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Title: Anecdotes of the Habits and Instinct of Animals

Author: Mrs. R. Lee

Illustrator: Harrison Weir

Release date: June 30, 2007 [eBook #21973]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Edwards, Marcia Brooks and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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Signed Copy
The Monkey Painter—Page 7.

By Mrs. R. Lee,







In making a selection of anecdotes, those have been assembled which were supplied by me to other works, and in most instances have received considerable amplification; others have been given which never before were printed—perhaps not even written; while all which have been transferred from other pages to mine have received the stamp of authenticity. Besides those whose names are already mentioned, I have to thank several friends who have drawn from their private stores for my advantage, and thus enabled me to offer much that is perfectly new.

Dry details of science and classification have been laid aside, but a certain order has been kept to avoid confusion; and, although endeavours have been made to throw as much interest as possible over these recorded habits and actions of the brute creation; I love the latter too well to raise a doubt by one word of embellishment, even if I did not abstain from principle.

The intentions with which this work was commenced have not been carried out, inasmuch as materials have crowded upon me beyond all calculation; and, although a large portion has been rejected, the anecdotes related go no farther than the Mammalia, while almost all animals were to have been included.

With regard to the remaining orders—if the present work should meet with a favourable reception, I shall hope next year to present the public with touching and amusing proofs of the sagacity and dispositions of birds, and of "hair-breadth scapes" from reptiles, etc., some of which will, like those in the present volume, be carefully selected from the works of travellers, from the resources of friends, and from my own experience.

To the pleasing task of enlightening those, who, shut up in close cities, have no opportunity of observing for themselves, and to the still higher enjoyment of directing young minds to an elevating pursuit, the naturalist adds a gratification even better than all, by making known the hidden wonders of nature; and leaving to those who delight in argument, the ever unsolved question of where instinct ends and reason begins, he sets forth the love of the great Creator towards all His creatures, and the ways He takes to show His wisdom.





[Pg 1]

Formed like man, and practicing similar gestures, but with thumbs instead of great toes upon their feet, and with so narrow a heel-bone, that even those who constantly walk upright have not the firm and dignified step of human beings; the Quadrumana yet approximate so closely to us, that they demand the first place in a book devoted principally to the intellectual (whether it be reason or instinct) history of animals. This approximation is a matter of amusement to some; but to the larger portion of mankind, I should say, it is a source of disgust. "Rapoynda," I exclaimed, one day, to a troublesome, inquisitive, restless negro, pointing to a black monkey, which much resembled him in character, "that is your brother." Never shall I forget the malignant scowl which passed over the man's features[Pg 2] at my heedless comparison. No apology, no kindness, not even the gift of a smart waistcoat, which he greatly coveted, ever restored me to his good graces; and I was not sorry when his Chief summoned him from my vicinity, for I dreaded his revenge.

A few years after, I stood lost in admiration before Sir Edwin Landseer's inimitable picture of "the monkey who had seen the world," in which nature and truth lend their tone and force to the highest efforts of art; when a voice exclaimed, "How can you waste your time looking at that thing; such creatures ought never to have been painted;" and although the speaker was a religious man, he muttered to himself, "I am not sure they ought ever to have been made." The voice proceeded from one of the finest instances of manly beauty; one famed also for talent and acquirement. Rapoynda started into my recollection; and as I slowly left the talented picture, I could not help smiling at the common feeling between the savage and the gentleman, thereby proving its universality.

Never did any one start for a tropical climate with a greater antipathy towards these "wild men" than I did; I lived years in their vicinity and yet contrived to avoid all contact with them, and it was not till I was homeward-bound that my conversion was effected. The ship in which Mr. Bowdich and myself took a round-about course to[Pg 3] England, was floating on a wide expanse of water, disturbed only by the heavy swell, which forms the sole motion in a calm; the watch on deck were seated near the bows of the vessel, the passengers and officers were almost all below, there was only myself and the helmsman on the after-deck; he stood listlessly by the binnacle, and I was wholly occupied in reading. A noise between a squeak and a chatter suddenly met my ears; and before I could turn my head to see whence it proceeded, a heavy, living creature jumped on to my shoulders from behind, and its tail encircled my throat. I felt it was Jack, the cook's monkey; the mischievous, malicious, mocking, but inimitable Jack, whose pranks had often made me laugh against my will, as I watched him from a distance, but with whom I had never made the least acquaintance. Whether from fear or presence of mind I do not pretend to say, but I remained perfectly still, and in a minute or two Jack put his head forward and stared me in the face, uttering a sort of croak; he then descended on to my knees, examined my hands as if he were counting my fingers, tried to take off my rings, and when I gave him some biscuit, curled himself compactly into my lap. We were friends from that moment. My aversion thus cured, I have ever since felt indescribable interest and entertainment in watching, studying, and protecting monkeys. We had several on board the above-[Pg 4]mentioned vessel, but Jack was the prince of them all.

Exclusively belonging to the cook, although a favourite with the whole crew, my friend (a Cercopithecus from Senegal) had been at first kept by means of a cord, attached to the caboose; but, as he became more and more tame, his liberty was extended, till at last he was allowed the whole range of the ship, with the exception of the captain's and passengers' cabins. The occupations which he marked out for himself began at early dawn, by overturning the steward's parrot-cage whenever he could get at it, in order to secure the lump of sugar which then rolled out, or lick up the water which ran from the upset cup; he evidently intended to pull the parrot's feathers, but the latter, by turning round as fast as Jack turned, always faced him, and his beak was too formidable to be encountered. I was frequently awakened by the quick trampling of feet at this early hour, and knew it arose from a pursuit of Jack, in consequence of some mischief on his part. Like all other nautical monkeys, he descended into the forecastle, where he twisted off the night-caps of the sailors as they lay in their hammocks, stole their knives, tools, etc., and if they were not very active in the pursuit, these purloinings were thrown overboard.

When the preparations for breakfast began, Jack took his post in a corner near the grate, and when[Pg 5] the cook's back was turned, hooked out the pieces of biscuit which were toasting between the bars for the men, and snatched the bunches of dried herbs, with which they tried to imitate tea, out of the tin mugs. He sometimes scalded or burnt his fingers by these tricks, which kept him quiet for a few days; but no sooner was the pain gone than he repeated the mischief.

Two days in each week, the pigs, which formed part of our live stock, were allowed to run about the deck for exercise, and then Jack was particularly happy: hiding himself behind a cask, he would suddenly spring on to the back of one of them, his face to the tail, and away scampered his frightened steed. Sometimes an obstacle would impede the gallop, and then Jack, loosening the hold which he had acquired by digging his nails into the skin of the pig, industriously tried to uncurl its tail, and if he were saluted by a laugh from some one near by, he would look up with an assumed air of wonder, as much as to say; What can you find to laugh at? When the pigs were shut up, he thought it his turn to give others a ride, and there were three little monkeys, with red skins and blue faces, whom he particularly favored: I frequently met him with all of them on his back at the same time, squeaking and huddling together, and with difficulty preserving their seat; when he suddenly stopped, and seemed to ask me to praise the good-[Pg 6]natured action which he was performing. He was, however, jealous of all those of his brethren who came in contact with me, and freed himself from two of his rivals by throwing them into the sea. One of them was a small Lion monkey, of great beauty and extreme gentleness, and immediately after I had been feeding him, Jack called him with a coaxing, patronizing air; but as soon as he was within reach, the perfidious creature seized him by the nape of his neck, and, as quick as thought, popped him over the side of the ship. We were going at a brisk rate, and although a rope was thrown out to him, the poor little screaming thing was soon left behind, very much to my distress, for his almost human agony of countenance was painful to behold. For this, Jack was punished by being shut up all day in the empty hen-coop, in which he usually passed the night, and which he so hated, that when bed-time came, he generally avoided the clutches of the steward; he, however, committed so much mischief when unwatched, that it had become necessary to confine him at night, and I was often obliged to perform the office of nursemaid. Jack's principal punishment, however, was to be taken in front of the cage in which a panther belonging to me was placed, in the fore part of the deck. His alarm was intense; the panther set up his back and growled, but Jack instantly closed his eyes, and made himself perfectly rigid. I generally[Pg 7] held him up by the tail, and if I moved, he cautiously opened one eye; but if he caught sight of even a corner of the cage, he shut it fast, and again pretended to be dead. His drollest trick was practised on a poor little black monkey; taking the opportunity when a calm, similar to that spoken of above, left him nearly the sole possessor of the deck. I do not know that he saw me, for I was sitting behind the companion door. The men had been painting the ship outside, and were putting a broad band of white upon her, when they went to dinner below, leaving their paint and brushes on the upper deck. Jack enticed his victim to him, who meekly obeyed the summons; and, seizing him with one hand, he, with the other, took the brush, and covered him with the white fluid from head to foot. The laugh of the man at the helm called my attention to the circumstance, and as soon as Jack perceived he was discovered, he dropped his dripping brother, and rapidly scampered up the rigging, till he gained the main-top, where he stood with his nose between the bars, looking at what was going on below. As the other monkey began to lick himself, I called up the steward, who washed him clean with turpentine, and no harm ensued; but Jack was afraid to come down, and only after three days passed in his elevated place of refuge did hunger compel him to descend. He chose the moment when I was sitting on deck, and, swinging himself by a rope, he[Pg 8] dropped suddenly into my lap, looking so imploringly at me for pardon, that I not only forgave him myself, but procured his absolution from others. Jack and I parted a little to the south of the Sicily Islands, after five month's companionship, and never met again; but I was told that he was much distressed at my absence, hunted for me all over the vessel in the most disconsolate manner, even venturing into my cabin; nor was he reconciled to the loss of me when the ship's company parted in the London docks.

Another monkey, of the same species as Jack, was trained by a man in Paris to perform a multitude of clever tricks. I met him one day suddenly as he was coming up the drawing-room stairs. He made way for me by standing in an angle, and when I said, "Good morning," took off his cap, and made me a low bow. "Are you going away?" I asked; "where is your passport?" Upon which he took from the same cap a square piece of paper which he opened, and shewed to me. His master told him my gown was dusty, and he instantly took a small brush from his master's pocket, raised the hem of my dress, cleaned it, and then did the same for my shoes. He was perfectly docile and obedient; when we gave him something to eat, he did not cram his pouches with it, but delicately and tidily devoured it; and when we bestowed money on him, he immediately put it into his master's hands.[Pg 9]

Much more accomplished monkeys than those of which I have spoken, have been known to act plays, and to assume the characters they have undertaken, with a spirit and aptitude which might tempt us to suppose that they were perfectly cognizant of every bearing of their different parts; and their stratagems to procure food, and defend themselves, are only equalled by human beings.

Denizens of those mighty forests, which clothe the earth between the tropics of both the Old and New World, assembling by hundreds in those lands where the Palm, the Banyan, the Baobab, the Bombax, and thousands of magnificent trees adorn the soil; where the most delicious fruits are to be procured, by merely stretching out the hand to separate them from their parent stem; no wonder that both apes and monkeys there congregate, and strike the European, on his first arrival among them, with astonishment. I had seen many at Cape Coast; but not till I advanced into the forest up the windings of the river Gaboon, could I form any idea of their multitude, or of the various habits which characterize their savage lives. The first time the reality burst upon me, was in going up a creek of that river to reach the town of Naängo when the most deafening screams were to be heard over head, mixed with squeaks and sundry strange noises. These proceeded from red and grey parrots, which were pursued to the tops of the tallest trees[Pg 10] by the monkeys. The birds were not frightened; on the contrary, they appeared to enjoy the fun, and perching on slight twigs, which would not bear the weight of their playfellows, they stretched out their wings, and seemed vociferously to exclaim, "You can't catch me!" Sometimes, however, they were surprised, and then there was such a scuffle and noise. The four-handed beast, however, plucked the red feathers from the tail of the bird; and careless of its anger, seated himself on a branch, sucking the quills till they were dry, when he started for a fresh supply.

That monkeys enjoy movement, that they delight in pilfering, in outwitting each other and their higher brethren—men; that they glory in tearing and destroying the works of art by which they are surrounded in a domestic state; that they lay the most artful plans to effect their purposes, is all perfectly true; but the terms mirthful and merry, seem to me to be totally misapplied, in reference to their feelings and actions; for they do all in solemnity and seriousness. Do you stand under a tree, whose thick foliage completely screens you from the sun, and you hope to enjoy perfect shade and repose; a slight rustling proves that companions are near; presently a broken twig drops upon you, then another, you raise your eyes, and find that hundreds of other eyes are staring at you. In another minute you see the grotesque faces to[Pg 11] which those eyes belong, making grimaces, as you suppose, but it is no such thing, they are solemnly contemplating the intruder; they are not pelting him in play, it is their business to drive him from their domain. Raise your arm, the boughs shake, the chattering begins, and the sooner you decamp; the more you will shew your discretion.

Watch the ape or monkey with which you come into closer contact; does he pick up a blade of grass, he will examine it with as much attention as if he were determining the value of a precious stone. Do you put food before him, he tucks it into his mouth as fast as possible, and when his cheek pouches are so full that they cannot hold any more, he looks at you as if he seriously asked your approval of his laying up stores for the future. If he destroy the most valuable piece of glass or china in your possession, he does not look as if he enjoyed the mischief, but either puts on an impudent air, as much as to say, "I don't care," or calmly tries to let you know he thought it his duty to destroy your property. Savage, violent and noisy are they when irritated or disappointed, and long do they retain the recollection of an affront. I once annoyed a monkey in the collection of the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris, by preventing him from purloining the food of one of his companions; in doing which I gave him a knock upon his paws. It was lucky that strong wires were between us, or he[Pg 12] would probably have hurt me severely in his rage; he shook the cage, he rolled about and screamed, and did not forget the offence. On future occasions, the instant he heard my voice, he put himself into a passion: and several months after, although I had been absent the whole time, he seized on my gown while I incautiously stood too near to him, dragged a portion of it within the bars, and bit a great piece out of it, although it was made of a very strong material.

A monkey, of I know not what species, was domiciled in a family in Yorkshire to whom my mother was paying a visit of some days. A large dinner-party was given in honor of the guest, the master of the house helped the soup; but as he was talking at the time, he did not observe its appearance. Presently all to whom it had been served, laid down their spoons, or sent their plates away. This of course attracted attention, and on inspection, the liquid was discovered to be full of short hairs. The servants in attendance were questioned, but they declared they were ignorant of the cause; and the wisest and politest proceeding was, to send the tureen from the table, and, serving the fish, make no further comment. The mistress of the family, however, when the ladies left the dining-room, slipped away from her friends, and summoning the cook to her presence, received an explanation of the mystery. The woman said, she[Pg 13] had left the kitchen only for one minute, and when she returned, she saw the monkey standing on the hob of the kitchen grate, with one fore-paw resting on the lid of the boiler which contained the soup. "Oh, Mr. Curiosity," she exclaimed, "that is too much for you, you can't lift that up." To her horror and amazement, however, he had lifted it up, and was putting it on again after popping the kitten in, whose remains were discovered at the bottom when the soup was strained. The poor cook was so bewildered, that she did not know what to do: it was time for the dinner to be served, and she, therefore, for the look's sake, thought it best to send the soup in as it was, even if it were sent out again immediately, "because you know ma'am," said she, "that would prove you had ordered it. I always thought the monkey would do the kitten a mischief, he was so jealous of it, and hated it so because it scratched him, so he seized it when asleep."

A much better disposed monkey belonged to my eldest daughter; and we brought him to England from the Gambia. He seemed to know that he could master the child, and did not hesitate to bite and scratch her whenever she pulled him a little harder than he thought proper. I punished him for each offence, yet fed and caressed him when good; by which means I possessed an entire ascendancy over him. He was very wretched in London[Pg 14] lodgings, where I was obliged to fasten him to the bars of a stove, and where he had no fresh air; and he was no sooner let loose than he tried to break everything within his reach; so I persuaded his young mistress to present him to the Jardin des Plantes. I took him there; and during my stay in that place paid him daily visits. When these were discontinued, the keeper told me that he incessantly watched for my return, and it was long before he recovered his disappointment, and made friends with his companions in the same cage. Two years after, I again went to see him; and when I stood before him and said, "Mac, do you know me?" he gave a scream of delight, put both his paws beyond the bars, stretched them out to me, held his head down to be caressed, uttering a low murmur, and giving every sign of delighted recognition.

The most melancholy of all monkeys is, apparently, the Chimpanzee; and although he has perhaps evinced more power of imitating man than any other, he performs all he does with a sad look, frequently accompanied by petulance, and occasional bursts of fury. One of the smaller species, such as those which at different times have been brought to England and Paris, was offered to Mr. Bowdich for purchase, while our ship lay in the river Gaboon. His owner left him with us for four weeks, during which time I had an opportunity of watching his[Pg 15] habits. He would not associate with any other of the tribe, not even the irresistible Jack; but was becoming reconciled to me, when one unlucky day I checked his dawning partiality. He followed me to the Panther's cage, and I shall never forget the fearful yell which he uttered. He fled as swiftly as possible, overturning men and boys in his way, with a strength little to be expected from his size, nor did he stop till he had thrust himself into a boat sail on the after-deck, with which he entirely covered himself, and which was thenceforward his favourite abode. It was several days before I could reinstate myself in his good opinion, for he evidently thought I had had something to do with the panther. The latter had been in such a fury, that the sailors thought he would have broken his cage; and he continued restless and watchful for hours afterwards, proving that the chimpanzee is found in his country of Ashanti, further to the north than we had imagined. We did not buy the animal, on account of the exorbitant sum asked for him, and the risk of his living during a long voyage. He was always very sad, but very gentle; and his attachment to his master was very great, clinging to him like a child, and going joyfully away in his arms. Of those kept in the Zoological gardens of England and Paris, many anecdotes have been related, evincing great intelligence. One of the latter used to sit in a chair, lock and unlock his[Pg 16] door, drink tea with a spoon, eat with a knife and fork, set out his own dinner, cry when left alone, and delight in being apparently considered one of his keeper's family.

It is in equatorial Africa that the most powerful of all the Quadrumana live, far exceeding the Oran Outang, and even the Pongo of Borneo. Mr. Bowdich and myself were the first to revive and confirm a long forgotten, and vague report of the existence of such a creature, and many thought, as we ourselves had not seen it, that we had been deceived by the natives. They assured us that these huge creatures walk constantly on their hind feet, and never yet were taken alive; that they watch the actions of men, and imitate them as nearly as possible. Like the ivory hunters, they pick up the fallen tusks of elephants, but not knowing where to deposit them, they carry their burthens about till they themselves drop, and even die from fatigue: that they build huts nearly in the shape of those of men, but live on the outside; and that when one of their children dies, the mother carries it in her arms till it falls to pieces; that one blow of their paw will kill a man, and that nothing can exceed their ferocity.

A male and female, of an enormous species of chimpanzee, were brought to Bristol by the master of a vessel coming from the river Gaboon, he had been commissioned to bring them alive, but as this[Pg 17] was impracticable, he put the male into a puncheon of rum, and the female into a cask of strong brine, after they had been shot. The person who had ordered, refused to take them, and Professor Owen secured them for the College of Surgeons. The flesh of that in salt and water fell from the bones, but it was possible to set the other up so as to have his portrait taken, which likeness is now in the museum of the college. The rum had so destroyed the hair, that he could not be stuffed, he was between four and five feet high, his enormous nails, amounting to claws, were well adapted for digging roots, and his huge, strong teeth, must have made him a formidable antagonist. There could not be any thing much more hideous than his appearance, even when allowances were made for the disfiguring effects of the spirit in which he had been preserved. He was entirely covered with hair, and not wrinkled and bare in front like the smaller Chimpanzee; and it was for some time supposed, that this was the Ingheena reported by Mr. Bowdich. Since then, however, some skulls have been sent to England from the same locality, of much larger proportions, betokening an almost marvellous size and strength; and these probably, belonged to the real Ingheena. They go about in pairs; and it is evident from their enormous teeth, that, as they are not flesh-eating animals, these weapons must have been given to them as means[Pg 18] of defence against the most powerful enemies; in fact, against each other.

I now come from my own knowledge and personal experience to those of others, and I cannot begin with a more interesting account than that given by Mr. Bennett of the Ungka Ape, or Gibbon of Sumatra, the Simia Syndactyla of naturalists. He stood two feet high when on his hind legs, and was covered with black hair, except on the face, the skin of which was also black; the legs were short in proportion to the body and arms, the latter being exceedingly long. His only pouch was under the throat, the use of which was not apparent, for he did not make it a reservoir for food. He uttered a squeaking or chirping note when pleased, a hollow bark when irritated, and when frightened or angry he loudly called out "Ra, ra, ra." He was as grave as the rest of his tribe, but not equally mischievous; he, however, frequently purloined the ink, sucking the pens, and drinking the liquid whenever he could get at it. He soon knew his name, and readily went to those who called him. The chief object of his attachment was a Papuan child; and he would sit with one of his long arms round her neck, share his biscuit with her, run from or after her in play, roll on the deck, entwining his arms around her, pretend to bite, swing himself away by means of a rope, and then drop suddenly upon her, with many other frolics of a childish character.[Pg 19] If, however, she tried to make him play when he was not inclined to do so, he would gently warn her by a bite, that he would not suffer her to take any liberties. He made advances to several small monkeys, but they always drew themselves up into an opposing force, and he, to punish their impertinence, seized hold of their tails, and pulled them till the squeaking owners contrived to escape, or he dragged them along by these appendages up the rigging, and then suddenly let them go, he all the time preserving the utmost gravity.

When the hour came for the passengers' dinner he took his station near the table, and, if laughed at while eating, barked, inflated his pouch, and looked at those who ridiculed him in the most serious manner till they had finished, when he quietly resumed his own meal. This is often done by others of his race, and some seem to inquire what you see to laugh at, while others fly into a passion when such an affront is offered.

Ungka greatly disliked being left alone, and when refused anything which he wished for, rolled upon the deck, threw his arms and legs about, and dashed every thing down which came within his reach, incessantly uttering "Ra, ra, ra." He had a great fancy for a certain piece of soap, but was always scolded when he tried to take it away. One day, when he thought Mr. Bennett was too busy to observe him, he walked off with it, casting glances[Pg 20] round to see if he were observed. When he had gone half the length of the cabin, Mr. Bennett gently called him; and he was so conscience-stricken that he immediately returned the soap to its place, evidently knowing he had done wrong. He was very fond of sweetmeats; but although good friends with those who gave them to him, he would not suffer them to take him in their arms, only allowing two persons to use that familiarity, and particularly avoiding large whiskers. He felt the cold extremely as he proceeded on his voyage, was attacked with dysentery, and died as he came into a northern latitude.

A female Gibbon was for some time exhibited in London, whose rapid and enormous springs verified the account given of her brethren by M. Duvaueel, who said that he had seen one of these animals clear a space of forty feet, receiving an impetus by merely touching the branch of a tree, and catching fruit as she sprang: the one in England could stop herself in the most sudden manner, and calculate her distances with surprising accuracy. She uttered a cry of half tones, and ended with a deafening shake, which was not unmusical. She made a chirping cry in the morning, supposed to be the call for her companions, beginning slowly, and ending by two barks, which sounded like the tenor E and its octave, at which time the poor thing became evidently agitated.[Pg 21] She was, generally speaking, very gentle, and much preferred ladies to gentlemen; but if her confidence had been once acquired, she seemed to place as much reliance on a man as she bestowed unsolicited on a woman.

Monkeys in India are more or less objects of superstitious reverence, and are, consequently, seldom, or ever destroyed. In some places they are even fed, encouraged, and allowed to live on the roofs of the houses. If a man wish to revenge himself for any injury committed upon him, he has only to sprinkle some rice or corn upon the top of his enemy's house, or granary, just before the rains set in, and the monkeys will assemble upon it, eat all they can find outside, and then pull off the tiles to get at that which falls through the crevices. This, of course, gives access to the torrents which fall in such countries, and house, furniture, and stores are all ruined.

The large Banyan trees of the Old World are the favourite resorts of monkeys and snakes; and the former when they find one of the latter asleep, seize it by the neck, scramble from their branch, and dash the reptile's head against a stone, all the time grinning with rage.

The Budeng of Java (Semnopithecus Maurus) abounds in the forests of that island, and flies from the presence of man, uttering the most fearful screams, and using the most violent gestures; but[Pg 22] this is not a frequent antipathy, and there is an amusing account of the familiarity which monkeys assume with men, written by a traveller, who, probably, was not a naturalist, for he does not give the technical appellation of any of the species with which he meets in India. From what he says, however, I should suppose some of his heroes to be the same as the Macacus Rhesus. He expresses his surprise, when he sees monkeys "at home," for the first time, as being so different to the individuals on the tops of organs, or in the menageries of Europe. Their air of self-possession, comprehension, and right to the soil on which they live is most amusing. From thirty to forty seated themselves to look at his advancing palanquin and bearers, just as villagers watch the strange arrival going to "the squire's," and mingled with the inhabitants, jostling the naked children, and stretching themselves at full length close to the seated human groups, with the most perfect freedom. This freedom often amounts to impudence; and they frequent the tops of bazaars, in order to steal all they can lay their hands upon below. The only way to keep them off, is to cover the roof with a prickly shrub, the thorns of which stick to the flesh like fishhooks. The above mentioned traveller watched one, which he calls a bandar, and which took his station opposite to a sweetmeat shop. He pretended to be asleep, but every now and then softly raised[Pg 23] his head to look at the tempting piles and the owner of them, who sat smoking his pipe without symptoms even of a dose. In half an hour the monkey got up, as if he were just awake, yawned, stretched himself, and took another position a few yards off, where he pretended to play with his tail, occasionally looking over his shoulder at the coveted delicacies. At length the shop-man gave signs of activity, and the bandar was on the alert; the man went to his back room, the bandar cleared the street at one bound, and in an instant stuffed his pouches full of the delicious morsels. He had, however, overlooked some hornets, which were regaling themselves at the same time. They resented his disturbance, and the tormented bandar, in his hurry to escape, came upon a thorn-covered roof, where he lay, stung, torn, and bleeding. He spurted the stolen bon-bons from his pouches, and barking hoarsely, looked the picture of misery. The noise of the tiles which he had dislodged in his retreat brought out the inhabitants, and among them the vendor of sweets, with his turban unwound, and streaming two yards behind him. All joined in laughing at the wretched monkey; but their religious reverence for him induced them to go to his assistance; they picked out his thorns, and he limped away to the woods quite crestfallen.

The traveller came in constant contact with monkeys in his occupations of clearing land and[Pg 24] planting, and at first, as he lay still among the brushwood, they gamboled round him as they would round the natives. This peaceable state of things, however, did not last, when he established a field of sugar-canes in the newly-cleared jungle. He tells the story so well, that I must be allowed to use his own expressions:—

"Every beast of the field seemed leagued against this devoted patch of sugar-cane. The wild elephants came, and browsed in it; the jungle hogs rooted it up, and munched it at their leisure; the jackals gnawed the stalks into squash; and the wild deer ate the tops of the young plants. Against all these marauders there was an obvious remedy—to build a stout fence round the cane field. This was done accordingly, and a deep trench dug outside, that even the wild elephant did not deem it prudent to cross.

"The wild hogs came and inspected the trench and the palisades beyond. A bristly old tusker was observed taking a survey of the defenses; but, after mature deliberation, he gave two short grunts, the porcine (language), I imagined, for 'No go,' and took himself off at a round trot, to pay a visit to my neighbour Ram Chunder, and inquire how his little plot of sweet yams was coming on. The jackals sniffed at every crevice, and determined to wait a bit; but the monkeys laughed the whole intrenchment to scorn. Day after day was I[Pg 25] doomed to behold my canes devoured, as fast as they ripened, by troops of jubilant monkeys. It was of no use attempting to drive them away. When disturbed, they merely retreated to the nearest tree, dragging whole stalks of sugar-cane along with them, and then spurted the chewed fragments in my face, as I looked up at them. This was adding insult to injury, and I positively began to grow blood-thirsty at the idea of being outwitted by monkeys. The case between us might have been stated in this way.

"'I have, at much trouble and expense, cleared and cultivated this jungle land,' said I.

"'More fool you,' said the monkeys.

"'I have planted and watched over these sugar-canes.'

"'Watched! ah, ha! so have we for the matter of that.'

"'But, surely I have a right to reap what I sowed?'

"'Don't see it,' said the monkeys; 'the jungle, by rights prescriptive and indefensible, is ours, and has been so ever since the days of Ram Honuman of the long tail. If you cultivate the jungle without our consent you must look to the consequences. If you don't like our customs, you may get about your business. We don't want you.'

"I kept brooding over this mortifying view of the matter, until one morning I hatched revenge in a[Pg 26] practicable shape. A tree, with about a score of monkeys on it, was cut down, and half-a-dozen of the youngest were caught as they attempted to escape. A large pot of ghow (treacle) was then mixed with as much tartar emetic as could be spared from the medicine chest, and the young hopefuls, after being carefully painted over with the compound, were allowed to return to their distressed relatives, who, as soon as they arrived, gathered round them, and commenced licking them with the greatest assiduity. The results I had anticipated were not long in making their appearance. A more melancholy sight it was impossible to behold; but so efficacious was this treatment, that for more than two years I hardly ever saw a monkey in the neighbourhood."

When we read of the numbers, the intelligence, and the audacity of monkeys in this part of the world, it becomes a matter of curious speculation as to how they will behave when the railroad is made across India.

It has been frequently observed, that there is nothing more distressing than to see a wounded or suffering monkey. He lays his hand upon the part affected, and looks up in your face, as if appealing to your kindly feelings; and if blood flow, he views it with so frightened an expression, that he seems to know his life is going from him. An inquisitive monkey, among the numerous company[Pg 27] which sailed in a ship, always seemed desirous of ascertaining the nature of everything around him, and touched, tasted, and closely scrutinized every object to which he had not been accustomed. A pot of scalding pitch was in use for caulking the seams of the upper deck, and when those who were employed in laying it upon the planks turned their heads from him, he dipped one paw into it, and carrying it to his chin, rubbed himself with the destructive substance. His yell of pain called the attention of the sailors to him, and they did all in their power to afford alleviation; the pitch was taken off as well as it could be, his pouches being entirely burnt away, his poor cheeks were wrapped up with rags steeped in turpentine; and his scalded hand was bandaged in the same manner. He was a piteous sight, and seemed to look on all who came near, as if asking for their commiseration. He was very gentle and very sad, submitted to be fed with sugar and water through a tube, but after a few days he laid his head down and expired.

Mr. Forbes tells a story of a female monkey, (the Semnopithecus Entellus), who was shot by a friend of his, and carried to his tent. Forty or fifty of her tribe advanced with menacing gestures, but stood still when the gentleman presented his gun at them. One, however, who appeared to be the chief of the tribe, came forward, chattering and threatening in a furious manner. Nothing short of[Pg 28] firing at him seemed likely to drive him away; but at length he approached the tent door with every sign of grief and supplication, as if he were begging for the body. It was given to him, he took it in his arms, carried it away, with actions expressive of affection, to his companions, and with them disappeared. It was not to be wondered at that the sportsman vowed never to shoot another monkey.

Monkeys are eaten in some parts of the Old World, and universally in South America. M. Bonpland speaks of the flesh as lean, hard and dry; but that which I tasted in Africa, was white, juicy, and like chicken. Mr. Bowdich had monkeys served whole before him at the table of the king of Ashanti, having been roasted in a sitting posture, and he said, nothing could be more horrid or repugnant than their appearance, with the skin of the lips dried, and the white teeth, giving an aspect of grinning from pain.

The howling monkeys of South America, who make the forests resound at night, or before a coming storm, with their hideous choruses, and whose hollow and enlarged tongue bone, and expanded lower jaw enable them to utter those melancholy and startling cries, are larger and fatter than many others in the same country, and are constantly sought for as food. They eat the thick, triangular Brazil nuts (Bertholletia Excelsa), and break the hard pod which contains them with a stone, laying[Pg 29] it on the bough of a tree, or some other stone. They sometimes get their tail between the two, of course the blow falls upon the tail, and the monkey bounds away, howling in the most frightful manner.

The prettiest of all monkeys is the Marmozet; the Ouistiti of Buffon; the Simia Jacchus of Linnæus. It is extremely sensitive to cold; nevertheless, if plentifully supplied with wool, cotton, and other warm materials, will live for years in this climate. Dr. Neill of Edinburgh, that most excellent protector and lover of animals, brought one from Bahia, which he found great difficulty in training. It even resisted those who fed it, not allowing them to touch it, putting on an angry, suspicious look, and being roused by even the slightest whisper. During the voyage it ate corn and fruit, and when these became scarce, took to cockroaches; of which it cleared the vessel. It would dispatch twenty large, besides smaller ones, three or four times in each day, nipping off the head of the former, and rejecting the viscera, legs, and hard wing cases. Besides these, it fed on milk, sugar, raisins, and bread-crumbs. It afterwards made friends with a cat, and slept and eat with this animal, but it never entirely lost its distrustful feelings.

Lieutenant Edwards, in his voyage up the Amazon, mentions a domestic white monkey, which had[Pg 30] contrived to get to the top of a house, and no persuasions or threats could get him down again. He ran over the roof, displaced the tiles, peeped into the chambers below (for there are no ceilings in that country), and when called, put his thumb up to his nose. He was shot at with corn, but having found a rag, he held it up before him, and so tried to evade the shot; every now and then peeping over the top. At last he was left to himself; and when no endeavours were made to get him down, he came of his own accord. Captain Brown mentions a monkey, who, when he was troublesome in the cabin of a ship, was fired at with gunpowder and currant jelly; and in order to defend himself, used to pick up the favorite monkey, and hold him between the pistol and himself when it was presented.

A race of animals exists in Madagascar, and some of the Eastern islands, to which the name of Maki has been given, and which, although differing in the formation of the skull and teeth, must, from having four hands, be placed among the Quadrumana. They are nocturnal in their habits, very gentle and confiding, with apparently one exception, which is called the Vari. M. Frederic Cuvier has told us, that two of these being shut up in a cage together, one killed and eat his companion, leaving nothing but the skin. Two of them are remarkable for their slow, deliberate movements; and one[Pg 31] of them, named the Lemur Tardigradus, was procured at Prince of Wales's Island by Mr. Baird. He tells us that his eyes shone brightly in the dark, and that he moved his eyelids diagonally, instead of up and down. He had two tongues, one rough like that of a cat, the other narrow and sharp, and both projected at the same time, unless he chose to retain the latter. He generally slept rolled up like a ball, with his arms over his head, taking hold of his cage. He and a dog lived together in the same cage, and a great attachment subsisted between them; but nothing could reconcile him to a cat, which constantly jumped over his back, thereby causing him great annoyance.

I cannot better close this notice of Monkeys than by giving a curious legend which is told in Northwestern Africa, and which is more uncommon than the belief, which is to be found in most countries, that "monkeys can talk if they like, but they won't, for fear white men should make them work." It was related by the negroes to each other with infinite humour; the different voices of the characters were assumed, and the gestures and countenance were in accordance with the tale.

"There was once a big and a strong man, who was a cook, and he married a woman who thought herself very much above him, so she only accepted him on condition that she should never be asked to go into the cook-house (kitchen), but live in a[Pg 32] separate dwelling. They were married, and all the house he had for her was the kitchen; but she did not at first complain, because she was afraid to make her husband unhappy. At last she became so tired of her life, that she began to find fault; but at first was very gentle. At last she scolded incessantly, and the man, to keep her quiet, told her he would go to the bush (forest), and fetch wood to build her a new house. He went away, and in a few hours brought some wood. The next day his wife told him to go and fetch some more. Again he went away, stayed all day, and only brought home a few sticks, which made her so angry, that she took the biggest and beat him with it. The man went away a third time, and stayed all night, not bringing home any wood at all, saying that the trees which he had cut down were so heavy that he could not bring them all the way. Then he went and stayed two days and nights, which made his wife very unhappy. She cried very much, intreated him not to leave her, promised not to scold or beat him any more, and to live contentedly in the kitchen; but he answered 'No! you made me go to the bush, now I like the bush very much, and I shall go and stop there for ever.' So saying, he rushed out of the cook-house into the bush, where he turned into a monkey, and from him came all other monkeys."


[Pg 33]


A race of beings, to which the epithet mysterious may be with some truth applied, affords more interest from its peculiar habits, than from any proof which can be given of its mental powers; and its place in this work is due to the marvellous histories which have been related concerning it, and which have made it an object of superstitious alarm.

Bats, or Cheiroptera, are particularly distinguished from all other creatures which suckle their young, by possessing the power of flight. A Lemur Galeopithecus, which exists in the Eastern part of the globe, takes long sweeps from tree to tree, and owes this faculty to the extension of its skin between its fore and hind limbs, including the tail; but it cannot be really said to fly. The Bats, then, alone enjoy this privilege; and the prolongation of what, in common parlance, we should call the arms and fingers, constitutes the framework which supports the skin, or membrane forming the wings. The thumbs, however, are left free, and serve as hooks for various purposes. The legs, and tail (when they have any), generally help to extend the membrane of the wing; and the breast-bone is so formed as to support the powerful muscles which aid their locomotive peculiarities. They climb and[Pg 34] crawl with great dexterity, and some will run when on the ground; but it is difficult for most of them to move on a smooth, horizontal surface, and they drag themselves along by their thumbs. A portion of the Cheiroptera feeds on insects, and another on fruits; one genus subsists chiefly on blood. The first help to clear the atmosphere of those insects which fly at twilight; the second are very destructive to our gardens and orchards; the last are especially the object of that superstitious fear to which I have already alluded. They are all nocturnal or crepuscular, and during the day remain suspended by the sharp claws of their feet to the under-branches of trees, the roofs of caves, subterranean quarries, or old ruins, hanging with their heads downwards; multitudes live in the tombs of Egypt.

The appearance of Bats is always more or less grotesque; but this term more aptly applies to those which live on animal food, in consequence of the additions made to the nose and ears, probably for the sake of increasing their always acute senses of smell and hearing. The ears are frequently of an enormous size, and are joined together at the back of the head; besides which they have leaf, or lance-shaped appendages in front. A membrane of various forms is also often attached to the nose, in one species the shape of a horse-shoe. The bodies are always covered with hair, but the wings consist of[Pg 35] a leathery membrane. Another singularity in one genus is the extremity of the spine being converted into two jointed, horny pieces, covered with skin, so as to form a box of two valves, each having an independent motion. The large bats of the East Indies measure five feet from the tip of one wing to that of the other, and they emit a musky odour. The skin of the Nycteris Geoffroyi is very loose upon the body; and the animal draws air through openings in the cheek pouches, head, and back, and swells itself into a little balloon; the openings being closed at pleasure by means of valves. The bite of all is extremely sharp; and we seldom hear of an instance of one being tamed. They try to shelter themselves from chilly winds, and frequent sheltered spots, abounding in masonry, rocks, trees, and small streams.

About the Vampire, or the blood-sucker, there are different opinions: that of the East is said to be quite harmless; but it is asserted that the South American species love to attach themselves to all cattle, especially to horses with long manes, because they can cling to the hair while they suck the veins, and keep their victim quiet by flapping their wings over its head; they also fasten themselves upon the tail for the first reason, and a great loss of blood frequently ensues. Fowls are frequently killed by them as they roost upon their perches, for so noiseless and gentle are they in their flight[Pg 36] and operations, that animals are not awakened out of their sleep by their attacks. The teeth are so disposed that they make a deep and triple puncture, and one was taken by Mr. Darwin in the act of sucking blood from the neck of a horse. This able naturalist and accurate observer is of opinion, that horses do not suffer from the quantity of blood taken from them by the Vampire, but from the inflammation of the wound which they make, and which is increased if the saddle presses on it. Horses, however, turned out to grass at night, are frequently found the next morning with their necks and haunches covered with blood; and it is known that the bat fills and disgorges itself several times. Dr. Carpenter is of the same opinion as Mr. Darwin, and also disbelieves that these creatures soothe their victims by fanning them with their wings.

Captain Stedman, who travelled in Guiana, from 1772 to 1777, published an account of his adventures, and for several years afterwards, it was the fashion to doubt the truth of his statements. In fact, it was a general feeling, up to a much later period than the above, that travellers were not to be believed. As our knowledge, however, has increased, and the works of God have been made more manifest, the reputation of many a calumniated traveller has been restored, and, among others, that of Captain Stedman. I shall, therefore, unhesitatingly quote his account of the bite of the vampire,[Pg 37] "On waking, about four o'clock this morning, in my hammock, I was extremely alarmed at finding myself weltering in congealed blood, and without feeling any pain whatever. Having started up and run to the surgeon, with a firebrand in one hand, and all over besmeared with gore, the mystery was found to be, that I had been bitten by the vampire or specter of Guiana, which is also called the flying dog of New Spain. This is no other than a bat of monstrous size, that sucks the blood from men and cattle, sometimes even till they die; knowing, by instinct, that the person they intend to attack is in a sound slumber, they generally alight near the feet, where, while the creature continues fanning with his enormous wings, which keeps one cool, he bites a piece out of the tip of the great toe, so very small indeed, that the head of a pin could scarcely be received into the wound, which is consequently not painful; yet, through this orifice, he contrives to suck the blood, until he is obliged to disgorge. He then begins again, and thus continues sucking and disgorging till he is scarcely able to fly, and the sufferer has often been known to sleep from time into eternity. Cattle they generally bite in the ear, but always in those places where the blood flows spontaneously. Having applied tobacco-ashes as the best remedy, and washed the gore from myself and my hammock, I observed several small heaps of congealed blood all around the place where[Pg 38] I had lain, upon the ground; upon examining which, the surgeon judged that I had lost at least twelve or fourteen ounces during the night. Having measured this creature (one of the bats), I found it to be, between the tips of the wings, thirty-two inches and a half; the colour was a dark brown, nearly black, but lighter underneath."

Mr. Waterton, whom all the world recognizes as a gentleman, and consequently a man of truth, laboured at one time under the same stigma of exaggeration as Captain Stedman, and many other illustrious travellers; and he confirms the blood-sucking in the following terms:—"Some years ago, I went to the river Paumarau, with a Scotch gentleman. We hung our hammocks in the thatched loft of a planter's house. Next morning I heard this gentleman muttering in his hammock, and now and then letting fall an imprecation or two, 'What is the matter, Sir,' said I softly, 'is anything amiss?' 'What is the matter!' answered he surlily, 'why the vampires have been sucking me to death.' As soon as there was light enough, I went to his hammock, and saw it much stained with blood. 'There,' said he, thrusting his foot out of the hammock, 'see how these imps have been drawing my life's blood.' On examining his foot, I found the vampire had tapped his great toe. There was a wound somewhat less than that made by a leech. The blood was still oozing from it, and[Pg 39] I conjectured he might have lost from ten to twelve ounces of blood."

Mr. Waterton further tells us, that a boy of ten or eleven years of age was bitten by a vampire, and a poor ass, belonging to the young gentleman's father, was dying by inches from the bites of the larger kinds, while most of his fowls were killed by the smaller bats.

The torpidity in which bats remain during the winter, in climates similar to that of England, is well known; and, like other animals which undergo the same suspension of powers, they have their histories of long imprisonment in places which seem inimical to life. There are two accounts of their being found in trees, which are extremely curious, and the more so, because the one corroborates the other. In the beginning of November, 1821, a woodman, engaged in splitting timber for rail-posts, in the woods close by the lake at Haining, a seat of Mr. Pringle's, in Selkirkshire, discovered, in the centre of a large wild-cherry tree, a living bat, of a bright scarlet colour, which, as soon as it was relieved from its entombment, took to its wings and escaped. In the tree there was a recess sufficiently large to contain the animal; but all around, the wood was perfectly sound, solid, and free from any fissure through which the atmospheric air could reach the animal.

A man engaged in splitting timber, near Kelsall,[Pg 40] in the beginning of December, 1826, discovered, in the centre of a large pear-tree, a living bat, of a bright scarlet colour, which he foolishly suffered to escape, from fear, being fully persuaded (with the characteristic superstition of the inhabitants of that part of Cheshire), that it was "a being not of this world." The tree presented a small cavity in the centre, where the bat was enclosed, but was perfectly sound and solid on each side. The scarlet colour of each of these prisoners seems at present to be inexplicable, and makes these statements still more marvellous.

Professor Bell, in his admirable work on British Quadrupeds speaks of a long-eared bat which fed from the hand; and if an insect were held between the lips, it would settle on its master's cheek, and take the fly from his mouth with great quietness. So accustomed was it to this, that it would seek his lips when he made a buzzing noise. It folded its beautiful ears under its arm when it went to sleep, and also during hibernation. Its cry was acute and shrill, becoming more clear and piercing when disturbed. It is most frequently seen in towns and villages. This instance of taming to a certain extent might, perhaps, be more frequently repeated, if bats were objects of more general interest.


[Pg 41]

There is a tribe of animals constantly around our country habitations, of underground and nocturnal habits, some of which become torpid in winter. All are timid and unobtrusive, and yet have great influence upon our welfare; for they check the rapid increase of those worms and insects which live and breed beneath the soil, and would destroy the crops which are necessary to our existence. There are certain and constant characters in their formation, which bring them all under one group, called Insectivora, or Insect-eating Mammalia, by naturalists; but among them are smaller groups of individuals, with peculiar characters, adapted to their different habits.

The mole is an instance of one of these minor groups; which, with one exception, has a portion of sight in spite of its reputation for being blind. Its smell and hearing, however, are so acute, that they make up for the deficiency in the other sense, a highly developed organ for which, would be very much in the way of an animal which makes its habitation within the earth, and which rarely comes to the surface in the day time. Its fore-feet are largest, and powerful muscles enable it to dig up the soil and roots which oppose the formation of its galleries, and which are thrown up as they become loosened.[Pg 42] The nose, or snout, is furnished with a bone at the end, with which it pierces the earth, and in one genus this bone has twenty-two small, cartilaginous points attached to it, which can be extended into a star. A vein lies behind the ear of all, the smallest puncture of which causes instant death.

The food of moles chiefly consists of worms, and the larvæ, or grubs of insects, of which they eat enormous quantities. They are extremely voracious, and the slightest privation of food drives them to frenzy, or kills them. They will all eat flesh, and when shut up in a cage without nourishment, have been known to devour each other. There is a remarkable instance of a mole, when in confinement, having a viper and a toad given to it, both of which it killed and devoured. All squeeze out the earthy matter which is inside worms, before eating them, which they do with the most eager rapidity. In June and July, they prowl upon the surface of the ground, generally at night, but they have been seen by day, and this is the time in which they indulge in fleshy food, for then they catch small birds, mice, frogs, lizards, and snails; but although when in confinement one was known to eat a toad, they generally refuse these reptiles, probably from the acrid humour which exudes from their skin. They, on these occasions of open marauding, are often caught and devoured in their turn by owls at night, and dogs by day. They have a remarkable[Pg 43] power of eating the roots of the colchicum, or meadow saffron, which takes such powerful effect on other animals, and which they probably swallow for the sake of the larvæ or worms upon them. Such is their antipathy to garlic, that a few cloves put into their runs, will cause their destruction.

A French naturalist, of the name of Henri Lecourt, devoted a great part of his life to the study of the habits and structure of moles, and he tells us, that they will run as fast as a horse will gallop. By his observations he rendered essential service to a large district in France, for he discovered that numbers of moles had undermined the banks of a canal, and that, unless means were taken to prevent the catastrophe, these banks would give way, and inundation would ensue. By his ingenious contrivances and accurate knowledge of their habits, he contrived to extirpate them before the occurrence of further mischief. Moles, however, are said to be excellent drainers of land, and Mr. Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, used to declare, that if a hundred men and horses were employed to dress a pasture farm of 1,500 or 2,000 acres, they would not do it as effectually as moles would do if left to themselves.

The late Earl of Derby possessed a small deserted island, in the Loch of Clunie, 180 yards from the main land, and as proof that moles swim well, a number of them crossed the water, and took[Pg 44] possession of this place. They are said to be dragged, as beavers are, by their companions, who lay hold of their tail, and pull them along while they lie on their backs, embracing a quantity of soil dug out in forming their runs. The fur of the mole is very short, fine, and close, and is as smooth and soft as Genoa velvet.

Moles display a high degree of instinct in the skilful construction of their subterranean fortresses. Their site is not indicated by those little mounds of loose earth, which we see raised up at night, and which mark their hunting excursions, but under a hillock reared by themselves, and protected by a wall, bank, or roots of a tree. The earth is well worked, so as to make it compact and hard, and galleries are formed which communicate with each other. A circular gallery is placed at the upper part of the mound, and five descending passages lead from this to a gallery below, which is of larger circumference. Within this lower gallery is a chamber, which communicates with the upper gallery by three descending tunnels. This chamber is, as it were, the citadel of the mole, in which it sleeps.

A principal gallery goes from the lower gallery, in a direct line to the utmost extent of the ground through which the mole hunts, and from the bottom of this dormitory is another, which descends farther into the earth, and joins this great or prin[Pg 45]cipal road. Eight or nine other tunnels run round the hillock at irregular distances, leading from the lower gallery, through which the mole hunts its prey, and which it constantly enlarges. During this process it throws up the hillocks which betray its vicinity to us. The great road is of various depths, according to the quality of the soil in which it is excavated; it is generally five or six inches below the surface, but if carried under a stream, or pathway, it will be occasionally sunk a foot and a half. If the hillock be very extensive there will be several high-roads, and they will serve for several moles, but they never trespass on each other's hunting grounds. If they happen to meet in a road, one is obliged to retreat, or they have a battle, in which the weakest always comes off the worst. In a barren soil, the searching galleries are the most numerous, and those made in winter are the deepest, because the worms penetrate beyond the line of frost, and the mole is as active in winter as in warm weather.

The females have a separate chamber made for them, in which they bring forth their young. This is situated at some distance from the citadel, and placed where three or four galleries intersect each other. There they have a bed made of dry grass, or fibres of roots, and four or five young are born at the same time, which begin to get their own food when they are half grown.[Pg 46]

Like all voracious animals, moles require a large quantity of water, consequently their run, or fortress, generally communicates with a ditch or pond. Should these dry up, or the situation be without such resources, the little architect sinks perpendicular wells, which retain the water as it drains from the soil.

Moles shift their quarters according to circumstances, and as they swim well, they migrate across rivers; and in sudden inundations are able, not to save themselves alone, but their young, to which they are much attached. The stratagem and caution which they practise in order to secure a bird are highly curious: they approach without seeming to do so, but as soon as they are within reach of their prey, they rush upon it, tear open its body, thrust their snout into the intestines, and revel in their sanguinary feast. They then sleep for three or four hours, and awake with renewed appetite.

All mole-catchers will bear testimony to the rapid movements and consequent difficulty of catching these animals. I have watched a gardener stand for half an hour by one of the little hillocks of loose earth, which, from its movement, showed that the mole was there at work, and remain motionless, spade in hand, and when he saw the earth shake, dash his weapon into the heap. The mere uplifting of his arm was sufficient, and before the spade could reach the ground the mole was gone. He could[Pg 47] scarcely reckon on securing his victim once out of twenty efforts.

No moles are found in the north of Scotland, or in Ireland, which some attribute to soil and climate; but they exist in other parts of Europe under similar circumstances.



Hedgehogs form one of the small groups of insect-eating mammalia, and are remarkable for being also able to eat those substances which are destructive to others; for instance, they will devour the wings of Spanish flies (Cantharides) with impunity, which cause fearful torments to other animals, and not the least to man, by raising blisters on his skin. It would seem that the hedgehog is also externally insensible to poison, for it fights with adders, and is bitten about the lips and nose without receiving any injury. An experiment has been made by administering prussic acid to it, which took no effect.

It is well known that hedgehogs are covered with bristles, amounting to sharp prickles, and that they roll themselves up into a ball. This is effected by a peculiar set of muscles attached to the skin, by which they pull themselves into this shape, and at the same time set up every bristle, and drag their[Pg 48] head and limbs within. Such is the resistance and elasticity of these bristles, that the owners of them may be thrown to great distances and remain unhurt, and they will even throw themselves down steep places when they wish to move from a particular spot.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, and frequent woods, gardens, orchards, and thick hedge-rows. It is in the latter that I have heard of one being mistaken by a hen for a bush, in which she might lay her egg in safety. The fact was announced by the triumphant cackling which these birds vociferate on such occasions: the egg was consequently searched for, and found upon the hedgehog's back.

Hedgehogs feed on insects, slugs, frogs, eggs, young birds in the nest, mice, fallen fruits, and the roots of vegetables, especially the plantain, boring into the ground to get at these substances. They will clear a house of black beetles in a few weeks, as I can attest from my own experience. My kitchen was much infested, not only by them, but by a sort of degenerated cockroach, descended from the better conditioned Blattæ, brought in my packages from a tropical country, and which had resisted all efforts for their extermination, such as boiling water, pepper, arsenic-wafers, mortar, etc. At last, a friend, whose house had been cleared of beetles by a hedgehog, made the animal over to me, very much to the discomfort of my cook, to whom it[Pg 49] was an object of terror. The first night of its arrival a bed was made for it in a hamper, half full of hay, and a saucer of milk was set within. The next morning the hedgehog had disappeared, and for several days the search made for it was fruitless. That it was alive was proved by the milk being drunk out of the saucer in which it was placed. One night I purposely went into the kitchen after the family had been for some time in bed, and, as I opened the door, I saw the little creature slink into a hole under the oven attached to the grate. Fearing this would sometimes prove too hot for it, I had some bricks put in to fill up the aperture. The next night the bricks were pulled away, and overturned, evincing a degree of strength which astonished us; but, after that, we left the animal to its own care. The beetles and cockroaches visibly disappeared, but as they disappeared other things also vanished; kitchen cloths left to dry at night were missing; then, a silk handkerchief. At last a night-cap left on the dresser was gone; and these abstractions were most mysterious. The next day there was a general search in possible and impossible places, and the end of a muslin string was seen in the oven-hole; it was seized on, and not only was the night-cap dragged out, but all the missing and not missing articles which the hedgehog had purloined; most of them were much torn, and it was supposed that the poor beast had taken[Pg 50] possession of them to make a soft bed. I have not seen such a propensity noticed elsewhere, and it may be a useful hint to those who keep hedgehogs. All endeavours to make this animal friendly were unavailing; but I am told, that hedgehogs are frequently quite domesticated; and even shew a degree of affection.

