turnpike stairs, they produced nothing but trouble and inconvenience."

General Carnac and his She-goat.

It is pleasant to see, and not rare to find in men of warlike habits, a love for animals. The goat or deer that[Pg 301] used often to march before a regiment with the band as they proceeded to a review in Bruntsfield Links, when the writer and his friends were boys, about 1826 to 1832, he well remembers. Nor is Edinburgh garrison singular.

General Carnac, in 1770, communicated to Dr William Hunter some observations on the keenness of smell and its exquisite sensibility. He says—"I have frequently observed of tame deer, to whom bread is often given, and which they are in general fond of, that if you present them a piece that has been bitten, they will not touch it. I have made the same observation of a remarkably fine she-goat, which accompanied me in most of my campaigns in India, and supplied me with milk, and which, in gratitude for her services, I brought from abroad with me."[266]

John Hunter and the Shawl-Goat.

hunter's method of introducing strange animals peacefully to others in his menagerie.

It is pleasant to meet with a notice of the pursuits of the great anatomist, John Hunter, in a rather out-of-the-way book.[267] The ingenious way in which he introduced strange animals into his menagerie is worthy of notice.

"The variety of birds and beasts to be met with at Earl's Court (the villa of the celebrated and much-lamented Mr John Hunter) is matter of great entertainment. In the same ground you are surprised to find so many living[Pg 302] animals in one herd, from the most opposite parts of the habitable globe. Buffaloes, rams, and sheep from Turkey, and a shawl-goat from the East Indies, are among the most remarkable of those that meet the eye; and as they feed together in the greatest harmony, it is natural to inquire, what means are taken to make them so familiar, and well acquainted with each other. Mr Hunter told me, that when he has a stranger to introduce, he does it by ordering the whole herd to be taken to a strange place, either a field, an empty stable, or any other large out-house, with which they are all alike unaccustomed. The strangeness of the place so totally engages their attention, as to prevent them from running at, and fighting with, the new-comer, as they most probably would do in their own fields (in regard to which they entertain very high notions of their exclusive right of property), and here they are confined for some hours, till they appear reconciled to the stranger, who is then turned out with his new friends, and is generally afterwards well-treated. The shawl-goat was not, however, so easily reconciled to his future companions; he attacked them, instead of waiting to be attacked; fought several battles, and at present appears master of the field.

"It is from the down that grows under the coarse hair of this species of goat, that the fine India shawls are manufactured.[268] This beautiful as well as useful animal was brought over only last June from Bombay, in the Duke of Montrose Indiaman, Captain Dorin. The female, unfortunately, died. It was very obligingly presented by the[Pg 303] directors to Sir John Sinclair, the President of the British Wool Society. It is proposed, under Mr Hunter's care, to try some experiment with it in England, by crossing it with other breeds of the goat species, before it is sent to the north."

As anything that met with Mr Hunter's approval must have been a judicious arrangement, I may quote from the same source the passage about the buildings for his cattle at Earl's Court.

"Mr Hunter has built his stables half under ground; also vaults, in which he keeps his cows, buffaloes, and hogs. Such buildings, more especially the arched byres, or cow-houses, retain a more equal temperature at all times, in regard both to heat and cold, and consequently are cooler in summer and warmer in winter; and in situations where ground is so valuable as in the neighbourhood of London, are an excellent contrivance. Mr Hunter has his hay-yard over his buffaloes' stables. The expense of vaulting does not exceed that of building and roofing common cow-houses; and the vaults have this essential advantage or preference, that they require no repairs." He then gives an account of some buffaloes which Mr Hunter had trained to work in a cart, and which became so steady and tractable, that they were often driven through London streets in the loaded cart, much, no doubt, to the astonishment of passers-by. With a glimpse of a very beautiful little cow at Earl's Court, from a buffalo and an Alderney, which was always plump and fat, and gave very good milk, we must take leave of John Hunter's menagerie.[Pg 304]

Commodore Keppel "beards" the Dey of Algiers.—A Goat.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, when twenty-five, sailed to the Mediterranean in 1749 with the Hon. Augustus Keppel, then a captain in the navy, and afterwards Viscount Keppel. In 1750, Commodore Keppel returned to Algiers to remonstrate with the dey on the renewed depredations of the Corsairs. The dey, surprised at his boldness, for he anchored close to the palace, and attended by his captain and a barge's crew, went boldly into the presence of the Algerine monarch to demand satisfaction, exclaimed, that he wondered at the insolence of the King of Great Britain sending him a beardless boy.

Keppel was only twenty-four, but he is said to have answered, "that had his Majesty, the King of Great Britain, estimated the degree of wisdom by the length of the beard, he would have sent him a goat as an ambassador." Northcote is in doubt of the truth of this speech having been made, but says, that it is certain Keppel answered with great boldness.[269] The tyrant is said to have actually ordered his mutes to advance with the bow-string, telling the commodore that his life should answer for his audacity. Keppel quietly pointed out to the dey the squadron at anchor, and told him, that if it was his pleasure to put him to death, there were Englishmen enough on board to make a funeral pile of his capital. The dey cooled a little, allowed the commodore to depart, and made satisfaction for the damage done, and promised to abstain from violence in future.[Pg 305]


The little anecdote of Gilpin and the three cows illustrates one elegant use of the subjects of the following paragraphs. What home landscape like that painted by Alfred Tennyson would be perfect without its cows? Many anecdotes of them could be collected. The Irish are celebrated for their "bulls," one of them is not the worse for having "Bulls" for its subject. Patrick was telling, so the story goes, that there were four "Bull Inns" in a certain English town. "There are but three," said a native of the place, who knew them well; "the Black Bull, the White Bull, and the Red Bull,—where is the fourth?"—"Sure and do you not know, the Dun Cow—the best of them all?" replied the unconscious Milesian.

A Great Calf.

Sir William B——, being at a parish meeting, made some proposals, which were objected to by a farmer. Highly enraged, "Sir," says he to the farmer, "do you know, sir, that I have been at the two universities, and at two colleges in each university?"—"Well, sir," said the farmer, "what of that? I had a calf that sucked two cows, and the observation I made was, the more he sucked, the greater calf he grew."[270]

Rather too much of a Good Thing.—Veal ad nauseam.

