ANIMALS, THEIR NATURE AND USES
Second Series Of Consecutive Lessons
By Charles Baker,
Headmaster of The Yorkshire Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.
Author of "The Circle of Knowledge," "The Scientific Class Book," Etc. Etc.
Illustrated With One-Hundred-And-Sixty-Five Woodcuts
William MacIntosh, 24, Paternoster Row.
Varty & Cox, Educational Depository, 3, Adelaide St.; Strand.
(Overstamped with: Systematic Bible Teacher Depository.
15 Paternoster Square)
[Messybeast Note: This is the first time this book has been transcribed into electronic text. Unfortunately my copy is in a state of disrepair and has a missing page.)
THE object of this series of books is somewhat different to that of the generality of lesson-books.
Each volume is confined to one subject, or a kindred one arising out of it, and each volume, subject and lesson, is strictly Consecutive, or founded on that which precedes it ; at the same time that each is independent of the others.
Each series is copiously illustrated ; of the character of these illustrations a very high authority on such matters, P.L.Simmonds, Esq., in the Technologist, has said, they are "good, and what is more to the purpose are truthful."
The Lessons are those of "THE SCIENTIFIC CLASS BOOK," and most of them were originally drawn from the writings of authors of acknowledged eminence in their respective departments of science. They thus present to pupils the means of acquiring knowledge from the questionable sources, but a systematic process, while they afford that variety of style and composition which assists in forming fluent readers.
The volume from which these lessons are reprinted consists of 560 pages of close printing, and upwards of 300 wood-cuts, at a retail price of three shillings and sixpence ; but it has been found that the price excludes it from many schools which would adopt it in separate divisions at an appropriate price.
It is hoped that the wishes of the public will be adequately met in the series of which this is the first volume.
The entire Series comprises the following Reading Books :-
I. MAN, HIS FRAME AND WANTS.
II. ANIMALS, THEIR NATURE AND USES.
III. PLANTS, THE EARTH, AND MINERALS.
IV. COSMOGRAPHY ; NATIONAL AND SOCIAL LIFE.
SUBJECTS OF THE LESSONS
1. Kinds of Animals .... Pg 1
2. Mammalia .... Pg 6
3. Domestic Quadrupeds ...Pg 9
4. Beasts of Prey .... Pg 13
5 Orders of Mammalia ... Pg 17
6. ditto .... Pg 21
7. Peculiarities of Mammalia ... Pg 25
8. Motions of Mammalia ... Pg 29
9. Habits of Mammalia .... Pg 33
10. Social Habits of Mammalia .. Pg 37
11. Labouring Animals ... Pg 41
12. Uses of Mammalia as Food ... Pg 44
13. ditto .... Pg 47
14. Uses of Mammalia for Clothing ... Pg 51
15. ditto .... Pg 55
16. Sundry Uses of Mammalia ... Pg 58
17. Birds .... Pg 62
18. ditto .... Pg 67
19. Form & Structure of Birds ....Pg 71
20. Habits and Localities of Birds ....Pg 74
21. Plumage of Birds .... Pg 78
22. Nests of Birds .... Pg 81
23. ditto .... Pg 86
24. Migrations of Birds .... Pg 90
25. Uses of Birds .... Pg 94
REPTILES AND FISHES
26. Reptiles .... Pg 97
27. ditto .... Pg 101
28. Fishes .... Pg 107
29. Fishes, and their Uses .... Pg 112
WORMS, INSECTS, ETC
30. Worms and Shells .... Pg 116
31. ditto .... Pg 121
32. Crustacea and Arachnida .... Pg 124
33. Of Insects .... Pg 127
34. Metamorphosis of Insects .... Pg 131
35. Use of Insects .... Pg 136
36. Annelidae, Radiata, and Animalicula .... Pg 141
Two Monkeys at a Fair .... Pg 145
To the Bat .... Pg 146
To a Mouse ... Pg 146
Ulysses and his Dog ...Pg 147
Animals of the East ... Pg 148
The Lion and the Giraffe ... Pg 149
The Arab to his Steed ... Pg 150
The Horse .... Pg 151
Horses in Council ... Pg 151
The Elephant .... Pg 153
Lambs at Play ... Pg 154
Animals Happy .... Pg 154
To Birds .... Pg 155
A Bird's Nest .... Pg 156
The Fish-Hawk, or Osprey .... Pg 157
Swallows .... Pg 158
Birds .... Pg 158
Doctor Sparrow .... Pg 159
To the Skylark .... Pg 160
Birds of Passage .... Pg 163
The Stormy Petrel .... Pg 164
The Blue-Bird ... Pg 165
Amphibious Animals ... Pg 166
The Lizard .... Pg 167
Inhabitants of the Deep .... Pg 167
Fishes .... Pg 168
The Shell .... Pg 168
The Limpet .... Pg 169
The Worm .... Pg 170
Insects .... Pg 170
To a Butterfly .... Pg 171
To a Bee .... Pg 172
The Stag beetle .... Pg 172
Insects .... Pg 173
The Coral Insect .... Pg 173
The Coral-Grove ....Pg 174
All Nature Beautiful .... Pg 175
ANIMALS, THEIR NATURE AND USES
"The wolf shall dwell with the lam, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid ; and the calf with the young lion and the fatling together ; and a little child shall lead them." ISIAH xi. 6.
KINDS OF ANIMALS.
Aristotle - a celebrated Greek naturalist and philosopher who lived 384 B.C.
Zoologist - one who studies the natural history of animals.
Approximation - nearness.
Vertebrate - having a vertebral column or spine.
Molluscs - soft bodies animals with no vertebrae.
Articulates - animals with jointed bodies, including the invertebrates.
Radiates - invertebrate animals, which radiate from the centre as the star-fish.
Protozoa - the lowest division of the animal kingdom.
Mammalia - animals that suckle their young.
Latitude - from side to side ; freedom.
Ganglia - small bundles or enlargements of nerves.
Microscope - an optical instrument for viewing minute objects.
Phosphorescent - shining with faint light.
Luminosity - the property of shining.
Infusorial Animalcules - so named because found by their first discoverers to abound in the infusions of vegetable substances.
The changes describes in the above Text or Scripture never take place in their literal sense. Every animal in its natural state continues, from first to last, of that disposition, and retains unchanged those propensities which belong to its nature. The figurative language employed represents with much beauty the effects of divine grace on the minds of men in the times of the Messiah, which would be as evident as if the nature of animals was changed as above described.
It is impossible to contemplate the vast mass of animal life without the conviction that the most supreme harmony has been observed in their creation, and that the most perfect order exists in their connexion one with the other. The discovery of the principle on which this order is founded is a problem that has as yet received but a partial solution.
From the days of Aristotle to the present time zoologists have been diligently seeking the true system of animated nature ; and until that auspicious discovery be achieved, we must be content with making as near an approximation as possible.
As a general arranges his army into its greater divisions, and each division into regiments and companies, so does the naturalist separate the host of living beings into greater and small groups. The present state of Zoological Science gives five as the number of divisions of which the animals kingdom is composed, the highest of which is that in which Man himself is commonly placed. These are Vertebrates, Molluscs, Articulates, Radiates, and Protozoa.
I. The Vertebrates include Man and all the Mammalia, the Birds, the Reptiles, and the Fish.
The term VERTEBRATE is applied to them because they are furnished with a succession of bones called "Vertebrae," running along the body, and forming a support and protection to the nervous cord that connects the body with the brain by means of numerous branches. The Vertebrates, with one or two exceptions, have red blood and a muscular heart.
The term VERTEBRATE is derived from the Latin word vertere, signifying to turn ; and the various bones that are gathered round and defend the spinal cord are named vertebrae, because they are capable of being moved upon each other, in order to permit the animal to flex or bend its body.
Were the spinal cord to be defended by one long bone, the result would be that the entire trunk of the animals would be stiff, graceless, and exceedingly liable to injury from any sudden shock.
In order, therefore, to give the body latitude of motion, and at the same time to afford effectual protection to the delicate nerve-cord, on which the welfare of the entire structure depends, the bony spine is composed of a series of distinct pieces, varying in form and number according to the species of animal, each being affixed to its neighbour in such a manner as to permit the movement of one upon the other.
[Fig 3. VERTEBRATES. - Man, Bird, Frog, Fish.]
The methods by which these vertebrae are connected with each other vary, according to the amount of flexibility required by the animal of which they form a part. For example, the heavy elephant would find himself prostrate on the ground, if his spine were composed of vertebrae as flexible as those of the snake ; while the snake, if its spine were as stiff as that of the elephant, would be unable to move from the spot where it happened to lie. But in all animals there is some power of movement in the spinal column, although it many it is very trifling.
II. THE MOLLUSCA, or soft-bodied animals, include the Cuttle-fish, the Snails, Slugs, Mussels, &c. Some of them possess shells, while others are entirely destitute of such defence. Their nervous system is arranged on a different plan from that of the Vertebrates. They have no definite brain, and no real spinal cord, but there nerves issue from certain masses of nervous substance called ganglia.
[Fig 4. MOLLUSCS.- Snail, Paper Nautilus swimming.]
III. THE ARTICULATES, or jointed animals, form and enormously large division, comprising the Crustaceans, such as the Crabs and Lobsters, the Insects, Spiders, Worms, and very many creatures so different from each other, that it is scarcely possible to find any common characteristics. It is among those lower animals that the want of a true classification is most severely felt, and the present arrangement can only be considered as provisional.
[Fig 5. ARTICULATES.-Beetles, Ants, Scorpion.]
IV. THE RADIATED animals are so named on account of the radiated or star-like form of the body, so well exhibited in the Star-fishes and the Sea-anemones. The nervous system is very obscure, and in many instances so slight as to baffle even the microscope. Many of the Radiates possess the faculty of giving out a phosphorescent light, and it is to these animals that the well-known luminosity of the sea is chiefly owing.
[Fig 6. RADIATES.-Star-fish, Jelly-fish.]
V. THE PROTOZOA, or primitive animals, are, as far as we know, devoid of internal organs or external limbs, and in many of them the signs of life are so feeble, that they can scarcely be distinguished from vegetable germs. The Sponges and Infusorial Animalcules are familiar examples of this division.
[Fig 7. VARIOUS FORMS OF ANIMALCULES.]
Animalcules exist in prodigious numbers and of many different kinds, their size being such that multitudes of them find ample space for all the movements of an active life within a single drop of water.
"Take any drop of water from the stagnant pools around us," says Professor Rymer Jones, "from our rivers, from our lakes, of from the vast ocean itself, and place it under the microscope ; you will find therein countless living beings moving in all directions. . . . Increase the power of your glasses, and you will perceive, inhabiting the same drop, other animals, compared to which the former were elephantine in their dimensions, equally vivacious and equally gifted."
[Fig 8. The Ape.]
Thorax - the part of the body between the neck and abdomen.
Locomotion - motion from place to place
Prehension - seizing or taking hold.
Incisors - the fore-teeth which cut food.
Canines - applied to the eye-teeth which are like a dog's.
Molars - grinding ; applied to the large double-teeth which grind the food.
Mastication - the act of chewing.
The Vertebrate animals fall naturally into four great classes, which are so clearly marked that, with the exception of a few singularly constructed creatures, and Vertebrate animal can, without difficulty, be referred to its proper class.
These four classes are termed MAMMALIA, BIRDS, REPTILES and FISHES,- their precedence in order being determined by the greater or less development of their structure.
Mammals, or Mammalia, as they are called more scientifically, comprise Man, the Monkey tribes, the Bats, the Dogs, and Cats, all the hoofed animals, the Whales and their allies, and many other animals.
The name by which they are distinguished is derived from the Latin word mamma, a breast, and is given to them because all the species belonging to this class are furnished with a set of organs called the MAMMARY GLANDS, secreting the milk, by which the young are nourished.
The number of the mammae varies much, as does their position. Many animals that produce only one, or at the most two young at the same birth, have but two mammae, such as the monkey, the elephant, and others ; while some, - such as the cat, the dog, and the swine, - are furnished with a sufficient number of organs to afford sustenance to their numerous progeny. Sometimes the mammae are placed on the breast, as in the monkey tribe ; sometimes by the hind legs, as in the cow and the horse ; and sometimes, as in the swine, along the abdomen.
The blood of the mammalia is warm, and circulates through arteries and veins as in man ; they breathe by lungs, which are situated in the thorax ; and they are generally covered with hair. While scales form the characteristic covering of fishes, and feathers of birds, hair may be said to be that of the Mammalia. it is not invariably present, and it undergoes many modification in its appearance ; it becomes wool in sheep, bristles in swine, spines in the hedgehog, quills in the porcupine, and bony plates in the armadillo.
[Fig 9. Artery, trunk & branches.]
The teeth of mammalia present great diversity in their construction. Those which exclusively on flesh have Incisors, Canines, and Molars, and the molars have a cutting character ; while in those which feed on vegetables, the grinding character of the molars prevails.
[Fig 10. Incisor. Fig 11. Canine. Fig 12. Molar.]
The greater number of the class possess four feet for locomotion ; from this circumstance they are called quadrupeds, but this term does not apply universally ; the extremities of monkeys are four hands, which are used for prehension as well as for locomotion ; in seals the extremities are paddles.
The Mammalia are numerically fewer than those which constitute the other classes of animated beings ; their bulk as compared with that of the others, is generally speaking greater, and their structure and habits are better known. The Mammalia have been distributed into eleven orders determined by the organs upon which depend their degree of ability and address ; and by those of mastication, which determines the nature of their food.
I. BIMANA, two-handed as in man.
II. QUADRUMANA, four-handed, as apes, monkeys, &c.
III. CHEIROPTERA, wing-handed, as bats.
IV. INSECTIVORA, insect-eating, as hedgehogs, shrews, &c.
V. CARNIVORA, flesh-eating animals, as tigers, cats, &c.
VI. CETACEA, aquatic mammals, living chiefly or altogether in the water. They breathe by lungss, and not by gills, as the true fish do, therefore they cannot remain for a great length of time submerged ; to this order belong whales, porpoises, &c.
VII. PACHYDERMATA, thick-skinned animals, as the horse, elephant, &c.
VIII. RUMINANTIA, animals which chew the cud, as the ox, sheep, &c. The animals are characterized also by their cloven feet, by the absence of incisors, or cutting teeth in the upper jaw, and by having four stomachs.
IX. EDENTATA, animals without teeth ; that is without teeth in perfection, or deficient in teeth, as the ant-eaters.
X. RODENTIA, gnawing animals, as rats, hares, &c.
XI. MARSUPIATA, animals which have pouches for the reception of their young, as kangaroos, &c.
[Fig 13. Ass and Foal.]
Quadruped - an animal having four feet.
Co-adjutor - one who aids another, an assistant.
Exterminate - to drive out ; the destroy utterly.
Insidious - lying in wait, sly.
Indiscriminate - without distinction ; in confusion.
Menagerie - a place where wild beasts are kept.
Acclimation - the process of becoming accustomed to a climate.
MAN, while yet savage himself, was but ill-qualified to civilize the forest. While yet naked, unarmed, and without shelter, every beast was a formidable rival ; and the destruction of such was the first employment of heroes. But when he began to multiply, and arts to accumulate, he soon cleared the plains of the most noxious of these rivals ; some were taken under his protection and care, while the rest fled to the desert or the wood.
Many of the quadrupeds are now the assistants of man ; upon them he devolves the most laborious employments, and finds in them patient and humble co-adjutors, ready to obey, and content with the food and care bestowed upon them.
It was not, however, without long and repeated efforts that the independent spirit of these animals was broken ; for the savage freedom in wild animals, is generally found to pass down several generations before it is totally subdued. Those cats and dogs that are taken from a state of natural wildness in the forest, still transmit their fierceness to their young ; and however concealed in general, it breaks out on certain occasions.
Amongst the variety of animals which have been provided by the bountiful hand of Nature to supply the wants of man, there are none, perhaps, on which the necessaries of life so much depend as on those of the Ox kind. From them we are supplied with milk, butter, cheese, flesh, tallow, hides and a variety of other articles too numerous to be detailed.
The Horse and Ass have, from the earliest periods, been domesticated by man ; the serve the important purposes of carriage and draught during life, and after death afford their skin, hair, hoofs, and bones as articles of commerce.
In Arabia horses are found in the highest perfection, as it were to compensate for the attention and kindness with which they are there treated. To the Arab, his horse is as dear as his children, with them it shares his tent and is equally the object of his solicitude. During the day the horses are usually saddled, and at the tent-door ; but at night they rest under the same covering, and amidst the family of their master ; they are never beaten or spurred, and are directed in their course merely by a slight switch.
Our Domestic Ass has a dull heavy look, his head stooping, his ears slouching, his mane short, the body covered with rough, ash-coloured hair, the tail naked, and furnished with a tuft only at its tip. Despised and abused, as he is too frequently in this country, the Ass has a very different appearance wherever he is well-groomed and looked after ; in proof of which many examples might be given.
The ass is patient under ill-usage, and persevering in labour ; indifferent with respect to food, being contents with a thistle, or any other vegetable, but rather preferring the plantain, for which it has been observed to neglect every other herb in the pasture.
The sheep are among the most useful of animals. Whilst in a state of nature they are very strong and active, they leap and run with great agility, and have not the silly character they appear to bear in a state of domestication. The people of the various parts of the earth in which sheep are found derive many of the necessaries of life from them. besides affording their flesh for food, and their fat for tallow, the wool, in more civilized countries, is manufactured into cloth, whilst the ruder northern Asiatics wrap themselves up in skins with the wool remaining on them. After the hide is dressed it is made into leather, and by a different process into parchment.
A natural share of courage, and angry and a ferocious disposition, render the Dog, in its savage state, a formidable enemy to other animals ; but these dispositions readily give way to very different qualities in the domestic dog, whose only ambition seems the desire to please his master, at whose feet he lays his force, his courage, and all his useful talents. More docile than man, more obedient than any other animal, he is not only instructed in a short time, but he also conforms to the dispositions, and the manners of those command him. He guards his owner's property and defends his person, he attacks thieves, watches the flocks, hunts game, draws sledges, and exterminates wolves.
The Cat must be considered as a faithless friend, brought to oppose a still more insidious enemy. The domestic cat is the only animals of the tribe to which it belongs, whose services can more than recompense the trouble of its education, and whose strength is not sufficient to make its anger formidable. Supple, insinuating, and artful, it has the art of concealing its intentions till it can put them into execution. Whatever animals is much weaker than itself is an indiscriminate object of slaughter, - birds, bats, moles, young rabbits, rats, and mice, - the last named being its favourite game.
The Pig, though repulsive from its habit of wallowing in dirt and filth of all kinds, from its morose, and often ferocious temper, and from its unsightly form and gait, is, nevertheless a most important servant in the general economy of nature, devouring the refuse which other animals will not touch.
The Goat is distinguished from the sheep by its vivacity and courage, but its horns not being twisted, and by its having a long beard. Another distinction is the very offensive smell which the Goat emits, and which does not belong to the Sheep. It is a very useful animal, supplying food and raiment in no inconsiderable degree.
These are the domestic animals best known in Europe ; we shall speak of the elephant, the camel, and others in future pages. M. Geoffrey St. Hilaire, in his memoir upon a menagerie for the acclimation of useful animals, speaks of the Eland, the Peruvian Sheep, the Tapir, the Llama, the Alpaca, and others which might be domesticated with advantage.
[Fig 14. The Eland]
The Eland is one of the largest antelopes of South Africa. It has been acclimatized under the care of the Zoological Society, in Regent's Park. Several herds belonging to private individuals are now increasing so as to afford the prospect of a large supply of succulent and wholesome meat at no distant day, while the living animals will form a permanent attraction in our homesteads and meadow scenery.
[Fig 16. Lion and Lioness]
BEASTS OF PREY.
Rapacious - given to plunder.
Horizontal - parallel to the horizon, the line which bounds the view on the surface of the earth.
Plantigrade - walking on the sole of the foot.
Digitigrade - walking on the toes, as the cat.
Retractable p- which may be drawn back.
Granular - resembling grains.
Amphibious - living both on land and in water.
Under this denomination come those animals which destroy others for the sake of food. They are generally furnished with strong and sharp teeth and claws, fitted for cutting and tearing their prey to pieces ; they have also strong jaws, a powerful frame, and great agility.
Foremost among them stand the Carnivora. As the name indicates, the animals of this order are generally fierce and rapacious, and live solely, or at least, in great part upon flesh. In the greater number of the members of this order, the size of the canine teeth is the most obvious mark of distinction ; these are large, strong, and pointed, and project somewhat forwards, so as to present themselves rather in front of the line of the other teeth. Between the canines of the two sides are six incisor teeth in each jaw, which are provided with sharp cutting edges. The molar teeth, situated behind the canine, are of three kinds; - those which immediately follow the canines being more or less pointed, and termed false molars, the next being especially adapted for dividing and lacerating animals muscle, by the sharp edge of their summits, and termed carnivorous teeth, and the last or hindmost being more or less rounded.
[Fig 16. Skull of the Tiger.]
As a general rule, those carnivorous animals which have the shortest jaw, and the least development of the false molars, are those which possess the greatest destructive power. It must be remembered also that the articulation of the jaw does not permit of horizontal movement, but simply opens and shuts like a pair of shears.
The Lions and Tigers are the group of Carnivora which possess the characteristics of the order in the highest perfection ; yet in the order are included Bears, Racoons, &., which feed principally on vegetables. The Carnivora are divided into Plantigrades and Digitigrades.
I. The Plantigrades are those which walk on the entire soles of their feet. Among them are the Bears, Badgers, Racoons, Gluttons, and Coatimondis. Their food being chiefly vegetable, great speed is not required in their movements. When man walks he plants his whole foot on the ground - then he is a Plantigrade ; when he runs he raises the sole and moves on tip-toe - then he is a Digitigrade. The comparison between the bear's foot and that of the tiger will show the distinction between the two divisions of the Carnivora.
[Fig 17. Foot of the Bear. Fig 18. Foot of the Tiger.]
[Pages 15 and 16 missing]
[Fig. 24. The Common Bat.]
ORDERS OF MAMMALIA.
Mammae - the breasts.
Tropical - relating to that part of the earth which is situated between the tropics, which are so named because they mark the extreme limits of the sun's apparent motion north or south. The hottest part of the earth is within the tropics.
Habitat - the natural abode or locality of an animal or plant.
THE Order Quadrumana includes the apes, baboons, and monkeys. The Gorilla and Chimpanzee of Western Africa, and the Orang-outans of Borneo are the most powerful of this order. Most of the monkeys brought into this country are from Africa, they are taught the erect gait by careful training, for it is not natural to them.
[Fig 25, Skull of Gorilla.]
The monkeys of Madagascar are called Lemurs, we know but little of their habits. The monkeys of America have an opposable thumb on their hinder hands, but not on their fore hands. The monkeys of the Old World are chiefly limited to Asia and Africa. Apes are without tails, and have no cheek pouches.
There appears at first sight, a wide difference between a Monkey and a Bat, but there is in reality a striking similarity in the number, form, and position of the teeth, and in the situation of the mammae. They are more closely linked together by the Flying Lemur of the Philippines which is shaped like a Lemur, but furnished with an expanding membrane on each side, including the limbs, and reaching to the tail, which can be folded up, or expanded, giving it true powers of flight.
In the skeleton of the Bat we find the arm, the fore-arm, the fingers, (extremely lengthened,) the thigh, the leg, and the foot united with a thin flexible membrane, the thumb alone excepted, which is furnished with a hooked nail. The bones of the fingers constitute the frame-work of the wing - hence the term "hand-winged." The Bats of tropical countries are much larger than ours ; one of them, the Vampire Bat of South America, feeds on blood, some other kings feed entirely on fruits.
[Fig 26. Skull of Common Bat.]
The British species of INSECTIVORA are represented by the Hedgehog, the Shrew, and the Mole. In all countries the appointed work of animals of this Order is the check the increase of Insects ; in this work they are assisted by birds, bats, lizards, frogs and other animals.
Among the fallacies of early naturalists was one, that the mole had no eyes ; it is known, however, that the mole has perfect, though small eyes, which are well protected from being injured by the earth, through which the animals works its way in pursuit of earth-worms, its principal food.
In farming districts an evil report exists with reference to the hedgehog, namely that it sucks the cows dry while lying down; - but its mouth is too small for such an operation. The hedgehog , when domesticated in the kitchen, will drink milk, while it renders effectual service in keeping down crickets, cockroaches, and beetles with which some kitchens abound.
[Fig 27. Skull of Hedgehog]
The CETACEA are the Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises ; they resemble, and were formerly classed with fishes. Whales are provided with a single pair of flippers or fore-legs, covered with skin, but in which, when dissected, are found the usual bones of which the arm of a vertebrated animal is composed. (Cut 22.)
These organs seem principally of use in balancing the huge animal ; its body is terminated by a large tail fin of great muscular power, which is used as the chief agent in swimming. They all bring forth living young, which they suckle and nourish with their own milk.
[Fig 28. Skull of Whale.]
[Fig 29. The Whale.]
The animals which connects the Whales with the thick-skinned land animals is the Manatee, an entirely vegetable feeder, which belongs neither to the Whales nor the Seals ; four of its five fingers are terminated by nails, and as it uses them in creeping and in carrying its young, these organs have been compared to hands - whence the name of the animal, Mantatee. It is found at the mouths of large rivers, such as the Orinoko and the Amazon. The Dugong is in many respects similar to the Manatee, its habitats are the shores of the Indian Ocean.
[Fig 30. Skull of the Horse.]
The PACHYDERMATA are the largest of terrestrial creatures, their food is wholly vegetable, and they have no ruminating stomach ; among them are the Hippopotamus, the Rhinoceros, the Elephant, the Horse, the Swine, the Peccaries, and the Tapirs. Generally they are thinly clothes with hair ; some are entirely destitute of it, and others have stiff bristles.
The most useful of these animals, as the horse, ass and swine, are widely distributed.
LINKS AMONG ANIMALS.
Some animals are regarded as connecting links in creation. The seal, a mammalian, can live either in water or on land, thus connecting the quadrupeds with fishes. The ostrich is alleged to be the link which connects quadrupeds with birds ; its stomach resembles that of the camel, its voice is a grunt like that of the hog, as a racer it outstrips the fleetest race horse. The Duck-bill of New South Wales, (described on p. 24 ; cut 35) unites the quadrupeds with both water-birds and amphibials ; having the four feet of a quadruped, capable of burrowing, yet webbed like a water-bird ; with the broad bill of a duck, and a body coated with long fur, like that of an otter. The Manatee, as has been shown, is the connecting link between the whales and the thick-skinned animals.
[Fig 31. The Syrian Sheep.]
ORDERS OF MAMMALIA, (CONTINUED.)
Ruminating - chewing again what has been partially chewed and swallowed. The only genuine ruminants are the cloven-hoofed quadrupeds.
Herbivorous - feeding on vegetables.
Mandible - the upper jaw of an insect.
Aquatic - living or growing in water.
Predilection - a previous liking.
The order RUMINANTIA is distinguished from all the other orders of mammalia by the existence of four stomachs, arranged for ruminating, or chewing the cud. These animals are essentially herbivorous, and are all possessed of the cloven hoof, while among certain species there foreheads are armed with horns. This order is principally represented by the Ox, the Sheep, the Goat, and the Deer ; but it is usual also to classify with the Giraffe, Camels, Antelopes, and Llamas.
The Ruminantia are found in all regions inhabited by man; they are the animals most necessary for the supply of his wants and comforts, and most conducive to his progress in arts and civilization.
[Fig 32. Skull of Ox.]
From then he derives a considerable portion of his food and clothing ; their milk, their flesh, their wool, hides, horns, and hoofs are all converted to his uses, while from many of them he obtains valuable assistance in the labours of the field, and in the transport of commodities.
Whether the foot is cloven as in the Deer, or encased in a solid hoof, as in the horse, it is equally unfitted to assist in the capture of living prey, and the food consists of vegetables. The teeth are so formed as to be efficient instruments for the mastication of such substances.
Very few of the EDENTATA are entirely destitute of teeth, their chief characteristic is the absence of teeth from the front part of the jaw. The Ant-eaters have no teeth, they have a remarkable structure of the tongue, which can be protruded to a great length and again retracted ; being covered with viscid matter, it thus aids these animals in procuring their food, which consists entirely of insects, and chiefly of Ants and termites.
[Fig 33. Skull of Armadillo.]
The legs are short and furnished with strong claws which are employed in digging into ant-hills in search of their favourite food. The Armadillo, which is encased in a bony covering of bands, feeds partly on insects and partly on vegetable substances and fruits. The Sloths are formed to live among trees, and their food consists exclusively of leaves and fruits.