Dr. Buckland ascertained the manner in which hedgehogs kill snakes; they make a sudden attack on the reptile, give it a fierce bite, and then, with the utmost dexterity, roll themselves up so as to present nothing but spines when the snake retaliates. They repeat this manœuvre several times, till the back of the snake is broken in various places; they then pass it through their jaws, cracking its bones at short intervals; after which they eat it all up, beginning at the tail. The old legend, that hedgehogs suck the udders of cows as they lie on the ground chewing the cud is, of course, wholly without foundation. They retreat to holes in trees, or in the earth where they make a bed of leaves, moss, etc., in which they roll themselves, and these substances sticking to the spines make them look like a bundle of vegetable matter. In this condition they pass the winter, in a state of torpidity; but it should be mentioned, that one which was tame, retained its activity the whole year. There are instances of hedgehogs performing the office of turnspits in a kitchen; and, from the facility with[Pg 51] which they accommodate themselves to all sorts of food, they are easily kept. They, however, when once accustomed to animal diet, will attack young game; and one was detected in the south of Scotland in the act of killing a leveret.



Among the Carnivora, or flesh-eating animals, Bears take the first place; for their characters and habits link them in some degree with the preceding order, the Insectivora. Both principally live on fruit, grains, and insects, and only eat flesh from necessity, or some peculiarity of life, such as confinement, or education.

The Carnivora are divided by naturalists into three tribes, the characters for which are taken from their feet and manner of walking. Bears rank among the Plantigrada, or those which put the whole of their feet firmly upon the ground when they walk. They are occasionally cunning and ferocious, but often evince good humour, and a great love of fun. In their wild state they are solitary the greater part of their lives; they climb trees with great facility, live in caverns, holes, and hollow trees; and in cold countries, retire to some secluded spot during the winter, where they remain concealed, and bring forth their young. Some say[Pg 52] they are torpid; but this cannot be, for the female bears come from their retreats with cubs which have lived upon them, and it is not likely, that they can have reared them and remained without food; they are, however, often very lean and wasted, and the absorption of their generally large portion of fat, contributes to their nourishment. The story that they live by sucking their paws is, as may be supposed, a fable; when well-fed they always lick their paws, very often accompanying the action with a peculiar sort of mumbling noise. There are a few which will never eat flesh, and all are able to do without it. They are, generally speaking, large, clumsy and awkward, possessing large claws for digging; and often walk on their hind-feet, a facility afforded them by the peculiar formation of their thigh-bone. They do not often attack in the first instance, unless impelled by hunger or danger; they are, however, formidable opponents when excited. In former times there were few parts of the globe in which they were not to be found; but like other wild animals, they have disappeared before the advance of man. Still they are found in certain spots from the northern regions of the world, to the burning climes of Africa, Asia, and America. The latest date of their appearance in Great Britain, was in Scotland, during the year 1057.

Bears are always covered with thick fur; which, notwithstanding its coarseness, is much prized for[Pg 53] various purposes. They afford much sport to those inclined for such exercises; but the cruel practice of bear-baiting is discontinued. In an old edition of Hudibras, there is a curious note of a mode of running at the devoted bears with wheelbarrows, on which they vented their fury, and the baiters thus had them at their mercy. At present the hunts are regularly organised fights, or battles, besides which there are many ways of catching them in traps, pitfalls, etc.

The large polar bear (Ursus Maritimus), with its white fur, its long, flattened head, and black claws, may be seen in great perfection at the Zoological Gardens. In its own country, during the winter, it lives chiefly on seal's flesh, but in the summer eats berries, sea-weed, and marsh plants. It is one of the most formidable of the race; and may be seen climbing mountains of ice, and swimming from floe to floe with the greatest rapidity. Captain Lyon tells us, that when a seal lies just ashore, the bear gets quietly into the water and swims away from him to leeward; he then takes short dives, and manages so that the last dive shall bring him back close to the seal, which tries to escape by rolling into the water, when he falls into the bear's paws; and if he should lie still, the bear springs upon and devours him; its favourite food, however, is the floating carcases of whales. The gait of all bears is a sort of shuffle; but this one goes at such[Pg 54] a rate, that its pace is equal to a horse's gallop. It is remarkably sagacious, and often defeats the stratagems practised for its capture. A female with two cubs was pursued across a field of ice by a party of sailors; at first she urged the young ones to increase their speed, by running in front of them, turning round, and evincing, by gesture and voice, great anxiety for their progress; but finding that their pursuers gained upon them, she alternately carried, pushed, or pitched them forwards, until she effected their escape. The cubs seemed to arrange themselves for the throw, and when thus sent forwards some yards in advance, ran on till she again came up to them, when they alternately placed themselves before her.

A she-bear and two large cubs, being attracted by the scent of some blubber, proceeding from a seahorse, which had been set on fire, and was burning on the ice, ran eagerly towards it, dragged some pieces out of the flames, and eat them with great voracity. The sailors threw them some lumps still left in their possession, which the old bear took away and laid before her cubs, reserving only a small piece for herself. As they were eating the last piece, the men shot the cubs, and wounded the mother. Her distress was most painful to behold, and, though wounded, she crawled to the spot where they lay, tore the piece of flesh into pieces, and put some before each. Finding they did not eat, she tried to[Pg 55] raise them, making piteous moans all the time. She then went to some distance, looked back and moaned, and this failing to entice them, she returned and licked their wounds. She did this a second time, and still finding that the cubs did not follow, she went round and pawed them with great tenderness. Being at last convinced that they were lifeless, she raised her head towards the ship, and, by a growl, seemed to reproach their destroyers. They returned this with a volley of musket balls;[1] she fell between her cubs, and died licking their wounds.


The black bear of Canada is a formidable creature, and Dr. Richardson contradicts the assertion that it is not swift of foot; he says that it soon outstrips the swiftest runner, and adds, that it climbs as well, if not better than a cat. It feeds on berries, eggs, and roots; but although it does not seek flesh, it does not refuse it when offered. A young bear of this kind roughly handled a Canadian settler, who, being a very large powerful man, returned hug for hug, till the surprised bear let go its hold. It had ventured into some young plantations, where it was committing much mischief, and the settler had endeavoured to frighten it away. A friend of mine was in the house when the gentleman returned home, his clothes torn in the struggle, and very much exhausted by the encounter; he dropped into [Pg 56]a chair, and nearly fainted, but a little brandy revived him, though he was ill some days from the pressure.

A young English officer, who was stationed at a lone fortress in the same country, amused himself by taming a bear of the above species. He taught him to fetch and carry, to follow him like a dog, and to wait patiently at meal time for his share. He took the bear with him when he returned to England, and he became a great favourite with the passengers and the ship's company. Bruin, however, especially attached himself to a little girl, about four years old, the daughter of one of the ladies on board, who romped with him as she would with a dog. In one of these games of play, he seized her with one fore paw, and with the other clambered and clung to the rigging, till he lodged her and himself in the main top, where, regardless of her cries and the agony of her mother, he tried to continue his romp. It would not do to pursue the pair, for fear the bear should drop the child; and his master, knowing how fond he was of sugar, had some mattresses placed round the mast, in case the child should fall, and then strewed a quantity of the sugar on the deck; he called Bruin, and pointed to it, who, after a moment's hesitation, came down as he went up, bringing the child in safety. He was, of course, deprived of his liberty during the rest of his voyage.[Pg 57]

This same black bear of Canada, after it has hugged its antagonists to death, tears them open with its hind feet. It will ward off blows like an accomplished boxer; for, as it would be of no use to strike him on his thickly-covered body, the attacks are usually made about the head. A man who wantonly threw an axe at a male bear as he passed, wounded him, whereupon the beast rushed at him, the man fell backwards over a fallen tree, and, in so doing, tore off a sharp-pointed knob of wood, which he thrust down the bear's throat, and so killed him; not, however, before he had received his own death wound from the hind foot. He walked home holding in his intestines, and died a day or two after.[2]

An old hunter, named Ruhe, having set his traps to catch beavers, returned to the stream to ascertain his success; he missed one of them, and, on looking for it, saw signs of a bear having passed that way. As he went on, he heard the noise of a heavy body breaking through the bushes in the thicket. He hid himself behind a rock, and saw a huge bear, limping on three legs to a flat piece of rock, upon which it seated itself, and on raising one of its fore paws Ruhe discovered that it was encircled by the lost trap. The bear lifted the iron glove towards his face, examined it, turned his paw round and round, bent his head from side to side, looked at[Pg 58] the trap askance with the most puzzled air, felt the encumbrance, tapped it on the rock, and evidently knew not what to do. Then he began to feel pain and licked it; but Ruhe soon put an end to all his conjectures, by shooting him dead.[3]

Of all bears, the grizzly is said to be the most formidable, both for size and ferocity, and Mr. Ruxton tells the following anecdote, in which one of them makes a conspicuous figure:—"A trapper, named Glass, and a companion, were setting their beaver traps in a stream to the north of the river Platte, when they saw a large, grizzly bear turning up the turf near by, and searching for roots and pig-nuts. The two men crept to the thicket, and fired at him; they wounded, but did not kill him; the beast groaned, jumped all four legs from the ground, and, snorting with pain and fury, charged towards the place from whence came the smoke of the rifles. The men rushed through the thicket, where the underwood almost impeded their progress; but the beast's weight and strength carried him along so fast, that he soon came up with them. A steep bluff was situated a hundred yards off, with a level plain of grass between it and the thicket; the hunters flew across the latter with the utmost speed, the bear after them. When he reached about halfway, Glass stumbled over a stone and fell. He rose, and the bear stood before him on his[Pg 59] hind legs. Glass called to his companion to fire, and he himself sent the contents of his pistol into the bear's body. The furious animal, with the blood streaming from his nose and mouth, knocked the pistol away with one paw, while he stuck the claws of the other into the flesh of his antagonist, and rolled with him on the ground. Glass managed to reach his knife, and plunged it several times into the bear, while the latter, with tooth and claw, tore his flesh. At last, blinded with blood and exhaustion, the knife fell from the trapper's hand, and he became insensible. His companion, who thought his turn would come next, did not even think of reloading his rifle, and fled to the camp, where others of his party were resting, to tell the miserable fate of their companion. Assistance was sent, and Glass still breathed, but the bear lay across him quite dead, from three bullets and twenty knife wounds; the man's flesh was torn away in slips, and lumps of it lay upon the ground; his scalp hung bleeding over his face, which was also torn. The men took away the trapper's hunting-shirt, moccasins, and arms, dragged the bear off his body, and left him, declaring, when they rejoined their party, that they had completed his burial."

Although the bear no longer figures in the story, I must be allowed to relate the sequel, as a proof of what human nature can endure without destruction. Months elapsed, and some of the[Pg 60] party of the above mentioned camp were on their way to a trading port with their skins, when they saw a horseman approach them, with a face so scarred and disfigured that they could not distinguish his features.

The stranger accosted that one of the party who had been Glass's companion, exclaiming, in a hollow voice, "Hurrah, Bill, my boy, you thought I was gone under (killed) that time, did you? but hand me over my horse and gun, lad. I'm not dead yet." Astonishment and horror seized on the party, many of whom believed he had been buried as well as dead. However, there could be no mistake now, and when they had sufficiently recovered from their surprise to listen to Glass's story, he told them that he knew not how long he lay before he recovered his senses; but when he did, and was able to take nourishment, he was obliged to subsist on the flesh of the bear. When he had strength to crawl, he tore off as much of this as he could carry in his weak state, and crept down to the river; he had suffered tortures from cold, wounds, and hunger, but he had reached the fort, which was between eighty and ninety miles distant, living the greater part of the way on roots and berries, but there he had been taken care of and recovered.

The brown bear much resembles the black in size, habits and shape, and like it, lives in hollow places; he, however, sometimes digs pits for himself,[Pg 61] and even constructs huts, which he lines with moss. Both attain an enormous size and weight. All bears are extremely fond of honey and sugar, and are often taken when venturing too close to man to procure these enticing substances. The settlers in Canada, when they make maple sugar, catch them by leaving a boiler full, into which they dip their paws, or their head, and they fall an easy prey when encumbered with the thick, saccharine matter, and sometimes with the boiler also. Bruin's attention is easily diverted, and many have escaped by throwing a bundle or knapsack down when he is in pursuit of them, for while he stoops to examine it, they gain time and distance. It is natural to him to play all sorts of antics; and we are told by an Indian traveller, that in one of his journeys, some bears kept in front of his palanquin, tumbling and playing as if they designed to afford him amusement. Climbing is a great delight to them, and one was seen to ascend a scaffolding, for his own pleasure; he at first proceeded cautiously, examining the strength of all the joists, and at last reached the summit, which was one hundred and twenty feet high. He looked much pleased when he had completed this operation, and the workmen treated him with great civility. They were going to lower him in a bucket, but to this he would not consent, and descended as he had mounted, being so pleased with his prowess, that he repeated his visit.[Pg 62]

A Norwegian had tamed a bear so completely, that he used to stand at the back of his master's sledge, where he kept so good a balance, that it was impossible to upset him: if the sledge went on one side, the bear threw his weight in the opposite direction, and so kept up the equilibrium. One day, however, his master, in sport, drove over the worst ground he could find, hoping to throw the bear off. This, however, only served to irritate him; and he vented his ill humour by giving his master a tremendous blow across the shoulders.

A countryman, in Russia, when seeking honey, climbed a very high tree; the trunk of which was hollow, and finding there was a large quantity of comb in it, he descended, and stuck fast in the tenacious substance there deposited. He was so far distant from home, that his voice could not be heard, and he remained two days in this situation, relieving his hunger with the honey. He began to despair of ever being extricated, when a bear who, like himself, came for the sake of the honey, slid down the hollow, hind part foremost. The man, in spite of his alarm, seized hold of him, and the bear, also in a great fright, clambered out as fast as he could, dragging the man up with him, and when clear of his tail-bearer, made off as fast as possible.

The drollest and most accomplished of all bears, was the celebrated Martin, of Paris, whose dancing, climbing, curtsying, tumbling, begging, and many[Pg 63] other antics, were the delight of every child in the metropolis, and of many grown-up children also. It is true, that the nursemaids endangered the lives of their charges, by holding them over the side of the pit in which he was kept; but as none did fall, they continued to amuse themselves and their nurslings at the same risk. One morning early, he very cleverly withdrew the bolts of his pit door, and sallied forth on his hind-legs to take a walk. The keepers of the garden had not risen; but the dogs were on the alert, and surrounded Martin, jumping and barking, half in play, and half in earnest. This roused the men, who, rushing out to see what was the matter, beheld the bear in the midst of the canine troop, his tongue lolling out of his mouth, and an expression of fun and enjoyment in his countenance, which was indescribable. Never was the malignant scowl, so often noticed in bears, from pulling the nictating membrane, or third eyelid half over the eye, seen in poor Martin's face; yet he became unpopular from the cupidity of one of the sentinels. This man fancied he saw a five-franc piece lying in the bear's pit, and determined to go during the night, when he would be on duty, and secure it. He accordingly provided himself with a ladder, and when the guard was changed, was found lying lifeless at the bottom, the coveted piece in his hand, which proved to be nothing but a large button. No marks of violence were to be[Pg 64] seen upon his body, but the contusions on his head seemed to tell that he had fallen from the ladder when near the top, and so met his death. Whether he had been frightened, or seized with giddiness, or whether Martin had shaken the ladder, no one could say; the animal was sitting quietly by his side when his fate was first made known. The story fled like wildfire from one end of Paris to the other, and in a short time, the populace were fully convinced that Martin had killed him; and this, combined with other exaggerations, induced them to flock in multitudes to see the murderous bear. Afterwards, two balls of arsenic, wrapped up in some sweet substance, were found in the pit, fortunately before Martin had touched them; and the authorities of the establishment thought it prudent to remove him to a den in the menagerie. The front of these dens was closed at night with a sliding shutter, pulled down by inserting a hook at the end of a long pole into a ring, which ring, when the shutter was down, served to admit a bolt. This did not at all please Martin, and the keeper never could accomplish the fastening, till some one else went to the other side to take off the bear's attention; for the moment the shutter was down, Martin inserted his claws and pushed it up again, and this practice was continued as long as he existed.

The Malayan Sun bear (Ursus Malayensis) has a long tongue, short smooth fur, very extensible,[Pg 65] flexible lips, and large claws. Sir Stamford Raffles had one which was brought up in the nursery with his children, and when he joined the party at table, would only eat the choicest fruit, and drink champagne, and even be out of humour when there was none of the latter. He was very affectionate, and never required to be chained or chastised. This bear, a cat, a dog, and a lory from New Holland, used to eat amicably out of the same dish. His favorite playfellow, however, was the dog, although he was teased and worried by it incessantly. He grew to be very powerful, and pulled plants and trees up by the roots, the latter of which were too large for him to embrace.

The Bornean bear (Ursus Euryspilus) is one of the most amusing and playful of all bears; begs in the most earnest manner, and when it has more to eat than it can hold in its paws and mouth, places the surplus on its hinder feet, as if to keep it from being soiled; and when vexed or irritated, will never be reconciled as long as the offender is in its sight. It does much injury to cocoa-nut trees, by biting off the top shoots, or tearing down the fruit.

[1] Captain Phipps' Voyage to the North Pole.

[2] L'Acadie.

[3] Ruxton.


[Pg 66]

Badgers belong to the same division of Carnivora as Bears, but differ from them, not only in size, but in dentition. This, while they claim a sort of miniature relationship, forms them into a separate genus. They afford many a day of what is called sport, to those who choose to hunt them, during which they evince much sagacity in their efforts to escape; but I am happy to say the custom of tying them into an empty cask, and baiting them with dogs, no longer exists. They are by nature slothful and heavy, but are easily tamed, and when roused are fierce. They have a gland under the tail, which secretes a liquid of most disagreeable odour, and causes them to pass into a sort of proverb. They feed chiefly on roots, nuts, and other fruits; attack the nests of wasps, or wild bees, and devour their larvæ, themselves, or their honey, with a perfect indifference to their stings, which cannot pierce through their tough hide. They prey at night and live in the thickest parts of woods or coppices, where they rapidly dig deep holes, by means of their sharp and powerful claws. These holes are divided into several chambers, the innermost of which is round, and lined with hay or grass. All are kept very clean, and every waste remnant of food and species of filth is deposited[Pg 67] in holes dug on purpose for its reception. The passages to the dwellings frequently turn at sharp angles, at which places the badgers make a stand when attacked. Mr. St. John caused a badger's hole to be dug out, and he there found balls of grass, rolled up to the size of a man's fist, evidently intended for food. That gentleman also says, that he has frequently found the bulb of the common blue hyacinth lying near the hole. They devour, besides all sorts of vegetables, small animals whether alive or dead, snails and worms; but their peculiar dainty consists of eggs. A partridge's nest affords them a delicious feast, particularly if they include the sitting hen.

Badgers have a peculiarly formed chest and jaw, which give them great strength; their forehead is so thick, in consequence of a ridge which runs down the middle of it, that they are unhurt by a blow in front which would kill an ox; while almost a touch at the back of the head will cause their destruction. Their thick skin, which lies loosely upon them, is much used for making pistol cases, and their fur is excellent for painter's brushes. They are difficult to kill, and few dogs have courage enough to attack them in their holes, where they live in pairs. When thus pursued, they constantly impede the progress of their enemies by throwing the soil behind them, so as to fill up the passages, while they escape to the surface.[Pg 68] They are rare animals, but are to be found in various parts of the world. The Chinese eat them in spite of their bad odour. When tamed they show great affection, an interesting proof of which is given by Captain Brown in his popular Natural History, which I transcribe. "Two persons (in France) went on a journey, and passing through a hollow way, a dog which was with them, started a badger, which he attacked, and pursued till he took shelter in a burrow under a tree. With some pains he was hunted out and killed. Being a few miles from a village, called Chapelletiere, they agreed to drag him thither, as the commune gave a reward for every one which was destroyed; besides which they proposed selling the skin. Not having a rope, they twisted some twigs, and by turns drew him along the road. They had not proceeded far when they heard the cry of an animal in seeming distress, and stopped to listen, when another badger approached them slowly. They at first threw stones at it; notwithstanding which, it drew near, came up to the dead animal, began to lick it, and continued its mournful cry. The men, surprised at this, desisted from offering any further injury to it, and again drew the dead one along as before; when the living badger, determined not to quit its companion, lay down on it, taking it gently by one ear, and in that manner was drawn into the midst of the village; nor could dogs,[Pg 69] boys, or men induce it to quit its situation, and to their shame be it said, they had the inhumanity to kill the poor animal, and afterwards to burn it, declaring it could not be no other than a witch."

Professor Bell had a badger which followed him like a dog, and which had been tamed when quite young by some cottager's children, with whom he played like a puppy. As he grew in years, he became too rough for them, but at Mr. Bell's was a universal favourite. He yelped with a peculiar, sharp cry when excluded from his master's presence. He was fed at dinner-time, and took the morsels in the most orderly manner. He was very affectionate, good-tempered, and cleanly. He died of a disease which affects many carnivorous animals in confinement—a contraction of the lower opening of the stomach, which prevents the food from passing.

In that most interesting book, written by Mr. St. John, and called "Wild Sports of the Highlands," the author treats at some length of the badger. I select the following passages from his pages:—

"I was just then startled from my reverie by a kind of grunt close to me, and the apparition of a small, waddling, grey animal, who was busily employed in hunting about the grass and stones at the edge of the loch; presently another and another appeared in a little grassy glade which ran down to the water's edge, till at last I saw seven of them busily at work within a few yards of me, all[Pg 70] coming from one direction. It at first struck me that they were some farmer's pigs taking a distant ramble; but I shortly saw they were badgers, come from their fastnesses rather earlier than usual, tempted by the quiet evening, and by a heavy summer shower that was just over, and which had brought out an infinity of large black snails and worms, on which the badgers were feeding with good appetite. As I was dressed in grey, and sitting on a grey rock, they did not see me, but waddled about, sometimes close to me, only now and then, as they crossed my track, they showed a slight uneasiness, smelling the ground, and grunting gently. Presently a very large one, which I took to be the mother of the rest, stood motionless for a moment, listening with great attention, and then giving a loud grunt, which seemed perfectly understood by the others; she scuttled away, followed by the whole lot. I was soon joined by my attendant, whose approach they had heard long before my less acute ears gave me warning of his coming.... When caught in traps, they [badgers] never leave part of their foot behind them and so escape, as foxes and other vermin frequently do; but they display very great strength and dexterity in drawing up the peg of the trap, and this done, they will carry off the heaviest trap to an amazing distance, over rock or heather. They never attempt to enter their hole with a trap dangling to their[Pg 71] foot, but generally lay up in some furze bush or thicket.

"When first caught, their efforts to escape show a degree of strength and ingenuity which is quite wonderful, digging and tearing at their prison with the strength of a rhinoceros. I one day found a badger, not much hurt, in a trap. Tying a rope to his hind leg, I drove him home before me, as a man drives a pig, but with much less trouble, for he made no attempts to escape, but trotted quietly ahead, only occasionally showing a natural inclination to bolt off the main path, whenever he passed any diverging road, all of which were probably familiar haunts of the unlucky beast. When at home, I put him into a paved court, where I thought he could not possibly escape. The next morning, however, he was gone, having displaced a stone that I thought him quite incapable of moving, and then digging under a wall.... Sometimes I have known a badger leave the solitude of the woods and take to some drain in the cultivated country, where he becomes very bold and destructive to the crops, cutting down wheat, and ravaging the gardens in a most surprising manner. One which I know to be now living in this manner, derives great part of his food during the spring from a rookery, under which he nightly hunts, feeding on the young rooks that fall from their nests, or on the old ones that are shot. This badger eludes every attempt to[Pg 72] trap him. Having more than once run narrow risks of this nature, he has become so cunning, that no one can catch him. If a dozen baited traps are set, he manages to carry off the baits, and spring every trap, always with total impunity to himself. At one time he was watched out to some distance from his drain, and traps were then put in all directions round it, but, by jumping over some and rolling over others, he escaped all. In fact, though a despised and maltreated animal, when he has once acquired a certain experience in worldly matters, few beasts show more address and cunning in keeping out of scrapes. Though eaten in France, Germany, and other countries, and pronounced to make excellent hams, we in Britain despise him as food, though I see no reason why he should not be quite as good as any pork.

"The badger becomes immensely fat. Though not a great eater, his quiet habits and his being a great sleeper prevent his being lean." That sleep is taken in the day, for his habits are generally nocturnal.

All badgers may be recognized by the broad black band across their cheeks. Those of India have longer legs than those of Europe; their snout is also prolonged, like that of a hog; and their tail resembles that of the latter animal. They are very slow in their movement, and when affronted make a peculiar grunting noise, and bristle up the hair of[Pg 73] their back. If still more roused, they stand on their hind legs as bears do, have much power in their fore legs, and are extremely savage when provoked.



The second tribe of Carnivora walks upon its toes, and is, consequently, called Digitigrada; it is chiefly composed of a number of smaller animals, which are very interesting from many of their habits, very precious from the valuable fur which they afford, and in many instances are so destructive, that they go under the common name of Vermin. A numerous genus bears the appellation of Vermiform, because their bodies are long, and their legs are short, which formation enables them to slide through small apertures in worm-fashion, twisting themselves through the winding passages, with their bodies touching the ground. They destroy much game, and, except when trained to kill rats and rabbits, are objects of persecution and dislike. Among them are weasels, polecats, ferrets, martens, skunks, and others. The ermine and sable are included with the martens; and the three first send forth a disagreeable odour. They, however, are not to be compared in this respect to the skunk, which of all creatures is one of the most disagreeable, in consequence of its fœtid gland, which secretes the[Pg 74] offensive liquor sent forth when the animal is frightened or irritated. Nothing will obliterate this odour, no other scent overcomes it; no burying in the earth, no washing will avail; even time does not cure, and an article of dress put by for years, is still unwearable.

It is to weasels and otters that I shall confine myself in this work, for about their intellectual powers do we know most. The first is a very courageous beast, not fearing to attack animals much larger than himself—even man. A labouring peasant at Glencairn, in Dumfrieshire, was attacked by six of them, who rushed upon him when he was at work in a field. Being frightened at such a furious onset, he fled, but they pursued him, although he dealt some back-handed strokes with a large horsewhip. He was on the point of being seized by the throat, when he fortunately perceived the fallen branch of a tree. He snatched it up, and making a stand against his enemies, he killed three, and put the others to flight. Another instance is reported by Captain Brown, in his Popular Natural history, where the affray commenced by a person striking a weasel, which squeaked aloud. This roused a whole colony, consisting of fifteen, who flew at him and bit him severely. A gentleman came to his aid, and with his assistance, several of the assailants were killed, the others ran into the fissures of a neighbouring rock.[Pg 75]

There are instances of weasels having been tamed; but it is very difficult to make any impression on their affections, although they are very sagacious, and sagacious animals are more easily influenced than others. The weasel and the stoat are so often mistaken for each other, that it will be well to point out the constant difference in each. The stoat is brown above, dirty white underneath; his tail is longer and more bushy than that of the weasel, and always black at the tip. The weasel is red above, and pure white underneath, and the tail is red and uniform, being deprived of the bushy tip. Mr. Bell, from whose pages I have taken these characters, defends weasels from the accusation of devouring poultry, game, hares, rabbits, and various small birds. He says, that when driven by hunger, they may occasionally eat such things; but that their general food consists of mice and rats of every description, the field and water vole, and moles; and that they ought rather to be encouraged than exterminated, because they destroy so much vermin. They generally approach with the utmost caution and shyness, and when once they have seized their prey, they never let go their hold; they aim at the neck, below the ear, or drive their teeth through the back of the head: they hound and spring, and climb trees with the greatest facility, and seem never to tire of hunting, whether they are hungry or not. Mr. St. John saw one in a stubble[Pg 76] field, in which several corn buntings were flying about, or alighting on a thistle. The animal disappeared at the foot of this thistle, and the above gentleman thought he had slunk into a hole, but feeling sure by his manner he intended some mischief, he stayed to watch his movements. As soon as one of the birds settled on the thistle, something sprang up as quick as lightning, and then disappeared with the bird; it was the weasel, who had thus successfully concealed himself. The same gentleman chased a weasel into a hollow tree, who carried something in her mouth. He applied smoke to the hole, and out she came again, carrying the same burden. She ran towards a stone-wall, but was met by a terrier, who killed her, catching her with the greater facility in consequence of her obstinacy in carrying away what Mr. St. John still thought was her prey. On picking it up, however, he found that it was a young weasel, unable to run, which its mother was endeavouring to carry to a place of safety, her former hole in an adjoining field having been ploughed over. Another proof of the weasel's affection for her young, was witnessed by a labourer, who, while standing on a foot-path close to the hedge side, perceived a weasel with one of her young ones in her mouth. He kicked her, and she, dropping it, retreated into a hedge. He then stood over the young one with a stick in his hand, not intending to kill it, but merely to see how its[Pg 77] mother would proceed. She soon peeped from her covert, and made several feints to get at her charge, but was obliged to run into the hedge again, intimidated by the stick which the man flourished about. At last she summoned up all her resolution, and in spite of everything, after a great deal of dodging to avoid the stick, succeeded in obtaining the object of her solicitude, and bore it off between the legs of her tormentor.

Weasels sometimes fall a prey to hawks; and I transcribe the following account from the pages of Mr. Bell. "As a gentleman of the name of Pinder, was riding over his grounds, he saw, at a short distance from him, a kite pounce on some object on the ground, and rise with it in his talons. In a few moments, however, the kite began to show signs of great uneasiness, rising rapidly in the air, or as quickly falling, and wheeling irregularly round, whilst he was evidently endeavouring to free some obnoxious thing from him with his feet. After a short but sharp contest, the kite fell suddenly to the earth, not far from Mr. Pinder. He instantly rode up to the spot, when a weasel ran away from the kite, apparently unhurt, leaving the bird dead, with a hole eaten through the skin under the wing, and the large blood vessels of the part torn through."

The nest composed by weasels, in which they will bring forth four or five young ones, two or[Pg 78] three times a year, is of dry leaves and herbage, is placed in a hole, in a bank, a dry ditch, or a hollow tree, and if a dog come near it, the mother flies at him, and fastens on his lips with great tenacity.



The much persecuted otter presents himself to our notice among the worm-bodied, digitigrade animals. Their broad webbed feet shew that they frequent the water, and in fact, they are not only found in rivers and lakes of most European countries, but at sea. Their elongated body is flattened horizontally, their tail is broad and flat, and forms an excellent rudder for their guidance when in the water. Their short legs are so loosely jointed that they can be turned in any direction when swimming, and their fur is soft, fine, and close underneath, while a longer, coarser set of hard shining hairs, are on the outside. Their teeth are very pointed, and well adapted to hold their slippery prey; their ears are very small, and close to their head, and they have a nictating membrane, or third eyelid, for the protection of their bright eyes. Their movements in the water are particularly elegant, they swim horizontally, and rapidly dive after their victims, which they eat ashore. It is said, that they will collect a[Pg 79] number of trouts into a shoal, and drive them on till, in their dread and alarm, many of the fishes will throw themselves on to the land. They have the power of remaining very long under water, at a considerable depth, and the fierce manner in which they keep dogs at bay, often wounding them severely with their sharp bites; and the anxious watching for their rise in the water when they have retreated, all form a most exciting sport, so that we hear of otter-hunting as a source of keen enjoyment; and there is a hunt on record in which nine otters were killed in one day.

Otters will certainly consume an immense quantity of fish; and the owners of salmon or trout streams have great spite against them. It is, however, very possible to tame them so as to make them bring the fish which they catch. This practice is much more followed in other countries than in England; they are purposely kept for it in Sweden, and at a signal from the cook will go and fetch the fish for dinner. Bishop Heber mentions, that he saw several large and very beautiful otters fastened to bamboo stakes by the side of the Matta Colly river, some of which appeared to be at play, and uttered a shrill, whistling noise. They wore straw collars and were very tame and docile. They should be caught quite young, and fed on small fish, then they are allowed bread and milk at alternate meals; till at last they entirely live upon this food. They are[Pg 80] taught to fetch and carry with artificial fishes made of leather, and stuffed with wool. Then they are made to bring dead fishes, and if they attempt to tear them, they are severely punished. Thus trained, in process of time, the otter becomes useful and domesticated.

In their natural condition, otters will wander to considerable distances for their prey; Mr. St. John says, "I was rather amused at an old woman living at Sluie on the Findhorn, who, complaining of the hardness of the present times, when 'a puir body couldn'a get a drop smuggled whisky, or shoot a roe without his lordship's sportsman finding it out,' added to her list of grievances, that even the otters were nearly all gone 'puir beasties.' 'Well, but what good could the otters do you?' I asked her. 'Good, your honor? why scarcely a morn came but they left a bonny grilse (young salmon) on the scarp down yonder, and the vennison was none the worse of the bit the puir beasts ate themselves,' The people here (Morayshire) call every eatable animal, fish, flesh, or fowl, venison, or as they pronounce it, vennison. For instance, they tell you that the snipes are good vennison, or that the trout are not good vennison in the winter.

"It seems that a few years ago, before the otters had been so much destroyed, the people in particular parts of the river were never at a loss for salmon, as the otters always took them ashore, generally[Pg 81] to the same bank or rock, and in seasons of plenty, they only eat a small piece out of the shoulder, leaving the rest untouched, and the cottagers, aware of this, searched every morning for their leavings."

"Otters," continues Mr. St. John, "are very affectionate animals; the young anxiously seek their mother, if she should be killed; and if the young are injured, the parent hovers near them till she is herself destroyed. If one of a pair be killed, the one that is left will hunt for its mate with untiring perseverance; and if one be caught in a trap, its companion will run round and round, endeavouring to set it free, on which occasions, though so quiet at other times, they make a snorting and blowing like a horse."

A dog belonging to the above gentleman was running and splashing through the shallow water, and suddenly stood still, sometimes whining, as if caught in a trap, and then biting furiously at something in the water. He was called by his master, but as he did not obey, his master waded to him, and found a large otter, holding on by his powerful jaws to the dog's shoulder; and had he not had a good covering of curly hair, he stood a chance of having his leg broken, the bite was so severe.

The people in Scotland believe that the otters have a king, or leader, which is larger than others, and spotted with white. They also believe that[Pg 82] when these animals are killed, a man or another of the brute kind dies suddenly at the same moment; that their skin possesses an antidote to infection, preserves soldiers from wounds, and saves sailors from disasters at sea. The darkness in which otters delight, their watery habitations, their oily, noiseless movements, and their dark fur, invest them with mystery in the eyes of the peasantry in many parts of England.

The emigration of otters is established by the following fact:—"A labourer going to his work, soon after five o'clock in the morning, saw a number of animals coming towards him, and stood quietly by the hedge till they came alongside of him. He then perceived four old otters, probably dams, and about twenty young ones. He took a stick out of the hedge and killed one. Directly it began to squeak, all the four old ones turned back, and stood till the other young ones had escaped through the hedge, and then went quietly themselves. Several families were thus journeying together, and probably they had left their former abode from not finding a sufficiency of food."

The beautiful otter in the Museum of the Zoological Gardens is from Ireland, and is by some considered as a distinct species. It is chiefly found on the coast of Antrim, living in the caverns formed by the basaltic columns of that shore, and, as it hunts the salmon, rewards are offered for its destruction.[Pg 83]

The flesh of all otters is extremely rank and fishy; and because it cannot be called meat, it is often allowed to be eaten on the meager days appointed by the Romish Church.

Captain Brown, in his Popular Natural History, tells us of a person who kept a tame otter with his dogs, which followed him in company with them. He hunted fish with them, and they never would hunt any other otter as long as he was with them.

There was a tame otter in Northumberland, which also followed his master wherever he went. He caught his own food, and returned home when satisfied. Once he refused to come to the usual call when he was out, and was lost for some days. At length, going back to the same place, he, with great joy, came creeping to his master's feet, who was still seeking his favourite.



Baron Cuvier says that the most useful conquest achieved by man, is the domestication of the dog—a conquest so long completed, that it is now impossible, with any certainty, to trace these animals to their original type. The cleverest of naturalists have supposed them to descend from wolves, from jackals, or from a mixture of the two; while others,[Pg 84] equally clever, assert that they proceeded from different species of dogs. The latter maintain that the Dingos of Australia, the Buansas of Nepal, or Dholes of India, the Aguaras of South America, and several other races, are original; and although they may not have produced the dogs which attend man, they prove that we may attribute the latter to predecessors of the same kind, without having recourse to other animals which they more or less resemble. On the other hand again, some of our first men are of opinion that there are now no original dogs, but that all the packs called wild are those which have made their escape from a state of domesticity. This is not the place to examine the merits of the different proofs brought in favor of each argument; and I hasten to a brief notice of some of those which subsist independently of human assistance.

All dogs, wild or tame, walk upon their toes with a firm, elastic gait, and their toes are not retractile. Their other external characters are so varied, that it is impossible to give a general summary of their colour or form; the largest on record (a Suliot, belonging to the king of Naples), measured four feet at the shoulders; the least would probably give a height of as many inches. All the untamed species are lank and gaunt, their muzzles are long and slender, their eyes oblique, and their strength and tenacity of life are almost marvellous.[Pg 85]

The Dingo, or Australian dog, roams in packs through that vast country; has a broad head, fierce, oblique eyes, acute muzzle; short, pointed, erect ears; tail bushy, and never raised to more than a horizontal position. He does not bark, but howls fearfully; is extremely sagacious, and has a remarkable power of bearing pain. When beaten so severely as to be left for dead, he has been seen to get up and run away. A man proceeded to skin one, not doubting that life was extinct, and after proceeding a little way with the operation, he left the hut to sharpen his knife. When he returned, the poor animal was sitting up, with the loose skin hanging over one side of his face.

The Dingos worry the cattle of the settlers, and will even eat pieces out of them as they lie upon the ground; the leg of a sheep has been frequently gnawed off by them. Domesticated dogs will hunt and kill them; but show signs of great disgust afterwards, always, if they can, plunging themselves into water, as if to get rid of the contamination caused by such contact. One taken from his mother at six weeks old was partially tamed; but at first he crouched down in all the darkest corners he could find, looking at every one with aversion, and when alone howling incessantly, especially if the moon were shining. He became gradually reconciled to those who fed him, but to no one else. He never gave warning of the approach of strangers,[Pg 86] and never made an open attack. It is remarkable that these dogs are not found in the closely neighbouring island of Van Diemen's Land.

The wild dogs of India go under the name of Buansa, Dhole, and Kolsun, are found in Nepal, the Nilgiris, Coromandel, the Dekkan, etc., and bear various names, according to their locality. They prey night and day, have an acute smell, a peculiar bark, not unlike that of a hound, and are of a sandy or red colour. Their head is long; they have an ill-natured look, oblique eyes; long, erect ears; powerful limbs, bushy tail, fur varying according to climate, and all animals are afraid of them. They kill tigers and cheetahs, and the remains of hogs and deer are to be found in their path. An endeavour to tame one succeeded, and he was as affectionate and intelligent as many other dogs.

In Java there is a large, wild dog, and in Beloochistan whole packs are to be found, which pull down buffaloes with ease; their footmarks are like those of a hound; and still further to the west a much larger species is said to exist.

The Sheeb or Schib, of Syria, is wild, and is probably the wolf-dog of Natolia. The Deeb of Nubia would seem to be also a primitive species, but not resembling the packs of wild dogs which inhabit Congo and South Africa, etc., and live in covers and burrows.[Pg 87]

The hunters of South Africa tell us that they pull down the strongest antelopes; they are very destructive to sheep, and mangle more than they devour. They are extremely swift, and utter a sharp bark, or chattering cry, which calls the pack together, and is very soft and melodious. The hatred between them and tame dogs is unconquerable, and in their appearance they look like a link between the wolf and the hyæna.

A large group of dogs includes all the indigenous canines of South America, under the name of Aguaras, and resembles foxes. They are silent, if not dumb, and appear to congregate in families rather than packs. They have a peculiar propensity to steal and secrete, without any apparent object for so doing.

Colonel Hamilton Smith, the able writer on dogs, does not acknowledge some of these wild races, but thinks they are what he calls feral, or domestic dogs which have regained their liberty, and have subsisted for many generations on their own intelligence. To these he refers the Natolians and Aguaras; but there can be no doubt concerning the feral nature of the dog of St. Domingo, which descends from the hounds trained to hunt human beings by the Spaniards, and which are supposed to have regained their liberty in the woods of Haiti. It is of these dogs the stories are told concerning runaway negroes, and which were taught by means of[Pg 88] raw food, placed in stuffed representations of human beings. They are very handsome creatures, carrying their heads with an air of conscious superiority. They follow a track rapidly, and in complete silence; they, however, always seize their victims.

A contrast to the feral dog of St. Domingo, is the Alco of Mexico, with its small head, short neck, and very thick body. Those of the Pampas having assumed the shapes of all the dogs transported from Europe, have now settled into what may be called curs. They are very bold, very sagacious, are not inimical to men, but destructive to the young animals in herds. They live in burrows, and if brought back to domesticity, are valuable for their courage and highly developed senses.

In various cities exist herds of dogs, who do not own any masters; who infest the streets in packs, and who are at once the scavengers, the purifiers, and the greatest nuisances. In beautiful Lisbon; rising from the Tagus with her stately towers, her gardens, her churches, her deep blue sky, and her noble aqueduct, leading life's beverage to her exquisite fountains, these animals abound; their presence being easily accounted for by their owners bringing and abandoning them there at the time of the vintage. They eat so many grapes when ripe, that they are sent away in self-defence. Woe to the person who affronts one of them; he is obliged to run hard, or else to keep them at bay, by threaten[Pg 89]ing to throw stones at them, and walking backwards; fortunately he can do this in the narrow streets of this city, for he would be lost if surrounded by them. They lodge by day in the holes of ruins, which are so plentiful in Lisbon.

The same dogs, with regard to habits, are to be met with in the cities of Russia, Turkey, and Egypt; but they differ in size and appearance. Those of Turkey are particularly audacious, and in all cities, where cleanliness is not systematically organised, they are doubtless of infinite service; though I have read, in a pamphlet written by a French savant, that those in Egypt are one means of continuing the plague, for they uncover the carelessly buried bodies, and drag portions of flesh and clothing into the houses of the living.

In some of the countries of Guinea, dogs are bred for the table, and sit in circles in the market places for sale. I do not know from what race they come; they are not used for any other purpose, and are small, extremely ugly, and variously marked with brown, red, or black spots. The passion for dog's flesh is in these countries very strong, and no European can keep an animal of this kind many weeks. An officer arrived at Cape Coast Castle when I was there, accompanied by three, not imagining the temptation they would present to the appetite of the natives. One disappeared in the act of landing, and the two others were gone before[Pg 90] three weeks had elapsed. My uncle fancied that his rank would secure a favourite sent to him from Europe. He one morning received a deputation from the king of a native town, requesting a palaver, or conference. It was granted, and his sable majesty formally made proposals for Cæsar to figure as a roast at a grand feast, which he was about to hold. My uncle indignantly refused; the king increased the sum offered, till it amounted to something considerable, and then the Englishman, unable to control himself, left the room and sent the customary refreshments, with a message, to signify that the palaver was ended. Although every precaution was taken to save the animal, he was stolen that same night, and gratified the palates of the African gourmands.

I now come to what Colonel Smith calls "The Familiar Dogs," where we find an amount of intellect, which forbids us to say that they do not reason, and where self-sacrifice, fidelity, courage, and affection, in many instances raise them far beyond more gifted creatures. It will be advisable to follow the series of some established work in treating of them, and I have selected that of Colonel Hamilton Smith, both for its extent and its ability. He begins with those which are placed nearest to the Arctic Circle of both hemispheres, and which form a group of large, wolfish dogs, with tapering noses, pointed ears, and, generally speaking, long, white and black[Pg 91] hair. They are fierce, broad, and often web-footed; they swim well, hunt together or alone, and when their owners turn them out to obtain their own living, often fish with great dexterity. When they quarrel they constantly destroy each other, for they never will give up while they are alive. Among them are the Siberian dogs, remarkable for the instinct with which they return to their masters, after weeks of absence and self-subsistence, to drag their sleighs. This is the more curious, as they are then always very ill fed, and ill treated. They utter yells when about to be yoked, but, once in file, they move silently and rapidly, sometimes, however, trying to upset their drivers.

The tail of the Esquimaux dogs is bushy, and curls very much over the back, which is covered with long, waving hair. They are very patient and faithful, rapid in their paces, skilful and courageous when hunting, carry burdens, and are very good tempered. They form a close attachment to their masters; and one which had been kept in confinement in Edinburgh, being let loose, entered the kitchen door, found his way through his owner's house, and, leaping on his bed, gave every sign of affection. At another time, as his master was walking in Princes Street Gardens, his foot slipped, and he fell, upon which the dog tried to lift him up by his coat. He was very cunning, and when he ate, strewed his meat around him, to entice fowls[Pg 92] and rats. He then laid himself down, and pretended to be asleep; no sooner, however, did they come, than he pounced upon and killed them.

A pair of Esquimaux dogs lived in the Menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes, where they were great favourites; but it was extremely painful to see the poor creatures panting with heat, and almost unable to move, during the hot weather, only feeling happy when cold water was thrown over them. The fondness of the Esquimaux dogs for oil never ceases, and they do not like to drink water, unless it tastes of this substance. Two of them are said to have stood hour after hour before a candle-maker's workshop, evidently sniffing the fumes of the melted tallow with great enjoyment. Their scent is particularly delicate, which renders them invaluable in the chase of the rein-deer. Nor are they, from their resolution and ferocity, less useful in attacking the bear, the very name of which beast, pronounced in their hearing, excites their ardour. Even in the sledge they dash after their prey, out of the track, dragging their owner into the pursuit.

In order to test the strength of the Esquimaux dogs, several experiments have been made, among others by Captain Lyon, who found that three of them could drag him, on a sledge weighing one hundred pounds, at the rate of a mile in six minutes. With heavy loads they are often induced to exert themselves by a woman walking before them, with a[Pg 93] mitten in her hand. Having been accustomed to receive food from her, they believe that in this way she offers them meat. They are particularly obedient and affectionate to women, because it is from them that they receive the only kindnesses bestowed upon them, and a word from a female will excite them to exertion, when the blows and threats of the men only make them obstinate.

The dog of the Hare Indians, or Mackenzie river, was first described by Dr. Richardson, and is of a smaller size than the Esquimaux breed, but with broad feet, which prevent him from sinking into the snow. One of them, only seven months old, ran beside this gentleman's sledge for nine hundred miles, frequently carrying one of his master's mittens in his mouth; all are very gentle, and, like the Esquimaux dogs, do not bark.

The large, powerful, and handsome dogs which go by the name of Newfoundland, are not the pure breed of that country. The latter are more slender in their make, have a sharper muzzle, a wilder look, and are generally black in colour, with a rusty spot over each eye, and a tawny muzzle. These are called Labrador dogs, and it is supposed that they and the Esquimaux have contributed to form the commonly accepted breed. What the latter have lost, however, in purity of blood, has been gained on the side of beauty, and there is no animal of its size which conveys a higher idea of intelligence[Pg 94] and dignity, than the so-called Newfoundland dog. All are semi-palmate, and dive, swim, and keep longer in the water than any others of their tribe. One was picked up in the Bay of Biscay, out of sight of any other vessel, fatigued and hungry, and which, judging from the circumstances, must have been there for many hours. Their fidelity, their courage, their generosity, are proverbial, and yet it is whispered that they are occasionally capricious and not to be trusted. During long years of intercourse with these animals, I never met with an instance of this; and I have been told that it is more apt to occur when they have been kept in confinement.

A noble creature of the mixed breed, and of the usual colour—black and white—belonged to me, and his extreme good-nature, and endeavours to guard everything belonging to the family, made him like a confidential servant. The great defects in his disposition were heedlessness, and an under estimate of his own power; he did not stop to think before he acted, as many more cautious dogs will do; and he forgot that his weight was so great as to spoil and crush whatever he laid himself upon. As an instance of the former, he one day fancied he saw some one whom he knew in the street, and immediately dashed through the window, smashing not only the glass, but the framework. Directly he had done it he felt he had been wrong, and returning[Pg 95] through the shattered window, which was opened for him, he hung his head and walked unbidden to a recess in the room covered with matting, to which place he was always banished when naughty, and seated himself. The bell was rung for the house-maid to come and clear away the broken glass, and as the woman smiled when she passed Lion, I turned my head towards him. There he sat, with a pair of my slippers, accidentally left in the room, in his mouth, as if he thought they would obtain his pardon. My gravity was disturbed, and Lion, seeing this, humbly came up to me, and rested his chin on my knees. I then lectured him concerning the mischief he had committed; and he so perfectly understood, that for a long time, when any one pointed to the window, he would hang his head and tail, and look ashamed. During my absence he constantly collected articles which belonged to me, and slept upon them. One day, on returning from church, he met me on the stairs, dragging a new silk dress along with him by the sleeve, which he must have contrived, by himself, to have abstracted from a peg in a closet.

It must be owned that, clever as my Lion was, Professor Owen was acquainted with a Lion who surpassed him. This gentleman was walking with a friend, the master of the dog, by the side of a river, near its mouth, on the coast of Cornwall, and picked up a small piece of sea-weed. It was covered[Pg 96] with minute animals, and Mr. Owen observed to his companion, throwing the weed into the water, "If this small piece afforded so many treasures, how microscopically rich the whole plant would be; I should much like to have one!" The gentleman walked on; but hearing a splashing in the water, turned round, and saw it violently agitated. "It is Lion!" both exclaimed, "What can he be about? He was walking quietly enough by our side a minute ago." At one moment they saw his tail above the water, then his head raised for a breath of air, then the surrounding element shook again, and at last he came ashore, panting from his exertions, and laid a whole plant of the identical weed at Mr. Owen's feet. After this proof of intelligence, it will not be wondered at, that when Lion was joyfully expecting to accompany his master and his guest on an excursion, and was told to go and take care of and comfort Mrs. Owen, who was ill, that he should immediately return to the drawing-room, and lay himself by her side, which he never left during the absence of his owner; his countenance alone betraying his disappointment, and that only for a few minutes.

Many instances are recorded of Newfoundland dogs having saved the lives of those who have fallen into the water, and among them was my father; who, when he was one day missing, was traced to a deep pond in his mother's garden. His[Pg 97] friend Trial was called; some of his young master's clothes were shewn to the dog, the pond was pointed out, and Trial dashed in, shortly bringing out the body. He watched all the endeavours made to restore animation, and at last aided the work by being allowed, when dry, to get into the bed, and with the warmth of his body give heat and circulation to the half-expiring child.

A very interesting anecdote is given of a person who was travelling through Holland, accompanied by a large Newfoundland dog. Walking one evening on a high bank, by the side of a canal, his foot slipped; he fell into the water, and being unable to swim, soon became senseless. When he recovered his recollection, he found himself in a cottage, on the opposite side of the canal, surrounded by peasants, who had been using all means for restoring him to life. He was told, that one of them returning home from his work, saw at a considerable distance, a large dog swimming in the water, sometimes pushing, and sometimes dragging something which he appeared to have great difficulty in supporting; but which he at length succeeded in getting into a small creek. When there, the animal pulled this object as far out of the water as he was able, and the peasant discovered it to be the body of a man. The dog shook himself, licked the hands and face of his master; the peasant obtained assistance, and the body was conveyed to[Pg 98] the house, where the endeavours used for resuscitation proved successful. Two bruises, with marks of teeth appeared, one on the shoulder, the other on the nape of his neck, whence it was presumed, that his preserver first seized him by the shoulder, but that his sagacity prompted him to shift his grasp to the neck; as by so doing he could keep the head out of the water. He had continued to do this for at least a quarter of a mile, and thus preserved his owner, as much by his intelligence, as by his affection.

The Newfoundland dog, like many others, possesses a sense of time, and Mr. Bell relates an instance of this, which occurred under his own observation. He says, that a fine Newfoundland dog, which was kept at an inn in Dorsetshire, was accustomed every morning as the clock struck eight, to take in his mouth a certain basket, placed for the purpose, containing a few pence, and to carry it across the street to a baker's, who took out the money, and replaced it by the proper number of rolls. With these Neptune hastened back to the kitchen, and safely deposited his trust; but what was well worthy of remark, he never attempted to take the basket, or even to approach it on Sunday mornings. On one occasion, when returning with the rolls, another dog made an attack upon the basket, for the purpose of stealing its contents; when the trusty Neptune placed the basket on the ground, severely[Pg 99] punished the intruder, and then bore off his charge in triumph.

The proofs of intelligence which I have related, are perhaps surpassed by those of Dandie, a Newfoundland dog belonging to Mr. M'Intyre of Edinburgh; but it must be recollected, that Dandie's education had been more carefully and continuously carried on, than that of his before mentioned brethren. He selected his master's hat from a number of others, or a card chosen by his master from a whole pack; picked his master's penknife from a heap of others, and any particular article which he might have been told to find, although he would have to search among a multitude of others belonging to the same person; proving that it was not smell which guided him, but an understanding of what he was required to do. One evening, a gentleman in company with others, accidentally dropped a shilling on the floor, which, after diligent search, could not be found. Dandie had been sitting in the corner of the room, apparently unconscious of what had been going on, Mr. M'Intyre then said to him. "Find us the shilling, Dandie, and you shall have a biscuit," the dog instantly jumped up, and laid the shilling upon the table, which he had picked up unperceived by the party. On his return home one evening after the family had gone to rest, Mr. M'Intyre could not find his boot-jack; upon which he said, "Dandie, I cannot find my boot-jack; search for[Pg 100] it." The dog scratched at the room-door, his master opened it, and going to a distant part of the house Dandie returned with the boot-jack in his mouth; where Mr. M'Intyre recollected to have left it under a sofa.