At the table of Lord Polkemmet, when the covers were[Pg 306] removed, the dinner was seen to consist of veal broth, a roast fillet of veal, veal cutlets, a florentine (an excellent Scotch dish, composed of veal), a calf's head, calf's foot jelly. The worthy judge observing an expression of surprise among his guests, who, even in Shetland in early spring would have had the veal varied with fish, broke out in explanation, "Ou, ay, it's a cauf! when we kill a beast, we just eat up one side, and down the tither."

Boswell, the friend and biographer of Johnson, when a young man, went to the pit of Covent Garden Theatre, in company with Dr Blair, and in a frolic imitated the lowing of a cow; and the universal cry in the gallery was, "Encore the cow! encore the cow!" This was complied with, and in the pride of success, Boswell attempted to imitate some other animals, but with less success. Dr Blair, anxious for the fame of his friend, addressed him thus, "My dear sir, I would confine myself to the cow."[271]

Adam Clarke and his Bullock Pat.

The Rev. Adam Clarke, LL.D., after one of his evangelical visits to Ireland, returned to his home at Millbrook. In writing to his sons he says—"Not only your mother, sisters, and brother, were glad to see me, but also my poor animals in the field, for I lost no time in going to visit them. I found the donkey lame, and her son looking much like a philosopher; it was strange that even the bullock, whom we call Pat, came to me in the field, and held out his most honest face for me to stroke it. The[Pg 307] next time I went to him he came running up, and actually placed his two fore-feet upon my shoulders, with all the affection of a spaniel; but it was a load of kindness I could ill bear, for the animal is nearly three years old; I soon got his feet displaced; strange and uncouth as this manifestation of affectionate gratitude was, yet with it the master and his steer Pat were equally well pleased; so here is a literal comment on 'The ox knoweth his owner;' and you see I am in league with even the beasts of the field."[272]

Samuel Foote and the Cows Pulling the Bell of Worcester College Chapel.

Samuel Foote was a student at Worcester College, Oxford, and when there he practised many tricks, and soon found out what was ridiculous in any man's character.

His biographer[273] records one of these tricks which he played off on Dr Gower, the provost of the college. "The church belonging to the college fronted the side of a lane where cattle were sometimes turned out to graze during the night, and from the steeple hung the bell rope, very low in the middle of the outside porch. Foote saw in this an object likely to produce some fun, and immediately set about to accomplish his purpose. He accordingly one night slyly tied a wisp of hay to the rope, as a bait for the cows in their peregrination to the grazing ground. The[Pg 308] scheme succeeded to his wish. One of the cows soon after smelling the hay as she passed by the church door, instantly seized on it, and, by tugging at the rope, made the bell ring, to the astonishment of the sexton and the whole parish.

"This happened several nights successively, and the incident gave rise to various reports, such as not only that the church was haunted by evil spirits, but that several spectres were seen walking about the churchyard in all those hideous and frightful shapes which fear, ignorance, and fancy usually suggest on such occasions.

"An event of this kind, however, was to be explored, for the honour of philosophy, as well as for the quiet of the parish. Accordingly the doctor and the sexton agreed to sit up one night, and on the first alarm to run out and drag the culprit to condign punishment. Their plan being arranged, they waited with the utmost impatience for the appointed signal; at last the bell began to sound its usual alarm, and they both sallied out in the dark, determined on making a discovery. The sexton was the first in the attack. He seized the cow by the tail, and cried out, 'It was a gentleman commoner, as he had him by the tail of his gown;' while the doctor, who had caught the cow by the horns at the same time, immediately replied, 'No, no, you blockhead, 'tis the postman, and here I have hold of the rascal by his blowing-horn.' Lights, however, were immediately brought, when the character of the real offender was discovered, and the laugh of the whole town was turned upon the doctor."[Pg 309]

The General's Cow.

At Plymouth there is, or was, a small green opposite the Government House, over which no one was permitted to pass. Not a creature was allowed to approach save the general's cow. One day old Lady D—— having called at the general's, in order to make a short cut, bent her steps across the lawn, when she was arrested by the sentry calling out and desiring her to return. "But," said Lady D——, with a stately air, "do you know who I am?"—"I don't know who you be, ma'am," replied the immovable sentry, "but I knows you b'aint—you b'aint the general's cow." So Lady D—— wisely gave up the argument and went the other way.[274]

Gilpin's Love of the Picturesque carried out.—A Reason for keeping Three Cows.

Lord Sidmouth told the Rev. C. Smith Bird that he was partly educated at Cheam, by Mr Gilpin, the author of many volumes on "Picturesque Scenery." He was but a poor scholar, but seems to have been loved by his pupils. He carried out his regard for the picturesque, as would appear by the following anecdote[275]

"In visiting the Rev. Mr Gilpin at his house in the New Forest on one occasion, his lordship observed three cows feeding in a small paddock, which he knew to be all[Pg 310] that Mr Gilpin had to feed them in. He asked Mr Gilpin how he came to have so many cows when he had so little land? 'The truth is,' said he, 'I found one cow would not do—she went dry.'—'Well,' said Lord Sidmouth, 'but why not be content with another? Two, by good management, might be made to supply you constantly with milk.'—'Oh, yes,' said the old gentleman, 'but two would not group.'"

King James on a Cow getting over the Border.

In the "Life of Bernard Gilpin," his biographer refers to the inhabitants of the Borders being such great adepts in the art of thieving, that they could twist a cow's horn, or mark a horse, so as its owners could not know it, and so subtle that no vigilance could watch against them. A person telling King James a surprising story of a cow that had been driven from the north of Scotland into the south of England, and escaping from the herd had found her way home; "The most surprising part of the story," the king replied, "you lay least stress on—that she passed unstolen through the debateable land."[276]

Duke of Montague and his Hospital for old Cows and Horses.

The Rev. Joseph Spence[277] records that "the Duke of Montague has an hospital for old cows and horses; none[Pg 311] of his tenants near Boughton dare kill a broken-winded horse; they must bring them all to the reservoir. The duke keeps a lap-dog, the ugliest creature he could meet with; he is always fond of the most hideous, and says he was at first kind to them, because nobody else would be."