[Fig 34. Skull of Beaver.]
The order RODENTIA is well represented by many of out native animals such as the mice, rats, hares, rabbits and squirrels ; there are foreign species of all these kinds ; and the beaver, porcupine, jerboa and marmot also belong to this order. The species of these animals are very numerous, comprising more than six hundred, nearly one half of the entire number of the mammalia ; they are widely distributed, and usually they are very prolific ; and though they do not attain a large size, their extraordinary propensity for gnawing causes them to commit great devastation.
The incisor teeth are chisel-shaped, the molars very strong and covered with a hard enamel. Some of these animals feed upon hard substances, such as nuts, acorns, and bark of trees ; the beaver is very celebrated for his wonderful power of felling large trees by gnawing them, his social instincts, and his architectural skill. Very few of the Rodents are domesticated, but the flesh of some species is eaten, whilst the skins of others are sought after for their furs.
The last order of the Mammalia consists of the MARSUPIAL animals. The peculiarity which gives the greatest interest to this group of animals is the singular pouch for the young which is found in the female Marsupials. With the exception of the Opossum of Virginia all the pouched animals are inhabitants of Australasia and the islands of the Indian Archipelago.
There is a considerable diversity of structure and of habits among the Marsupials, for there are herbivorous, carnivorous, and insectivorous species. In size there is a great difference ranging from a diminutive opossum to the great kangaroo. Some of the Opossums have no pouch, and the young are in such cases carried on the back of the parent till they can shift for themselves.
Australia produces the most strange and anomalous of all animals. It is a quadruped, about two feet in length, with a rounded, flattened body, covered with short, soft fur, of a deep brown hue ; it has a short flat tail ; very short legs, the toes united by a web, which in the fore-foot spreads out considerably beyond the tips of the claws. This formation enables it to swim with ease ; but as it also burrows in the earth, the free part of the web folds back when thus engaged and leaves the claws unencumbered.
The muzzle very much resembles the broad flat bill of some of the Ducks ; it is covered with a blackish skin, which overlaps at the edges, and folds back at the base into a broad margin. The place of molar teeth is supplied by eight broad horny excrescences (two on each side of each mandible,) of an irregular form, which probably serve as grinders, but have no roots. The eyes are small but brilliant, and the orifice of the ear is readily detected by its opening and closing in a living animals, though scarcely perceptible after death.
This animals is commonly known as the Duck-billed Platypus, (Ornithorhynchus paradoxus) but by the colonists it is named from its aquatic predilections, conjoined with its burrowing habits, the water-mole. It delights to haunt the broad and tranquil ponds that are formed by the expansion of a stream, in which it swims and dives with great facility.
[Fig 35. The Duck-billed Platypus.]
LINKS IN NATURE
The links which connect all classes of the animal creation in one continued chain, are evident. The brute creation is connected with that of birds and fishes, and the latter with that of reptiles. The siren, first placed by Linnaeus as an amphibious animal, was afterwards declared to be a fish, and approaching the nature of an eel. The weasel, in some of its species, approaches the monkey and squirrel tribes ; and the flying squirrel, the flying lizard, and flying fish, approach the bird creation.
Not less remarkable is the character of the bat, which may be said to be both a bird and a beast. This animal is furnished with thin membranes stretched over its forepaws, and extending between these and its two hinder extremities, by which means it possess the faculty of flying like the birds ; its body resembles the mouse, and like that animals it suckles its young ; during the winter season, it remains in a torpid state, coiled up and suspended by the hind claws to rafters or roofs of barns or cottages.
[Fig 36. The Indian Rhinoceros.]
PECULIARITIES OF MAMMALIA
Dew-claw - a small claw at the back of the hoof.
Metatarsal - belonging to the foot from the ankle to the toes.
Humerus - the chief bone of the arm.
Carpal - belonging to the wrist.
Ligament - a fibrous structure connecting bones.
Vacuum - empty space.
ALTHOUGH the variety is quadrupeds is great they all seem well-adapted to the stations in which they are placed. There is not one of them, how rudely shapen soever, that is not formed to enjoy as state of happiness fitted to its nature.
The rhinoceros leads a tranquil, indolent life in his native regions. Like the elephant, he prefers the marshy borders of lakes and rivers, or swampy woods and jungles, delighting to roll and wallow in the oozy soil, and plaster his skin with mud. He also swims with ease and vigour. Sluggish in his habitual movements, the rhinoceros wanders through his native plains with a heavy step, carrying his huge head so low that his nose almost touches the ground, and stopping at intervals to crop some favourite plant, or in wanton play, to plough up the ground with his horn, throwing the mud and stones behind him.
When roused he is a most formidable antagonist, and such is the keenness of his senses of hearing and smell, that, unless you very cautiously approach him against the direction of the wind, it is almost impossible to take him by surprise. On the appearance of danger he generally retreats to his covert in the tangled and almost impenetrable jungle, but not always, and instances are recorded in which, sniffing up the air and throwing his head violently about, he has rushed with fury to the attack. There are, in fact, seasons in which the rhinoceros impetuously attacks every animals that attracts his notice, or ventures near his haunts, even the elephant himself.
There is no obvious reason, at fist sight for the great difference between the foot of a horse and an ox, but when we examine their separate destinations, the perfect adaptation of each construction becomes apparent. The horse was intended for hard ground and rapid motions ; and the hoof is constructed accordingly, answering its end perfectly in the state of nature, and serving that purpose under domestication also, better than is generally believed.
The place of the ox was to be in meadow lands and on river banks, its destiny to tread on soft grounds ; and equally is this provided for, in the divided and spreading hoof, and in the dew-claws. A horse sinks where an ox of greater weight can feed in safety, The sharp hoof of the goat is not less adapted for the rocky places and narrow footing of its mountain habitation ; and the same general principle is extended to the sheep and others, for the same reason.
The foot of the camel, reversely, is a broad, elastic, and soft cushion, perfectly adapted to those sands which every other peculiarity in its construction shows to have been its intended dwelling-place.
The stomach of the camel offers another of those special contrivances, where the purpose, and the means of attaining it, are so perfectly adapted, that the design has been universally admitted. It was created to live in a land of little water ; and hence is not only patient of thirst to a degree which appears almost miraculous when compared with other animals, but is furnished with the means of carrying water for future exigencies. There is an analogous provision for hunger in the hump, which is an internal store of food and is gradually absorbed to supply the wants of the system.
The rabbit was destined to dig and to burrow ; but it was also to be enabled to run with considerable velocity. For these purposes, its fore-legs are short and strong, with a powerful hand ; while the long metatarsal bone is rendered a foot to rest on, as it is a leg for running. it can thus compress itself into a narrow space ; while the length of the lever behind, and the great flexibility of the spine, enable it to make a much longer step than its size would indicate, and thus to contest with the speed of its far larger enemies.
Where digging without running was required, we find the similarly beautiful hand of the mole. The legs are all extremely short, because longer ones would have been inconvenient, as well as useless ; but there is a peculiarly shaped humerus, with a flat and long carpal bone, which, while the hand is enlarged in breadth, allows the palm to be turned outwards : the body is so formed as to offer the least possible resistance, while free from all protuberances ; and the density and smoothness of the coat render it as slippery as oil, while preventing it from lodging earth and sand.
The contrivance in the foot of a cat is oftener seen than remarked ; the wants of the animal demanded a hand to seize, like the eagle ; and this was to be combined with a foot for walking. Superficially viewed, the foot of the cat and the dog are similar, and both walk on the ends of their toes.
But though the dog's foot had been more flexible than it is, the wearing down of the claws by walking would have prevented it from securing an object. To protect the claws in the cat, the last joint of each toe is reversed, when the foot is at rest or used for walking ; and brought forward, with its claw, when used as a hand for seizing, and returned to its place by an elastic ligament.
The rat and the mouse can walk, without difficulty, on surfaces not horizontal, by means of the sharpness of their claws, united to their great strength and small weight. The walrus, as ponderous as it is inactive, is compelled to clamber over inclined and smooth rocks, in quitting the sea ; and this object is attained by the sole of the foot being constructed in such a manner, that it can produce a vacuum with the surface. The trunk of the elephant is an expedient to supply a defect or serve a purpose, so familiar that it is sufficient to allude to it.
Within the mouth of the Hippopotamus is an array of white gleaming tusks, which have a terrific appearance, but are solely intended for cutting grass and other vegetable substance, and are seldom employed as weapons of offence, except when the animal is wounded or otherwise irritated.
The incisor teeth of the lower jaw lie almost horizontally with their points directed forwards, and are said to be employed as crow-bars in tearing up the various aquatic plants on which the animal feeds. The canines are very large and curved, and are worn obliquely in a manner very similar to the rodent type of teeth. With these teeth the Hippopotamus can cut the grass as neatly as if it were mown with a scythe, and is able to sever, as if with shears, a tolarably thick stem.
[Fig 37. The Hippopotamus.]
[Fig 38. Jerboa.]
MOTIONS OF MAMMALIA.
Marauders - robbers, plunderers.
Analogous - similarly related.
Modulation - the art of inflecting the voice.
Vulnerable - that may be wounded.
Membrane - a thin expanded skin or tissue.
Centre of gravity - the point around which all the parts of a body perfectly balance each other.
Predacious - living on prey.
Prehensile - seizing or taking hold.
Parachute - an apparatus to prevent too rapid a descent from a balloon.
There can be no doubt but that the artifices adopted by animals as a means of defence, and their stratagems to mislead marauders evince feelings and mental activities analogous to those of other reasonable beings, and it cannot be denied that they express the alarm and agitation of their minds, and means to do so, by their voice, and by particular modulations of it.
The squirrel, when pursued, flies to the highest tree, climbing up the side interposed to the sportsman, and clings with compressed body to the stem. In the same manner, the wild cat and the fox save themselves by extending themselves suddenly among the fallen leaves, or on a broken trunk in a thicket, till the chase has passed by them. A similar artifice is resorted to by the opossum, and it is recorded that tigers, bruised and wounded by the elephant, have counterfeited death, to avoid further punishment.
In many cases, when animals are not able to conceal themselves entirely, the protect the most sensitive and vulnerable parts of their bodies ; thus, the hedgehog, in defending itself with its spines from the attack of another animal, curves its head downwards ; and some animals, when struck, roll themselves together, pressing their heads on their breasts, and trying to protect them by covering them with the fore-legs. Dogs when fighting, endeavour to keep their fore-legs as much under them as possible, to prevent their being bitten.
Very few quadrupeds are capable of moving through the air - the bat, the flying squirrel, and some species of lemur being among these, - and this they effect, not like the flying fishes and birds, alone by their anterior extremities, not, like the flying lizards, by their ribs, but by wing-like membranes extended between their anterior and posterior extremities, the motions of both of which are requisite to call them into action.
Quadrupeds in general use their upper limbs only in conjunction with their lower in the act of progression ; but some few, as squirrel and apes, use them also as we do our arms, the arrangement of their skeleton being expressly adapted for the purpose. In standing, they use in general all the four legs ; and as the centre of gravity its thus preserved without effort, they easily sleep in this position.
Some few, however, as the kangaroo and jerboa, rest on their hinder limbs alone, the centre of gravity falling in them almost perpendicularly ; but such also use their strong tails, like another leg, to steady themselves.
In the quadrupeds, the act of climbing is provided for also by peculiar constructions and powers ; as the utility of this mode of motion is apparent, in both the vegetable-eating and the predacious ones which resort to it. In the rat and mouse, and in the smaller animals of the Cat tribe, the claws or talons serve this purpose, as they do in the squirrel and others.
In the sloth along, the construction for this end is exclusive ; the animal cannot move on the ground, much better than the quadruped amphibia. Hence did the ignorance of natural history once affect to pity this animal ; as another kind of philosophy in this science, considered it an error or oversight in creation.
Where the power of jumping was to be combined with that of climbing, under an obvious necessity for both, we find the activity and precision of the squirrel, emulating that of the goat, the equal activity, with the four hands of the Monkey tribe, the prehensile tails of some, and apparently, a prehensile nose or trunk in another, with that most remarkable of all these contrivances, the parachute wing of the flying squirrel and lizard.
In the Cat tribe, springing from the crouching position, we are bound to remark the combination of immense muscular power and or actual strength of articulation, with that laxity of movement and gait, giving the semblance of feebleness and want of firmness in the joints, which was equally required for the purpose of crouching and insinuation.
In the goat, the chamois, and others, the activity is equal and the result is the same ; but the object was a very different one, and accordingly these animals cannot perform what the others do, though the muscles are similarly placed and are of equal powers. They must spring from the state of upright rest, as they return to it ; while the cat falls into the position whence it sprung : because, to each, its peculiar mode was necessary.
The active and similarly constructed deer and antelope, bounding like the goat, cannot imitate it in coming to rest; and the horse, leaping readily from a run, is with difficulty taught to spring from the former state.
It is in the proper springers, such as the jerboa and the kangaroo, that we find a specific construction for this end ; these animals are unable to run, and their walk is both awkward and imperfect ; demanding, in the latter, the aid of the tail, as a fifth leg, in number, but a third in point of use.
The very long and powerful hind legs of the Hare enable it to make prodigious bounds, and to cover a considerable space of ground at every leap. The hinder limbs are, indeed, or such great proportionate length that the animal does not walk, but proceeds by a series of hops or leaps. The Hare is so constituted that it never becomes fat, however rich and fertile may be the pasture in which it feeds, and is therefore enabled to run for a very great distance without being fatigued, as would be the case if its muscles were loaded with fat. It can also leap to a considerable height, and has been known to jump over a perpendicular wall of eight feet in height in order to escape from its pursuers.
Every land animal nearly is empowered to swim in some manner ; it is an occasional mode of motion for change of place, as for security against accident ; while not many attempt it, without urgent cause, such as escape from danger, or hunger.
The mode of action in all these cases, differs little from that of walking, the buoyancy of the body effecting the rest ; though where this happens to be great, as in the deer and the ox, the facility is much increased. In the elephant, it would not be possible but for the trunk, which enables the animal to breathe, though deeply immersed.
[Fig 39. Syrian Hares.]
[Fig 40. The Horse]
HABITS OF MAMMALIA.
F. Cuvier - a French naturalist.
Mammifer - an animal which has breasts, and consequently suckles its young.
Cerebral - belonging to the brain.
Gregarious - living in flocks of herds.
In contemplating the habits and manners of animals, numerous acts are observed bearing marks of more intelligence and foresight than it is possible to suppose such agents to exercise. Since intelligence, therefore, cannot be admitted as the exciting cause for such action, they have been ascribed to another power, called INSTINCT, which is defined to be one by which, independent of all instruction or experience, animals are unerringly directed to do spontaneously whatever is necessary for their preservation, and the continuance of their species.
Thus, although animals seek food to satisfy hunger, the act is instinctive. In the choice of food, that which is hurtful of poisonous is avoided, and that which is nutritious selected. The food which is suitable to the organs of digestion is always that to which the animal directs itself. These organs in some are adapted to vegetable, in others to animal food, and each species accordingly seeks the one or the other.
The first observations of Frederick Cuvier indicated the various degrees of intelligence in the different orders of mammifers. Thus he found the highest development of that faculty in the Quadrumana, at the head of which stand the chimpanzee and ourang-outang. The second rank was assigned to the Carnivora, atthe head of which was placed the dog. The Pachydermata stand next, with the horse and the elephant at their head ; the two lowest ranks consisting of the Ruminants and Rodents.
Now it is important to remark that this classification of mammifers, according to their relative intelligence, based upon the direct observation of their manner and habits, is found to be in direct accordance with their cerebral development ; the organs of the brain, which in man have been ascertained as being those on which the intellectual functions depend, exist in a less and less state of development as we descend from the Quadrumana to the Carnivora, from the latter to the Pachydermata, and from these successively to the Ruminants and Rodents.
Certain species of animals feed upon natural products which are only to be found at certain seasons of the year ; and in all such cases Nature prompts them, during their proper harvest, to collect and store up such a quantity of food as may be sufficient for their support , until the ensuing season brings a fresh supply.
The common squirrel presents and example of this instinct. During the summer these active little creatures collect a mass of nuts, acorns, almonds and other similar products, and establish their storehouse usually in the cavity of a tree. They have the habit of providing several of these magazines in different hiding-places cunningly selected ; and in winter, when the scarce season arrives, they never fail to find their stores, even when the earth is overlaid with snow.
Another rodent, which bears a close resemblance to the common rabbit, and inhabits Siberia, is endowed with an instinct still more remarkable, since it not only collects in autumn the herbage necessary for its sustenance during the long winter of that inhospitable country, but it actually makes hay exactly as do our agriculturists.
Having cut the richest and most succulent herbs of the field, it spreads them out to dry in the sun ; and this operation finished, it forms them into cocks or ricks, taking care so to place them that they shall be in shelter from the rain and snow. It then sets about excavating a tunnel leading from its own hole to the bottom of these ricks, so that it may have a subterranean communication between its dwelling and its hay-yard ; taking care, moreover, that, the hay being gradually cut from the interior of each stack, the protection provided by the thatching of the external surface will not be disturbed.
That many species of animals possess the faculty of memory in a high degree of development is evident. Domesticated animals in general know and remember their homes and their owners. A horse, even after having made a single excursion from his stable, will recognise the road to it on his return, and it is even affirmed that upon returning after several years' absence to a locality which he has inhabited for a sufficient time to become familiar with it, he will again recognise it, and left to himself will find his way into the stable he formerly occupied, and resume the possession of his former stall. The dog, the elephant, and other domesticated animals, recognise, even after longer intervals, those who have treated them well or ill, and manifest accordingly their gratitude or their vengeance.
The actions by which animals show the exercise of a certain degree of reasoning are scarcely less numerous. Thus the dog, which is kept in a cage, will gnaw the bars if they are or wood, but will quietly resign himself to his captivity if they are of iron, because he understands that since he can make an impression on the bars in the first case by gnawing them, he may by continued efforts cut them through and effect his liberation ; finding the efforts in the other case unavailing, he infers that their continuance could never accomplish his object.
When a dog sees his master put on his hat, the animal infers at once that he is going out, and jumping upon him, loads him with caresses to induce his master to take him as his companion. In this case there is reasoning, comparison, judgment, and a certain degree of generalisation. The dog generalises the act of putting on the hat, and infers its consequences, he remembers the act done on former occasions, and that it was followed by a walk abroad on the part of the master, and he concludes that what took place before will under like circumstances occur again.
Naturalists agree generally that the animals which are domesticated with greatest facility are those which in the wild state live in troops or societies. To this there is scarcely a well-established exception. The cat and the pig are apparent exceptions, but it is contended that they are never domesticated in the true sense of the term, as the dog is.
Gregarious animals, endowed as they are with the instinct of sociability, select by common consent a chief, to whom they yield obedience. In the domesticated state, man taking the place and exercising the influence of that chief, receives the same instinctive obedience. Domesticity is, therefore, an animal instinct, of which man avails himself to attract into his service animals of the sociable species.
[Fig 41. Hounds and Dingo]
[Fig 42. Stag and Hind.]
SOCIAL HABITS OF MAMMALIA.
Gallantry - courage, bravery.
Genera - classes, especially of animals and of plants.
Apologue - a moral fable intended to convey instruction.
Jungle - wild, uncleared land, more or less covered with brushwood, reeds, and other vegetation.
AMONG social quadrupeds, the beavers are pre-eminent, not only for their family union, but for their joint labours in constructing their dams, and in the provision of food, in which they surpass the ingenuity of all other quadrupeds.
They begin to assemble in June and July from all quarters, till they form a troop of two or three hundred, near some brook or river. Here they make an embankment, cut the smaller trees into proper lengths for staves, fix these like piles, interweave them with smaller branches, beat earth into a kind of mortar, ram it into all the vacancies, till they have made a solid dyke, ten or twelve feet thick at the base, sloping to three at the top, with shallow gaps to let the water escape.
Near this they build their cabins on piles, and wattle them with branches, and with two doors, one to go into the water, the other on the land. These have sometimes three or four stories, holding from eighteen to twenty beavers, and each village or community has from ten to twenty cabins.
There are many of the gregarious mammalia which make common cause in defending themselves, converting even defence into attack, till they not unfrequently fall victims to their 'gallantry and pertinacity.
Speaking of the watchfulness of the walrus, Captain Cook remarks, that the whole herd were never found asleep, some being always on the watch ; and these, on the approach of a boat, would rouse those next to them ; and the alarm being thus gradually communicated, the whole herd would be awake presently. Their first object is to escape, but being foiled in this, .they defend themselves with boldness, and conduct themselves with a gallantry perfectly remarkable.
Sir Edward Parry speaks particularly to this point : he says, on meeting with these animals in Fox's channel, "We saw two hundred lying piled, as usual, over ach other, on the loose drift ice. A boat's crew from both the Hecla and Fury proceeded to the attack ; but these gallant amphibia, some with their cubs mounted on their backs, made a desperate resistance, and one of them tore the planks of a boat in two or three places. Three only were killed."
Captain Phipps, afterwards Lord Musgrave, fell in with them on his attempted voyage to the North Pole, in 1773, and describes a scene which occurred on an island to the north of Spitzbergen. He says, " Two officers engaged in an encounter with a walrus, from which they came off with little honour. The animal, being alone, was wounded in the first instance ; but, plunging into the deep, he obtained a reinforcement of his fellows, who made a united attack upon the boat, wresting an oar from one of the men, and had nearly upset her, when another boat came to their assistance."
The sagacity with which the bisons defend themselves against the attack of wolves is admirable. When they scent the approach of a drove of those ravenous creatures, the herd throws itself into the form of a circle, having the weakest and the calves in the middle, and the strongest ranged on the outside ; thus presenting an impenetrable front of horns.
The llamas, among their native mountains, associate in large herds, in the highest parts. While the rest feed, one watches as a sentinel. When he hears any intruder approach, he gives a kind of neigh, and the herd runs off. After galloping to a considerable distance, they stop, turn round, gaze at their pursuers until they come near, and then again run off.
The wild asses live in herds, each consisting of a chief and several mares and colts, to the number of twenty sometimes. They are very timid and provident against danger. A male takes on him the care of the herd, and is always on the watch. If they observe a hunter, the sentinel takes a great circuit, and goes round and round him, as if discovering something to be apprehended. As soon as he is satisfied with this, he rejoins the herd, and all set off with precipitation.
The sheep in the Welsh mountains graze in parties of about a dozen, and one of these is stationed at a distance, to give notice of danger. If it sees any one approaching, it looks at him till he comes within a distance of eighty or one hundred yards ; and if he still advance, it alarms its comrades by a loud whistle, two or three times repeated, and all scour off to the steepest parts.
Wild swine associate in herds, and defend themselves in common. Green relates that in the wilds of Vermont a person fell in with a large herd in a state of extraordinary restlessness ; they had formed a circle with their heads outwards, and the young ones placed in the middle. A wolf was using every artifice to snap one, and on his return he found the herd scattered, but the wolf was dead, and completely ripped up.
A somewhat similar encounter is recorded of a herd of tame swine - which seeing two wolves, formed themselves into a wedge, and approached the wolves slowly, grunting and erecting their bristles. One wolf fled, but the other leaped on the trunk of a tree. As soon as the swine reached it, they surrounded it with one accord, when, suddenly and instantaneously, as the wolf attempted to leap over them, they got him down and destroyed him in a moment.
Wild dogs unite in packs to hunt, and attack buffaloes, and even tigers. Nature seems to have implanted an innate hostility between the canine and feline genera. The hyaena, the dhole, and other wild dogs, are reported to destroy all tiger cubs they can find ; and the last-mentioned, in particular, enabled by their superior instinct to hunt in packs and combine their attacks, are even more than a match for the most powerful of the Fe1inae.
It is to this peculiar instinct, no doubt, that the desire of tigers, to escape from the presence of sporting dogs, so often observed in India, is mainly to be ascribed.
Jackals congregate in great numbers, sometimes as many as two hundred being found together, and they howl so incessantly, that the annoyance of their voices is the theme of numerous apologues and tales in the literature of Asia. They retire to woody jungles and rocky situations, or skulk about solitary gardens, hide themselves in ruins, or burrow in large communities. If by chance one of the troop be attacked, all are on the watch, and, if practicable with self- preservation, issue forth to the rescue.
[ Fig 43. The Fox.]
[Fig 44. The Syrian Ox.]
Auxiliary - help, an assistant, helper.
Nervous - agitated by trifles, tremulous, timid.
Aggressive - first act of violence.
IN training an animal, we seek, either for purposes of profit or of gratification, to draw out its powers, and to mould them. according to our will ; to teach it to move or place itself in a particular manner, to utter a sound, or to perform certain actions, which, by constant repetitions become so familiar to it, that it fulfils them at a mere signal.
The success of the task depends considerably on the temperament of the animal, as also on its natural habits, which in some cases are entirely opposed to the attempt. Kindness and fear are the great instruments employed, which, if misplaced from not understanding the character of the animal, have the effect of rendering it worthless.
Training is a process of explanation, by which one must endeavour to awaken ideas in the animal, and to make them accord with those of the trainer. The animal must not only be sensible of the will of its trainer, but must be made to feel that no injury is intended to it ; this is altogether indispensable, as a contrary course which inculcates terror, makes it shy and stubborn.
Hunger, fear, dread, and the deprivation of sleep are, under certain circumstances, the most powerful auxiliaries in subduing and taming animals. Exhausted nature, or servile submission produce a pliancy, which it is the duty of art to improve. As soon as confidence is established, and the feeling of dependence implanted, and custom and good treatment have made the society of man necessary to an animal, perfect dominion has been obtained ; and the animal submits to compulsion and even to punishment without resistance.
Mr. Rarey's method of training horses, more especially vicious ones, has attracted much attention, and is acknowledged to be as sound in principle as it is successful in practice. The simple process of looping up one foot, so as to leave the animal only three legs to stand or move upon, renders it impossible that he should either hurt himself or any one else; and though, at first, a vicious horse may strike with his knee, and try every way to get his leg at liberty, he will find that he cannot do it, and will soon give up his attempts.
This is a great improvement on the cruel and savage methods often employed by ignorant men in "breaking" a horse. The Horse is fierce because he is nervous, he bites and kicks, not because he is enraged, but because he is alarmed. Restore confidence, by kindness, and the animal becomes quiet, without any desire to use his hoofs or his teeth in an aggressive manner. The loop or strap is only used until the Horse is convinced that the presence of a human form, or the touch of a human hand has nothing terrible in it.
The social disposition of the Ruminantia, which they have in a state of nature, predisposes them for domestication by man ; and hence they are the proper domestic animals, the most valuable, in an economical point of view, in the whole animal kingdom.
Their flesh supplies the most wholesome food ; their hair and wool the best and warmest clothing ; their milk is more nutritious than that of any other animal ; their skins form the most durable leather ; many of them are fellow-workers with man in the labours of the field ; and instead of being injurious to those places where they pasture, they are among the principal means by which the wild places are brought into a state fit for the plough, and again restored, after having been exhausted by a succession of crops.
Furthermore, they are, in one or other of the species, adapted to every country and every climate. The Camel - "the ship of the desert," carries man and his merchandise across the burning sands, and enables a communication to be kept up, and mutual help afforded, and civilisation promoted, in those ardent climates where, but for this powerful and patient animal, man would be cut off from the fellowship of man.
Even in the most dreary regions of the north man is not forsaken by this serviceable order of animals, for there, amid the darkness of the sunless months, the Reindeer, bears him fleetly over the polar snow, while its flesh supplies him with food, and its skin, impenetrable by the keenest wind, protects him from the cold.
It is a fact worthy of remark, and one that seems to have been little noticed, that throughout the whole animal creation in every country and clime of the earth, the most useful animals cost nature the least waste to sustain them with food. All animals that work live on vegetable food ; and no animal that eats flesh, works.
The all-powerful elephant and the patient camel, in the torrid zone ; the horse, the ox, and the donkey, in the temperate ; and the reindeer, in the frigid zone, obtain all their muscular power from the vegetable kingdom. But all the flesh-eating animals keep the rest of the animated creation in constant dread of them. They seldom eat vegetable food until some other animal has eaten it first, and made it into flesh.
USES OF MAMMALIA AS FOOD.
[Fig 46. Leopard.]
Epicure - from Epicurus, the celebrated Greek philosopher, whose followers
brought his name into contempt by their sensual indulgences.
Aborigina;, &c. - the first inhabitants of a country.
Peninsula - land almost surrounded by water.
Par excellence - pre-eminently, or by way of excellence.
Gelatine - animal jelly.
Integuments - the outer skin in animals, the husk in plants.
bonne-bouche - a dainty dish, or morsel.
Trappers - men who hunt animals with traps and snares.