Several gentlemen were in the habit of giving Dandie a penny a day, which he always took to a baker's, and exchanged for bread for himself. One of them was accosted by the dog for his accustomed present; but he said, "I have not a penny with me to-day, though I have one at home." Having returned to his house, some time after he heard a noise at the door; it was opened, and Dandie sprang in for his penny. By way of frolic, the gentleman gave him a bad one; the baker refused to exchange the loaf for it; the dog returned to the door, knocked, and when the servant opened it, laid the penny at her feet, and walked away with an air of contempt. He did not, however, always spend all his money, and one Sunday, when it was very unlikely that he could have received a present, he was observed to bring home a loaf. Surprised at this, Mr. M'Intyre desired the servant to search the room for money. Dandie seemed quite unconcerned till she approached the bed, when he gently drew her from it. Mr. M'Intyre secured him, for he growled and struggled; and, continuing the search, the woman found seven pence halfpenny under a piece of cloth. From that time the dog could not endure her, and henceforth hid his money in the[Pg 101] corner of a sawpit, under a heap of dust. He constantly escorted Mr. M'Intyre's friends home, when desired to do so, however considerable the distance, and when they were safe, he returned to his own quarters.

Mr. Jukes, in his "Excursions in and about Newfoundland," speaks of a dog which appeared to be of the pure breed, and which he thought to be more intelligent than the mixed race. This animal caught his own fish, for which purpose he sat on a projecting rock, beneath a fish stage, on which the fish were laid to dry, watching the water, the depth being from six to eight feet, and the bottom quite white with fish-bones. On throwing a piece of codfish into the water, three or four heavy, clumsy-looking fish, called in Newfoundland sculpins, would swim in to catch it. The instant one turned its broadside towards him, he darted down, and seldom came up without the fish in his mouth. He regularly carried them as he caught them to a place a few yards off, where he deposited them, sometimes making a pile of fifty or sixty in the day. As he never attempted to eat them, he appeared to fish for his amusement.

Long, lanky, rough-haired, with drooping, bushy tail; long ears, half erect; long, sharp muzzle; black and fulvous in colour, often mingled with brown and white, the Shepherd's Dog yields to none in fidelity and sagacity. In his own peculiar calling,[Pg 102] nothing can exceed his vigilance, his quick comprehension, and his intimate knowledge of every individual entrusted to his care. Rushing into the middle of his flock, he singles out any one member of it, and brings it to his master. Fierce in the defence of all, he keeps them together by incessantly prowling round them, dragging the wanderers back to their companions, and fiercely attacking those who would offer them an injury. At night he guides them to their fold; and if this should be in an exposed situation, he throws himself across the entrance, so that the intruding enemy will have to pass over his body to commence his work of destruction.

A ludicrous instance of the promptitude with which he punishes offenders, is related by Colonel Smith, in the following manner:—"We have witnessed the care they take of their charge, and with what readiness they chastise those that molest them, in the case of a cur biting a sheep in the rear of the flock, and unseen by the shepherd. This assault was committed by a tailor's dog, but not unmarked by the other, who immediately seized him, and dragging the delinquent into a puddle, while holding his ear, kept dabbling him in the mud with exemplary gravity; the cur yelled, the tailor came slipshod with his goose to the rescue, and having flung it at the sheep-dog, and missed him, stood by gaping, not venturing to fetch it[Pg 103] back until the castigation was over and the dog had followed the flock."


As a proof of the comprehension of the shepherd's dog, I quote the description of Mr. St. John, in his "Highland Sports:"—"A shepherd once, to prove the quickness of his dog, who was lying before the fire in the house where we were talking, said to me, in the middle of a sentence concerning something else, 'I'm thinking, Sir, the cow is in the potatoes.' Though he purposely laid no stress on these words, and said them in a quiet, unconcerned tone of voice, the dog, who appeared to be asleep, immediately jumped up, and leaping through the open window, scrambled up the turf roof of the house, from which he could see the potato field. He then (not seeing the cow there) ran and looked into the byre [farm-yard], where she was, and finding that all was right, came back to the house. After a short time the shepherd said the same words again, and the dog repeated his look-out; but on the false alarm being a third time given, the dog got up, and wagging his tail, looked his master in the face with so comical an expression of interrogation, that we could not help laughing aloud at him, on which, with a slight growl, he laid himself down in his warm corner, with an offended air, as if determined not to be made a fool of again."

Mr. Hogg, the Ettrick shepherd, is the person of all others to give an adequate idea of the[Pg 104] shepherd's dog, and I use very nearly his own words. "My dog Sirrah, was beyond all comparison the best dog I ever saw; he was of a surly, unsocial temper; disdaining all flattery, he refused to be caressed; but his attention to my commands and interests will never again, perhaps, be equalled by any of the canine race. I thought I discovered a sort of sullen intelligence in his countenance, notwithstanding his dejected and forlorn appearance; I gave a drover a guinea for him. He was scarcely a year old, and knew so little of herding, that he had never turned a sheep in his life; but as soon as he discovered that it was his duty to do so, and that it obliged me, I can never forget with what eagerness and anxiety he learned his evolutions. He would try every way deliberately, till he found out what I wanted him to do, and when I once made him understand a direction, he never forgot or mistook it again. Well as I knew him, he often astonished me; for when pressed hard in accomplishing the task that he was put to, he had expedients of the moment, that bespoke a great share of the reasoning faculty.

"On one occasion, about 700 lambs, which were under his care at weaning time, broke up at midnight, and scampered off, in three divisions, across the neighbouring hills, in spite of all that he and an assistant could do to keep them[Pg 105] together. The night was so dark, that we could not see Sirrah; but the faithful animal heard his master lament their absence in words which, of all others, were sure to set him most on the alert; and without more ado, he silently set off in quest of the recreant flock. Meanwhile the shepherd and his companion did not fail to do all in their power to recover their lost charge; they spent the whole night in scouring the hills, for miles around, but of neither the lambs nor Sirrah could they obtain the slightest trace. They had nothing for it, day having dawned, but to return to their master, and inform him, that they had lost the whole flock of lambs, and knew not what was become of one of them. On our way home, however, we discovered a lot of lambs at the bottom of a deep ravine, and the indefatigable Sirrah standing in front of them, looking round for some relief, but still true to his charge. The sun was then up, and when we first came in view, we concluded that it was one of the divisions which Sirrah had been unable to manage until he came to that commanding situation. But what was our astonishment, when we discovered that not one lamb of the whole flock was wanting. How he had got all the divisions collected in the dark is beyond my comprehension. The charge was left to himself from midnight until the rising sun, and if all the shepherds in the forest had been there to assist him they could not have effected it with greater propriety."[Pg 106]

An exceedingly good shepherd's dog appears to concentrate all his powers in his own immediate vocation; and in this does he exert and exhaust his whole capacity. If he be suddenly awoke, and hurriedly called, he rears himself up to see what sheep are running away, and he is so honourable, that he will lie among pails full of milk, and neither touch them himself, or suffer cat, rat, or any other creature to molest the store.

The drovers' dogs are somewhat larger, and more rugged. They are as sagacious as the shepherd's dog, but they are trained to act with more cruelty to their charges.

The original St. Bernard dog, which has for years been the object of so much interest, resembles the Newfoundland in form, hair, color and size. Another race with close, short hair, is trained to the same services; and one of the latter belonged to me for some time, establishing himself in the good graces of every one by his good temper and fidelity. He must, however, with all his good qualities yield to Bass, the property of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, who thus writes of him. "My St. Bernard was brought home direct from the Great St. Bernard, when he was a puppy of about four or five months. His bark is tremendous; so loud, indeed, that I have often distinguished it nearly a mile off. He had been missing for some time; when, to my great[Pg 107] joy, one of the letter carriers brought him back; and the man's account was, that in going along a certain street, he heard his bark from the inside of a yard, and knew it immediately. He knocked at the gate, and said to the owner of the premises 'You have got Sir Thomas Lauder's big dog.' The man denied it. 'But I know you have,' continued the letter carrier, 'I can swear that I heard the bark of Sir Thomas's big dog; for there is no dog in, or about all Edinburgh, that has such a bark.' At last, with great reluctance, the man gave up the dog to the letter carrier, who brought him home here. But though Bass's bark is so terrific, he is the best natured and most playful dog I ever saw; so much so indeed, that the small King Charles's spaniel, Raith, used to tyrannize over him for many months after he came here from abroad. I have seen the little creature run furiously at the great animal when gnawing a bone, who instantly turned himself submissively over on his back, with all his legs in the air, whilst Raith, seizing the bone, would make the most absurd and unavailing attempts to bestride the enormous head of his subdued companion, with the most ludicrous affectation of the terrible growling, that might bespeak the loftiest description of dog-indignation. When a dog attacks Bass in the street or road, he runs away rather than quarrel; but when compelled to fight by any perseverance in the attacking party,[Pg 108] he throws his enemy down in a moment, and then, without biting him, he lays his whole immense bulk down upon him, till he nearly smothers him. He took a particular fancy for one of the postmen who deliver letters here, whose duty it was, besides delivering letters, to carry a letter bag from one receiving house to another, and this bag he used to give Bass to carry. Bass always followed that man through all the villas in this neighbourhood where he had deliveries to make, and he invariably parted with him opposite to the gate of the Convent of St. Margaret's, and returned home. When our gate was shut here to prevent his following the postman, the dog always leaped a high wall to get after him. One day when the postman was ill, or detained by some accidental circumstance, he sent a man in his place. Bass went up to the man, curiously scanning his face, whilst the man rather retired from the dog, by no means liking his appearance. But as the man left the place, Bass followed him, shewing strong symptoms that he was determined to have the post-bag. The man did all he could to keep possession of it. But at length Bass, seeing that he had no chance of getting possession of the bag by civil entreaty, raised himself on his hind legs, and putting a great fore-paw on, each of the man's shoulders, he laid him flat on his back in the road, and quietly picking up the bag, he proceeded peaceably on his wonted way. The[Pg 109] man, much dismayed, arose and followed the dog, making, every now and then, an ineffectual attempt to coax him to give up the bag. At the first house he came to, he told his fears, and the dilemma he was in, but the people comforted him, by telling him that the dog always carried the bag. Bass walked with the man to all the houses at which he delivered letters, and along the road till he came to the gate of St. Margaret's, where he dropped the bag and returned home."

The peculiar services which the St. Bernard dog is taught to perform, have made them the blessings of the snow-covered regions in which they dwell; their sense of smell is very acute, their large, full, eye, is very expressive, and their intelligence has saved many persons from death, when overtaken by cold on the Alpine passes. One of these noble creatures wore a medal, in commemoration of his having preserved twenty-two lives, and he at last lost his own in an avalanche, together with those whom he was endeavouring to protect. They carry food and wine with them; and followed by the monks, who have vowed themselves to the task, seek those who need assistance.

In passing over a number of dogs mentioned by Colonel Smith, concerning which I have no data for anecdotes, I pause for a moment at the drover, or cattle-dog of Cuba, and Terra Firma, in America, placed by him among the native dogs, (Canis[Pg 110] Laniarius), because they are so serviceable in landing cattle from vessels. The oxen are hoisted out by slings passed round the base of their horns; and when they are allowed to fall into the water, men generally swim and guide them by the horns. This office, however, is often performed by one or two dogs, who, catching the frightened animal by the ears, force it to swim to the landing-place, instantly releasing it when it touches the shore, and can walk to its destination. They are equal to mastiffs in strength; and Colonel Smith considers them as the feral dogs of St. Domingo, in continued domesticity, and to have been taken from Spain to the West.

Elegance of form, grace of movement, beauty of countenance, extraordinary swiftness, and great strength; are all combined in the Greyhound, as recorded during the last three thousand years; and continued at the present moment, in various degrees, from the noble sporting dog, to the delicate pet of the drawing-room. The narrow, sharp head, the light, half hanging ears, the long neck, the arched back, the slender yet sinewy limbs, the deep chest, shewing the high development of the breathing organs, and the elevated hind quarters, all shadow forth the peculiar qualities of these dogs. Their coat has been adapted to the climate in which they originally lived: here it is smooth; but becomes more shaggy as they[Pg 111] are from colder regions. Still their Eastern origin is always to be detected by the care which they require during our winters; and (like the Arab horses) those kept for coursing are muffled up in cloths during our periods of cold temperature. Their form, their clear, prominent eyes, shew that they secure their prey by speed, not by smell, and such is their power in this respect, that they will run eight miles in twelve minutes, and will run down the hare with fatigue, while they themselves are comparatively fresh. Colonel Smith fixes their earliest origin to the westward of the Asiatic mountains, where the Bactrian and Persian plains commence, and the Scythian steppes stretch to the north. Thence they have been spread over Europe, Asia, and part of Africa, many have again become wild, and others are the pampered dependents of amateur sportsmen. Many Russian noblemen keep packs of them in the Steppes.

The Scotch greyhound (Cania Scoticus), generally white, with black clouds, is said to be the most intellectual of all, and formerly to have had so good a scent, as to be employed as a blood-hound. Maida, whose name is immortalized as the favourite of Sir Walter Scott, was a Scottish greyhound.

The Irish is the largest of all the western breeds, and is supposed to owe this distinction to mingling with the great Danish dog. To it Ireland owes the[Pg 112] extirpation of wolves, and itself now scarcely exists but in name.

An instance is recorded of a black greyhound, in Lancashire, who adopted a life of freedom, and lived upon depredation. Many attempts were made to shoot her, but she eluded them all; she was at last ensnared in a barn, where she had placed her puppies; they were destroyed, and she partially reclaimed, so as to be useful in coursing; but she always retained that wild look which told of her frolic. A Mr. Kirkpatrick possessed a greyhound which always took care of the meat in the kitchen, and defended it from cats and other dogs.

The rough, large-boned, ill-looking Lurcher, is said to have descended from the rough greyhound and the shepherd's dog. It is now rare, but there are some of its sinister-looking mongrel progeny still to be seen. They always bear the reputation of being poachers' dogs, and are deeply attached to their owners. They have a fine scent; and a man confessed to Mr. Bewick, that he could, with his pair of lurchers, procure as many rabbits as he pleased. They never give tongue, but set about their work silently and cautiously, and hunt hares and partridges, driving the latter into the nets of the unlawful sportsmen. They will even pull down deer.

There are still many English hearts which beat quicker at the cry of the hound; there are some old[Pg 113] ones which throb at the recollection of the well-appointed field, when the bugle summoned them to the chase, when gallant steeds carried them over gate, hedge, ditch, and river; they even glory when they refer to fearful tumbles, barely escaping with life, and some meeting with a death next in honour, according to their notions, to that of a soldier in action. There are some young ones who listen with entranced ears to the deeds of their forefathers, and amidst the toil of the dark counting-house, wish that such times could come for them. They never will come again; railroads have been invented, men's minds have been diverted into other channels; and fox-hunting, with its concomitant evils and its attendant pleasures, is gradually disappearing from fox-hunting England. Some, on whom the spirit of Nimrod has descended with such force, as to render them impatient under the privation, go to distant lands, and there perform feats worthy of the mighty hunter; but it is neither with hawk nor hound, and before many generations have passed, our beautiful race of hunting dogs will exist but in name.

There are more varieties of these hounds than I can here enumerate; but all possess a larger development of brain than the greyhound; their nose is broader, as well as their jaws; their ears are large and hanging; their tail is raised and truncated, and they have a firm, bold, and erect gait, an appearance[Pg 114] of strength, independence, and (if I may be allowed to use the expression) candour, which is vainly looked for in other dogs. They came to us from the East, probably at a later period than those dogs which more resemble the wolf.

The once-esteemed Blood-hound is now rare, and I copy Mr. Bell's description of the breed, in possession of his namesake:—"They stand twenty-eight inches high at the shoulder; the muzzle broad and full, the upper lip large and pendulous, the vertex of the head protuberant, the expression stern, thoughtful, and noble; the breast broad; the limbs strong and muscular, and the original colour a deep tan, with large black clouds. They are silent when following their scent; and in this respect differ from other hounds, who are generally gifted with fine, deep voices. Numbers, under the name of sleuth-hounds, used to be kept on the Borders, and kings and troopers, perhaps equally marauders, have, in olden times, found it difficult to evade them. The noble Bruce had several narrow escapes from them, and the only sure way to destroy their scent was to spill blood upon the track. In all the common routine of life they are good-natured and intelligent, and make excellent watch-dogs. A story is related of a nobleman, who, to make trial whether a young hound was well instructed, desired one of his servants to walk to a town four miles off, and then to a market-town, three miles from thence. The[Pg 115] dog, without seeing the man he was to pursue, followed him by the scent to the above mentioned places, notwithstanding the multitude of market people that went along the same road, and of travellers that had occasion to come; and when the blood-hound came to the cross market-town, he passed through the streets without taking notice of any of the people there, and ceased not till he had gone to the house where the man he sought rested himself, and where he found him in an upper room, to the wonder of those who had accompanied him in this pursuit."[4]

The stately Stag-hound, with his steady, cautious qualities, is little less valuable than the blood-hound for following a scent. Marvellous feats are related of his perseverance and strength in pursuit of his game; but since the reign of George the Third, the breed has not been kept up. That monarch was particularly fond of this description of hunting; but now, having fallen into disuse, it is not likely to be revived. Stag-hounds are somewhat smaller than the blood-hound; rougher, with a wider nose, shorter head, loose hanging ears, and a rush tail, nearly erect. A most remarkable stag hunt is recorded as having taken place in Westmoreland, which extended into Scotland. All the dogs were thrown out except two, who followed their quarry the whole way. The stag returned to the[Pg 116] park whence it started, where it leapt over the wall and expired, having made a circuit of at least 120 miles. The hounds were found dead at a little distance, having been unable to leap the wall.

The fox-hounds are still smaller than the stag-hounds, are generally white in colour, with clouds of black and tan. They have been known to run at full speed for ten hours, during which the hunters were obliged to change their horses three times, or abandon the pursuit.

The Harrier and the Beagle are still smaller varieties: as the name indicates, the former are used exclusively for hunting the hare, and have nearly superseded the beagle, which is chiefly valuable for its very musical note. There was a fancy breed of them in the time of Queen Elizabeth, so small, that they could be carried in a man's glove, and were called singing dogs. They used to be conveyed to the field in paniers.

Turnspits are descended from ill-made hounds, which they resemble in body, but have very short, and even crooked legs. They are rough or smooth. They are said also to be derived from terriers, and it seems to me that the perpetuation of malformation in several breeds will produce the turnspit. They derive their name from having been used to turn the kitchen spit, being put into an enclosed wheel, placed at the end for the purpose. It is a curious fact, that now the office is abolished, the race[Pg 117] has become nearly extinct. I extract the following from Captain Brown's "Popular Natural History," to prove, that if turnspits had crooked legs, they had not crooked wits:—"I have had in my kitchen," said the Duke de Liancourt, to M. Descartes, "two turnspits, which took their turns regularly every other day in the wheel; one of them, not liking his employment, hid himself on the day he should have wrought, when his companion was forced to mount the wheel in his stead; but crying and wagging his tail, he intimated that those in attendance should first follow him. He immediately conducted them to a garret, where he dislodged the idle dog, and killed him immediately." The following occurrence at the Jesuit's College at Flêche, shows that others of the species have kept the turnspit to this disagreeable duty. When the cook had prepared the meat for roasting, he found that the dog which should have wrought the spit had disappeared. He attempted to employ another, but it bit his leg and fled. Soon after, however, the refractory dog entered the kitchen, driving before him the truant turnspit, which immediately, of its own accord, went into the wheel. A company of turnspits were assembled in the Abbey Church of Bath, where they remained very quietly. At one part of the service, however, the word "spit" was pronounced, rather loudly. This reminded the dogs of their duty, and they all rushed out in a body, to go to their respective dwellings.[Pg 118]

From the word "Spanish" being often prefixed to the name of the Pointer, it is supposed that these dogs came to us from the Peninsula; but as all dogs came from the East, their more ancient origin is to be ascribed to the Phœnicians, who brought them, not only to that country, but probably to England, although many think they were not known here before 1688.

In consequence of long training, the peculiar faculty of pointing at game has become an innate quality on their part; young dogs inherit it, and they only require that discipline which is necessary to make all puppies behave themselves. If we look at a pointer, the first remark which naturally arises, is that he is a large, indolent hound. He is however, extremely docile and affectionate. The black are said to be the best, but they vary in color; their fur is quite smooth, and they are considered very valuable dogs. Mr. Gilpin speaks of a brace of pointers, who stood an hour and a quarter without moving. This, however, was exceeded by Clio, a dog belonging to my father, who stood with her hind legs upon a gate for more than two hours, with a nest of partridges close to her nose. She must have seen them as she jumped over the gate, and had she moved an inch, they would have been frightened away. My father went on, and having other dogs, did not miss Clio for a long time; at length he perceived she was not with the rest, and neither[Pg 119] came to his call or whistle; he went back to seek her, and there she stood, just as she had got over the gate. His coming up disturbed the birds, and he shot some of them; but Clio when thus relieved, was so stiff that she could not move, and her master sat down on the grass and rubbed her legs till she could bend them again. She died of old age, having been with us fourteen years from her birth; there were no signs of illness: and she went out in the morning with the shooting party. The first question on the return of the sportsmen was, an inquire for Clio; search was made, and she was found quite stiff in the stable, having apparently come home to die.

Of the general intelligence of the pointer, the following is a proof. A gentleman shooting in Ireland, with a dog totally unused to fetch and carry, killed a snipe. It fell in soft, boggy ground, where he could not get to pick it up. After some vain efforts to approach it, he hied on the pointer, by saying, "Fetch it, Fan! fetch it." She seemed for a moment puzzled at such an unusual proceeding, and looked round inquisitively once or twice, as if to say; What do you mean? Suddenly the sportsman's dilemma seemed to flash upon her. She walked on, took the bird in her mouth quite gently, and carried it to where the ground was firm; but not one inch further would she bring it, despite all the encouragement of her master, who now wished to[Pg 120] make her constantly retrieve. This, however, was the first and last bird she ever lifted.

A favourite pointer was lent by a gentleman to a friend; but after some years of trial, finding the dog would not hunt with him, the friend requested his master, then in Ireland, to receive him back. He was conveyed in a packet from Bristol to Cork, and his owner went to meet his dog. The vessel was at some distance from the shore; but seeing him on the deck, the gentleman hailed the sailors, and requested he might be sent in a boat. No sooner, however, did the dog hear his master's voice, than he leaped into the water, and with great demonstrations of joy swam to him on the shore. Such meetings have frequently been too much for dogs, who have died from excessive joy at seeing those they loved, after a long absence.

The sporting dog called the Setter, is distinguished by his long, silky hair, and has consequently been considered as a large spaniel. The head shews an unusual development of brain; and his character for affection and intelligence corresponds with this formation. He is very handsome, is said to have come from Spain to this country, and his original colour to have been deep chestnut, or white. He is now marked with brown, or black, as well as having these colours.

A gentleman in Ireland received a present of a beautiful black setter puppy, from an unknown hand. He bred and cherished him, and the memory[Pg 121] of Black York is still fresh in his country; not only for his perfect symmetry, his silky, raven black hair, but for his gentle, submissive disposition. He was a nervous dog when young, for even a loud word alarmed him, which, combined with his mysterious arrival, and an involuntary affection, induced his master to transfer him from the kennel to the drawing-room. From that time York acquired confidence, and lost his timidity; he first walked out with the nursemaids and children, and then accompanied his master. The latter went one morning to a rushy field, to look at some newly born foals; and there York pointed to a snipe. The bird rose, and pitched some hundred yards away, York's nose detected him a second time: he crept on a dozen paces, and couched again. This circumstance betokened his natural perfections; but with his temperament, the firing a gun might be a dangerous trial. He was taken day after day to mark the snipes, and praised for his conduct. After this, his master took his gun and an attendant, with orders to the latter, if York should attempt to levant or run away, he was to catch him in his arms. It occurred as he had anticipated; poor York was dreadfully frightened; every limb quivered, but he was soothed by caresses, and encouraged to go where the dead snipe was lying. In a moment he appeared to comprehend the whole. He smelled the snipe,[Pg 122] looked at the gun, then in his master's face, and became bolder when he there saw approbation. Another point, another shot, and another snipe; and York and his master returned home; the gun was put in the corner, and the snipes close by, on the carpet. A dozen times, while his master was drinking his wine, York stole quietly to the corner, smelled the snipes, and examined the gun. From that day he gave up walking with the nursemaids, and became a matchless field dog.

York was never willingly separated from his master, and was very unhappy at his absence; he soon ascertained, that a carpet bag put into the gig, was the signal for going away; and one day, he secretly followed, and only shewed himself when he thought he was at such a distance that he could not be sent back again. He was taken into the gig, and by this means escaped a sad death.

While he was away, a mad dog infected the kennel, and nine setters, and two Skye terriers were obliged to be killed, Black York alone remaining. "From the moment," says York's master, "I took him from the kennel to the parlour, he cut all low connections; on the human race his affections seemed to be concentrated, and on one occasion, he gave a marked instance of his fidelity and intelligence. His mistress had gone with her maid to the beach to bathe, and a general permission had been given to the servants to go to the neighbouring fair a mile[Pg 123] off. The young nurse, in the giddiness of girlhood, left the baby in his cot. According to the then existing custom, the hall-door was wide open and, save the sleeping baby, Black York and cats, no living thing held possession of the premises. A strange priest arrived, to ask and receive hospitality. He entered the hall, and the dog, otherwise quiet, sprang forward and assailed him like a tiger. The priest retreated, York's back was ridged for battle, and a mouthful of unquestionable teeth hinted to his Reverence, that the canine customer would prove an ugly one. He retreated accordingly, and York sat down beside his sleeping charge. There he remained on guard until the absent mother returned; when she entered the drawing room, her four legged representative laid his tongue gently across the infant's face, and without opposition permitted Father Malachi to walk in."

Equally interesting is the biography of Mr. Bell's setter, Juno, who from a puppy was one of the best dogs that ever entered a field. "She appeared to be always on the watch, to evince her love and gratitude to those who were kind to her;" and she had other than human friends. "A kitten, which had been taken from its mother, shewed the usual horror of cats at Juno's approach. She however seemed determined to conquer the antipathy, and by the most winning perseverance completely attached the kitten to her; and as she had lately[Pg 124] lost her puppies, she became its foster-mother. Juno also played with some tame rabbits, enticing them by her kind manner; and so fond was she of caressing the young of her own species, that when a spaniel of my father's had puppies, and all but one were destroyed, Juno would take every opportunity of stealing this from its mother, and lick and fondle it with the greatest tenderness. When the poor mother discovered the theft, she hastened to bring back her little one; only to be stolen again at the first opportunity, until at length, Juno and Busy killed the poor puppy between them, from excess of tenderness."

I close this account of the setter, by giving an instance of the remarkable power of dogs to return to their homes from a distance, so often cited, and which was exemplified by my father's setter Flush, a dog of remarkable beauty and value. His master drove him in his dog cart as far as London, a distance of above fifty miles, being the first stage of a shooting excursion in another county. The carriage was so constructed, that the opening to admit air was above, and not at the sides, so that Flush could not possibly have seen any part of the road. On his arrival in town, the groom tied him up by a cord, with access to a kennel in the yard of the inn where my father stopped. He saw him the last thing at night, but in the morning the rope had been severed, and the dog was gone. All [Pg 125]inquiries proved fruitless, it was supposed the great value of the dog had tempted some one to purloin him, and in great trouble his master wrote home his lamentations. Late in the evening of the day in which he was missed, my mother heard a scratching and whining at the front door, as she passed through the hall. Not supposing in any way it could relate to her, she did not heed it. In about half an hour a smothered bark met her ears, and then she ordered a servant to open the hall door and ascertain the cause. There was poor Flush—wet, dirty, hungry, and weary; with the remainder of the rope hanging to his neck. He had never been a house dog, and that he should seek the dwelling-house rather than the stable at some little distance, was another proof of his sagacity; he knew he should be there more immediately cared for, and so he was. My mother fed him herself; and, stretched before the fire, he forgot his troubles. The joyful news was conveyed to my father, as fast as the post would take it, and from that time Flush was a companion in the drawing-room, as well as in the shooting excursion.

The infinite variety of spaniels almost precludes a separate enumeration of each in a limited work, I shall, therefore, confine myself to a few general remarks. He may be called a small setter, as the setter is called a large spaniel, having the same long hair and ears; but the former is even more silken in its texture. With some it curls more, and is a little[Pg 126] harsher, and these are fonder of the water than the others. Their attachments are strong, their intelligence great, and the beauty of some of them makes them much sought as pets; they are, however, generally useful to the sportsman. The only fault which can be laid to their charge, and this perhaps only extends to a few, is, that they are apt to love strangers as well as friends. As an instance to the contrary, was a beautiful little red and white Blenheim, who was most unsociable, and whose affections were most difficult to win. I, however, succeeded, when on a visit to her mistress; and two years after, when I repeated my visit, expected to have the same difficulty. She, however, when the first bark had been given, became silent, and she did not favour me with a sly bite on the heel, as she was in the habit of doing to strangers. Before the evening was over, the recognition was complete, and she jumped into my lap. Her mistress took pains to prevent her from coming in contact with vulgar dogs, always thought her possessed of the most refined habits, and was sure she never would be too fat, because she ate so delicately. One evening, a small, social party of us were listening to the music of Handel, executed by two of the finest performers in the world, when through the door, which stood a little way open, Fanny glided in, with a large piece of fat and skin in her mouth. I thought I was the only person who saw her, and[Pg 127] remained quite still; presently my eye caught that of the gentleman of the house, who made a sign that he also had discovered her, and our equanimity was much disturbed. She crouched rather than walked round the room, dragging her bonne bouche over the rich folds of the delicately-tinted silk damask curtains, as they lay upon the ground, till she reached a very obscure corner under the piano, where she proceeded to enjoy herself. As soon as the glorious music was concluded, "Did you see Fanny?" was the exclamation, and the delinquent was dragged out before the last morsel was devoured; so there was proof positive. The next morning the cook told her mistress that she was in the habit of stealing such morsels as I have described, and hiding them, and that she only took them out to eat when she [the cook] was gone to church. Poor Fanny's reputation for refinement was for ever clouded.

In the same house lived a larger spaniel, of the variety which takes to the water, and named Flora. She was an excellent house-dog, and, generally speaking, under no restraint. Some alarm, however, occasioned by a real or reported accident, caused the magistrate of the town in which her master resided, to issue an order, that no dogs should leave the premises of their owners without being muzzled. Accordingly, Flora, when she went out with the servant, had this instrument put on; she hated it at first, tried all she could to get it off, but[Pg 128] at length appeared to become indifferent to the confinement which it produced. In consequence of this, it was, perhaps, more carelessly buckled on, and one day it came off, and the man stooped to put it in its place; Flora, however, was too quick for him, she took it up in her mouth, plunged with it into a neighbouring pond, and when she reached the deepest part, dropped the muzzle into it, and swam back, with her countenance expressing delight.

All dogs enjoy the sport to which they are bred, and M. Blase tells us, that he was once shooting near Versailles, when his friend, M. Guilleman, accompanied him, with permission to kill wild ducks on the preserve. There was but one dog between them, but at the first shot, a fine spaniel ran up to them at full speed. He plunged into the water, and caressing M. Guilleman, seemed to say—"Here I am at your service; amuse me, and I will amuse you." The gentlemen pursued their sport all day, and the dog proved excellent. No one appeared to own him; but the sport over, off he set at full gallop, and they saw him no more. They spoke of him to the keeper of the water, who informed them, that the dog belonged to a sportsman living two leagues distant, who was at that time laid up with the gout. "The dog knows," added the keeper, "that persons come to shoot here every Sunday; and on that day, regularly makes[Pg 129] his appearance. Having done his duty for the first sportsman whom he meets, he returns to his master."

Mr. Martin, in his clever little treatise on dogs, vouches for the truth of the following story:—"One morning, as a lady was lacing her boots, one of the laces broke. She playfully said to her pet spaniel who was standing by her, 'I wish you would find me another boot lace,' but having managed to use that which was broken, she thought no more about it. On the following morning, when she was again lacing her boots, the dog ran up to her with a new silken boot-lace in his mouth. This created general amazement; for where the dog had obtained it no one could tell. There was no doubt, however, that he had purloined it from some one else."

A black and white spaniel, belonging to a friend of mine, seemed to understand everything said to him, and if his master whispered in his ear, "Find something for your master," every loose article which he could carry was sure to be laid at his master's feet, and frequently the ladies of the family were obliged to lock their work-boxes, to prevent their contents from being carried off by Dash. If one glove were missing, and the other were shown to him, he did not rest till he had found it; and, one day I saw him push a pile of music-books off a What-not, and drag a glove out which had been deemed irrecoverable. A countryman, charged with[Pg 130] a letter to be delivered to Dash's master, arrived at the house while that gentleman was at breakfast. The man was shown into a parlour, where he was about to sit down, when a growl saluted his ears. Turning round, he saw Dash lying in a chair near the fire-place, who reared his head, and the ring of the bell-pull hanging close by, he put his paw in it. As often as the man attempted to sit, so often did Dash growl; till at last the stranger's curiosity being excited, as to what the dog would do if he persevered, he sat down in a chair. Dash then effectually pulled the bell; and the servant who answered the summons, was much astonished when he heard who had rung. He, however, was equally pleased, for it explained a mystery which had long puzzled him and his fellow servants. It seemed, that whenever any of them sat up for their master or mistress when they were out, the parlour bell was sure to ring immediately after they had settled themselves to sleep. Of course they had never suspected the spaniel, although, when they afterwards discussed the matter, they recollected that when they awoke, he was not to be seen. There was no doubt that directly he saw their eyes closed, he went to the bell in order to rouse them to watchfulness.

Even surpassing these histories of reason and fidelity, is that which Mr. Bell relates, in nearly the following terms:—"My friend was travelling on[Pg 131] the continent, and his faithful dog was his companion. One day, before he left his lodgings in the morning, with the expectation of being absent till the evening, he took out his purse in his room, for the purpose of ascertaining whether he had taken sufficient money for the day's occupation, and then went his way, leaving the dog behind. Having dined at a coffee-house, he took out his purse, and missing a Louis d'or, searched for it diligently, but to no purpose. Returning home late in the evening, his servant let him in with a face of sorrow, and told him that the poor dog was very ill, as she had not eaten anything all day, and what appeared very strange, she would not suffer him to take her food away from before her, but had been lying with her nose close to the vessel without attempting to touch it. On my friend entering the room, she instantly jumped upon him, then laid a Louis d'or at his feet, and immediately began to devour her food with great voracity. The truth was now apparent; my friend had dropped the money in the morning, when leaving the room, and the faithful creature finding it, had held it in her mouth until his return enabled her to restore it to his own hands; even refusing to eat for a whole day, lest it should be out of her custody."

All dogs trained for the service may become Retrievers or finders of game, which they bring to their master without injury. Spaniels, however,[Pg 132] are generally preferred. Mr. St. John had one called Rover, a black water-spaniel, who noticed everything that was spoken, and acted accordingly. If at breakfast-time his master said, "Rover must stop at home to-day, I cannot take him out," Rover never offered to go: but if he said, "I shall take Rover with me to-day," the moment breakfast was over, he was on the alert, never losing sight of his master. Plans were frequently made for the ensuing morning in the dog's presence; and one day he was not taken; ever after, when Rover heard over night what was to take place, he started alone, very early, and met the party, sitting in front of the road with a peculiar kind of grin on his face, expressing a doubt of being well received, in consequence of coming without permission. Directly, however, he saw he was well received, he threw off his affected shyness, and jumped about with delight.

Though a most aristocratic dog in his usual habits, when staying in England with Mr. St. John, he struck up an acquaintance with a rat-catcher and his curs, assisting them in their business, watching at the rat-holes where the ferrets were in, and being the best dog of all; for he never gave a false alarm, or failed to give a true one. The moment he saw his master, however, he cut his humble friends, and declined their acquaintance in the most comical manner.

A dark-brown retriever, named Sam, was in the[Pg 133] habit of going into a kennel of hounds, who always crowded round and caressed him. When they were in the field at exercise, Sam was told to go and amuse them; he then went among them, jumped Jim Crow, and played all sorts of antics, leaping and tumbling about in the most laughable manner, they looking at him most attentively. He went with his master to call upon a lady; she patted him, asked if he were the celebrated Sam, and hearing he was, she invited him to stay with her. The animal ran to his master, looked up, and seemed to ask for his consent. He was told to return to the lady, and take care of her, upon which he ran to her, took her basket from her, and tried to express his willingness to serve her. He remained with her for some hours, and when his master arrived to fetch him, the lady was so pleased, that she asked for his company till the next day. Sam's owner petted and praised him, told him to be a good dog, and stay with the lady until she had given him his breakfast the next day. The dog was contented to remain, ate his breakfast on the ensuing morning, then looked up in the lady's face, wagged his tail, left the house, and ran home. He was in the habit of fetching his master's clothes, and of returning them to their proper places; and he knew their names. He sat in a chair at dinner with the family, without making any confusion; or dined alone, alternately taking a piece of bread and meat, and[Pg 134] then drinking a little milk; and if any one said, "Give me a piece, Sam," he instantly obeyed. When all was gone, he cleared away the things. He would fetch his master's horse from the inn, pay the hostler, and ride back upon the saddle. In short, he seemed to comprehend every thing that was said to him and was a model of good nature and obedience.

Wonderful as these stories are as matters of reason, they are perhaps exceeded by some of the tricks performed by the Poodle-Dogs, who are easily distinguished by their crisply curling hair, their large round head, and long ears, and to whom water is as welcome and familiar as land. Two of them, educated in Milan, exhibited their powers in Paris, and I can vouch for the veracity of the following statement:—The elder was named Fido, and the younger Bianco. The former was a serious, steady dog, who walked about with much solemnity; but Bianco was giddy and frolicsome. A word was given to Fido from the Greek, Latin, Italian, French, or English languages, and selected from a book, where fifty words in each tongue were inscribed, which, altogether, made three hundred combinations. He selected from the letters of the alphabet those which composed the given word, and laid them in order at the feet of his master. On one occasion, the word heaven was told to him, and he quickly placed the letters till he came to the[Pg 135] second e, when, after vainly searching for the letter in his alphabet, he took it from the first syllable, and inserted it in the second. He went through the four first rules of arithmetic in the same way, with extraordinary celerity, and arranged the double cyphers in the same way as the double vowel in heaven. Bianco, however, although so heedless, was quicker than Fido, and when the latter made a mistake, was called on to rectify it, but as quickly dismissed, as he was wont to pull his companion's ears, to come and play with him.

One day Fido spelt the word Jupiter with a b, but the younger savant being summoned to correct the error, he carefully contemplated the word, and pushing out the b, replaced it with a p. A lady held her repeating watch to the ear of Fido, and made it strike eight and three quarters. Fido immediately selected an 8, and then a 6, for the three-quarters; the company present and the master insisted upon his error, and he again looked among his cyphers, but being unable to rectify it, he coolly sat himself down in the middle and looked at those around him. The watch was again sounded, and it was ascertained that it struck two for every quarter, which quite exonerated Fido. Both dogs would sit down to play ecarté, asking each other for, or refusing cards, with the most important and significant look, cutting at proper times, and never mistaking one card for another. Bianco occasionally[Pg 136] won, and went to the cyphers to mark his points, and when he was asked how many his adversary had gained, he took out an 0 with his teeth. They sometimes played at ecarté with one of the company assembled to see them, when they evinced the same correctness, and seemed to know all the terms of the game. All this passed without the slightest audible or visible sign between them and their master.

There is a water dog at Hastings, belonging to Page the boatman, who, on receiving a penny, immediately takes it to a baker's shop for the purchase of a roll, nor will he part with it till the person who serves him has put the bread upon the counter; he then lays it down, and walks off with his purchase in his mouth. Another dog of this kind, also of my acquaintance, was the family carrier; that is, she carried books, work, etc., to any person or any room pointed out to her; and as we rather encroached on her, she lost almost all her teeth from the hard and heavy burthens with which she was laden. We had only to say, "Cora, take this to so and so," and if the good dog could not find the person, she brought it back and stood before us. At the same hour every afternoon, she, untold, brought her master's boot-jack and slippers into his study, to be in readiness for his return.

Under the despised name of curs, Colonel Smith classes the sharpest, the drollest, the most perti[Pg 137]nacious, the most mischievous, and yet the most useful terrier; together with several other small dogs. Long-haired, rough-haired, long-eared, short-eared, brush-tailed, smooth-tailed, long-legged, short-legged, black-eyed, black-nosed; white, brown, black, tan, sandy, mixed; every degree of pure or mongrel blood; terriers of all kinds swarm around us, playing all sorts of antics, evincing all kinds of impertinences, catching all sorts of vermin, and presenting themselves to us in every shape of beauty or ugliness, of which their race is capable.

The most ancient of this influential, if not respectable tribe of dogs, indeed the most ancient dog of Great Britain, is the Scotch Terrier, brought to us, probably, from the north-west of Europe by our primitive inhabitants. There are two varieties of indigenous terriers—the one, smooth, usually white or black in colour, with tan spots; sharp muzzle; bright and lively eyes; pointed or slightly turned-down ears; and tail carried high. It is, however, supposed that the Scottish race, with a shorter and fuller muzzle, stouter limbs, hard, shaggy fur, sometimes white in colour, but more often sandy or ochry, is the oldest and most genuine breed. One of these clever and excellent beasts, named Peter, lived with my mother for some years, and during the whole of that time evinced the greatest sagacity and attachment. He constantly understood the conversation, provided it related to[Pg 138] cats, rats, or himself; and often when we spoke of him casually, without even knowing he was in the room, or calling him by his name, he has laid his head on our knees and wagged his tail, as much as to say, "I understand." He was a most inveterate enemy to all rats, mice, and cats, nipping them in the back of the neck, and throwing them over his head at the rate of one in a minute. Before he came into our family, he won a wager that he would kill twelve rats in twelve minutes: the second rat fastened on his lip, and hung there while he despatched the other ten, and then, within the given time, he finished that also. The inhumanity of such wagers did not rest with him. He was stolen more than once, and brought back when a reward was advertised; and, the first time, the signs of suffering about him were very manifest. The beard under the chin, the tufts of the ears, the fringes of the legs, had been all cut off, and he had been rubbed with red ochre to disguise him for sale. He was placed with many others in a cellar, ready for shipping, and the dog-dealer, or rather dog-stealer, who brought him to us, said he thought he would have died of grief in a day or two, for he refused to eat, and seemed to be insensible either to kindness or anger. For three weeks he hung his head and shrunk into corners, as if he felt himself degraded; but at last our caresses and encouragement brought back his usual bold and lively bearing.[Pg 139]

For the last three months of my mother's existence, Peter was almost always on her bed, night and day; and during the final four weeks, when death was daily expected, he was sad and dull: which was attributed to the change in the habits of the family. Forty-eight hours before all was over, Peter crept into a corner under the bed, which had always been his place of refuge when in trouble; and we with difficulty prevailed on him to quit it, even when his mistress wished to see and say farewell to him. On that occasion he hung his head, and appeared to be so miserable, that apprehensions of malady on his part were entertained. He returned to his corner, and was not thought of for some time. At length all was quiet in the room, and I was about to leave it, when I recollected Peter. He was with difficulty prevailed on to leave his corner, where he lay, curled up and trembling. I lifted him up to take a last look of his beloved mistress, but he laid his head on my shoulder, and was so much distressed that I carried him away immediately. On the following day, he accompanied me up stairs, and when I passed my mother's door, he looked up in my face as much as to say, "Are you going in there?" but I replied "No!" and he never again asked for entrance. The coffin was soldered down, and removed from the bed-room to the dining-room; and thus had to pass the drawing-room where all the family were assembled. On[Pg 140] ordinary occasions, Peter was furious at the sound of strange footsteps in the house, and even barked loudly when any one knocked or rang at the street-door. On this occasion, however, he suffered the men employed to pass and repass frequently, without making the slightest noise; but that he was conscious of some unusual occurrence was evident from his jumping into my arms, where, as the coffin was brought down, he sat with ears erect, and eyes fixed, and panted and trembled in the most agitated manner till all was quiet. As long as the body remained in the house, he took every opportunity of walking round it and lying under it, and when it was removed at five o'clock one morning, to begin its journey to the family vault, he was again much agitated, but never offered to bark. On the following day, I and others started to attend the funeral at a considerable distance, and my daughters were to arrive at eight o'clock, to pass the day in the house of their deceased grandmother. I took leave of Peter, placed him on a mat in the hall, and said, "Stay there till the girls come." He laid himself down; and the servants assured me, he never moved till the parties arrived; when he met them with subdued looks, and closely attached himself to them as long as they were present. I returned two hours after midnight; and the first sound which I heard, when the carriage stopped at the door, was a noisy demonstration of joy from Peter. He thenceforward resumed all his[Pg 141] usual habits, barking on all occasions; but he never was quite the same in disposition. He grew indifferent to every one except my brother, never played again; and four years after was found dead in his corner of refuge.

But it is not in a mournful light alone that we must view the Scotch, or indeed any other terrier; for they are the most untiring playful beings under the sun. I picked up a poor little expiring puppy by the edge of a pond one day, recovered him, brought him up, and there never was a more faithful or amusing beast. He proved to be a shaggy Scotch terrier; and his heedless youth had to undergo many corrections before he became the perfect model of obedience which his maturity presented. One of his misdemeanours was, to kill the young chickens. The woman who managed the poultry could not imagine why these little creatures died so fast, and at first suspected that they picked up and swallowed something which poisoned them. She, however, opened one, and did not find anything in it which confirmed her suspicions; but the feathers were ruffled on the back of the neck, and she was then convinced that they were destroyed by a much larger animal than themselves. She watched for some days; and at length saw Mr. Bruin, my dog, creep through a little hole in the palings of the yard, and squat himself down, very gravely, as if he had not a[Pg 142] thought of mischief in him; presently a little chicken ran past him, snap went Bruin at the back of its neck, and giving it a toss over his head as he would a rat, the little thing was dead. Another was served in the same way; and I was then called to inflict the punishment I thought most proper. I was averse to beating him at first, so I pointed to the chicken, and scolded him so much that he appeared to be very sorry for what he had done. But he was then young and giddy, and the impression made was but slight. In three days he returned to his tricks, and I was obliged to chastise him more severely. I tied a dead chicken round his neck, beat him, and shut him up all day in a tool-house, where I visited him several times, pointed to the chicken, and repeated how naughty he was. He was so ashamed that he could not look me in the face, and in the evening, when I released him, he could not eat. He recovered his gaiety in a day or two because he was entirely forgiven; but he never again went into the poultry-yard, and if by chance he saw a chicken, he would hang his head and tail, and walk round it at such a distance, that he evidently recollected his former conduct.

The great friend and playmate of Bruin, was Pincher a very accomplished, smooth terrier, capital dog to go with the hounds, and to kill all sorts of obnoxious animals. If the two appeared to[Pg 143] be asleep, and we exclaimed "Cat!" or "Rat!" in one instant they were on their legs, seeking in every direction for their game. They hunted on their own account sometimes, and were often seen with a red spaniel, trotting through the fields, no doubt conspiring together to have a feast. Both Bruin and Pincher were perfectly aware when Sunday came round; and although on other days, when they saw us equipped for a walk, they were most vociferous in their entreaties to go also, on Sunday they hid themselves under the sofa, and never offered to accompany us. They knew where we went, and generally came to meet us on our return, sometimes venturing as far as the gate of the churchyard, which was a mile distant, but never went within the enclosure.

One of my brothers, who was more peculiarly Pincher's master, had a great fancy to be a doctor as he called it; and he chipped various flint stones into fancied instruments. With these he pretended to perform operations on Pincher, who would lie perfectly passive under his hands, to have his teeth drawn, his limbs set, his wounds bandaged, his veins opened. The grand finale used to be an entire cutting up, which the boy copied from the same process practised on pigs. The dog was laid upon a table, with his legs stuck out which he made as stiff as possible. His head was then cut off, and as soon as the flint was passed across his throat,[Pg 144] the head fell on one side, and it might have been thought that the dog fancied it was really off, so entirely did he let it lie without motion. The flint was then passed round his legs, each of which fell down without further movement, as close to the body as he could pull them. At last, when all was ended, my brother said, "Jump up, good dog!" and Pincher bounding off the table shook himself to life again.

A favourite terrier was in the habit of accompanying his master, who was a clergyman, to church, where he was so perfectly quiet, that few persons knew of his presence. On one occasion, he went to a funeral, and when the procession left the church, accompanied his master to the side of the grave, where he mingled with the attendants. The parties remained for some little time looking at the coffin after it was lowered, and the clergyman slipped away, unobserved even by his dog. An hour after, as he sat at dinner with his friends, his sexton requested to speak with him. He was admitted into the room, when he said it was impossible to close the grave, and that he did not know what to do. "Why?" asked the gentleman, "Because Sir, your terrier stands there, and flies so fiercely at us whenever we attempt to throw a spade full in, that we dare not go on." One of the house servants was sent to the churchyard, and there saw the dog in a perfect fury, defending the grave; she refused[Pg 145] to come to his call, so by main force he removed her, and carried her to the drawing-room. There, the moment she saw her master, her transport of joy equalled her former fury; and it is supposed that, not seeing her master go away, and missing him, she fancied he was in the grave, and thus strove to protect him from injury.

The same dog and a companion, equally faithful and sagacious, attached themselves to their master's horse, and whenever they could, went out with it. He rode out on it to dinner, the two dogs with him, who went contentedly into the stable with their friend. He ordered his horse when it was time to go away; but as it was a long while coming to the door, inquiries were made about the delay, upon which the groom appeared, and said he dared not take the horse out of the stable, for one of the clergyman's dogs was on its back, and the other by its side, flying at every person who came near the animal. The owner comprehended the mystery, and going to the stable himself, brought forth the steed: the groom was a stranger, and the dogs dared not trust him with their master's property.

A terrier, known to Professor Owen, was taught to play at hide and seek with his master, who summoned him, by saying "Let us have a game," upon which the dog immediately hid his eyes between his paws, in the most honourable manner, and when the gentleman had placed a sixpence, or[Pg 146] a piece of cake in a most improbable place, he started up and invariably found it. His powers were equalled by what was called a Fox-terrier, named Fop, who would hide his eyes, and suffer those at play with him to conceal themselves before he looked up. If his playfellow hid himself behind a window curtain, Fop would, for a certain time, carefully pass that curtain, and look behind all the others, behind doors, etc., and when he thought he had looked long enough, seize the concealing curtain and drag it aside in triumph. The drollest thing, however, was to see him take his turn of hiding; he would get under a chair, and fancy that he was not seen; of course, those at play with him pretended not to see him, and it was most amusing to witness his agitation as they passed. When he was ill he had been cured by some homœopathic globules, and ever after, if anything were the matter with him, he would stand near the medicine box, and hold his mouth open.

A black and tan terrier, belonging to a linen-draper in Swindon, directly the shop was opened in the morning, was in the habit of going to the post-office with his master; the letter bag was put into his mouth, and he carried it home. One morning he took it into his head to precede his master, and go alone. The post-master, on seeing him, felt so certain his owner was at the door, that he delivered the bag to him, with which he ran home while his[Pg 147] master was seeking him. From that time it became his regular duty to fetch the letters daily.

Sir Walter Scott tells us of the remarkable comprehension of human language evinced by his Bull-dog terrier, called Camp. He understood so many words, that Sir Walter felt convinced an intercourse with dumb animals might be enlarged. Camp once, bit the baker, for which Sir Walter beat him, and, at the same time, explained the enormity of the offence; after which, to the last moment of his life, he never heard the least allusion to the story, in whatever voice or tone it might be mentioned, without getting up and retiring into the darkest corner of the room, with great appearance of distress. Then, if it were said that the baker had been well paid, or that the baker was not hurt after all, Camp came forward, capered, barked, and rejoiced. When he was unable, towards the end of his life, to attend his master in his rides, he watched for his return, and the servant used to tell him Sir Walter was coming down the hill, or through the moor, Camp never mistook him, although he did not use any gesture, but either went out at the front to ascend the hills, or at the back to get at the moor side.

These anecdotes, taken from many others concerning Terriers, cannot be better ended than by some concerning a Russian terrier. As I once was acquainted with an inimitable monkey, named Jack,[Pg 148] so do I now know an inimitable dog of that name. He is small, white, with some quaintly placed dark brown spots on the body and head; his eyes are of the most brilliant black, he is slightly and genteelly made, and he has a quantity of curling hair on his back only, which gives him a peculiar appearance. He formerly resided in Ireland with the mother of his present possessor, to whom he evinced that devoted attachment which ought to be named canine, for there is nothing equal to it in any other animal. This lady was ill for some years before her death, and could only take exercise in an invalid chair. When she was ready to go out, she would say, "Now, Jack, I am ready for the chair," upon which he immediately scampered off to the stables, placed himself in the vehicle, and was dragged to the door. Then he got out till his mistress was placed comfortably in it, when he seated himself at her feet. If they went through the garden, the carriage was stopped at Jack's favourite beds of flowers, for he had a remarkable fancy, like a cat, to enjoy their perfume; mignonette being always a source of delight. On one occasion, in Dublin, he was lost; sought for, and met in the arms of a policeman, who was carrying him home. The man said he had actually delivered himself up at the station, for he came into the room where several men were seated, looked at one of them, as he stood at his feet, and quietly suffered his collar to be inspected and himself taken up and carried.[Pg 149]

He entered the drawing-room where his two mistresses were sitting, and made signs for one of them to go to the door. She did not heed his request; upon which he pulled her gown with his teeth, and she, thinking he must have some extraordinary reason for it, then followed him; the instant she opened the door wide, he squatted himself in the middle of the mat placed there, thumping the floor with his tail; before him lay six dead rats, which he had killed and brought to be seen, they being laid out, rat fashion, in due form, and he displaying his prowess with great pleasure. Jack went to Torquay with his young mistress, where he was one day lying in the balcony, enjoying the sea breezes. An Italian came past with his organ, and a monkey; he stopped before Jack, and suffered his monkey to climb the pillars which supported the balcony and enter. Jack never tamely suffered the intrusion of strangers; but such a stranger as this was beyond all patience; he seized him, shook him; the poor monkey squealed, the Italian bawled out for his companion, and Jack's mistress rushed to the window and rescued the unfortunate creature, just time enough to save him from Jack's final gripe. Some days after this, Jack was walking out with his mistress's brother, who was a great invalid, when the sound of an organ saluted his ears. In one moment he came up with it, seized the accompanying monkey between his teeth, and dashed past his[Pg 150] astonished master, with the hind legs of the creature hanging out on one side, and the feathered hat on the other. In vain did the gentleman call; Jack either did not hear or did not heed; he took his way to the stable where his master's horse was kept, and would have immolated the monkey, had not the grooms there saved him from death. The invalid and the owner of the monkey arrived at the same moment, each delighted at the safety of the poor victim. Jack, to this day, cannot endure an organ or a monkey.