Philip IV. of Spain in the Bull-ring.

This king, whose form and features are so well known from the pictures of Velasquez, was entertained magnificently by his great favourite Olivares, in 1631. At this festival, which was in honour of the birthday of the heir apparent, the sports of ancient Rome were renewed in the bull-ring of Spain. In his life by Mr Stirling,[278] it is recorded that "a lion, a tiger, a bear, a camel—in fact, a specimen of every procurable wild animal, or, as Quevedo expressed it in a poetical account of the spectacle, 'the whole ark of Noah, and all the fables of Æsop,' were turned loose into the spacious Plaza del Parque, to fight for the mastery of the arena. To the great delight of his Castilian countrymen, a bull of Xarama vanquished all his antagonists. The 'bull of Marathon, which ravaged the country of Tetrapolis,' says the historian of the day, 'was not more valiant; nor did Theseus, who slew and sacrificed him, gain greater glory than did our most potent sovereign. Unwilling that a beast which had behaved so bravely should go unrewarded, his majesty determined to do him the greatest favour that the animal himself could have possibly desired, had he been gifted with reason—to wit, to slay him with his own royal hand! Calling for his fowl[Pg 312]ing-piece, he brought it instantly to his shoulder, and the flash and report were scarcely seen and heard ere the mighty monster lay a bleeding corpse before the transported lieges. Yet not a moment,' continues the chronicler, 'did his majesty lose his wonted serenity, his composure of countenance, and becoming gravity of aspect; and but for the presence of so great a concourse of witnesses, it was difficult to believe that he had really fired the noble and successful shot.'"

Sydney Smith and his Cattle.—His "Universal Scratcher."

The Rev. Sydney Smith, when at Foston, used to call for his hat and stick immediately after dinner, and sallied forth for his evening stroll. His daughter,[279] who often accompanied him, remarks—"Each cow and calf, and horse and pig, were in turn visited, and fed, and patted, and all seemed to welcome him; he cared for their comforts as he cared for the comforts of every living being around him. He used to say, 'I am all for cheap luxuries, even for animals; now all animals have a passion for scratching their back bones. They break down your gates and palings to effect this. Look! there is my universal scratcher, a sharp-edged pole, resting on a high and a low post, adapted to every height, from a horse to a lamb. Even the Edinburgh Reviewer can take his turn. You have no idea how popular it is. I have not had a gate broken since I put it up. I have it in all my fields.'"[Pg 313]

Rev. Augustus Toplady on the Future State of Animals.

The Rev. Josiah Bull, in the "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel,"[280] the friend of Cowper, the poet, and the Rev. John Newton, tells the following anecdote, in which a favourite theory of the author of that exquisite hymn, "Rock of Ages Cleft for Me," is alluded to, and somewhat comically illustrated by the author of the "Olney Hymns:"—

"Mr Newton had been dining with Mr Bull, and they were quietly sitting together, following after 'the things whereby they might edify one another,' and that search aided by 'interposing puffs' of the fragrant weed. It was in that old study I so well remember, ere it was renovated to meet the demands of modern taste. A room some eighteen feet square, with an arched roof, entirely surrounded with many a precious volume, with large, old casement windows, and immense square chairs of fine Spanish mahogany. There these good men were quietly enjoying their tête-à-tête, when they were startled by a thundering knock at the door; and in came Mr Ryland of Northampton, abruptly exclaiming, 'If you wish to see Mr Toplady, you must go immediately with me to the "Swan." He is on his way to London, and will not live long.' They all proceeded to the inn, and there found the good man, emaciated with disease, and evidently fast hastening to the grave. As they were talking together, they were attracted by a great noise in the street, occasioned, as they found[Pg 314] on looking out, by a bull-baiting which was going on before the house. Mr Toplady was touched by the cruelty of the scene, and exclaimed, 'Who could bear to see that sight, if there were not to be some compensation for these poor suffering animals in a future state?'—'I certainly hope,' said my grandfather, 'that all the bulls will go to heaven; but do you think this will be the case with all the animal creation?'—'Yes, certainly,' replied Mr Toplady, with great emphasis, 'all, all!'—'What!' rejoined Mr Newton, with some sarcasm in his tone, 'do you suppose, sir, there will be fleas in heaven? for I have a special aversion to them.' Mr Toplady said nothing, but was evidently hurt; and as they separated, Mr Newton said, 'How happy he should be to see him at Olney, if God spared his life, and he were to come that way again.' The reply Mr Toplady made was not very courteous; but the good man was perhaps suffering from the irritation of disease, and possibly annoyed by the ridicule cast upon a favourite theory."

Right Honourable William Windham, M.P., on the Feelings of a Baited Bull.

That great parliamentary orator, the Right Honourable William Windham, lived before the days when humanity to animals was deemed a fit subject for legislation.

In his speech against "the bill for preventing the practice of bull-baiting" (April 18, 1800),[281] he refers to the introduction of such a measure as follows—"In turning[Pg 315] from the great interests of this country, and of Europe, to discuss with equal solemnity such measures as that which is now before us, the House appears to me to resemble Mr Smirk, the auctioneer, in the play, who could hold forth just as eloquently upon a ribbon as upon a Raphael." He speaks of bull-baiting as being, "it must be confessed, at the expense of an animal which is not by any means a party to the amusement; but then," he adds, "it serves to cultivate the qualities of a certain species of dogs, which affords as much pleasure to their owners as greyhounds do to others. It is no small recommendation to bull-dogs that they are so much in repute with the populace." In a second speech, May 24, 1802, he said that he believed "the bull felt a satisfaction in the contest, not less so than the hound did when he heard the sound of the horn that summoned him to the chase. True it was that young bulls, or those which were never baited before, showed reluctance to be tied to the stake; but those bulls which, according to the language of the sport, were called game bulls, who were used to baiting, approached the stake, and stood there while preparing for the contest, with the utmost composure. If the bull felt no pleasure, and was cruelly dealt with, surely the dogs had also some claim to compassion; but the fact was that both seemed equally arduous in the conflict; and the bull, like every other animal, while it had the better side, did not dislike his situation—it would be ridiculous to say he felt no pain—yet, when on such occasions he exhibited no signs of terror, it was a demonstrable proof that he felt some pleasure."