Laminated - having plates or scales.
IT has been well observed, that there are few things in which the public have so great and general an interest, and concerning which they possess so little real knowledge, as of the traffic in animals, live and dead, in their own country. They know even less of the various kinds of flesh which are held in estimation in distant countries.
The average quantity of animal food of all kinds consumed in France is stated on good authority - that of M. Payen - to be as low as one-sixth of a pound per diem to each person. Even in the cities and large towns, especially Paris, the amount of food upon which a Frenchman lives is astonishingly small. An Englishman or an American would starve upon such fare.
In proportion to its population, New York consumes as nearly as possible the same quantity of meat as London, about half-a-pound a day to each person ; more beef, however, is consumed there and less mutton, and the latter fact may be accounted for by the comparative inferiority of quality.
African epicures esteem as one of their greatest de1icaciet. a tender young Monkey, highly seasoned and spiced, and baked in a jar set in the earth, with a fire over it, in gipsy fashion. Monkeys are commonly sold with parrots and the paca, in the markets at Rio Janeiro.
Several species of monkey are used as food by the aboriginal inhabitants of the Malayan peninsula. As all kinds of Monkeys are very destructive to his rice-fields, the Dyak of Borneo is equally their enemy ; and, as this people esteem their flesh as an article of food, no opportunity of destroying them is lost.
The Dutch, when in the island of Mauritius, are said to have been fond of the flesh of Bats, preferring it to the finest game. The Indians of Malabar and other parts of the East Indies, are also said to eat the flesh of bats.
The natives of the Malay Peninsula eat the flesh of the Tiger, believing it to be a sovereign specific for all diseases, besides imparting to him who partakes of it the courage and sagacity of that animal. Some people have ventured to eat the American Panther, and say it is very delicate food ; and the flesh of the Wild Cat of Louisiana is said to be good to eat.
Mr. Wallace, when travelling up the Amazon, writes - "Several Jaguars were killed, one day we had some steaks at table, and found the meat very white, and without any bad taste." It appears evident that the common idea of the food of an animal determining the quality of its meat, is erroneous. Domestic poultry and pigs are the most unclean animals in their food, yet their flesh is highly esteemed, while rats and squirrels, which eat only vegetable food, are in general disrepute.
In China, the Dog is fattened for the table, and the flesh of dogs is as much liked by the Chinese as mutton is by us. At Canton, the hind quarters of dogs are seen hanging up in the most prominent parts of the shops exposed for sale. They are considered by the people as a most dainty food, and are consumed by both rich and poor.
The Kangaroo is par excellence the wild game of Australia, and coursing it gives active employment to its pursuers. The flesh of all the several species is good. The parts of the Kangaroo most esteemed for eating are the loins and the tail, which abound in gelatine, and furnish an excellent and nourishing soup ; the hind legs are coarse, and usually fall to the share of the dogs. The natives (if they can be said to have a choice) give a preference to the head. The flesh of the full-grown animal may be compared to lean beef, and that of the young to veal ; they are destitute of fat, if we except a little being occasionally seen between the muscles and integuments of the tail.
The Wombat, a bear-like marsupial quadruped of Australia, is eaten in New South Wales, and other parts of the Australian Continent. In size it often equals a sheep, some of the largest weighing l4Olbs.; and the flesh is said by some to be not unlike venison, and by others to resemble lean mutton.
Passing now to the rodents or gnawing animals, we find that the large grey Squirrel is very good eating. The flesh of the squirrel is much valued by the Dyaks, and it will, doubtless, hereafter be prized for the table of Europeans.
The Marmot in its fat state, when it first retires to its winter quarters, is in very good condition, and is then killed and eaten in great numbers, although we may affect to despise it.
The Mouse, to the Esquimaux epicures, is a real bonne bouche, and if they can catch half-a-dozen at a time, they run a piece of a twig through them, in the same manner as the London poulterers prepare larks for the table; and without stopping to skin them, or divest them of their entrails, broil them over the fire ; and although some of the mice may have belonged to the aborigines of the race, yet so strong is the mastication of the natives, that the bones of the animal yield to its power as easily as the bones of a rabbit would to a shark.
The flesh of the Beaver is looked upon as very delicate food by the North American hunters, but the tail is the choicest dainty, and in great request. It is much prized by the Indians and trappers, especially when it is roasted in the skin, after the hair has been singed off.
[Fig 47. Asiatic Elephant.]
USES OF MAMMALIA AS FOOD. (CONTINUED.)
Assagai - a kind of javelin used by the Kaffirs.
Colossal - large, gigantic.
Prairie - the grassy plains of the Western States of America.
Veterinary - belonging to the art or science of healing the diseases of domestic animals.
Littoral - belonging to the shore.
AMONG the Pachydermata, we find that the Elephant is eaten both in Africa and in India ; the following account is given by Gordon Cumming of the process of cutting up this huge animal.
"The rough outer skin is first removed, in large sheets, from the side which lies uppermost. Several coats of an under skin are then met with. They remove this inner skin with caution, taking care not to cut it with the assagai. The flesh is then removed in enormous sheets from the ribs, when the hatchets come into play, with which they chop through, and remove individually, each colossal rib.
The bowels are thus laid bare ; and in the removal of these the leading men take a lively interest, for it is throughout and around the bowels that the fat of the elephant is mainly found. The quantity of fat which is obtained from a full- grown bull, in high condition, is very great. Before it can be obtained, the greater part of the bowels must be removed.
To accomplish this, several men eventually enter the immense cavity of his inside, where they continue mining away with their assagais, and handing the fat to their comrades outside, till all is bare. While this is transpiring with the sides and bowels other parties are equally active in removing the skin and flesh from the remaining parts of the carcase. Fat of any kind is a complete god-send. to the Bechuana and other tribes of Southern Africa ; and the slaughter of an elephant affords them a rich harvest.
In all the large rivers of Southern Africa, and especially towards the mouths, the hippopotami abound. The colonists give them the name of sea-cows. The capture of one of these huge beasts, weighing, as they sometimes do, as much as four or five large oxen, is an immense prize to the hungry Bushman, as the flesh is by no means unpalatable ; and the fat, with which these animals are always covered, is considered delicious. When salted it is very much like excellent fat bacon, and is greatly prized by the Dutch colonists, not only for the table, but for the reputed medicinal qualities which are attributed to it. In Abyssinia, hippopotami meat is commonly eaten.
In the Western States pork is the great idea, and the largest owner of pigs is the hero of the prairie. The Louisville Courier stated recently, that there were five or six acres of barrelled pork piled up three tiers high, in open lots, and not less than six acres more not packed, which would make eighteen acres of barrels if laid side by side, exclusive of lard in barrels, and pork bulked down in the curing houses, sheds, &c. Besides the above slaughtered hogs, there were five or six acres more of live hogs in pens, waiting their destiny. What coal has been to England, wheat to the Nile or the Danube, coffee to Ceylon, gold to California and Victoria, and sheep to the Cape and Australia, pork has been to the West in America.
Banquets of horse-flesh are at present the rage in Paris, Toulouse, and Berlin. The veterinary schools there pronounce horse-bone soup "preferable beyond measure to the old-fashioned beef-bone liquid, and much more economical.
The Ruminants furnish, as is well known, the largest portion of our animal food, being consumed by man alike in civilized or unsettled countries. The domestic animals require little notice. There are, however, some whose flesh is eaten in different countries that are less familiar. Thus the bison and musk-ox of North America ; the reindeer of Greenland and Northern Europe ; the various antelopes, especially the eland, the gnu, the giraffe, and the camel of Africa ; and the alpaca tribe of South America, supply much of the animal food of the people in the districts where they are common.
The flesh of the great moose deer, or elk, of North America, the carcase of which weighs 1,000 lbs., is as valuable for food as beef, but from its immense size, much of the flesh is usually left in the forest. It is more relished by the Indians and persons resident in the fur countries, than that of any other animal, and bears a greater resem1ance in its flavour to beef than to venison. It is said that the external fat is soft like that of a breast of mutton, and when put into a bladder is as fine as marrow.
Bison beef, especially that of the female, is rather coarser grained than that of the domestic ox, but is considered by hunters and travellers as superior in tenderness and flavour. The hump, which is highly celebrated for its richness and delicacy, is said, when properly cooked, to resemble marrow.
Cetacea. The flesh of the manatus is white and delicate, and tastes like young pork eaten fresh or salted, while the fat forms excellent lard. The cured flesh keeps long without corruption, and it will continue good several weeks, even in the hot climate of which it is a native, when other meat would not resist putrefaction for as many days. The fibres and the lean part of the flesh are like beef, but more red ; it takes a very long time boiling.
The fat of the young one is like pork, and can scarcely be distinguished from it, while the lean eats like veal. The fat, which lies between the entrails and skin has a pleasant smell, and tastes like the oil of sweet almonds. It makes an admirable substitute for butter, and does not turn rancid in the sun. The fat of the tail is of a firmer consistence, and when boiled is more delicate than the other fat.
Walrus meat is strong, coarse, and of a game-like flavour. Seal flesh is exceedingly oily, and not very palatable ; but by practice, residents in the northern regions learn to relish both exceedingly. The large tongue, the heart, and liver of the walrus are often eaten by whalers for want of better fresh provisions, and are passably good.
To most of the rude littoral tribes of Northern Asia and America, the whale and seal furnish, not only food and clothing, but many other useful materials. The Esquimaux will eat the raw flesh of the whale with the same apparent relish, when newly killed, or after it has been buried for several months.
The whales on the coasts of Japan not only afford oil in great abundance, but their flesh, which is there considered very wholesome and nutritious, is largely consumed. No part of them indeed, is thrown away ; all is made available to some useful purpose or another.
[Fig 48. Wild Boar.]
[Fig 49. Syrian Goats.]
USES OF NAMMALIA FOR CLOTHING.
Temperature - degree of heat.
Intervention - the act of coming between persons or things.
Voyageurs, &c. - travellers by river and land, employed by the fur companies in Canada.
Barter - the giving of one thing for another.
Serratures - pointed projections like the edge of a saw.
Felting - matting together by agitation, pressure, &c., without weaving.
THE covering of animals is, both for its variety and its suitableness to their several natures, as much to be admired as any part of their structure. There are bristles, /air, wool, fur, feathers, quills, prickles, and scales, yet in this diversity of materials and form, we cannot change one animal's coat for another, without evidently changing it for the worse.
Man alone can clothe himself; and this is one of the properties which renders him an animal of all climates, and of all seasons. He alone can adapt the warmth or lightness of his covering to the temperature of his habitation.
What art, however, does for men, nature has, in many instances, done for animals. Their clothing, of its own accord, chances with their necessities. This is particularly the case with that large tribe of quadrupeds which is covered with furs. Every dealer in hare-skins and rabbit-skins knows how much the fur is thickened by the approach of winter.
In general it may be remarked, that the colder the country, the warmer is the fur of each animal. Thus the fox and the wolf, which in temperate c1imates have but short hair, have a fine long fur in the frozen regions near the pole.
On the contrary, those dogs which with us have long hair, when carried to Guinea or Angola, in a short time cast their thick covering, and assume a lighter dress, and one more adapted to the warmth of the country.
Many animals supply man with fur, for which they are hunted in the winter season. Our fur trade is chiefly with America ; it commenced early in the seventeenth century, and was carried on by the early French emigrants. Quebec and Montreal were at first trading posts. The trade was then, as now, a barter of guns, cloth, ammunition, &c., for the beaver and other furs collected by the natives, and was effected by the intervention of the voyageurs, engages, or coureurs des bois.
The native Indians destroy the animals and dispose of their skins to the agents of the Hudson's Bay Company, who supply them with guns and ammunition. The skins are often purchased by barter. Thus a fourpenny comb, it is said, will barter for a bear's skin worth two pounds. A knife worth sixpence will purchase three martens' skins, which in London will fetch four guineas ; whilst a sea-otter's skin, worth fifty guineas, is bought for about two shillings.
The chief products of the mammalia which are convertible into clothing are wool, hair, furs, and skins. Dr. Lankester recently lectured on these and other animal products, in the Lecture Theatre of the South Kensington Museum, and from these lectures the following information has been arranged.
Everybody knows that we get wool from sheep. If you place wool under the microscope you will find lines running across each separate fibre ; on the number or closeness of these lines or serratures depends the value of the wool. In a single inch of Saxony wool 2,720 of these serratures have been found; in Merino wool 2,400 ; in South down 2,080, and in Leicestershire wool only 1,850. The Saxony wool is therefore the best for the manufacture of fine cloth.
These serratures, then, are of great importance in relation to the uses of wool ; and it would appear that the process which is called felting depends entirely on these little serratures becoming entangled one in another. A piece of cloth may be felted without weaving. All cloths go through the tremendous knocking of the felting process, but many fabrics are made by the felting process alone.
[Fig 50. MAGNIFIED SPECIMENS OF WOOL.]
[1. Russian Wool, 2. Cape, 3 China, 4. Spanish Merino, 5. South-down, 6. Leicestershire, 7. Alpaca.]
It is proportion of these serratures that determines the destination of the wool. The longer the wool, the less the number of serratures in the inch, and the shorter the wool, the greater the number of these serratures in the inch. Short wools are therefore preferred for the cloth-manufacture, and long wools for the worsted-manufacture.
The Merino sheep, originally reared in Spain, produces the finest quality of wool for the manufacturer. Hence it was, that many years ago attempts were made to introduce the breed of Merino sheep into England. It succeeded to a certain extent, but our climate was too damp and too cold to develop the wool of these animals.
A few of these Merino sheep found their way to Botany Bay . . . they flourished and increased, and from that small beginning has commenced an enormous development of sheep-farming in Australia ; and now our largest supply of the best wools is from that colony.
It would seem almost hopeless for the English farmer, while he seeks to produce fine mutton, to compete with America, Germany, and Australia, in the production of wool; but at the same time, the mixture of breeds has presented us with wool of a greatly-improved kind, and the day may come when, at the same time that we have the best mutton on our tables, we may produce the finest wool for our cloths.
Other animals yield wool as well as the sheep. The camel yields a wool which is woven by the women of Persia into a kind of coarse garment. The common goat does not possess anything like the quantity of wool that the sheep does, but in certain parts of the world the goat produces very fine wool which has been manufactured into the most costly garments. In 1848, it was first brought into the markets of Europe under the name of mohair. There is a goat in Cashmere which yields an exceedingly fine wool, which is employed in the manufacture of the costly and beautiful Cashmere shawls.[Fig 51. Syrian Bear and young.]
[Fig 52. Alpaca and Llama.]
USES OF MAMMALIA FOR CLOTHING. (CONT.)
Plateau - an elevated and extensive plain.
Epidermis - the external layer of the skin, or of the bark in plants.
THERE is a family of animals which has recently yielded a large increase to our cloth-manufacture ; namely, the Alpaca tribe or family, allied to the camels and dromedaries.
Humboldt says, "The Llama, the Alpaca, and the Guanaco are three originally distinct species of animals. The Guanaco is the largest of the three, and the Alpaca the smallest. Herds of Llamas, when they are as numerous as I have seen them in the high plateau between Quito and Riobamba are a great ornament to the landscape."
A few years ago nearly three hundred llamas and alpacas were conveyed with much toil and difficulty from Peru to the colony of Victoria in New South Wales. The government of Peru had prohibited the exportation of any llamas, but Mr. Ledger, an enterprising colonist) conceived the arduous design of conveying a flock over the Andes to Chili, and there disembarking them, as they could not be shipped from a Peruvian port. He devoted nearly four years to this labour, and at length succeeded in his object.
This flock has rapidly multiplied, the animals have found high regions in their new home suited to their habits, and as they are satisfied with the coarse vegetation which sheep reject, and can endure the want of water for a very long time then are admirably adapted for the region to which they have been conveyed.
Such prosperous results have been already achieved that well-grounded anticipations are formed that about half a century hence the vast grazing grounds of the interior of Australia will be covered with millions of these animals, and that the export of their wool will be one of the chief commercial enterprises of the colony. Their flesh also is highly esteemed.
As the Peruvian government found it impossible to prevent the exportation of these animals, they have withdrawn their prohibition, and arrangements have been made for the consignment of still larger herds to the Australian colonies.
The length of the hair of the Alpaca renders it of considerable value for mixing with goat's wool, silk, and other materials. For its successful manufacture we are indebted to the energy and enterprise of Mr. Titus Salt, who has succeeded in laying the foundation of one of the largest manufacturing establishments in this country, and has conferred a blessing upon his own country, as well as on . those countries in which the animal is reared.
Worsted differs from wool in the fact, that you use the hair not for the purpose of felting or carding, for they neither card nor felt in the worsted manufacture, but for the purpose of weaving. The first process consists in abolishing those serratures of the wool which are of so much use in making cloth. The longest wools are selected, and these are smoothed down by means of iron, and an iron comb, which is heated : this is called combing. The prepared wool is then submitted to the process of spinning and weaving, according to the purpose for which it is to be employed.
The woollen manufacture consists of broad cloths, narrow cloths, carpets, blankets, flannels, serges, and tartans ; whilst the worsted manufacture produces stuffs, bombazines, camlets, and shawls ; and various mixed goods, as damasks, plushes and velvets. The woollen produces a warm and heavy garment, while the worsted produces a light and loose, as well as warm garment.
The outward layer of the skin of animals is called the epidermis, the appendages of which are hair, fur, feathers, ∓c. The layer of skin below it is the true skin, called the dermis ; it is this skin which rises when a blister is put on any part of the body. This is also the skin which constitutes the hides of animals, and which is tanned for leather.
The hides of whales, hippopotamuses, and other creatures, have been sometimes submitted to the process of tanning ; but these do not come into the regular business of the tanner.
One of the most important articles of this business are horses' hides, from America. Throughout the Pampas of South America there are men constantly employed in horse-hunting, from which we get tallow, skins, and bones - no part being lost. These skins come to us dried, or preserved in salt ; not only horses' hides, but all other kinds of hides : ox- hides and sheep-skins, and so on, can be imported in this way.
Ox-hides, are employed for the soles of shoes, and harness. Horse-hides, are used principally for ladies' shoes ; while cow-hides are used for soles. The calf-skin is employed for making softer leather, which is used for the upper parts of leather shoes. Sheep-skins are used for making what are called chamois and morocco leathers. Lamb-skins are employed principally for making gloves.
Hog-skins will not tan very well because of the large quantity of fat which they contain, but they are extensively used for making saddles. Buck and Doe-skins are used for making gloves and gaiters, and the French catch rats, and convert their skins into leather.
Seal-skins are used for the purpose of making black enamelled leather, and boots and shoes of a higher kind or quality; they are also employed for bags, dressing-cases, and a variety of ornamental articles.
[Fig 53. The Camel and Bactrian Camel.]
SUNDRY USES OF MAMMALIA.
Laboratory - a place fitted up for chemical experiments and investigations.
THE various uses of the Mammalia in the economy of Nature can only be touched upon ; a volume would not exhaust the subject. The more ferocious animals prey upon those that are weaker than themselves, and thus fulfil an appointed law of Nature, by preserving the balance of numbers within the limits which the earth can support; while these animals of prey themselves disappear when man approaches; who then assumes the dominion which they have preserved for him.
It must not be forgotten that we feed on grass through the intervention of the Cow : which in this way is to us a mere chemical laboratory converting grass into milk. But for the Reindeer, the lichen of Lapland would have been a useless vegetable in the wor1d : it is now the similar food of man, in the same manner.
The Hog, the Duck, and more of our servants, are also laboratories, to convert waste and pernicious matters to use for us ; returning to us, with advantage, our own waste and that of nature. Without that service, all this would be lost, and man would be restricted in proportion. Providence did not create these economists of His fragments without a meaning : but it is for us to profit by these benevolent designs.
It has already been shown to how large an extent animals contribute to man's sustenance in all parts of the earth ; and that they are scarcely of less importance in producing materials for clothing, and for other arts of civilization. There is also another view to be taken of the uses of animals to man;- they are his labourers, his companions, and us friends.
All things were made for man : he is entitled to derive use from everything ; while he has wishes inciting him, and powers enabling him, to attempt and to succeed.
The Camel is known to us now but as the servant and follower of man. The indispensable services which he derives from it are familiar : it is equally known, that without its aid man could not exist in countries which he, now, extensively inhabits.
That it kneels to be loaded, without instruction, and that it has a provision on its knees and breast for that purpose, prove that peculiar destination for man's use, which it is needless to urge. If it has been said that these and the hump are the produce of pressure and use, "marks of servitude," how can this be, when the animal is born with them ? Did the Creator not intend that the children of Ishmael should trade through the sandy deserts ? is there anything of all which man does which was not foreknown, or anything permitted, for which He has not provided?
The horse is more widely necessary to man, and equally adapted to his wants. Its back is of that shape which man would have made for his own use, had he constructed it ; the mouth is almost the only one which bears the bit without suffering ; it has the only foot, which will endure an additional weight under rapid motion ; it is the only wild animal of similar power which is tamed in a few hours ; and nothing but appointed instinct could have thus taught it to submit, and even to rejoice in its rider.
The Ass is known in the wild state, but has been domesticated from the earliest times. Owing to a precison of footing, which is even augmented in the mule, it is fitted for those mountain difficulties where the horse becomes less service- able : while its strength, patience, steadiness, and endurance of privation in food, form a combination of qualities that point to the design which allotted it, another servant to man.
There are many kinds of the dog, of distinct powers and intelligences, while the particular services of each kind are needed. If these kinds, being only domestic, are species, they were created, originally, with and for man : if they are but varieties, an exclusive 1aw has been made in his favour, in this race, which renders varieties equivalent to species ; while they are thus rendered numerous, various, and permanent, through a permission given to man, or by the Deity for him : since they occur nowhere else than in his society and under his care.
The Ox stands foremost, as a patient and powerful labourer; most remotely domesticated, gentle and docile, though with great means of rebellion and offence, and, in its female, supplying abundance of animal food, without suffering.
Deprive man of this animal, of the dog, and of the horse and he could not maintain his position in the world for a year : he never could have attained the one which he holds, nor could he discover a compensation.
The Buffalo has demanded more attention and more compulsion : the Reindeer offers a case analogous to the camel; it has enabled man to inhabit large territories which must otherwise have been untenantable by him.
The gentle and docile Llama, and the Elephant, require only to be named ; though, in the latter, we are bound to remark the unexpected facility for domestication, together with the remarkable powers of intellect which it exerts in our service.
If personal attachment to man is one of the implanted instincts of anirna1 the Dog is the example as undisputed as it is perfect. It is the instinct of an entire race ; while there is often a select attachment to the general tendency towards mankind. It is true, that all man's associates are susceptible of such individual attachments, not only down to the bird, but to the very insect; though we are unable to conjecture the cause, since it does not always rise from feeding or from kindness, as, in the dog, it is noted to be independent of both.
In the Camel, there appears a desire towards man, without any marks of peculiar attachment ; but we are not well informed respecting this animal : it is probable that an indolence of character, or stupidity, producing submission, confirmed by habit, is an efficient cause ; though the readiness to kneel to him proves that this obedience is an implanted instinct for his service.
Nor is there any other case, even that of the Horse, in which we can allow much effect to a marked principle of attachment, however that may occasionally appear. That it can be produced, however, even in a purely wild animal, we know by the instance of the elephant ; while, whenever it does occur, it may be, even as in the dog, though in a less marked manner, the proof of a neglected and applicable instinct pervading a whole race.
[Fig 54. Spanish Mules.]
[Fig 55. The Vulture]
Filament - thread-like.
Viscid - sticky.
Nectary - the part of a flower which secretes honey.
Migrate - to change quarters, as from one country to another.
BIRDS are vertebrated animals, and in systematic arrangements constitute the class Aves ; they are especially, but not exclusively, formed for motion in the air, and are distinguished from all other animals by the feathery robe which covers their bodies, and serves the double purpose of clothing and progression.
For the first of these objects the feathers of a bird are admirably adapted, as the long, slender filaments are not only themselves bad conductors of heat, but they entangle among their fibres a considerable amount of air, which resists the ingress or egress of external and internal heat, and preserves the bird in a moderate temperature alike through the icy cold of winter, and the burning rays of summer.
Birds are enabled to propel themselves through the air by means of their wings ; they are remarkable for the extreme lightness of their bones, and as their rapid motion has a constant tendency to reduce the temperature of their blood, they require greater means to preserve the warmth of the body than other animals.
Birds have no teeth ; their jaws, which are called mandibles are covered with a hard horny substance, termed a beak, or bill ; the form and strength of this varies considerably, according to the kind of food which is taken ; and in some systems of arrangement, the peculiar formation of this organ determines the order or family to which a bird belongs.
In the Mammalia the bones of the neck never exceed seven ; in Birds the number varies from twelve to twenty- three ; the vertebrae of the back are fixed, giving support to the wings, the others are moveable.
[Fig 56. Falcon.]
[Fig 57. Shrike.]
Thus in some cases, the bill is strong, sharp, and curved, as in the birds of prey, called Raptores, (plunderers,) eagles, hawks, owls, &c. are in this division. Some bills of this construction have a notch in the upper mandible ; the birds which have this peculiarity are termed DENTIROSTRES(tooth-beaked), an instance - occurs in the shrike or butcher-bird. The term DENTIROSTRAL is sometimes applied to those birds the edges of whose bills are jagged like the teeth of a saw.
[Fig 58. Swallow.]
The FISSIROSTRES, (cleft-billed) may be those active little summer visitors, the swallows, which feed on the insects they take while flying, and to prevent the necessity for closing the mouth at each capture, they have the inside of the beak lined with a viscid fluid, and a number of bristly hairs at the root of the tongue, by which the insects are detained until a sufficient number is taken to be swallowed at once. The night-jar, or fern owl, has more of these bristly appendages than the swallow, like which it takes its prey on the wing. The width of its gape gives this bird a very singular appearance ; it is sometimes called the goat-sucker, from a false notion that it sucks the teats of goats.
[Fig 59. Night-jar.]
[Fig 60. Grosbeak.]
The CONIROSTRES, (cone-billed) are birds with short cone-shaped bills like the sparrows, buntings, and finches. The grosbeak illustrates this family, the cross-bill also, which occasionally visits this country. The irregular formation of the crossbill led to the opinion that it was a distortion, but it is found to be a beautiful provision of nature for enabling the bird to get at the seeds of the pine, on which it chiefly feeds.
[Fig 61. Cross-bill.]
[Fig 62. Humming-bird.]
The TENUIROSTRES, (slender-billed), among which are found the creepers, the sun-birds, the humming-birds, and others, subsist on minute insects, and on vegetable juices. The sun-birds extract the juice of the sugar cane by thrusting their long slender bills into the clefts and cracks of its stalk; the humming-birds probe the nectaries of flowers, and feed on their juices, and on the small insects they find there.
Some birds have bills of an extraordinary size and shape, so as altogether to defy classification, and one wonders how they can carry such enormous protuberances, for instance, the pelican, with its membranous bag for containing fish, the toucan, and the horn-bill. But on examination we find that although so large, these appendages are very thin and light. Such a bill is here represented, of a foot long will weigh about four ounces, while the bill of the raven weighs an ounce hence, according to, the relative sizes of the birds, the raven has five times as heavy a load to carry as the horn-bill.
[Fig 63. Horn-bill.]
The PRESSIROSTRES, (compressed-billed) are birds of the sea-shore and of marshy places ; among them are the plovers, dottrel, lapwing, and oyster-catcher, their strong bills enable them to feed on small shell-fish.
[Fig 64. P1over.]
[Fig 65. Crane]
The CULTRIROSTRES, (knife-billed) have bills which are strong, long, edged, and pointed, among them are the cranes, herons, and storks ; in this group the spoon-bill is commonly placed, so called from the spoon-like expansion at the end of the beak, with which the bird turns up the mud in search of worms and marine insects.
[Fig 66. Avocet.]
The LONGIROSTRES, (long-billed) are such birds as the snipes, woodcocks, and curlews ; their bills, which nearly all curve downwards, are adapted for thrusting into the mud of the shore or the moist places which they frequent in search of insects. One of these, the avocet, presents an exception to the general rule, the bill curving upwards.
Many of the Water-birds, as the swans and ducks have broad compressed bills which are very sensitive ; a family name given to one of them, admirably expresses the kind of bill possessed by all ; it is called the "Shoveller."
[Fig 67. Shoveller.]
[Fig 68. Puffin.]
In some of the Water-birds such as the auks, penguins, &c., the expansion of the beak becomes very great ; in the puffin, it is as broad as the head, and is flattened at the sides : hence the term parrot-bill, sometimes applied to this bird ; this formation of beak being also a characteristic of the parrot family.