The Pariah dogs of India, when wild, occupy the woods in numerous packs; they have long backs, pointed ears, sharp noses, and fringed tails. Their fondness for human beings is very remarkable; and they will attach themselves to a stranger, and not suffer any ill-usage to keep them at a distance. One was known to follow a gentleman travelling in a palanquin till he dropped from fatigue. There is a minute variety, white, with long silky hair, like a lap dog, and this is trained to carry flambeaux and lanterns. Bishop Heber gives an account of a poor Pariah dog, who followed him during a part of his journey through India. He ordered the cook to give him some scraps, and the animal strongly attached himself to the bishop. When the party were obliged to cross a rapid river, at rather a dangerous ford, the dog was so frightened at the black roaring water, that he sat down by the[Pg 151] side and howled piteously, as the bishop went over. He, however, assumed courage to follow; but was again distressed when one of the Sepoys was missing; he ran back to the spot, and howled, returned to the bishop, then back to summon the defaulter, and continued this till the man had rejoined his party.

The bishop relates a story of one of these dogs who, being in search of water, thrust his head into an earthen jar, and could not get it out again; he rushed about in all directions, bellowing and howling in the most fearful manner. The guard sprang to their feet, and stood prepared to encounter an enemy, whose approach they thought was announced by the blast of a war-horn. Halters were broken, and horses and mules pranced over the tent ropes; and it was some minutes before the cause of this confusion was ascertained.

A massive form, arched skull, deep lower jaw, strong legs and neck, semi-hanging ears, truncated tail, and frequent presence of a fifth toe, distinguish the noble Mastiff. They are silent, phlegmatic dogs, conscious of their own strength, seem to consider themselves more as companions than servants, are resolute, and face danger with the utmost self-possession. A cold region, such as the highest ranges of Central Asia, is best adapted to their perfect development, and yet their only wild type is met with in Africa. They are old denizens of Great Britain, and are said to have been brought[Pg 152] here before the Romans conquered the country. They are not supposed to have come originally from Africa, but from Thibet, through the north of Europe.

They have been known to conquer lions; and yet, while they possess the most indomitable strength and courage, they are the gentlest of animals, suffering children to sit upon them, pull them roughly, and small dogs to snap and snarl at them. Confinement alone disturbs their temper. They are excellent guardians, and such is their deliberate coolness, that they have been known to walk quietly by the side of a thief without doing him an injury, merely preventing his escape. They will, however, suffer the rogue to go away, if he has not already purloined anything.

It is well known that dogs love to be in a crowd of people, and this is frequently the temptation for them to enter churches. A number of dogs, in a village of Bohemia, had followed this practice, including an English mastiff, belonging to a nobleman who lived there. A magistrate who presided at a Court, observed upon it, and said, in an authoritative voice, "No dogs shall be allowed to go to church, let me not see one there in future." The mastiff was present, and seemed to listen with attention, not without effect, for on the ensuing Sunday, he, rising early, ran barking at the village dogs, took his station near the door of the church, killed the only dog that[Pg 153] ventured in, notwithstanding the prohibition; and always posted himself as a sentinel on duty, before the church, but without ever afterwards entering it.

An English gentleman, some time ago, went to some public gardens, at St. Germain, with a large mastiff, who was refused admittance, and the gentleman left him in the care of the bodyguards, who were placed there. The Englishman, some time after he had entered, returned to the gate, and informed the guards that he had lost his watch, telling the sergeant, that if he would permit him to take in the dog, he would soon discover the thief. His request being granted, the gentleman made signs to the dog of what he had lost, who immediately ran about among the company, and traversed the gardens, till at last he laid hold of a man. The gentleman insisted that this person had his watch; and, on being searched, not only his watch, but six others, were discovered in his pockets. What is more remarkable, the dog took his master's watch from the other six, and carried it to him. This is rather an old story, but it is an excellent example of the sagacity of the mastiff.

The following anecdote has been sent to me while writing the above, by the gentleman who witnessed the occurrence, and, as Glaucous was half a mastiff, I insert it in this place:—

"An Irish gentleman, possessed a couple of immense dogs, male and female, half Newfoundland,[Pg 154] half mastiff, which were celebrated for their sagacity, courage, and high-training. They were, in the most comprehensive sense, amphibious, and their home being near the sea, they spent many hours daily in the water.

"One day a young gentleman, related to the owner of these dogs, and to whom the male, who was called Glaucous, had attached himself with the ardent affection so characteristic of his species, was walking on the shore with him. It was nearly low water, and a sand-bank, covered during high tide, was visible at some hundred yards distance from the shore. His attention was drawn to this object, from the circumstance of the water being in a state of commotion around it, while the sea elsewhere was perfectly placid. On further examination, he discovered that some large fish was chasing a shoal of whiting, and in his eagerness to capture his prey, he more than once ran on the sand-bank.

"Directing the dog's attention to these objects, he was encouraged to swim to the sand-bank, which he soon attained, and he had not been there a minute, before the large fish made another dash almost under his nose. The dog immediately pursued the fish; and ere it had reached the deep water he seized it by the shoulders, and bore it to the sand-bank. The fish, however, remained far from passive under such treatment, for as soon as it was released, it opened its large jaws, and bit the dog so[Pg 155] fiercely as to cause his muzzle to be crimsoned with blood.

"A few struggles brought the fish again into his own element, in which he quickly disappeared. But the dog, though severely bitten, was not discomfited. A cheering call from his young friend, was followed by his dashing into the water after his finny foe, and diving, he reappeared with the fish trailing from his jaws. Again he bore him to the sand-bank, and again the fish made good use of his teeth.

"But it was evident that the struggle could not be much longer continued. Availing himself of every opportunity, the dog used his powerful tusks with terrible effect on the fish's shoulders, and at last, taking a good gripe of his prey, he set off for the shore. When about halfway, the fish managed to break loose, but Glaucous was too quick for him, and once more seizing him, he landed his prize with all the apparent triumph evinced by a veteran angler, who secures a monster salmon after a lengthy battle. The fish turned out to be a hake; it weighed seventeen pounds, and when opened was found completely filled with whitings."

The Bull-dog, with his truncated nose, his broad mouth, red eyelids, large head, forehead sinking between the eyes, nose rising, under-jaw projecting, often showing the teeth, and thick make, has not those outward characters which compose beauty.[Pg 156]

Their heads have always black about them; but the rest is brindled, buff, ochry, or white. They are said to be less sagacious than other dogs, and less capable of attachment; but their great strength, their courage, and extreme pertinacity in keeping hold when they have once taken a gripe, makes them most valuable for completing the packs of hounds trained to hunt boars, wolves, and still larger animals. When excited they are terrific in appearance, and were formerly used for bull-baiting in this country. In Spain and Corsica, where this practice is still continued, they may be seen in all their strength and power. I have been told they are gentle when not engaged in their cruel sport.

The Pug has been by some considered as a variety of the bull-dog, and others reject this opinion. His round head, grotesquely abbreviated muzzle, and small, tightly curled tail, they think, entitling him to a place of his own among dogs. Authorities state that he is a cross, ill-tempered little dog, but my own experience contradicts this. The two with whom I have come in frequent contact, have been remarkably playful and good-natured. One was the pet of a lady; and his bringing up ought to have made him gentlemanly; but he had several low tricks in the eating way; such as stealing from the scullery, which used to provoke his mistress. His place for hiding the purloined dainties was under the pillow of her bed, and frequently at her[Pg 157] nightly examination of the spot, she found, not only bones, but dead mice.

Pug number two, was a very clever fellow, who used to walk out by himself every day, and when he wished to re-enter the house, he always rang the door bell; either by shaking the wire with his paw, or taking it between his teeth. He was clever in fetching what was wanted from distant parts of the house, but was very much afraid of being by himself in the dark. He had formed a great friendship with a kitten, and the two used to bask together before the fire. If Pug were told to fetch some article from the bed-room, after the house was closed for the night, he insisted on having puss's companionship. If she were unwilling to move, he dragged her along with his mouth, and frequently mounted several stairs with her, before she gave consent to the proceeding.

Multitudes of anecdotes exist, which have been handed down to us, as relating to dogs, without any information of the species of the principal actors, as in the following instances.

The fire dog, only just dead, was to be seen at almost every conflagration in London, either mounted on the engine, or tearing along by its side, seeming to think his presence necessary on all such occasions. He was well known at all the engine stations, though he did not belong to, or derive his support from any individual. There is now a dog,[Pg 158] at the Temple, which belongs to the inn, and not to any one person; he is a mongrel, is fed wherever he chooses to ask, and is to be seen everywhere within the precincts of the place. Dogs have frequently been known to attach themselves to regiments, in the same manner. One named Battalion, belonged to the first regiment of Royal Guards in France. Being always stationed at the guard-house, he remained there. The frequent change of masters was of no importance to him; he did not even go to the barracks; and considered himself as the property of twelve soldiers, two corporals, a sergeant, and a drummer, whoever they might happen to be; but if the regiment changed garrison, he installed himself at the new guard-house. He never took any notice of those who did not wear the same uniform.

The histories of the smuggling dogs on the frontiers of France, are well known, but these smugglers are now almost all destroyed. The extent to which this illicit commerce was carried, was enormous. Dogs notions of property, however, are often very scrupulous; a lady at Bath found her way impeded as she walked by a dog, who had discovered the loss of her veil, though she had not; the animal had left his own master to seek it for her; he found it, and then returned to his owner. They often shew a presentiment of danger, and gave notice of the earthquake at Gabaluasco in 1835, by leaving[Pg 159] the town, also at Concepcion, in the same manner.

Some dogs have a great antipathy to music, others only to certain tones, and I have known a dog who always set up a howl at particular passages. There was one who, before the great revolution in France, used to march with the band at the Thuileries because he liked it, and at night frequented the opera and other theatres.

The most surprising histories told of dogs are concerning their speech. Liebnitz reported to the French Academy of Sciences, that a dog had been taught to modulate his voice, so that he could distinctly ask for coffee, tea, and chocolate. After this we may believe that a dog was learning to say Elizabeth. I have often watched for such sounds, from energetic, clever dogs, who have evidently tried vivâ voce to make me acquainted with some circumstance, but never heard anything intelligible, and I cannot imagine that the organs of speech are bestowed upon a favoured few; without which the articulation of words must be impossible.

Volumes might be filled with these anecdotes of dogs, but I will here conclude my list with the picture given by Mr. St. John of his pets, portraying a happiness which contrasts strongly with the miserable condition of many ill-used animals, belonging to hard-hearted masters, who[Pg 160] perform valuable services, and are yet kicked, spurned, or half-starved.

"Opposite the window of the room I am in at present," says this gentleman, "are a monkey and five dogs basking in the sun, a blood-hound, a Skye terrier, a setter, a Russian poodle, and a young Newfoundland, who is being educated as a retriever. They all live in great friendship with the monkey, who is now in the most absurd manner searching the poodle's coat for fleas, lifting up curl by curl, and examining the roots of the hair. Occasionally, if she thinks that she has pulled the hair, or lifted one of his legs rather too roughly, she looks the dog in the face with an inquiring expression to see if he be angry. The dog, however, seems rather to enjoy the operation, and, showing no symptoms of displeasure, the monkey continues her search; and when she sees a flea, catches it in the most active manner, looks at it for a moment, and then eats it with great relish. Having exhausted the game on the poodle, she jumps on the back of the blood-hound, and having looked into her face to see how she will bear it, begins a new search, but, finding nothing, goes off for a game at romps with the Newfoundland dog. While the blood-hound, hearing the voice of one of the children, to whom she has taken a particular fancy, walks off to the nursery. The setter lies dozing and dreaming of grouse; while the little terrier sits with ears pricked[Pg 161] up, listening to any sounds of dog or man that she may hear; occasionally she trots off on three legs to look at the back door of the house, for fear any rat-hunt, or fun of that sort may take place without her being invited. Why do Highland terriers so often run on three legs, particularly when bent on any mischief? Is it to keep one in reserve in case of emergencies? I never had a Highland terrier who did not hop along constantly on three legs, keeping one of the hind legs up as if to give it rest."

A proof of the sudden attachments which dogs will form, is given by Mr. Murray, to whom the dog of his guide took a fancy. Mr. Murray passed the night in the house of his master, fed him, and the animal sat looking up in his face. The next morning the party started on foot to cross the Pyrenees, and when the guide had fulfilled his agreement and received his reward, he took his leave; the dog, however, followed Mr. Murray, and no threats or entreaties could prevail on him to turn back. He proceeded to an inn with his new friend, and Mr. Murray was making a bargain with the innkeeper to send the dog to his owner, when a boy came from the man, to claim the beast. He followed the boy two or three times for a few yards, and invariably returned. A strong cord was then tied round his neck, and the boy was told to lead him with that; but at a little distance, finding that he could not get rid of the cord, the dog leaped upon[Pg 162] the boy, threw him down, dragged the cord out of his hand, and returned to Mr. Murray. After this it seemed inevitable that they should travel together. Mr. Murray sent for the master, bought the dog, and eventually took him to Scotland, having a place secured for him always in the diligence; and from the moment he arrived, he became the pet of the family.

Another instance of the same feeling in dogs, occurred to a sporting traveller in Norway (Mr. Lloyd, if I mistake not) to whom the dog of a peasant took the same sudden liking.

[4] Boyle.



Strong, gaunt, ferocious, cunning, cowardly, and sinister-looking, wolves (Canis Lupus) still inhabit the forest and mountainous districts of Europe, Asia, and America; a few being occasionally met with in plains. Happily they have been extirpated from Great Britain and Ireland, but in many parts of populous countries on the European Continent, an unusually severe winter brings them to the habitations of man.

Their resemblance to dogs, internally and externally, has led to the supposition, that they were the original parents of the latter; but I have elsewhere alluded to this unsettled question.

The muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders of wolves, are extremely powerful, and the snap with[Pg 163] which they bite is never to be mistaken, being apparently peculiar to them. They drink by suction, and it is said, that if the offspring which they have by a dog, should lap, they take a dislike to it. The cry which they make is not a regular bark, but a hoarse, ugly noise, and the howl which they delight in setting up at night, is one of the most melancholy sounds possible. They vary much in colour, being white, black, grey, brown, etc. Their digitigrade walk, sharp muzzle, oblique eyes, and hanging tail, in their wild state, are less conspicuous in domestication, and they then gradually assimilate themselves in appearance to our hounds.

Innumerable are the true histories which have been transmitted to us concerning wolves. Their nightly prowling, their quiet, untiring perseverance in pursuit, their skulking disposition, their artful stratagems, all impart a mystery to them which has been heightened by fear, and the natural proneness of man to magnify tales of horror.

Wolves are too suspicious to be often taken in traps; and when pursued they run with their noses almost touching the ground, their eyes glowing like fire, the hair of their head and neck bristled up, their tail drawn close to their legs. Their usual height at the shoulders is about two feet and a half; their young are born in caverns or gloomy recesses, and the female wolf is furious in their defence. They often fight with each other; and it is said, if a[Pg 164] wounded wolf come among his fellows, he is immediately torn in pieces and devoured.

Mr. Lloyd, in his "Field Sports in the North of Europe," tells us of a peasant who, in the neighbourhood of St. Petersburgh, met with the following narrow escape:—"He was pursued by eleven of these ferocious animals, while he was in his sledge. At this time he was only about two miles from home, towards which he urged his horse at the very top of his speed. At the entrance of his residence was a gate, which happened to be closed at the time; but the horse dashed this open, and thus his master and himself found refuge in the courtyard. They were followed, however, by nine out of the eleven wolves; but very fortunately, at the very instant these had entered the enclosure, the gate swung back on its hinges, and thus they were caught as in a trap. From being the most ferocious of animals, now that they found escape impossible, they completely changed, and so far from offering molestation to any one, they slunk into holes and corners, and allowed themselves to be slaughtered, almost without making resistance."

A more tragic occurrence happened to an unfortunate woman, also in Russia, and is related by the same gentleman:—"A woman, accompanied by three of her children, was one day in a sledge, when they were pursued by a number of wolves. She put the horse into a gallop, and drove towards[Pg 165] her home with the utmost speed. She was not far from it; but the ferocious animals gained upon her, and were on the point of rushing on to the sledge. For the preservation of her own life, and that of the remaining children, the poor, frantic creature cast one of them to her blood-thirsty pursuers. This stopped their career for a moment; but, after devouring the poor child, they renewed the pursuit, and a second time came up with the vehicle. The mother, driven to desperation, resorted to the same horrible expedient, and threw another of her offspring to her ferocious assailants. The third child was also sacrificed in the same way, and soon after, the wretched being reached her home in safety. Here she related what had happened, and endeavoured to palliate her own conduct, by describing the dreadful alternative to which she had been reduced. A peasant, however, who was among the bystanders, and heard the recital, took up an axe, and with one blow cleft her skull in two, saying, at the same time, 'that a mother who could thus sacrifice her children for the preservation of her own life, was no longer fit to live.' The man was committed to prison, but the Emperor subsequently granted him a pardon."

The tame wolf at the Jardin des Plantes, is described by M. Frederic Cuvier, in the following manner:—"This animal was brought up as a young dog, became familiar with every person whom he[Pg 166] was in the habit of seeing, and in particular followed his master everywhere, evincing chagrin at his absence, obeying his voice, and showing a degree of submission, scarcely differing in any respect from that of the most thoroughly domesticated dog. His master being obliged to be absent for a time, presented his pet to the Jardin des Plantes, where the animal, confined in a den, continued disconsolate, and would scarcely take his food. At length, however, his health returned; he became attached to his keepers, and appeared to have forgotten all his former affection; when, after eighteen months, his master returned. At the first word he uttered, the wolf, who had not perceived him among the crowd, recognized him, exhibited the most lively joy, and, being set at liberty, lavished on his old friend the most affectionate caresses. A second separation and return was followed by similar demonstrations of sorrow, which, however, again yielded to time. Three years had passed, and the wolf was living happily in company with a dog, when his master again returned, and the still remembered voice was instantly replied to by the most impatient cries, which were redoubled as soon as the poor fellow was at liberty, when, rushing to his master, he threw his fore-feet on his shoulders, licking his face with every mark of the most lively joy, and menacing his keepers, who offered to remove him, and towards whom, not a moment before, he[Pg 167] had been showing every mark of fondness. A third separation, however, seemed to be too much for this faithful animal's temper; he became gloomy, desponding, refused his food, and for a long time his life appeared to be in danger. His health, however, returned; but he no longer suffered the caresses of any but his keepers, and towards strangers manifested the original savageness of his species."

There was another wolf at the same Menagerie, who was very docile and affectionate, distinguishing those whom he knew from strangers, and seeking their caresses. We were very good friends, and I often played with him, so that he knew my voice. After an absence of two years, to my great surprise, he recognized it, dashed to the bars of the den, thrust his paws out to greet me, and gave every sign of delight. It is probable, that this circumstance, combined with another, may have given rise to the history related by Captain Brown, in his "Popular Natural History," of which I now beg to give a correct version:—"Mme. Ducrest [then Mlle. Duvaucel] and I were going out at Baron Cuvier's front door, when a man, holding something tied up in a handkerchief, asked if we belonged to the house. On replying in the affirmative, he offered his bundle; she shrank from it, as the same thing had occurred to me a few days before, and I received the dried and tattooed head of a New Zealander; but he opened the handkerchief, and[Pg 168] displayed a beautiful little wolf puppy, covered with silky black hair. She joyfully received it; we carried it to the keepers of the Menagerie, and orders were given that it might be fed on soup and cooked meat. The wolf continued to be very handsome, very playful, and very tame for about a year, when she became a mother, and from that time was savage and unsociable to human beings, never recovering her former amiable disposition. She was from the Pyrenees."

The following story is told by a gentleman who was sporting in Hungary at the time the circumstance occurred:—"About dusk, just as the last sledge had arrived within a quarter of a mile of a village on the way homeward, and had cleared the corner of a wood which had bounded the road at a few yards distance for a considerable length; the owner, who was seated behind, with his back to the horses, espied a wolf rush out of the angle of the wood, and give chase to the sledge at the top of his speed. The man shouted to the boy who was driving, 'Farkas! farkas!' (a wolf! a wolf!). Itze het! itze het! (drive on),' and the lad, looking round in terror, beheld the animal just clearing the gripe which ran along the road they had passed. Quick as lightning, with shout and whip, and with all his might, he urged the horses to gain the village. Away they flew at their fullest stretch, as if sensible of the danger behind them, conveyed to them by[Pg 169] the exclamation of the lad, and the dreaded name of the animal which he shouted in their ears. The man turned his seat and urged the boy still more energetically to lash the horses to their very utmost speed. He did not need any further incentive, but pushed on the nags with frantic exertion. The sledge flew over the slippery road with fearful speed; but the wolf urged yet more his utmost pace, and gained fast upon it. The village was distant about two hundred yards below the brow of the hill; nothing but the wildest pace could save them, and the man felt that the wolf would inevitably spring upon them before they could get to the bottom. Both shouted wildly as they pursued their impetuous career, the sledge swerving frightfully from one side of the road to the other, and threatening every moment to turn over. The man then drew his thick bunda (sheep-skin) over his head; he looked behind and saw the fierce, panting beast within a few yards of him; he thought he felt his hot breath in his face; he ensconced his head again in his bunda, and, in another moment, the wolf sprang upon his back, and gripped into the thick sheep skin that covered his neck. With admirable presence of mind the bold-hearted peasant now threw up both his hands, and grasping the wolf's head and neck with all his strength, hugged him with an iron clutch to his shoulders. 'Itze het,' now shouted the cool fellow, and holding his enemy[Pg 170] in a death grip, they swept into the village, dragging the fierce brute after them, in spite of his frantic efforts to disengage himself. The shouts of the boy and man, with the mad speed and noise of the horses, brought the villagers out to see what was the matter. 'Farkas! farkas!' shouted both, and the peasants immediately seeing their perilous position, gave chase with their axes, calling out to the man to hold on bravely. At length the boy succeeded in slackening the speed of the animals, the sledge stopped, and the peasants, rushing on, dispatched the ferocious creature upon the man's back, whose arms were so stiffened with the immense muscular exertion he had so long maintained, that he could hardly loose them from the neck of the dead wolf."

An unfortunate clergyman, in the neighbourhood of Eauxbonnes in the Basses Pyrenees, was not as fortunate as the Slovack peasant; for, as he was returning from visiting the sick in January, 1830, he was beset by hungry wolves, and torn to pieces by them; the fragments which they left, and the blood upon the snow, alone telling his fate.

The North American wolves are not as gaunt as those of Europe, having shorter legs, thicker fur, shorter muzzle, broader heads, more bushy tail, and being altogether more compact. Their habits, however, are much the same, A farmer in New Hampshire was one night awakened by a noise in[Pg 171] his hog-pen; on looking out he saw, what he supposed to be a fox, on the low, sloping roof of the sty. He went out, but found that the animal was a grey wolf, which, instead of making off, fiercely attacked him, rushing down the roof towards him; and before the man had time to move back, the wolf had bitten his arm three times, with his quick and repeated snaps, lacerating it from the elbow to the wrist; then, however, he leaped from the roof to the ground, and by so doing lost his advantage; for the man succeeded in seizing him on each side of the neck with his hands, and held him firmly in that position till his wife, whom he called out, came up with a large butcher's knife, and cut the beast's throat. It was three months before the man's arm was healed; every incision, it was said, piercing to the bone.[5]

A white wolf always attends the bull, called buffalo, of Western America; besides which the same country affords other varieties. Among them are the Coyotes, or Medicine Wolves, of the Indians, who show them great reverence. They are small, sagacious, and cunning; assemble in packs, and hunt in troops of from three to thirty, along the runs of deer and antelopes, and run down their quarry. When game has been killed by hunters, they sit patiently at a short distance, while larger wolves prowl around, pouncing on the pieces thrown to [Pg 172]them by the men, and which the small ones drop instantly. They keep watch round a camp at night, and gnaw the skin ropes of horses and cattle.

When the Coyotes, or small white wolves, of Mexico, lose all hope of escape, they curl themselves up and await death. If impelled by hunger, one snatches a piece from the hunter, while he cuts up his game, the whole herd rush upon it, fight, growl, and tear each other for it. Mr. Ryan, from whose lively descriptions these notices are taken, was for days followed by a large grey wolf, and every evening when he encamped, the wolf squatted himself down, and helped himself whenever he could. Something, however, was generally left for him; and he became so tame, that he stopped when the party stopped, and when anything was killed, walked round and round, licking his jaws in expectation of his share. No one ever molested him, and, therefore, he continued quite harmless. This sort of proceeding will sometimes take place with a whole pack.

Mr. Ruxton one day killed an old buck, and left it on the ground, where six small wolves were in attendance. Ten minutes after he left his game, the six wolves came up with him, one of which had his nose and face besmeared with blood, and he seemed to be almost bursting. Thinking it impossible they should have devoured the buck in so short a time, he had the curiosity to return and see[Pg 173] what impression they had made upon it, and why they had left it. To his astonishment, he found only the bones and some of the hair remaining, the flesh having been taken off as if it had been scraped with a knife. They flourish their tails, snarl, bite, squeak, and swallow the whole time of their meal; and if kindly treated, will come and warm themselves by the fires of the hunters when they are asleep, and sit nodding their own heads with drowsiness.

The Esquimaux dogs, though very bold when attacking bears, are so much afraid of wolves, that they scarcely make any resistance when set upon by them. Sir John Richardson tells us, that a wolf, wounded by a musket-ball, returned after dusk, and carried off a dog from among fifty others, who howled piteously, but did not dare to try and rescue their companion.

Several wolves will combine, and, forming a semicircle, creep slowly towards a herd of deer, if there be a precipice near, and hemming them in gradually, so as not to alarm them suddenly, drive them to the edge of the precipice; then they all at once set up the most terrific yells, and taking flight, the poor deer leap over the precipice, where the wolves follow them at their leisure by a safer path, to feed on their mangled carcases.

On one occasion, a troop of nine white wolves endeavoured to practise the same trick upon Sir John Richardson, evidently intending to drive him[Pg 174] into the river. However, when he rose up they halted, and on his advancing, made way for him to go to the tents.

The lovers of tragic histories will find many of the most fearful kind among the legends of all countries where wolves abound; all probably founded on fact, but mostly interwoven with romance. There cannot be anything much more shocking than that of the solitary traveller, galloping into a village pursued by these beasts, and knocking at the doors, earnestly entreating for refuge. The inhabitants were mostly buried in sleep; some few heard and did not move, others had a dim, confused notion of what was passing, and also remained in their beds; while others again did not hear anything. The next morning the sad event was told by finding the traveler's cloak and a few bones.

[5] Gosse's Canadian Naturalist.



Stealing along in the dark of evening, the cunning and rapacious Fox (Canis Vulpes) leaves his hole in the earth, and roams in search of his prey. The poultry-yards, rabbit-warrens, and the haunts of game, tell of his skilful depredations; but he is not at all difficult in his appetite. To be sure, when he can get ripe grapes, he has a feast. If young turkeys and hares are not to be had, he puts[Pg 175] up with a young fawn, a wild duck, or even weasels, mice, frogs, or insects. He will also walk down to the sea-shore, and sup upon the remains of fishes, or arrest the crabs and make them alter their sidelong course so as to crawl down his throat. Reynard also has an eye to the future; for he never lets anything escape which comes within his sharp bite, and as there must be a limit to the quantity which any animal can contain, when he cannot possibly eat any more, he, in various spots, well marked by himself, buries the remainder for the morrow's meal. With only his toes touching the earth, he prowls about with noiseless steps; his nose and ears alive to the faintest sound or odour; his cat-like eyes, with linear pupil, gleaming like coals of fire, and he suddenly springs upon his victims before they are aware of his vicinity. His bushy tail is the envied trophy of the huntsman, who calls it a brush. His colours are white, black, red, yellow, bluish, or variegated; and in cold climates he always turns white in winter. The father takes no care of his children; but the mother performs her duty with the most exemplary devotion for four months.

The fox is generally a solitary, suspicious animal; even when as much tamed as he can be, he seems to think he is going to be deceived and ill-treated: perhaps he judges of others by himself. He lives very often in a burrow, called an earth, belonging to somebody else, for he has very lax morals[Pg 176] concerning property, and a great idea that right is established by possession. If he should be caught and put in confinement, he is very ferocious, or dies of ennui; but he is much too coy and clever to be easily entrapped. His cry is a sort of yelp, which, however, he is much too cautious to utter when he is earning his living.

Occasionally the fox has been caught in a trap, and there is the history of one who escaped and left one of his fore feet behind him. After a lapse of time, his trail was to be seen in various places, and was, of course, easily recognized. This continued for two years, when he was chased by Mr. St. John and easily killed. Another who was unearthed by the dogs, instead of running after the usual fashion of these beasts, turned suddenly upon each dog that came up and jumped over him. This could not last long, although it puzzled the dogs very much; he was taken, and then only was the reason for his manœuvre discovered by finding that he had only three feet.

Mr. St. John relates the following history of the cunning of a fox:—"Just after it was daylight, I saw a large fox come very quietly along the edge of the plantation; he looked with great care over the turf wall into the field, and seemed to long very much to get hold of some of the hares that were feeding in it, but apparently knew that he had no chance of catching one by dint of running. After[Pg 177] considering a short time, he seemed to have formed his plans, examined the different gaps in the wall, fixed upon one which appeared to be most frequented, and laid himself down close to it, in an attitude like that of a cat at a mouse hole."


"In the meantime I watched all his plans; he then with great care and silence scraped a small hollow in the ground, throwing up the sand as a kind of screen; every now and then, however, he stopped to listen, and sometimes to take a most cautious peep into the field. When he had done this he laid himself down in a convenient posture for springing on his prey, and remained perfectly motionless, with the exception of an occasional reconnoiter of the feeding hares. When the sun began to rise, they came, one by one, from the field to the plantation; three had already come without passing by his ambush, one within twenty yards of him, but he made no movement beyond crouching still more flatly to the ground. Presently two came directly towards him, and though he did not venture to look up, I saw, by an involuntary motion of his ears, that those quick organs had already warned him of their approach. The two hares came through the gap together, and the fox, springing with the quickness of lightning, caught one and killed her immediately; he then lifted up his booty, and was carrying it off, when my rifle-ball stopped his course."[Pg 178]

In Captain Brown's "Popular Natural History," I find the following:—"In the autumn of the year 1819, at a fox-chase in Galloway, a very strong fox was hard run by the hounds. Finding himself in great danger of being taken, Reynard made for a high wall at a short distance, and springing over it, crept close under the other side: the hounds followed, but no sooner had they leaped the wall, than he sprang back again over it, and by this cunning device gave them the slip, and got safe away from his pursuers."

An American gentleman of Pittsfield, accompanied by two blood-hounds, found a fox, and pursued him for nearly two hours, when suddenly the dogs appeared at fault. Their master came up with them near a large log of wood lying on the ground, and felt much surprise at their making a circuit of a few roods without any object in view, every trace of the fox seeming to have been lost, while the dogs still kept yelping. On looking about him the gentleman saw the fox stretched upon the log, apparently lifeless. He made several unsuccessful efforts to direct the attention of the dogs towards the place, and at length he approached so near as to see the animal breathe. Even then Reynard did not show any alarm; but his pursuer aimed a blow at him with the branch of a tree, upon which he leaped from his lurking-place, and was taken.[Pg 179]

One of the drollest incidents in fox-hunting was that at Newry, in Ireland, when, being pursued very hotly, the fox leaped on to the top of a turf-stack, where he laid himself down quite flat. At last, one of the hounds perceived him, and he was obliged again to run. After this, he climbed up a stone wall, whence he sprang on to the roof of a cabin near by, and mounting to the chimney top, from thence inspected his enemies. An old hound, however, followed him, and was on the point of seizing him, when Reynard dropped down the chimney into the lap of an old woman, who was smoking her pipe at the corner. The hound did not dare to follow, but the sportsmen came up, and entering the cabin, found it in possession of the fox; the frightened woman and children huddled into one corner, and the fox (who was taken alive) grinning at them.

In all ages of fable, the fox has been the principal hero. The most ancient fables on record, those of Lokman, the Arabian, from whom Æsop took most of his, gives him a very conspicuous place among the crafty courtiers of the lion. The chief phrase of which the wily flatterer makes use, as he bows with affected humility to his sovereign, is, "Oh, Father of Beauty," by which indirect compliment he generally gains his wishes. The early German writers have also chosen him as the principal hero of various histories, and the poem of "Reynard, the[Pg 180] Fox," will live as long as printers and illustrators exercise their art and talent.

The Arctic fox is smaller than ours; even the soles of his feet are covered with fur, like those of the hare, and he is altogether more thickly clothed. He has often been supposed to be pied in colour, but this is only in process of turning to the hue of winter. He is in these climates a much more gregarious animal, and several families live in the same earth. Bishop Heber mentions one in India, which feeds chiefly on field-mice and white ants, and this probably is the species of which the natives say, that he can turn nine times within the space of his own length. He is about half the size of the European.

Much valuable fur is derived both from European and American foxes, where there is a great variety of colour, not depending on temperature.

In Ireland there is a small animal called a fox, which does not eat flesh, but contents itself with vegetables, and is so perfectly harmless, that it roams about, unmolested even by dogs.



There cannot be a much more uninteresting animal than the hard-hided, knock-kneed Hyæna, which is pre-eminently African, although he is[Pg 181] found in the East; having, according to the opinion of some naturalists, migrated thither in the wake of caravans. He has a ferocious, ill-natured look, yet the first impression made by his appearance can only be expressed by the word "sneaking." He is of a tawny colour, more or less dusky till it approaches black, and is generally spotted, or striped. He has a mane continued all along the spine; his ears are long and erect; he is digitigrade, his claws are strong, and not retractile; he possesses a gland which sends forth a disagreeable odour, and his eyes have a pupil which is contracted at the top, and round at the bottom, which gives them a singular expression.

The great peculiarity of form in the Hyæna is the disproportionate smallness of his hind quarters; besides which, the vertebræ of his neck very often become stiffened, in consequence of the strain put upon them by the powerful muscles of that part, and of the jaws. So firm is the hold which they take, that nothing will make them leave what they have once seized. They devour bones as well as muscles, rejecting only hoofs, horns, and skull; and this power must have existed in former ages, for in the caves which they inhabited, and into which they dragged their prey, their fossil remains are found with those of gigantic mastodons, etc., on which their teeth had made impression. This stiff[Pg 182]ness of the neck has caused many to imagine that it was composed of one joint only, and led the Arabs to make Hyænas the symbols of obstinacy.

The habits of Hyænas accord with their outward appearance; they are nature's scavengers, and feed on everything, being, with the jackal and Genet cat, the especial robbers of the cemetery. Many are the stories told of their cruel depredations, such as their stealing into the kraals of the Caffres and Hottentots, and abstracting the sleeping infants from under the kaross of its mother, who only becomes conscious of her loss when she hears the cries of the victim. Major Denham, in his travels, tells us of a village stormed by them at night, when they carried off asses and other animals.

My own impressions of the Hyæna are, that he is a timid, cowardly animal. I always found them shun my approach; and my uncle has told me, that when he often encountered them during his command of the outpost of Tantum Querry, on the leeward coast of Africa, they invariably turned from him, and slunk out of sight with their dragging, shuffling gait. I cannot say that they disturbed the stillness of the night, because a tropical night never is still; but their cry used suddenly to come upon our ears, and I know not why, always seemed to be close to us. The roar of a leopard or lion is most grand, however terrific; but what is called[Pg 183] the laugh of the hyæna, is just like the triumphant exultation of a fierce madman, when he reaches his long-sought victim.

All the natives of the Gold Coast bear witness to the powers of mimicry evinced by the hyæna; they say that he hides himself in the jungle, and imitates the cries of other beasts till he allures them to his side, when he falls upon and devours them. A gentleman, who long commanded a fortress on the Gold Coast, told me the following story, which confirms the above assertion:—"Some women from the neighbouring village were accustomed to pass the walls of the fort to fetch water after sunset, at the dinner hour of this officer, and made so much noise, that they disturbed him, so he ordered them to take another path. The next evening the noise recurred, and the same order was repeated the next morning; on which the women protested they had gone quite another way. On the third evening, when the laughing and talking were apparently recommencing, a sergeant sallied forth to bring the delinquents into the fort; but to his surprise there were only three hyænas to be seen, whose imitation of human sounds had deceived all those who had heard them on the preceding occasions."

It was long supposed that the hyæna was incapable of attachment, but Mr. Burchell brought one with him from South Africa to this country, which evidently loved his master, and was jealous of other[Pg 184] animals. Colonel Sykes procured one in India who followed him about like a dog, played with the sailors on board ship with the greatest good humour, and never forgot his first owner. He was placed in the Zoological Gardens, where, although Colonel Sykes paid him rare visits, he always recognized him amidst the crowd. One day, when the hyæna was asleep, this gentleman suddenly called him by his name; the poor beast as suddenly started on to his legs, looked up, rubbed his head against the bars of his cage, bounded about uttering short cries, looked sorrowfully at Colonel Sykes when he went away, and repeated these manifestations of joy when he returned.

The Spotted Hyæna has been called the Hyæna Capensis, from the belief that it only inhabited South Africa; but it is found as frequently in Guinea as the striped variety, and has just the same propensities. Near the Cape, however, it does more mischief, because colonists have settled themselves there, and their farms afford more valuable prey. They are said to prefer making an attack on strong, vigorous animals, because they run away, and the hyænas can follow them; but the weaker animals turn round and face their enemy, which always intimidates them.

Mr. Steedman, a South African traveller, gives an unmitigated bad character to the spotted hyænas, and says, that such is their preference for human[Pg 185] flesh, that they will even pass by the cattle, and seize on children as old as eight years.

The Straand Wolf of the Dutch, or the Villose Hyæna of Dr. Abel Smith, who has done so much for the natural history of Southern Africa, is less common than the other species; and often feeds on the shore, from its preference for those dead animals which are cast up by the sea. If, however, it be pressed by hunger, it commits just as many depredations as the others. It is extremely cunning, conceals itself by day among the mountains, or thick patches of forest, and preys at a great distance from its habitation.

Mr. Pringle confirms Mr. Steedman's accounts of the terrible havoc occasioned by the hyænas of South Africa, and says, that in the district of Somerset, they destroyed seventy foals in one year, belonging to the farmers; he, however, believes, that they never attack human beings by night or by day, and that they come in packs and play the part of four-footed vultures, even devouring their own kindred if they should chance to be killed; but no other beast of prey will eat them, from the offensive rankness of their flesh. The den of a spotted hyæna, that was kept in the Tower about twenty years ago, required some repair. The carpenter nailed a thick oaken plank upon the floor, about seven feet long, putting at least a dozen nails into it, each longer than his middle finger.[Pg 186] At one end of this piece of wood, there was a small projection, and not having a proper chisel with him by which he might remove it, the man returned to his shop to fetch one. While he was absent, some persons came to see the animals; and the hyæna was let down by the keeper into the part of the den in which the carpenter had been at work. Directly the beast saw the projecting piece of wood, he seized it with his teeth, tore the plank up, and drew out every nail with the utmost ease; which action will give a good idea of the muscular strength of this creature.

It is impossible to say why there should be such conflicting accounts of the hyæna, given by those whose veracity is undoubted. No one dreads them on the Gold Coast, but they seem to be the terror of all the inhabitants at, and to the north of the Cape, also in Abyssinia, where Bruce called them "the plagues of their lives," and we can scarcely forbear a smile, when we read that one of them stood by his bed-side, with a purloined bunch of candles in his mouth; having found his way to him even through the streets of Gondar.



I must be allowed to give a somewhat more lengthened description than I have bestowed on[Pg 187] other animals, to the Felidæ, or Cat-tribe, because the same characters serve for all; size and colour being almost the only difference among those of which I shall treat. Grace and strength are their universal attributes, the latter lying chiefly in the fore parts of their frames; such as their paws, legs, shoulders, neck and jaws; the former in their arched and rounded form, and the extreme suppleness of their joints. Their muzzle is short and round, some of their teeth are of enormous size and strength, their sight is very acute both by night and day; their eyes are set obliquely in the head, and always glare in the dark; and sometimes by day when they are in a rage. It is only in the smaller tribes that the pupil is vertically linear, when the full light causes it to contract. The ears are large, and the sense of hearing much developed. Their smell is not equally perfect, and the roughness of their tongue shews, that their taste cannot be very delicate. This roughness is caused by the horny papillæ, or small projections, with points directed backwards, which cover the tongue, and enable it to lick the flesh from the bones of their food. They have long bristles on each side of the mouth, which form the most sensitive organs of touch; each bristle being inserted in a bed of glands under the skin, communicating with a nerve. The claws of the Felidæ are extremely strong, sharp, and crooked; and all four-feet are furnished with them, five before,[Pg 188] and four behind; and the most effective system of muscular contrivance not only gives such force to the fore-paws, that a blow from one of these will fracture a man's skull, but keeps these claws from touching the ground, and enables the animal to draw them back into a sheath. In aid of this, the sole of the foot, and each of the toes, has a soft, elastic pad, or cushion under it, on which they walk, and as they never set the heel to the ground, their footsteps are noiseless, unless they choose them to be otherwise. It is with their formidable claws, and still more formidable teeth, that they tear their prey to pieces.

None of the Feline tribe will eat vegetables, unless domesticated, even then but rarely; and in their wild state, unless pressed by hunger, they will only eat what they themselves have killed. They have an abhorrence of anything which is decomposed. The fur, with the exception of the Lion's mane, and that of the cat, is short, close, and soft; capable, when dressed, of receiving a high polish. Many are striped and spotted with black, and the larger kinds, are generally of a warm, fulvous colour. The domestic cat is, however, often white, black, gray, and brindled; some leopards are black, and there is a small, beautiful wild cat, marked like the panther. All are very wary and cunning, and seldom face their foes. They lie in ambush for them, and suddenly spring upon them,[Pg 189] seeming to take a pleasure in prolonging their torments. They are very sensible to caresses and affection, but a blow, or angry word, rouses them to fury. They are certainly capricious, and sometimes without any apparent cause burst into fits of ill temper, therefore are by no means to be trusted, even in the midst of love and docility.

The backward carriage of his head, his majestic stride, and the deliberate manner in which he looks at his enemy, have caused the Lion to be called the king of beasts. He is only occasionally seen in the forests, and inhabits plains, where rocks, or low jungle, afford him a shelter. He, however, retreats before the advance of men, and has now deserted many of those regions where he was once undisputed lord of the country. The Lion of America is altogether different; therefore it may be said, that only Central Asia, and almost all Africa are traversed by him. Formerly the eastern boundary of Europe scarcely formed a limit to his presence; the Arabian literature is full of allusions to him, and the Holy Scriptures constantly attest his presence in Syria, during the times in which they were written.

The beauty of the Lion's mane is well known. According to Mr. Gordon Cumming, its colour varies with age, being fulvous and bright when young, black when the animal is in his full strength,[Pg 190] and grisly with old age. There has been, however, a species recently discovered in Guzerat, which has but little or no mane, it also has shorter limbs and tail, the latter having a larger brush at the end. It is bold, commits great havoc among the cattle; and is supposed to have been driven out of Cutch, by the practice adopted by the natives, of burning their grass. A nail or prickle at the end of a lion's tail is often found, but has nothing to do with the caudal vertebræ. It is probably a hardened piece of skin, or a mass of agglutinated hairs, in the manner of horn; it comes off with only a slight touch.

Lions come to their full strength at five years, but live a long time; for instance, one from the Gambia was proved to be sixty-three years of age. They sleep by day, and feed by night, lap their drink, and delight in coming forth in the midst of furious storms, when they add their mighty roars to those of the elements. Seldom does a tempest rage in tropical Africa, but its fearful sounds are increased by the din of wild animals; that of the lion being heard above all others. Countless are the histories of his depredations, and numerous are the daring and gallant exploits performed by Europeans against this noble game; the following is an abridgment of a narrative, from the pen of the Marchioness of Hastings; and published in the Miscellany of Natural History; herself being the heroine of the chase.[Pg 191]

"The field was taken in quest of three lions, supposed to be lurking near the tents. The ground was flat and ploughed. When we came to the edge of the jungle, we halted a little; the people came round in crowds, and, in a few minutes, the trees were covered with men, placed there by Fraser for observation. When we were sent for, we found Fraser by the side of the great canal—he had received intelligence of both a lion and a tiger, and he desired Barton and myself to go down upon an elephant, watch the bed of the canal, and move slowly to the south, while he advanced in a contrary direction. The rest of the party were to beat the jungle above, which was too thick to admit the passage of an elephant through it. We fell in with Fraser where the canal was a little wider, and neither of us had been successful, though we had searched every bush with our eyes, in passing along. He desired us to wait till he had mounted the bank to look after the rest of the elephants. He had hardly gone away before a lioness crossed the narrow neck of the canal, just before us, and clambered up the opposite bank. I fired, but missed her, and she ran along the bank to the westward. We turned round and had the mortification of seeing her again go through the water, at which our elephant became refractory, wheeled about, and was so unsteady as to prevent us from firing. We followed her up to the thicket, put the elephant's[Pg 192] head into it, and we heard the lioness growling close to us. Just as we were expecting her charge and had prepared our guns, round wheeled the elephant again, and became perfectly unmanageable. During the scuffle between the elephant and his driver, we heard the cry that the lioness was again off. She again crossed the Nullah, and just as we had got our elephant to go well in, the lioness ran back, and crouched under a thicket on our left, where she had been originally started. All this happened in less than a minute. Fraser then called to us to come round the bush, as the lioness being on a line with us, we prevented him from firing. Just as we got out of his reach, he fired, and when the elephant stopped I did the same. Both shots took effect, and the lioness lay and growled in a hollow, mellow tone. After a few discharges she tried to sally forth, but her loins were cut to pieces, which was fortunate for us, as her fore parts seemed strong and unhurt. She reared herself upon them, and cast towards us a look that bespoke revenge, complaint, and dignity. Her head, half averted from us, was turned back as if ready to start at us, if the wounds in her loins had not disabled her. As it was now a mercy to put an end to her sufferings, I took a steady aim, and shot her through the head. She fell dead at once, and her lower jaw was carried away; she was drawn up the bank and pronounced to be two years old. She had thrown[Pg 193] one man down, and got him completely under her with his turban in her mouth, when a shot grazed her side. She immediately left her hold and crossed the canal, where we first perceived her."

There used to be, and perhaps is still, a lion in the menagerie of Brussels, whose cell requiring some repairs, his keeper desired a carpenter to set about them; but when he saw the lion, he drew back with terror. The keeper entered the cell, and then led the animal to the upper part of it, where he amused himself by playing with him, and then fell asleep. The carpenter, fully trusting to the vigilance of the keeper, pursued his work, and when he had finished, called to him to inspect what he had done. The man made no answer; the carpenter called again and again, but to no purpose, and, being alarmed, went to the upper part of the den, and looked through the railing. Seeing the lion and his keeper sleeping side by side, he uttered a loud cry. The lion suddenly awakened, started up, looked furiously at the carpenter, and placing his paw on the breast of his keeper, lay down to sleep again. The carpenter was dreadfully frightened, and ran out, telling what he had seen. Some of the attendants went and opened the door which the carpenter had secured with several bars, and contrived to wake the keeper; who, on opening his eyes, did not appear to be in the least frightened at his situation. He took the paw of the lion, shook[Pg 194] it, and quietly led him down to the lower part of his residence.

It is from Mr. Pringle and Mr. Gordon Cumming that we derive the most stirring adventures with lions; and I profit by the advantage afforded me by their pages. The first was a relation of mine by marriage, and I have enjoyed frequent conversations with him concerning his travels; rendered the more extraordinary by his lameness, which proved the energy of that mind which could thus surmount bodily infirmity.

Mr. Cumming still lives to tell his own tales; and no one can hear or read his words without seeing that he has one of those ardent spirits which loves danger for the sake of danger, and that his indomitable courage and hardihood, from his early years, when he killed the deer on his father's domains, prepared him to be what he now is, the most successful of all men in his warfare with wild animals.

In a note to the "Poetical Remains of Mr. Pringle," I find the following remarkable escape:—"Lucas Van Buren usually carried a huge elephant gun, as long and unwieldy as himself; but left it at home one day when he had most need of it. He was riding across the open plains, near the Little Fish river, one morning about day break, when observing a lion at a distance, he endeavoured to avoid him by making a circuit. There were thousands of[Pg 195] spring-bocks scattered over the extensive flats; but from the open nature of the country, the lion had probably been unsuccessful in his hunting. Lucas soon perceived that he was not disposed to let him pass without further parlance, and that he was rapidly approaching to the encounter. Being without his gun, the farmer, little inclined to cultivate his acquaintance, turned his horse off at a right angle, and galloped for life. But it was too late; the horse was fagged, and bore a heavy man upon his back; the lion was fresh, furious with hunger, and came down upon him like a thunder-bolt. In a few minutes he brought man and horse to the ground. Luckily, the man was not hurt, and the lion was too much occupied with the horse to pay any attention to him. Hardly knowing how he escaped, he contrived to do so, and reached the nearest house. His remarks, when he related his adventure, were concerning the audacity of the lion in attacking a Christian man; but his chief vexation was about the saddle. He returned to the spot the next day, and found the horse's bones picked clean, lion and saddle having both disappeared. Lucas said he could excuse the beast for killing the horse, as he had allowed himself to escape; but the abstraction of the saddle, for which, he added, the lion could not possibly have any use, raised his spleen, and called down a shower of abuse whenever he related the story.[Pg 196]

"We had," says Mr. Pringle, "been to tea with Captain Cameron's family, to whom, as we were only three miles distant, we considered ourselves next-door neighbours; and as the weather was fine, we rode home by moonlight, jesting all the way about wild beasts and Caffres, and not at all suspecting that a lion was dogging us through the bushes the whole way home.

"About midnight I was awakened by an unusual noise in the cattle-fold, and looking out, saw all our horned cattle spring over the high thorn fence, and scamper round the place. Fancying that a hyæna, which I had heard howling when I went to bed, had alarmed the animals, I sallied forth to have a shot at it. I, however, could not find any cause for the disturbance, and calling a Hottentot to drive back the cattle, and shut them in, I again went to bed. The next morning Captain Cameron rode over to say, his herdsman had discovered that a large lion had followed us up the valley, and then, on further inspection, we found he had visited the fold, and carried off a sheep. He appeared to have retreated to the mountains, and we did not pursue him.

"The lion, however, was not disposed to let us off so easily. He returned that night, and killed my favourite riding-horse, a little more than a hundred yards from my door; I then considered it right to take measures for defence, and called forth a party[Pg 197] for his pursuit, the Hottentots saying that as he had only eaten a small part of the horse he would be in the vicinity. Seventeen horsemen, Mulattoes and Hottentots, and a number of strong hounds, soon assembled.

"The Hottentots traced the lion on foot, discovering his spoor, or track, with surprising dexterity, and found him in a large thicket about a mile distant. The dogs failed to dislodge him, the Mulattoes rode round the jungle, and fired into it, but without effect. At last three Scotchmen determined to march in, provided the Mulattoes would support their fire. Regardless of the warnings of more prudent men, they went in, and, as they thought, found the lion crouched among the roots of a large evergreen bush, glaring at them from under the foliage. They fired and struck, not the lion, but a great block of sand-stone, which they bad mistaken for him; but beyond which he was actually lying. With a furious growl he bolted from the bush; the Mulattoes fled helter-skelter, leaving the Scots with empty guns, tumbling over each other in their haste to escape. In a twinkling he was upon them, with one stroke of his paw dashed John Rennie to the ground, and with one foot upon him, looked round upon his assailants in conscious power and pride, and with the most noble and imposing port that could be conceived. It was the most magnificent thing I ever witnessed; but the danger of[Pg 198] our friends was too great to enjoy the picture. We expected every minute to see one or more of them torn to pieces; and yet in their position, one lying under the lion's paw, and the others scrambling towards us, we dared not fire. Fortunately, however, the lion, after steadily surveying us, turned calmly away, drove off the hounds with his heels, as if they had been rats, and bounded over the adjoining thicket like a cat, clearing bushes twelve or fifteen feet high, as if they had been tufts of grass.

"Our comrade had sustained no other injury than a scratch upon the back, and a severe bruise, and we renewed the chase. We found the enemy standing at bay under a mimosa tree. The dogs barked round him, but were afraid to approach; for he growled fiercely, and brandished his tail in a manner that showed he meditated mischief. The Hottentots, by taking a circuit, reached a precipice above him, another party of us occupied a position on the other side of the glen, so that the lion was between two fires; he became confused, we battered away at him, and he fell, pierced with many wounds. He appeared to be full grown, and six years old, measuring eleven feet from the nose to the tip of the tail. His fore leg, below the knee, was so thick, that I could not span it with both hands; his head was almost as large as that of an ordinary ox. His flesh, which I had the curiosity to taste, resem[Pg 199]bled very white, coarse beef, and was insipid rather than disagreeable."

The ensuing histories are from Mr. Gordon Cumming's pen;—"A buffalo was wounded, and two hunters in pursuit of him were joined by three lions, who also gave chase, and getting before the gentlemen sprang upon the buffalo. The latter, being very large, struggled much; the hunters fired upon the lions, and as each ball struck, the latter seemed to think the blood which flowed came from the buffalo's bones; consequently, two were easily secured, but the third had the sense to walk away.

"The Oryx sometimes fights the lion, and is victorious; but the bodies have been seen lying close together, the lion having been pierced through by the horns of the gemsbok, and as he could not draw them out again, each died from the mortal blow inflicted by, at least, one of them.