The "sober loyal men" of Stamford, it would seem, had petitioned for the continuance of their annual sport, which[Pg 316] had been continued for a period of five or six hundred years, and who were displeased with their landlord, the Marquis of Exeter, for his endeavours to put down their cruel sport. Windham refers to "the antiquity of the thing being deserving of respect, for respect for antiquity was the best preservation of the Church and State!!"


Last and greatest of the mammalia are the whales. The adventures of hardy seamen, like Scoresby, in the pursuit of the Greenland whale, or Beale in the more dangerous chase of the spermaceti, in southern waters, form the subjects of more than one readable volume. But here we give no such extracts, but content ourselves with four short skits, having the cetacea for their subject.

In these days of zoological gardens, they have succeeded in bringing one of the smallest of the order, a porpoise, to the Zoological Gardens. His speedy dissolution showed that even the bath of a hippopotamus or an elephant was too limited for the dwelling of this pre-eminently marine creature. But he had begun to show an intelligence, they say, which, independently of all zoological and anatomical considerations, showed that he had nothing in common with a fish, but a somewhat similar form, and an equal necessity for abundance of the pure liquid element.


A thin old man, with a rag-bag in his hand, was picking up a number of small pieces of whalebone, which lay on the street. The deposit was of such a singular nature, that we asked the quaint-looking gatherer how he supposed they came there? "Don't know," he replied, in a squeaking voice; "but I s'pect some unfortunate female was wrecked hereabout somewhere."[282]

A Scotch lady, who was discomposed by the introduction of gas, asked with much earnestness, "What's to become o' the puir whales?' deeming their interests materially affected by this superseding of their oil."[283]

Very like a Whale.

The first of all the royal infant males
Should take the title of the Prince of Wales:
Because, 'tis clear to seamen and to lubber,
Babies and whales are both inclined to blubber.[284]

Christopher North on the Whale.

Tickler. What fish, James, would you incline to be, if put into scales?

Shepherd. A dolphin: for they hae the speed o' lichtnin. They'll dart past and roun' about a ship in full sail before the wind, just as if she was at anchor. Then the dolphin is a fish o' peace,—he saved the life o' a poet of auld, Arion, wi' his harp,—and oh! they say the cretur's beautifu' in death. Byron, ye ken, comparin' his hues to those o' the sun settin' ahint the Grecian isles. I sud like to be a dolphin.

[Pg 317]

Shepherd. Let me see—I sud hae nae great objections to be a whale in the Polar Seas. Gran' fun to fling a boatfu' o' harpooners into the air—or, wi' ae thud o' your tail, to drive in the stern posts o' a Greenlandman.

Tickler. Grander fun still, James, to feel the inextricable harpoon in your blubber, and to go snoving away beneath an ice-floe with four miles of line connecting you with your distant enemies.

Shepherd. But, then, whales marry but ae wife, and are passionately attached to their offspring. There they and I are congenial speerits. Nae fish that swims enjoys so large a share of domestic happiness.

Tickler. A whale, James, is not a fish.

Shepherd. Isna he? Let him alane for that. He's ca'd a fish in the Bible, and that's better authority than Buffon. Oh that I were a whale![285]

With these sentences, we conclude this book, as well as our selections on the whale. In the Museum at Edinburgh may be seen one of the finest, if not the most perfect, skeleton of a whale exhibited in this kingdom. Our young readers there can soon see, by examining it from the gallery, that the whale is no "fish."




[1] There are many anecdotes in this book not included in this list, which gives however, the principal.

[2] Life of Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. By the late George Williams Fulcher. Edited by his Son. P. 157.

[3] Memoir of the Life of William Collins, R.A. By W. Wilkie Collins. I., p. 235.

[4] The future author of "The Woman in White" and "The Dead Secret," and many other works of celebrity.

[5] Memoirs of James Montgomery. By Holland and Everett. I., p. 283.

[6] The Durian, a peculiarly favourite fruit in several of the Eastern Islands.

[7] Mr Wolf's drawing was taken from a chimpanzee. Mr Waterton's young chimpanzee was in reality a small-eared gorilla. The ears of the chimpanzee are large.

[8] Written in 1861. Skins and skeletons of the gorilla are to be found now in many museums.

[9] For Jan. 1860, vol. iii., p. 177.

[10] Monkeys are very liable to lung diseases in this climate, and all menagerie keepers are aware of the bad effects of the winter on these denizens of a warm climate.

[11] See "Lives of the Lindsays," by Lord Lindsay, vol. iii., pp. 371-476.

[12] At Paradise. She describes some plants, one, evidently a Stapelia, is a fine large star-plant, yellow and spotted like the skin of a leopard, over which there grows a crop of glossy brown hair, at once handsome and horrible; it crawls flat on the ground, and its leaves are thick and fat (p. 407).

[13] "Conversations of Lord Byron" (p. 9).

[14] Loc. cit. (p. 1).

[15] "Works of Professor Wilson," vol. i., p. 73.

[16] Gilpin's "Forest Scenery," edited by Sir T. D. Lauder, vol. i., p. 354.

[17] "View of Society and Manners in Italy," vol. ii., p. 475.

[18] Extracted from the late Mr Cunningham's complete edition; we neglected to quote the page, and have altered and shortened the words.

[19] "Memoirs of Rev. Sydney Smith," i., p. 377.

[20] "Wit and Wisdom of Rev. Sydney Smith" (it is from a lecture at the Royal Institution), p. 259.

[21] "Life in the Mission, the Camp, and the Zenánà; or, Six Years in India," by Mrs Colin Mackenzie, vol. ii., p. 126.

[22] Published by James Nisbet & Co., in 1863, 1864.

[23] Illustrated Proceedings of Zoological Society.

[24] This was written some years ago; but I was glad to see when last in the Zoological Gardens, June 1866, another live specimen of a species of fox bat.

[25] "Narrative of the Voyage," i., p. 96 (1852).

[26] "New Voyage round the World" (1698), p. 381.

[27] "A Book about Doctors," by J. Cordy Jeaffreson, i., p. 23.