Our summer warblers, such as the nightingale, blackcap, &c., are called. soft-billed birds ; their beaks being mostly thin and weak, not adapted for cracking grain, or other hard seeds. They are chiefly insect-feeders, and migrate to warmer climates on the approach of winter, when they would not be able to obtain a sufficient supply of food here.
The movement of a bird's jaw is different from that of a mammal, owing to the manner in which a certain little bone, termed from its square shape the quadrate bone, is articulated to the bones of the skull. It would have been a puzzling problem for a skilful mechanic, had he been asked to design a mouth for a bird, which should assist in its flight, act as a hand to seize its food, and even tear it in pieces, and on occasion, serve as a weapon of defence. How many efforts must he have made to realise any approach to such complicated conditions ! How far would his most successful result be distant from the bill of a bird!
[Fig 69. Hawk and Night Jar.]
[Fig 70. Eagle.]
Aquatic - inhabiting water.
Digestive - relating to, or assisting digestion.
Oesophagus - the gullet, or tube conveying the food to the stomach.
Trituration - the act of reducing to powder.
Monogamous - having one mate.
Polygamous - having several mates.
IN the feet of Birds there is such an obvious distinction that it has also been made use of, in connection with the peculiar habits they indicate, as marks of classification.
I. ACCIPITRES, (Birds of Prey,) distinguished by the great muscular power of their bodies, and the strength of their bills, legs, and claws ; which are curved and prehensile ; suited for seizing and holding their prey, they have three claws before, and one behind the foot. Among these birds are the vultures, eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls.
[Fig 71. Rapacious]
II. INSESSORES, (perching birds,) chiefly characterized by their short, slender legs, the feet having three toes forward and one backward, each furnished with a slightly curved claw ; they are adapted for perching on boughs of trees. The swallows, thrushes, sparrows, ravens, finches, and many others are perching birds.
[Fig 72. Percher.]
[Fig 73. Climber.]
III. SCANSORES, (climbing birds,) which are distinguished for their singular power of directing the external or outward toe backwards, like the thumb, which aids them in grasping, and gives them the appearance of having two toes before and two behind. Woodpeckers, cuckoos, toucans, macaws, and parrots are thus constructed.
[Fig 74. Scratcher.]
IV. RASORES, (scratching birds,) which have generally long necks, short muscular wings, short legs, and large feet, having the three front toes joined at the base by a small membrane, while the hinder toe is raised a little above the others. Some of the male birds are crested, as the common fowl, the pheasant, &c.
[Fig 75. RUNNER. Emu. Ostrich]
V. CURSORES, (running birds,) distinguished by the extraordinary length and strength of their legs, and their short or undeveloped wings. Among them we find the ostrich, cassowary, emu, and bustard.
VI. GRALLATORES, (wading birds,) known by their long necks and wings, and their stilt like legs, which adapt them for their peculiar mode of life, passed chiefly on the borders of lakes and rivers, in boggy and marshy places, and on the sea shore ; herons, snipes, plovers, storks, and pelicans belong to this division.
VII. NATATORES, (swimming birds,) which have their feet placed in a more backward position than most other birds, and their toes webbed, as we see them in the common duck ; these birds are sometimes called PALMIPEDES, or web-footed ; a very curious adaptation of this kind of foot is that of the grebe ; swans, ducks, geese, pelicans, penguins, gulls, and many others Palmipedes.
[Fig 76. Grebe.]
[Fig 77. Swan.]
[Fig 78. Pelican.]
In some birds, as the pelican, the thumb is united to the other toes, thus offering greater resistance to the water, in swimming ; these birds are called TOTIPALMATES.
Some birds have very long toes which spread out, and enable them to walk on the surface of soft boggy ground, and on the leaves, of aquatic plants, as the land and water rail.
[Fig 79. Water Rail.]
Birds are sometimes described as oviparous animals. Their young are produced in an animated state enclosed in an egg, from which they do not emerge until they have been developed into active life by the effect of constant warmth. Generally eggs are hatched by means of the natural warmth which proceeds from the body of the mother-bird.
[Fig 80. Digestive Organs.]
The digestive apparatus of birds is different from that of all other animals ; the food which they swallow, of course without mastication, passes first into a large sac called the crop or craw ; from it the food passes into a dilated portion of the oesophagus, where it is moistened by the gastric juice, it then passes into the gizzard the thick muscles of which exercise a grinding action upon it, like two mill stones, and by this action the food is reduced to a pulpy mass. But this operation cannot be performed until the bird has taken up a number of coarse pebbles and gritty particles, which it does instinctively, and which become embedded in the coats of the gizzard. The trituration of the food is thus as complete as if it were performed by teeth, while it affords birds a pleasurable sensation and impels them constantly to seek for food. Carnivorous birds have no gizzard.
The senses which are most highly developed in birds are those of sight and hearing ; the rapacious kinds have the keenest vision. In some the sense of smell is very acute; naturalists have not yet agreed whether it is by this sense, or by that of sight, that vultures are guided to their prey.
Birds are said to be monogamous or polygamous as they have one or more partners ; migratory if they pass from one country to another as the seasons vary ; non-migratory if they remain all through the year ; gregarious if they associate together in flocks ; solitary when they live alone or in pairs which is the case with most of the rapacious kinds.
[Fig 81. Swallow and Sparrow.]
[Fig 82. Pelicans.]
FORM AND STRUCTURE OF BIRDS.
Anterior - the fore part
Ossified - converted into bone.
Abdominal - pertaining to the lower part of the belly.
Criterion - a rule or standard for judging by.
Meteoric - pertaining to meteors.
IN birds the general form of the body is oval ; the. legs are generally placed under the middle of the body, and the anterior limbs are modified so as to form organs of flight. The head is usually of small size, produced in front into a pointed beak, which is covered with horny matter ; the neck is long and very flexible, and the tail reduced to a rudimentary condition.
The skeleton of these animals is perfectly ossified, and the substance of the bones has generally a greater degree of hardness than in any other vertebrates. This solidity, and consequent weight of the matter of which the bones are composed, which would seem to be out of place in animals intended for habitual residence in the air, is compensated by the presence of air-cavities in the structure of the bones, which communicate with the air-cells of the body.
In some birds, which, although endowed with great power of flight, have bulky bodies, these air-cavities are found in almost every bone ; whilst in a few, whose habits are terrestrial, nearly all the bones are destitute of air cells. In young birds also, which have not attained the power of flight, the bones are filled with marrow, but this gradually absorbs, 1eavig the ordinary air-cavities.
Nothing could be better adapted than the formation of the bird's skull to cut its way through the yielding air ; it is a perfect wedge.
The sternum, or breast-bone, presents exactly the shape of a ship's bow, with its projecting keel ; indeed, it might be the form of the Water-bird which first gave to man the idea of a floating vessel in which to navigate the seas. The sternum extends backwards under the greater part of the abdominal cavity, is concave in its internal, and convex on its external surface, where we find the prominent keel or ridge to which the powerful muscles of the wings are attached, so that the greater or less development of this keel may be taken as a criterion of the power of flight of the bird to which it belongs. In ostriches, and other birds, in which the wings are so small that they are quite useless for flight, the sternal keel is entirely wanted.
[Fig 83. Skull.]
[Fig 84. Sternum.]
The bones of the anterior extremities are remarkably elongated, to suit them for the important part which they have to perform in supporting the bird in the air. The articulations, or joints, of the larger bones possess great freedom of motion in certain directions, so that in repose the whole limb can be folded up in a very small compass, the bones taking a nearly parallel position.
The limbs are moved by very powerful muscles ; the greatest mass of them is devoted to the movement of the wings and attached to the keel of the sternum. The sinews are beautifully white and glistening, and have a great tendency to become ossified in certain parts of the body. This is especially the case in the long tendons which pass down the tarsus which are of particular importance to the bird in perching.
The foot consists of from two to four toes, composed of a variable number of joints ; the great toe is usually directed backwards. The arrangement of the toes is, however, very variable in different groups of birds, to adapt the feet for walking, perching, or climbing.
The different portions of the wing are so disposed as to be contracted and folded together when the wing is drawn up, and fully expanded when it descends in order to strike the air. Without this provision, a great part of the motion acquired by the resistance of the air against the wing in its descent, would have been lost by a counteracting resistance during its ascent. The disposition of the great feathers is such that they strike the air with their flat sides, but present only their edges in rising ; what is called "feathering the oar," in rowing, is a similar operation, and derives its name from this resemblance.
[Fig 85. Ostrich, Male and Female.]
[Fig 86. Bittern and Cormorant.]
HABITS AND LOCALITIES OF BIRDS.
Aerial - be1ongng to the air.
Terrestrial - belonging to the earth.
Eyrie - the eagle's nest.
Karroos - elevated plains in South Africa. - The great karroo is 300 miles in length and 100 in breadth.
BIRDS, as we have seen, may be divided into three great classes Aerial, or those which dwell much in the air; Terrestrial, or those, which being very indifferent fliers, or unable to fly, keep for the most part on the earth ; and Aquatic, those which pass most of their time in the water; the habits of the birds differ considerably, according to which of these divisions they belong.
Aggregation into immense flocks is a distinguishing feature of many species, especially of the aquatic tribes, which form separate colonies, building their nests on the same site, although other spots apparently equally adapted for the purposes are at no great distance.
Hence the Vogel-bergs, or bird rocks of the northern seas, present extraordinary spectacles to the visitor. Here congregate hosts of birds ; thousands of guillemots and auks swim in groups around the boat which conveys man to their domains, look curiously at him, and vanish beneath the water, to rise again in his immediate neighbourhood.
The black guillemot comes close to the very oars, while the rapacious skua pursues the puffin and gull. High in the air the birds seem like bees clustering about the rocks, whilst lower they fly past so close that they might be knocked down with a stick. But not less strange is the domicile of the colony. On some low rocks scarcely projecting above the water sit the glossy cormorants, turning their long necks on every side. Next are the skua gulls, regarded with an anxious eye by the kittiwakes above. A little higher up, on narrow shelves, sit the guillemots and auks, arranged as on parade, with their white breasts to the sea, and so close that a hailstone could not pass between them. The puffins take the highest station, and though scarcely visible, betray themselves by flying backwards arid forwards. The noise of such a multitude is confounding ; the harsh tones of the kittiwake are heard above all the rest, the intervals being filled with the monotonous note of the auk, and the softer tone of the guillemots.
Some of them like the auks and penguins have but little power of flight, and but few of them are calculated for a lengthened flight like the broad-winged albatross or the frigate bird, or like the swans, geese and ducks, which not- withstanding their great weight, sustain themselves long on their wings, as in compact bodies of a wedge-shape, they cleave the air, in their annual migrations over great extents of land and water. Down on the furrows, and over the crests of the waves sport the petrels, gulls, and terns, the white plumes of the last gleaming in the sun, ever and anon, like flashes of light.
Far up in his eyrie amid the rocks sits the osprey, or hovering on his wide-spread pinions sends his keen glance around, singling out a victim from amid the busy multitude. Down he comes like a meteor ; there is a scurrying and screeching of frightened creatures, a scream of exultation, and the king of the ocean solitude mounts to his rocky summit with a fish or a sea-bird writhing in his talons.
Amid the snow-clad peaks of Alpine heights, or on some lofty crag which overlooks a wooded district, dwells the golden eagle, mightiest of birds ; he delights in the most inaccessible crags, and only comes to the lower earth in search of prey ; keen of sight, and swift of wing, he marks the timid hare or rabbit stealing forth from the covert, and pounces on it in a moment. Equally rapacious, and only less mischievous because less powerful, are the whole Falcon tribe, of which the sparrow-hawk is one of the most familiar examples.
Over the wild karroos of Africa, and in the sandy deserts of Arabia, stalks the gigantic ostrich, and if pursued, runs faster than the fleetest horse, flapping its rudimentary wings to aid its flight. Vultures and other carrion-feeding birds abound in these hot climates, where animal matter quickly decomposes, which, if not devoured would taint the air and engender pestilence.
On the slopes of the Andes, along the banks of the Amazon, the tiny Humming Birds hover over the flowers, like winged gems, and suck the sweet juices from the blossoms whose rich hues they outvie in brilliancy. There too, and in the East and West Indies, on the mainland, and in the spicy islands, are parrots and all birds of richest plumage, but with harsh discordant voices.
In thicket, and grove, orchard, and shrubbery, nestle and sing the nightingale and blackcap, with many more of the sweet summer warblers, which only remain with us during the milder part of the year ; and there too are the blackbird and thrush, with other songsters which permanently reside in this country. Most of these love only to sing in the shade of the woodland, but the skylark, although it builds on the ground, pours out its flood of melody, while so far up in the clear blue sky that it looks like a mere speck. In the shadow of the pine-trees sports and builds the golden-crested wren, but the goldfinch is out upon the thistly common feeding upon the downy seeds.
The movements of all these smaller birds are quick and nimble, but the tits especially are remarkable for liveliness and agility ; up and down the trees they go, now on the bole, now on a wide extending branch, searching into every crevice for their insect food. The crows and rooks, as soon as the day has fairly broke leave their nests on the lofty tree-tops, and after a noisy conclave, fly off in groups to pick the worms from the newly-turned furrow, or to feast on any animal matter which they may chance to discover, returning in the evening to roost in their rocking-cradles ; while their relatives, the jackdaws, prefer generally to take their rest in the keep of some old castle or in the fissures of a cliff. The raven, reputed of ill-omen, shuns the haunts of men ; the pert magpie, and the chattering jay, keep mostly in the woodlands, where cooing doves love to hide, and in the sunlit glades of which the pheasant spreads its gorgeous plumes, and sends forth its husky crow.
Such, and so varying are the habits of the different feathered creatures ; some living in sunshine, others delighting in shade, and some, like the owls, coming out to feed only in the night. Each kind having some peculiarity of form, motion, and habit which distinguishes it from all others ; each especially adapted for the part it has to perform in the great scheme of nature, and each worthy of an attentive study.
[Fig 87. Pigeon.]
[Fig 88. Peacock.]
PLUMAGE OF BIRDS.
Tarsi — the last segment of the leg.
Apex — the top or highest point of anything.
BIRDS, like quadrupeds, are invested with a covering which is connected with the skin, and lies immediately upon it. This covering is chemically of the same nature as the hair of the Mammals, and the scales of reptiles and fishes, but it differs essentially in respect to its mechanical structure, being much more complex in its constituent parts than the coverings of these classes of animals. To this general envelope of birds the name plumage is given ; more commonly, feathers.
The plumage then is the general covering of a bird, which usually invests all its parts, excepting the bill, eyes, tarsi, or toes ; in some birds the tarsi are also covered ; such is the case with the ptarmigan, or white grouse.
Feathers are of two kinds, those intended for clothing which are soft and downy, and those for flight ; the former lying concealed beneath the latter are apt to be overlooked by superficial observers ; the down from the breast of the eider duck, with which pillows are stuffed, affords a familiar example of these. It is to the strong quill feathers of the wing that these animals are indebted for their powers of flight, and the similar strong feathers in the tail are also of great importance to them in directing their course through the air.
[Fig 89. Quill Feather.]
A perfect feather consists of the shaft, or central stem - which is tubular at the base, where it is inserted into the skin - and the barbs, or fibres which form the webs on each side of the shaft. The webs are composed of numerous barbs, or small fibres, arranged in a single series along each side of the shaft. These are slender prolongations of the horny coat of the shaft; they are inclined towards the apex of the feather, and are usually of a flattened form, slightly concave on one side and convex on the other, so that each barb fits closely into that immediately preceding it.
The two principal modifications of the feather are quills and plumes. The former are distinguished by the great stiffness of their shafts, which enables them to become the principal agents in aerial locomotion ; they are confined to the wings and tail. The plumes constitute the general clothing of the body, and differ from the quills in the greater delicacy of their texture.
Once or twice in the course of the year the whole plumage of the bird is renewed. In many cases the new clothing is very different from that which it replaces, and in birds inhabiting temperate and cold climates we can frequently distinguish the summer from the winter dress.
The plumage, of the ostrich, is rather adapted to aid the bird in running than flying, as it scours along in the desert, and leaves its foe far behind. The owl’s feathers are delicately soft, presenting no sharp ridges to the air, and therefore no resistance ; thus furnished, it is enabled to pounce stealthily and noiselessly on its prey. The humming-bird has feathers close and rigid with a surface like burnished metal ; with its long and pointed wings, it darts hither and thither and almost eludes the eye.
Birds generally moult just before winter, the old feathers drop off and new ones take their places having an additional downy fringe which increases their warmth, but which falls off the succeeding summer.
[Fig 90. Feather of the Ostrich.]
One of the most remarkable characteristics of a feather is its lightness ; if we speak of anything which has little or no weight, we say it is "as light as a feather." In illustration of this quality, it may be just mentioned that the quill of a Golden Eagle weighs only sixty-five grains, and seven such do not weigh more than a copper penny-piece. The feathers of a common Fowl weigh only about three ounces, and the plumage of an owl but one ounce and a half.
[Fig 91. Black and White Swans.]
[Fig 92. Great Eagle Owl.]
NESTS OF BIRDS.
Marlinspike — a strong tapering awl, used to open the bolt-rope when the sail is to be sewed to it.
Congener — of the same kind or nature.
Incubation — the act of sitting on eggs to hatch them.
LET any person with only moderate observing powers examine closely into the habits and doings of Birds, and he will find that they have many arts of life in the practice of which they are directed by an instinctive faculty. These arts are various, and in all the instinct is perfect ; but in none of them are the results more beautiful than in the construction of their habitation.
Rennie has classified these little artificers as Miners, Ground Builders, Masons, Carpenters, Platform Builders, Basket Makers, Weavers, Tailors, Felters, Cementers, Dome Builders, and Parasites ; and they will be brought under notice in this order.
MINING BIRDS. One of the most common birds of this class is the bank-swallow, or sand-martin, a small bird with sharp, hard claws, and a bill tapering away to a point, like a sailor’s marlinspike. The bird clings with its claws to the face of the bank it has fixed upon, and strikes its shut bill into the sand, like a pickaxe, until it has loosened a portion, and tumbled it down among the rubbish below. In this manner it makes the entrance of the hole, which is generally a perfect circle, and scoops out a gallery between two and three feet in length.
The stormy petrel, found in all quarters of the broad Atlantic, was long superstitiously regarded as a supernatural creature without a land habitation. It is now well known to be a mining bird, living in holes on rocky shores. The burrowing-owl of the American prairies, the bee-eater, the puffin, the penguin, and the kingfishers are all miners.
[Fig 93. Ground-Builders. Nest of Redbreast.]
GROUND BUILDERS. Ducks and other domestic fowls belong to this division ; they make their nests in a slight hollow or cavity of the earth ; the Virginian rail, the American stilt, the grebes, swans, eider ducks, and the pretty little red-breast are all ground-builders the nest of the redbreast is perhaps the best specimen of the skill of this class. Under the shelter of some overhanging grass or weed, the bird lays a solid foundation of moss, and then intertwining moss, hair, and grass, constructs a neat and rounded dwelling.
MASON BIRDS. Amongst these we find the nuthatch, most of the swallows, our familiar songster the thrush, with its congener the blackbird, the peewit, and a few other native birds.
[Fig 94. Mason-Bird. Nest of Swallow.]
But the great mason-birds, as every one knows, are the Swallow tribes. The architectural operations of the window-swallow may be observed by every one in the month of May, when the weather is fine. Such dirt or loam as can be most conveniently found is carried to the selected window, and is tempered and wrought with broken straws to increase the tenacity.
The swallow builds only in the morning, and gives each additional layer time to harden. When the whole is completed, it is hard and knobby externally, but within it is rendered fit for incubation by straws, feathers, and the like.
The common thrush exhibits no little skill in masonry. Having laid a massive foundation of moss, the bird proceeds to form a cup of intertwined moss, grass-stems, wheat—straw, or roots, terminating at the top in a thick hoop, like the mouth of a basket. Within this frame—work, the thrush then plasters pellets of horse or cow dung, gluing them to the outer materials with its saliva. This makes a pretty strong structure, but the thrush breeds amid the blasts of the early spring, and to increase the warmth of the nest, a layer of short slips of rotten wood is spread over, and attached smoothly to the last coat with a similar cement of saliva.
The flamingo is forced, by its peculiar form, to construct a strange nest. Being an inhabitant of marshy ground, it raises a conical hillock, cemented with slime and mud, and hollowed at the top into a cup. Across this the bird sits, when hatching, like a person on horseback.
[Fig 95. Nest of Flamingo.]
[Fig 96. Carpenter. Nest of Woodpecker.]
The whole of the numerous species of the woodpecker are adepts in carpentry. Some of them have bills as white and compact as ivory, and elegantly fluted. With these they often make a winding passage of fifteen inches or two feet leading to their nests. A bird, caught by Wilson, the ornithologist, and tied by the leg to a table, made such incisions into the mahogany in a few hours as nearly to spoil the piece of furniture. The best British carpenter-birds are the Tomtit family, the wrynecks, and sometimes the nut-hatch.
[Fig 97. Platform Builders. nest of Eagle.]
PLATFORM BUILDERS. Among these are the Eagles, which place a few sticks on a rocky shelf or ledge, and there sit upon their eggs, and most of the doves and pigeons, which compose a flat pile of twigs laid cross—wise amid the branches of the trees; and the herons, storks, and cranes. The herons generally erect their
platform-nest upon the boughs, between the forks of high trees - the storks and cranes upon chimneys, pillars, churches, and ruined buildings, and sometimes upon rocks.
BASKET MAKERS. Every species of the Jay presents in its nest a more or less complete specimen of basket-work, but the best of them are coarse in their operations. The bull-finch makes a structure of greater neatness. He selects frequently the flat branch of a spruce-pine or silver—fir, and lays a foundation of birch twigs, placed cross-wise in the forks of the branches, paying more attention to the security of the fabric than to neatness. When a proper groundwork has been reared, the bird proceeds to collect a quantity of flexible fibrous roots, which she intertwines into a basket—work, and lines subsequently with fine roots, using no hair or feathers, though sometimes a little moss ; the whole structure being exceedingly thick and strong.
The mocking-bird and the red-winged starling of America, are ingenious artists in this department ; but the missel-thrush of this country surpasses them both, being a proficient also in masonry. The fork of a pine, or apple-tree, where a number of leafy lichens have taken root is the spot which is generally selected for the site of the nest. After constructing a scaffolding of stems, grass, and moss, it plasters the interior with a substantial coating of clay. Around the inner nest a basket-work of fine hay is formed, and without detaching the lichens from the tree, their leaves are brought up and interwoven with the hay. On the outside of the nest, farthest from the tree, the lichens have only one of their ends plaited into the basket-work, the outer being ingeniously left so as to hang down after the manner of the thatch on a hay-stack. The deceptive appearance produced by the whole bears out the praises which we have bestowed on the missel-thrush’s ingenuity.
The nest of the pensile grosbeak, a gregarious bird, another example of the basket-working birds. The grosbeak is about the size of a house-sparrow, and, being a native South Africa, where the serpents are destructive to young birds and eggs, it has fashioned its nest most artfully against these invaders. To increase the difficulty of access to these "tree-rocked cradles," the entrance is always from below, and frequently through a cylindrical passage of twelve or fifteen inches in length, projecting from the spherical nest, exactly like the tube of a chemist’s retort.
[Fig 98. Basket maker. Nest of Magpie.]
The crows, rooks, ravens, and magpie are all basket-makers ; the magpie’s nest is a basket-work of sticks, lined with fine roots interwoven ; but the magpie is also a Dome—Builder, and he finishes his nest by a covering of twigs laid cross- wise, and raised to a considerable height, respecting which the following fable is told.
" The birds, not knowing how to build nests, went in a body to request the magpie to teach them. He willingly undertook the office. 'First,' he said, 'you must look out for a good, strong, forked branch, and begin by laying two sticks cross-wise.' 'That’s just what I did,' said the rook. 'Next, you must raise the sides a little, and then put in some hay, which you must work well into the sticks.' - 'The very thing I have been doing,' said the crow. ' Now, for fear the eggs, should be broken or thrown out, you must raise the sides about as high as your head when you sit in the bottom of the nest, and put in some soft wool.' 'Why,’ said the thrush, 'I did as far as that before I came here.' 'Oh ! then,' replied the magpie, 'as I see that you all know how to make nests, there is no occasion for me to teach you.' And that is the reason why the other birds are only able to build half nests."
[Fig 99. Raven.]
NESTS OF BIRDS. (CONTINUED.)
Esculent — eatable.
Glutinous — viscid, like starch or glue.
Hemispherical — half a sphere or ball.
Oblique — slanting.
WEAVERS. The best examples of weaver—birds are natives of other lands, yet we are by no means devoid of them in Britain. The common hedge—sparrow, within the outer covering of moss, weaves a lining of hair-work sometimes of considerable thickness, and the pied-wagtail, a ground-builder, makes a texture of the same kind, generally half an inch thick. The red-breast and the yellow-hammer are also weavers in their way, as are also several of the finches.
The Finches, generally, are remarkable for the neatness and beauty of the nests they construct, and the chaffinch is no exception to the rule. The outside of their nest is composed of moss, studded with white or green lichens, as may best accord with the situation in which it is built ; the inside is lined with wool, and this is again covered with hair and some feathers. The eggs are usually four or five in number, of a pale purplish buff, sparingly streaked and spotted with dark reddish brown. The place chosen is variable ; sometimes it is fixed in the fork of a bush in a hedge-row, on a branch of a wall-fruit tree, frequently in an apple or pear tree several feet above the ground. A correspondent in the "Field Naturalist’s Magazine," relates that a pair of chaffinches built in a shrub so near his sitting-room window as to allow him to be a close observer of their operations. The foundation of their nest was laid on the 12th of April : the female only worked at the nest-making, and by unwearied diligence, the beautiful structure was finished in three weeks ; the first egg was deposited on the 2nd of May, four others were subsequently added, and the whole five were hatched on the 15th. During the time of incubation, neither curiosity nor constant observation from the opened window disturbed the parent bird.
[Fig 100. Weaver. Nest of Baltimore Starling.]
The baltimore starling builds its nest in the form of a cylinder, of five inches diameter, and seven inches in depth, rounded at the bottom. The opening at the top is narrowed by a horizontal covering two inches and a half in diameter. The materials are flax, hemp, tow, hair, and wool, woven into a complete cloth, the whole tightly sewed through and through with long horsehairs, several of which measure two feet in length. The bottom is composed of thick tufts of cow—hair, sewed also with strong horsehair.
TAILORS. Though it is difficult to conceive how the bill of a bird can play the part of a weaver’s shuttle, yet the office of a needle seems still more foreign to it. Among the feathered race, however, there are tailors of no mean skill, which by means of their bills sew together the different parts of a single leaf, or in some instances several leaves, and so make a receptacle for their eggs and young.
[Fig 101. Tailor-bird’s Nest.]
The tailor-bird of Hindostan is so called from its instinctive ingenuity in forming its nest. It selects first a plant with large leaves, and then gathers cotton from the shrub, spins it into a thread by means of its long bill and then, as with a needle, sews the leaves neatly together to conceal its nest. This bird is as small as a humming-bird, and exceedingly beautiful in plumage.
[Fig 102 Felt-maker. Nest of Goldfinch.]
FELT-MAKERS card the materials of their nests, as it were, into one mass, differing in this from the weaver-birds and others, who unite hair by hair, and thread by thread. So perfect are the felt-making bird’s operations, working as he does with the finest of wool, cotton tufts, &c., that he produces a nest so smooth and beautiful, that no hatter would be ashamed of the work. The
Pine-pine and the capocier of South Africa, and the tiny hummingbirds are felters. The chaffinch works chiefly in wool, as indeed all the fe1t-workers prefer to do, seeing that no other substance is capable of matting so closely, either by itself or with other materials. The chaffinch strengthens the inner fabric of felt-work, by binding the whole round, with dry grass stems, upon the same principle which leads the hat-maker to bind the rim of a hat.
[Fig 103. Cementer. Esculent Swallow's Nest.]
CEMENTERS. The cementing birds are entitled to be considered as a separate division from the mason birds. The following account is given by Wilson, of the American chimney swallow :-
"The nest of this formed of very small bird is of singular construction, being formed of very small twigs, fastened together with a strong adhesive glue or gum which is secreted by two glands, one on each side of the hindpart of the head, and mixes with the saliva. With this glue, which becomes as hard as the twigs themselves, the whole nest is thickly besmeared. The nest itself is small and shallow, and attached by one side or edge to the wall, and is totally destitute of the soft lining with which the nests of other swallows are so plentifully supplied." But a more remarkable instance of this kind of builder is the esculent swallow of China, nearly the whole of whose nest appears to be of a glutinous substance, so that it can be dissolved to form a nourishing diet for man. In China, and all through the East, these nests fetch a high price, and form a valuable article of commerce.