"Hendrick and Ruyter lay on one side of the fire under one blanket, and John Stefolus on the other; the fire was very small, and the night was pitch dark and windy. Suddenly the appalling and murderous voice of an angry, blood-thirsty lion burst upon my ear, within a few yards of us, followed by the shrieking of the Hottentots. Again and again the terrific roar of attack was repeated. We heard John and Ruyter shriek, 'The lion! the lion!' Still, for a few minutes, all thought he was only chasing one of the dogs round the kraal; but the[Pg 200] next instant John Stefolus rushed into the midst of us almost speechless with fear, his eyes bursting from their sockets, and shrieked out, 'The lion! the lion! he has got Hendrick; he dragged him away from the fire; I struck him with the burning brand upon his head, but he would not let go his hold. Hendrick is dead! Let us take fire and look for him!' The rest of my people rushed about, shrieking and yelling as if they were mad. I was angry with them for their folly, and told them if they did not stand still and keep quiet, the lion would have another of us; most likely there was a troop of them. The dogs were let loose, and the fire increased. Hendrick's name was shouted; but all was then still. I told the men he was dead, and had everything brought within the cattle-fold, lighted a fire, and closed the entrance as well as we could. We sat with our guns in our hands till daylight, expecting a lion every moment; the dogs fought one another, then got scent of the lion, and barked at him till day broke, he now and then driving them back; and he lay all the night within forty yards of the party, having dragged the man into a little hollow at the back of the bush. He had grappled him with his claws, and bitten him in the breast and shoulder, all the while feeling for his neck, and when he got hold of that dragged him into the shade. The poor man cried, 'Help me, help me, oh God! Men, help me!' then all[Pg 201] was still, except that his comrades heard the cracking of his bones. The beast did not heed the beating about the head with the burning wood. The lion dragged the remains of him away the next morning, but in the hollow was found one of poor Hendrick's legs, the shoe still on the foot, with fragments of his coat. The next day came the lion's turn; for the party, by killing him, avenged the death of poor Hendrick."

It has often been said that the human voice has great power over the fiercest animals; and I do not think a stronger proof of it can be met with, than in this adventure of Mr. Gordon Cumming's:—"I fired at the nearest lioness, having only one shot in my rifle. The ball told badly; the lioness at which I had fired wheeled right round, and came on, lashing her tail, showing her teeth, and making that horrid, murderous, deep growl, which an angry lion generally utters. Her comrade hastily retreated. The instant the lioness came on, I stood up to my full height, holding my rifle, and my arms extended high above my head. This checked her in her course, but on looking round, and missing her comrade, and observing Ruyter slowly advancing, she was still more exasperated, and fancying that she was near being surrounded, she made another forward movement, growling terribly. This was a moment of great danger, I felt that my only chance of safety was extreme steadiness, so, stand[Pg 202]ing motionless as a rock, with my eyes firmly fixed upon her, I called in a clear, commanding voice, "Holloa, old girl! What's the hurry? take it easy! Holloa! holloa!" She once more halted and seemed perplexed, looking round for her comrade. I then thought it prudent to beat a retreat, which I very slowly did, talking to the lioness all the time. She seemed undecided as to her future movements, and was gazing after me, and snuffing the ground, when I last beheld her."

I copy the ensuing anecdote from Mr. Campbell's second journey to Africa. "A lion had been near to a bushman's hut the whole night, waiting, it was supposed for the arrival of his companions, to assist in attacking the family; and if they had made the attack in conjunction with each other, it is probable they would have met with success. Two Bootchuana herdsmen, attending near the place next morning, saw him and ran to inform the people. On their way they met six Griquas coming to attack the formidable creature, having already heard he was there. Advancing towards him, they fired, and wounded, but did not disable him. Enraged by pain, he advanced to take revenge on his assailants. On seeing him approach, the Griquas leaped from their horses, formed them into a close line with their tails towards the lion, and took their stand at the horse's heads. The enraged animal flew upon a Bootchuana who was not protected by[Pg 203] the horses, and who tried to defend himself with his kaross, or skin cloak. The lion, however, caught him by the arm, threw him on the ground; and while the poor man still tried to defend himself, by keeping the kaross round him, the lion got under it, and gnawed part of his thigh. His Bootchuana companion at that time threw his assagai, which entered the lion's back. The Griquas would have fired, but were afraid of shooting the man; in order then to drive him away, they made a great noise, and threw some stones. The lion then left the man, and rushed on them, when they again checked his attack by turning the horses round. He next crept under the belly of a mare, and seized her by the fore legs, but with a powerful kick she made him let go his hold. In revenge, and by one stroke of his paw, he tore open the body of the mare, and retired. After this, he tried to get round the horses to the men, but when on the point of making a spring, he was happily killed by a musket ball, the ball penetrating behind the ear."

It is singular, says Mr. Sparrman in his African travels, that the lion is reported frequently, although provoked, to content himself with sometimes only wounding the human species, or at least to wait some time before he gives the fatal blow to the unhappy victim he has got under him. A farmer had the misfortune to see a lion seize two of his oxen, at the very instant he had[Pg 204] taken them out of the wagon, but they fell down dead, having had their backs broken. A father and two sons were in search of a lion, when he rushed upon them, threw one of them under his feet, but he received no great hurt, for the two others shot him dead upon the spot. Another farmer had lain some time under a lion, received several bruises from the beast, and was a good deal bitten by him in one arm, but the noble animal, as it were, gave him his life: nevertheless, others say, that if a lion once taste human blood, he for ever after thirsts for it. So strong is this opinion in India, that an officer who was asleep with his left hand out of bed, was awoke by his pet lion licking him. Of course the rough tongue brought blood, and he tried to withdraw his hand. The lion gave a slight growl, upon which the officer took a loaded pistol from under his pillow, and shot him dead, feeling convinced if he escaped then, he should never again be safe.

I might multiply my stories of destruction and escapes, till they alone would form a volume, but I would rather give a few instances of the gratitude of this magnificent creature. "One day," relates Mr. Hope, "the company attended the Duchess of Hamilton to see her lion fed; and while they were teasing and provoking him, the porter came and said, that a sergeant with some recruits at the gate begged to see the lion. Her grace afforded permis[Pg 205]sion; the lion was growling over his prey, the sergeant advanced to the cage, called "Nero, Nero, don't you know me," and the animal instantly raised his head; rose, left his food, and wagging his tail went to the bars of his cage. The man patted him, and then said it was three years since they had seen each other, that he had taken charge of the lion from Gibraltar, and he was glad to see the poor beast shew so much gratitude. The lion, indeed, seemed to be perfectly pleased, went to and fro, rubbing himself against the place where his old friend stood, and licked the sergeant's hand as he held it out to him."

A lion, which, for its extreme beauty, was to be sent to Paris from Senegal, fell sick before the departure of the vessel, and was let loose to die on an open space of ground. A traveller there, as he returned home from a hunting excursion, found him in a very exhausted state, and compassionately poured a quantity of milk down his throat. Thus refreshed, the poor beast recovered. From that time he became so tame, and was so attached to his benefactor, that he afterwards ate from his hand and followed him like a dog, with only a string tied round his neck.

M. Felix, one of the keepers of the animals of the Menagerie in Paris, became so ill, that another person was obliged to perform his duty. A male lion, whom, with a female, he himself had brought[Pg 206] to the place, remained constantly at one end of his cage, and refused to eat anything given him by the stranger, at whom he often roared. He even disliked the company of the female, and paid no attention to her. The animal was supposed to be ill, and yet no one dared to approach him. At length M. Felix recovered, and intending to surprise the lion, showed his face between the bars. In a moment the beast made a bound, leaped against the bars, caressed him with his paws, licked his face, and trembled with pleasure. The female also ran to him; but the lion drove her back, as if she were not to snatch any of the favours from Felix, and he was about to quarrel with her. The keeper then entered the cage, and caressed them by turns, and after that often went to them, and had complete control over them. They would obey all his commands, and all their recompense was to lick his hand.

A curious circumstance took place at New Orleans in the year 1832, when a bear was let down into the cage of an old African lion, supposing it would be torn to pieces. As many people were assembled to see the barbarous exhibition, the bear placed himself in a fighting posture, and flew at the lion; but, to the great disappointment of all present, the lion placed his paw upon the bear's head, as if to express his pity, and tried to make friends with him. He took the bear under his protection, suffered no one[Pg 207] to approach close to the cage, and did not sleep till he was exhausted, so closely did he watch over his new friend. He suffered the bear to eat, but long refused food for himself, and when the last accounts were received, continued to guard the bear as jealously as possible.

The lioness has no mane; is smaller, and more slender in her proportions than the male; she carries her head even with the line of her back, and wants the majestic courage of the lion, but she is more agile. Her temper is more irritable, and Mr. Gordon Cumming says:—"She is more dangerous before she has been a mother; yet every vestige of tameness or docility vanishes when she is a mother, and she is then in a constant state of excitement, getting into the most violent fury if any one should attempt to touch her cubs." The story of the lioness which one night attacked one of the horses of the Exeter mail has been told so many different ways, that I am glad to copy the correct account from Captain Brown's "Popular Natural History":—"She had made her escape from a travelling Menagerie, on its way to Salisbury fair, and suddenly seized one of the leading horses. This, of course, produced great alarm and confusion, which was not lessened by perceiving what the enemy was; and two inside passengers took refuge in a house. A large mastiff attacked the intruder, upon which she quited the horse, and turned upon him; he[Pg 208] fled, but she pursued and killed him, after running forty yards. On the alarm being given, her keepers went after her, till she took refuge under a granary, with the dog still within her teeth. They barricaded her there to prevent her escape, and she roared there so loudly, that she was heard half a mile off. She was afterwards secured and taken to her den; and of course her adventure increased the celebrity of the menagerie to which she belonged. Before this happened, she was considered as very tame, and never had given any signs of ferocity; she therefore affords another example, that it is not safe to trust these animals: of course the poor horse was dreadfully torn, and the expressions of his agony were most affecting; the lioness, however, had missed the vital parts."

The Puma or Cougar, of North and South America, is generally called a lion, but he has no mane, or tufted tail, and when young, his pale, fawn coat, is striped with blackish brown. These marks however, disappear with age. He is the largest of the feline tribe on that continent, and is very destructive to smaller animals. He rarely attacks man, and on some occasions evinces as much courage as the true lion, and a curious observation has been made by travellers, that he becomes less bold as he approaches to the north. One given to Professor Jamieson of Edinburgh, seemed to delight in playing with a tub of water, he also played with[Pg 209] dogs and monkeys without the slightest interruption to their good understanding; but if a goat or a fowl came in sight, they were snapped up immediately. He made his escape one night in London; and offered no resistance when caught by a watchman. He is hunted on the Pampas by dogs, and the Indians secure him with the bolas or the lasso. He climbs trees with great facility; his skin makes excellent gloves; and many persons consider his flesh to be dainty food.

Mr. Waterton, in one of his essays, makes some remarks, and relates a story which ought to be inserted in every book which treats of feline animals; therefore, although many others have quoted them, I do not apologize for inserting an abridgment of them here. He says, all animals of the dog tribe must be combated with might and main, and with unceasing exertion, in their attacks upon man; for from the moment they obtain the mastery, they worry and tear their victim as long as life remains in it. On the contrary, animals of the cat tribe, having once overcome their prey, cease for a certain time to inflict further injury upon it. Thus, during the momentous intervals, from the stroke which has laid a man beneath a lion, to the time when the lion shall begin to devour him, the man may have it in his power to rise again; either by his own exertions, or by the fortunate intervention of an armed friend. But then all[Pg 210] depends upon quiet on the part of the man, until he plunges his dagger into the heart of the animal; for if he tries to resist, he is sure to feel the force of his adversary's claws and teeth with redoubled vengeance. Many years ago, Colonel Duff, in India, was laid low by the stroke of a Bengal tiger. On coming to himself, he found the animal standing over him. Recollecting that he had his dirk by his side, he drew it out of the case, in the most cautious manner possible, and by one happy thrust quite through the heart, he laid the tiger dead at his side.

The particular instance, however, to which Mr. Waterton alludes, and which was told him by the parties themselves, I now briefly give:—The weather was intolerably sultry. After vainly spending a considerable time in creeping through the grass and bushes, with the hope of discovering the place of the lion's retreat, they (the party) concluded that he had passed quite through the jungle, and gone off in an opposite direction. Resolved not to let their game escape, Lieutenants Delamain and Lang returned to the elephant, and immediately proceeded round the jungle, expecting to discover the route which they conjectured the lion had taken. Captain Woodhouse, however, remained in the thicket, and as he could discern the print of the animal's foot on the ground, he boldly resolved to follow up the track at all hazards. The[Pg 211] Indian game-finder who continued with his commander, at last espied the lion in the covert, and pointed him out to the Captain, who fired, but unfortunately missed his mark. There was now no alternative left but to retreat and load his rifle. Having retired to a distance he was joined by Lieutenant Delamain, who had dismounted from his elephant on hearing the report of the gun. This unexpected meeting increased the Captain's hopes of ultimate success. He pointed out to the Lieutenant the place where he would probably find the lion, and said he would be up with him in a moment or two.

Lieutenant Delamain on going eight or ten paces down, got a sight of the lion and discharged his rifle at him. This irritated the mighty king, and he rushed towards him. Captain Woodhouse now found himself placed in an awkward situation. He was aware that if he retraced his steps in order to put himself in a better position for attack he would just get to the point to which the lion was making, wherefore he instantly resolved to stand still, in the hopes that the lion would pass by at a distance of four yards or so, without perceiving him, as the intervening cover was thick and strong. In this, however, he was deceived; for the enraged lion saw him as he passed, and flew at him with a dreadful roar. In an instant, as though it had been done by a stroke of lightning, the rifle was broken and thrown out of the Captain's hand, his left[Pg 212] leg at the same moment being seized by the claws, and his right arm by the teeth, of his desperate antagonist. Lieutenant Delamain ran up and discharged his piece full at the lion; and this caused the lion and the Captain to come to the ground together, whilst the Lieutenant hastened out of the jungle to re-load his gun. The lion now began to crunch the Captain's arm; but the brave fellow, notwithstanding the pain, had the cool determined resolution to lie still. The lordly savage let the arm drop out of his mouth, and quietly placed himself in a couching position, with both his paws upon the thigh of his fallen foe. While things were in this untoward situation, the Captain unthinkingly, raised his hand to support his head, which had got placed ill at ease in the fall. No sooner, however, had he moved it, than the lion seized the lacerated arm a second time; crunched it as before, and fractured the bone still higher up. This additional memento mori from the lion was not lost on Captain Woodhouse; it immediately put him in mind that he had committed an act of imprudence in stirring. The motionless state in which he persevered after this broad hint, shewed that he had learnt to profit by the painful lesson.

The two Lieutenants were now hastening to his assistance, and he heard the welcome sound of feet approaching; but unfortunately they were in a wrong direction, as the lion was betwixt them and[Pg 213] him. Aware that if his friends fired, the balls would hit him, after they had passed through the lion's body, Captain Woodhouse quietly pronounced, in a low and subdued tone, "to the other side! to the other side!" Hearing the voice, they looked in the direction from whence it proceeded, and to their horror saw their brave comrade in his utmost need. Having made a circuit, they cautiously came up on the other side; and Lieutenant Delamain, whose coolness in encounters with wild beasts had always been conspicuous, from a distance of about a dozen yards, fired at the lion over the person of the prostrate warrior. The lion merely quivered; his head dropped upon the ground, and in an instant he lay dead on his side, close to his intended victim.



The Tiger is exclusively an Asiatic animal, and his range extends, not only over the more southern part of that continent, but to the larger islands of the Archipelago, where he is particularly destructive. He is as tall as the lion, but not quite so powerful; he is, however, more agile, more graceful, and more insidious. He crouches, and mostly springs in the same manner as the lion and other feline animals; he is more ferocious, and will even fight with the lion. He seems to delight in blood itself, for he will kill several victims, suck their[Pg 214] blood, and leave their carcasses to be devoured at another opportunity.

The colour of the tiger is a bright orange tawny, white underneath, and broad black stripes on the back, sides and tail. His head is rounder than that of the lion, and he takes the most enormous leaps; he is to be tamed to a certain extent, but never trusted. He prowls both night and day; and in some places, the devastation he has caused is terrific. Nothing can exceed the tragic tales which are told of him, in the countries where he exists in numbers; and in one part of India, it is said that at least three hundred lives were taken every year, within a district containing seven villages, independent of an enormous number of sheep, goats, and cattle. Horses will not stand in his presence with any steadiness; and the elephant is restless when in his vicinity. This sagacious animal often manages to shake him off; and if he have taken hold of his trunk, he tramples on him with his fore-feet and so destroys him. If he cannot dislodge him from his body, he lies down upon him, and attempts to kill him by rolling his ponderous weight upon him. Seldom, however, is the tiger the aggressor, unless he be driven to it by hunger, or maddened by pain and despair, and then he struggles till he dies. He hides himself with such caution and skill, that travellers are laid hold of without being aware of his vicinity. The bride has been snatched from her[Pg 215] camel, the sportsman from his elephant, and the child from its mother.

Tigers are much more easily caught in traps than lions; and those most used, are made so as to fall upon them when they seize the bait. In Sumatra the natives poison the carcasses which are left for them, or they fasten these baits to a stake, or tree, and place a vessel filled with arsenic and water near by, of which the tiger invariably drinks, after making a full meal.

A tiger is easily started by a sudden noise, as the well-known story of Mrs. Day and her umbrella will prove; but I have another and more recent instance of this, which occurred to my brother. He was one evening on his return to his own house, from that of a brother officer with whom he had been dining, and he was met by his servants, who intreated of him to make haste home, for there was a tiger prowling round; and, in fact, a jackal was close to him, who so often accompanies the tiger when seeking his prey. My brother had been two or three years in India, and yet had never seen one of these animals, so he told his men they might return, but he should stay, for he much wished to see a tiger. They in vain tried to dissuade him; but, fancying the beast was close by, they all ran away, and left him to his fate. He sat down quietly by the bank of his garden, and had not been there long when the tiger actually appeared. He stopped,[Pg 216] looked very grand, and seemed doubtful whether he should make an attack on the motionless person before him, and there never was a more beautiful animal than he appeared to be. He uttered a sort of growl, and crouched down, as the cat often does when tormenting a mouse; and my brother almost gave himself up for lost. He fancied that he had been hidden, and that the tiger could not perceive him as he passed; but he took off his grenadier cap, which was large, and covered with bear's skin, and putting it before his face roared in it as loudly as he could; the noise and the action so surprised the tiger, that he turned round, and leaped into the neighbouring thicket. My brother hastened away, and met his servants, who, now the danger was over, were coming to protect their master with drums and torches.

The tiger has been known to snatch without springing, of which the following anecdote, told me by a friend, is a confirmation. He was going up one of the rivers in Assam, at the time when our troops took possession of that country, in a covered boat, and his principal servant retired on to the roof of the covering, to smoke at his ease. The river was narrow, the banks were high, and they were going at a leisurely pace, when my friend heard a slight scuffle over his head, then a scream, followed by the cries of his party. On inquiring the cause, the latter told him that a tiger had crept on to the[Pg 217] top of the boat, put out his paw, laid hold of the man as the boat passed, and dragged him into the jungle.

The history of an unfortunate guide is an instance of the immediate mischief which ensues from the first blow of one of these powerful creatures. The poor man remonstrated with the officer, whose party he was conducting, on the imprudence of marching before daylight; but the officer, supposing it to be laziness, threatened to punish him if he did not go on. The man took his shield and sword, and walked along the narrow path, bordered on each side by high grass and bamboo. After going five miles, the officer heard a tremendous roar, and a large tiger passed him, so close, that he nearly brushed his horse, and sprang upon the guide. The latter lifted up his shield, but he was down in an instant, and under the tiger's paws, who seized him with his teeth, growled, and looked at the officer. The tiger was attacked, and so severely wounded that he dropped his victim; but it was all over with the poor guide, the first blow had literally smashed his head in pieces.

In a plain near the Narbudda river, a party were hunting a tiger; but the beast did not seem inclined to come to a battle with his antagonists. He trotted across the plain, and as he passed an unfortunate cow, he raised his paw, gave her a blow on the shoulder, and she fell. He went on, and when[Pg 218] the hunters examined the cow, she was dead, he having left the print of every toe, and, in fact, every part of his paw upon the shoulder blade, without making the smallest wound.

The following anecdotes have been obtained from various sources, and some of the narrators were actors in the scenes described. A tiger had sprung upon the shoulder of Lieutenant Colnett's elephant, who in this situation fired at him, and he fell. Conceiving him to be disabled, the Lieutenant descended from the elephant for the purpose of dispatching him with his pistols; but in alighting, he came in contact with the tiger, who had only crouched for a second spring, and who, catching hold of him by the thigh, dragged him some distance along the ground. Having succeeded in drawing one of a brace of pistols from his belt, Lieutenant Colnett fired, and lodged a ball in the body of the tiger, when the beast became enraged, shook him violently without letting go his hold, and made off towards the thickest part of the jungle with his prey. In the struggle to disengage himself from the clutches of the animal, the Lieutenant caught hold of the tiger by both his ears, and succeeded, after some time, in throwing the beast on his side, when he availed himself of his momentary release to draw forth the remaining pistol, and placing the muzzle at the breast of the tiger, shot him through the heart. He then returned to his elephant, which he mounted without assistance,[Pg 219] feeling at the moment little pain from his wounds, although he received no fewer than thirty-five, from the effects of which he long afterwards continued to suffer.

A very large Royal tiger descended from some heights. After he had settled himself, a party advanced, and he seemed anxious to charge, but showed great reluctance to quit the spot where he had rested. Several balls struck him in the flanks, and a musket ball having pierced his side obliquely, passed through his liver, and he did not rise again. His skin measured ten feet four inches and a half, and he was ten years of age; for he had ten lobes to his liver, and it is by the appearance of the tiger's liver that the natives ascertain the age.

I have quoted the above anecdote, not to prove the truth of the circumstance as regards the tiger's liver, but as a tradition among the inhabitants.

The people of Chittagong were alarmed by the appearance of a tigress, who was first discovered among some cattle that were grazing at the mouth of the river. On the first alarm, the natives of the vicinity assembled with all speed and advanced against her. Irritated by this, she sprang furiously on the person nearest to her, and wounded him severely. The immediate attack of the crowd, however, was successful in rescuing the man from her grasp. On this the tigress, finding herself hemmed in on all sides, and seeing no way of avoiding the multitude,[Pg 220] except by the river, took to the water, and swam about five miles, closely pursued by the natives in their boats, until she landed under a tree in a dockyard. Here she laid herself down, apparently much fatigued; but before the people in the yard could get their fire arms ready, she had, in a great degree, recovered her strength. Several shots were fired at her, and two of them penetrated her body, one of which lamed her. Rendered desperate by this, she advanced against her new opponents, and singling out a European gentleman in the yard, who was provided with a cutlass, she sprang upon him before he could make use of his weapon; knocked him down with her fore paw, seized his head in her mouth, bit off a considerable part of the skin of his forehead, and wounded him in several places. After this, she sprang upon a native, fractured his skull, and otherwise lacerated him so dreadfully that he died next day. She then entered a thicket close by, where she was allowed to remain unmolested. On the morning of the following day, she had got about a mile further from the water side, and near to a sepoy village. Here she was surrounded by about a thousand natives, when, although she was very lame, she sprang furiously on several of them, and wounded one poor woman so dreadfully, as to occasion her death. A fortunate shot, however, laid the animal prostrate.

There is an account of a tame tiger which[Pg 221] was brought from China in the Pitt East Indiaman, "who was so far domesticated as to admit of every kind of familiarity from the people on board. He seemed to be quite harmless and as playful as a kitten. He frequently slept with the sailors in their hammocks, and would suffer two or three of them to repose their heads on his back, as upon a pillow, while he lay stretched upon the deck. In return for this, he would, however, now and then steal their meat. Having one day carried off a piece of beef from the carpenter, the man followed the animal, took it out of his mouth, and beat him severely for the theft, which punishment he suffered with all the patience of a dog. He would frequently run out upon the bowsprit, climb about like a cat, and perform a number of tricks, with astonishing agility. There was a dog on board, with whom he often played in the most amusing manner; he was only a month or six weeks old when he was taken on board, and arrived in England before he had completed a year."

The tiger is not as fond of his children as the lion is, and often abandons the female while she is rearing her young. The tigress will destroy her offspring as the cat does; but the following is an instance of her affection, taken from Captain Williamson's "Oriental Field Sports." This officer had two tiger cubs brought to him, which had been discovered, with two more, by some villagers while their mother had been in quest of prey. The[Pg 222] captain put them into a stable where they were very noisy during the night. A few days having elapsed, their mother at length discovered where they were, came to relieve them, and replied to their cries by tremendous howlings, which induced their keeper to set the cubs at liberty, lest the dam should break in. She had carried them off to an adjoining jungle before morning.

Bishop Heber happily compares the slight movement of the long grass of the jungle, which betrays the presence of the tiger, to the bubbles which rise to the surface of water, and show the lurking place of the otter.

The immense strength of the tiger is frequently shown by the manner in which he throws his prey over his shoulder, and conveys it to his lair to be devoured. One is said to have carried a buffalo in this manner, which weighed a thousand pounds. Captain Brown gives the following account of the innate love of flesh displayed by the tiger:—"A party of gentlemen from Bombay, one day visiting the stupendous temple of Elephants, discovered a tiger's whelp in one of the obscure recesses. Desirous of kidnapping the cub, without encountering the fury of its dam, they took it up hastily and cautiously retreated. Being left entirely at liberty, and extremely well fed, the tiger grew rapidly, appeared tame, and in every respect domesticated. At length, when it had attained a great size, and,[Pg 223] notwithstanding its apparent gentleness, began to inspire terror by its tremendous powers of doing mischief. A piece of raw meat, dripping with blood, fell in its way. Hitherto it had been studiously kept from animal food; but the instant it had dipped its tongue in blood, something like madness seemed to have seized upon the animal. A destructive principle, hitherto dormant, was awakened; it darted fiercely and with glaring eyes upon its prey, tore it to pieces with fury, and roaring in the most fearful manner, rushed at once into the jungle."

I am not sorry to end this account of the tiger with an old story, which places the fierce beast of prey in rather a more amiable light than most of the previous histories. "A tigress of great beauty, from Bengal, being extremely docile on her passage home from Calcutta, was allowed to run about the vessel, and became exceedingly familiar with the sailors. On her arrival in the Thames, however, her temper became very irascible, and even dangerous. She was placed in the Tower, where she for some time continued to exhibit a sulky and savage disposition. One day, the person who had charge of her on board the ship, visited the Tower, and begged permission of the keeper to be allowed to enter her den, to which he at last agreed, though with much reluctance. No sooner did the tigress recognise her old friend, than she fawned upon him, licked, and caressed him, exhibiting the most extravagant[Pg 224] signs of pleasure; and when he left her, she whined and cried the whole day afterwards."



The Felis Leopardus and the Felis Pardus of authors, represent the Leopard and Panther; but it has been impossible to establish any characters which mark the difference between them. Size, colour, form, and position of spots have been resorted to, but age and locality have set all rules aside, and, therefore, in treating of them, I shall use the term indiscriminately. Their extreme beauty, and their greater docility, make them more interesting than the tiger; nevertheless, they, like others of the feline tribe, should not be treated too unreservedly. Their internal anatomy and dentition agree with those of the tiger, but they are of smaller and slighter make, are natives of the East, but particularly abundant in most parts of Africa. They are exceedingly active and graceful; swim, climb trees, or slide along the ground like a snake, and are very apt to spring upon their victims from the branches of trees. Their coat is of that beautiful shade of tawny, which forms so good a contrast with their black rosettes, or spots.

My first personal acquaintance with leopards and panthers was made on the leeward coast of Africa,[Pg 225] and one of the latter brought by Mr. Bowdich and myself in a living state to this country, at first delighted the men of science, because, in his remarkably beautiful coat, they hoped to find characters which would mark the difference between these two animals; but as we produced skin after skin, they began again to doubt, and the problem still remains unsolved. My history of the Ashanti panther has been so often repeated in various works, that I should hesitate to introduce it here, had it not more than once been presented to the public, in a form which did not originate with myself. The only other account from my own pen was supplied to Mr. Loudon, for his Magazine of Natural History, to which I now make a few additions.

The panther to which I allude, was one of two cubs, found in one of the forests of the kingdom of Ashanti. They were both taken to the king, and when Mr. Hutchison (the resident left in Kumasi by Mr. Bowdich) came to head-quarters, his Majesty desired this one to be presented to the Governor. He had suffocated his brother in a fit of romping, being much the larger of the two, but he was extremely docile and good-tempered, and was led by a chain only, being let loose when eating was going forward, on which occasions he received his share; but he helped himself to a fowl once or twice, and as he always gave it up to his master, he was occasionally employed to secure provisions when the[Pg 226] natives surlily refused a supply. He was one day sitting behind Mr. Hutchison, with his chin on the latter's shoulder, when this gentleman refreshed himself by pouring some lavender water on his handkerchief. In an instant, this panther tore it out of his hand, as if in a state of ecstasy, nor ceased to roll over it till the cambric was in fragments.

The day after his arrival at Cape Coast, he was led into the hall where we were all dining; and he received our salutations with apparent pleasure. On one occasion he stood on his hind legs, and put his fore paws on the shoulders of an officer, who hastily retreated, and it was amusing to see the unconquerable dread of him which assailed men who were undaunted where men only were concerned. We named the panther "Saï" after the king, and he was kept in a small court; his claws and teeth were filed, and no live food was given to him. A boy was appointed to watch him. He was perfectly harmless; and the only violence he evinced, was when a servant pulled his food from him, and he then tore a piece out of the man's leg. Once he escaped, and dashed on to the ramparts, where he caused a scene of confusion which was quite laughable; the sentinels fled, the officers closed their doors, the castle gates were shut; but when he was tired of his scamper, the playful beast quietly laid himself down under a gun carriage, and suffered his attendant to lead him away. At last he was allowed to roam at large,[Pg 227] orders being given to prevent his going beyond the gates; and the boy was desired not to leave him. He, however, often fell asleep, on which occasions Saï would come stealthily behind him as he sat upright, and knock him over with a blow from his paw, when he wagged his tail with delight. His principal amusement was to stand on his hind legs, his fore paws resting on the sill of one of the windows, his chin between them, and there contemplate all that was going on in the town below. But this was also a favourite pastime with my uncle's children; and there was not always room for all, so they often pulled him down by the tail, and took his place, without exciting his anger. His attachment to my uncle was very great, and he chiefly lived in his room. He missed him one day when he was holding a great palaver in the hall, and wandered about in search of him. The multitude prevented the panther from seeing his friend, and he wandered to other parts of the castle, among others to my room, where he laid himself down with a disconsolate look. The palaver over, the Governor returned to his room to write, and the door being open, he heard Saï coming slowly up the stairs. The panther started when he saw the object of his search, and as he made one bound across the room, my uncle gave himself up for lost; but the affectionate creature nestled his head into his master's shoulder, rubbed his cheek against him, and only tried by[Pg 228] caresses to evince his happiness. He was very fond of hiding himself under one of the sofas in the hall, where a rustling noise, a protruding paw, or an occasional peep from behind the cover, alone betrayed his presence. The Governor was once entertaining some officers from Elmina, when, in the midst of an animated discussion, they both turned pale, and stopped speaking. Their host looked up—"I beg your pardon," said one of them, "but are you aware what animal is now lying under that sofa?" "Saï," said my uncle, "come and speak to these gentlemen." The panther walked up to them, and both darted behind the Governor, nor did they feel comfortable when Saï was ordered back to his hiding-place. I bantered one of them about his fears when I met him at dinner; and he confessed that he had never been more frightened. One of the drollest circumstances attending Saï's presence at the castle, occurred to a woman who swept the floor of the great hall every day before dinner was laid, with a little hand-broom, called a prah-prah. She was engaged in her usual occupation, without knowing that Saï was there, and stooping almost on all fours; when with a sudden impulse of fun, the panther jumped upon her back, and stood there, wagging his tail. Naturally supposing she was going to be devoured, the poor prah-prah woman screamed so violently as to bring the other servants, whereupon they being of the same opinion as[Pg 229] herself, and thinking their turn might come next, ran away; nor was she released till the governor, hearing the noise, came to her assistance.

Before Saï was put on board the vessel in which we were to sail together, we had become the best friends possible; and I and my uncle coaxed him into the cage made for his accommodation. He was put into a canoe, the men belonging to which were so alarmed when he moved, that they upset the canoe, and the poor animal was plunged into the sea. We were watching him from a window in the castle, and gave him up for lost; but some of the sailors of the vessel, seeing the disaster, stepped into a boat, and rescued him. He was so subdued by his ducking, and the uncomfortable dampness of his cage, for no one dared to open it to wipe it out, that he rolled himself up in the corner, and only, after an interval of some days, was roused by my voice. When I first spoke he raised his head, held it first on one side then on the other, and when I came fully into view, jumped upon his legs, and appeared frantic with joy; he rolled himself over and over, howled, opened his enormous jaws, and seemed as if he could tear his cage to pieces, in order to get close to me. Gradually, however, his violence subsided; he was amply caressed; and from that time, ate everything which was offered to him: perhaps he had suffered from sea-sickness. I indulged him twice a week with some lavender water[Pg 230] put into a cup made of stiff paper, but never allowed him to have it when his claws were pushed forth; so that he learned to retract them at my bidding.

While we lay for weeks in the river Gaboon, he was never suffered to leave his cage, because the deck was constantly filled with black persons, to whom he always manifested a decided aversion. I have already mentioned his rage at seeing a chimpanzee and monkeys, and only secondary to this was the approach of pigs, whom he seemed to long to devour.

On the voyage to England direct, I thought he would have been starved to death; for we were boarded by pirates, who took almost all our provisions away, of course including our live stock, and if it had not been for the numerous parrots in the vessel, Saï must have met with a melancholy death. Some died daily as we came into colder climates, and he was allowed one each day. It was just enough to keep him from starving, and this sometimes made him seize it so ravenously, that he did not give himself time to pluck off the feathers; these in process of time formed a hard substance within the intestines, which made him very ill, he refused even his small portion of food, and I thought would have died; but I made some pills of calomel, butter, and flour, and put them very far down his throat, while his particular attendant, one of the cabin boys, held his jaws open. The boy slept in[Pg 231] the cage with him all night; and the next morning, I administered a further dose, which effected his cure.

Having, after a long absence from England, no accommodation for such an inmate, we, as speedily as possible, sought a home for him. He was presented to the duchess of York, who boarded him at Exeter Change, till she herself was going to Oatlands. I visited him more than once; and it was only by stratagem that I could get away without his following me. One morning the duchess called and played with him, when he appeared to be in perfect health. In the evening, when her coachman went to fetch him, he was dead, and his malady said to be inflammation of the lungs.

The Panther is considered as a sacred animal on the Gold Coast; and the priests demand a fine for each one that is killed; consequently, they and leopards (if there be any difference) are numerous, and occasionally commit much mischief. They leap over high walls, or stockades, and take away the sheep and goats kept within, leaping back with them in their mouths. They come into the streets of the towns or villages at night, where I have often seen them jumping about, and chasing each other. Our chief surgeon had a house on the outskirts of the forest, that he might enjoy more room than he could have in barracks; and one night,[Pg 232] while sleeping there, he thought he heard his servant boys (who generally remained all night in the verandah) dancing outside his bed-room door. He called to them to be quiet, and for a minute or two the noise ceased; as this happened several times, he rose, took a large stick, opened his door a little way, in order to punish them, when, instead of his sable attendants, he saw two large panthers performing their own dance; and it is scarcely necessary to say, that he quickly closed his door, and tolerated the nuisance.

A woman at Annamaboo was very much scarred on one arm and shoulder, in consequence of a panther having sprung upon her when her child was at her back, and she was carrying a pitcher of water. The pitcher fell, and she made so vigorous an attack upon his eyes, that he became bewildered, and retreated. This is not the only instance I have heard of wild and ferocious animals being driven away by blows on this part.

A little girl of fourteen, who was to have been my maid as soon as she was old enough, was not as fortunate as her neighbour; she being attacked by a panther who sprang upon her through an open window, in a room where she was sleeping by herself. Her cries brought her family round her, and the beast made his escape as he had entered, but having once tasted blood there, he was sure to return, and a trap was made which caught him the[Pg 233] ensuing night; the fine was paid, and the skin was given to me. The poor child had a piece of her scalp taken off, a triangular morsel had been bitten from her shoulder; and her throat had a gash on each side of her windpipe. All these wounds appeared as if they had been cut with a knife; none of them were mortal, but she had not strength to encounter the weakness they engendered. Her father brought her in a canoe to head-quarters for the attendance of an English surgeon, but she expired as she was carried ashore.

A party of us had gone to St. Mary's near the mouth of the river Gambia; and in the evening a bright moonlight induced us to take a walk. It was not very prudent; but we started, the commandant, a quaker lady and myself, to the outskirts of the forest. My female companion after we had advanced some distance, began to think of danger, and I, in mischief, rustled among the branches of the thicket in order to alarm her still more. We proceeded as far as a spring under a huge Baobab, where we stood for some time, till the monkeys began to pelt us from the tree over our heads. A slight movement in the bushes also seemed to say it was time to depart; and then, expatiating on our own fool-hardiness, we went on, and reached home in safety. The next morning we were informed, that an enormous leopard had been caught in a trap close to the spring, half an hour[Pg 234] after we had been there, and his footsteps had been traced upon mine in the sand. We never could understand, humanly speaking, what saved us, unless it were the long white plumes which waved from the hat of the commandant. These traps are generally pitfalls, baited, too often, with a live kid, whose cries entice the beast of prey.

The Jaguar is the leopard of America, and is also very destructive at times; hunger, however, is the prompter; and Baron Humboldt relates a story of a native woman, whose children used to play daily with one which came from the forest close by. She discovered it in consequence of the cry of one of the children, who received a scratch in play from their companion, who was a little too rough. Had he required a supper, the wound would probably have been more than a scratch. D'Azara, however, says, he is a very ferocious animal; causing great destruction among horses and asses. He is extremely fond of eggs, and goes to the shores frequented by turtles, and digs them out of the sand.

Two of the early settlers in the western states of America, a man and his wife closed their wooden hut, and went to pay a visit at a distance, leaving a freshly killed piece of venison hanging inside.

The gable end of this house was not boarded up as high as the roof, but a large aperture was left[Pg 235] for light and air. By taking an enormous leap, a hungry jaguar, attracted by the smell of the venison, had entered the hut, and devoured part of it; he was disturbed by the return of the owners, and took his departure. The venison was removed: the husband went away the night after to a distance, and left his wife alone in the hut. She had not been long in bed before she heard the jaguar leap in at the open gable; there was no door between her room and that in which he had entered, and she knew not how to protect herself. She, however, screamed as loudly as she could, and made all the violent noises she could think of, which served to frighten him away at that time; but she knew he would come again, and she must be prepared for him. She tried to make a large fire; but the wood was expended. She thought of rolling herself up in the bed clothes; but these would be torn off. The idea of getting under the low bedstead suggested itself, but she felt sure a paw would be stretched forth which would drag her out: her husband had taken all their fire-arms. At last, as she heard the jaguar this time scrambling up the end of the house, she, in despair, got into a large store chest, the lid of which closed with a spring. Scarcely was she within it, and had dragged the lid down, inserting her fingers between it and the side of the chest, when the jaguar discovered where she was; he smelt round the chest, tried[Pg 236] to get his head in through the crack, but fortunately he could not raise the lid; he found her fingers and began to lick them; she felt them bleed, but did not dare to move them, for fear she should be suffocated. At length the jaguar leaped on to the lid, and his weight, pressing down the lid, fractured these fingers. Still she could not move, he smelt round again, he pulled, he leaped on and off, till, at last, getting tired of his vain efforts, he went away. The poor woman lay there till daybreak, and then only, feeling safe from her enemy, she went as fast as her strength would let her to the nearest neighbour's, a distance of two miles, where she procured help for her wounded fingers, which were long getting well. On his return, her husband found a male and female jaguar in the forest close by, with their cubs; and all were destroyed.

As proof that these animals are as soon startled as the tiger, we are told of an Indian, who saw a fierce-looking jaguar standing directly in his path, at a distance of ten paces. At first he was extremely puzzled to know what to do; but a sudden impulse prompted him to take off his broad brimmed hat, make a low bow, and say, "A very good morning to you, Sir;" and to his surprise, the jaguar turned round, and walked leisurely away.

A very beautiful Ounce lived in the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris, which became[Pg 237] extremely tame; and Mdlle. Cuvier and I used very often to go and take him a walk, leading him from his den to a small space surrounded by high stakes: he required no other confinement to ensure his obedience, than twisting our hands in the loose skin of his neck, and he never failed at all times to recognise us with pleasure if we went into his vicinity.

The Cheetah is gentle and affectionate, and successfully trained for hunting.



Cats are diminished examples of the feline race; but their fur is longer than that of others, and they bear a greater resemblance to leopards than to lions. The idea of majesty is not connected with them, but they are celebrated for grace, elegance, suppleness, and insidiousness. There is yet a wild species in existence, which inhabits the mountainous and wooded districts of the northern part of England, and also Scotland, where it used formerly to be very abundant. It is scarcely necessary to give a description, even of the untamed species, so well known are the general characters of these animals. It will be quite sufficient to say, that the head of the latter is triangular, the soles of the feet of the[Pg 238] male are always black, their tails are bushy, they spring furiously upon whoever approaches, and utter unearthly cries. Mr. St. John, when walking up to his knees in heather, over broken ground, came suddenly upon a wild cat. She rushed out between his legs, every hair standing up. He cut a good sized stick; and three Skye terriers gave chase till she took refuge in a corner, spitting and growling. On trying to dislodge her, she flew at Mr. St. John's face, over the dog's heads; but he struck her while in the air, and she fell among the dogs, who soon dispatched her, even though they say, that a wild-cat has twelve instead of nine lives. If one be taken, those in the neighbourhood are sure to be also secured, as they will all, in the manner of foxes, assemble round the body of their relation.

Domestic cats often run away to the woods and subsist on their own hunting; but these are not to be taken for the real wild cat. The female of the latter is the smaller of the two, and retires into the fissures of rocks, or takes possession of some large bird's nest, when she is about to have young ones. They are found all through Germany, Russia, Hungary, and the North of Asia, where their fur is much more valued than it is here, probably on account of the length and quality of the hair.

Our house cats are, by most naturalists, supposed not to have descended from the above wild species.[Pg 239] Professor Temminck ascribes their origin to the Nubian cat, found in that country by M. Rüppell, but Mr. Bell differs from him.

Cats were numerous in Egypt, where they were much prized, and honoured with being embalmed. In Abyssinia they form part of a marriage dowry, for fear the mice should eat up the other portions. Nevertheless, it will be perhaps more like the truth if we give our cats an Asiatic origin. When they run wild, Mr. St. John says, they are often irreclaimable, and do incredible mischief. There are instances, however, of their returning to their homes bringing game with them. One known to the above gentleman, used every winter evening to bring in a woodcock; another brought back rabbits and hares; the latter was constantly caught in traps, which accident did not cure him of his wanderings, and he never struggled, but sat quietly till some one came and effected his release.

All cats sleep slightly, raise their back, bristle up their hair, and swell up their tail when angry. Those which have been domesticated are very inquisitive concerning things rather than persons; smell, and inspect a new piece of furniture several times; are attached to houses, and are extremely fond of scents, especially certain kinds emanating from plants. They seldom eat the rats which they kill, although they devour mice. If they should swallow a shrew, which is very rare, they almost[Pg 240] immediately reject it. They will sit hour after hour watching at the mouth of a hole, and after seizing their prey, bring it to their favourites in the house to show their prowess, and strut about with a great air of self-satisfaction. They generally have a great dislike to water; but they have been known to surmount this when they could catch a fish, for which species of food they have a great preference. The accusation that they play with you one minute, and scratch you the next, is too true: the change is not an act of treachery, but arises from excitement.

I know not whence it is derived; but for centuries cats have been connected with superstition and sorcery. They have always been regarded as attendants upon witches; and witches themselves have been said to borrow their shapes when on their mysterious expeditions. I was once told, that Lord Cochrane was accompanied by a favourite black cat in a cruise through the northern seas. The weather had been most unpropitious; no day had passed without some untoward circumstance, and the sailors were not slow in attributing the whole to the influence of the black cat on board. This came to Lord Cochrane's ears, and knowing that any attempt to reason his men out of so absurd a notion was perfectly useless, he offered to sacrifice this object of his regard, and have her thrown overboard. This, however, far from creating any satisfaction, only alarmed the men still more; they were[Pg 241] sure that the tempests she would then raise would be much worse than any they had yet encountered; and they implored his lordship to let her remain unmolested. "There was no help, and they could only hope, if she were not affronted, they might, at the end of their time, reach England in safety."

Black cats were always more especially connected with superstitious feelings, and I was once accosted by a peasant's wife, who, with a phial in her hand to contain it, requested I would give her a few drops of blood from the tail of my black kitten; not only to bring luck to her hearth, but to keep pestilence from her doors. Even lately, a working woman told me not to turn a stray black cat from my house; for, if I did, I should never have any prosperity afterwards. Captain Brown tells us that on Hallowe'en, it was usual in Scotland for families to tie up their cat, in order to preserve it from being used as a pony by the witches that night. Those who neglected this precaution, ran the risk of seeing their cat scampering through the fields, with a witch on its back, on the high road to Norway. A black cat was commonly sacrificed by the ancients to Hecate, or among the Scandinavians to Frea, the northern Hecate. A black cat, sent with a prayer-book and a bag of sand into a new house, so as to precede the proprietor in possession, was formerly deemed essential to ensure prosperity to the person changing his abode. To steal a black[Pg 242] cat, and bury it alive, is in the Irish Highlands, considered as a specific for a disorder in cattle, termed "blacklegs," which otherwise proves fatal.

There is yet another peculiar feeling respecting cats—namely, the strange antipathy which some persons entertain towards them, and is equally unassailable with that of superstition. Of course, in many instances, illness and weak indulgence, have greatly increased it, but in some cases, it has been, unconsciously harboured, and in others unconquerable. A friend of mine told me, that through life this feeling had accompanied him, in spite of every endeavour made to eradicate it. When a little boy he awoke one night, with that trembling and cold perspiration which always assailed him when a cat was in his vicinity; and, screaming for help, he intreated the servant who entered to take away the cat which was in the room. The man searched, but found no traces of puss. His young master still persisted she was there, but a renewed search proved equally unavailing, nor could he compose himself to rest unless the servant remained in the room till he was asleep. This accomplished, the man left him, and a second time my friend awoke in the same manner, with the same appeals for assistance. They were obeyed; he himself joined in the search, and he dragged out a cat from the close stove (for it was in Germany) which had taken refuge there, and been wholly unperceived by the man servant.[Pg 243] This gentleman's daughter inherited the same antipathy, and neither the tenderest feelings towards other "dumb creatures," or the strongest efforts of a mind of unusual strength, could subdue the uncomfortable and distressing sensation which thrilled through her when a cat was in her presence.

Where every house has a cat, many two, where every female cat, at least twice in each year, brings forth a litter of from three to five kittens, which are not all drowned, some idea may be formed of the untellable number of cats in London; but it is only the dwellers in what is called a quiet out-of-the-way street in the metropolis, who can form any notion of the noise and caterwaulings of this part of the population. All cats, on first taking possession with their owners, of a house, are obliged to enter into an alliance, offensive and defensive, with the older inhabitants of the neighbourhood. In some instances the amicable arrangements, though less noisy, are the most troublesome, of which I was convinced in one of my dwellings. The back overlooked a number of gardens, some of which were large, and to enjoy these sufficiently, a small, leaded terrace was thrown out from the back drawing-room window. Here all the cats of all the gardens, the street, and the opposite square, used to hold their conversazione; and I presume, that my cats were particularly amiable, for often, if the drawing-room window had been left open during our absence, we[Pg 244] found a select few, perhaps five or six, sitting within its precincts, as if in friendly talk.

Every cat that comes to a new area in London, appears to me to be obliged to fight till he gains undisturbed possession of it; at least so it has been the case with my cats. A very fine, bold, powerful tabby, did this twice with perfect success; but after repeated combats, although victorious, the struggle made him fierce and occasionally sullen. Another who was a very beautiful creature, but much weaker, used to come in with his handsome ears slit, his cheeks swollen, his fur torn off, his frolic and vivacity gone; and he sat crouching by the fire all day. At night he was roused by the fierce defiance of his enemies; and the contest continued till he died from his exertions.

One cat belonging to me had a curious manner of shewing her disappointment or anger, whichever it might be; for the instant she was affronted, she walked away and seated herself with her back to the offending parties. A child of hers was an instance of the effect of judicious education, for fair and gentle treatment transformed her, from a violent, outrageous kitten, to a well behaved cat, and it was curious to see the instantaneous effect which the voice of his preceptress produced. Cats will learn all sorts of antics, and form all sorts of contradictory attachments; young birds, puppies, rats and mice [Pg 245]frequently being the objects. My mother-in-law had both a favourite canary and an equally beloved cat; the former lived in her bed room; and when alone, she suffered him to fly about the room, for she could there exclude the latter. Chance, however, discovered that puss was as fond of the canary as she was; and, to her surprise, on raising her head from her work one morning, she saw the bird perched upon the cat's body, without fear, and the cat evidently delighted. After that there was no further restraint, and the two pets were daily companions. Their mistress, however, received another fright; for Puss gave a slight growl, and seizing the bird in her mouth, leaped on to the bed; her tail swelled out, her hair erect, and her eyes as big as four. The bird was of course given up for lost: but the door being accidentally left open, a strange cat had come in; and it was for the preservation of the bird, that the cat had seized him, and as soon as the intruder was driven away, she set the prisoner at liberty. Cats have often been trained to act as game-finders, without offering the slightest damage to their capture; they have given the alarm when thieves have been breaking in; and manifested great proofs of reflection and thought, which may be called reason, without degrading this act of the intellect. One belonging to my sister invariably goes to her room when she rings her bell; but does not offer to stir when any other bell in the house is sounded. Another, in the service of a friend, was in the habit of going into the garden, catching a bird, and[Pg 246] bringing it to the cook, appearing to ask her to dress it; and yet it was perfectly her own suggestion.

A brother of mine had a favourite tortoise-shell cat, named Monkey, who always sat on his shoulder when he was shaving, and evinced every sign of deep attachment. He left her under the care of some friends when he went abroad; and, two years after, these ladies were surprised the evening he was expected home, at the extreme restlessness of the animal. She heard the arrival of the carriage at the garden gate before they did; and ere the bell was rung, she was furious to be let out to meet him. Her joy was indescribable; and the next morning she took her place on his shoulder as usual, when she saw him prepare his razor. Such attachments have been known to continue after death; and cats have died of grief on their master's grave.

I have already noticed a great friendship between a pug dog and a cat; and the following proof of a similar strength of love is taken from the pages of M. Wenzel, in his "Observations on the Language of Brutes." "I had a cat and a dog, which became so attached to each other, that they would never willingly be asunder. Whenever the dog got any choice morsel of food, he was sure to divide it with his whiskered friend. They always ate socially out of one plate, slept in the same bed, and daily walked out together. Wishing to put this[Pg 247] apparently sincere friendship to the proof, I one day, took the cat by herself into my room, while I had the dog kept in another apartment. I entertained the cat in a most sumptuous manner; being desirous to see what sort of meal she would make without her friend, who had been hitherto her constant table companion. The cat enjoyed the treat, and seemed entirely to have forgotten the dog. I had had a partridge for dinner, half of which I intended to keep for supper. My wife covered it with a plate, and put it into a cupboard, the door of which she did not lock. The cat left the room, and I walked out on business; my wife meanwhile sat at work in an adjoining apartment. When I returned home, she related to me the following circumstances:—The cat having hastily left the dining-room, went to the dog, and mewed unusually loudly, and in different tones; which the dog, from time to time, answered with a short bark. They went together to the door of the room where the cat had dined, and waited till it was opened. The two friends then immediately entered the apartment. My wife rose from her seat, went softly to the door which stood ajar, to observe what was going on. The cat led the dog to the cupboard which contained the partridge, pushed off the plate which covered it, and taking out my intended supper, laid it before her canine friend, who devoured it quickly."

The following anecdote almost places the cat on[Pg 248] a level with the dog:—"A physician of Lyons was requested to inquire into a murder that had been committed on a woman of that city. In consequence of this request, he went to the habitation of the deceased, where he found her extended lifeless on the floor, weltering in her blood. A large white cat was mounted on the cornice of a cupboard, at the far end of the apartment, where he seemed to have taken refuge. He sat motionless with his eyes fixed on the corpse, and his attitude and looks expressing horror and affright. The following morning he was found in the same station and attitude, and when the room was filled with officers of justice, neither the clattering of the soldier's arms, nor the loud conversation of the company, could in the least degree divert his attention. As soon, however, as the suspected persons were brought in, his eyes glared with increased fury, his hair bristled, he darted into the middle of the apartment, where he stopped for a moment to gaze at them, and then precipitately retreated under the bed. The countenances of the assassins were disconcerted, and they were now, for the first time, abandoned by their audacious atrocity."

There are several instances on record of cats finding their way back to their former abodes under circumstances of great difficulty, and the following appears to me to be one of the most striking of them, and quoted from a letter:—"When living at[Pg 249] Four Paths, Clarendon, Jamaica, I wanted a cat, and had one given to me, which was nearly full grown; it was brought from Morgan's Valley Estate, where it was bred, and had never been removed from that place before. The distance was five miles. It was put into a canvass bag, and carried by a man on horseback. Between the two places there are two rivers, one of them about eighty feet broad and two feet and a half deep, running strong; the other is wider and more rapid, but less deep; over these rivers are no bridges. The cat was shut up at Four Paths for some days, and when considered to be reconciled to her new dwelling, she was allowed to go about the house. The day after obtaining her liberty, she was missing; and, upon my next visiting the estate she was brought from, I was quite amazed to learn that the cat had come back again. Did she swim over the rivers at the fords where the horse came through with her, or did she ascend the banks for a considerable distance, in search of a more shallow place, and where the stream was less powerful? At all events she must have crossed the rivers, in opposition to her natural habits."