[28] Jeremy Taylor, if I remember aright.

[29] Vol. V., pp. 305-310.

[30] "Hungary and Transylvania," &c., by John Paget, Esq., vol. ii. p. 445.

[31] "Conversations of Lord Byron," p. 72.

[32] "Master Humphrey's Clock."

[33] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 331

[34] θἁλλασσα, sea; αρκτος, bear.

[35] Those "Arctic hedge-rows," as Mr David Walker calls them, when, on the 30th November 1857, he was on board the Arctic yacht Fox, wintering in the floe-ice of Baffin's Bay. "The scene apparent on going on deck after breakfast was splendid, and unlike anything I ever saw before. The subdued light of the moon thrown over such a vast expanse of ice, in the distance the loom of a berg, or the shadow of the hummocks (the Arctic hedge-rows), the only thing to break the even surface, a few stars peeping out, as if gazing in wonder at the spectacle,—all united to render the prospect striking, and lead one to contemplate the goodness and power of the Creator." On the 2d November, they had killed a bear, which had been bayed and surrounded by their Esquimaux dogs. Captain M'Clintock shot him. He was 7 feet 3 inches long. Only one of the dogs was injured by his paws. Much did the hungry beasts enjoy their feast, for they "were regaled with the entrails, which they polished off in a very short time."—Mr Walker, in "Belfast News Letter," quoted in "Dublin Natural History Review," 1858, p. 180.

[36] "Account of Arctic Regions," i. 517.

[37] The anecdote is given with more detail at p. 67.

[38] "Attempt to Reach the North Pole," p. 115.

[39] "Life of Nelson," by Robert Southey, Esq., LL.D., Poet Laureate, p. 11.

[40] "Franklin's Footsteps," by Clement R. Markham, p. 65.

[41] "Franklin's Footsteps," by Clement Robert Markham, late of H.M.S. Assistance, p. 93.

[42] Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, 1787, p. 14, "The Twa Dogs."

[43] "My Schools and Schoolmasters; or, The Story of my Education," by Hugh Miller, fifth edition, 1856, pp. 321-323.

[44] "Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character," tenth edition, 1864, p. 183.

[45] "Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, R.A," by his son, W. Wilkie Collins, i. p. 222.

[46] "The Olio," by the late Francis Grose, Esq., F.A.S., p. 203.

[47] "Dogs and their Ways;" illustrated by numerous anecdotes, compiled from authentic sources, by the Rev. Charles Williams. 1863.

[48] It may interest the reader, who does not dive deep into literary curiosities, to refer to the original edition of Hayley's "Cowper" (4to, 1803, vol. i. p. 314), where the poet, in a letter to Samuel Rose, Esq., written at Weston, August 18, 1788, alludes to his having "composed a spick and span new piece called 'The Dog and the Water-lily;'" and in his next letter, September 11, he sent this piece to his excellent friend, the London barrister. Visitors to Olney and Weston, who have gone over the poet's walks, cannot but have their love for the gentle and afflicted Cowper most deeply intensified.—See Miller's "First Impressions."

[49] This book, like Storer's other illustrations of the scenes of the poems of Burns and Bloomfield, drawn immediately after the death of these poets, will become year by year more valuable.

[50] "Memoirs of the Life of the Right Honourable Sir James Mackintosh," edited by his son, Robert James Mackintosh, Esq., vol. i. p. 164.

[51] "Bawsn't," having a white stripe down the face.—Glossary to Burns's Poems.

[52] See an extract farther on, in proof of this.

[53] "The Jordan and the Rhine" (1854), p. 46, and pp. 91-93.

[54] See Layard's "Nineveh and its Remains," vol. ii. (1849), p. 425.

[55] "Ladak, Physical, Statistical, and Historical," p. 218.

[56] "Memoir of Bishop Blomfield," by his son, i. 220.

[57] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 177.

[58] A selection from the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. London, 1866, pp. 134-138.

[59] "Memoirs of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Bart.," edited by his son, Charles Buxton, Esq., B.A., third edition, p. 139.

[60] Moore's "Life of Byron," chap. vii. p. 74.

[61] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 279.

[62] "Memoirs of the Life of Wm. Collins, R.A.," by his Son, i. 105.

[63] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 203.

[64] Loc. cit. p. 213.

[65] "The Life, Character, and Literary Labours of Samuel Drew, A.M.," by his eldest son, p. 66.

[66] "Memoirs of Samuel Foote, Esq.," &c., by W. Cooke, Esq., vol. ii. p. 36.

[67] "Life of Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.," by the late George William Fulcher, p. 155.

[68] Edinburgh Review, 1836, vol. lxiv. p. 17.

[69] "Life and Letters of Elizabeth, last Duchess of Gordon," by the Rev. A. Moody Stuart, 1865, pp. 198-200.

[70] Portion of the Journal kept by Thomas Raikes, Esq., from 1831 to 1837, vol. iii. p. 134.

[71] "Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds," by C. R. Leslie, R.A. and Tom Taylor, M.A., vol. ii. p. 191.

[72] "John Leifchild, D.D. His Public Ministry, &c.," by J. R. Leifchild, A.M., p. 143.

[73] Agnes Strickland, "Lives of the Queens of England," vol. v. p. 293 (ed. 1851).

[74] "A History of Peeblesshire," by William Chambers of Glenormiston, p. 428.

[75] Vol. i. p. 156.

[76] Memoir by his friend, the Rev. John W. Burgon, p. 204.

[77] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 44.

[78] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 43.

[79] "Charles Lamb: his Friends, his Haunts, and his Books," by Percy Fitzgerald, M.A., 1866, p. 161.

[80] Cunningham's Edition of Correspondence, viii. p. 331.

[81] "The Table Talk; or, Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther," p. 66.

[82] "The Diary of an Invalid; being the Journal of a Tour in Pursuit of Health in Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, and France in 1817-1819," p. 144.

[83] "Common-Place Book," 4th ser. p. 423.

[84] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 24.

[85] "Memoir of Baron Larrey, Surgeon-in-chief of the Grande Armée." London. 1861. P. 191.