[Fig 104. Dome Builder. Wren's Nest.]
DOME BUILDERS. Those birds which overarch their nests have been thus called. The wren-tribe may especially be noticed in this kind of architecture. On the wall, tree, or turf, which it selects, the wren generally makes an outline of the future nest by gluing with saliva small bits of moss to the support ; to these it attaches others, until a hemispherical cavity is constructed. A small oval hole in the side serves for the entrance, and the interior is lined with hair, feathers, down, or moss of a peculiarly soft kind. The dome above is nicely arched, and altogether the nest is of the warmest order of habitations. The little creature, in building a house so large when compared with her own bulk, foresees that she is to have a numerous offspring.
The sparrow occasionally, and the water-crow, overarch their habitations, but the magpie is superior to them all in this line. The bottle-tit builds a nest shaped like an obliquely placed bottle, with an entrance from below.
PARASITE BIRDS or those which seize upon the dwellings of others, are of a mixed character. Proper parasite birds not only use the nests of other birds for depositing their eggs, but having done this, they depart, and leave their offspring to the care of the true proprietor of the nest on which they had intruded. Of this class the cuckoo is a well-known example. The other order of parasites take possession of the premises built by more industrious birds, and retain that possession throughout for hatching and breeding, the true owner being permanently ejected. Of this class the house-sparrow is a specimen. The bank-swallow’s nest is that which he most frequently seizes on, not from inability to build a nest, but apparently from a hurried anxiety to procure a shelter and home.
[Fig 105. Crane and Stork.]
MIGRATIONS OF BIRDS.
Migration — change of place.
Latitude — width; position of a place north or south of the equator.
Rendezvous — a place of meeting.
Embouchure — the mouth of a river.
MIGRATION is one of the means employed by Nature for the preservation of animal existence. Prompted by the mysterious impulse called instinct, many birds on the approach of severe weather, when insects which form their staple diet fail, take flight for warmer latitudes ; among them are the swallow tribes, the cuckoo, the nightingale, the land-rail, and others.
Unlike the red-breast or the hedge-sparrow, which brave our winters, and cheer the gloom with their strain, and which though insectivorous, can accommodate themselves to a mixed diet, as is the case with the tits also, these birds and others, were they bound to our clime, must inevitably perish. But the instinct which guided them hither from the southern regions, now prompts them to return.
The swift, as it is one of the last to visit us, is one of the first to leave our shores. It is singular that the swallow comes in flocks, disperses in pairs over the country ; and again, previously to its departure, collects into flocks to take its migratory flight.
On the contrary, the wheat-ears, though both coming and departing in multitudes, do not seem to act in concert. The pairs that are scattered over the country, gradually move to our downs along the south-eastern part of our coast, till the ground is almost covered with them ; but they do not move about in flocks, nor cross the Channel in a body ; each bird acts for itself, and takes the opportunity most favourable to itself individually : numbers, it is true, take the same opportunity, and steer in the same track : the old males are the first to disappear, but multitudes of females and young males remain on the downs till late in the season, as if lingering ere the final step be taken.
We suspect, indeed, that this is the case with most of our migratory summer birds ; as the males come before the females, so do they precede both them and the young in their departure. We have seen numbers of the young and females of the red-backed shrike in Sussex at the latter part of autumn, when not a single adult male could be anywhere discovered.
Many circumstances conspire to prove that night is the time in which our migratory birds begin their journey ; they seem to move by nightly stages, such at least do those whose powers of flight do not render them adequate, like the swift or swallow, to take a protracted journey at a stretch. To what part of the world do our summer visitors retire ? is a question often asked, and not very easy in all cases to answer.
It would seem, however, as far as the researches of naturalists have extended, that Africa is the place of rendezvous to which most direct their course. Senegal is said to be the winter retreat of the swallow, which, with quails, wagtails, kites, and some other birds of passage, are reported by M. Adanson to arrive there after the month of October.
During the latter part of September and the beginning of October, myriads of swallows arrive at Gibraltar from the more northern portions of Europe, and migrate daily to the Barbary shore. Their course across the straits is not due south, but inclining to the west, that is, towards Cabrita point.
They appear fatigued on their arrival, having most probably crossed the Bay of Biscay (we allude more particularly to such as leave our island), and traversed Spain, making very few halts upon the road. It is doubtful, however, whether all our birds of passage retreat to Africa ; some probably (and it is perhaps more especially the case with such as dwell during summer on the north-eastern borders of Europe,) take up their winter abode in the country between the Black and the Caspian seas ; at all events many of our birds have occurred in collections made in that locality.
Although most birds perform their migrations during the night, there are some that travel only by day, and others that fly onwards, unaffected alike by night or day. The owl, the blackbird, and a great number of aquatic birds, shun the light ; while the crow, the pie, the titmouse, the wren, the woodpecker, the chaffinch, the goldfinch, the lark, the swallow, and some others, avail themselves of it. And as the heron, the wagtail, the yellow-hammer, the stork, the crane, the plover, the swan, and the wild goose, do not intermit their flight, they choose a bright moonlight season to set out on their journey.
Of all migrating birds, the cranes may perhaps be considered the most remarkable. They seem to be most endowed with foresight, and have every appearance of consultation and regular preparation for the time of their departure. Several days before, they utter peculiar cries, and assemble with much noise and bustle. They then form themselves into two lines, making an angle, at the vertex of which, one of their number, who is regarded as the general director of their proceedings, takes his place.
It seems, indeed, as if the office of the leader were to exercise authority, and issue orders to the whole party, giving the signal for their descent and feeding, and guiding them in inclement weather in their circling flight. The commands, and answers to them, appear to be given in piercing cries. If the leader grows tired, his place is taken by the bird next to him, while he retires to the end, and thus their orderly flight is directed.
The golden plover, which breeds in the upland districts, mountains and high moorlands, spends the winter in flocks on the downs and the lowlands that border the sea ; the same may be said also of the lapwing, which draws towards the coast in winter. The beautiful king—fisher is another example; this bird, which frequents clear brooks and rivers, in the banks of which it rears its young, gradually migrates down the stream till it arrives near the river’s embouchure, where it sojourns during winter, its food being here always attainable.
The swift leaves us in August, but September and the early part of October, constitute the busy period in which our summer birds of passage take their departure ; the advent, however, of our winter visitors is irregular, and depends much upon the setting in of the cold in the northern regions; hence the early appearance of wild fowl indicates the approach of a severe winter.
[Fig 106. Quails.]
[Fig 107. Domestic Fowl]
USES OF BIRDS.
Insulated — not connected in position with other objects ; standing alone.
Sentient —receiving impressions from external objects.
effluvia—exhalations from decaying substances.
THE Creator has made nothing that is unuseful - nothing so insulated as to have no relations with anything else nothing which is not serviceable or instrumental to other purposes besides its own existence - nothing that is not to be applicable or convertible to the benefit of His sentient creatures in some respect or other.
The mineral has a connection of this sort with both the vegetable and animal kingdoms, and these with each other. The same principle has been pursued throughout the animated classes of nature. No one species of living being has been formed only for itself, or can subsist in absolute uselessness to others.
This is one grand purpose for causing so many races of animal beings to subsist on each other. By this system each enjoys the gift of life, and each is made to contribute, by the termination of that gift, to the well-being of others.
Fishes are useful to each other, to many birds, to some animals, and to man. Birds have their period of happiness for themselves, and are serviceable to others of their kind, and to man, and to some quadrupeds, in their mode of death, instead of mouldering through corruption in their material dissolution.
Quadrupeds have the same double use in their existence; their own enjoyment, and the benefits at their death, to those of their own order, and to the birds and reptiles, worms and insects, that have been appointed to derive nutrition from. their substance.
The uses of birds to man are of great importance and variety. Were it not for them, the depredations of insects would be so great that vegetation could not proceed ; and as many species of birds derive their chief subsistence from insects, their destruction within certain limits is secured.
Another class of birds destroy vermin, which are equally prejudicial to vegetation ; and a third class, by feeding on corrupt flesh and other refuse, prevent the atmosphere from being poisoned with noxious effluvia, which would be hurtful to health and life.
Every one should raise his voice against the wholesale destruction of the small birds, now so prevalent ; while the use of poisoned wheat for this purpose ought to be restrained by law. In one parish in Sussex the members of a "Sparrow Club" boast of having destroyed 7,261 birds during one year ! In many parts of France the farmers would now be thankful to have the little birds which, in years gone by, they slaughtered. During the last few years, many of the French farmers have been well-nigh ruined, by the terrible havoc made in their fields by insects. Had they preserved the birds, they might have saved their crops. The French Government has now taken up the question with energy, and steps are to be taken to protect the little birds.
Birds also supply to mankind an important article of food ; some varieties are esteemed delicacies, and find their way to the tables of the wealthy only, but others, especially at certain seasons, are available to the humbler classes.
The delicacy and tenderness of their flesh not only affords an agreeable change from other animal food, but renders them peculiarly adapted to the feeble digestive powers of delicate persons.
An important and universal article of food is also furnished by birds in the shape of eggs, which, from the lowness of the price, and the nutritive qualities which they possess, form a cheap and excellent food for all classes of society. In addition to the immense supplies derived from home produce, the importation of eggs from foreign countries forms an important item of commerce.
Feathers are also a considerable article of commerce, particularly those of the ostrich, heron, swan, eider-duck, peacock, goose, common domestic fowl, &c., which are used for plumes and ornaments, beds, pillows, pens, &c.
The feathers of the ostrich are much prized as ornamental articles of attire ; and the capture of these birds, for the sake of their plumes, affords employment to many of the inhabitants of the desert. Feathers are also occasionally applied to a variety of other ornamental purposes, such as pictures, ornaments, hangings, &c.
Lastly, birds by their song animate the beautiful scenes of nature, and gladden and enliven the heart of man by the cheerfulness and melody of their notes. Nor is this faculty of song without its uses ; by it, man is reminded of various changes in times and seasons.
High in the dawn the Lark will sing
O’er mountain and o’er river,
Wafting that worship on free wing
To the all-bounteous Giver.
The Thrush at eve as sweet as loud,
Of joy like large partaker,
Will sing amid the singing crowd
Yet louder to his Maker.
The peculiar note of the cuckoo tells of the approach of spring ; the twittering of the swallow more certainly confirms the advent of the glad season of nature; and the poet speaks of the "cock’s shrill clarion" awaking the hardy sons of toil from their lowly beds.
[Fig 108. The Crocodile.]
Torpid - s1uggish, inactive.
Oxygenation - the act of combining with oxygen.
Putrefaction - state of decay.
Geologist — One acquainted with the structure of the earth.
Secretion — a substance separated.
REPTILES are cold-blooded vertebrated animals which breathe by lungs, and are formed for crawling or swimming. They are generally of a sluggish nature, many of them spending the greater part of their lives in a torpid state, owing to the imperfect oxygenation of their blood, only a portion of which passes into their lungs.
Their senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and feeling, are not so acute as those of the higher classes of animals ; and from the extreme slowness of the circulation of their blood, they can remain longer under water than quadrupeds or birds; hence they are called amphibious animals, or such as can live both on land and in water.
Reptiles are oviparous, that is they produce their young from eggs, which unlike those of the birds, are not hatched by their parents ; they have mostly long bodies, small heads, and all except the serpents, have four short feet.
Naturalists have divided Reptiles into four orders.
Order I. The CHELONIA. - Tortoises and turtles, sometimes called Testudo, they have bodies enclosed in a shell from which the head, legs, and tail can be protruded at pleasure, they are destitute of teeth, and feed chiefly on roots and vegetables.
Tortoises are distinguished from Turtles, by the greater strength and convexity of the carapace, or upper shell, over which the wheel of a cart might pass without crushing it; they are found mostly in the warm and temperate regions, living in the woods in summer and burrowing in the earth in winter. They have been known to attain the age of 200 years.
Turtles, or sea Tortoises, have a comparatively flat upper shell, and long, padd1e-shaped feet adapted for swimming; they live an aquatic life, feeding on marine vegetation, and only visiting the shore to deposit their eggs ; it is during these visits that they are chiefly captured, by being turned on their backs, a position from which they are unable to regain their feet ; they are thus easily secured. The species called the green turtle, so highly valued by epicures, varies in length from two to five feet.
A turtle will sometimes lay as many as 200 eggs, which are deposited in a hole in the sand, scooped out with great dexterity by means of the animal’s flappers, which are also used for covering the deposit, and smoothing the sand nicely over.
There are some kinds of tortoises called soft-shelled, the bones of which are only covered with a soft skin. They live chiefly in rivers, where they lurk among the reeds ; one species devours young crocodiles as they leave the egg, and another kind devours young alligators, while they are devoured in turn by the old ones.
Order II. The SAURIA, or Lizards. In this order are found the most formidable as well as the most inoffensive of the Reptiles, viz : the crocodiles, gavials, alligators, and lizards.
The crocodiles are distinguished by their broad, rounded, and tapering limbs ; eyes protected by a thin transparent skin, and large mouths, armed with sharp, pointed teeth ; they have on the fore-feet three toes with claws, and two without ; those without claws in both feet are webbed. Crocodiles inhabit the rivers of Africa, and especially the Nile. The gavial is the crocodile of India, that of the Ganges is said to the largest of the living saurians. The alligator, or cayman is the crocodile of tropical America.
All these creatures are fierce and formidable, their bodies are covered with a kind of scaly armour, which in some parts is impervious to a musket ball. They subsist on animal substances, chiefly on the bloated carcases which float down rivers, they also seize living animals, which they drag into holes under water till the state of putrefaction commences. They are extremely rapid in their movements in the water, and can run with great swiftness in a straight line, but it is difficult for them to turn about, therefore when pursued by one, the best plan is to adopt a zigzag course. No living species of crocodile has been fund in Europe, nor, as yet, in Australasia.
FOSSIL SAURIANS. - Gigantic animals of this class existed in a former state of the earth, long prior to the mammalia or birds ; such were the Plesiosaurus or serpent-lizard ; the Icthyosaurus, or fish-lizard ; and the Pterodactylus, or flying-lizard, the remains of which are found in a fossil state, and have been described by geologists.
Of the Lizards which now exist there are many species, all characterized by small heads, thick necks, and long forked tongues. They are commonly divided into five families; viz : true lizards, iguanas, geckos, chameleons, and serpent—lizards, which last have snake-like bodies, covered with scales which overlap each other like tiles on a house-roof.
All the lizards are remarkable for the brilliancy of their colours; which are changeable according to the light they are viewed in, and sometimes their hues vary in accordance with the places they frequent ; thus those which live among trees or grass are chiefly green, those where the ground is more bare of verdure are brown and speckled, and those among rocks and stones are chiefly grey.
Lizards abound most in hot climates, they feed on insects which they secure by darting out their forked tongues very rapidly, they are all perfectly harmless, and some of them - the iguanas, are considered delicate eating. The lizards of
This country are few and small, they are mostly aquatic in their habits, the great water newt, or triton, is the largest and best known ; its length is six inches.
One of the most curious of the family is the dragon-lizard, called also the flying lizard, a native of the East Indies. It lives on trees, and feeds on insects ; the peculiar structure of its body bears some resemblance to that of the flying-squirrel.
The power of the chameleon to move its eyes in different directions at the same time, gives it a most singular aspect. Its enormously long tongue can be withdrawn into the mouth but when not in use ; but when the creature sees a fly within reach, the tongue is instantly darted forth, and by a means of a gummy secretion at the tip secures the fly. The whole movement is so quick as almost to elude the eye.
[Fig 109. Chameleon and Tortoise.]
[Fig 110. Boa Constrictor.]
Undulatory — waving.
Vivipirous — bringing forth young alive ; in contradistinction to oviparous, or producing young from eggs.
Gelatinous - jelly-like.
Transformations — changes.
Vivacious — full of life and activity.
Bronchial — belonging to the windpipe.
Vascular — full of vessels.
Obliterated — worn out, destroyed.
Order III. OPHIDIA. - Serpents. Distinguished by their eel-like bodies, and absence of external limbs. Many of this group have fangs, or poison-teeth, communicating with certain glands which secrete a venomous fluid. This order includes all vertebrated animals which breathe by lungs and are destitute of legs. They move from place to place by means of a spiral, or undulatory motion of their bodies, the flexibility of which is owing to the great number of vertebrae which form the spinal column. This number varies from two to three hundred, and the bones are united one with another by a ball-and-socket joint.
Most of these animals remain in a torpid state during the winter, and when they awake in the spring, shed their skins ; while asleep, they are coiled in a circle with the head in the centre. Serpents abound most in tropical climates, and especially in South America. Upwards of 500 species have been described and these are divided into five principal groups, viz. venomous, non-venomous, water-snakes, double walkers, and slow worms.
Venomous serpents have two perforated teeth in the upper jaw, which are the poison-fangs, the two principal families are ratt1e-snakes and vipers. The former are found in America, and are distinguished from the latter by a formation at the end of the tail consisting of a number of hollow bones, fitting one within the other, which produce a sound similar to a rattle.
Serpents prey chiefly on small animals, which they swallow entire ; they are viviparous, producing about a dozen at a birth. There are many species of vipers, which are the most venomous of all serpents, they are found chiefly in Africa, and in the East and West Indies. The only British representative of the family is the common viper, or adder, which is of a dingy yellow colour, spotted with black on the upper parts, and entirely black underneath ; it is the only native venomous reptile.
To this family belongs the most venomous of the snake tribe - the cobra di capello, hooded, or, spectacle snake, which when irritated has the power of dilating the skin at the back of the head, so as to form a kind of hood or cowl, and which has a singular mark behind its head shaped like a pair of spectacles.
Non-venomous serpents are remarkable for an extraordinary power of dilating their jaws to such an extent as to enable them to swallow animals much larger than themselves; to facilitate this process they rapidly coil themselves round their prey so as to crush it to death, by a succession of powerful muscular contractions, they then cover it with saliva, and gorge it at their leisure, remaining afterwards inactive till the meal is digested, which is many days or weeks according to the size of the animal they have swallowed.
Boa constrictors, pythons, and many other serpents of smaller dimensions belong to this group, they are natives of Africa, America, and the Indies ; and are found chiefly in forests near the banks of rivers. The common or ringed snake of Britain belongs to this division ; it is of a brownish colour with two rows of black spots along the centre of the back from head to tail, it grows to about the length of three feet, and is perfectly harmless.
Water snakes are found in the United States of America, and in the Indian seas, and rivers ; they are dangerous reptiles, their bite having often proved fatal to the incautious ; happily they are not very numerous. Amphisbaena, or double walkers, are serpents which can walk in both directions, the head is small, the tail thick, and at first sight it is difficult to distinguish one from the other, and this circumstance, together with the animal’s habit of proceeding either backwards or forwards, has given rise to the popular belief throughout Brazil, its native country, that it possesses two heads. It lives upon worms and insects, particularly ants, in the mounds of which it usually conceals itself.
Slow, or Blind worms, are so called from the extreme smallness of their eyes, which are only observable on the closest inspection, so that they are generally supposed to be sightless ; on account of this erroneous notion, together with the slowness of their movements, the above name has been given to them. The English species, which is generally about eleven inches long, has the reputation of being venomous, which it certainly is not.
Order IV. BATRACHIA. Frogs and Toads. In these amphibious animals we find the link of connection between reptiles and fishes ; they have a double set of breathing organs, which fits them for either an aquatic, or a terrestrial life; for the former they have gills, for the latter lungs. Most of them possess gills only during the early stages of existence, and lungs only, afterwards, but some few species have both at the same time ; this is the case with the sirens, found in the marshy grounds of Carolina.
The Batrachians have not their bodies covered with scales, like the fishes, nor with bony plates like the true Reptiles, but they are soft and naked. They are divided into three principal groups. I. Frogs and Toads ; II. Newts and Salamanders ; III. Sirens.
The species of the first group, have, when fully grown, broad and short bodies, four feet and no tails; they are produced from spawn, or gelatinous eggs, deposited in stagnant waters by the parent in the early part of Spring. About a month after the deposition of the spawn, a lively little animal, consisting of a round head, to which is attached a pair of tufted gills, and a long tapering tail makes its appearance ; it proceeds rapidly through a series of transformations, in which successively the eyes, the mouth, the moveable lips, the hinder legs and the fore-legs appear, while the tail disappears, and the tadpole which emerged from the spawn, has become developed into a perfect frog.
While these wonderful changes were taking place in the outward appearance of the frog, still more singular alterations have occurred internally. The tadpole lived upon vegetable substances, inhabited the water, and breathed through the water like the fish by means of gills. The gills are now gone, and their place is supplied by lungs to breathe air; the intestine which was long and fitted for the digestion of vegetable substances, is now short and adapted for the new diet the perfect annual is destined to live upon ; for the frog feeds on slugs, beetles, and various insects which it captures with its tongue, and swallows whole.
[Fig 111. Egyptian Frogs.]
Frogs are more vivacious than toads, the movement of the frog is by hops or leaps, toads generally crawl ; frogs are brighter in their colours than toads, they frequent ponds and damp situations, while toads are often found in dry places; both are harmless, and both become torpid in winter.
II. Newts are small reptiles from three to six inches long, that live in ponds and ditches, feeding on water-insects ; they are propagated from spawn, and undergo the same changes from the tadpole state as frogs and toads, they resemble lizards in shape, having long bodies and tails.
Salamanders produce their young alive, the eggs being hatched within the parent’s body ; some of these are terrestrial, others aquatic ; the old popular notion that these animals can live in fire is altogether erroneous.
III. The Siren and Proteus. The sirens have eel-like bodies and only two feet, they are provided with the double- breathing apparatus, gills and lungs, and feed on aquatic insects, and worms. A very singular reptile of this group, the Proteus, is found in the subterranean lakes of Carniola and Styria ; it has three tufted gills on each side of its head, as well as internal lungs, three toes on each of its fore-feet, and two on each of its hinder. It dies if long exposed to the light ; when the water in which it resides is dried up, it buries itself in the mud. The following description of the Proteus is extracted from Sir Humphrey Davy’s "Consolations in Travel."
At first view, you might suppose this animal to be a lizard, but it has the motions of a fish. Its head and the lower part of its body and its tail bear a strong resemblance to those of the eel ; but it has no fins, and its curious bronchial organs are not like the gills of fishes ; they form a singular vascular structure, almost like a crest, round the throat, which may be removed without occasioning the death of the animal, which is likewise furnished with lungs. With this double apparatus for supplying air to the blood, it can live either below or above the surface of the water. Its fore-feet resemble hands, but they have only three claws or fingers, and are too feeble to be of use in grasping or supporting the weight of the animal ; the hinder feet have only two claws or toes, in which the larger specimens are found so imperfect as to be almost obliterated. It has small points in place of eyes, as if to preserve the analogy of nature. It is of a fleshy whiteness and transparency in its natural state, but when exposed to light, its skin gradually becomes darker, and at last gains an olive tint Its nasal organs appear large ; and it is abundantly furnished with teeth, from which it may be concluded, that it is an animal of prey, yet in its confined state, it has never been known to eat, and it has been kept alive for many years by occasionally changing the water in which it was placed.
[Fig 112. Proteus.]
[Fig 113. Osseous Fishes. a. Pike, b. Cod, c. Gurnard, d. Sword-fish,
e. Turbot, f. Herring, g. Sole, h. Mackerel, i. Flying-fish.]
Apparatus — instruments for performing operations or experiments, or for practising any art.
Aquarium — an artificial pond or tank for the cultivation of waterp1ants, &c.
FISHES form the fourth class of vertebrated animals. They are adapted for living entirely in the water, which however must be sufficiently charged with air, or they soon sicken and die.
Fishes breathe by means of gills, sometimes called branchiae which are formed of arches of bones, attached on each side the bone of the tongue. The filaments of the gills are covered with innumerable blood—vessels ; they absorb the air contained in the water, which thus enters into the circulation.
Most fishes have an air bladder, by the compression or expansion of which they can render their bodies lighter or heavier than the water in which they live, and so rise or sink at pleasure. They propel themselves by means of fins, of which there are five sorts, viz. the dorsal, situated along the back ; the pectoral, on the breast immediately behind the gills, corresponding with the fore-arms of other animals ; the ventral, near the centre of the belly, corresponding with the hind-legs of land animals; the anal, between the belly and the tail, and the caudal, tail—fin, or rudder, that being the principal steering apparatus. (See skeleton of fish, p. 3.)
[Fig 114. Perch. d. Dorsal-fin, p. Pectoral, v. Ventral, a. Anal, c. Caudal.]
The bodies of fishes, which by their shape are especia11y adapted for gliding through water, are defended by scales which overlap each other, and which are attached by their upper edges only.
Fishes are extremely rapacious, and possess extraordinary powers of digestion. They are constantly preying upon each other, and their appetites appear never satisfied. They are also amazingly prolific, a single fish producing often thousands of eggs, which it deposits in jelly—like masses called spawn, on sand, gravel, or sea-weed, leaving it to be hatched by the heat of the sun.
" 'Twas wisdom:. mercy, goodness, that ordained
Life in such infinite profusion — Death
So sure, so prompt, so multiform."
Many kinds of fishes are gregarious, swimming and making their annual migrations in vast shoals, for the purpose of depositing spawn. Naturally they are long-lived, but few of them long escape the many dangers to which they are exposed.
Fishes are separated into two great divisions, - osseous, those which have a hard, bony, skeleton ; and cartilaginous, those whose skeleton is composed of elastic substance, or cartilage.
[Fig 115. Fly-shooter]
The first of these divisions is usually sub-divided into four orders, 1st the spiny-finned fishes, in which are the perch, gurnard, choetodon, and mackerel families. Here we find the sticklebacks and that curious fish called the fly—shooter, celebrated for the dexterity with which it shoots a fly with a drop of water.
[Fig 116. Sticklebacks and Nest.]
The following account of the nest-building stickleback is given by a writer in "Once a Week." A short time ago, it was my good fortune to capture a pair, male and female, of the ten-spined stickleback perhaps the most savage of this lively, but quarrelsome tribe. The three—spined I have possessed in abundance before, but never these. On popping them into an aquarium , the little creatures, as these merry fellows ever will, soon made themselves at home, and in a few hours were observed hurrying to and fro, as busy as possible, with shreds of "weed" in their mouths ; in a few hours a perfect nest had been built the size of a walnut, and there it was - a beautiful object, depending from a stalk of the Water Crowfoot, as we see the nest of a humming-bird depicted hanging from the branch of a tree. A hole was formed right through it, evidently for the female fish to rest in as she deposited her spawn or eggs.
The lady wandered about the vessel, seemingly without much to care for, while the gentleman fish watched the nest with much apparent anxiety, manifestly on guard to protect it from harm, or unwonted intrusion.
Here also we find the mackerel the tunny, the sword-fish, the mullet, and the goby-tribe, one which is the wolf or cat-fish which feeds upon crabs and lobsters by means of its sharp pointed teeth, and a double row of enormous grinders.
[Fig 117. Jaws of Wolf, or Cat-fish.]
The angler-fish also is here, on the head of which several long, silvery threads are found, which are moved at its will, and are mistaken for worms, by fishes which thus become the victims of the angler, in whose jaws, they are quickly engulphed.
[Fig 118. Angler-fish.]
Order II. Consists of soft-finned fishes, among which are the carp, pike, salmon, flat-fish, remora, and eel families. Among the first we have the beautiful gold-fish ; in the pike family is the flying-fish, which by means of its enormously large pectoral fins, with which it strikes the water, is enabled to rise to a considerable height in the air, and so escape a threatened danger.
[Fig 118. Remora.]
[Fig 119. Sucking apparatus of Remora.]
The Herring family comprehends the sprat, pilchard, whitebait, anchovy, shad, and other fish which administer largely to man's wants. The sucking-fish are provided with a curious apparatus, by means of which they can attach themselves to different bodies, such as ships' bottoms, large fishes, &c.; the most celebrated of them is the remora of the Mediterranean, whose suckers are at the back of the head. The halibut, sole, plaice, flounder, and turbot belong to the flat-fish family ; they live chiefly near the bed of the sea, and on small prey, such as worms and mollusks.
In the cod family are the haddock, whiting, hake, ling, and others, much used as food, as are many of the eels, of which some naturalists make a fourth order of bony fishes.
Order III. There is but one family in this order, and its members are generally small though curious ; they are called tufted-gilled; the pipe-fish, found among sea-weeds, is one species, the hippocampus, or sea—horse, another ; the latter is so called from the striking resemblance the head and neck bear to those of the horse, but quite in miniature.