A singular malformation in the cat has been perpetuated, till a race of tailless cats is now in existence, and which is certainly no improvement on the original stock; for nothing can be more graceful than the attitudes of the cat's tail, or more expressive of its feelings of joy or anger.[Pg 250]



A peculiar formation of the incisors, or front teeth, groups a number of smaller animals together under the name of Rodentia, from the Latin word rodens, which signifies gnawing. These teeth act as files, so that the food on which their owners principally live is reduced by friction to a state which fits it for digestion. As the edges of these teeth become worn by constant use, they incessantly grow from the root. If one be broken, that opposite to it, in the other jaw, being deprived of its habitual wear and tear, grows so fast that it not only annoys its owner, but has caused his destruction by effectually closing the mouth. Their lower jaws can only move backwards and forwards; some exclusively eat vegetables, others eat all things, and others again prefer flesh. Some carry their food to their mouths with their paws, and climb trees; and, in many, the hinder limbs are so much longer than those in front, that they leap instead of walk. They are widely and numerously spread on the surface of the earth, and therefore bear strongly on its history; but it is not among them that we find the high intellectual development with which many other animals are gifted.

Squirrels are some of the most beautiful of the[Pg 251] Rodentia, and chiefly live in trees. The fur of some of the species is extremely beautiful and valuable; they are very active, elegant little creatures, and easily tamed, when they become very playful and affectionate. A friend of mine was deprived of her only daughter, and the lost one's pet squirrel was of course cherished and loved; the little creature used to run up the lady's arm, and seat itself on her shoulder, caress her with its head, nestle itself into her neck, and drink her tears. As long as it lived, it was never caressed by the mother without first looking in her face for the drops, which it had been accustomed to remove.

These animals have a large bushy tail, the hair of which spreads out on each side like a feather; and by it they are guided and supported when they leap. The flying squirrels, as they are called, have an expansion of the skin of the sides, which extends between the hind and fore legs, by which they are suspended in the air when passing from tree to tree, and by it are enabled to go to greater distances without being actually able to fly, as their name would imply. The general colour of the English squirrel is red in summer; but in winter they often assume a grayish tint, at which time they have long pencils of hair at the top of their ears. This grey becomes more decided in more northern climates; and[Pg 252] occasionally they are black. They always live in pairs, and sometimes are gregarious, inhabiting burrows. They lay up stores of provisions in different places; but they sleep the greater part of the cold months, their tail turned over them to keep them warm, having beforehand made a very elaborate nest of moss, leaves, and interlacing fibres in the hole of a tree, or the fork of two branches. They exclusively eat vegetable food, and are occasionally themselves eaten by the larger birds of prey.

Sir Francis Head gives us the following account of his meeting with a squirrel in Canada. "I was waiting the approach of a large flock of wild fowl; but a little villain of a squirrel on the bough of a tree close to me, seemed to have determined that even now I should not rest in quiet; for he sputtered and chattered with so much vehemence, that he attracted the attention of my dog. This was truly mortifying; for he kept his eyes fixed on the squirrel. With my hand I threatened the little beast; but he actually set up his back and defied me, becoming even more passionate than before; till, all of a sudden, as if purposely to alarm the game, he dropped plump within a couple of yards of Rover's nose. This was too much for the latter to bear, so he gave a bounce and sprang upon the impertinent squirrel; who, in a second, was out of his reach, cocking his tail and shewing his teeth, on[Pg 253] the identical bough where he had sat before. Away flew all the wild fowl, and my sport was completely marred. My gun went involuntarily to my shoulder to shoot the squirrel; but I felt I was about to commit an act of sheer revenge on a courageous little animal, which deserved a better fate. As if aware of my hesitation, he nodded his head with rage, and stamped his fore paws on the tree; while in his chirruping, there was an intonation of sound, which seemed like contempt. What business had I there trespassing on his domain, and frightening his wife and little family, for whom he was ready to lay down his life? There he would sit in spite of me, and make my ears ring with the sound of his woo-whoop, till the spring of life should cease to bubble in his little heart."

It is from Captain Brown's pages that I extract the following. "A gentleman procured a squirrel from a nest, found at Woodhouse, near Edinburgh, which he reared and rendered extremely docile. It was kept in a box below an aperture, where was suspended a rope, by which the animal ascended and descended. The little creature used to watch very narrowly all its master's movements; and, whenever he was preparing to go out, it ran up his legs, and entered his pocket, from whence it would peep out at passengers as he walked along the streets, never venturing however to go out.

"But no sooner would he reach the outskirts of[Pg 254] the city, than the squirrel leaped on the ground, ran along the road, ascended to the tops of trees and hedges with the quickness of lightning, and nibbled at the leaves and bark; and, if the gentleman walked on, it would descend, scamper after him, and again enter his pocket. Whenever it heard a carriage or cart, it became much alarmed, and always hid itself till they had passed by. This gentleman had a dog, between which and the squirrel, a certain enmity existed. Whenever the dog lay asleep, the squirrel showed its teasing disposition by rapidly descending from its box, scampering over the dog's body, and then quickly mounting its rope."



Some persons profess to think that the Rodents called Rats are beautiful animals; and I presume that, prejudice apart, the sleek skin, the sharp head, the long, slender tail, and the keen look of their bright black eyes, ought to be attractions; but those who have been annoyed with these animals as I have been, can scarcely regard them with anything but dislike. Overspreading the whole world as they do, it is no wonder, where they are not vigorously checked, and where food is abundant, their numbers should amount to something frightful. On a visit to Sierra Leone, I was all day at[Pg 255] the Government House, and going to an upper room to make my toilette, I heard a pattering of little feet close to me, and turning my head I saw between the floor and the shrunken door of the next apartment, a whole army of rats on a peregrination, and giving such an idea of number, that, uninitiated as I then was (it being on my first journey to Africa), I was perfectly appalled, and most thankful that I returned that night to sleep in my safer cabin on board ship. This, however, was but the beginning; and, in the next vessel which I entered, they were so numerous, that the next time she returned to port, she was sunk for a time, as the only means of getting rid of them. Between these creatures and the cockroaches, I thought my poor child and myself must be devoured.

There is a facility given to the human mind to accommodate itself to all circumstances, for which perhaps we are not sufficiently thankful; and it never was more strongly manifested than in my own case, for both fear and apprehension vanished with habit, and I became fearless of those animated creatures which at first seemed to be the bane of my existence. When living in Cape Coast Castle, I used to see the rats come in troops past my door, walking over my black boys as they lay there, and who only turned themselves over to present the other sides of their faces and bodies, when the rats returned—and thought it a good joke. The[Pg 256] fiercest encounter which I ever had with them was during one of those terrific storms, which are more furious between the tropics than elsewhere. I was then, however, under the Equator, in a native hut, and heard an exceeding rustling and movement all around me. To my terror, I perceived that these proceeded from a number of rats running up and down the sides of the room in which I was to pass the night, and who shortly began to run over me; they being disturbed by the torrents of rain which were then falling. The only weapon I could find was a shoe, and curling myself into a large armchair, taken out of a French vessel, and covered with blue satin damask, I sat prepared for my enemies, whom I dreaded much more than the lightning, which was flashing across the iron bars laid upon the floor. I felt that the silk of my place of refuge was some sort of protection against this; but my own arm could alone save me from my four-footed foes. Presently my husband came in, and saluted me with a shout of laughter, which, however, abated when he saw my antagonists. The storm lulled for a while, and the rats retreated: we then crept within the curtains of bamboo cloth, which encircled a rude imitation of a four-post bedstead, but I kept possession of my shoe. Weary with watching, I closed my eyes, but was awakened by a tremendous flash of lightning, immediately followed by awful thunder and a tumultuous rush of[Pg 257] rats. Some of them scrambled up the outside of the curtains; but arms in hand I sat up, and directed by the noise, I hurled the invaders to the ground, till at length resistance, and the passing away of the storm allowed me to sleep in peace.

These were the brown rats which infest every part of the world, but very much increased in size by their residence in a hot climate.

Besides these brown rats, a bush rat, as it is called, infests the forests, and is about as large as a young pig. When I first saw this, and felt myself surrounded as it were, by familiar animals increased to such magnitude, by multitudes previously unknown to me, and others of which I had only heard, and yet none of us were devoured, I could not but feel with tenfold depth the Creator's command, that man should have the dominion over them all. His own strength alone could never enable him to walk among them unharmed.

The principal characters which distinguish the rat remain in all countries, but there are several species. The black rat is that which first inhabited this island; but it has been nearly driven out by the brown, which is, without any foundation, termed the Norway rat. It came from India, Persia, etc., and is said to have appeared in Europe after a great earthquake in 1727. All are so eminently carnivorous, that they do not make the least ceremony of devouring each other in times of scarcity; so[Pg 258] that on one occasion, already spoken of, when I and my companions stood a chance of being starved ourselves, we felt sure that the violent screams and struggles we heard going on among the rats behind the planks, arose from the meals which the strong were making upon their more feeble brethren.

Rats are nocturnal in their habits, and like to live in subterranean, or mysterious abodes. They are found in islands lying in the midst of the ocean, till the moment of their discovery to us, supposed not to have been visited by man, and yet the question still remains unsettled, whether the differences which exist in rats were caused by locality, or whether they were so from the beginning. There is now no known spot free from the Norway rat, and the greater the number, of course the more impudent they become. In Ceylon, I am told, where they are innumerable, they perch on the top of a chair, or screen, and sit there till something is thrown at them, at which they slowly retreat. A noise is heard in the verandah close by you, and you see a party of rats, disputing with a dog for the possession of some object. A traveller in Ceylon saw his dogs set upon a rat, and making them relinquish it, he took it up by the tail, the dogs leaping after it the whole time; he carried it into his dining-room, to examine it there by the light of the lamp, during the whole of which period it remained as if it were dead; limbs hanging,[Pg 259] and not a muscle moving. After five minutes he threw it among the dogs, who were still in a state of great excitement; and to the astonishment of all present, it suddenly jumped upon its legs, and ran away so fast that it baffled all its pursuers.

One evening, when at Bathurst, St. Mary's, I was sitting at work in an upper room, and in the midst of the stillness, heard somewhat breathing close to me. There was no other person in the chamber except my child, who was asleep in bed. Although startled, I did not move, but casting my eyes round I saw a huge rat, sitting upon the table at my elbow, watching every movement of my fingers. I could scarcely help laughing at his cool impudence, and suppose I had been too much absorbed by thought, or employment, to notice his approach. I gradually laid down my work, and slipping quietly out of the room, as if I had not perceived him, called the servants. It was supposed that there were nests of rats in the chimney; for that Government House had been wisely provided with the possibility of having fires in the rooms during the rainy season; and the hunt began. I jumped on to the bed, not only to be out of the way, but to keep the rats from the place where my child was. Two of the men, furnished with sticks, routed the enemy from their hiding-places, and four others squatted at the corners of the room, holding a cloth spread between their hands. They[Pg 260] said it was most likely the rats would run round the walls, and they should therefore catch them in the open cloth. The event proved them to be right; the frightened animals rushed to them, were immediately enclosed, and their necks were wrung in a moment. After the hunt was ended, they were thrown over the verandah into the garden, to the number of at least fifty. In the morning, however, they were all gone, but the footmarks of the Genet cats told how they had been removed. Some squeaks the next day in the chimney betrayed the presence of some very young ones, and a fire of damp grass being lighted, their destruction was completed by suffocation. This was perhaps cruel, but it was necessary in self-defence; and I shuddered to think of how I and my daughter might, in our sleep, have been attacked by these animals. It is not to be wondered at, when surrounded by myriads of obnoxious animals, how any tender feelings towards that part of creation become blunted. At the moment of which I speak, valuable books, dried plants, papers containing the data of scientific observations, concerning the survey of the river Gambia to a considerable distance, were destroyed during the illness of the observer, by rats and insects.


One afternoon, the commandant of Bathurst was quietly reading, when he heard a violent squeaking and hissing in the room below him, which was[Pg 261] even with the ground, and contained stores. He took the key, and followed by his servants armed with sticks, went to ascertain the cause. On opening the door they beheld a rat and a venomous serpent engaged in mortal combat. Nothing could be more beautiful than the action of both animals; the rat had retreated for a moment, and stood with flashing eyes; the head of the serpent was reared to receive a fresh attack; again and again they closed and separated, but the reptile, although much bitten, gained the victory; the rat fell, foamed at the mouth, swelled to a great size, and died in a very few minutes. The serpent glided away, but was afterwards discovered in her nest with several young ones, in a crack of the store-room wall, close to a staircase, which we were in the habit of descending daily, and where, in fact, I had often seen the serpents' heads peeping out, and had waited till they were withdrawn.

Of the brown rat Mr. Jesse tells the following story:—"The Rev. Mr. Ferryman, walking out in some meadows one evening, observed a great number of rats in the act of migrating from one place to another, which it is known, they are in the habit of doing occasionally. He stood perfectly still, and the whole assemblage passed close to him. His astonishment, however, was great, when he saw an old blind rat, which held a piece of stick at one end in its mouth, while another rat had hold[Pg 262] of the other end of it, and thus conducted his blind companion."

The amount of destructive force possessed by rats, cannot be better exemplified than in the report given to the French Government, relating to the removal of the horse slaughter-houses, situated at Montfaucon, to a greater distance from Paris; one great objection being the disastrous consequences which might accrue to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, if these voracious creatures were suddenly deprived of their usual sustenance. It is well known, that the mischief which they occasion is not confined to what they eat; but they undermine houses, burrow through dams, destroy drains, and commit incalculable havoc, in every place and in every thing.

The report states, that the carcases of horses killed one day, and amounting to thirty-five, would be found the next morning with the bones picked clean. A person of the name of Dusaussois, belonging to the establishment, made this experiment. A part of his yard was enclosed by solid walls, at the foot of which, several holes were made for the entrance and exit of the rats. Into this enclosure he put the bodies of three horses, and in the middle of the night he stopped up all the holes as quietly as he could; he then summoned several of his workmen, and each, armed with a torch and a stick, entered the yard, and carefully closed the door. They then commenced a general massacre; in doing[Pg 263] which, it was not necessary to take aim, for wherever the blow fell, it was sure to knock over a rat, none being allowed to escape by climbing over the walls. This experiment was repeated at intervals of a few days, and at the end of a month, 16,050 rats had been destroyed. In one night they killed 2,650; and yet this cannot give an entirely adequate idea of their number, for the yard in question did not cover more than a twentieth part of the space allotted to killing horses. The rats in this place have made burrows for themselves, like catacombs; and so great is their number, that they have not found room close by the slaughter-houses. They have gone farther; and the paths to and from their dwellings may be traced across the neighbouring fields.

The Zoological Gardens in the Regent's Park, are greatly infested by rats; but they are too cunning to stay there during the day time, when they might be more easily caught; so they in the morning cross the canal to the opposite shore, and return in the evening to commit their depredations.

The Water-rats, or Voles, eat fishes, frogs, and toads, besides other food, and do infinite mischief to banks and dams, which they undermine. Their smell is so acute, that they will not approach a trap over which a hand has been passed; and they are particularly abundant in all places where herrings are cured, leaving them when the season is over. The thing of all others which attracts rats of all[Pg 264] kinds, is a piece of roast beef; of which they are so fond, that they have been known to kill a companion who has eaten some, that they might devour the contents of his stomach.

Dr. Carpenter was told by a trustworthy eyewitness, that she saw a number of rats safely convey some eggs down a flight of stairs, from a store room, to their own dwellings. They stationed themselves on each stair, and each egg, held in the fore paws, was handed from one rat to another the whole way. The rats who dipped their tails into a jar of treacle, into which they could not dip their paws, and suffered their companions to lick them afterwards, is a well known story.

Rats have often attacked children who have been left in a room by themselves; and infants have even lost their lives from the blood which their bites have caused to flow.

The following instance of sagacity deserves to be recorded. "During the great flood of the 4th of September, 1829, when the river Tyne was at it height, a number of people were assembled on its margin. A swan appeared with a black spot upon its plumage, which on its nearer approach proved to be a live rat. It is probable, that the latter had been borne into the water by some object, and observing the swan, had taken refuge on its back for safety. As soon as the swan reached the land, the rat leaped off and ran away."[Pg 265]

Two ladies, friends of a near relative of my own, from whom I received an account of the circumstance, were walking in Regent-street, and were accosted by a man who requested them to buy a beautiful little dog, covered with long, white hair, which he carried in his arms. Such things are not uncommon in that part of London, and the ladies passed on without heeding him. He followed, and repeated his entreaties, stating, that as it was the last he had to sell, they should have it at a reasonable price. They looked at the animal; it was really an exquisite little creature, and they were at last persuaded. The man took it home for them, received his money, and left the dog in the arms of one of the ladies. A short time elapsed, and the dog, which had been very quiet, in spite of a restless, bright eye, began to show symptoms of uneasiness, and as he ran about the room, exhibited some unusual movements, which rather alarmed the fair purchasers. At last, to their great dismay, the new dog ran squeaking up one of the window curtains, so that when the gentleman of the house returned home a few minutes after, he found the ladies in consternation, and right glad to have his assistance. He vigorously seized the animal, took out his penknife, cut off its covering, and displayed a large rat to their astonished eyes, and, of course to its own destruction.[Pg 266]



The round, yet delicate form of the Mouse, and the better expression of its countenance, make it an object much more worthy of admiration than the rat, of which it is but a diminished representative. It has the same destructive propensities, assembles also in vast numbers, and is equally carnivorous; but with all these, it is a more tamable and lovable animal. There is a white variety which is often nurtured as a pet. Mr. Darwin says, that with other small Rodents, numbers live together in nearly desert places, as long as there are a few blades of vegetation left; and that they swarm on the borders of salt-lakes, where not a drop of fresh water can be procured. Some of them lay up stores of food, especially those which inhabit northern countries.

Field mice do an infinity of harm to young plantations, by nibbling off the young shoots, and, in order to catch them, pits from eighteen to twenty inches deep, are sunk in the soil, which are wider at the bottom than the top, so that they cannot easily get out. One hundred thousand were destroyed in this manner in the Forest of Dean, and about the same number in the New Forest. They make very beautiful round nests, of curiously[Pg 267] plaited blades of wheat, split into narrow strips with their teeth, and in them will often be found nine little mice. These nests are suspended to some stalks, or thistles.

I can bear witness to the possibility of taming mice, for I kept six in a box for several months, which were so well fed, that they did not attempt to gnaw their dwelling. I had a sort of little cart constructed for them, with bone buttons for wheels, and a packthread harness; and on being taken out of the box, they remained perfectly quiet till the harness was put upon them, and when that was done, they started at full gallop along the top of a square piano. Of course, care was taken to turn them back when they reached the end; but they soon learned to turn of their own accord, and performed their journey with as much regularity as well-trained horses. Death deprived me of my steeds; but I suspect it was in consequence of the injudicious cramming which I bestowed upon my favourites.

During an illness of some week's duration, mice were to me a source both of amusement and annoyance; the former certainly predominating. A wainscot ledge ran round the room in which I lay, and it was their delight to scamper after one another upon this projection; but as the head of my curtain-less bed was close to it, they so frequently diverged on to my face, that I was obliged to have it drawn[Pg 268] at least a yard from the wall. Sometimes also, they dragged away my pocket handkerchief, which, from not being immediately missed, was not recovered till sundry holes had been nibbled in it. A small table stood by my bed-side; having on it a basin full of cold tea, which formed my night beverage. On one occasion, my light was extinguished, and I heard a scratching against the legs of the table. I guessed the cause, and tried to frighten the climber away; but I suspect he mounted by the bed clothes, for I presently heard something flop into the tea. All was silent; and I concluded the intruder was drowned; but of course, whatever my thirst, I did not attempt to drink. When daylight came, there sat a poor mouse, holding up his little chin just above the liquid. Had he moved he must have been suffocated; and he had been all those hours in this position. It was impossible to take away a life so hardly earned, and he was allowed to rejoin his companions.

The head-quarters of my mice seemed to be a large closet in one corner of the room, from which they constantly issued, and to which they retreated on the least alarm, for it was always accessible, in consequence of the door not closing properly. They often appeared to me to hold a council, for they would sally forth in a body; not giddily, and as if by chance, but with all the gravity of diplomatic characters, and form a circle, when[Pg 269] deliberations commenced. They were carried on in a language between a squeak and a chatter, and occasionally one would rise, and place himself in another part of the circle. I would have given a great deal to have understood what was going on; but as I could not, I occasionally disturbed them by laughing, when they huddled back to the closet; and when I grew stronger, I sometimes dashed a pillow in among them, which made the poor senators breathless with agitation, and scuffle under the furniture, till they thought they might gain the closet in safety. I little imagined the deeds committed in that domicile, or I might not have been so indulgent to them; it was no less than gnawing holes in some valuable antelope, monkey, and leopard skins, which were to have been sent to my friends by the next departing vessel.

When I was allowed to eat, my appetite was kindly tempted by dainties sent to me by friends, and which were placed under tin covers, on the top of a chest of drawers. The endeavours of my rodent companions to get at these were excessively droll; but as fast as they clambered an inch or two up the sides, the slippery metal caused them to slide down again; then they thought if they could but get to the top of the cover, they should succeed; so they mounted upon each others' shoulders, and accomplished the feat, but not[Pg 270] their purpose; instead of getting inside, down they came in a body again, but they became so used to my laughter, that they did not mind it. Many of them combined together to push the cover off the dish; but it was too firmly retained by the rim to be moved. One day they thought they had triumphed, for the cover was not quite put down in one place. A summons was evidently given, and presently a number of little paws were inserted to raise it still higher; but instead of doing this, the cover slipped on to their paws, and it was very ludicrous to see their pain and mortification. After this they so far abandoned the attempt that only one would be occasionally seen walking round, as if by reconnoitering the fortress again, his genius would suggest a successful termination to the enterprise.

In an American scientific journal, there is a well-authenticated account of a strange and overpowering sensibility to music, as evinced by a mouse. It says, "that one evening, as a few officers on board a British man-of-war, in the harbour of Portsmouth, were seated round the fire, one of them began to play a plaintive air upon the violin. He had scarcely performed ten minutes, when a mouse, apparently frantic, made its appearance in the centre of the floor. The strange gestures of the little animal strongly excited the attention of the officers, who, with one consent, resolved to[Pg 271] suffer it to continue its singular actions unmolested. Its exertions appeared to be greater every moment; it shook its head, leapt about, and exhibited signs of the most ecstatic delight. It was observed that in proportion to the gradations of the tones to the soft point, the feelings of the animal appeared to be increased. After performing actions, which an animal so diminutive would, at first sight, seem incapable of, the little creature, to the astonishment of the delighted spectators, suddenly ceased to move, fell down, and expired without evincing any symptoms of pain."



The extraordinary thickness of skin which distinguishes certain animals, has induced naturalists to group them together, and call them Pachydermata. This group is again divided according to the still further peculiarities which some of them possess; and in the first subdivision are elephants; distinguished by an enormous prolongation of the upper lip and nose, into what is termed a trunk, or proboscis. The largest animals in the world are to be found among them; and according to some, they are the most sagacious. There is, however, a strong inclination in many to give the[Pg 272] dog the highest place next to man, with regard to intellect.

The trunk of which I have just spoken, is formed of numbers of muscular fibres, amounting to at least 40,000, which take various directions, and cross each other in so many ways, that the whole forms one of the most flexible organs that can be conceived. It can be contracted, raised, depressed, curved, turned, or twisted round any object at the will of its possessor; and can lay hold of, and pick up the most minute and the thinnest substance, aided in such instances by the prolongation of its upper edge into what is called a finger, which protects the nostrils, and acts as a feeler. This trunk serves as a reservoir for holding liquid, which can be put into the mouth at pleasure, by inserting the end between the jaws; or for retaining it as long as may be wished, when it is discharged over any object which the elephant desires to inundate. He occasionally pours it upon his own body, thereby not only cooling and refreshing himself, but getting rid of the numerous insects which lodge themselves in his hide. The trumpet-like noise, for which elephants are remarkable, proceeds from their trunk, and it serves in other ways to express their feelings, for with it they bestow their caresses. A tame elephant, in the Jardin des Plantes, took a great fancy to a little girl, who used to walk in the menagerie every[Pg 273] morning with her nurse, before it was open to the public. It constantly happened that she and the elephant would be met together, and not only was his care to avoid trampling upon her most excessive, but if she were going the same way, he would gently insinuate the end of his proboscis under her arm, lovingly rest it there, and walk by her side. Great pains are always taken by these animals to guard their trunks from injury; and they constantly raise them as high in the air as they can, to prevent their coming in contact with any hurtful substance. With them food is procured and conveyed to the mouth; and they pull down, not only branches of trees, but, in many instances, the trees themselves.

The immense skull and neck, and in fact, the size of the body, required to sustain the weight of this ponderous organ, and the tusks with which they are provided, give elephants a clumsy, heavy look. The proportions of the head cause the eyes to look small; the weight of the head itself is, however, much diminished by the hollow cavities in front, which make it almost a vain attempt to try to kill an elephant by shooting him in the forehead; for the balls lodge in these cells: they so protect the brain, which is the seat of feeling, that fearful buttings are practised with impunity by these animals.

The teeth of elephants are remarkable; for they[Pg 274] consist of only one large grinder on each side, and in each jaw, which looks like a bundle of smaller teeth, fastened together by intervening and surrounding plates of enamel. These grinders change frequently during the life of the animal, perhaps even six or eight times, as long as the jaw grows; and the new arrivals do not come from below, but are formed behind the old one, and push it out. There are no other teeth, properly so called, but in the upper jaw are two tusks, which supply the ivory of commerce, and which are changed once during the life of the animal. Their enormous weight and size are almost fabulous, and combined with the trunk, make us cease to wonder that the whole body should have strength alone as its attribute, and be entirely wanting in grace. One of these tusks, sold at Amsterdam, weighed 350 pounds, and with such weapons as these, aptly called defenses by the French, they are able to uproot enormous trees, and catching their heaviest foes upon them, hurl them to the ground, or transfix them so as never to rise again. The ears are large, and hang flapping over the shoulders, and are very sensible to the touch; the hearing seems to be much more alive to grave than to acute sounds.

Four ungraceful, stiff columns, for legs, support the clumsy body. On each fore foot there are five toes, and on each hind foot four; each toe should[Pg 275] shew a hoof, but sometimes the skin envelops and conceals them. The sole is nearly round; and the skin of a foot exhibited by Mr. Gordon Cumming, is so large, that a child of three years of age could easily seat itself within it. The tail is small in circumference, flattened at the end, and has thick, stiff bristles at the extremity. These tails are sometimes used as whips, and at the court of Ashanti, when decorated with gold; they form part of the insignia of the Court. The skin is generally dark-coloured, and rough, having a few scattered hairs upon it; proofs, however, have been found, that a race of elephants thickly covered with hair, once existed. White elephants are occasionally met with, and it has been asserted, that they are worshiped. Others have contradicted this, and declare, that they are only kept as a piece of royal state.

The usual height of elephants is from nine to ten feet; but many have been known to attain fourteen; the skeleton of that sent to the Czar Peter, by the king of Persia, and which is seen in the museum at St. Petersburgh, is sixteen and a half, and there are records of elephants attaining the enormous height of twenty feet. When we think of the mountainous animal, as I have described the elephant to be, it seems inconsistent to say, that he is swift in his paces: in truth, he is not; a heavy trot being the fastest movement which he can[Pg 276] accomplish. His enormous stride, however, gives him the advantage over lighter animals; and we have heard of a fast-galloping horse finding it difficult to escape from an elephant, even when urged to his utmost speed. The gait is most fatiguing and uncomfortable to those who ride him for the first few times, because he moves the two feet on the same side at once; and the larger the elephant, the more uncomfortable the movement. Bishop Heber, however, seems to have formed an exception in this respect, for he says, it was far from being disagreeable, and appeared to him to resemble being carried on men's shoulders. It is supposed that the neck, where the driver places himself, is the easiest seat. He guides the animals by occasionally touching their ears, pressing his legs to the sides of their necks, pricking them with a pointed instrument, or knocking them with the handle; often, however, they are so docile, that a mere word will be sufficient.

The favourite habitation of the elephant is the forest, or green plain, near which is a river, or lake: water he must have, for both in freedom and captivity, bathing seems to be a necessary condition of his existence. This propensity reminds me of the often-repeated trick of the before-mentioned elephant of the Jardin des Plantes. His stable opened into a small enclosure, in the midst of which was a pond. In this pond he constantly laid himself, and[Pg 277] was so hidden by the water, that nothing of him appeared, except the end of his proboscis, which it required an experienced eye to detect. The crowd often assembled round the enclosure of the "elephant's park," as it was called, supposing they should see him issue from his stable. All at once, however, a copious shower would assail them, and ladies with their transparent bonnets, and gentlemen with their shining hats, were forced to seek shelter under the neighbouring trees, where they looked up at the cloudless sky, and wondered from whence the shower could come. When they directed their eyes towards the elephant's pond, they saw him standing in the midst, evincing an awkward joy at the trick he had played. In process of time his pastime became generally known, and the moment the water rose from his trunk, his beholders ran away, which he also seemed to enjoy exceedingly, getting up as fast as he could to behold the bustle he had created. This same elephant had been landed from the vessel, which brought him from the East Indies, at Bordeaux, and the sailor lad, who had taken charge of him during the voyage, was appointed to conduct him through France to Paris. The rough, and sometimes paved roads, cut the poor animal's feet, and a shoemaker was employed to make him four boots. There was not much skill required, as no shape was necessary; but they answered the purpose, and[Pg 278] were afterwards hung up in his stable to the great delight of the younger visitants to the Jardin, who often went expressly to see the elephant's boots. When he and his guide stopped for the night, a mattress used to be thrown down on the floor for the latter; but, after a few nights, the elephant discovered how comfortable it was, and under pretense of sharing the accommodation, at length nightly pushed Auguste off, and stretched his own huge carcass upon the mattress.

Constant differences between the Asiatic and African elephants have established them into separate species. The enamel of the grinders is so placed in the latter, as to form lozenges; and in the former, parallel-fluted ribbons. The ears of the African animal are much larger, and the shape of his forehead is more convex. Although it was from this country that the Romans obtained all their clever, well-trained elephants, the natives now never think of making them useful. Connected with this, I was once much amused by the proposal, seriously suggested, that if we English would go among the savage tribes of Africa, and tame some of their elephants, they would be so convinced of our superiority, that they would, without hesitation, submit to our dominion. This came from a learned king's counsel, and was seriously uttered to one of his Majesty's government, without exciting surprise in any but my experienced self.[Pg 279] In our human impatience we are apt to think the progress we so much desire, comes slowly; but could such an idea be now entertained?

A curious propensity in the Indian elephant has been repeatedly noticed. I mean the separation of a male elephant from all his companions, in order to lead a solitary existence. I am rather of opinion with some of the natives, that he has been turned away by them for his own misdeeds; but I know not if this will equally apply to the raccoon, the only other animal, I believe, concerning whom the same habit is recorded. At all events, the hermit elephant is particularly fierce and mischievous; and it becomes a matter of policy, or even necessity, to catch him. The Indians hunt him down, accompanied by two trained female elephants, who draw near to him as if unconscious of his presence, and begin to eat the surrounding food as a matter of course. If he join them, they lavish their caresses upon him, and while he is returning their blandishments, the hunters creep softly to his feet, and having tied them together, fasten him to a tree, or let him go loose, with merely the shackles round all his legs. Of course he is in a dreadful rage, especially when the females desert him; but hunger, thirst, and ineffectual struggles, at last subdue him; he is led away, and generally trained; but if his violent efforts should effect his liberation, he plunges into[Pg 280] the forests, whither the hunters prudently do not again go to effect his capture. Some female elephants are also used to decoy wild males into inclosure's, where they are secured; and there is a wholesale method of surrounding a herd by a number of men, who, by means of various noises, musketry, fire-works, drums and trumpets, drive the elephants into pens constructed for the purpose, and supplied with water; where the poor creatures are made to stay some time. The elephants become very furious; and as the strongest inclosure's might give way to their overpowering strength, sentinels are placed all round, who light fires and make all the noises which the prisoners most dread, till they again become quiet.

Elephants, after being domesticated for years, will return to the forests, and resume their wild habits; but they never forget their education. Their former keepers have recognized them among their untamed companions, called them, and without hesitation, they have walked from the midst of their brethren, and quietly returned to their former habits, after a lapse of ten years. All are extremely sensible to the praises and caresses of those who attend to them, for whose sake they will make the most wonderful exertions. They are useful in transporting artillery and heavy baggage, and their docility and obedient performance of their duties, even[Pg 281] when left to themselves, is perfect. They are not now used in war, except by some of the native princes; but they largely enter into the state processions, decked out with the most costly trappings of gold and silver, frontlets of jewels, gold and silver chains, and bells, etc. Travellers generally place a kind of canopy on their backs, in which two or three persons can sit; but the saddle is most used when hunting tigers. They dexterously catch these animals upon their tusks, if the attack be made in front, but the tiger will sometimes seize them in the flank, when if they cannot roll upon him, the elephants rush forward, and the tiger is generally shot. The assertion that the elephant and rhinoceros will fight a duel for the pleasure of the thing, does not seem to be borne out by experience; but combats have been seen between them, in which sometimes one, and sometimes the other, have gained the victory.

The quantity of food daily consumed by an elephant in captivity is calculated at 200 lbs; besides thirty-six pails of water. It consists of turnips, rice, chaff, bran, hay, and sea biscuit. Straw is allowed for his bed, which is generally consumed before morning; besides which, when they are in menageries they receive no small quantity of dainties from visitors. I never could enter the Rotunda in the Paris menagerie, without being furnished with bread or carrots for its inhabitants:[Pg 282] the instant the Indian elephant caught sight of me, he used to sit down, get up again, make what was called a curtsy, and play other antics; and the instant I came before him, squat down again; his trunk raised, and his enormous mouth wide open to receive what I threw into it; the attitude was so grotesque and imploring, that it was impossible to deny him. In their native condition, elephants eat the young juicy roots, and branches of trees; the latter of which, they beat two or three times before they take them, and they then tuck them into the left side of their mouths; they also devour grass, and bulbous roots, which they pull up with their proboscis. The vast numbers in which the herds assemble, give some idea of the extent of the vegetable riches which can support such colossal eaters from generation to generation; the weight of an ordinary one will be 7000 lbs, and the mind becomes bewildered, in thinking of the quantity required for the daily sustenance of thousands of such animals. They open paths through forests which would be impenetrable to others; and seem to exercise much judgment in choosing their route, the large bull elephants taking the lead, crushing the jungle, tearing down the branches, and uprooting the trees; the females and the young sometimes amounting to three hundred, march after in single file, and the way thus made is as smooth as a gravel walk. They often carry branches of[Pg 283] trees, with which they flap the insects from their bodies as they walk along.

A settler's wife complained to Mr. Pringle very bitterly, of the destruction occasioned to her husband's crops by the elephants; which she, with reason, said were too big to wrestle with, and they occasionally seemed to commit mischief from mere wantonness. In the same place, a troop came down one dark and rainy night to the outskirts of the village; but knowing that it was sometimes dangerous to encounter them, the inhabitants did not go out; although they heard them making a terrible bellowing and uproar. It appeared the next morning, that one of the elephants had fallen into an unfinished trench, which had no water in it, and did not know how to get out again. It is supposed, that his companions had pulled him out with their trunks; for there were clearly defined marks of their having stationed themselves on each side; some kneeling, and some standing, and that thus he had been hoisted up.

The remarkable escape of Lieut. Moodie is one of the most extraordinary encounters on record. A servant informed him that a large troop of elephants was in the vicinity, and that a party had gone out to attack them, so he started to join in the hunt; but losing his way in the jungle, he did not overtake them till they had driven the elephants from their first station. On leaving the jungle, he was[Pg 284] going through a meadow on the banks of the Gualana, to the spot where the firing had begun, when he was suddenly warned of some danger, by the cry of "Take care" both in Dutch and English. He heard a crackling behind him, occasioned by the elephants breaking through the wood, which was accompanied by their screams. A large female elephant, and three of a smaller size, departed from the rest, and came towards him; but not being in a good position for firing, Mr. Moodie retreated from their direct path, to get a better place from which to take aim, and hoped they would not observe him. They, however, rapidly pursued him; he reserved his fire as a last resource, and turning off at a right angle, made for the banks of the river, intending to take refuge among the rocks on the other side. Before this, however, they were close upon him, screaming so tremendously that he was almost stunned by their noise. He turned upon them, and fired at the head of the largest; the powder had become damp, the gun hung fire, till he was in the act of taking it from his shoulder, when it went off, and the ball grazed the side of the large elephant's head. She stopped for an instant, and then rushed furiously forward: whether struck down or not, he could never say; but Lieut. Moodie fell. The animal had only one tusk, which missed him as she rushed upon him; but it ploughed up the earth within an inch or two of[Pg 285] his body; she then caught him by the middle with her trunk, threw him between her fore feet, and battered him with them for a short time; one of these huge feet once pressed him so much, that his bones bent under its weight. He did not lose his recollection, and he constantly was able to twitch himself on one side, and so avoid several blows. Two of his party came up and fired at her; one bullet alone touching her in the shoulder; her young ones then retreated, and she left her victim, finally knocking him with her hind feet as she went off. He got up, picked up his gun, and staggered away as fast as he could. She turned round, looked after him; and he then lay down in the long grass, and so eluded her observation.

A soldier of the Royal African Corps did not escape as Mr. Moodie did, for an elephant caught him with his trunk, carried him some distance, threw him down, brought his four feet together and trod and stamped upon him till he was dead. He left the body, then returned to it, knelt down upon, crushed and kneaded it once more; then he seized it with his trunk, bore it to the jungle, and threw it among the bushes.

One of the strongest instincts of the elephant is to try the strength of everything before he ventures upon it, and it is almost impossible to induce him to trust himself upon any surface which is not perfectly firm and steady. Therefore the well-authen[Pg 286]ticated story is the more extraordinary of a rope-dancing, or rather walking elephant, who not only walked forwards, but backwards upon a suspended rope.

A female elephant, seven years old, on being brought to the Adelphi, first ascertained the safety of the stage, and then began to rehearse the parts she used to play in Paris. Having succeeded so well in this place, she took a higher walk of performances at the Coburg theatre, where she rehearsed for three weeks, then distinguished the actors, learnt to place the crown on the head of the lawful king, and feasted at his banquet with perfect propriety. All this was taught her by kindness.

A poor little calf elephant hovered about the body of its mother after she had been killed, making the most mournful noises; the herd had deserted them, and they had passed the night in the forest. The poor thing, when the hunters came up, entwined its little proboscis about their legs, showed its delight at their approach by many ungainly antics, then went to the body of its mother, scaring away the vultures; ran round it with every mark of grief, and tried to raise it with its trunk. Of course the confidence of the baby elephant was not abused, though its wishes for aid towards its mother, could not be gratified.

The elephants of Ceylon have always been reckoned the best; and instances of their memory[Pg 287] are quite extraordinary. A favourite mode of execution among the Canadians, when they were masters of the island, was to make the elephants trample upon the criminals, so as to crush their limbs first, and by avoiding the vital parts prolong their agony. When Mr. Sirr was there, he saw one of these elephant executioners. The word of command, "Slay the wretch!" was given to him; upon which he raised his trunk, pretended to twist it round a body, then slowly raised one of his fore feet, and placed it where the limbs of the victim would have been; then he stood motionless with his trunk in the air. He was ordered to complete his work, and he placed one foot as if on the man's abdomen, and another as if on his head, with apparently sufficient force to destroy life. The elephant had not done this for thirty-five years, and yet recollected the whole. They attain a great age, and have been known to live more than a hundred years.

Major Rogers, who had killed one thousand four hundred elephants, shot one on whom the ball only made a flesh wound; the creature, in a fury, uttered its trumpet-like shriek, seized the Major with his trunk, carried him to a deep hole, dashed him into it, and trampled upon him, breaking his right arm in two places, and several of his ribs. He must have been killed if the hole had been large enough to give the elephant room to exercise his whole[Pg 288] strength. He became senseless; but when he came to himself, found the elephant gone, and friends about him: he knew what had happened, and said he had always made up his mind, in case of such an accident, to remain quite passive, as affording the best chance of escape—and his plan answered.

Nothing done to elephants by way of insult, teasing, or unkindness, is ever forgotten or forgiven by them, and they are sure to take an opportunity of revenging themselves. On the other hand, kindness is equally remembered and appreciated; an awkward proof of which occurred to a lady, who, when she frequently went to see a male elephant, carried to him bread, apples, and brandy. To show his gratitude for these, he took her up with his trunk one day, and seated her on his back. As she could not enjoy this testimonial of his feelings, she uttered the most piercing shrieks, and implored the assistance of those around. His keepers, however, advised her not to stir, and there she was obliged to wait till he again encircled her with his trunk, and put her on the ground in safety. Of the attachment of elephants to each other, a proof was given by two in the Jardin des Plantes, who had been with difficulty separated during their journey thither from Holland. They were placed in two apartments, divided by a portcullis. The male soon found out that this was fastened only by a perpendicular bolt, which he soon raised, and[Pg 289] then rushed into the other room. The joy of the two at meeting can scarcely be described: their cries of joy shook the whole building, and they blew air from their trunks resembling the blasts from smiths' bellows. The female moved her ears with great rapidity, and entwined her trunk round the body of the male; she kept the end motionless for a long time close to his ear, and after holding it again round his body, applied it to her own mouth. The male encircled her with his trunk, and shed tears. They were afterwards kept in the same apartment; and their attachment was never interrupted.

The indignation of elephants at being laughed at or deceived, has been manifested very often; and sometimes they punish the offenders with death; at others, they seem perfectly to understand in what way their retaliation will take most effect, without inflicting so serious a reproof.

An artist in Paris was anxious to draw one of the elephants of the menagerie there; with his trunk in the air, and his mouth wide open. After throwing fruit and vegetables in for some time, to make him repeat the attitude, his keeper only pretended to do so, fearing to give him too much food. The elephant at last became irritated, and perfectly understood that the artist was the cause of his annoyance; he, therefore, turned round upon him, and dashed a quantity of water over the paper on which he was drawing. It is chiefly[Pg 290] in animals of greatest intelligence that we find the greatest affection and gratitude; elephants have sometimes refused to eat, and have pined to death when separated from their favourite keepers, and they are never obliterated from their memory. Their humanity is also frequently conspicuous; and we are told of one who, on being ordered to walk over the bodies of some sick persons, at first refused to advance; and then on being goaded by his driver, gently took the poor men up with his trunk, and laid them on one side, so that he could not do them any injury.

The following is another fearful instance of their power and vengeance, related by Mr. Burchell, a South African traveller. "Carl Krieger was a fearless hunter, and being an excellent marksman, often ventured into the most dangerous situations. One day, having with his party pursued an elephant which he had wounded, the irritated animal suddenly turned round, and singling out from the rest the person by whom he had been injured, seized him with his trunk, and lifting his wretched victim high in the air, dashed him with dreadful force to the ground. His companions, struck with horror, fled precipitately from the fatal scene, unable to look back upon the rest of the dreadful tragedy; but on the following day, they repaired to the spot, where they collected the few bones that could be found, and buried them. The enraged[Pg 291] animal had not only literally trampled Krieger's body to pieces, but did not feel its vengeance satisfied till it had pounded the very flesh and bones into the dust, so that nothing of the unfortunate man remained excepting a few of the latter, which made most resistance from their size."

M. Frederic Cuvier, in his admirable essay on the "Domestication of Animals," writes as follows, concerning an elephant in the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes. The care of this animal had been confided, when he was only three or four years old, to a young person, who taught him a number of those tricks which amuse the public. The animal loved him so much, as not only to be perfectly obedient to all his commands, but to be unhappy out of his presence. He rejected the kindness of every one else, and even was with difficulty persuaded to eat the food presented to him.

During a certain period, the elephant had remained with his owner, and the young man, his son, had constantly evinced the greatest kindness towards the animal; but he was at length sold to the government, and his keeper hired to take care of him; deprived of all restraint, and his family no longer present to watch over him, the latter neglected his charge, and when intoxicated, even struck his favourite, for he abandoned himself to the worst habits. The naturally cheerful disposition of the elephant began to alter, and he was[Pg 292] thought to be ill; he was still obedient, but his exercises no longer gave him pleasure. He now and then appeared to be impatient, but tried to repress his feelings; the struggle, however, changed him so much, that his keeper became still more dissatisfied with him. Orders had been given to the young man never to beat the elephant, but in vain. Mortified at losing his influence, which daily became less, his own irritability increased; and one day being more unreasonable than ever, he struck the elephant with such brutality, that the beast uttered a furious cry. The frightened keeper fled, and it was well he did so, for from that moment the elephant could not endure the sight of him, becoming violent the moment he appeared; and nothing ever restored the poor animal to his previous good conduct: hatred had succeeded to love, indocility to obedience, and as long as the animal lived these two latter feelings predominated.

Mr. Broderip, in his delightful Zoological Recreations, tells us of an elephant which was shewn, among other wild beasts, at a fair in the West of England. One of the spectators gratified the elephant by some excellent gingerbread nuts, in return for which, the animal, unsolicited, performed his tricks. The donor, however, was a practical joker, and when he had gained the confidence of the good-tempered beast, presented him with a large parcel, weighing two or three pounds, which the[Pg 293] elephant took unsuspectingly, all at once. He had scarcely swallowed it, however, than he set up a loud roar, and seemed to suffer exceedingly; he gave the bucket to his keeper, as if to ask for water, which was supplied to him most plentifully. "Ho!" said his tormentor, "Those nuts were a trifle hot, old fellow, I guess." "You had better be off," exclaimed the keeper, "unless you want the bucket at your head; and serve you right, too." The elephant drank the sixth bucket full, and then hurled the empty vessel at the head of the man, just as he cleared the entrance of the show, or most probably he would have lost his life. A year after, at the same place, the joker again went to see the elephant, with one pocket full of good nuts, and the other with nuts of pepper. He gave the animal some of the first, and then presented him with one that was hot. The moment the elephant tasted it, he seized the coat tails of the man, and lifted him from the ground, when the cloth giving way, he dropped down, half dead with fright; and his coat reduced to a jacket. The elephant retained the skirts, inserted his trunk into the pockets, and devoured the good nuts in the most leisurely manner, after due examination. Those done, he trampled upon the others, till he had reduced them to a mash, then tore the coat skirts to rags, and threw them to their owner.

We must not omit to mention the remarkable[Pg 294] partiality of the elephant for brandy, rum, or arrack, either of which will tempt him to make extraordinary exertions, and which seems almost unnatural in so simple a feeder.



When all London, and half England, have been to see the Hippopotamus, at the Zoological Gardens, I feel as if a work on animals, written at the present moment, would be incomplete unless it contained some notice of this animal. Nevertheless, in spite of research into old and new books, into private reminiscences, and personal recollections, I find it difficult to raise him to the intellectual place of those which have been, or will be treated of in my pages. When I heard praises so lavishly bestowed upon him, when I became even reproached for not having been to see him, I began to think I had been mistaken, and that my former acquaintance with his brethren must have been made under circumstances which had caused prejudice; I therefore paid him a visit, spent some little time in watching and observing him, and came away, more than ever astonished at the marvellous effects which novelty and variety will produce in the minds of men; throwing beauty and interest over the most ungainly form and good-natured stu[Pg 295]pidity. He certainly looks to greater advantage in this country than he does in his own; for here a rose-coloured blush tinges his skin, and there he is too often covered with mud, to wear any other appearance than that of a dirty brown.

The hippopotamus is exclusively a denizen of Africa; and perfectly harmless when unprovoked; except that he sometimes gets into the plantations in the vicinity of his haunts, and crushes and devours a crop of maize, or millet. He would rather avoid fighting or quarreling; but, like all other brute creatures, can retaliate an injury with a fury, which is rendered frightful by his enormous weight. He looks best when walking in the shallow part of a lake or river, just under the water, with his eyes open; but if there should be a boat, or canoe on the surface, the sooner it bears its freight to the shore the better; for he is sure at least to try and upset it with his huge back; not that he has any murderous intentions, but he probably thinks it is an intrusion on his peculiar domains.

The hide of the hippopotamus, of which tremendous whips are made, is at least two inches thick, and has no hair upon it; his legs are so short, that the body of one that is full grown, almost reaches the ground, and sometimes measures five feet across; his tail is very short and insignificant, and his eyes and ears are very small. They live[Pg 296] together in small numbers, feed chiefly on grass and aquatic plants, and come forth at night. Each foot has four toes, and each toe a separate hoof; the nostrils open on the top of the muzzle; their flesh is thought to be very good to eat, and to resemble pork. A thick layer of fat lies just under the skin, which the Africans look upon as a great delicacy for the table. The male is the largest; and two species are said to exist. The exploits of Mr. Gordon Cumming give us a lively picture of their habits; but there is nothing in his work which affords the slightest interest in their mental faculties. The following account from the pen of Captain Owen who explored so large a portion of the African shores, is the only instance I have met with which wears the semblance of almost unprovoked anger on the part of a hippopotamus:—"While examining a branch of the Temby river, in Delagoa Bay, a violent shock was suddenly felt from underneath the boat, and in another moment, a monstrous hippopotamus reared itself up from the water, and in a most ferocious and menacing attitude rushed open-mouthed at the boat; with one grasp of its tremendous jaws it seized and tore seven planks from her side; the creature disappeared for a few seconds, and then rose again, apparently intending to repeat the attack, but was fortunately deterred by the contents of a musket discharged in its face. The boat rapidly filled; but, as she was not more than an oar's length from the[Pg 297] shore, they (the crew) succeeded in reaching it before she sank. The keel, in all probability, had touched the back of the animal, which, irritating him, occasioned this furious attack; and had he got his upper jaw above the gunwale, the whole broadside must have been torn out. The force of the shock from beneath, previously to the attack, was so violent, that her stern was almost lifted out of the water, and Mr. Tambs, the midshipman steering, was thrown overboard, but fortunately rescued before the irritated animal could seize him."

The hippopotamus, with his shy and secluded habits, may be easily passed as he lies concealed among the reeds which grow by the side of the river, but if once he gets into the water, he is always to be detected by the blowing noise which he makes.



Nature has so strongly marked the wild and the tame Hog with the same characters, that no hesitation arises in pronouncing the former to be the stock from whence we have derived the latter. In common, however, with all other free and domesticated animals, there is a prolongation of muzzle in the wild species, which is not to be found in those of our sties. The tusks also are larger; in this[Pg 298] instance, as in all others, showing how bountifully the Great Creator provides for all. The domestic hog is not required to seek his food and dig roots as his untamed brother does, and, therefore, the parts most used for these purposes are not equally developed. Both, however, possess very powerful muscles of the neck and shoulder, to give movement to their large and strong jaws. They all have four toes on each foot; the two in the middle being much the largest and armed with strong hoofs. Their snout looks as if it had been suddenly chopped off, as if to expose the nostrils, which are pierced in this truncated portion. Their triangular, canine teeth, or tusks, project beyond the mouth; those of both jaws curve upwards. They make very formidable weapons, as many a dog and huntsman has known to his cost. Wild hogs are covered with stiff, dark brown hair, which gets grizzly with age, and is more upright along the back. The tail is short; and in many varieties of the domestic pig, it curls very tightly.

The male wild boar only associates with the female for a short period, and at other times lives alone, in the thickest parts of dense forests; coming forth in the evening to procure his food, which is chiefly of a vegetable nature. It is only when pressed by hunger, that wild hogs will eat animal substances. The females herd together, and their young[Pg 299] remain with them till they are two or three years old. When they are about to be born, the mothers retreat as far as possible from the fathers, as the latter have a most longing desire always to devour their offspring. The females, left to defend themselves and their children, place the latter behind them, and expose themselves in a line to the attacks of an enemy, or they form a circle round them, and evince an extraordinary amount of fury and courage. Sparrman, the South African traveller asserts, that the species of wild sow in those regions, when so closely pursued that it is impossible for them to make off, take the young pigs in their mouths. To his astonishment, one day, when pursuing a herd, all the young ones disappeared, nor could he explain the mystery till aware of this singular fact.

The hunting of wild boars has, from the most ancient times, been reckoned a noble sport; for it not only called for dexterity and courage, but was attended with considerable danger, from the extreme savageness of these animals when at bay, and the facility with which they rip open their antagonists with their tusks. They were in former times considered as royal game, and fines were imposed on those who killed them without having the privilege of doing so. The time of their extirpation in England is uncertain; but we know that in the reign of Charles the First, orders were given for some domestic hogs to be turned into the New[Pg 300] Forest, that they might become wild; but they were all destroyed in the time of Cromwell. Some still exist in the large European forests, and a variety of hounds are still trained to hunt them. Horses are particularly alarmed at them, and in the history of boar-hunts, we constantly read of the sportsmen being forced to alight from their steeds to take a steady aim. The numbers of ancient arms in which they are found, and the names of old places derived from them, attest their numerous presence here; for instance, Brandon, which is brawn's den; brawn being the old term for boar. Their skin is so thick as frequently to deaden the force of bullets, which, after death, have been found lying between it and the flesh.

The wild boars of Africa have a broader snout than their European brethren, and possess two protuberances under the eyes, which prevent them from seeing anything underneath them. They live in subterranean holes; and one which had been for some time kept in confinement, was accidentally left loose in a small court near his cage, upon which he tore up the pavement, and had already made a deep pit when his keeper returned. When the natives of Africa spear or entrap one, they tie his fore-feet together, sling him on a pole, decorate him and themselves with creeping plants, and return to their huts with triumphant shouts and rejoicing. The flesh of these is very close-grained, white and[Pg 301] hard. The impossibility of keeping meat in that country till it becomes tender, makes wild boar flesh almost useless to Europeans, unless their teeth vie with those of negroes.

Some idea of the sort of sport which attends the chase of wild boars, may be formed from the following account of one which took place in a forest in Luxembourg. At a battle, several of these animals were driven together, and they came rushing on like a squadron of heavy dragoons, breaking through the underwood. Several shots were fired, and they tried to disperse. One huntsman got out of the line, and a boar came rushing upon him; but a fresh shot broke one of his legs; which, however, though it made him more savage, caused him to turn into the forest. The well-trained dogs, and the huntsmen pursued him; and when they came up with him, found him terrifically savage. One of the hounds, more daring than the rest, made a dart at the beast, seized him by one ear, and bounded over him to the opposite side. They ran off together, the boar's head almost turned upside down; but, with a sudden jerk, the dog was shaken off, and the boar tearing him open, tossed him several feet in the air. The pack then gathered so thickly round, that the boar's progress was stayed; the men then came up and cut his throat. At another point of the wood, a sow, weighing three hundred pounds, and followed by[Pg 302] her young, was wounded, and furiously pursued a hunter, whom she surprised in a narrow pass between two rocks. He waited her approach and fired, or rather tried to do so, but his gun missed; he then, in an instant, fell on his face and hands, and the sow ran over his body. Rising, and loading his gun, he provoked the sow again by his cries. The foaming creature, with flashing eyes, turned upon him; but this time she received the charge in her head and fell.