[86] "England under the House of Hanover," by Thomas Wright, Esq., M.A., vol. ii. p. 57.

[87] "Memoir of Perthes," vol. ii. pp. 153-4.

[88] "Original Anecdotes of Peter the Great, collected from the conversation of several persons of distinction at St Petersburg and Moscow," by Mr Stœhlin, Member of the Imp. Acad., St Peters., p. 306.

[89] A denthtchick is a soldier appointed to wait on an officer.

[90] "Recollections and Anecdotes," 2d ser., by Capt. R. H. Gronow, p. 194 (1863).

[91] "History of England, from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles," by Lord Mahon, vii. p. 261.

[92] See Mundy's "Life of Lord Rodney," vol. i. 258. "Remember me to my dear girls and poor Loup. Kiss them for me. I hope they were pleased with my letter." Vol. ii. p. 28.

[93] "Life of Thomas Ruddiman, A.M., the Keeper for almost fifty years of the Library belonging to the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh," p. 4.

[94] See her "Autobiography," p. 85, for an anecdote of her saving a little dog, tied in a basket of stones, from the water. She called it "Moses."

[95] Vol. ii. pp. 264, 265.

[96] "Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith," by his daughter, Lady Holland, &c., vol. i. p. 200.

[97] "Life of the Rev. Sydney Smith," by his daughter, Lady Holland, &c., vol. i. p. 379.

[98] Vol. i. p. 267.

[99] "Life and Correspondence," vol. v. p. 133.

[100] "John Leifchild, D.D., his Public Ministry, Private Usefulness, and Personal Characteristics," founded upon an autobiography, by J. R. Leifchild, A.M., p. 34.

[101] See Burgon's "Memoir of Patrick F. Tytler," p. 140.

[102] Letter first published in Cunningham's Chronological Edition, vol. vi. p. 4.

[103] Richmond Hill. The dog died at Strawberry Hill.

[104] Correspondence, chronologically arranged by Peter Cunningham, viii. p. 39.

[105] Loc. cit., p. 44.

[106] Vol. vi. p. 117.

[107] "The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford," edited by Peter Cunningham, now first chronologically arranged, ix. p. 173.

[108] Loc. cit., viii. p. 35.

[109] Fitzpatrick, "Memoirs of Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin," vol. i. pp. 21, 22 (1864).

[110] "Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, R.A.," by his son, W. Wilkie Collins, i. 193.

[111] Third edition, 1806, p. 385.

[112] "The Art of Deer-Stalking," &c., by William Scrope, Esq., F.L.S., p. 371.

[113] Edinburgh Review, 1841, vol. lxxiv. p. 77.

[114] "Noctes Ambrosianæ." Works of Professor Wilson, vol. i. pp. 136-138.

[115] "Fauna Boreali-Americana." Mammalia, p. 87.

[116] Appendix to "Second Voyage," p. xii.

[117] "Fauna Grœnlandica," p. 20.

[118] Dublin Nat. Hist. Review, 1858, p. 166.

[119] "Stray Leaves from an Arctic Journal," p. 176.

[120] "Private Journal," p. 105.

[121] Mark Lemon, "Jest-Book," p. 280.

[122] "British Quadrupeds." The professor has long retired to his favourite Selborne. He occupies the house of Gilbert White; and a new illustrated edition of the "Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne" has been long looked for from him.

[123] "The Instructive Picture Book; or, A Few Attractive Lessons from the Natural History of Animals," by Adam White, p. 15 (fifth edition, 1862).

[124] "The Works of Jeremy Bentham," now first collected under the superintendence of his executor, John Bowring, vol. xi. pp. 80, 81.

[125] Jeremy Bentham's house in Queen's Square was that which had been occupied by the great poet.

[126] Vol. i. No. 3. p. 27.

[127] Times, 18 Dec. 1830, quoted by Southey, "Common-Place Book," iv. p. 489.

[128] "Physic and Physicians," a medical sketch-book, vol. ii. p. 363 (1839).

[129] "A Book for a Rainy Day," p. 103. Old Smith was a regular hunter after legacies, and like all such was often disappointed. His "Nollekens" is a fine example.

[130] "Memoirs of James Montgomery," by Holland and Everett, iv. pp. 114, 115.

[131] "A History of Peeblesshire," by William Chambers of Glenormiston, p. 403 (1864).

[132] See vol. v. p. 145.

[133] A cat of Mr Bedford's.

[134] "Life and Correspondence," v. p. 223.

[135] On Instinct, a Lecture delivered before the Dublin Natural History Society, 11th November 1842. Dublin, 1847. P. 10.

[136] "Physics and Physicians: a Medical Sketch-Book," vol. i. p. 174. It was published anonymously in 1839.

[137] "Life in the Mission, the Camp, and the Zenánà; or, Six Years in India," vol. ii. p. 382.

[138] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 237.

[139] August 20, 1713. Chalmers's edition of "British Essayists," vol. xviii. p. 85.

[140] Up for lost.

[141] August 28, 1713. Chalmers's edition of "British Essayists," vol. xviii p. 116.

[142] "Memoirs of Antonio Canova," by J. S. Memes, A.M. 1825. Pp. 332, 334, 346.

[143] "The Life of Admiral Sir Charles Napier, K.C.B," by Major-General Elers Napier, vol. i. p. 8.

[144] "A Tour in Tartan-Land," by Cuthbert Bede.

[145] "Life," vol. iii. p. 188.

[146] Vol. viii. pp. 1-16.

[147] Trichechus, from the Greek τριχας εχων, "having hairs:" walrus, the German wallross, "whale-horse."

[148] See Fleming's "British Animals," p. 19.

[149] Mém. Acad. Imp. Sc. St. Pétersb., 1838, p. 232. Professor Owen has communicated to the Zoological Society the anatomy of the young walrus; and much valuable information will be found in Dr Gray's "Catalogue of Mammalia in the British Museum."

[150] "Distant Correspondents," in the Essays of Elia, first series ed. 1841, p. 67.

[151] Jesse's "Life of Beau Brummell," vol. i. p. 288.

[152] "Memoirs, Correspondence," &c., edited by Lord John Russell, vol. iii. p. 179.

[153] So called from the Latin word marsupium, a pouch.