[Fig 121 . Hippocampus.]
[Fig 122. The Globe-fish.]
Order IV. The fishes of this order are found chiefly in Indian and American Seas. Among them are the globe, sun, frog, and lump-fish ; they are singular looking creatures, and remarkab1e for the power of suddenly assuming a globular form by swallowing air.
Some of them attain a very large size, the sun-fish, for instance, has been found weighing five hundred pounds ; they are unfit for food.
[Fig 124. Cartilaginous Fishes. a. White Shark. b. Sturgeon, c. Dog-fish. d. Lamprey.]
FISHES, AND THEIR USES.
Caviare — the roes of fish, especially that of the sturgeon, prepared and salted.
Tubercles — rough points or knobs on animal bodies ; also diseased tumours.
Tenacious — holding fast ; unwilling to part with.
Ova — eggs.
THE second great division of fishes is distinguished by the cartilaginous structure of their bones ; the particles of earthy matter which give firmness and hardness to the bone, being deposited in the form of small grains and not in fibres.
The largest and most formidable of all Fishes are found in this division. The peculiar structure of their skeleton, which gives rise to their name, admits of these animals continuing to grow as long as they live ; the consequence of which is, that as they inhabit the wide ocean, and have few enemies, they are sometimes met with of such an enormous size that their weight and dimensions are almost incredible.
The great sturgeon of the East of Europe is sometimes found fifteen feet in length, and weighing two or three thousand pounds : the hammer-headed shark is as large or larger ; the saw-fish, another species of shark, has been taken twenty-two feet long, and of the weight of eleven thousand pounds.
The dreaded white shark, that terrific monster of the tropic seas, is said to attain the length of twenty—five feet, and the basking shark, occasionally taken on the British shores, has been seen thirty-six feet long. To mention no others, the horned ray, a powerful and ferocious monster, is said to reach a length of twenty-five feet, combined with a width of thirty.
Cartilaginous fishes are divided into three orders;
I. Sturgeons, which are remarkable for the rows of bony plates extending along the body, are exceedingly common in the northern parts of Europe, where regular fisheries are organized for their capture. Isinglass is obtained by drying and shredding their air-bladders ; caviare is made of the roe of the female ; and the flesh is extensively preserved both by pickling and salting, besides the. large quantities that are consumed fresh. The flavour of its flesh is said to be similar to veal.
II. Sharks and dog-fishes are a most voracious tribe ; the white shark often attains the length of twenty feet. The head of the shark is flat, the muzzle round, the pectoral fin large, and the skin is covered with hard tubercles. But the most efficient part of the offensive weapons of the shark is the well armed mouth, which is very deeply cleft, and forms when open, an enormous cavity. The teeth are extremely sharp, and of two kinds, one formed for cutting, and the other for holding. The last kind are jagged at the edges for that purpose. Of these teeth there are as many as six rows, and in a large shark they are as much as two inches and a half in length. As if to add to its destructive power, the shark possesses the sense of smell in high perfection, and can discover its prey at a great distance.
[Fig 125. Shark’s teeth.]
All the sharks are exceedingly tenacious of life. Their skins, which are of very variable degrees of roughness, according to the species, are used for different purposes ; in some instances by cabinet-makers, for bringing up and smoothing the surfaces of hard wood.
The small-spotted dog-fish, the species most abundant on our shores, is an object of great dislike to fishermen, who try in various Ways to avenge the injury which they believe it causes to their fishing.
[Fig 126. Egg bag and young Dog-fish.]
The ova of sharks, dog-fishes, and rays are few in number, they are not deposited on the sand or gravel, but each egg is enclosed for greater safety, in a horny case, attached by long tendrils to the larger sea-weeds ; and among the sharks of the largest size, some bring forth their young alive. The empty egg-cases are frequently found on the sea-shore, and are well known by the name of "sea-purses," " mermaids’ purses," and other local terms. The longer and narrow-shaped belong to the sharks and dog-fishes ; the broader and shorter ones to the skates or rays.
III. The lamprey inhabits both rivers and lakes, and some species, the sea ; it has a round mouth, by which it affixes itself to rocks, &c., and also to other fish ; it is furnished with teeth on the outer edge, it has no scales, but is covered with a glutinous skin ; in form it much resembles an eel, and is from twelve to eighteen inches long. The lamprey was once very plentiful in the Thames, and was considered a dainty.
[Fig 127. Mouth of Lamprey.]
The annexed cut shows the appearance of a lamprey’s mouth, in an expanded state, surrounded by numerous very small teeth. These fish are in general found attached to stones and other substances at the bottom of the water, and a little consideration will show us the reason of this ; the creature is so destitute of fins that if it had not this means of fixing itself, it would be carried along at the mercy of the stream, and have its tender body injured.
The flesh of Fish contains less nitrogenous matter than that of Birds or Mammals. It also usually contains less oil or fat, and a larger quantity of mineral matters. The digestibility of the flesh of Fish is not so great as that of butcher’s meat, hence generally Fish is not so nutritious as the flesh of Birds or Quadrupeds. The muscles of Fish contain, in larger quantities than other animals, a principle called Creatin, which also exists in human muscles, and which seems to act favourably on the human system. Fish is undoubtedly a valuable as well as an agreeable article of diet, and should, when possible, be introduced into all dietaries.
Besides its use as an article of food, fish is also extensively employed as a manure, certain properties residing in the bones and flesh being found conducive to vegetation. The sorts of fish which are employed as manures are numerous. Those which are most frequently used are sprats, sticklebacks, the refuse of pilchards and herrings, whale-blubber, and shell-fish. Sprats are used very extensively in Essex, Kent, and Sussex.
Upon the hop-grounds adjoining the Medway from sixty to a hundred bushels an acre are usually applied. For ordinary grain crops, sprats are used at the rate of from twenty to thirty bushels an acre, and are sown by hand upon the fallows before the seed is deposited. They are also admirably adapted for compost with earth, in which state they form a capital dressing for turnips and green crops.
Whale-blubber, mixed with earth, is found to answer extremely well upon arable and pasture land, producing most luxuriant crops, and leaving its good effects for two or three years. Shell-fish are found to prove an excellent manure; especially some of the species which excel in phosphates, and are, therefore, of more permanent influence than other sorts of fish.
Certain fish, as the cod, seal, and whale, yield an oil, which is not only found useful for the purposes of illumination, but is also extensively employed in the arts and manufactures. The cod-liver oil which has recently obtained much notoriety as a medicinal agent has become important article of commerce.
[Fig 128. Mollusks, Badiata, &c. a. Coral polyp. b. Star-fish. c. Echinus. d. Argonaut. e. Octopus. f. Ammonite (fossi1). g. Oyster. h. Clams-hell. i. Pearl-Oyster.]
WORMS AND SHELLS. (MOLLUSKS.)
Univalve — a mollusk, the shell of which consists of a single piece.
Syphon — or siphon, a bent tube or pipe, whose lengths are unequal, used for drawing liquor out of a tank or barrel, by causing it to rise and flow over rim or top of the vessel. For this purpose the shorter leg is inserted in the liquor, and the air is exhausted by being drawn through the longer leg. (See Cut.)
Tentacles — thread-like organs used as feelers.
Cylinder — a roller.
Whorls — volutions, or turns of the spine of a univalve shell.
Proboscis — the snout of an animal.
THE Mollusca, or soft-bodied animals, form the second great division of the Animal Kingdom. They are described by Cuvier as being without an articulated, that is, a jointed skeleton, or back-bone, and without brain or spinal marrow. Their blood is white or bluish ; the muscles, instead of being fixed to solid bones in the interior of the body, are attached to the skin of the animal, thus forming a kind of exterior skeleton. Some of the Mollusca have naked and exposed bodies ; others, as the inhabitants of shells, are provided with a house of their own building, "into which they retire for safety, and which they carry about with them."
The animals of the first class of Mollusca are CEPHALOPODES, that is, they use the head as a foot. The most interesting of them are the cuttle-fish or sepia, nautilus, and the argonaut.
"The Cuttle-fish," (fig. e) says the Rev. Mr. Kirby, "is one of the most wonderful works of the Creator. Its mouth is surrounded by eight long fleshy arms, or rather legs, which can bend in any direction, with the utmost vigour and activity ; their surface is furnished with many suckers, by which they can fix themselves strongly to anything they wish to lay hold of, and by means of which, like the star—fish, they can move from place to place. Besides these arms or legs, for they can act either as the one or the other, there is a pair of long organs, one on each side, having their origin between the first and a second pair of legs, which are also furnished with many suckers."
In the centre of this formidable array of arms, the mouth is placed, with jaws of a hard horny nature, shaped like the bill of a parrot. Thus provided, the cattle-fish is by no means a despicable enemy ; it chiefly feeds on shell-fish, and Crustacea (crabs, lobsters, &c.) first seizing upon its prey with its suckers, and entwining them round the formidable nippers of those animals, and thus rendering all attempts at escape useless. Its powerful beak is then brought into action, and the hard crustaceous shell soon penetrated.
The eyes of the cuttle-fish are singularly large and brilliant, and resemble those of a vertebrate animal. In case of danger, the cuttle—fish is provided with a receptacle containing an inky fluid, with which it can render the water in its neighbourhood turbid, and in this manner effectually conceal itself. This inky fluid dried into a hardened mass, is known in the fine arts as that beautiful rich brown colour called sepia.
[Fig 129. Syphon. 1. Siphon. 2. Improved Siphon with exhausting tube.]
The nautilus has a univalve shell, which is of a very graceful and elegant form ; its interior is divided into chambers, with a syphon running through them , by which the air is exhausted or compressed so as to cause it to sink or swim ; the animal occupies only the outer chamber; the extinct ammonite (fig. f) belonged to this class.
The paper nautilus (fig. d) or argonaut, is well known for its delicate white shell : it is found in the Mediterranean, and other seas, and is nearly allied to the cuttle-fish, in the form of its body ; but differs from it, in being always discovered in the occupation of a shell.
[Fig 130. Clio Borealis.]
The second class of the Mollusca are called PTEROPODA, or winqed—footed, their prominent peculiarity is a broad wing-like expansion on each side of the head, by the use of which these little animals swim in the sea. One species of them, the Clio borealis furnishes by its abundance the chief food of the whale, although each individual is not quite an inch long.
The head of one of these little animals exhibits a most astonishing display of the wisdom of God in creation. Around the mouth are placed six tentacles, each of which is covered with about three thousand red specks, which are seen by the microscope to be transparent cylinders, each contaming about twenty little suckers, capable of being thrust out, and adapted for seizing and holding their minute prey. "Thus therefore, there will be three hundred and sixty thousand of these microscopic suckers upon the head of one clio ; an apparatus for prehension perhaps unequalled in the creation."
The next class of Mollusca are called GASTEROPODA, or stomach-footed, that is, they walk on their stomach. The most familiar example of them is the common snail. Some of them are entirely naked, others have a shell which is large enough to shelter their bodies. Most of those that live in water have an operculum, (a little door,) which closes the entrance to the shell when the animal is coiled up within.
The snail has a distinct head, and two pairs of tentacles capable of being extended or withdrawn ; these are manifestly very sensitive, and the upper pair carry at their extremity two perfect organs of vision. Its mouth is furnished with a sharp, toothed jaw, admirably adapted for cutting leaves, and a tongue no less suitable for passing the food so prepared into the throat.
[Fig 131. Snail]
[Fig 132. Limpet.]
In another order of this class are limpets which adhere to rocks, beneath a shell whose form is that of a low oval cone.
Every one who has seen a living limpet knows how firmly it fixes itself to the rock. This is done by the inhabitant creating a vacuum on the under surface of its body, which causes the pressure of the atmosphere to keep it so tightly fixed to the rock, that a blade of a strong knife is required to detach it. Frequently the margin of the shell adapts itself to the shape of the
substance to which it adheres, proving that it must remain fixed in the same spot for a long time, and rendering it difficult to determine from whence it can obtain sufficient nourishment to support life.
[Fig 133. Wentle-trap.]
Another order comprises many species of marine Mollusca both curious and beautiful, while some are interesting from their utility. Among them is the common periwinkle, which is gathered in thousands for the London market ; the royal staircase wentle-trap, a native of the Chinese and Indian Seas, is another ; it was formerly so rare that a specimen cost many pounds ; its ground-colour is pale yellow, brilliantly polished, and the flat ribs that run at regular distances round the whorls are white.
The money-cowry belongs to the same order. The cowries are not less celebrated for the elegance of their form, and the beauty of their markings, than for the curious circumstance that one species is used as current coin in Guinea and Bengal, thus being employed for the same purpose by two entirely distinct races of man, situated in different quarters of the globe. Their value is of course small in proportion to gold or silver. At the present time a rupee in Bengal is worth 3,200 Cowries, the value of the rupee being 2s. 3d. of our money.
[Fig 134. Cameo-Shell.]
The helmet—shaped shell called the Cassis tuberosa is employed in the production of the elegant cameos, so much used for brooches and clasps of ladies’ attire. The subject is worked in relief in the white portion or outer crust of the shell, while the inner surface, of a pink or reddish-brown tint, is left for the ground.
The common whelk is one of the same tribe, it is everywhere abundant on our coasts and is taken in such profusion that it is largely exported for food, and may be seen on the street stalls of the metropolis exposed for sale, like the oyster and periwinkle.
The proboscis of the whelk is of a most singular structure, and by means of the numerous teeth with which it is armed, it is able rapidly to bore its way through shells, and to feed upon their unfortunate inmates.
[Fig 135. Worm-Shell.]
Another order of this class consists of curiously twisted shells ; the first few
turns of the whorls are arranged as usual, but they soon separate from each
other, and the whorls assume a twisted form. The animal has a curiously-formed operculum, which closes the entrance to the shell, when the animal retires into it.
[Fig 136. Oysters. a. Mother-of-pearl. b. & c. Pearl-Oyster inside and out. d. Edible Oyster.]
WORMS AND SHELLS. (MOLLUSKS.)
Byssus — threads or fibres, by which marine animals attach themselves to objects.
Nacre — the inner part of the shell of the pearl-muscle.
THE next class of Mollusca consists of ACEPHALES, or animals without an apparent head. In this class are placed all those mollusks whose shells are in two pieces, (Bivalves,) such as oysters, mussels, clamps, scallops, cockles, and borers.
Oysters form a considerable article of commerce, thirty or forty thousand bushels are brought each season to London; they are dredged up from "beds," where they are found in great quantities. They spawn in May and June, and are not then good. There is an old and a well-known saying, that "Oysters are not fit to eat, unless there is an R in the month." In the months therefore of May, June, July, and August, they are unwholesome.
The spawn is collected and placed in artificial beds, consisting of shallow places or hollows in the sea, where the tide will not wash the oysters away, and whence they can be easily removed when sufficiently grown, which is in five or six years. Oysters have no powers of locomotion, but remain where the tide washes them.
[Fig 137. Cockle.]
Scallops, cockles, and mussels have the power of fixing themselves to any
substance they wish, by means of the byssus or beard, which is a tuft of fibres
passing out from between the shells ; and it is said, the scallops have the power of progression, by suddenly opening and shutting the shells. The giant clamp shell of the Indian Ocean, forms a "byssus" so stout and compact, that it can be divided only repeated strokes with an axe.
The pearl oyster is the animal from which those highly valued ornaments, pearls, are extracted. The pearl is nothing more than nacre, deposited in the shape of globular drops instead of being spread over the inner surface of the shell, in which case it is known as mother-of-pearl.
These valuable shells are found both in the Old and New World. Ceylon is very famous for its pearl fisheries. The fishermen are trained to remain a long time under water, and are assisted in their descent to the bottom of the sea, by a heavy weight tied to their feet. They rapidly gather all the pearl oysters in their way into a basket, and when in want of air, give a signal to their friends above, who draw them to the surface by a rope. The oysters are then left to putrefy for some weeks, when they are carefully washed, and the pearls extracted.
The common scallop is found along our southern coasts, and in the seas of Europe. This shell was formerly used as the badge of a Pilgrim to the Holy Land.
" — His pilgrim’s staff he bore,
And fixed the Scallop in his hat before."
In the cockle there is a small organ called the foot, which is used for burrowing in the sand. Like the human tongue, it is capable of assuming various lengths, shapes, and degrees of firmness ; it is alternately an awl to bore a hole, a hook to draw in shells, a pole to push itself over the ground, or a spring to throw it forward through the air.
[Fig 138. Razor-shell.]
[Fig 139. Teredo.]
The long tube-like razor-shell so common on our sandy beaches, is a still more effective burrower than the cockle.
The teredo, or ship-worm, does great injury to the timbers of vessels, boring through their substance in a serpentine direction, and lining the hole they thus make with a shelly substance.
It is only in salt-water that these boring animals are found ; "thus," says Mr. Kirby, "a merciful Providence has so limited the instincts of the - animals he has created, that they cannot overstep a certain boundary, nor extend their ravages beyond the territory assigned them." The law laid down to the ship—worm is to hasten the decay of timber that is out of its place, and which may be termed an unsightly encroachment upon the ocean ;— this is the law they must obey, and they make no distinction, whether it is disowned by all, or is an important and valuable part of man’s property. Their individual object is their own benefit, and they know not that they obey a law of God, or injure man ; but the Almighty, by an irresistible agency, impels them to it, and they fulfil the purposes of his Providence, at the same time that they provide for their own welfare.
[Fig 140. Barnacle.]
The barnacles form another class of Mollusca ; they attach themselves to the bottoms of ships by a long fleshy stem. One species is common in the European seas. The Solan, or Barnacle goose received this name from the ridiculous supposition that it came out of the barnacle shells. What is most surprising, is the fact, that this silly tale was believed by persons otherwise well informed, and even the Royal Society received and printed a paper on the subject.
[Fig 141. Lobsters and Crabs. a. Common Lobster. b. Burrowing Lobster of the Feejee Islands. c. Common Crab d. Hermit Crab. e. Calling Crab of Ceylon.]
CRUSTACEA AND ARACHNIDA.
(CRABS, SHRIMPS ; SCORPIONS, SPIDERS, MITES.)
Metamorphosis — a change in shape undergone by many animals, especially insects.
Geometric — according to the rules or principles of geometry.
Pugnacious — disposed to fight.
Maxillae — the lower pairs of jaws in an invertebrate animal.
Parasite — any plant or animal which lives and feeds on the body of another plant or animal. Originally applied to persons who frequented the tables of rich people, whom they repaid by flattery and buffoonery.
THE CRUSTACEA form a division of the articulated animals; the term signifies hard-coated. Under this denomination are included crabs, cray-fish, lobsters, prawns, shrimps, wood-lice, &c. In another division the Arachnida are placed, comprising spiders of all varieties, scorpions, and mites.
The Crustacea are generally aquatic animals. They have no internal skeleton, but their body is covered with a strong crust, or shell which serves for protection. Other animals experience no inconvenience as they increase in size, but the shells of the crustacea cannot grow with them ; they are therefore cast off every year, and new and larger coverings formed. They all possess the power of reproducing a lost or injured limb ; they are called decapods, because they have ten legs.
The common crab is taken abundantly on our coasts in a wicker basket called a "creel," which is a crab—trap, for an aperture in it allows the animal to enter, but not to escape. These creels are baited with pieces of fish, and let down to the bottom of the sea. The Hermit crab has no shelly covering for his tail, which however he protects by taking possession of an empty shell, generally that of a whelk.
Lobsters are found in abundance on our coasts, usually in clear rocky waters ; they are taken in baskets similar to those used in crab-fishing. The coast of Norway is celebrated for lobsters. The prawn and the shrimp are taken in immense numbers for food for man, they also supply food for fish.
[Fig 142. Mollucca Crab.]
[Fig 143. Female of the water-flea, very highly magnified.]
The Molucca crab is a tropical species, the shell of which is used as a vessel to contain water, the tail is said to inflict a wound as painful as that of the scorpion; it is employed by the natives to point their arrows.
The water-flea, another of the of the water crustaceans, is a microscopic
object, it is found in stagnant water and butts placed for collecting the rain. If kept in a phial it multiplies with great rapidity ; the females are distinguishable by the bag on each side of the tail.
The Arachnida, or Spiders, have eight legs ; they undergo no metamorphosis as Insects do, but the young animal on leaving the egg, is of the same form as the full-grown spider.
Spiders have been celebrated in every age for their webs, or filmy tissues, in which they entangle their prey, or conceal themselves or their progeny from observation. These webs are composed of threads, the production of a curious apparatus, situated under the abdomen, and called the spinnerets.
[Fig 144. Spinnerets of the Spider, magnified.]
[Fig 145. Spider and web.]
At a short distance from the spinnerets the whole of these threads unite, and together constitute the thread of which the web is made, and which, instead of being single, as commonly supposed, is thus seen to be a rope composed of numerous strands.
The web of the spider has been admired all ages as an ingenious and beautiful production of insect art, elaborate in its construction, and most effective for its purpose. The geometric nets which in autumnal mornings we see in our gardens, stretched across every corner between the spikes of the railings and palisades, and among the twigs of the bushes, are the work of the great garden spider, one of the most beautiful, as well as one of the largest, of our native species.
The tarantula, whose bite was fabled to produce convulsions which could only be appeased by music, is a spider of considerable size, inhabiting the south of Europe. At the present day it is ascertained that the poison of this spider is very little, or rather not at all dangerous to man, and that it is very easy, through the means of medicine, to relieve any inconvenience it may have occasioned.
[Fig 146. Scorpion.]
Scorpions inhabit most of the hotter parts of the globe. They are quite as pugnacious as spiders, and if seera1 are placed in one box, they will fight until few survive, who, immediately devour their fallen foes.
The maxillae of the Scorpion are developed into large claws, like those of the lobster. With these, the scorpion seizes its prey, and whi1e holding it, pierces it with its sting, which is situated at the extremity of its tail. The tail is composed of six joints, rendering it very flexible.
[Fig 147. Orders of Insects.]
a. Coleoptera ; b. Orthoptera; c. Neuroptera ; d. Hymenoptera ; e. Lepidoptera;
f: Diptera; g. Aphaniptera; h. Hemiptera.
OF INSECTS. (CLASSIFICATION.)
Progenitor — an ancestor, a forefather.
Propagation — the act of multiplying the species.
Labium — the lower lip of insects.
Suctorial — formed for sucking.
AN Insect may be defined as an air-breathing articulated animal, with its body divided into three distinct regions, with a pair of jointed organs on its head, and with six legs.
[Fig 148. Bee, in three Sections.]
An articulated animal is one, the surface of whose body exhibits a division into a number of rings, or segments, and this character is very distinctly possessed by insects. Of these segments the number varies greatly in different groups of articulated animals, but in insects it is pretty uniformly thirteen. In these creatures, the different structure of the segments in different parts of the body enables the latter to be divided into three regions as they are called ; one segment forming the head or first region, three going to form the second region or thorax, and nine the third, or abdomen.
The head is furnished with a pair of jointed organs very variable in length, and often exceedingly curious in their form, which are called the antennae ; and each segment of which the thorax is composed bears a pair of jointed legs.
Nearly all insects are produced from eggs, which are usually deposited by the mother, with wonderful instinct, upon or in the immediate vicinity of a supply of food suitable to the wants of her offspring, although, in many cases, this may be wholly repugnant to her own peculiar tastes.
[149. Eggs of butterflies, very highly magnified.]
The eggs of insects are curious, and often beautiful objects. Their shape is frequently exceedingly elegant, and the skin or shell with which they are covered, in many instances exhibits patterns of great beauty, formed by raised lines, which run in various directions upon its surface.
The young insect in most cases creeps out of the egg in a form so different from that of its progenitors, that without previous knowledge, we should have some difficulty in believing that the one could be the offspring of the other. It is in fact only through a series of changes by which the life of the creature is usually divided into three very distinct periods, that an insect arrives at that mature state in which it is fitted for the propagation of its species. This series of changes is called the metamorphosis of an insect. The insects which undergo a metamorphosis are divided into two primary groups, according to the structure of the mouth.
In the first of the groups called the MANDIBULATA, (chewing insects,) the organs of the mouth, or some of them, present the regular biting form, although in some cases a portion of the organs is adapted for sucking up fluid nourishment. The Mandibulata form four principal orders, the characters of which are briefly as follows :-
In the COLEOPTERA, or Beetles, the anterior wings are converted into horny cases (elytra) which meet in a straight line along the back of the insects, and serve to cover and protect the delicate membranous posterior wings, the true organs of flight, when these are not in use. The wings are folded up on the back of the insect, and as they are usually a good deal longer than the elytra, they are folded back upon themselves at the extremity so as to get them into the smallest possible compass.
In the ORTHOPTERA, (locusts, crickets, earwigs,) the anterior wings still form sheaths for the protection of the more delicate hinder pair, but their texture, instead of being horny, is usually leathery ; the posterior wings, as in the beetles, are much larger than the anterior, but their nervures are arranged in a radiating form, so that they spread and fold up in the manner of a fan.
In a third order, that of the NEUROPTERA, (dragon-flies, may-flies, &c.) both pairs of wings are usually of the same size and of a simi1ar membranous texture, so that all these organs are applicable to the purposes of flight ; they are all traversed by several nervures, which are usually united by an immense number of smaller ones, so that the wings present the appearance of a network.
In the fourth order, the HYMENOPTERA, (saw-flies, ichneumons, wasps, and bees,) the wings are also membranous, but the hinder ones are always considerably smaller than the anterior ; their nervures are comparatively few in number, and the network which they describe upon the surface of the wing consists of but few meshes (called cells) the form of which is usually very determinate, and of considerable importance in the subdivision of the insects of this order.
In the insects of the second group, the organs of the mouth are adapted for the suction of fluid nourishment, - they are hence called HAUSTELLATA, (sucking insects.) They form three principal orders.
The LEPIDOPTER.A, (butterflies, sphinges and moths,) are characterized by the possession of a spiral trunk formed by a modification of the maxillae ; they
are usually furnished with four large membranous wings, the surface of which is more or less clothed with delicate scales.
In the DIPTERA, (two—winged flies, 1ong-legs, gnats, &c.) the mouth consists of a short and usually fleshy proboscis, (the labium,) enclosing from one to six bristles, the representatives of the other parts of the mouth ; these insects are readily distinguished by the possession of only a single pair of wings, behind the insertion of which we find a pair of knobbed filaments, (halteres,) which are considered to : represent the hinder wings.
In the HEMIPTERA, (bugs of various kinds,) the labium forms a jointed rostrum, enclosing four bristles representing the mandibles and maxillae ; the anterior wings are usually of a firmer texture than the hinder ones, which in most cases are folded up beneath them.
In addition to these, the Haustellate section of includes a fourth small order, that of the APHANIPTERA, including only the different kinds of Fleas.
The insects which undergo no metamorphosis are divided into three orders : - the Lice, which have a suctorial mouth; the Bird-lice, which have a biting mouth, and the Spring-tails, which are also mandibulates, and are furnished with two or more bristles at the tail.
[Fig 150. Spring-tail fly, magnified.]
Of the three species of Lice which attach themselves to man, one is always found amongst the hairs of the head, and the second amongst those of the body and face, whilst the third takes up its quarters in the clothes.
The bodies of the spring-tails are of a soft texture, and their skins are covered with delicate hairs and minute scales. The latter exhibit a beautiful
metallic lustre, due to the presence of numerous fine longitudinal lines upon
their surface ; these are clearly perceptible only under a high magnifying
power, and the scales of some species are amongst the most delicate microscopic test-objects.
[Fig 151. Metamorphoses of Insects.
Transformatzons of butterfly. a, the caterpillar; b, the empty chrysalis;
c, the small tortoise-shell butterfly.
Transformations of lady-bird. d, the eggs ; e, the larva ; f, the pupa; g, the beetle.
Operations of the gnat. h, the commencement of the boat of eggs ; i, the boat half-completed ; j, the boat resting on the water ; k, the gnat escaping
from its pupa.]
METAMORPHOSIS OF INSECTS.
1arva — the state of an insect after leaving the egg.
Pupa — the third or chrysalis state of an insect.
Labrum — the upper lip of insects.
Reticulated — netted.
Longitudinal — lengthways.
THE Beetle tribe quit the egg in the form of a grub which is furnished with a horny head, although the segments of the body are frequently destitute of feet. Their food in this condition is various ; it consists sometimes of animal, and sometimes of vegetable matters, sometimes in a fresh or living state, and sometimes in a condition of putrefaction or decay. A considerable number live in dung, especially that of the larger herbivorous Mammals, and from this source derive their nourishment.
But, whatever may be their habits in the larva state, a period arrives when the
food, on which they have hitherto regaled themselves so voraciously loses its attractions for them, and after forming a convenient receptacle in which to pass their period of helplessness, they become converted into inactive pupae, in which, however, each limb is always perfectly free.