Wild hogs are easily domesticated, and as easily resume their uncivilized habits; but they seem then to keep in packs. Mr. Byam relates the following adventure with these renegades:—"I was one day hunting alone, on foot, in a rather open wood, when a large boar made his appearance about sixty yards off, and not seeing any of his companions, I let fly the ball, and tumbled him over. He gave a fierce grunt or two as he lay; and a large herd of boars and sows rushed out of some thick underwood behind him, and, after looking at the fallen beast for a few seconds, made a dash at me: but they were a trifle too late, for on catching sight of them, I ran to a tree, 'cut up' it for life, and had only just scrambled into some diverging branches, about ten feet from the ground, when the whole herd arrived; grunting and squeaking, at the foot of the tree. I could not help laughing at the ridiculous figure I must have made, chased up a[Pg 303] tree by a dozen of pigs; but it soon turned out no laughing matter, for their patience was not, as I expected, soon exhausted; and they settled round the tree about twenty yards distant, and kept looking at me with their little twinkling eyes, as much as to say, 'We'll have you yet.'" So far are Mr. Byam's own words; and I now give the sequel in a more abridged form, though, by so doing, I feel that I deprive the story of some of its zest:—Having made up his mind to a regular siege, he examined his resources, and found them to be a double-barreled gun, a flask of powder (nearly full), plenty of copper caps; a few charges of shot; only two balls; a knife, flint, and steel; a piece of hard, dried tongue; a small flask of spirits and water; and a good bundle of cigars. He could not expect relief, a sally was out of the question; so he made himself as comfortable as he could. Hour after hour passed, the pigs never stirred, except when one or two returned to look at their dead comrade, as if to sharpen their revenge. At length the imprisoned hunter thought of firing off some powder every few minutes, shouting at the same time. One barrel of his gun was still loaded with shot, and he aimed at an old boar; who, on returning from his deceased friend, had looked up at him and grunted. The whole charge, at a distance of about twenty feet, went into the boar's face, who then turned round and ran away, making[Pg 304] a horrible noise. The rest of the party charged altogether up to the foot of the tree, but the outcry of the old boar drew them away; and the whole herd went after him, making such a noise as never before had saluted Mr. Byam's ears. He remained in the tree a short time; and, when all was quiet, he slipped down, and ran away as fast as he could, in a contrary direction.

Hogs are not equally prized by all nations. The detestation in which they were held by the Egyptians, was continued by the Israelites; not only from living with those people, but because they were unclean animals. They are still viewed in that light by Brahmins and Mussulmans, who only rear them to sell to Christians, or to make scavengers of them, for, in a domestic state, they are omnivorous. The dislike of the latter to them was once very serviceable to me; for when we were bivouacking close to a Mahommedan village, the people, and the priests thronged around us, so as to be extremely troublesome; and the only way in which we could keep them at a distance, without force, was by tying pieces of ham over the different entrances of the building in which we were.

Somewhat like rats, there seems to be a mysterious distribution of swine all over the face of the earth; and much astonishment was created in the minds of the discoverers of the South Sea Islands, by finding them in those far-off specks of[Pg 305] the earth. Perhaps there had been earlier navigators there than ourselves.

Pork, fresh or cured, forms the principal food of our sailors and peasantry; and most precious is the pig to the poor man. It is often the pet of the younger branches of his family, and returns their affection with interest.

Of course, it is an idle fable that pigs can see and smell the wind; but it is perfectly true that they are always much agitated when a storm is approaching.

Considering the stupid way in which they run when they are frightened, the manner in which they squeak on all occasions, and the obstinacy which they evince, very often when an endeavour is made to add to their relief or comfort, it is not surprising that a low estimate of their intelligence should hare been formed. Nevertheless, they have been trained to point out letters and spell words, till they have acquired the appellation of "learned pigs." What, however, is more useful, they draw the plough in the south of France—they are taught to hunt the truffles, which are hidden under the soil—they even stand at game like the most accomplished pointers. The latter instruction was conveyed by means of stones and pudding; if they failed in their duty, they received the former; but when they drooped their ears and tail, and sank upon their knees, nor rose till the birds had already risen, they feasted on "lumps o' pudding."[Pg 306]

Of the voracity of pigs, there are many stories, all more or less disagreeable; and none more so than when they have killed and partially eaten children, and utterly devoured their young keepers. Such stories have been too well authenticated to be doubted; but they are exceptions to the general history of the animal. It is much more pleasing to refer to the life, death, and burial of poor Jean, who was saved out of a litter of six (born on board ship) from the butcher's knife. She was brought up as a pet, and suffered to run about deck, among sheep and goats. Most of the live stock was washed off, but Jean remained because she had been stowed away in the long boat. In warm latitudes the men took their meals on deck, and she was always one of the mess, poking her nose into every bread bag, and scalding it in the soup. The sailors poured grog down her throat, and twice made her tipsy; and she behaved as most individuals do on such occasions.

In consequence of the scarcity of fresh provisions in the Chinese seas, Jean was ordered to be killed, her fry to be eaten one day, her head made into turtle soup the next, and after that, her legs, etc., roasted; but the ship's company pleaded that she might be spared, stating, among other reasons, that when called, she came like a dog. "Jean! Jean!" exclaimed the captain, and she bounced along, tripping up the officer of the watch.[Pg 307]

Like most pets, Jean became intolerably fat and lazy, in which condition she was an object of great attraction to the Chinese; they longed for her, wanted to buy her, begged for her, and watched for her, knowing she must die soon, and then be thrown overboard. Jack, however, had no inclination to gratify the Chinamen, and when poor Jean breathed her last, two masses of ballast iron were placed, one on each cheek, and lashed to her neck and shoulders in such a manner, that by their projection they made a long, sharp snout, which would penetrate into the mud. She was lowered over the ship's side, head foremost, and when below the surface of the water, the rope was cast off, and her well-loaded carcase went down too deep, even for the search of the cunning Chinese.[6]

[6] The source whence I obtained this anecdote has escaped me; but I think it is from the pen of Captain Basil Hall.



With quite as little personal beauty as the Pachydermata of which I have hitherto treated, the Rhinoceros takes his place among the powerful of the earth. He has no tusks, but bears one or two horns upon his nose. Of these, when there are two, the foremost is the largest, all are curved and [Pg 308]polished, and appear to be formed of hairs, aggregated into a solid mass. The bones of the nose are remarkably thickened and developed into that form which is best adapted to resist a shock—namely, the arch; and by this, not only is the animal able to carry its horn high, but to bear the tremendous resistance with which it meets when it uses that horn. In all but one species the upper lip is prolonged, and capable of such extension that it becomes prehensile; it protrudes this lip, lowers its horn or horns, so as to lean forwards, and rushes at the object of its anger or dislike with almost inconceivable fury. I have already contradicted the assertion, that it seeks the elephant for the purpose of giving him battle, on which occasion it was said to sharpen its horn against a stone just before the engagement: according to Mr. Gordon Cumming's account, they inhabit the same neighbourhood without exhibiting any particular enmity towards each other.

As far as we know at present, there are six species, all of which inhabit Africa and India, including Java and Sumatra; they have three toes on each foot covered with a hoof. The sides of their body project in a remarkable degree; their skin is enormously thick, knotty in its surface, and has but a few hairs scattered over it. The Indian rhinoceroses have enormous folds of this skin, hanging upon the shoulders, haunches, neck and thighs,[Pg 309] looking as if each fold covered a thick rope; the ears of all are erect, the eyes small and near the nose; the tail short; they carry their heads so low that they almost touch the earth; they plough up the ground with their horn, scattering stones and soil without any apparent motive, and few things can resist the impetuous force which they put forth, when they rush upon an object which has excited their fury. Their smell and hearing are extremely acute, so that it is difficult to approach them; but as their sight is very limited, they may be avoided by slipping on one side when they are in pursuit of an enemy.

The Javanese and Sumatran species are smaller, lighter, and consequently less ferocious and powerful than the others. Both in Africa and India there is a superstition with regard to the horns of all the species, which the natives declare are sensibly acted on by poison. It is the custom to make cups of them, and in India it is said, that liquid poison poured into them, effervesces in such a manner that it overflows the cup. In Africa, the inhabitants assure you, that the cup will turn black from the same cause; and that water drunk from them possesses medicinal properties, especially if stirred with iron. The folds on the skin of the African species are much less than those of the Indian, and amount to scarcely more than wrinkles. The latter have been known to live a[Pg 310] hundred years, and when young, their skin has a pink tinge. All eat the young branches of trees, and shrubs, and grass.

It has been observed, that the skin of the African rhinoceros is so full of insects, that birds are in the habit of perching upon them, for the purpose of feeding on these insects. They suffer their winged friends to remain undisturbed, thinking, that as long as they stay, no enemy is near; but if they fly off, some danger is approaching, for which they immediately look out. These birds are not unlike the missal thrush, and remain by their friends till they are forced to leave them. When the latter are shot, they fly away, uttering a harsh cry, and return to their positions when all is quiet, even adhering to them all night. This may be also the case in India; but I have only seen it recorded of Africa.

I should suppose that the loud blowing noise attributed to the African rhinoceros, holds good with all. The black variety is the most dangerous; they ramble about at night, and go to the river to drink, between the hours of nine and twelve. Those sudden fits of frenzy, to which all are liable, are particularly outrageous in them; and they have been seen to attack the bushes around them for hours at a time; uttering a strange noise, something like the combination of a grunt and a whistle. Their flesh is rather like beef, perhaps having even[Pg 311] a finer flavour. They go about singly or in pairs, are much the most active, and pursue any object which attracts them with a perseverance which is quite ludicrous. According to Major Harris, much of the brain lies under the horns, and he saw them sometimes assemble in herds of thirty-two. The best place to aim at, when it is desirable to kill them, is behind the shoulder. Before they charge, they stand rolling their body from side to side. They become furious at the sight of fire, and in order to get at it, they dash forward with mad fury, nor rest till they have scattered and extinguished all the burning wood.

The White Rhinoceroses have a longer neck than the others. Their muzzle is shorter, and more square, resembling that of the ox.

Most of the rhinoceroses brought to Europe have been remarkably good-tempered and docile; but one which was lodged in Exeter Change, was only kept in order by the whip; no kindness having any effect upon him, especially in his sudden fits of fury, which were of the most frightful violence.

Mr. Burchell's measurement of a rhinoceros, made him eleven feet from the tip of the nose to the insertion of the tail, and the girth of the body was eight feet four inches.

"Some years ago," says Captain Brown, "a party of Europeans, with their native attendants and elephants (of course this must have been in India)[Pg 312] met with a small band of seven (rhinoceroses). These were led by a larger, and more powerful animal than the rest. When this large leader charged the hunters, the first elephants, in place of using their tusks as weapons, wheeled round, and received the blow of the rhinoceros's horn on their hind quarters; and so powerful was the concussion, that it brought them instantly to the ground with their riders; and as soon as they could get on their feet again, the brute was ready to repeat the attack, and was certain to produce another fall; and in this manner did the contest continue, until four of the seven were killed, when the rest made good their retreat."



Although, still lingering among the Pachydermata, I have now left behind me the ponderous and unwieldy forms which inhabit the wild and wooded tracts of the earth's surface, and come to the group called Solipeda, from the one round and horny hoof which encircles all the feet; one toe is apparent; and two points on each side, under the skin, represent lateral toes; besides which there is, underneath, a soft pad, or what is generally termed the frog, which touches the ground when the animal walks.

Strength, beauty, and activity, are all combined[Pg 313] in horses; their elegantly shaped head, with its long pointed ears, and large eyes, is carried high or thrown back; and while they rapidly glance into the horizon, to look for friends or foes, their well defined nostrils sniff fresh vigour from the passing breeze; but this is not all—these same ears laid flat back upon their head tell you that they have been affronted, and mean to be revenged for the insult; when they are upright they are listening to sounds, which their rider cannot hear, and when they are pointed forward they rejoice in the affectionate voices of those whom they love. Those full, hazel eyes denote passions of various kinds, are often turned full of parental love on the offspring which gambols by their side, or of gratitude upon their kind masters, following their benefactors with a melancholy look, when they take their departure. Those nostrils are dilated sometimes with anger, at others with the pleasures of the chase; and the arched neck, the broad muscular chest, the graceful, curving lines of the body, the well-shaped, sinewy limbs, sometimes slender and delicate in their proportions, bear these beautiful creatures over hill and dale almost with the swiftness of a bird; while their long mane and tail float in the air, as if the creature whom they adorn were about to soar to heaven.

In a state of freedom, horses are swift, fierce, and inquisitive; they herd together in large numbers. The males evince the most faithful[Pg 314] attachment to the females, and protect them and their offspring to the death. The latter are fond and devoted mothers.

In activity, there is no animal which more decidedly takes its character from its early masters or instructors; their admirable qualities are heightened; their fierceness becomes courage; their wild actions are turned into play, and their attachment and sagacity are only surpassed by those of the dog. On the other hand, most of what are called their vices may be traced to their early training. Allowances must, of course, be made for natural disposition, which varies as much in the brute creation as it does in man; and I have met with ill-tempered horses, which have been so from the moment they were taken from their native forests; but generally speaking, the horse becomes the protector, the companion, the friend, of his possessor. When dead, every part of him is useful; and when living, all his energies make him one of the greatest blessings which a beneficent Creator has bestowed on the earthly lord of all.

Horses' teeth are so important a part of their history, that although this book does not profess to treat of science, it would be incomplete if I did not briefly point out how distinctly they shew the age of the animal. First of all, however, it should be known, that the mouth seems to have been expressly formed for the bit, by which man controls this[Pg 315] admirable creature; for, corresponding with each angle of the mouth is a space between the teeth, in which it lodges with the greatest convenience. The front teeth, or incisors, begin to appear when the horse is fifteen days old, and amount to six in number in each jaw. All, from the first, are at the top, or crown, hollowed into a groove. The two in the middle are shed and replaced at three years and a half, the two next at four and a half, and the two outside, called the corner teeth, at seven and a half, or eight. The grooves on the crowns, become effaced, and the tops of the teeth are more triangular as age increases. The females have no canine teeth; but the males always have two small ones in the upper jaw, and sometimes two in the lower; the former appear when they are four years old, the latter at three and a half; they remain pointed till the horse has attained six years, and when he is ten they begin to grow loose, and expose their roots. They have six grinders in each side of each jaw, with flat crowns, and the plates of enamel which surround the dental substance, appear in them like four crescents. The life of horses generally lasts about thirty years; but they have frequently been known to exceed that age. Then, however, mastication has become difficult, they get lean, or what is called out of condition; and old favorites, if they are attended to as they ought to be, after long and[Pg 316] faithful services, have their food bruised, and even cooked for them. It is surprising to see what entire rest frequently does for them, even at an advanced age; and I have seen them, in consequence of it, again taken into a degree of service when they have been supposed past all work.

The origin of horses is involved in so much obscurity, that it has given rise to frequent speculation; not as in the dog, with regard to the type of the race, but the quarter of the globe where they were first located. It appears to me, that the greatest mass of opinion is in favour of Tartary, or Central Asia, where it is supposed that the only existing wild race now lives, all the rest in a state of freedom, being feral, or descended from domesticated pairs, which have again become wild. Some of these are also on the steppes of Tartary; but immense numbers inhabit the extensive plains of South America, which are supposed to be the descendants of the Spanish horses, and to have escaped from the conquerors of that continent. Large herds also run about in various parts of North America and Africa; and smaller numbers in England, where they have dwindled to ponies. Mr. Bell, whose authority few would dare to dispute, thinks that the Egyptians were the first people who brought the horse into subjection, and that Africa contained the original race; but the ancient mysteries of the East are only now beginning to be[Pg 337] opened to us; and, I suspect, we shall find that the Egyptians derived their horses, as well as everything else, from the still older Asiatics.

It would be in vain to attempt, in a work of this kind, to describe the different species and varieties of horses; I shall, therefore, quickly pass on to a small selection from the numerous anecdotes placed before me, a few of which are the results of personal experience. Before I do this, however, it may be as well to make a few observations concerning their food. They are eminently vegetable feeders; grains and dried grasses, such as hay and straw, also clover, being preferred when they are in constant service. The more valuable sorts are seldom much used while they are feeding entirely on green grass. They are extremely fond of the niceties which are so often bestowed on pets, such as bread, apples, cakes, etc.; and some are passionately fond of sugar. M. Frederic Cuvier taught one he constantly rode, to play certain tricks, rewarding him for them with sugar; and, if the provision contained in his pocket were not sufficient, he would stop at a road-side inn, and procure some more for the horse. Accordingly, when the sagacious animal came again to these houses, he would perform the same antics which had before procured him the sugar, and then stand still, as if again to receive his reward. While speaking of this creature, I may as well mention, that he delighted in pulling[Pg 318] down his own hay, and feeding the goats, which lived on the other side of his palings, with it; and once, when he was fed with straw, on account of some malady, his companions, who ate at the same manger, were so concerned at what they thought his inferior fare, that they pushed their hay to him.

Horses have not the least objection to animal food; and it has been often given to them when they have been obliged to perform immense journeys, or to undergo any very great exertion. It, however, excites them very much, and, if not judiciously bestowed, makes them fierce and uncontrollable. Stories are told of poor men, who, when the despots of the East have ordered them to give up their favourite horses, have fed them on flesh, and rendered them so unmanageable, that the tyrants have no longer desired what they once thought a prize. Horses will also drink strong ale, etc., with the greatest relish; and oat gruel, mixed with it, has often proved an excellent restorative for them after an unusual strain upon their powers. They will not refuse even spirits or wine, administered in the same manner; but it is very questionable if these are equally efficacious. There is no telling, however, what strange inconsistencies domestication will produce in the matter of food; for cats have been known to refuse everything for boiled greens, when they were to be had.

The following account is abridged from Mr.[Pg 319] Kohl's description of those Asiatic horses, which are bred in the steppes, and are private property, although he calls them quite wild.—"Only in the heart of Tartary can the horse be found perfectly in a wild state. One herd in the steppe will consist of 1000 horses; but the keepers of herds will have several. Dressed in leather, with a girdle which contains the implements of his veterinary art; a black lambskin cap on his head, the tabuntshik, or herdsman, eats, drinks, and sleeps in his saddle; has no shelter, and dare not even turn his back upon a storm, as the creatures do for whom he is responsible. In his hand he holds a whip, with a thick, short handle, and a lash from fifteen to eighteen feet long. Then he must have a sling, with which he takes unerring aim at each individual of his straggling herd; then a wolf-stick, with a knob of iron at the end, hangs from his saddle; and a cask of water, a bag of bread, and a bottle of brandy are necessary parts of his equipment. He pays for every horse that is lost; in ten years he is worn out, yet is unfit for any other life; he lives in constant dread of horse-stealers, notwithstanding which he steals them himself.

"From Easter to October the herds graze day and night in the steppes. In the winter they are sheltered at night by mounds of earth, and a sort of roof, from the north. The stallions and stronger horses take possession of the shed, and the rest stand[Pg 320] outside, huddled together. In severe winters, sickness and death overtake them, and those who survive, walk about like specters. But when they eat the young grass, which appears when the snow is melted, they are as wild and mischievous as ever. The stallions seem to consider themselves as the chiefs of the herd; and one of these, by right of strength, is the chief par excellence. Sometimes one stallion will have affronted the rest, and all combine to turn him out; and then he will be seen apart from them, with a few mares attending him.[7] Occasionally two herds will fight for right of pasture; the mares and foals keep aloof, the stallions flourish their tails, erect their manes, rattle their hoofs together, and fasten on each other with their teeth; the victorious party carrying off several mares.

"In the spring come the wolves, being very fond of young foals; so they constantly prowl round the herds, never attacking them by day if they are numerous; but come at night, and if they are scattered, they make a rush upon their victims. The stallions, however, charge at them; and they take flight only, however, to return and secure a straggling foal, to whose rescue the mother comes, and herself perishes. When this is found out, a terrible battle ensues; the foals are placed in the centre, the mares encircle them, charging the [Pg 321]wolves in front; tearing them with their teeth, and trampling them with their fore-feet, always using the latter, and not the hind feet; the stallions rush about, and often kill a wolf with one blow; they then pick up the body with their teeth, and throw it to the mares, who trample upon it till its original form is utterly destroyed. If eight or ten hungry wolves should pull down a stallion, the whole herd will revenge him, and almost always destroy the wolves; who, however, generally try to avoid these great battles, and chase a mare or foal separated from the rest, creep up to them, imitating a watchdog, and wagging their tails, spring at the throat of the mare; and then the foal is carried off. Even this will not always succeed, and if the mare give alarm, the wolf is pursued by herd and keeper, and his only chance of escape is to throw himself head-foremost down the steep sides of a ravine.

"The horses suffer more from thirst in summer than from famine in winter; the heat is intolerable, there is no shade, and each horse tries to protect itself by its neighbour's body. In the autumn the owners of the herd call them in to thresh corn; the turf is removed, the ground beaten till it is very hard, and a railing placed round it; the corn is spread, and five hundred horses at a time are driven into the enclosure; they are terrified by the crackling straw and the noise of the whip over their heads,[Pg 322] and the more frantic they are the sooner is the corn threshed."

The attachment of Arabs to their horses, the extreme beauty of these animals, which form part of the family, and are sometimes more precious to their owners than wives or children, have become proverbial. They are managed by kindness; and nothing can exceed the indignation of the owners when they behold any attempt to manage a horse of any kind by means of the whip. It is the Arabian which, imported through Spain, or direct to England, has produced so much improvement in the European stock. An Arab mare of pure descent, had, by means of the Moors, found her way to the north western coast of Africa, where she was purchased by an English officer. At first I was a little disappointed in her appearance, for she was thin; but as her foal became independent of her, and learned to eat, she recovered her condition, and I was never tired of looking at her. To all who delight in admiring wild, unrestrained action, there could not be a much greater treat than to have the gates of the Government-House spur closed, and turn her and her child loose into it, while we stood upon the veranda to watch them. At no time did she ever walk; but went every where with a light, dancing step. And on these occasions the frolics, the gestures, were past all description; standing at one corner, her fore feet stretched[Pg 323] out, she would appear to wait for the pretty little son who trotted up to her; when, in a moment, almost so as to elude sight, she would bound completely over him, and take her stand at another corner; then back again, and round and round, till it seemed to me that all the tricks taught by Ducrow, the waltzing and quadrilling excepted, must have been suggested by watching the movements of wild horses. A curious adventure happened to that little foal, which is worthy of record. A year or two after this, the groom took him to the river to wash his legs, and as he turned to come out again, a crocodile bit him; he struggled for a moment and fell; this frightened the crocodile away, and the poor young horse was dragged from the water's edge; the formidable teeth of the reptile had nearly separated the foot from the leg, and it hung by one tendon. There seemed to be no alternative but to shoot him; however, a native suggested to his owner, that there was a famous Moorish doctor then in the place, and if any one could cure the horse, he could; at any rate it was worth the trial: the man came, was very quiet, did not promise anything, but united the parts, bandaged them together, had the patient fastened down in the position in which he chose him to lie, and after some weeks of careful tending, the animal was restored to his master even without blemish. It was only by passing the hand along the parts[Pg 324] which had been severed, that the scar could be detected; and he was afterwards sold for a handsome sum.

M. de Lamartine tells an interesting story of an Arab chief and his horse, which is highly characteristic. They, and the tribe to which they belonged, attacked a caravan in the night, and were returning with their plunder, when some horsemen, belonging to the Pasha of Acre, surrounded them, killed several, and bound the rest with cords. Among the latter was the chief, Abou el Marek, who was carried to Acre, and, bound hand and foot, laid at the entrance of their tent during the night. The pain of his wounds kept him awake, and he heard his own horse neigh, who was picketed at a little distance from him. Wishing to caress him, perhaps for the last time, he dragged himself up to him, and said—"Poor friend! what will you do among the Turks? You will be shut up under the roof of a Khan, with the horses of a Pasha or an Aga; no longer will the women and children of the tent bring you barley, camel's milk, or dhourra, in the hollow of their hands; no longer will you gallop free as the wind in the desert; no longer will you cleave the waters with your breast, and lave your sides, as pure as the foam from your lips. If I am to be a slave, at least you may go free. Return to our tent, tell my wife that Abou el Marek will return no more; but put your head[Pg 325] still into the folds of the tent, and lick the hands of my beloved children." With these words, as his hands were tied, the chief, with his teeth, undid the fetters which held the courser bound, and set him at liberty; but the noble animal, on recovering his freedom, instead of galloping away to the desert, bent his head over his master, and seeing him in fetters, and on the ground, took his clothes gently between his teeth, lifted him up and set off at full speed towards home. Without resting he made straight for the distant, but well-known tent in the mountains of Arabia. He arrived there in safety, laid his master down at the feet of his wife and children, and immediately dropped down dead with fatigue. The whole tribe mourned him, the poets celebrated his fidelity; and his name is still constantly in the mouths of the Arabs of Jericho.

The Arabs have five noble races, among which that of Kohlan is the most celebrated for its beauty, temper, courage, memory, and almost human intelligence.

The value which the Arabs themselves set upon their horses may, perhaps, be exemplified, when I say, that the before-mentioned mare (Cora) had been brought to the coast in some secret manner; and as soon as it transpired where she was, a comparatively insignificant Sultan of the interior, sent to offer goods for her to the value of three hundred pounds. When her master left Africa, he sold her to a[Pg 326] general officer, and I never heard what became of her after that. The following is a short pedigree of one of these valuable creatures:—"In the name of God, the merciful! The cause of the present writing is, that we witness that the grey horse Derrish, of Mahomet Bey, is of the first breed of Nedgdee horses, whose mother is the grey mare, Hadha the famous, and whose father is the bay horse, Dabrouge, of the horses of the tribe Benihaled. We testify on our conscience and fortune, that he is the breed concerning which the prophet said, 'the true runners, when they run, strike fire; they grant prosperity until the day of judgment.' We have testified what is known, and God knows who are true witnesses." Six signatures verified this pedigree.

I had marked out a selection of quotations as proofs of the high qualities of the noble horse; but I must now be as brief as possible, and not profit too much by the interesting labours of others. I therefore continue my own observations. When staying on the borders of the river Gambia, I saw two of the native horses which belonged to the stud of the Commandant there; they had been brought from the interior, and taken from a wild herd; but they were totally unlike the races hitherto described. The mare, of a reddish brown, had been some time domesticated, and was docile and well behaved; neither of them possessing[Pg 327] sufficient character to be referred to the Barb, the Dongola, or the Nubian breeds. They were undersized, and not handsome; the male, who had not been long from his native forests, was the best looking; carried his head well, was strongly and compactly made, especially about the shoulders, and there was much fire about the head, which, however, was far from handsome; his legs were slender and well-shaped. The peculiar circumstances in which I was placed, rendered it necessary that I should, for the sake of health, take horse-exercise. There was nothing which could carry me except this little grey horse; for I could not persuade those around me to let me mount Cora, because they said she had so hard a mouth: so a side-saddle was put on, and a man with a skirt tried the grey once or twice; he was tolerably quiet, and without much disturbance, he went pretty well for a few weeks; the only trouble being to get upon his back. He, however, had one great peculiarity, which manifested itself rather awkwardly, when a party of us started to go to a distance. He could not endure strangers, and would not suffer any of his own kind to approach him who did not live in the same stable as himself. This was great affectation in a horse just wild from the woods, but so it was; the instant my companions approached me, he made a bolt, his heels went into the air, and it was in vain to resist his fancy. We returned the next day, and[Pg 328] while fording a creek, which we had crossed in a canoe the day before, one of our party forgot my horse's peculiarity and came up to me; he darted fairly out to sea, and not till he found himself off his legs was he frightened; fortunately alarm made him tractable, and I easily turned his head and landed in safety. Wishing however, to punish him, I galloped him home, four miles through loose sand, which was over his fetlocks; far, however, from being subdued, when I had dismounted and went to pat his check, he tried to bite me.

The beauty and excellence of English horses, taken as a whole, have been acknowledged to surpass those of the rest of the world; their speed, their enormous leaps, their long journeys, their strength, have been frequent themes of admiration; and I regret that I cannot fill more pages, with the histories that are recorded of them; but there are many excellent books on that subject alone, which may be read with great advantage; and I pass on to a very clever hunter, called Nannie, who belonged to my father, and who performed a feat, thought, in my childhood, to be unique, but which I have of late seen mentioned in the papers, as accomplished by other horses. In those days, gentlemen seldom retired from the dinner table, without being at least elated; and, on an occasion of this sort, my father, by way of summing up his favourite's wonderful abilities, said, "he was sure[Pg 329] she would, at his bidding, jump over the supper table," which was then set out for about twenty persons. Being an only daughter, I was often allowed to exceed the hours at which children are usually sent to bed; and I was therefore present during the whole scene. Doubts were expressed, bets were laid, the parties became excited; and Nannie was ordered from her stable, bridled and saddled, as if for her master's riding. She was led into the room; the gentlemen were all assembled, the table was glittering with lights, glass, and silver; the room was also brilliant; and at first, Nannie was a little surprised. The chairs were set on each side of the room; but, as the seats were pushed under, they only added to the height; my father mounted, and said, "Over, Nannie": the docile creature poised herself on her hind legs, stretched out her neck, as if to measure the distance, and cleared the whole; the only ill effect arising from which, was, that the marks of her hoofs were left in the carpet. This clever mare constantly opened the door of her stable, and went to warm herself at the fire in the harness-room; but her affection for her master had more than once preserved his life. On one occasion, it is supposed, he had slipped off her, and been unable to get on again; when, overcome with sleep, he folded his arms, rested them against her side, and laying his head upon them, remained there in a sound slumber.[Pg 330] It was presumed they had been in this posture a long time; and, had she moved, his life would probably have been endangered by the fall, for they were close to a steep declivity. On another occasion she came home, neighed at the door of the dwelling, and did not offer to go to the stable; the family were aroused, servants rose, she trotted back, and stood by her master, who was lying senseless by the side of the road. They must have fallen together, as on his chest was the mark of one of her feet, probably made in getting up again. He was only stunned, and in a few days recovered from his fall, while she was more than ever loved. She was a chestnut mare, with a white star; and very like her, was another, called Peggy, which, from having belonged especially to our mother, we, as children, claimed as ours also; and I have always, when recollecting her, been able to picture to myself the intimacy between horses and human beings in an Arab family. We crawled over her, we seated ourselves upon her without bridle or saddle, we clung to her neck when she had no room for us on her back, and we sat upon her as she herself lay in her stall. When she was ill, we administered the medicine, almost quarreling as to who should take the gruel to her; when she heard our voices, whatever pain she was in, she saluted us with a neigh; she was patient under every infliction, accommodated herself to every fancy, and, with her[Pg 331] prudence and good temper, was often instrumental to our safety. Although she had been a hunter, and was a lady's horse, she went well in harness, and used to run in a curricle, with all the fiery spirits whom my father chose to drive; and we must have been dashed to pieces more than once, but for her steadiness and forbearance. At last, we were obliged to part with her; that is, we were going to live where we could not keep her; and a friend took her into his park, where she was to remain free all the rest of her life. Five years after, I was sitting at an open window, in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, and a sound met my ear. "If ever I heard Peggy's step," I exclaimed, "that is it; she is now coming along the road." I was disbelieved; but in one minute after, the still beautiful creature, though thirty-three years old, was at the gate: we rushed to her; we called her; she answered us; she danced about; she rubbed her face against ours; she looked for the same caresses, the same niceties which she used to get from us—and half an hour quickly passed in mutual caresses. The gentleman in whose park she had been living, had found her so fresh, that he had ridden her by easy journeys, to London, and during his few days' visit, sent her to see us—she lived two years after that, and died of old age, without a struggle.


A friend told me the other day, that a horse[Pg 332] had been in the habit of going with his master a certain road, and stopping at the same inn, where those who fed him always threw some beans into the corn put before him. After a time, he and his master went from that part of the country, and remained away for two years, then the same habits were resumed, and the same inn frequented; the latter, however, had changed its owners. While enjoying his dinner, the rider was informed, that his horse would not eat, that he appeared to be perfectly well, but there was something wrong about the corn, which they knew not how to rectify, for it was the very best. The gentleman went to the stable, the horse neighed, looked at him, and then at the manger, and it struck him suddenly, that the animal missed the food he had been accustomed to receive there, and no where else. "Throw some beans in," he said to the hostler; he was obeyed; and the horse looked at him as if to express his thanks, and took his meal contentedly.

I terminate these anecdotes with one concerning a cart horse, which I never saw in print, but once. He had frequently given proofs of great sagacity; but the chief was the following:—"During the winter, a large wide drain had been made, and over this, strong planks had been placed for our friend, the cart horse, to pass over to his stable. It had snowed during the night, and had frozen very[Pg 333] hard in the morning. How he passed over the planks on going out to work, I know not; but, on being turned loose from the cart at breakfast, he came up to them, and I saw his fore feet slip: he drew back immediately, and seemed for a moment at a loss how to get on. Close to these planks a cart load of sand had been placed: he put his fore feet on this, and looked wistfully to the other side of the drain."

The boy who attended this horse, and who had gone round by another path, seeing him stand there, called him. The horse immediately turned round, and set about scraping the sand most vigorously, first with one hind foot, then with the other. The boy, perhaps wondering what he was going to do, waited to see. When the planks were completely covered with sand, the horse turned round again, unhesitatingly walked over, and trotted up to his stable and driver.

[7] This seems to confirm the opinion of the Indians concerning the solitary elephants.



Although far from equaling the horse in grace or beauty, the ass, in his wild condition, is a handsome, swift, and powerful animal, so different to the degenerated, ill-used, and scrubby creatures of this country, that they would scarcely be recognized as belonging to the same stock, if placed side by[Pg 334] side. In Spain, and other parts of Southern Europe, and the Cape de Verde Islands, they are very superior; but they are even surpassed by those of the East. All acquainted with Scripture know the importance formerly attached to them, when the wisest and best of the land rode in state upon white asses. It will also be recollected, that the Israelites were at first forbidden to use horses, and the places of the latter were then supplied by asses. From the time, however, that the finer animals became common, asses seem to have fallen into disrepute; and we read that the greatest of all beings, when performing His Divine Mission upon earth, and was about to give himself up as a sacrifice for us, rode into Jerusalem upon an ass, thereby shewing his humility.

Asses are eminently creatures of a warm climate, where they have a smooth, sleek coat, well-made legs, and elevated carriage of the head. They were introduced into Great Britain at an early period; for we hear of twelve shillings being paid for one in the time of Ethelred; but they are supposed to have become extinct, and to have been re-introduced in the reign of Queen Mary, in consequence of our then intercourse with Spain. They are still in great perfection in Persia, where there are two varieties, one kept for riding, and the other for carrying burthens. The former are very strong, lift their legs well, and are broken in as[Pg 335] horses are; but the best are said to be natives of Arabia. They are not all larger than ours, a smaller variety being frequently met with, nor have they all the dark streak across the shoulders. They are of a pale yellow, silvery grey, brown and reddish colors. The celebrated white asses are Albinos. All have a short black mane, a dark streak upon the back; and their tail, which so particularly distinguishes them from horses, is covered with short hair, except at the tip, which is adorned with a tuft, generally dark in color. Their peculiar cry or bray, is produced by two small cavities in their windpipes; their hoofs are, in Damascus, made into rings, which the lower classes wear under their armpits, or round their thumbs, to save them from the rheumatism; their flesh is much esteemed as food among the Persians and Tartars. They are fond of congregating near Lake Aral in the summer, but go further to the south in winter. Vast hordes exist in Tartary, each headed by a chief. They are also numerous in America, having probably been left there by the Spaniards.

Mr. Bell describes an ass which belonged to his grandfather, who was so swift, that matches were made against him by the possessors of the fastest asses which could be found; but he beat them all, and even followed the hounds, coming up in gallant style, at the death of the fox.

The well-known antipathy between the horse[Pg 336] and the ass is scarcely to be explained, and has been often overcome; nevertheless, it always more or less exists, and many instances are on record in which it has caused inconvenience. One of these I can supply, which occurred when I was in Portugal. I started on a donkey to make a drawing of the great aqueduct which supplies Lisbon with its delicious water, and just as I had chosen my position, and established myself, my husband rode up on a beautiful and valuable horse, belonging to a friend. He wished to procure some specimens of the neighbouring rocks, and not liking to take a borrowed animal among them, he desired my donkey guide to hold his steed as well as mine. The boy obeyed; and Mr. Bowdich soon disappeared among the hollows. For a few minutes the horse stood quietly enough; but from the beginning he gave very significant glances at the companion forced upon him. At last he worked himself into a complete passion; snorted, pranced, reared, tossed his head, dilated his nostrils, and tried to reach the ass with his fore feet. He was prevented from doing this by the boy, who opposed him with much temper and courage; he then tried to turn round and kick the object of his indignation, who was by no means disposed to take the insult quietly. The boy let go the ass, who gave one fling at the horse, and then went very quietly to nibble the grass, lying in patches on the rough ground. The horse,[Pg 337] however, now tried to get at the donkey; broke his bridle, pursued him, and both scampered off, the former doing just the very thing Mr. Bowdich wished to avoid. I was obliged to start up suddenly to get out of their way; my pencils and paper all made independent excursions, and the only thing to be done, was for me to catch the donkey, and the boy to catch the horse. Mine was much the easiest task; but both being accomplished, we kept them apart, the ass standing quietly enough, but the horse refusing to behave himself unless the boy mounted on his back, and rode him up and down on the smoothest path he could find. At length Mr. Bowdich returned, and thought all that had passed a good joke, in which I could not agree with him. He rode away; and I quietly finished my sketch.

Bishop Heber gives the following description of an ass which he saw in a paddock, near Bombay, and which portrays a different disposition. He says, "it was a noble wild ass from Cutch, as high as a well grown Galloway, a beautiful animal, admirably formed for fleetness and power, apparently very gentle and fond of horses, and by no means disliked by them; in which respect the asses of India differ from all others of which I have heard. The same fact has been told me of the wild ass in Rajpootana."

Of the power of the ass to bear fatigue, the[Pg 338] history of Mr. Wilson is an instance. He drove one which was his own property, in a light gig, from Ipswich to London, and back again, a distance of 140 miles, in two days. The ass went at a pace little short of that of a good gig horse, and fed well at different stages. On his return, he came in without the aid of a whip, at the rate of seven miles an hour, and performed the whole journey with ease; he was twelve hands and a half high, and half bred Spanish and English.

Asses, although they do credit to good feeding, can live on very little, and that little of inferior quality. They have a decided manner of refusing to move when they are overloaded; and they are often seized with an immovable fit without having any apparent reason for it. In steep places they are invaluable, and their feet more sure than those of men would be. I have seen them put both their fore feet out together, and let them slip, then drag their hind feet up to them, and repeat this process on descending the vitrified, and almost perpendicular roads of Madeira, taking a zigzag direction across the road each time. Mules do the same, and perhaps derive the faculty from their asinine blood.

There cannot be a better proof of the intellect of asses, than by shewing them to be fond of the fine arts; therefore the account of one at Chartres, must enter into this work. "He used to go to the[Pg 339] Chateau d'Ouarville, to hear the music that was often performed there. The owner of the Chateau was a lady, who had an excellent voice; and whenever she began to sing, he never failed to draw nearer the window, and listen very attentively. Once, when a piece was performed, which no doubt pleased him better than any he had heard before, he left his ordinary post, walked without ceremony into the music-room; and in order to add to the concert, what he thought perhaps might be an improvement, he began to bray with all his might."



A peculiarity in the digestive organs of some animals causes all those who possess it to be thrown together into one large order, by naturalists. They have no front teeth, except in the lower jaw, and in place of them, the upper jaw is provided with a bony pad. A very few have canine teeth, and their grinders are marked with double crescents. They have two hoofs, but as the inside edge of these is flattened, they look as if they had only one cleft down the middle, the foot underneath is provided with elastic pads, connecting the toes together, and extruding beyond them at the sides. These cushions at each step expand, support the[Pg 340] animal in yielding sand, and protect it on harder ground.

After they have taken their food, these Ruminantia, as they are called, lie down, and remain in a state of complete repose, in order to chew it a second time; and the process is thus accomplished: they have four stomachs, the first is called the paunch, and is the largest of all; into it descend the grass, herbs, and leaves, when first cropped and imperfectly masticated. Thence the mass goes into the second stomach, or honeycomb, so named, because its structure gives it the appearance of that substance: it is small and globular, and by means of its cells, squeezes the food into little balls, which are thrown up into the mouth of the animal, to receive a second mastication, called "chewing the cud." After this has been effected, it descends into the third stomach, or the feck, which looks something like the several leaves of a book; lastly it goes into the fourth stomach, which is merely wrinkled. It is in this that real digestion takes place; all the previous labour having been but a mere preparation for it, and indicated by the name of the order, taken from a Latin word, signifying "to chew over."

It would seem impossible for any animals to be more useful to man than the dog or the horse, yet these Ruminantia are still more precious to him, for while they serve him as beasts of burden, or[Pg 341] transport, they perform agricultural labours and supply him generally with a variety of food. Milk, butter, cheese, the very best meat, the strongest yet most delicate leather, that most valuable commodity wool, hair, horn, and a long list of utilities, all proceeding from them; while the extreme beauty of many of the genera, and the sport they afford, contribute to his mere pleasure, as well as his comfort.

The Camels and Dromedaries, which come first before me, are confined but to a small portion of the earth's surface; they, however, in their more confined sphere afford incalculable benefits. Without them we should not be able to traverse those large plains of sand, which lie between the different countries of Africa, and also of south-western Asia. Their gaunt and angular form does not class them among the beauties to which I have alluded; and the only pretensions which their outward appearance can present for praise, is their admirable adaptation for the offices which they have to perform. Their full, upper lip is cleft, their neck is long, their eyes prominent and shaded with eye-lashes, their nostrils are like slits, which they can close at pleasure; their body has one or two humps on it, their legs have callous pads upon them, their feet are large and spreading, and their hair hangs loosely upon them in patches. That long, upper lip, however, when the hot blast of the desert almost[Pg 342] dries their mouth, plunges into the sand and finds momentary relief by getting below the surface; that long ungainly neck raises the head so that the prominent eyes may see objects in the far distance; those nostrils are apertures to the most acute organs of smell, by which they can even ascertain that water is near; those callous pads enable them to kneel when they are to be laden, or mounted, and those ugly humps are provisions of fat, which supply them with nourishment, if, during their long journeys, there is a scarcity of provisions. One of their most invaluable properties is the length of time which they can go without drinking, owing to the large secretion of water in their honeycomb stomach, while in times of intolerable privation, they may be killed, and so save their masters from starvation.

The camel has two humps, the dromedary one; the last is the lightest and the swiftest, and is generally chosen for riding, while the former carries the burdens. High saddles are placed on their backs; and it requires either to be used to them, or to be particularly careful not to be half killed at starting. The rider places himself in the saddle while the animals are kneeling; and, when they raise their hind legs, which they do first of all, they send the unprepared traveller forwards, and his breath is almost taken out of him by the blow which he receives upon his chest; then as they get[Pg 343] upon their fore legs they throw him back, so as to endanger his spine. Their pace is at first very disagreeable, being so long and slouching; but, generally speaking, they are extremely docile and affectionate; they, however, will not stir if they think they are overloaded, and if they are made angry, they are furious, especially against each other, quarreling much more frequently with their own species than they do with man. Their owners are always very careful to see that their humps are in good condition before they set off on a journey, and some varieties are preferred to others on account of their being able to bear a longer period of drought. They are generally decorated with bells, the sounds of which, in their desert journeys, are said to be very agreeable to them. If once they fall from fatigue or sickness they seldom rise again; but, as a whole party, particularly when every day's provision of water is measured, cannot be stopped for one, they are left alone to die; their eyes following the masters who are obliged to abandon them, and whom they have served so faithfully; the vultures, already hovering over them, ready to pick their bones as soon as they have sent forth their last breath. Their spine, when again found, is often raised upon a pole, as a charm against the withering spell of the evil eye.

The load of a camel is about 800 lbs., and their usual pace nearly three miles an hour; but at this[Pg 344] rate they continue for nine or ten hours. Their colour is chiefly a reddish brown, or grey, rarely black; and occasionally white. They are natives of the countries which they inhabit; the dromedary coming from Arabia and Africa, the camel from the middle of Asia, to the north of the Himalaya mountains. They are said to harbour revenge; but, if this be once gratified, they soon return to good humour.

LLAMAS, etc.


Llamas are called the camels of the New World, and under this common name are included more than one species. They exist in large herds, and are much more sightly than the animals to which they are compared; their backs are straighter, their heads very handsome, and their fleeces are thick and equal. They will carry a load of 150 lbs., and were the only beasts of burthen found among the Peruvians, when these people were conquered by the Spaniards. Their feet differ from those of the camel, but are equally adapted to the soil which they have to traverse; they are formed of two springy toes, each of which has a rough cushion underneath, and a strong, short hoof on the tip, pointed and hooked, like a claw. These take firm hold of the rapid and precipitous ascents and[Pg 345] descents, which they encounter in travelling to and from the mines; in which journeys they carry 100 lbs. of metal over the rugged mountain passes, and perform a distance of about twelve miles during the day. At one time 300,000 were employed by the Potosi mines alone. In one respect they imitate camels by lying down, and refusing to stir when they are overloaded, and they never go beyond their usual pace. They spit in the face of their riders when tied up, or made to lie down; which is particularly disagreeable, from the nature of their saliva.

The different species are not clearly defined, and we require a more intimate knowledge of them before we can separate them from each other: the domestic animals are certainly Llamas; then there are the Guanacos, which are also called Huanacos. They live on mountains, but frequently pasture in the plains; and when the females do this, the males watch from a more elevated position; and if they see men approaching, neigh something like a horse, to warn them of their danger, then descend into the valley, and drive their charge before them.

Besides these two, are the Vicuñas (spelt also Vicunhas), and Vicugnas, who are of a tawny red colour, and live in the bleak, cold parts of mountains, preferring frost and snow. They are remarkably swift and timid, and their wool is very fine and silky.[Pg 346]

To these must be added the Paco, or Alpaca, and the Taruga, who are larger, and even swifter than the Vicuñas, and wander about singly, among steep and rocky places. M. Frederic Cuvier thinks there are but three species; the Guanaco, which, in a domestic state, is the Llama; the Paco, or Alpaca; and the Vicuña. I am desirous of dwelling thus much upon these divisions, because the readers of South American travels are often much puzzled by the manner in which they are mentioned.

The Guanacos, when they have plenty of the rushy grass, on which they love to feed, never require any drink, but they have no cells in their stomach for the secretion of water: they are particularly active in throwing out their saliva at the least offence. They give very severe blows with their fore feet: and I have often, with the above gentleman, watched them fight with a fury which was at first laughable, tearing large mouthfuls of hair from each other, and at last obliged to be separated, from the injuries they were likely to give and receive.

The great enemy of these animals is the Puma, and they fly from him; but Mr. Darwin says he has often known them not only neigh and squeak when men approach, but dance and leap about in the most absurd manner. They are easily caught, for they get quite bewildered, when pursued; but they are much bolder when in captivity. They appear to[Pg 347] have favourite spots to which they go to die, and which are perfectly white with their bones; this has been observed close to the river Gallego, and elsewhere.

Manufactures from their hair more resemble silk than woolen stuffs, and some of those made of the Alpaca fleece, are quite black, without having been dyed. It has been a matter of surprise to many, that they are not naturalized in this country, as the climate would not be an obstacle to success. The demand, however, for their produce so much, increases, that it is very probable they may at some future time become denizens of our mountainous districts.



The elegant animals included under the name of Deer, afford the highest sport to the hunter, the most precious skins, and delicious food. Considering their size, they are matchless in speed and vigour, and are as beautiful as they are swift. They are spread all over the globe, except Australia, and Central and Southern Africa; their place in the latter continent being supplied by giraffes and antelopes. They leave the higher mountains to goats, live on moderate elevations, but delight most in wide, open countries. The fissures, or what are[Pg 348] called lachrymals, exist in most of them; they are clefts below the eyes, which bear the name of tear-ducts, but their use is not yet understood. They would not be so much developed as they are in many, unless they bore strongly upon the animal's economy; but they do not communicate with the nose, nor are they, in any way, connected with respiration. They are certainly in relation with glands, because they secrete a greasy fluid, more abundant at some times than at others, when the edges are much swollen; and the animals often touch objects with them, stretching them wide open, doing so, when they are under excitement of any kind.

The muzzles of some deer are nearly flat, and destitute of hair; in others, they are covered with hair, and the upper lip is prehensile.

Only the male deer have horns, or antlers, as they are called, which they shed every year; and, up to a certain age, at every renewal, they increase in size and number of branches. They are placed on a bony pad upon the forehead, which is covered with skin; and in the second year of their age, this skin swells; blood rushes towards the pads, their arteries increase, and rapidly deposit bony matter, the antlers begin to form, the skin increases with them, and continues to cover them, and the large arteries which it carries with it make furrows upon the bony matter, which always remain. So thick and soft is the pile of hair which protects the[Pg 349] skin, that it deserves, and has received, the name of velvet. When the antlers have attained their yearly size, the arteries begin to deposit a rough ring of bone round the edges of the pad, which increases till it stops their passage; so that, deprived of its natural nourishment, the velvet shrivels up, dries, and peels off; a process which the deer hastens by rubbing his antlers against trees. The latter are then hard and serviceable, for had they been used and wounded, when their covering was so full of blood, the shock would have sent a rush of it back to the brain, and probably have killed the deer. Before I understood this arrangement, I have seen these animals with wounded horns, and have wondered much at the large flow of blood which issued from them, and others have probably done the same. When the skin is gone, the antlers remain, as it were mechanically, and as it is one of the great laws of life to throw off every thing which is no longer a part of itself, they obey the rule. Absorption takes place beneath the bony ring, particle after particle disappears, and down go the antlers, either from their own weight, or some accidental touch; the part where they stood is quickly covered with skin till spring returns, when a new growth commences, and a larger pair ensues. The common stag loses his antlers early in the spring; and they sprout forth again very soon after.[Pg 350]

There is no part of the game laws of various countries more stringent, than that which relates to the killing of deer, or their management. Whatever concerned Venerie, as it was called, was a necessary part of a nobleman's or gentleman's education. The private histories of kings are very much mixed up with the deer laws, and also some of the public transactions; for many a fine has been paid, many a worthy person sent into exile, and many a life lost, in consequence of their infringement; and the technicalities with which the science and the laws were loaded, appear in the present times most absurd and tiresome.

Deer are still to be found wild in Scotland, but most rarely in England; in the north of Europe and America they are common, and those which frequent cold countries have the antlers much flattened, as if to shovel away the snow; they will sometimes weigh 60 lbs. These animals are every where tenacious of life, and will run a long way after being hit in a mortal part.

Rein-deer, which form the wealth of the Laplanders, serve them for food and clothing, draw them over pathless fields of snow in safety, and are the only species really domesticated. They eat a lichen which they find under the snow, during the winter, and live together in large herds. They are the least handsome of the whole tribe; are perfectly obedient, and one man sometimes[Pg 351] possesses as many as two thousand. Their joints crack as they move, and they are extremely fond of salt; even taking it from the hands of strangers. They usually run at the rate of ten English miles the hour, but have gone nineteen, and draw a weight of 300 lbs; but they require good driving, and sometimes dash on, perfectly regardless of the comfort of those in the sledge. Their smell is very acute; and by it they are enabled to come up with their party, if they should have been left behind. They suffer intensely from insects, especially from a large species (œstrus tarandi), which deposits its eggs in the hole made by its bite. In order to avoid these pests, the rein-deer are driven during the summer months to the mountains which overhang the coasts, where their foes are much less numerous. They are so terrified at their approach, that the sight of one will make them furious.

Mr. Wentzel says that the Dog-rib Indians go in pairs to kill rein-deer, the foremost carrying in one hand the horns and part of the skin of a head of the deer, and in the other, a small bundle of twigs, against which he, from time to time, rubs the horns, as the deers do. His companion follows exactly in his footsteps, holding the guns of both in a horizontal position; so that the muzzle of each projects under the arm of the first. Both have a fillet of white skin round their foreheads, and the foremost a strip of the same round each wrist. They[Pg 352] gradually approach the herd, raise their legs very slowly, and put them down again suddenly, in the manner of deer.

If any of the herd see them, they stop, and the head is made to play its part by copying their movements. By these means the hunters get into the very centre of the herd without exciting suspicion; the hindmost man then pushes forward his comrade's gun, and both fire nearly at the same instant. The deer scamper off, the hunters trot after them; the poor animals soon halt to see what alarmed them; their enemies have reloaded their guns as they proceeded, and give them a second discharge. The consternation of the deer increases, they run about in the utmost confusion, and the greater number are frequently thus destroyed.

I have already spoken of dogs which attach themselves to communities, and now I have a similar instance of a deer to offer, in combination, however, with a dog, who attached himself to the 42nd Highlanders, having been presented to that regiment by a friend of one of the officers. The dog had belonged to a captain in the navy, who dined at the mess, while the regiment was stationed in Malta, and so attached himself to that community, that nothing would induce him to leave it; so his master was forced to leave his favourite Newfoundland behind him; who, from that moment, would never follow any one who did not wear the uniform[Pg 353] of his friends. The soldiers subscribed, and gave him a collar with the name of the regiment on it, and called him Peter. A mutual attachment soon took place between the deer and the dog; and they regularly appeared on parade together. The latter frequented the cook-house, where the cook ill-treated him, which was not forgotten, and one day when the bathing time was come, at which recreation Peter was the first in and the last out of the water; the cook joined the others of his corps; and Peter, knowing his power in his own element, pulled him down, and would have drowned him, had not the soldiers come to his rescue.