[154] Diabolus ursinus, the ursine opossum of Van Diemen's Land, a great destroyer of young lambs.

[155] From the Greek words for a pouch and a dog, θὑλακος and κὡον. Dr Gray had previously named it Peracyon, from πἡρα, a bag, and κὑων, a dog.

[156] Echidna aculeata, or E. hystrix, the porcupine ant-eater, a curious edentate, spine-covered quadruped, closely allied to the still stranger Ornithorhynchus, the duck-bill.

[157] Phascolomys Vombatus, a curious, broad-backed, and large-headed marsupial, two specimens of which are in the Zoological Gardens. It is a burrower, and in the teeth it resembles the rodent animals; hence its name, from φασκωλον, a pouch, and μὑς, a mouse.

[158] Mitchell's "Popular Guide to the Zoological Gardens," p. 9. (1852.)

[159] Mark Lemon's "Jest Book," p. 180.

[160] Ed. 1845, p. 339.

[161] P. 441. Sir John Richardson told me that the species was Spermophilus Parryi.

[162] The Eventful Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ship Resolute to the Arctic Regions, in Search of Sir John Franklin, in 1852-3-4, pp. 314, 315.

[163] "The Life of General Sir Howard Douglas, Bart., G.C.B., F.R.S., D.C.L., from his Notes, Conversations, and Correspondence," by S. W. Fullom. 1863. P. 28.

[164] "History of England, from the Peace of Utrecht," by Lord Mahon, vol. vii. p. 465.

[165] Life of Sydney Smith, by his daughter, Lady Holland, vol. i. 374.

[166] "Correspondence of Thomas Gray and Mason, edited from the originals," by the Rev. John Mitford, p. 112.

[167] Dr Bowring's "Life of Jeremy Bentham," Works, vol. xi. p. 80, 81.

[168] "Bowring's Life," vol. x., Works, p. 186.

[169] By Robert Chambers, Edinburgh, 1851, 4 vols., vol. i., p. 146.

[170] The stick used for clearing away the clods from the plough.

[171] An occasional ear of corn in a thrave,—that is, twenty-four sheaves.

[172] "Worthies of England," vol. i. p. 545.

[173] "Wilson's Life," p. 28.

[174] "Memoir of Wilson," p. 27, prefixed to his poetical works. Belfast, 1844.

[175] Gentleman's Magazine, for June 1784, being the sixth number of vol. liv., pp. 412-414, "Unnoticed Properties of that little animal the Hare."

[176] "History of England," vol. vi. p. 486.

[177] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 59.

[178] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 182.

[179] Biography of S. Bisset in G. H. Wilson's "Eccentric Mirror," vol. i., No. 3, p. 29.

[180] Published by Lord Lindsay in vol. iii. of his "Lives of the Lindsays," p. 387.

[181] "Worthies of England," vol. ii. p. 445 (ed. 1840).

[182] Dr Hannah's "Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Chalmers, D.D., L.L.D.," vol. ii. p. 237.

[183] Sydney Smith, "Review of Waterton's Wanderings." Edinburgh Review, 1826. Works, vol. ii. p. 145.

[184] From μυρμηξ, ant; ψαγω, I eat; jubata, maned.

[185] "Wanderings in South America" (Third Journey), p. 159, (ed. 1839).

[186] "A Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro," by Alfred R. Wallace, 1853, p. 452.

[187] This memoir has been published, and the subject of it was this very ant-eater. Professor Owen has introduced many striking facts from the history of its structure, in his lecture delivered at Exeter Hall, 1863, and published by the Messrs Nisbet.

[188] "The Life of the Right Hon. Francis North, Baron Guilford, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, under King Charles II. and King James II., &c." By the Hon. Roger North. A New Edition, in three vols., 1826, vol. ii. p. 167.

[189] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 329.

[190] "John Holland and James Everett," vol. iv. p. 283.

[191] "A Book for a Rainy Day," p. 92.

[192] "Letters of Horace Walpole," edited by Peter Cunningham, ix., 319.

[193] "Memoirs of Baron Cuvier," by Mrs R. Lee (formerly Mrs T Ed. Bowdich), 1833, p. 93.

[194] "Letters from Sarawak," p. 104. 1854.

[195] "Divides the hoof, and is cloven-footed, yet cheweth not the cud" (Lev. ii. 7).

[196] Boner's "Chamois Hunting in the Mountains of Bavaria," p. 97.

[197] "Travels" (Home and Colonial Library), p. 147.

[198] "Travels in Syria and the Holy Land," p. 9.

[199] Symbolæ Physicæ.

[200] Potamochœrus penicellatus. Ποταμος, a river; χοἱρος, a pig; penicellatus, pencilled. It is said to be the Sus porcus of Linnæus.

[201] "A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea, written originally in Dutch." London, 1705, p. 247.

[202] See Dr Sutherland's interesting account in his "Journal of a Voyage in Baffin Bay and Barrow's Straits in the years 1850, 1851;" a truly excellent work on the Arctic regions, by one who is now Surveyor of Natal.

[203] See Biography in G. H. Wilson's Eccentric Mirror, i., No. 3, p. 30.

[204] "Common-Place Book," iv. p. 514.

[205] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 107.

[206] Ibid., p. 337.

[207] "Memoir of the Life of Elizabeth Fry," vol. ii. p. 30. 1847.

[208] "Life of Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.," by the late George William Fulcher, edited by his Son, p. 122. 1856.

[209] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 328.

[210] Ibid., p. 2.

[211] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 31. The latter of these jests is attributed by Dean Ramsay to a half-witted Ayrshire man, who said he "kenned a miller had aye a gey fat sow."—Reminiscences, p. 197.

[212] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 269. This worthy nobleman was and is much attached to his home-farm. He is well known in Perthshire.

[213] "Wit and Wisdom of Rev. Sydney Smith," third edition, p. 253. From a lecture at Royal Institution.

[214] "Memoirs of Joseph Sturge," by Henry Richard.

[215] "Journal of Horticultural Tour," p. 306.

[216] "Memorials of Angus and the Mearns," by Andrew Jervise (1861), p. 175.