[Fig 152. Pupa.]
After remaining in this state for a longer or shorter period according to the species, the perfect Beetle at length emerges from its concealment; but for a time its scaly armour is far from possessing that hardness or brilliancy which distinguishes the mature insect, and it is only by exposure to air and light that it attains these qualities.
[Fig 153. Tiger Beetle.]
We are now about to examine one of the most beautiful of British coleoptera - the Tiger Beetle, and a charming little gem he is, - his whole upper surface of the richest emerald green, with the head and thorax, which are a good deal narrower than the elytra, delicately grained, and the surface of the elytra covered with minute raised points. Each of these wing—cases is also adorned with several cream-coloured spots, of which five may be distinguished on the outer margin, from the shoulder to the suture, and a sixth, a good deal larger
and rounded, near the centre. The head bears a pair of very prominent eyes ; the labrum, which is of large size, is white, as is also the base of each mandible. The legs and basal joints of the antennae are of a coppery red colour above ; their lower surface exhibits tints of metallic blue an green, and the whole body of the insect beneath is of a shining greenish blue colour.
But beautiful as is his external appearance, a single glance at his long acute mandibles, which cross one another at about half their length, will show that he is not intended to browse peacefully upon the herbage that surrounds him, and in fact, small as he is (the largest specimens do not greatly exceed half an inch in length), he is one of the most predaceous of our native beetles. Indeed his activity whether on the ground or on the wing, is so great, that it would be no easy matter for any insect of small or moderate size to escape his attack.
Nor is the larva of this Beetle a whit behind the perfect insect in its predaceous propensities. It is about an inch in length, and lives in a cylindrical burrow, which it digs into the ground to the depth of a foot or more. In this it can ascend and descend at pleasure, but usually remains with its head at the aperture watching for the approach of any unlucky small insect, which it immediately seizes, and drags down into the recesses of its den, there to be devoured at leisure. When full-grown it closes the mouth of its burrow, and descending to the bottom, undergoes its change to the pupa state.
[Fig 154. Larva of Tiger Beetle.]
[Fig 155. Locust.]
The young of the Orthoptera, to which the Locusts belong, resemble their parents when they quit the egg, except that they are destitute of the wings with which the latter are usually provided ; they continue growing and changing their skins, becoming more and more like the perfect insects after each moult, until in their last preparatory dress they exhibit the marks of their folded wings upon the integuments of the thoracic segments ; and on casting off their last temporary coat, the wings soon acquire their proper dimensions.
The female dragon-fly deposits her eggs in the water, usually on the stems of aquatic plants, to which she clings above the surface, and then immerses her abdomen as far as she can reach. The larvae hatched from these eggs possess six well-developed legs, and present a distant and rather ugly resemblance to the perfect insect : the pupae also, which still move about, and feed voraciously, scarcely exhibit a much closer approach to the fly itself.
In their preparatory states, which are always passed in the water, these insects are engaged in a perpetual war of destruction with the weaker inhabitants of their domain, and although the larvae and pupae are exceedingly sluggish animals, they are furnished with a peculiar apparatus of prehension in the lower lip, which renders them formidable, not only to worms and 1arvae of other insects but even to small fishes.
The grubs which devour the first green leaves of our gooseberry bushes early in Spring, are those of the gooseberry saw—fly. . The injury they do to the leaves prevents the production of fruit. These grubs are of a pale green, covered with minute black tubercles, each of which bears a small hair at its summit. They are always found in companies, sometimes a thousand of them on a single bush.
In about ten days they complete their growth, descend into the ground beneath the bushes, enclose themselves in a cocoon, and change to a pupa. They remain a fortnight in this condition after which they emerge in their perfect state, that of a fly, about a third of an inch long, of a yellow colour, with a black head and thorax, antenna composed of nine joints, long, slender, and tapering, and wings rather of large size, transparent and reticulated.
The fly deposits its eggs along the course of the principal veins on the lower surface of the leaf, where they are placed rather close together like rows of minute beads ; the pupae proceeding from the second brood of larva pass the winter in the earth, and the perfect insects do not emerge from them until about the month of March in the following year.
The larva of the Lepidoptera, which are commonly known as caterpillars, are almost all herbivorous, and their voracity is so great that they are amongst the most formidable enemies to vegetation, especially when they occur in unusual numbers. They feed for the most part upon leaves, but a few species live in the interior of the stems of trees and plants, devouring the wood or pith. A few also are destructive to preserved animal substances, of which the clothes—moths are examples.
[Fig 156. The Clothes-Moth.]
After changing their skins several times, the Lepidoptera undergo their transformation to the pupa state, for which purpose the caterpillars of some species bury themselves in the earth, whilst others suspend themselves by means of their silky secretion either to the plants on which they have been feeding, or in some sheltered situation about walls, palings, or houses. Some of them enclose themselves in a complete cocoon of this material ; others are only suspended by the tail, or by a few threads placed across the body, and attached to the object from which they hang.
[Fig 157. Scales of Moths and Butterflies, highly magnified.]
One of the most striking peculiarities of butterflies and moths consists in the nature of their wings which are four in number, of large size, membranous, and
traversed by a considerable number of veins running in a longitudinal direction.
The wings are usually covered all over, and on both surfaces, with minute scales, which are often of singular forms, and of the most varied colours ; they have a slender stalk, but towards the apex they become more or less widened, usually acquiring somewhat the form of a battle-dore - their surface is traversed by numerous delicate lines, by the action of which upon the light the splendid metallic tints exhibited by many butterflies are produced. In most of the Lepidoptera they are placed close together, and lie over each other like the tiles on the roof of a house.
Insects’ eggs are not all of an oval form like those of birds, but some are like a pear, some like an orange, some like a pyramid and some like a flask.
The eggs of the gnat for instance, may be compared in shape, to that of a powder-flask, and the mother gnat lays about three-hundred at a time. Now each egg, by itself, would sink to the bottom of the water; so the gnat puts the whole three-hundred together in the form of a little boat, and in such a way, that they will all swim on the surface of the water. (See cut 151, at the head of this Lesson, and the note underneath, referring to the operations of the Gnat.)
[Fig 158. Larva of the Gnat, magnified.]
USES OF INSECTS.—(THE NEW SILKWORM.)
[Fig 159. New Silkworm Moth, (Saturnia Cynthia,) Caterpillar, and Cocoon on a
branch of the Ailanthus.]
Bombyx — the genus of insects to which the silkworm belongs.
Acclimatised -_adapted to a climate different to its own.
MANY experiments have been made to introduce the culture of silk into England, but hitherto without success. Commercially speaking, the chances of the mulberry silkworm ever being made a profitable investment in this country are as remote as ever.
The silkworms of Europe have been stricken with disease, at various stages of their growth, which has carried them off by millions and millions, before they reached the spinning point. The cause of the malady is not quite clear ; crowding of the worm in insufficiently ventilated silkworm-houses ; adverse seasons, affecting the health either of the caterpillars themselves, or of the trees on whose leaves they feed ; the taking of the eggs (or the grain, as our continental friends call it) from moths which have had their silk wound from them, instead of passing the whole of their time in the cocoon ; these and other causes of failure have been suggested, without leading to the discovery of a remedy.
As in the case of the potato disease, endeavours have been made to find a substitute for the organism which appears to be lingering under a damaged constitution. No substitute for the potato has been found ; to replace the silkworm appeared even more difficult. If soil and atmosphere are congenial, a plant will thrive ; but an insect requires more ; it must be fed. The feeding part is the only reason why silk cannot be profitably cultivated in the British islands. Shelter, temperature, dryness, moisture and attendance, are, as far as can be ascertained, quite sufficiently at our command to ensure success.
But the delicate white mulberry—tree, whose leaves must constitute the food of the ravenous larva, refuses to adapt itself to our short and cloudy summers. It cannot ripen its wood to resist winter frosts, and it drags along a pitiable sickly existence when subjected to the severe process of being stripped of its leaves, which often proves fatal. Even in the climate of Italy, the mulberry-trees, stripped for silkworms, are obliged to be treated with the greatest care, to be swathed with wet hay-bands, suffered to rest alternate seasons, and, in short, to be tended like invalids whose life is at the same time valuable and precarious.
For some years past attempts have been made, especially in France, and Italy, to introduce new species of silkworms, better adapted to the climate of Europe than those which have so long yielded their cocoons to the spinner and weaver, more robust in constitution, and feeding on vegetables less delicate than the mulberry. These attempts, after many failures, seem at present likely to be crowned with success.
In 1857-8, M. Guerin Meneville introduced a bombyx, a native of China, which feeds on the leaves of the Ailanthus glandulosus, a very vigorous, hardy tree, which was introduced into Europe a hundred years ago, which cares nothing for our winters, and which throughout summer produces an abundance of large, pinnacled, somewhat coarse leaves ; but what is that to us, so long as the silkworms like them ? It is a favourite as an ornamental town tree, partly on account of its handsome carriage, and partly because it offers considerable resistance to the noxious influences to which plants are exposed in towns. It is not nice about soil or aspect.
Its lofty stature is an inconvenience both for the gathering of its leaves, and for allowing the caterpillars to feed on at liberty in the open air ; but then it submits to be cut down, sending up plenty of stout suckers from the stump, so that it is easily kept in a bushy state which allows the formation of ailanthus thickets or shrubberies. You may see healthy trees in the Boulevards of Paris ; but, what is of the greatest importance, the ailanthus makes itself quite as much at home in England as in France. Of the waggon-loads of leaves it would give with the apronfuls to be had from the mulberry, there is no comparison.
The first great point is, therefore, gained - sure and abundant pasture for the silkworms. The climates of Paris and of a great part of England are sufficiently similar to make it highly probable that any living creature which thrives in the one will do so in the other, especially when it is of a kind which may be sheltered in buildings during the whole of its existence.
Some time ago M. Guerin Menevi11e was received by the Emperor of the French to announce to his Majesty the introduction and the acclimatation in France of a new Chinese silkworm, which gives two crops of cocoons per annum, lives in the open air on a hardy tree, and produces a very strong silky material, which has served for centuries in China as the clothing of entire populations. Success, then, being certain, he prayed to be allowed to make a final experiment on a large scale, in order to convince agriculturists that they might make handsome profits by rearing the new domestic insect stranger.
M. Menevil1e holds that a species cannot be regarded as acclimatised until it is demonstrated that it can live in the locality to which it is introduced as well as in its native country ; that its produce can be turned to a useful purpose; and that agriculturists will find their advantage in rearing or raising it on an extensive scale. The first two points were proved after the conclusion of the season of 1858 ; for the new Chinese silkworm had attained several generations in France ; and its silk, both in the thread and woven, both unbleached and dyed, manufactured in Alsace, was laid before his imperial majesty.
The ailanthus cocoons furnish carded silk which is superior, both in lustre and strength, to that obtained from those out of which mulberry silkworms have eaten their way. Now, carded silk is a textile material in great request by manufacturers. France consumes a great deal more than she produces, having imported, in 1858, nearly two and a half millions of pounds. The town of Roubaix alone employs considerably more than three hundred thousand pounds a year in the manufacture of her famous fancy goods, which are composed of a mixture of carded silk and wool, thread, cotton, &c.
Be it understood, however, that the silk of the ailanthus caterpillar is not expected to supersede that of the mulberry. It is comparatively inferior in quality ; it has not the brilliant lustre of the best silks to which we are accustomed. Moreover, the cocoons have not as yet yielded to the treatment applied to mulberry cocoons ; they have not been reeled off in skeins, but only carded, and then spun.
In January, 1860, M. Meneville exhibited to the Academy of Sciences four specimens of stuff woven in China, with threads of ailanthus cocoons ; their inspection led to the belief that the Chinese have discovered a method of reeling off the raw silk from the cocoon in skeins. If the same result is attained in Europe, of which there can hardly be a doubt, the produce of this new branch of agriculture will be at least tripled. Still, the new silk (to be called ailantine) promises to become an important article of commerce.
Its easy culture, the wide range of country throughout which it may be grown, and its consequently moderate price, destine it for the daily usages of the great masses of the population. Manufacturers have never enough silk, nor enough cotton ; and it is probable that many years will elapse before they have enough ailantine, when once it finds its way into the general market. It takes most dyes well; it is strong, and must be cheap. It will be the silk for work-days and for working—people.
The cocoons of the ailanthus silkworms are oval ; their colour is exactly that of a dead leaf. The caterpillar is larger than the mulberry silkworm. It is of a mealy green, very difficult to describe, marked with black spots. Its spiny tubercles are bluish green. The feet, head, and the last segment of the body are light yellow ; in short, it is as pretty a caterpillar as you would wish to see. The moth is clad in more sombre hues than those of the caterpillar, although in appearance and size it is superior in every respect to the mulberry moth.
The following observations on this subject occur in "The Technologist" for July, 1862:
In the temperate portions of Europe, where the climate, as in England, parts of France and Holland, will not admit of the growth of cotton, the Ailanthus may be cultivated so as to yield the following results. Taking a French hectare, equal to about 2 English acres, as the basis of calculation, the outlay to be incurred would be :
Purchase of 2 and a half acres of poor land - £8
Total cost of planting the Ailante therein, and interest - £12
Total - £20
While the annual produce commencing on the fourth year may 1e safely reckoned at from 12 l. to 16 l., that is from 5 l. to 6 l. per year ; a plantation of Mulberry trees yielding the same ratio of produce usually sells in France at from 400 l. to 480 l. the hectare, equal to about 160 l. to 190 l. per acre.
It appears that cotton from Sig, in Algeria, was sold in March last at Liverpool, from 2s. to 2s. 2d. per lb. Now, although the present price of Ailantine is but a trifle higher than this quotation, the intrinsic value of the material is quadruple that of cotton, as regards strength, durability, and beauty. Moreover Ailantine can, as we have already stated, be cultivated anywhere, and in the poorest of 1and,whilst it is well known that the cotton plant can only be grown n warm climates and in well irrigated fertile soils.
[Fig 16O Sea Anemones, &c
a. Bunodes coronata. b. Cerianthus Lloydii. c. Halcampa chrysanthellum.
d. Edwardsia callimorpha. e. Edwardsia carnea.]
ANNELIDA, RADIATA, AND ANIMALCULA, ETC.
( CENTIPEDES, WORMS ; STAR-FISHES, ZOOPHYTES, ETC.)
Decomposed - separated into parts by decay.
Luminous - emitting light.
Submarine - beneath the sea.
Problematical - questionable.
Labyrinth - a place or thing of intricate winding passages or pores.
THE Class of animals called MYRIAP0DA, ten-thousand-footed, are confined to two families, the Millepedes, (thousand footed) and the Centipedes, (hundred footed) ; the former feeders on vegetable matter, the latter carnivorous and rapacious.
[Fig 161. Millepedes.]The millepedes are distinguished by their nearly cylindrical form, their slow, gliding motion, produced by the alternate action of their very numerous little feet, which sometimes amount to more than a hundred, and their habit of rolling themselves into a close spiral when touched. They resort to dark and damp places, such as under stones and moss, and still more commonly beneath the bark, and in the wood of decayed trees. They are considered harmless, feeding on decomposed vegetable substances. Most of the species emit a very rank, disa.reeab1e odour.
[Fig 162. Centipede.]
The centipedes are much better known, and oftener seen ; they have a large flattened body with many joints, usually hard and polished; the hindmost feet are long, and directed backwards. They crawl with great swiftness in pursuit of their insect prey, but generally avoid the light.
Several small species are common in our gardens, but in hot climates they grow to a great size, and are much dreaded. Some of the tropical species are more than a foot long, and very venomous ; the second pair of feet terminates in a strong claw, which is pierced at the point like a serpent’s fang, and emits a poisonous fluid into the wound which it makes : the bite of these, though rarely fatal, is more powerful than the sting of the scorpion. Some of the centipedes, are luminous.
[Fig 163. Leech.]
[Fig 164. Mouth of Leech.]
The Class ANNELIDA (ringed worms) is a numerous one ; its most common representatives are the leech and the earth-worm. The appetite of the leech for blood has been turned by man into a valuable means of alleviating human suffering.
The use of the earth-worm is thus described by White in his Natural History of Selborne.
"Earth-worms, though in appearance a small and despicable link In the chain of nature, yet, if lost, would make a lamentable chasm. For, to say nothing of half the birds, and some quadrupeds, which are almost entirely supported-by them, worms seem to be great promoters of vegetation, by boring, perforating, and loosening the soil, and rendering it pervious to rains and fibres of plants, by drawing straws and stalks of leaves and twigs into it, and, most of all, by throwing up such infinite numbers of lumps of earth called worm-casts, which being excrement, is a fine manure for grain and grass."
Other Annelida are the sand-worm, called the lug, used as a bait by fishermen, and the sea-mouse from whose sides project bundles of flexible spines, or bristles, of splendid golden hue, on which play, all the tints of the rainbow ; and which as Cuvier observes, "are not inferior in beauty to the plumage of the humming-bird, or to the lustre of the richest gems."
The radiated animals have been divided into several classes. To some of these classes the term Zoophytes, (Animal plants) has been applied, on account of the combined appearance of a group bearing a strong resemblance to the branch of a tree, or bunch of sea-weed.
Every one who has visited the sea shore must have noticed numerous star-shaped animals, with rough coats, strewed on the sand ; these are the star-fish.
Many of the star-fishes have a dense covering of spines, hence they are called ECHINO-DERMATA, hedgehog-skinned. Along the underside of the star-fish, down the centre of each ray is a groove, in which there is a double series of small holes, from each of which a small tube issues, the end being formed like a cupping-glass ; these suckers are so numerous, that, in some species, as many as five thousand have been counted. It is by means of this complicated apparatus that the star-fish walks. In addition to this, the underside of the animal is furnished with numerous small moveable spines, and the whole surface is covered with minute holes, through which the water enters at every point of the body. The mouth is on the underside.
The land has its flowers ; they bloom in our gardens, they adorn our meadows, they perfume the skirts of the forest, they brave the winds that blow around the high mountain peaks, they conceal themselves in the clefts of rocks, or spring forth out of ruins ; wherever a plant can find room, there Flora appears with her lovely gifts.
But the ocean has also its radiate flowers, its asters and pinks, still more wonderful than those of the land, for they are endowed with animal life. In our waters the sea-anemones decorate the submarine landscapes with their gaily coloured petals ; while in the tropical ocean the social reef-building corals are he chief ornaments of its submerged gardens.
Both the sea-anemone, the corals belong to the widespread class of the true polyps, creatures of the simplest construction, occupying nearly the lowest grade in the scale of animal life. In all species the body consists of a cylindrical cavity, opening above in a wide mouth. This is surrounded by a crown of tentacles, which expand and contract at pleasure, and find the hungry polyp in food. Generally fixed immovably to the ground, or at best able to change place but slowly, the polyps are quite incapable of attacking or ensnaring prey, and, like the helpless young of the higher animals, must rest content with the provisions which the sea, like a bounteous parent, conveys within reach of their grasping tentacles.
[Fig 165. Living Sponge.]
The sponges, of which on the British coasts alone more than fifty species are found, belong to those problematical organic forms which stand on the limits between animal and vegetable kingdoms and puzzle the naturalists as to classification. As they are, however, ever, devoid of all sensibility and motion, and offer no trace whatever of animal organization, their proper place seems to be among the marine plants.
The body of a sponge is of very simple construction, consisting of a horny or sometimes stony network, composed of innumerable interlacing spicula connected together so as to form a porous mass, perforated with a labyrinth of holes and passages. This network which may be considered as the skeleton of the sponge, is during life everywhere coated over with a slimy matter, seemingly an inert excretion, reality the chief seat of organization, as from it the of the whole mass proceeds.
TWO MONKEYS AT A FAIR.
Two Monkeys went to Southwark fair,
No critics had a sourer air:
They forced their way through draggled folks,
Who gap’d to catch Jack-pudding’s jokes;
Then took their tickets for the show,
And got by chance, the foremost row.
To see their grave, observing face,
Provok’d a laugh throughout the place.
Brother, says Pug, and turn’d his head,
The rabble’s monstrously ill-bred.
Now through the booth loud hisses ran;
Nor ended till the show began.
The tumbler whirls the flap-flap round,
With somersets he shakes the ground;
The cord beneath the dancer springs;
Aloft in air the vaulter swings;
Distorted now, now prone depends,
Now through his twisted arms ascends:
The crowd, in wonder and delight,
With clapping hands applaud the sight.
With smiles, quoth Pug, if pranks like these
The giant Apes of reason please,
How would they wonder at our arts;
They must adore us for our parts.
High on the twig I’ve seen you cling;
Play, twist and turn in airy ring:
How can those clumsy things, like me,
Fly with a bound from tree to tree ?
But yet, by this applause, we find
These emulators of our kind
Discern our worth, our parts regard,
Who our mean mimics thus reward.
Brother, the grinning mate replies,
In this I grant that Man is wise.
While good example they pursue,
We must allow some praise is due;
But when they strain beyond their guide,
I laugh to scorn the mimic pride,
For how fantastic is the sight,
To meet men always bolt upright,
Because we sometimes walk on two!
I hate the imitating crew.
- GAY’S FABLES
TO THE BAT.
LITTLE Bat whose airy flight
Fills the evening with delight,
Flit, and flirt, and frisk along,
Subject of my buoyant song.
When in dappled twilight gray,
Through the sombre grove I stray,
While the songster’s tuneful throat
Warbles forth its varied note,
‘Thwart my dusky footsteps fly,
Adding dance to minstrelsy.
Now along the glittering stream,
Now beneath the moon’s pale beam,
Now amid the vista’s shade,
Thou thy giddy circles lead;
Joyous elf ! thy fairy play
Glads the gloom of parting day.
- Gentleman’s Magazine.
TO A MOUSE.
WEE, sleekit, cow’rin’, timorous beastie,
0, what a panic’s in thy breastie !
Thou need na start awa’ so hasty,
Wi’ bickerin’ brattle !
I wad be laith to rin and chase thee!
Wi’ murd’rin’ pattle.
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social unions
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An’ fellow mortal!
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin’,
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
A’ foggage green !
An’ bleak December’s win’s ensuin’,
Baith snell and keen.
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin’ fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash ! the cruel coulter pass’d
Out through thy celL
That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble
An’ cranreuch cauld!
But, mousie, tho art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice and men
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
For promis’d joy.
[sleekit - sleek, sly; brattle - a short race or hurry;
pattle - a ploughstaff; Big - Build; snell - Bitter, biting;
thole - suffer, endure; cranreuch - the hoar-frost; a-gley - wrong.]
ULYSSES AND HIS DOG.
THUS, near the gate conferring as they drew,
Argus, the dog, his ancient master knew;
He, not unconscious of the voice and tread,
Lifts to the sound his ear, and rears his head;
Bred by Ulysses, nourish’d at his board,
But, ah ! not fated long to please his lord!
To him, his swiftness and his strength were vain;
The voice of glory call’d him o’er the main.
Till then in every sylvan chase renown’d,
With Argus, Argus, rung the woods around;
With him the youth pursued the goat or fawn,.
Or trac’d the mazy leveret o’er the lawn.
Now left to man’s ingratitude he lay,
Unhous’d, neglected in the public way;
And where on heaps the rich manure was spread,
Obscene, with reptiles took his sordid bed.
He knew his lord, - he knew, and strove to meet;
In vain he strove, to crawl, and kiss his feet;
Yet (all he could) his tail, his ears, his eyes,
Salute. his master and confess his joys.
Soft pity touch’d the mighty master’s soul,
Adown his cheek a tear unbidden stole.
The Dog, whom Fate had granted to behold
His lord, when twenty tedious years had roll’d,
Takes a last look, and, having seen him, dies;
So clos’d for ever faithful Argus’ eyes!
- POPE’S HOMER, Odyssey Book xvii
ANIMALS OF THE EAST.
WHERE sacred Ganges pours along the plain
And Indus rolls to swell the eastern main,
What awful scenes the curious mind delight !
What wonders burst upon the dazzled sight !
There giant-palms lift high their tufted heads ;
The plantain wide his graceful foliage spreads ;
Wild in the woods the active monkey springs ;
The chattering parrot claps her painted wings ;
'Mid tall bamboos lies hid the deadly snake ;
The tiger couches in the tangled brake ;
The spotted axis bounds in fear away;
The leopard darts on his defenceless prey;
'Mid reedy pools and ancient forests rude.
Cool, peaceful haunts of awful solitude!
The huge rhinoceros rends the crashing boughs;
And stately elephants untroubled browse :
Two tyrant-seasons rule the wide domain -
Scorch, with dry heat, - or drench, with floods of rain;
Now feverish herds rush maddening o’er the plains;
And cool in, shady streams their throbbing. veins;
The birds drop lifeless from the silent spray,
And Nature faints beneath the fiery day.
Then bursts the deluge on the sinking shore,
And teeming Plenty empties all her store.
THE LION AND THE GIRAFFE.
WOULDST thou view the Lion’s den ?
Search afar from haunts of men, -
Where the reed-encircled fountain
Oozes from the rocky mountain,
By its verdure far descried
'Mid the desert brown and wide.
Close beside the sedgy brim
Couchant lurks the Lion grim,
Waiting till the close of day
Brings again the destin’d prey;
Heedless at the ambush’d brink
The tall Giraffe stoops down to drink:
Upon him straight the savage springs
With cruel joy ! - The desert rings
With clanging sound of desperate strife -
For the prey is strong and strives for life ;
Now, plunging, tries with frantic bound,
To shake the tyrant to the ground;
Then bursts like whirlwind through the waste,
In hope to 'scape by headlong haste;
While the destroyer on his prize
Rides proudly tearing as he flies.
For life, the victim’s utmost speed
Is muster’d in this hour of need -
For life - for life - his giant might
He strains, and pours his soul in flight;
And mad with terror, thirst, and pain,
Spurns with wild hoof the thundering plain.
'Tis vain ; - the thirsty sands are drinking
His streaming blood - his strength is sinking;
The victor’s fangs are in his veins -
His flanks are streak’d with sanguine stains;
His panting breast in foam and gore
Is bath’d :- he reels — his race is o’er!
He falls and, with convulsive throe,
Resigns his throat to the raging foe:
Who revels amidst his dying moans:
While gathering round, to pick his bones,
The vultures watch, in gaunt array,
Till the gorg’d monarch quits his prey.
- T. PRINGLE.
THE ARAB TO HIS FAVOURITE STEED
My beautiful ! my beautiful ! thou standest meekly by
With thy proudly arch’d and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye;
Fret not to roam the desert now, with all thy winged speed,
I may not mount on thee again - thou’rt sold, my Arab steed!
Fret not with that impatient hoof, snuff not the breezy wind,,
The further that thou fliest now, so far am I behind :
The stranger hath thy bridle-rein - thy master hath his gold
Fleet-limb’d and beautiful ! farewell ! thou’rt sold, my steed, thou’rt sold!
Farewell ! those free untir’d limbs full many a mile must roam,
To reach the chill and wintry sky which clouds the stranger’s home:
Some other hand, less fond, must now thy corn and bed prepare,
Thy silky mane, I braided once, must be another’s care!
The morning sun shall dawn again, but never more with thee
Shall I gallop through the desert paths, where we were wont to be:
Evening shall darken on the earth ; and o’er the sandy plain
Some other steed, with slower step, shall bear me home again.
Yes, thou must go ! the wild free breeze, the brilliant sun and sky,
Thy master’s home - from all of these, my exil’d one must fly:
Thy proud dark eye will grow less proud, thy step become less fleet,
And vainly shalt thou arch thy neck, thy master’s hand to meet.
Only in sleep shall I behold that dark eye glancing bright;
Only in sleep shall hear again that step so firm and light ;
And when I raise my dreaming arm to check or cheer thy speed,
Then must I, starting, wake to feel, - thou’rt sold, my Arab steed!
Ah ! rudely then, unseen by me, some cruel hand may chide,
Till foam-wreaths lie, like crested waves, along thy panting side;
And the rich blood that’s in thee swells, in thy indignant pain,
Till careless eyes, which rest on thee, may count each started vein.
Will they ill-use thee ? If I thought - but no, it cannot be -
Thou art so swift, yet easy curb’d ; so gentle, yet so free:
And yet, if haply, when thou’rt gone, my lonely heart should yearn,
Can the hand which cast thee from it now, command thee to return ?
Return ! alas ! my Arab steed ! what shall thy master do,
When thou, who wert his all of joy, hast vanish’d from his view
When the dim distance cheats ! mine eye, and through the gathering tears,
Thy bright form, for a moment, like the false mirage appears;
Slow and unmounted will I roam, with weary step alone,
Where with fleet step and joyous bound thou oft hast borne me on;
And, sitting down by that green well, I’ll pause and sadly think,
It was here he bowed his glossy neck when last I saw him. drink!