Both dog and deer marched with the band, and remained with it when in quarters. The latter was very fond of biscuit; but if it had been breathed upon he would not touch it, and although many ways of cheating him were tried, he invariably detected the contamination. At one time he became very irritable; and if a stranger passed between the band and the main body of the regiment, he attacked him with his antlers. He was grazing one day when a cat from the neighbourhood bristled up her hair, and set up her back at him; and the poor deer, seized with a sudden and unaccountable panic, sprang over a precipice two hundred feet high, and was killed on the spot. Peter being close by, rushed to the battlements, and barked and yelled most piteously. His own end was a tragic one; he[Pg 354] snarled at an officer who had often ill-used him, and the unfeeling man ordered the poor dog to be shot by those who loved him, and lamented him as long as they lived.

The smallest of the deer species lives in Ceylon; a lovely, delicate little creature, with lustrous eyes, and of exquisite form. When full grown it is only ten inches high, fourteen long, and weighs about five pounds. Its throat, head, and neck, are all white; its body is grey, striped with black, and spotted at equal distances with yellow. Although very timid, it is to be tamed; but if angry, it kicks out its little hind legs, and slender pointed hoofs, with great violence. One which was domesticated was placed on a dinner-table, where it ran about and nibbled fruit from the dishes; answered to its name, and returned the caresses which were bestowed upon it. Its terror of dogs was at first very great; but at last it allowed a small terrier to come close to it; and heard the bark of others without being uneasy. A pair were brought to England, but soon died from inflammation of the lungs; the common and fatal disease which attacks almost all tropical animals in this climate.



Some years ago, giraffes were thought to be fabulous animals; and the ill-treated Le Vaillant[Pg 355] was supposed to have invented them, in spite of the description which the Romans left of them. He was a little poetical in his style of writing, which John Bull is not fond of when facts are narrated, so John Bull begged to doubt his assertions. He lived, however, to see his veracity established, which the kind old man, a year or two before his death, assured me was a great happiness to him. Lord Caledon brought a skin home from the Cape, and badly as it was stuffed, it began to dawn on the minds of the Europeans, that such an animal really existed. Then a live one was brought to Paris, and another to His Majesty George the Fourth, who petted his till it died. Now there are several living in our Zoological Gardens; some of whom were born in the Menagerie.

The great peculiarity of the giraffes lies in possessing a very short body, and very long legs; which formation involves a multitude of awkward movements; for instance, when they walk fast there is a jerking in the pace, as if it were not easy to them; and when they gallop, the hind feet often project beyond the fore feet. Their very long neck is not arched, but bends obliquely from the shoulders, so that when they wish to drink from the ground, they are obliged to hold their fore legs very widely apart. They look best when going slowly, at which time their step is very stately, and their beautiful head[Pg 356] is borne loftily above other animals; they have two short, bony horns covered with skin, and a prominence of bone on the top of the forehead; they have large, full eyes, with which, owing to their convex form, they can see immense distances in all directions; their ears are long and flexible, and they have a long, black, prehensile tongue; with this they drag down the branches of the trees on which they browse. Their upper lip is very flexible and projects over the under, which greatly assists them in procuring their food; their tail is long, and has a tuft at the end; their skin is very glossy, is covered with large angular spots, and is often an inch and a half thick. Their great enemy is the lion, who springs upon them when they are drinking, and the affrighted giraffes start with all the speed of a swift courser, their enemy on their back, nor stop till they fall from exhaustion or loss of blood. They were never heard to utter a sound, and therefore are supposed to be perfectly mute, even when wild.

I was living in Paris when the giraffe, sent to that country, arrived. She and her keeper, Ati, landed at Bordeaux, amidst most enthusiastic acclamations, which accompanied them all the way to the metropolis. A deputation from each large town through which she passed, formed of the municipal authorities, met her, and one of the most learned savants, went all the way from the Jardin des Plantes, and accompanied her on her[Pg 357] triumphal march. "La giraffe," however, did not appreciate these honours, and she was often impatient under the etiquette imposed on her. On one occasion she broke loose from her cavalcade, Ati and all, and dashing among the horsemen, scattered them right and left, some on and some off their steeds; a dignified mayor lay in the dust, and by his side rolled the pains-taking savant who performed so long a journey in her service. The enthusiasm did not abate when she reached her destination. Thirteen thousand more than the usual weekly number passed over the Pont d'Austerlitz alone, and as the public curiosity did but increase for six weeks, steps were obliged to be taken to prevent the multitude from pressing upon her. There were several natives of the East at that time in the French capital; and they went among others to see her. The moment she beheld their turbans, she stretched her neck out and licked their foreheads, no doubt recognizing their head-dresses. Her love for roses was very great; and she eagerly snatched them from those who carried or wore them, to their great astonishment; for few could calculate on the distance which she could reach. I went one day into her park, holding some carrots in my hand, with some of which I fed her, then turning to the cows, lying at some distance, who had come with her to afford a supply of milk for her on the voyage, I began to give some to them. Without moving[Pg 358] her legs from the place where I had left her, she stretched her long neck and head over my head, and hooking the carrots up with her tongue, surprised me not a little, for I could not tell what shadow was coming over me. She was as fond of onions as of carrots; and this is not surprising, for they are very sweet and mild in her native country. Her Darfur attendant, Ati, slept in a gallery at the top of her stables, and there was very little repose for him after daylight; she routed him up with her nose, and seemed to think because she was stirring he ought also to be on the alert. This was rather against his ideas on the subject, as he was apt to stay out late at the dances in the neighbouring guinguettes; and he used to complain, all the time loving her very dearly.



The many characters which antelopes possess in common with deer, seem to place them together; but naturalists have ranked them among those Ruminantia who have hollow horns. They are some of the most beautiful animals in the world, and are sub-divided into sections, which depend on the shape of their horns, but into which classification the present work does not enter. The exquisite Gazelle, the type of Eastern beauty, the poet's theme, with her slight and graceful shape, her[Pg 359] slender limbs, and her full, dark eyes, often meets with a fate which has no poetry in it; for she is the favourite morsel of the lion and the leopard. It might have been thought, that they would have preferred larger and more fleshy game, but, like true epicures, the high flavour of the gazelle is preferred to size. The falcon is often used by men for catching them, as even the swift greyhound cannot overtake them; they are also driven into traps, by surrounding them, in the manner of a battle. Their skin is used in making a peculiar sort of drum.

The pigmy antelope inhabits some parts of Africa, and, in size, corresponds with the small deer of Ceylon. I never saw so beautiful a little creature, appearing more like a fable than a reality. Their tiny black horns are but slightly curved inwards, their legs are not thicker than the quill with which I am now writing; and yet all the characters of the antelope are strongly marked. The first I saw had been brought to my uncle; and as I entered his room, I stood quite still at the door, with surprise at this exquisite, tiny creature, who remained with one leg up, ready to dart away with the speed of lightning from the intruder, for whose approach he was listening. I feared to move, lest the vision should disappear; but death soon made it fade away altogether. Captain Fisher, of the Navy, tried to take a pair of these fairy-like creatures to England; they were kept in his own cabin, he gave them all[Pg 360] the goat's milk which had been provided for his own use, and took infinite pains to shelter them from cold or accident; he succeeded in getting them as far as the Channel, where they ate some pieces of cork which had been dropped on the floor, and died. I was equally unfortunate with a beautiful, spotted antelope, which was brought to me; and which never could stand in the house. It had not been hurt; but the instant it was put upon its legs, it slipped about, and I was told this species always did so. I fed it, carried it about, and it was very gentle, and began to know me, though still wild. It died at the end of a fortnight, in strong convulsions.

Antelopes are exclusively inhabitants of the Old World; and some idea may be formed of their immense numbers in South Africa, where the species are most varied and powerful, by reading the following quotations from Mr. Pringle, and Mr. Gordon Cumming. The former says—"We pursued our journey over extensive plains, still parched by severe drought, and undulating heights clothed with a brown and scanty herbage, and sprinkled over with numerous herds of springbok. Near the banks of the Little Fish river, so numerous were those herds, that they literally speckled the face of the country, as far as the eye could reach; insomuch that we calculated we had sometimes within view not less than 20,000 of these beautiful animals. As we galloped on, they bounded off con[Pg 361]tinually, on either side, with the velocity from which they derive their colonial appellation. They were probably part of one of the great migratory swarms which, after long-continued droughts, sometimes inundate the colony from the Northern wastes."

Mr. Cumming informs us, that, "When pursued, the springbok jumps up into the air ten or twelve feet, for which they curve their loins, rise perpendicularly, and the long white hair on their haunches and back floats about; they pass over a space of twelve to fifteen feet, come down, then rise again; and after doing this several times, they bound off, arch their necks, then halt, and face their enemy. If they come to a place over which men or lions have walked, they jump across it. They can only be compared to locusts; for they eat up every green thing, and always return to their haunts by a different road to that which they had previously passed. Their herds consist of tens of thousands; and where they have staid for some time, thousands of skulls strew the plain." In another part of his book, the same author tells us, that the ground was literally covered with them, forming a dense, living mass, marching slowly, and pouring like a great river for hours: hundreds of thousands scarcely tell their number. "I give you my word," said a boer, "that I have ridden a long day's journey, over a succession of flats covered with them as far as I could see, as thick as sheep standing in a fold."[Pg 362]

Among the Antelopes of the same part of the world is the Oryx, or Gemsbok, a very beautiful animal, which has been supposed to give rise to the Unicorn of Sacred writings; "for its long, straight horns, always so exactly cover one another, when viewing them from a distance, that they look like one. They have an erect mane, a long tail, and are like a horse, with the head and hoof of an Antelope. Their bearing is most noble, they are the size of an ass, have black bands about the head, looking like a stall collar. They live in almost barren regions, never want water, are very swift, and only to be caught by riding down."

The fierce Gnoo, Gnu, or Blue Wilde Beest of the colonists to the north of the Cape of Good Hope, are not as numerous as the spring-boks; and are easily distinguished by their large, curving horns, and the downward carriage of their head; for they never can look up. One was found with a fore leg caught over his horn, and so was easily secured; for he could not, of course, run, and had probably got himself into that attitude when fighting. They have a shaggy head, long hair or mane upon the chest, a long white tail, and wild red eyes. They utter fearful snorts, and kick and leap about in the most grotesque and fantastic manner. If a red handkerchief be held before them, it produces the most violent excitement.[Pg 363]



The three last genera of which I shall treat are all Ruminantia, and are distinguished by their horns, which are divided into cells; and which cells communicate with the skull. The two first, goats and sheep, so closely resemble each other, that in many instances the one appears to be a mere variety of the other. If we look at the Merino breed, with its closely curled, soft, white wool, and then turn to a grave-looking goat, with its long beard and hair, we shall not be conscious of their resemblance; but if we place a sheep that has long resided in, or been born in a tropical country, by the side of the goat, we shall scarcely be able to distinguish one from the other. The wool gradually uncurls, lengthens, and becomes harsh and glossy; and were not the goat's horns directed upward, and then inclined backwards, those of the sheep directed backwards and returned to the front in a spiral form; had not the goats, generally speaking, a long beard, and the sheep none, and had not the goats a concave or flat forehead, and the sheep mostly a convex one, we should not be able to separate them; and even these characters—if not well defined—are not very conspicuous, unless to a practised, or careful observer.

The Chamois, which is classed by many among[Pg 364] goats, in some degree approaches the antelopes. Its horns shoot straight up, and then at the tips turn suddenly back, like a fish hook; it frequents all the mountain chains of Europe and western Asia; in summer climbing to the highest summits, and displaying the most daring agility. In the winter it comes down just below the regions of perpetual snow, for the sake of nourishment. Its smell, sight, and hearing, are very acute, and it will detect the approach of a hunter at the distance of half a league. When frightened, it bounds from rock to rock, making a strange hissing sound; dashes itself across the most fearful chasms, and throws itself down precipices of thirty feet. It feeds on herbs and flowers, and the young shoots of shrubs; seldom drinks, and is extremely fond of salt. As some of the rocks of the Alps contain saltpeter, the chamois has worn holes in them by constant licking.

As with other domesticated animals, there are many disputes as to the original country of Goats; but most naturalists seem inclined to think that the first stock was placed in Persia; but it is a question involved in much obscurity. In very far-off times, when superstition and medicine went hand in hand, and charms were deemed more efficacious than drugs, a hard substance found in the intestines of goats, was greatly valued as a cure for most disorders. It was called the bezoar stone, and was a concretion chiefly of resinous bile and magnesia,[Pg 365] and the rest inert vegetable matter. It was sold for ten times its weight in gold, and was said to come from some unknown animal, to increase the mystery belonging to it. Bezoars are now found in oxen, sheep, horses, porcupines, and even the human subject, slightly varying in their construction, and are often balls of hair, which has been licked off the animal's own coat.

The Angora and Cappadocian Goats are famed for their long, silky hair, which yields beautiful manufactures; but they are far surpassed by the goats of Thibet, the under wool of which is combed off, and made into those shawls which have for years been so famous and so costly. It takes the produce of ten goats to make a shawl a yard and a half square; the wool is bleached with rice flour, and the heavy taxes levied upon them, makes these unequaled shawls keep up their high price. From the earliest times we read of goat's hair being woven into cloth of varied quality, especially in scriptural writings; and their skins have always afforded valuable leather. That of the kid is of the finest quality.

All goats are hardy and wandering in their habits, and frequent those places where no other animal could gain a footing. They exist in a feral state in the mountainous parts of our island, and throughout Europe and Western Asia. There is always much attachment between them and horses,[Pg 366] when domesticated. Some say it is in consequence of the strong odour which is emitted by goats; and others because the horse, who so loves companionship, delights in their vivacity. They vigorously defend their young, as the following anecdote will shew. "A person having missed one of his goats, when the flock returned at night, desired two boys to watch all night, that she should not get into his young plantation, and nibble off the tops of the trees. At daybreak the watchers looked for the missing animal, and saw her on a pointed rock at some distance. During the night she had given birth to a kid, and was then defending it from a fox. The latter went round and round, but she turned her horns upon him in all directions. The younger boy went to procure assistance, and the elder hollowed and threw stones to frighten away the marauder. Reynard looked at him, saw he was not strong enough to master him, and suddenly tried to seize the kid. All three disappeared; and were found at the bottom of a precipice; the goat's horns were stuck into the fox, the kid lay stretched beside her, with a lacerated throat, and it was supposed; when the death-wound was inflicted by the poor mother, the fox staggered, and dragged her and her child with him in his fall." (Capt. Brown's "Popular Natural History.")

A goat and her kids frequented a square in which I once lived, and were often fed by myself and[Pg 367] servants; a circumstance which would have made no impression, had I not heard a thumping at the hall door, which arose from the buttings of the goat when the food was not forthcoming, and whose example was followed by the two little things. After a time this remained unheeded, and to our great astonishment, one day, the area bell used by the tradespeople, and the wire of which passed by the side of one of the railings, was sounded. The cook answered it; but no one was there save the goat and kids, with their heads bent down towards the kitchen window. It was thought that some boy had rung for them; but they were watched, and the old goat was seen to hook one of her horns into the wire, and pull it. This is too much like reason to be ascribed to mere instinct.

The Caucasian Ibex, is a goat which affords as much dangerous and exciting sport as the chamois, but is more savage; and has been known to turn round on its pursuer, and hurl him down a precipice. It has a remarkable way of throwing itself down these steep places, head foremost, so as to light upon its horns; which being elastic, bear the shock, and save the animal from injury. They pasture in the valleys at night, and return during the day to the mountains.

In countries where bulls and cows will not live, goats are invaluable. Their flesh is like bad mutton; but long absence from South downs, makes the[Pg 368] appetite less dainty, and their kids are very delicate. However, it is chiefly for their good, nourishing milk that they are to be prized. The horns of goats are often used by Mussulmans, as an antidote to the evil eye.

Bishop Heber relates the following anecdote. "A monkey came down from a tree to steal the breakfast of a shepherd, who was resting under it with his flock of sheep and goats. He drove the monkey away, who, in his hurry, upset a bee's nest. The insects flew out, and attacked not only the intruder, but the goats and sheep underneath. The curious part was to watch the different behaviour of the two species. The sheep crowded together, buried their noses in the sand, and did not attempt to resist, but bleated piteously. The goats all ran as fast as they could to an encamping party close by, seeking the assistance of man, as dogs would have done."



IT is but little necessary to descant here on the different fleeces, and various flavours of mutton which the numerous breeds of sheep afford. The least reflection and observation, teach us their unspeakable value as sources of food, clothing, and other purposes; my task therefore lies with their[Pg 369] dispositions and comprehensions. The last anecdote related shews, that they have more patience, but less courage and resource, than the more lively companions with whom they are so frequently associated, and whom they so much resemble. In many instances, however, maternal instinct has called forth their powers to a degree which has caused surprise; and they have been known to traverse considerable distances to seek the assistance of their own kind, or of their shepherd, when their lambs have been in danger. Moreover, a ram is sometimes a formidable enemy, when he thinks any mischief is intended towards the flock of which he is the proud leader.

Of the attachment of sheep to their native place, Captain Brown gives a very remarkable instance. "A ewe made a journey of nine days' length to return to her native place, with her lamb; and was tracked so completely, as to make her owners acquainted with her adventures. Nothing turned her back, and whenever her lamb lagged behind, she urged him on with her impatient bleating. When she reached Stirling, it was the day of an annual fair, and she dared not venture into the crowd; she, therefore, laid herself down by the road side, with her lamb, outside the town, and the next morning early, stole through the streets, only terrified at the dogs which she encountered. She came to a toll-bar, the keeper of which stopped[Pg 370] her, supposing she was a stray animal, and would shortly be claimed. She frequently tried to get through the gate, but was as often prevented, and she patiently turned back. At last she found some means of eluding the obstacle, for on the ninth day she reached her destination with her lamb, where she was repurchased, and remained till she died of old age in her seventeenth year."

Sheep have been known, when seized with an epidemic disorder, to absent themselves from the rest of the flock, and hide themselves; and many touching stories are told of the artifices of necessity practised to wean them from their dead offspring, and make them adopt others; also of the manner in which they remain and watch the inanimate objects of their affection.

A gentleman travelling in a lonely part of the Highlands, received a strong proof of sagacity in a ewe, who came piteously bleating to meet him. When near, she redoubled her cries, and looked up in his face, as if to ask his assistance. He alighted from his gig, and followed her. She led him to a cairn at a considerable distance from the road, where he found a lamb, completely wedged in betwixt two large stones, and struggling with its legs uppermost. He extricated the sufferer, and placed it on the green sward; and the mother poured forth her thanks in a long and continued bleat. (Capt. Brown's Pop. Nat. Hist.)[Pg 371]

The following history was related by one of the shepherds to whom the circumstance occurred. "We were seven of us, grazing the sheep of a rich Bulgarian, on the steppe of Atkeshoff, and had a flock of 2000 sheep, and 150 goats. It was the month of March, and they were just driven out; the weather was mild, and the grass had appeared, but the wind was bitterly cold in the evening, and it began to rain. The rain soon turned to snow, and our wet cloaks were frozen as hard as boards. A few hours after, came a Siberian viuga, or snowdrift, from the north-east, whistling about our ears till seeing or hearing was impossible. We tried to find our way home, from which we were not far distant; but the sheep would not face the wind, and even the goats, who will face anything but a viuga, began to run before the storm. To prevent the flock from scampering away was impossible, and all that could be done was to keep them together. We had to race all night, and in the morning there was nothing but snow all round us. The viuga raged all that day, and the poor sheep were even more wild and frightened than in the night. Sometimes we gave up all as lost, but roused ourselves again, and ran with the screaming, bleating flock, while the oxen trotted after with the wagon, and the dogs came howling behind. The poor goats were all lost, or frozen to death the first day, in which we ran at least fifty or sixty[Pg 372] versts, leaving a track of dead sheep behind us. In the evening the poor beasts were less wild, being exhausted by hunger and fatigue. Two of our party reported themselves sick, and crept under the mats and skins in the wagon, and the rest had only time to take a little bread and snow to save life.

"Night came, no house was near, and this was worse than the preceding. The storm was driving us upon the coast, and we expected to be blown with our stupid cattle into the sea. Another shepherd fell sick, and we thought that night would have been the last for us all. In the morning the wind shifted, and drove us towards some houses, which we saw through the drifting snow, but though they were not more than thirty feet away, it was quite impossible to make the foolish sheep turn aside. On they went before the wind, in spite of all we could do, and we soon lost sight of the houses. Their inhabitants, however, had heard the howling of the dogs, and about twenty came to our assistance. We then managed to turn the sheep, and drive them under sheds, and into houses. All the goats and five hundred sheep were lost. Many died after they got under shelter, for in their fright, they crowded so close together, that they were smothered. Half a verst farther, and we should have come to the coast, rising twenty-five fathoms above the sea."[Pg 373]

The above gives a lively picture of sufferings which are unknown to us, and in which the dogs seem to have been less efficacious than our own excellent breed.



The widely distributed genus Bos, has horns in both sexes, and in it we find the largest of the Ruminantia. They, generally speaking, have comparatively short legs, and heavy massive bodies. The perfection of domestic oxen is said to be a resemblance to a box set upon four posts; but in some of the wilder species, an arched back is certainly a beauty. Their foreheads are very wide, and mostly flat; their ears large, and projecting from the sides of the head; their muzzle broad, destitute of hair, and always moist. A long ridge passes across the top of the forehead, from which proceed two horns, more or less curved, sometimes of great length, always tapering to a point, and having a bony core. Their neck is thick, and from it hangs a dewlap, which passes between the fore legs. The hoofs are cleft.

Of the origin of these Ruminants we know absolutely nothing, for they are spoken of as domesticated animals from the earliest times; and although there are such things as wild tribes now existing, we are not sure whether they were placed where[Pg 374] they are with their present characters, or whether all are modifications of one pair, according to circumstances. The most conspicuous among them are the Zebu, the Buffalo, the Bison, and the bulls of various parts of the Old World. Those cattle which roam about in a free state in South America, New Zealand, and Australia, have not very long escaped from the dominion of man.

In India some of the heathen natives make a certain ox a sacred animal; the Brahmins worship it; and it is a distinct variety from the common working oxen, who are by no means treated kindly. The cherished sorts are very sleek and tame, and even voluntarily go up to strangers who have grass in their hands, and eat it from them. They are, however, troublesome, as all pets are, and no one will dare to check them, for they must not be struck. Near Calcutta, they often break into gardens, put their noses into pastrycook's and fruiterer's shops, and have not the least hesitation, when they are affronted, in going up to the offenders and giving them a poke with their horns.

The Zebus are spread over India, China, the Archipelago, Madagascar, and several parts of Africa. They are distinguished by a hump of fat between their shoulders, and they are as good for the saddle as for draught. They are more active and agile than we can imagine them to be, accustomed as we are to the slow, heavy pace of others of the tribe;[Pg 375] they go with ease at the rate of six miles an hour, and travel for fifteen or sixteen hours in the day. Their paces are very agreeable, being wholly without the circular motion of the hind legs, which makes ours so tiring to ride. They will go over a five-barred gate, as well as the best hunter; are equally good for the plough, or for threshing corn, and the white are the most esteemed.

The Gayal affords the richest milk, and prefers feeding on trees. It also comes from India; it is gentle even in its wild state, and runs away from, but never faces man.

The Gours are much more formidable than the preceding; and the Indians say the tiger has no chance with them when full grown. They also eat trees and grass, and will not live in captivity. They grow to an immense size; their back is arched, and a very thick ridge rises upon it, which subsides towards the tail.

The Yak has narrow nostrils, the ears small and pointed, the forehead covered with black curling hair, that on the back is smooth, and of a dark brown or black colour, with one white stripe on the withers, and another on the croup. The shoulders, sides, inside of thighs, and under part of the body, are covered with a mane of hair which almost reaches the ground and is of a grizzled black with a central line of white along the belly. The tail is a[Pg 376] large mass of glossy, coarse hair; quite white, and from eighteen to twenty inches long. The horns are small, pointed, and curve forwards. The animal is said to be very wild and mischievous; but it can be tamed. The tails were used by the Mongols and Tartars as standards, and throughout the East are now fitted into ivory handles, and form brushes for driving away the flies. The Yaks are dull-looking animals, and make a low, grunting noise, causing them to be known in Europe as the grunting cow. They are very useful when domesticated, and yield an abundance of milk. Not many years ago, they were objects of mystery, and those who travelled to collect the curiosities of nature, were ordered to ascertain their attributes, almost their existence, the tails alone having reached Europe.

Buffaloes are heavier and clumsier animals than the ox, and are covered with coarser hair; they are very wild and savage, rush upon the tiger, crush, and trample him to death. They delight in those steaming marshes which are pestilential to other beings, and wallow in stagnant water. Their hide is particularly tough, their flesh hard, and their milk delicious. They are sometimes trained to be very useful, especially where rivers are apt to be swollen; for they do not fear to breast any torrent, however violent it may be in its course. They are spread over India, China, and various parts of Africa, have been introduced into Spain and Italy,[Pg 377] and wherever they live, malaria is sure to exist. The Cape Buffalo is said to be more than a match for the lion, who only overcomes him by some cunning stratagem, or springs upon him when he is drinking. If, however, others of the herd come to his assistance, the lion is either vanquished, or obliged to decamp.

A herd consisting of seven wild buffaloes, with one calf, was discovered in Hindustan, and four gentlemen proceeded to hunt them. After having followed them for three miles, the young one separated from the herd and joined some tame cattle belonging to a neighbouring village. It was killed by the party, who afterwards continued the pursuit of the old ones, and they were overtaken in a high grass jungle four miles further off. They were quickly driven from this place, and closely followed for more than six miles over a plain. At length the party succeeded in separating one buffalo from the herd. Here the encounter began. After receiving several wounds, he still continued his flight; he suddenly halted, and kept his pursuers at bay; after a short interval he again fled, was pursued, and wounded as before, carrying the spears sticking in his back and sides for several hundred yards. Lieut. White of the 15th N. I., rode up very close to him, threw his spear, and wounded the animal in the loins. His horse being much exhausted, was unable to wheel round[Pg 378] before the buffalo turned about and charged with such vigour, that both horse and rider were overthrown, and lay many yards distant. Fortunately the lieutenant received no injury, and when the animal approached, he had the presence of mind to lie flat on his back. The beast approached, but stood at his feet without offering any violence. The other sportsmen called repeatedly to their companion to arise and escape. For some time, however, he disregarded their advice, fearful of the consequences. At length, in compliance with their entreaty, he arose. The buffalo instantly rushed forward, but Mr. White escaped by again throwing himself down; while the enraged beast, missing his aim, fell on the ground, his horns grazing Mr. White's back, as he passed over him. After this lucky escape, he seized the favourable opportunity, and regained his horse. The buffalo then took refuge in a tank; and when his former opponent joined his companions, who were standing on the bank, the animal issued forth, and selecting Lieut. White for the object of his vengeance, pursued him to a considerable distance. The buffalo was now rendered quite furious, and attacked every thing within his reach, such as cows and dogs. Unfortunately an old woman passed, and became the victim of his rage; she was taken up without any appearance of life, having her arms broken, and many wounds. The horsemen were too fatigued[Pg 379] to renew the attack, and the buffaloes, having gained a victory, continued their course without further molestation. (Capt. Brown's Pop. Nat. Hist.)

Mr. Pringle describes the Cape Buffalo to be "a very formidable and powerful animal, considerably larger than the domestic ox; the bony pad on his forehead making a complete helmet, and it is impossible to pierce him with bullets which have not been hardened by tin. He is said to be fierce, treacherous, and savage, and even when not provoked, will attack any man who strays near his haunts; skulking in the jungle when he sees then approach, and then suddenly rushing out upon them. If he kill a man, he stands over him for some time, trampling on him with his hoofs, crushing him with his knees, mangling him with his horns, and stripping off his skin with his rough and prickly tongue. He goes away and returns again and again, as if he could not sufficiently glut his vengeance.

"A party of boers had gone out to hunt a herd of buffaloes which were grazing on a piece of marshy ground. As they could not get within shot of the game without crossing part of the marsh which was not safe for the horses, they agreed to leave them in charge of the Hottentots, and advance on foot, thinking that if any of the buffaloes should turn upon them, it would be easy to escape by retreating across the quagmire, which, though[Pg 380] passable for man, would not support the weight of a heavy quadruped. They advanced accordingly, and, under covert of the bushes, approached the game with such advantage, that the first volley brought down three of the fattest of the herd, and so severely wounded the great bull leader, that he dropped on his knees, bellowing furiously. Thinking him mortally wounded, the foremost of the huntsmen issued from the covert, and began reloading his musket as he advanced, to give him a finishing shot. But no sooner did the infuriated animal see his foe in front of him, than he sprang up and rushed headlong upon him. The man, throwing down his heavy gun, fled towards the quagmire, but the beast was so close upon him, that he despaired of escaping in that direction, and turning suddenly round a clump of copse-wood, began to climb an old mimosa tree which stood at one side of it. The raging beast, however, was too quick for him. Bounding forward with a roar, which my informant described as being one of the most frightful sounds he ever heard, he caught the unfortunate man with his terrible horns, just as he had nearly escaped his reach, and tossed him into the air with such force, that the body fell dreadfully mangled into a cleft of the tree. The buffalo ran round the tree once or twice, apparently looking for the man, until weakened with loss of blood, he again sank on his knees. The rest of the party,[Pg 381] recovering from their confusion, then came up and despatched him, though too late to save their comrade, whose body was hanging in the tree quite dead."

The Aurochs is the European Bison, and is one of the largest and noblest of the genus. He stands six feet high at the shoulders, has two sorts of hair, one short, soft, and woolly, and the other long, rough, and covering the upper part and sides of the head; the chest, neck and shoulders, forming an enormous mane, sometimes a foot long. The tongue, lips and palate have a bluish tint, the eyes are small, and piercing; an odour resembling both musk and violets exudes from the skin, especially that part which covers the convex forehead, and which may be smelt at a distance of a hundred yards. Their flesh is much esteemed, they live in thickets near swamps, come out at night to eat the bark of young trees, lichens, and young shoots, carry their head low, are never completely tamed, detest the common bull, and their only attachment to human beings is bestowed on their keepers. They are now rare. A few are found in Lithuanian Poland; but they used to inhabit all the European forests.

The American Bison, now familiarly called a Buffalo, exists in vast herds in the prairies of the New World. A mob of them, as a herd is called, is irresistible; destroys everything over which it passes; numbers hundreds of thousands, and rushes[Pg 382] like a cataract over the plains, with a noise resembling that of thunder. They are very dangerous animals to attack, hence the sport they afford is more exciting. For graphic pictures of it, I would advise my readers to peruse the pages of Mr. Catlin. They delight in salt springs and morasses; the bulls sometimes fight furiously with each other; their greatest enemy is the grizzly bear, who frequently brings them down; and they have no antipathy to the common ox, like their European brethren. Mr. Bryan shot one; and the bullet passed completely through him, almost cutting his heart in two, and yet he ran half a mile before he fell.

The Musk Oxen live in the high latitudes of North America, are very small, but look larger than they are, from the quantity of long, woolly hair with which they are covered, and which often reaches the ground. Their flesh smells strongly of musk; and they are easily irritated. Some stockings made from their long fleece, have been said to equal those manufactured with silk.

The Chillingham Park Cattle are very handsome, being white with red ears, and black muzzle; their horns are also white with black tips, and greatly resemble our Devonshire breed, which is thought to approach nearer than any other to the Welsh wild cattle of ancient times. They are fleet, bold, and active, hide their calves for the first week after[Pg 383] they are born, and are at all times dangerous to approach.

Like the sheep, there are so many breeds of oxen in this country, that the plan of my work cannot embrace them. They are a most important item in the riches of England; and few are insensible to the merits of our cheese and roast beef. We are not exactly on the same terms with our oxen as the Swiss are with theirs, with whom they form a part of the family, and where they are adorned with gay trappings and expensive bells; but our cows are familiar friends, coming when they are called, of themselves returning to the farm at milking time, and evincing great affection. I have not seen it stated elsewhere; but I have been told many times, that it is necessary to milk the cow always on the same side, or she kicks and rebels. Our bulls are sometimes fierce, but are much under the influence of voice and gesture. Both sexes will give notice of approaching rain after a drought, and are very inquisitive.

Mr. Bell gives us the following anecdote which was witnessed by one of his near relatives:—"A cow which was feeding tranquilly in a pasture, the gate of which was open to the road, was much annoyed by a mischievous boy, who amused himself by throwing stones at the peaceful animal; who, after bearing with his impertinence for some time, at length went up to him, hooked the end of her[Pg 384] horn into his clothes, and lifting him from the ground, carried him out of the field, and laid him down in the road. She then calmly returned to her pasture, leaving him quit with a severe fright and a torn garment."

In Mr. Byam's "Central America" I find this interesting history, with which I conclude the present series of anecdotes:—"A bull had gored so many cattle that he was lassoed, and his horns blunted at the tips, to prevent further mischief. A few weeks after, a panther (jaguar) killed a cow, and from the torn condition of the bull's head and neck, and the trampled state of the ground, he had evidently done battle for the cow. He was secured, his wounds plastered up, his horns made sharp again, and turned out into the Savannah. The wild dogs and vultures having been kept from the body of the cow during the day, the panther returned to his feast at night, and a furious engagement took place between him and the bull; for the former was found dead, close by the cow, the next morning, pierced through and through. The bull returned again and again to him with fury, and was himself again wounded; but his gashes were sown up, and he remained so fierce, that his horns were obliged to be re-blunted."


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or, Sunday Employment for Very Young Children. Consisting of Twelve Coloured Illustrations on Cards, and the History written in Simple Language. In a neat Box. Price 3s. 6d.; or dissected as a Puzzle, price 6s. 6d.


“It is hoped that these ‘Scenes’ may form a useful and interesting addition to the Sabbath occupations of the Nursery. From their very earliest infancy little children will listen with interest and delight to stories brought thus palpably before their eyes by means of illustration.”—Preface.

in a Series of Exercises, exhibiting the manner in which it should be taught, by H. Grant, Author of “Drawing for Young Children,” &c. New Edition, price 1s. 6d. cloth.

“This work will be found effectual for its purpose, and interesting to children.”—Educational Times.

“The plan is admirably conceived, and we have tested its efficacy.”—Church of England Quarterly.

Chronologically arranged from the Creation of the World to the Death of Charlemagne. Tenth Edition, with 24 Steel Engravings. 12mo. 5s. cloth; 6s. half-bd. morocco.

Chronologically arranged from the Death of Charlemagne to the Year 1849. Seventh Edition, with 24 Steel Engravings. 12mo. 5s. cloth; 6s. half-bd. morocco.

Chronologically arranged from the Invasion of the Romans to the Present Time. Sixth Edition. With 36 Steel Engravings. 12mo., price 5s. cloth; 6s. half-bd. morocco.

from the Portfolio and Journal of a Traveller in various parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America; upon a plan arranged by the late Rev. Isaac Taylor, Author of “Scenes of Commerce,” &c. With 192 Illustrations. 12mo. Price 7s. 6d. cloth; 9s. half-bd. morocco.

or, “Where does it come from?” answered. Upon a plan arranged by the late Rev. Isaac Taylor. A New Edition; including “Scenes of British Wealth.” With 66 Engravings on Steel, and a View of the New Royal Exchange. 12mo. Price 6s. cloth; 7s. 6d. half-bd. morocco.

A Collection of Riddles, Charades, Conundrums, Parlour Games, and Forfeits. With a Frontispiece printed in gold and colours. 16mo. Price 2s. 6d. cloth.

With 300 Illustrations by J. Gilbert. Dedicated to her Majesty. New edition with title and cover printed in gold and colours. Price 1s.

or, The Holiday Trip to Paris. By Mrs. Hofland (Her last work). Author Of “Daughter Of A Genius,” “Ellen The Teacher,” Etc. With a Frontispiece by Williams. 18mo. Price 2s. 6d. cloth.


OUTLINES of IRISH HISTORY: written for the Use of Young Persons. With Engravings. Price 4s. 6d. half-bound, 12mo.

WARS of the JEWS, as related by Josephus; adapted to the capacities of Young Persons, and Illustrated with 24 Engravings. Sixth Edition. Price 4s. 6d. cloth.

STORIES from the OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS, on an improved Plan. By the Rev. Bourne Hall Draper. With 48 Engravings. Fifth Edition. Price 5s. cloth; 6s. half-bound morocco, 12mo.

BEGINNINGS of BRITISH BIOGRAPHY; being the Lives of One Hundred Persons eminent in English History. By the Rev. Isaac Taylor. 48 Engravings. Price 5s. cloth; 6s. half-bd., 12mo.

THE JUVENILE TRAVELLERS; or, A Tour through the principal States and Kingdoms of Europe; with an Account of their Inhabitants, Natural Productions, and Antiquities. By Priscilla Wakefield. Nineteenth Edition, corrected and enlarged. 12mo. price 6s. cloth.

A FAMILY TOUR THROUGH THE BRITISH EMPIRE; containing some Account of its Manufactures, Natural and Artificial Curiosities, History and Antiquities. By Priscilla Wakefield. Fifteenth Edition, corrected and enlarged. 12mo. price 6s. cloth.

MORAL TALES. By Miss Edgeworth. A New Edition, in One Volume. Foolscap 8vo. Price 5s. cloth.

HOW TO BE HAPPY; or, Fairy Gifts: to which is added, a SELECTION OF MORAL ALLEGORIES, from the best English Writers. Second Edition, with 8 superior Engravings. Price 4s. 6d. cloth, 12mo.

The VISIT for a WEEK; or, Hints on the Improvement of Time: containing Original Tales, Anecdotes from Natural and Moral History, &c. By Lucy Peacock. Twelfth Edition. Price 4s. cl.

The HISTORY of SANDFORD and MERTON. By Thomas Day, Esq. A New Edition revised, with Cuts from Designs by Harvey. Price 4s. 6d. cloth.

EVENINGS AT HOME; or, The Juvenile Budget Opened. By Dr. Aikin and Mrs. Barbauld. Sixteenth Edition, revised and newly arranged by Arthur Aikin, Esq., and Miss Aikin. With some additional Pieces by the Authors. With Engravings by Harvey. Foolscap 8vo., price 5s. cloth.


BELLENGER'S FRENCH WORD AND PHRASE-BOOK; Containing a Select Vocabulary and Dialogues, for the Use of Beginners. New Edition, price 1s. sewed.

The Abbé Gaultier's Geographical Works.
  1. FAMILIAR GEOGRAPHY, with a concise Treatise on the Artificial Sphere, and Two coloured Maps, illustrative of the principal Geographical Terms. Thirteenth Edition. Price 3s. cloth, 16mo.
  2. GEOGRAPHICAL and HISTORICAL QUESTIONS, referring by characteristic and distinguishing marks, to the most remarkable places in the World; with 3 small coloured Charts of the comparative heights of Mountains and length of Rivers. Price 3s. in cloth, 16mo.
  3. An ATLAS, adapted to the Abbé Gaultier's Geographical Games, consisting of 8 Maps, coloured, and in Outline, &c. Price 15s. half-bound, folio.

∵ For the purpose of playing the Games, a set of Counters, on which the names of the Kingdoms, Seas, Rivers &c., are printed, may be had, price 6s. in a box.

Butler's Outline Maps.

BUTLER'S OUTLINE MAPS, and KEY; or, Geographical and Biographical Exercises; with a Set of Coloured Outline Maps; designed for the Use of Young Persons. By the late William Butler. Enlarged by the Author's Son, J. O. Butler. Twenty-eighth Edition, Revised. Price 4s.

An ABRIDGMENT of ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY, divided into Short Lessons in the form of Questions and Answers, intended as a Sequel to the “Geography for Children.” Written by the Abbé Langlet du Fresnoy. With a Map. Second Edition. Price 2s. 6d. 16mo. cloth.

BATTLE FIELDS. A Graphic Guide to the Places described in the History of England as the scenes of such Events; with the situation of the Principal Naval Engagements fought on the Coast of the British Empire. By Mr. Wauthier, Geographer. Price on a large sheet, 5s.; in case, 7s. 6d.; or mounted on oak and varnished, 12s.

Mrs. Lovechild's Grammatical Works.

THE CHILD'S GRAMMAR. By the late Lady Fenn, under the assumed name of Mrs. Lovechild. Forty-fourth Edition. 18mo. Price 9d. cloth.

THE MOTHER'S GRAMMAR: a Sequel to “The Child's Grammar.” Twenty-second Edition. 18mo. Price 1s. cloth.

The first of these little Treatises is intended to be the young pupil's manual; and the greater part of it is to be committed to memory; the Second is designed to remain some time in the possession of the teacher for her own occasional use.

The following Works are handsomely bound in cloth; with numerous Illustrations to each.

ANDERSEN'S (H. C.), NIGHTINGALE AND OTHER TALES, 3s. 6d. plain; 4s. 6d. coloured.

ANDERSEN'S (H. C.), UGLY DUCK AND OTHER TALES, 3s. 6d. plain; 4s. 6d. coloured.

∵ The above bound in One Volume entitled “Tales From Denmark,” 6s. plain; 7s. 6d. coloured.

ANECDOTES of KINGS, selected from History; or, Gertrude's Stories for Children. With Engravings. Price 2s. 6d. plain; 3s. 6d. coloured.

BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS; or, A Description of Manners and Customs peculiar to the East, and especially Explanatory of the Holy Scriptures. By the Rev. B. H. Draper. With Engravings. Fourth Edition. Revised by J. Kitto, Editor of “The Pictorial Bible,” &c. Price 4s.

“This volume will be found unusually rich in the species of information so much needed by young readers of the Scriptures.”—Christian Mother's Mag.

THE BRITISH HISTORY BRIEFLY TOLD, and a Description of the Ancient Customs, Sports, and Pastimes of the English. Embellished with full-length Portraits of the Sovereigns of England in their proper Costumes, and 18 other Engravings. Price 4s. 6d.

CHIT CHAT; or, Short Tales in Short Words. By a Mother. Author of “Always Happy.” New Edition, enlarged. With 16 Engravings. Price 3s. 6d.

CONVERSATIONS on the LIFE of JESUS CHRIST, for the use of Children, by a Mother. A New Edition. With 12 Engravings. Price 2s. 6d. plain; 3s. 6d. coloured.

COSMORAMA. The Manners, Customs, and Costumes of all Nations of the World described. By J. Aspin. New Edition, with numerous Illustrations. Price 3s. 6d. plain; and 4s. 6d. coloured.

EASY LESSONS; or, Leading-Strings to Knowledge. In Three Parts. The First and Third Parts by a Lady; the Second Part arranged by the late Mrs. Trimmer. New Edition; with 8 Engravings. Price 2s. 6d. plain; 3s. 6d. coloured.

FACTS to CORRECT FANCIES; or, Short Narratives compiled from the Biography of Remarkable Women. By a Mother. With Engravings. Price 3s. 6d. plain; 4s. 6d. coloured.

FANNY AND HER MAMMA; or, Reading Lessons for Children by the Author of “Mamma's Bible Stories,” with Illustrations by John Gilbert. Price 3s. 6d. plain; 4s. 6d. coloured.

THE FARM: a New Account of Rural Toils and Produce. By Jefferys Taylor. Second Edition. Illustrated with 8 Engravings on Steel, and 26 Wood-cuts. Price 4s.

INFANTINE KNOWLEDGE: a Spelling and Reading-Book, on a Popular Plan, combining much Useful Information with the Rudiments of Learning. By the Author of “The Child's Grammar.” With numerous Engravings.—Seventh Edition. Price 3s. plain; or 3s. 6d. coloured, half-bound.

THE JUVENILE RAMBLER; or, Sketches and Anecdotes of the People of various Countries, with Views of the Principal Cities of the World. New Edition. Price 3s. 6d.

KEY to KNOWLEDGE; or, Things in Common Use simply and shortly Explained. By a Mother. Author of “Always Happy,” &c. Twelfth Edition. With numerous Illustrations. Price 3s. 6d.

THE LADDER to LEARNING: a Collection of Fables, Original and Select, arranged progressively in words of One, Two, and Three Syllables. Edited and improved by the late Mrs. Trimmer. With 79 cuts. Eighteenth Edition. 3s. 6d.

LITTLE LESSONS for LITTLE LEARNERS, in words of One Syllable. By Mrs. Barwell. Seventh Edition, with numerous Illustrations. Price 2s. 6d. plain; 3s. 6d. coloured.

LOUDON'S (Mrs.) GLIMPSES of NATURE, and Objects of Interest described during a Visit to the Isle of Wight; designed to assist and encourage Young Persons in Forming Habits of Observation. Second Edition, with 41 Illustrations. Price 3s. 6d.

MAMMA'S BIBLE STORIES, for her Little Boys and Girls, adapted to the capacity of very Young Children. Eighth Edition. With Engravings. Price 3s. 6d.

A SEQUEL to MAMMA'S BIBLE STORIES, chiefly in words of Two Syllables. Third Edition, with 12 Illustrations. Price 3s. 6d.

SHORT and SIMPLE PRAYERS for CHILDREN, with Hymns. By the Author of “Mamma's Bible Stories.” Price 1s. 6d.

MAMMA'S LESSONS for her Little Boys and Girls. With 8 plates. Eleventh Edition. Price 2s. 6d. plain; or 3s. 6d. coloured.

MARMADUKE MULTIPLY'S MERRY METHOD OF MAKING MINOR MATHEMATICIANS; or, The Multiplication Table in Rhyme. With 69 Engravings. Price 4s. 6d. coloured.

THE MINE; or, Subterranean Wonders. An Account of the Operations of the Miner, and the Products of his Labours; with a Description of the most important in all parts of the World. By the late Rev. Isaac Taylor. Sixth Edition, with numerous corrections and additions, by Mrs. Loudon. With 45 New Wood-cuts and 16 Steel Engravings. Price 4s.

THE GARDEN; or, Frederic's Monthly Instructions for the Management and Formation of a Flower-Garden. Fourth Edition. With Engravings of the Flowers in Bloom for each Month in the Year, &c. Price 3s. 6d. plain, or 6s. with the Flowers coloured.

THE NATURAL HISTORY of QUADRUPEDS. By F. Shoberl. With numerous Engravings, from Drawings by T. Landseer. New Edition in one volume. Price 4s. 6d. plain; 6s. coloured.

THE NATURAL HISTORY of BIRDS. By F. Shoberl. With numerous engravings from Drawings by T. Landseer. Price 4s.

THE OCEAN; a description of Wonders and Important Products of the Sea. Second Edition. With Illustrations of 37 Genera of Shells, by Sowerby, and 4 Steel and 50 Wood Engravings. Price 4s.

PAUL PRESTON'S VOYAGES, TRAVELS, AND REMARKABLE ADVENTURES, principally in Europe. With numerous engravings. Second Edition. Price 3s. 6d.

THE PICTURESQUE PRIMER; or, Useful Matter made Pleasing Pastime for Leisure Hours. By the Rev. W. Fletcher. New Edition. With 100 Wood-cuts. Price 2s. 6d.

THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS of LONDON and WESTMINSTER DESCRIBED. By F. Shoberl. With 24 steel Engravings. Price 4s. 6d.

RODWELL'S (Miss) FIRST STEPS TO SCOTTISH HISTORY, with Ten Illustrations by Weigall. 4s. plain; 4s. 6d. coloured.

SHORT TALES, written for Children. By Dame Truelove and her Friends. A new Edition, with 20 Engravings. Price 3s. 6d.

THE SHIP; a description of different kinds of Vessels, the Origin of Ship-building, a Brief Sketch of Naval Affairs, with the Distinctive Flags of different Nations, and numerous illustrative Engravings. By the late Rev. Isaac Taylor. Sixth Edition, revised. With additions, by M. H. Barker, Esq., The Old Sailor. Price 4s.

STORIES of EDWARD and his LITTLE FRIENDS. With 12 Illustrations. Second Edition, 3s. 6d. plain, 4s. 6d. coloured.

STORIES selected from the HISTORY of FRANCE, chronologically arranged from Clovis to the present time. With Portraits of Thirty-four of the Sovereigns in their proper Costumes, also Four Engravings relating to Events of French History. Price 4s.

SUNDAY LESSONS for LITTLE CHILDREN. By Mrs. Barwell. Third Edition. Price 2s. 6d. plain; 3s. coloured.


With Frontispiece, or other Engravings.

BIBLE SCENES. By the Author of “Mamma's Bible Stories.” With 12 coloured engravings. 1. History of Joseph. 2. History of our Saviour. 3. History of Moses. 4. Miracles of Christ.

THE CHAPTER of KINGS. By Mr. Collins. With 38 Engravings. (4s. coloured.)

FRUITS of ENTERPRISE, exhibited in the Travels of Belzoni. Twelfth Edition, 18mo.

FAMILIAR GEOGRAPHY. By the Abbé Gaultier. With coloured Maps.

GEOGRAPHICAL and HISTORICAL QUESTIONS. By the Abbé Gaultier, forming a sequel to ‘Familiar Geography.’

CLAUDINE, a Swiss Tale. By the Author of ‘Always Happy.’

INFANTINE KNOWLEDGE. Seventh Edition. With numerous Wood-cuts. 3s. plain (3s. 6d. coloured).

THE LITTLE GRAMMARIAN; in a Series of Instructive Tales. By the Rev. W. Fletcher. Second Edition.

THE TWIN SISTERS; or, The Advantages of Religion. By Miss Sandham. 22nd Edition.

A VISIT TO GROVE COTTAGE; and the Indian Cabinet Opened. New Edit.

WILLIAM TELL and HOFER the TYROLESE. New EDITION. With four engravings.


With Frontispiece or other Engravings.

ANECDOTES OF KINGS; Selected from History.

ANECDOTES OF PETER THE GREAT, Emperor of Russia. 18mo.

ALWAYS HAPPY; or, Anecdotes of Felix and his Sister Serena. By a Mother. Thirteenth Edition. 18mo.

BIBLE SCENES, each with 12 tinted illustrations. 1. History of Joseph. 2. History of our Saviour. 3. History of Moses. 4. Miracles of Christ.

CONVERSATIONS on the LIFE of CHRIST. By a Mother. 12 Engravings. 16mo.

COUNSELS at HOME; with Anecdotes, Tales, &c.

THE DOLL and her FRIENDS; or, Memoirs of the Lady Seraphina.

THE DAUGHTER of a GENIUS. A Tale. By Mrs. Hofland. Sixth Edition. 18mo.

EASY LESSONS; or, Leading Strings to Knowledge.

ELLEN the TEACHER; a Tale for Youth. By Mrs. Hofland. New Edition. 18mo.

EMILY'S REWARD; or, The Holiday Trip to Paris. By Mrs. Hofland. 18mo.

HOME AMUSEMENTS; a Collection of Riddles, Charades, Conundrums, Parlour Games, and Forfeits.


THE LITTLE READER. With 16 Wood-cuts, square.


MORAL TALES. By a Father. With 2 Engravings.

NURSERY FABLES, Original and Select. With 19 cuts.

THE PICTURESQUE PRIMER; or, Useful Matter made Pleasing Pastime. 120 cuts.

THE RIVAL CRUSOES; and other Tales, by Agnes Strickland. Sixth Edition. 18mo.

RHYMES OF ROYALTY; or, the History of England in Verse.

THE SON of a GENIUS. By Mrs. Hofland. 15th Edit.


THE STUDENTS; or, Biography of the Grecian Philosophers. With frontispiece. 12mo.



THEODORE; or, The Crusaders. By Mrs. Hofland.


With Frontispiece, &c.

LE BABILLARD; an Amusing Introduction to the French Language, by a French Lady. Fourth Edit., with 16 engravings.

THE CHILD'S DUTY. Dedicated by a Mother to her Children. Second Edition.

DECEPTION, and FREDERICK MARSDEN, the Faithful Friend. Tales for Youth.

EVERY DAY THINGS; or, Useful Knowledge respecting the principal Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral Substances.

LESSONS of WISDOM for the YOUNG. With 12 plates. By the Rev. W. Fletcher.

LES JEUNES NARRATEURS; or, Moral Tales in French, with a Key to the Difficult Words. By M. de la Voye.

PICTORIAL FRENCH GRAMMAR. With 80 Illustrations. By M. de la Voye.


NINA, an Icelandic Tale. By the Author of “Always Happy.”

RHODA; or, The Excellence of Charity. With 3 Engravings.

SPRING FLOWERS and the MONTHLY MONITOR; or, Easy Lessons, adapted to every Season of the Year.



WELCOME VISITOR; a Collection of Original Stories, &c.


Alphabet of Goody Two-Shoes; “by learning which, she soon got rich.”

Children in the Wood.

Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper.

Cock-Robin; a very pretty Painted Toy, for little Girl, or little Boy.

Cries of London (The).

Costumes of Different Nations Illustrated.

Courtship, Marriage, and Picnic Dinner of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren.

Cowslip (The); with 30 new wood-cuts, plain (1s. 6d. coloured).

Daisy (The); ditto (ditto).

Dame Partlet's Farm, an Account of the good Life she led, and the Riches she obtained by Industry.

Dame Trot and her Cat.

Graciosa and Percinet.

Grandmamma's Rhymes for the Nursery. With superior wood-cuts. Plain.

History of the Apple Pie. Written by Z. With Dame Dearlove's Ditties.

History of the House that Jack Built.

Infant's Friend (The); or, Easy Reading Lessons.

Infant's Grammar (The); or, A Picnic Party of the Parts of Speech.

John Gilpin (The Diverting History of).

Little Rhymes for Little Folks.

Monkey's Frolic (The), &c.

Mother Hubbard and her Dog.

Nursery Ditties from the Lips of Mrs. Lullaby. Illustrations by Leech. Plain.

Old Woman and her Pig.

Peacock at Home (The); with the BUTTERFLY'S BALL; and the Fancy Fair.

Portraits and Characters of the Kings of England.

Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation. To which is added, a Collection of Moral and Entertaining Conundrums.

Prince of Wales's Primer. With 300 Illustrations.

Puss in Boots; or, The Master-Cat.

Simple Stories, in Words of One Syllable. By the Author of “Stories of Old Daniel.”

Snow-Drop (The); or, Poetic Trifles for Little Folks.

Tom Thumb.

Tommy Trip's Museum of Beasts. Part I.

Tommy Trip's Museum of Beasts. Part II.

Tommy Trip's Museum of Birds. Part I.

Tommy Trip's Museum of Birds. Part II.

Valentine and Orson.

Walks with Mamma; or, Stories in Words of One Syllable.

Whittington and his Cat.

Word Book (The); or, Stories chiefly in Three Letters.

London: Printed by Samuel Bentley & Co., Bangor House, Shoe Lane.