[217] "History of the Life and Times of Edmund Burke," by Thomas Macknight, vol. i. p. 160.

[218] "Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds," &c., by James Northcote, Esq., R.A. (2d edition), vol. ii. p. 80.

[219] "Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds," by C. R. Leslie and Tom Taylor, M.A., vol. ii. p. 219.

[220] "Lives of Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, and of Bernard Gilpin," by William Gilpin, M.A. (3d edition), 1780, p. 275.

[221] Loc. cit., p. 284.

[222] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 39.

[223] "The Lives of Robert Haldane of Airthrey, and of his Brother, James Alexander Haldane," by Alex. Haldane, Esq., of the Inner Temple (1852), p. 223.

[224] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 318.

[225] "Memoirs of Thomas Holcroft" (ed. 1852), pp. 40, 41.

[226] "Memoirs of the late Thomas Holcroft," written by himself (ed. London, 1852), p. 112.

[227] "Lives of the Chief-Justices of England" (Lord Ellenborough), vol. iii. p. 100.

[228] Vol i. pp. 94-115.

[229] "Physic and Physicians: a Medical Sketch-Book," vol. i. p. 59.

[230] "Memoirs of Frederick Perthes," vol. i. p. 309.

[231] "Lives of the Engineers," vol. ii. p. 185.

[232] "Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith," by his daughter, Lady Holland, vol. i. pp. 172-174.

[233] A horse which he called so.

[234] "Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith," by his daughter, Lady Holland, vol. i. p. 117.

[235] Mrs Marcet, in Lady Holland's Memoirs of her Father, the Rev. Sydney Smith, vol. i. p. 364.

[236] "Life and Letters of Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University," edited by his son, Wm. W. Story, vol. ii. p. 611.

[237] "The Intellectuality of Domestic Animals: a Lecture Delivered before the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland," p. 25. Dublin, 1847.

[238] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 263.

[239] "The Poems of S. T. Coleridge," pp. 26, 27 (1844).

[240] "Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, R.A.," by his son, W. Wilkie Collins, vol. i. p. 232.

[241] Edition of Sir T. D. Lauder, Bart., vol. ii. p. 273.

[242] "Gilpin's Forest Scenery," vol. ii. p. 275. Edited by Sir T. D. Lauder.

[243] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 129.

[244] Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 307.

[245] Photius, quoted by Southey in his "Common-Place Book," first series, p. 588.

[246] "Memoirs of the Life of the Right Hon. Warren Hastings, compiled from original papers," by the Rev. G. R. Gleig, M.A., vol. iii. p. 367.

[247] "The Life and Writings of Henry Fuseli, Esq., M.A., R.A.," the former written and the latter edited by John Knowles, Esq., F.R.S., vol. i. p. 364.

[248] "A Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith," by his daughter, Lady Holland, &c., vol. i. p. 152.

[249] "Memoirs and Letters of Rev. Sydney Smith," vol. ii. p. 393.

[250] "A Century of Anecdote from 1760 to 1860," by John Timbs, F.S.A., vol. i. p. 252 (1864).

[251] "Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo," by Mr M. A. Titmarsh, p. 177 (1846).

[252] "View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany," vol. i. pp. 191, 192 (9th edition).

[253] Quoted in Timbs' "Century of Anecdote," vol. i. p. 223 (1864).

[254] "A Ride through the Nubian Desert," by Captain W. Peel, R.N., p. 49.

[255] "Life and Correspondence of Charles Lord Metcalfe," by John William Kaye, vol. i., p. 8.

[256] "The Art of Deer-Stalking," p. 33.

[257] "Deer-Stalking," p. 229.

[258] "Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds," vol. i., p. 124.

[259] "Truth and Poetry from my own Life; the Autobiography of Goethe," edited by Parke Godwin, part i., p. 3.

[260] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 18.

[261] Translated from the German by John Oxenford, vol. i., p. 138.

[262] Roos must have been limited in his powers, unlike our Landseer, who paints dogs, sheep, horses, cows, stags, and fowls with equal power.

[263] Dean Ramsay's "Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character," 10th edition, p. 19.

[264] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 214.

[265] There are two copperplates devoted to the figure and portrait of "lang Sandy Wood," as he was called.

[266] "Philosophical Transactions," LXI. p. 176 (1771). Paper on Nyl-ghau, with plate, by George Stubbs, engraved by Basire.

[267] Baird, "Report on the County of Middlesex," quoted in view of the agriculture of Middlesex, &c., pp. 341, 342, by John Middleton, Esq. London: 1798.

[268] The wool which grows on different parts of their bodies, under very long hair, is obtained by gently combing them.

[269] "Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds," vol. i., p. 32.

[270] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 36.

[271] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 111.

[272] "An Account of the Religious and Literary Life of Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.A.S.," by a Member of his Family, vol ii., p. 346.

[273] "Memoirs of Samuel Foote, Esq.," by Wm. Cooke, Esq., vol. i., p. 13.

[274] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book", p. 246.

[275] Lord Sidmouth lived near Burghfield, where Mr Bird kept pupils, and was curate. See "Sketches from the Life of the Rev. Charles Smith Bird."

[276] "Lives of Hugh Latimer and Bernard Gilpin," by the Rev. William Gilpin, p. 271.

[277] Anecdotes. Supplement, p. 249 (Singer's edition). Spence died in 1768, aged 70.

[278] "Velasquez and his Works," by William Stirling, p. 62.

[279] Lady Holland's "Memoirs of her Father, the Rev. Sydney Smith," vol. i., p. 118.

[280] "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel," &c., by his grandson, the Rev. Josiah Bull, M.A. 1864.

[281] "Speeches in Parliament of the Right Honourable William Windham, to which is prefixed some account of his Life," by Thomas Amyot, Esq., vol. i. pp. 332, 353 (1812).

[282] Mark Lemon, "Jest Book," p. 122.

[283] Ibid., p. 201.

[284] Ibid., p. 142.

[285] "Noctes Ambrosianæ," Works of Professor Wilson, vol. ii., p. 4.


Transcriber's note:

"The Aye-Aye, or Cheiromys of Madagascar (with a Plate)"

Unfortunately no plate could be found for this particular section. Reference to it was removed from the Table of Contents.

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