When last I saw him drink ! - Away, the fever’d dream is o’er,
I could not live a day, and know that we should meet no more!
They tempted me, my beautiful ! for hunger’s power is strong,
They tempted me, my beautiful ! but I have lov’d too long.
Who said that I had given thee up ? who said that thou wert sold?
'Tis false 'tis false, my Arab steed ! I fling them back their gold!
Thus, thus I leap upon thy back, and scour the distant plains;
Away ! who overtakes us now, shall claim thee for his pains!
- MRS. NORTON.
SURVEY the warlike horse ! didst thou invest
With thunder his robust, distended chest ?
No sense of fear his dauntless form allays;
'Tis dreadful to behold his nostrils blaze:
To paw the vale he proudly takes delight,
And triumphs in the fulness of his might ;
High-rais’d, he snuffs, the battle from afar,
And burns to plunge amid the raging war:
He mocks at death, and throws his foam around,
And in a storm of fury shakes the ground.
How does his firm, his rising heart, advance
Full on the brandish’d sword, and shaken lance;
While his fix’d eye-balls meet the dazzling shield,
Gaze, and return the lightning of the field!
He sinks the sense of pain in gen’rous pride,
Nor feels the shaft that trembles in his side;
But neighs to the shrill trumpet’s dreadful blast,
Till death, and when he groans, he groans his last!
HORSES IN COUNCIL.
UPON a time a neighing steed,
Wo graz’d among a num’rous breed,
With mutiny had fir’d the train,
And spread dissension through the plain.
On matters that concern’d the state
The council met in grand debate.
A colt, whose eye-balls flam’d with ire,
Elate with strength and youthful fire,
In haste stept forth before the rest,
And thus the list’ning throng addrest.
Good Gods ! how abject is our race,
Condemn’d to slav’ry and disgrace!
Shall we our servitude retain,
Because our sires have borne the chain ?
Consider, friends, your strength and might;
'Tis conquest to assert your right.
How cumbrous is the gilded coach!
The pride of man is our reproach.
Were we design’d for daily toil,
To drag the plough-share through the soil,
To sweat in harness through the road,
To groan beneath the carrier’s load ?
How feeble are the two-legg’d kind!
What force is in our nerves combin’d!
Shall then our nobler jaws submit
To foam and champ the galling bit ?
Shall haughty man my back bestride ?
Shall the sharp spur provoke my side ?
Forbid it, heav’ns! Reject the rein;
Your shame, your infamy disdain.
Let him the Lion first controul,
And still the Tiger’s famish’d growl.
Let us, like them, our freedom claim,
And make him tremble at our name.
A general nod approv’d the cause,
And all the circle neigh’d applause.
When, lo ! with grave and solemn pace,
A Steed advanc’d before the race,
With age and long experience wise;
Around he cast his thoughtful eyes,
And, to the murmurs of the train,
Thus spoke the Nestor of the plain.
When I had health and strength, like you,
The toils of servitude I knew;
Now grateful man rewards my pains,
And gives me all these wide domains.
At will I crop the year’s increase;
My latter life is rest and peace.
I grant to man we lend our pains,
And aid him to correct the plains.
But doth not he divide the care,
Through all the labours of the year ?
How many thousand structures rise,
To fence us from inclement skies !
For us he bears the sultry day,
And stores up all our winter’s hay.
He sows, he reaps the harvest’s gain;
We share the toil, and share the grain.
Since ev’ry creature was decreed
To aid each other’s mutual need,
Appease your discontented mind,
And act the part by heav’n assign’d.
The tumult ceas’d. The colt submitted,
And, like his ancestors, was bitted.
- GAY’S FABLES.
CALM amid scenes of havock, in his own
Huge strength impregnable, the Elephant
Offendeth none, but leads a quiet life
Among his own cotemporary trees,
Till nature lays him gently down to rest
Beneath the palm, which he was wont to make
His prop in slumber ; there his relics lay
Longer than life itself had dwelt within them.
Bees in the ample hollow of his skull
Pile their wax citadels, and store their honey;
Thence sally forth to forage through the fields,
And swarm in emigrating legions thence;
There, little burrowing animals throw up
Hillocks beneath the overarching ribs;
While birds, within the spinal labyrinth
Contrive their nests :- So wandering Arabs pitch
Their tents amid Palmyra’s palaces;
So Greek and Roman peasants build their huts
Beneath the shadows of the Parthenon,
Or on the ruins of the Capitol.
LAMBS AT PLAY.
SAY ye that know, ye wh1o have felt and seen,
Spring’s morning smiles, and soul-enlivening green,
Say, did you give the thrilling transport way ?
Did your eye brighten, when young lambs at play
Leap’d o’er your path with animated pride,
Or grazed in merry clusters by your side ?
Ye who can smile, to wisdom no disgrace,
At the arch meaning of a kitten’s face;
If spotless innocence, and infant mirth,
Excite to praise, or give reflection birth,
In shades like these pursue your favourite joy,
Mid Nature’s revels, sports that never cloy.
A few begin a short but vigorous race,
And indolence abashed soon flies the place;
Then challeng’d forth, see thither one by one,
From every side assembling playmates run;
A thousand wily antics mark their stay,
A starting crowd, impatient of delay.
Like the fond dove, from fearful prison freed,
Each seems to say, "Come, let us try our speed ;"
Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong,
The green turf trembling as they bound along;
Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb,
Where every molehill is a bank of thyme;
There panting stop : yet scarcely can refrain,
A bird, a leaf, will set them off again :
Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Scattering the wild-brier roses into snow,
Their little limbs increasing efforts try
Like the torn flower, the fair assemblage fly.
Ah, fallen rose ! sad emblem of their doom;
Frail as thyself, they perish while they bloom!
ANIMALS HAPPY, A DELIGHTFUL SIGHT.
HERE unmolested, through whatever sign
The sun proceeds, I wander. Neither mist
Nor freezing sky, nor sultry, checking me,
Nor stranger, intermeddling with my joy.
* * * * *
Drawn from his refuge in some lonely elm,
That age or injury has hollowed deep,
Where on his bed of wool and matted leaves,
He has outslept the winter, ventures forth
To frisk a while, and bask in the warm sun,
The squirrel, flippant, pert, and full of play;
He sees me, and at once, swift as bird,
Ascends the neighbouring beech ; where whisks his brush
And perks his ears, and stamps and cries aloud
With all the prettiness of feign’d alarm,
And anger insignificantly fierce.
The heart is hard in nature, and unfit
For human fellowship, as being void
Of sympathy and therefore dead alike
To love and friendship both, that is not pleas'd
With sight of animals enjoying life,
Nor feels their happiness augment his own.
The bounding fawn that darts across the glade
When none pursues, through mere delight of heart,
And spirits buoyant with excess of glee;
The horse as wanton, and almost as fleet,
That skims the spacious meadow at full speed,
Then stops and snorts, and throwing high his heels,
Starts to the voluntary race again;
The very kine, that gambol at high noon,
The total herd receiving first from one,
That leads the dance, a summons to be gay,
Though wild their strange vagaries, and uncouth
Their efforts, yet resolv’d with one consent
To give such act and utterance, as they may,
To ecstacy too big to be suppress’d -
These, and a thousand images of bliss,
With which kind Nature graces every scene,
Where cruel man defeats not her design,
Impart to the benevolent, who wish
All that are capable of pleasure pleased;
A far superior happiness to theirs,
The comfort of a reasonable joy.
YE birds that fly through the fields of air,
What lessons of wisdom and truth ye bear ;
Ye would teach our souls from the earth to rise ;
Ye would bid us all grovelling scenes despise ;
Ye would tell us that all its pursuits are vain
That pleasure is toil — ambition is pain, -
That its bliss is touched with a poisoning leaven ;
Ye would teach us to fix our aim in heaven.
Beautiful Birds of lightsome wing,
Bright creatures that come with the voice of Spring;
We see you arrayed in the hues of the morn,
Yet ye dream not of pride, and ye wist not of scorn!
Though rainbow-splendour around you glows,
Ye vaunt not the beauty which nature bestows;
Oh ! what a lesson for glory are ye,
How ye preach the grace of humility!
Swift Birds that skim o’er the stormy deep,
Who steadily onward your journey keep,
Who neither rest nor slumber stay,
But press still forward, by night or day -
As in your unwearying Course ye fly
Beneath the clear and unclouded sky;
Oh ! may we, without delay, like you,
The path of duty and right pursue.
Sweet Birds that breathe the spirit of song,
And surround Heaven’s gate in melodious throng,
Who rise with the earliest beams of day,
Your morning tribute of thanks to pay ;
You remind us that we should likewise raise
The voice of devotion and song of praise ;
There’s something about you that points on high,
Ye beautiful tenants of earth and sky !
- W. C. THOMPSON.
A BIRD’S NEST.
IT wins my admiration,
To view the structure of this little work,
A bird’s nest. Mark it well, within, without;
No tool had he that wrought, no knife to cut,
No nail to fix, no bodkin. to insert,
No glue to join : his little beak was all,
And yet how neatly finished. What nice hand,
With every implement and means of art,
And twenty year' apprenticeship to boot,
Could make me such another ? Fondly then
We boast of excellence, whose noblest skill
Instinctive genius foils.
THE FISH-HAWK, OR OSPREY.
SOON as the Sun, great ruler of the year,
Bends to our northern climes his bright career,
And from the caves of ocean calls from sleep
The finny shoals and myriads of the deep ;
When freezing tempests back to Greenland ride,
And day and night the equal hours divide ;
True to the season, o’er our sea-beat shore,
The sailing osprey high is seen to soar,
With broad unmoving wing ; and circling slow,
Marks each loose straggler in the deep below ;
Sweeps down like lightning ! plunges with a roar!
And bears his struggling victim to the shore.
The long-housed fisherman beholds with joy,
The well-known signals of his rough employ,
And, as he bears his nets and oars along,
Thus hails the welcome season with a song :-
THE FISHERMAN’S HYMN.
The osprey sails above the sound,
The geese are gone, the gulls are flying;
The herring shoals swarm thick around,
The nets are launch’d, the boats are plying;
Yo ho, my hearts ! let’s seek the deep,
Raise high the song, and cheerly wish her,
Still as the bending net we sweep,
"God bless the Fish-hawk and the Fisher !"
She brings us fish, - she brings us Spring,
Good times, fair weather, warmth, and plenty,
Fine store of shad, trout, herring, ling,
Sheepshead, and drum, and old wives’ dainty.
Yo ho, my hearts ! let’s seek the deep,
Ply every oar, and cheerly wish her,
Still as the bending net we sweep,
"God bless the Fish-hawk and the Fisher !"
She rears her young on yonder tree,
She leaves her faithful mate to mind ‘em ;
Like us, for fish, she sails to sea,
And plunging, shows us where to find ‘em.
Yo ho, my hearts ! let’s seek the deep,
Ply every oar and cheerlv wish her,
While the slow-bending ne we sweep,
" God bless the Fishhawk and the Fisher !"
- ALEXANDER WILSON.
YE gentle birds, that perch aloof,
And smooth your pinions on my roof,
Preparing for departure hence,
Ere Winter’s angry threats commence;
Like you, my soul would smooth her plume,
For longer flights beyond the tomb.
May God, by whom is seen and heard
Departing man and wandering bird,
In mercy mark me for His own,
And guide me to the land unknown!
— BIRDS, the free tenants of land; air, and ocean,
Their forms all symmetry, their motions grace ;
In plumage, delicate and beautiful,
Thick without burthen, close as fishes’ scales,
Or loose as full-blown poppies to the breeze ;
With wings that might have had a soul within them,
They bore their owners by such sweet enchantment ;
- Birds, small and great, of endless shapes and colours,
Here flew and perch’d, there swam and dived at pleasure,
Watchful and agile uttering voices wild
And harsh, yet in accordance with the waves
Upon the beach, the winds in caverns moaning,
Or winds and waves abroad upon the water.
Some sought their food among the finny shoals,
Swift darting from the clouds, emerging soon
With slender captives glittering in their beaks;
These in recesses of steep crags constructed
Their eyries inaccessible, and train'd
Their hardy broods to forage in all weathers:
Others more gorgeously apparell’d dwelt
Among the woods, on Nature’s dainties feeding,
Herbs, seeds, and roots ; or, ever on the wing,
Pursuing insects through the boundless air:
In hollow trees or thickets these conceal’d
Their exquisitely woven nests ; where lay
Their callow offspring, quiet as the down
On their own breasts, till from her search the dam
With laden bill return’d, and shared the meal
Among her clamorous suppliants, all agape;
Then, cowering o’er them with expanded wings,
She felt how sweet it is to be a mother.
Of these, a few, with melody untaught,
Tun’d all the air to music within hearing,
Themselves unseen ; while border quiristers
On loftiest branches strained their clarion pipes,
And made the forest echo to their screams
Discordant, - yet there was no discord there,
But temper d harmony ; all tones combining,
In the rich confluence of ten thousand tongues,
To tell of joy and to inspire it.
- MONTGOMERY’S PELICAN ISLAND.
WHEN Martin Luther saw once a sparrow, he exclaimed,
"Thou art my dear doctor of divinity, for thou teachest me
God’s power, and goodness, and wisdom, and his wonderful providence."
Every morning Doctor Sparrow
To my quiet dwelling comes,
Where he makes a hearty breakfast,
For I give him nice soft crumbs ;
In return he often preaches
Little sermons unto me ;
And if you could only hear them,
"Words in season" they might be.
Doctor Sparrow is not handsome;
Very plainly is he drest ;
Far from home he never travels,
Nor can build a pretty nest.
He is not a clever songster,
And has fewer friends than foes ;
But his life is free from sadness,
And a care he never knows.
Arid yet Doctor Sparrow daily
Has his every meal to seek ;
For he cannot on the Monday
Get enough to last the week ;
And sometimes in depth of winter,
When the snow is on the ground,
Any tasty little morsel
Is with difficulty found.
But the sparrow’s wants are always
By his Maker’s hand supplied ;
And the lark, and thrush, and goldfinch,
Are provided for beside ;
Oh, if God thus kindly feeds them,
Keeps them ever in his view,
Will you not believe, my reader,
That He surely cares for you ?
Look at Doctor Sparrow’s garments,
Sober coloured, but how trim!
Mark his coat, so smooth and glossy,
Such a perfect fit for him !
Twice a year he gets a new one,
Without any bill to pay;
Will not He who robes the sparrow,
Clothe his children day by day
Smile not at the doctor’s lessons,
Nor be with their teacher vext;
For God made the humble sparrow,
And Christ chose it for his text.
Be contented, gay, and trustful;
Look to Heaven in time of need;
Are ye not of much more value
Than the sparrows God doth feed ?
- W.H. in Sunshine
[refs Matt. x. 29; Luke xii. 6,7.]
TO THE SKYLARK.
HAIL to thee, blithe spirit !
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher,
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O’er which clouds are brigh'ning,
Thou dost float and run,
Like an unnembodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even
Melts around they flight ;
Like a star of heaven
In the broad daylight,
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear they shrill delight.
Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.
All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.
What thou art, we know not ;
What is most like thee ;
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.
Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not.
Like a highborn maiden
In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower.
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Its aerial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view.
Like a rose embowered
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,
Till the scent it gives,
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine ;
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine,
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Or triumphal chant,
Matched with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt -
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain ?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain ?
What love of thy own kind ? what ignorance of pain ?
With thy clear keen joyance
Langour cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest ; but ne’er knew love’s sad satiety.
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream ?
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joys we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground !
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
- P. B. SHELLEY.
BIRDS OF PASSAGE.
BIRDS, joyous birds of the wandering wing !
Whence is it ye come with the flowers of spring ?
- "We come from the shore of the green old Nile,
From the land where the roses of Sharon smile,
From the palms that wave through the Indian sky,
From the myrrh-trees of glowing Araby.
- "We have swept o’er the cities, in song renown’d, -
Silent they lie, with the deserts round !
We have cross’d proud rivers, whose tide hath roll’d
All dark with the warrior-blood of old;
And each worn wing had regained its home,
Under the peasant’s roof-tree, or monarch’s dome."
And what have ye found in the monarch’s dome,
Since last ye traversed the blue sea’s foam ?
- "We have found a change, we have found a pall,
And a gloom o’ershadowing the banquet’s hail,
And a mark on the floor, as of life-drops spilt, -
- Nought looks the same, save the nest we built !"
Oh joyous birds, it hath still been so !
Through the halls of kings doth the tempest go !
But the huts of the hamlet lie still and deep,
And the hills o’er their quiet a vigil keep.
Say, what have ye found in the peasant’s cot,
Since last ye parted from that sweet spot ?
- "A change we have found there, and many a change !
Faces and footsteps and all things strange !
Gone are the heads of the silvery hair,
And the young that were, have a brow of care,
And the place is hush'd where the children play'd -
- Nought looks the same, save the nest we made !"
Sad is your tale of the beautiful earth,
Birds that o’ersweep it in power and mirth !
Yet, through the wastes of the trackless air,
Ye have a guide, and shall we despair ?
Ye over desert and deep have pass’d -
— So shall we reach our bright home at last!
- MRS HEMANS
THE STORMY PETREL.
A THOUSAND miles from land are we
Tossing about on the roaring sea ;
From billow to bounding billow cast,
Like fleecy snow on the stormy blast :
The sails are scatter’d about like weeds,
The strong masts shake like quivering reeds ;
The mighty cables and iron chains,
The hull which all earthly strength disdains,
They strain and they crack ; and hearts of stone,
Their natural hard proud strength disown.
Up and down ! up and down !
From the base of the wave to the billow’s crown,
Amidst the flashing and feathery foam,
The stormy petrel finds a home ;
A home, if such a place can be
For her who lives on the wide, wide sea,
On the craggy ice, in the frozen air,
And only seeking her rocky lair
To warn her young, and teach them to spring
At once o'er the waves on their stormy wing !
O’er the deep ! o’er the deep!
Where the whale, and the shark, and the swordfish sleep !
Outflying the blast and the driving rain,
The petrel telleth her tale in vain :
For the mariner curseth the warning bird,
Tho bringeth him news of the storm unheard :
Ah ! thus does the prophet of good or ill
Meet hate from the creatures he serveth still;
Yet, he never falters ; so, petrel ! spring
Once more o’er the waves on thy stormy wing.
WHEN Winter’s cold tempests and snows are no more,
Green meadows and brown furrow’d fields re-appearing,
The fishermen hauling their shad to the shore,
And cloud-cleaving geese to the lakes are a-steering ;
When first the lone butterfly flits on the wing,
When red glow the maples, so fresh and so pleasing,
O then comes the Blue-bird, the herald of Spring !
And hails with his warblings the charms of the season.
Then loud-piping frogs make the marshes to ring;
Then warm glows the sunshine, and fine is the weather ;
The blue woodland flowers just beginning to spring,
And spicewood and sassafras budding together :
O then to your gardens, ye housewives repair,
Your walks border up, sow and plant at your leisure :
The Blue-bird will chant from his box such an air,
That all your hard toils will seem truly a pleasure !
He flits through the orchard, he visits each tree,
The red-flowering peach, and the apple’s sweet blossoms ;
He snaps up destroyers wherever they be,
And seizes the catiffs that lurk in their bosoms ;
He drags the vile grub from the corn it devours,
The worms from the webs, where they riot and welter ;
His song and his services freely are ours,
And all that he asks is - in Summer a shelter.
The ploughman is pleas’d when he gleans in his train,
Now searching the furrows - now mounting to cheer him ;
The gardener delights in his sweet, simple strain ;
And leans on his spade to survey and to hear him;
The slow lingering schoolboys forget they’ll be chid,
While gazing intent as he warbles before them
In mantle of sky—blue, and bosom so red,
That each little loiterer seems to adore him.
When all the gay scenes of the Summer are o’er,
And Autumn slow enters so si1ent and sallow,
And millions of warblers, that charm’d us before,
Have fled in the train of the sun-seeking Swallow ;
The Blue-bird, forsaken, yet true to his home,
Still lingers and looks for a milder to-morrow,
Til1 forc’d by the horrors of Winter to roam,
He sings his adieu in a lone note of sorrow.
While Spring’s lovely season, serene, dewy, warm,
The green face of earth, and the pure blue of heaven,
Or love’s native music have influence to charm,
Or sympathy’s glow to our feelings are given,
Still dear to each bosom the Blue-bird shall be;
His voice, like the thrillings of hope, is a treasure,
For, through bleakest storms, if a calm he but see,
He comes to remind us of sunshine and pleasure.
- ALEXANDER WILSON
AMPHIBIOUS monsters haunted the lagoon ;
The Hippopotamus, amidst the flood,
Flexile and active as the smallest swimmer;
But on the bank, ill-balanc’d and infirm,
He graz’d the herbage, with huge head declin’d,
Or lean’d to rest against some ancient tree.
The Crocodile, the dragon of the waters,
in iron panoply, fell as the plague,
And merciless as famine, cranch’d his prey ;
While from his jaws, with dreadful fangs all serried,
The life-blood dyed the waves with deadly streams.
The Seal and the Sea-lion, from the gulf
Came forth, and, couching with their little ones,
Slept on the shelving rocks that girt the shore,
Securing prompt retreat from sudden danger.
The pregnant Turtle, stealing out at eve,
With anxious eye and trembling heart, explor’d
The loneliest coves, and in the loose warm sand
Deposited her eggs, which the sun hatch’d :
Hence the young brood, that never knew a parent,
Unburrow’d and by instinct sought the sea;
Nature herself, with her own gentle hand,
Dropping them one by one into the flood,
And laughing to behold their antic joy,
When launch’d in their maternal element.
THE Lizard, with his mouse-like eyes,
Peeps from the mortise in surprise
At such strange quiet after day’s harsh din ;
Then ventures boldly out.
And looks about,
And with his hollow feet
Treads his small evening beat,
Darting upon his prey
In such a tricksy, winsome sort of way
His delicate marauding seems no sin.
- MRS E.C. JUDSON.
INHABITANTS OF THE DEEP.
In the free element beneath me swam,
Flounder'd, and dived, in play, in chase, in battle,
Fishes of every colour, form, and kind,
(Strange forms, resplendent colours, kinds unnumber'd,)
Which language cannot paint, and mariner
Hath never seen ; from dread Leviathan,
To insect millions peopling every wave ;
And nameless tribes, half-plant, half-animal,
Rooted and slumbering through a dream of life.
The livelier inmates to the surface sprang.
To taste the freshness of heaven's breath, and feel
That light is pleasant, and the sun-beam warm.
Most in the middle region sought their prey,
Safety, or pastime ; solitary some,
And some in pairs affectionately join'd ;
Others in shoals immense, like floating islands.
Led by mysterious instinct through that waste
And trackless region, though on every side
Assaulted by voracious enemies,
- Whales, sharks, and monsters, arm'd in front or jaw
With swords, saws, spiral horns, or hooked fangs.
While ravening Death of slaughter ne'er grew weary,
Life multiplied the immortal meal as fast.
War, reckless, universal war, prevail'd ;
All were devourers, all in turn devour'd ;
Yet every unit in the uncounted sum
Of victims had its share of bliss, its pang,
And but a pang of dissolution ; each
Was happy till its moment came, and then
Its first, last suffering unforeseen, unfear'd
Closed, with one struggle, pain and life forever.
So He ordain'd, whose way is in the sea,
His path amidst great waters, and His steps
Unknown ;- whose judgments are a mighty deep,
Where plummet of archangel's intellect
Could never yet find soundings, but from age
To age let down, drawn up, then thrown again,
With lengthen'd line and added weight, still fails
And still the cry in Heaven is, "O the depth !"
- MONTGOMERY'S PELICAN ISLAND.
Each rising charm the bounteous stream bestows,
The grass that thickens, and the flower that blows.
And while the vale the humid wealth imbibes,
The fostering wave sustains the finny tribes ;
The carp, with golden scales, in wanton play;
The trout, in crimson-speckled glory gay ;
The red-finned roach, the silver-coated eel ;
The pike, whose haunt the twisted roots conceal ;
The healing tench, the gudgeon, perch, and bream ;
And all the sportive natives of the stream.
I have seen
A curious child applying to his ear
The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell,
To which, in silence hushed, his very soul
Listened intensely; and his countenance soon
Brightened with joy; for murmuring from within
Were heard sonorous cadences, whereby,
To his belief, the monitor express'd
Mysterious union with its native sea.
In Nature's all-instructive book,
Where can the eye of reason look,
And not some gainful lesson find,
To guide and fortify the mind ?
The simple shell on yonder rock
May seem, perchance, this book to mock-
Approach it then, observe its ways.
And learn the lesson it conveys.
At distance viewed, it seems to lie
On its rough bed so carelessly.
That 't would an infant's hand obey
Stretch'd forth to seize it in its play ;
But let that infant's hand draw near.
It shrinks with quick, instinctive fear,
And clings as close as though the stone
It rests upon, and it, were one ;
And should the strongest arm endeavour
The Limpet from its rock to sever,
'Tis seen its loved support to clasp
With such tenacity of grasp,
We wonder that such strength should dwell
In such a small and simple shell !
And is not this a lesson worth
The study of the sons of earth ?
Who need a Rock so much as we ?
Ah ! who to such a Rock can flee ?
A Rock to strengthen, comfort, aid.
To guard, to shelter, and to shade,
A Rock, whence fruits celestial grow,
And whence refreshing waters flow -
No rock is like this Rock of ours !
Oh then if you have learnt your powers
By a just rule to estimate ;
If justly you can calculate,
How great your need, your strength how frail,
How prone your best resolves to fail.
When humble caution bids you fear
A moment of temptation near,
Let wakeful memory recur
To this your simple monitor,
And wisely shun the trial's shock
By clinging closely to your Rock.
- MAYO, on Shells.
THE WORM. - A LESSON OF HUMANITY
Turn, turn thy hasty foot aside,
Nor crush that helpless worm ;
The frame thy wayward looks deride,
from God receiv'd its form.
The common Lord of all that move,
From whom thy being flow'd ;
A portion of his boundless love
On that poor worm bestow'd.
The sun, the moon, the stars he made
To all his creatures free ;
And spreads o'er earth the grassy blade,
For worms as well as thee.
Let them enjoy their little day,
Their humble bliss receive;
Oh! do not lightly take away
The life thou canst not give.
Though numberless these insect tribes of air,
Though numberless each tribe and species fair.
Who wing the noon, and brighten in the blaze,
Innumerous as the sands which bind the seas;
These have their organs, arts, and arms, and tools,
And functions exercised by various rules ;
The saw, axe, auger, trowel, piercer, drill;
The neat alembic, and nectareous still :
Their peaceful hours the loom and distaff know ;
But war, the force and fury of the foe,
The spear, the falchion, and the martial mail,
And artful stratagem, where strength may fail :
Each tribe peculiar occupations claim.
Peculiar beauties deck each varying frame;
Attire and food peculiar are assign'd.
And means to propagate their varying kind.
- HENRY BROOKE
TO A BUTTERFLY
And thou wert once a crawling worm,
A mean, voracious thing of earth ;
Of habits gross - repulsive form -
First taste of life how little worth !
Then cas'd within they dreary tomb,
Days follow'd on, unseen by thee ;
Pent in they narrow cell of gloom,
Unknown thy future destiny.
At length the radiant sun arose
That call'd thee to a world of light ;
And thou didst busrst from they repose,
Plum'd to pursue thy destin'd flight.
Through fields of air with rapture fraught,
'Mid flow'rs - to thee of Paradise -
What joy to thee the morning brought,
That bade that glorioussun arise !
- - - - -
See here thy pictur'ed state, oh man,
Thou art this grov'lling thing of earth ;
Gross sensual, mean, they longest span,
Thy best affections little worth.
Soon in the dark and silent tomb,
How soon thou know'st not! - thou wilt be
There to await the sov'reign doom
That wakes thee to eternity.
Oh ! may that gracious Sun arise
For thee, with healing on his wings -
Thy raptur'd soul, beyond the skies
Will then behold bright, glorious things,
And thou wilt go through fields of air,
'Mid brightest flowers of Paradise ;
Oh ! may'st thou meet they Saviour there -
For thee, oh ! may that Sun arise.
TO A BEE
Thou wert out betimes, thou busy, busy bee!
When abroad I took my early way,
Before the cow from her resting-place
Had risen up, and left her trace
On the meadow, with dew so grey,
I saw thee, thou busy, busy bee.
Thou wert alive, thou busy, busy bee!
When the crowd in their sleep were dead,
Thou wert abroad in the freshest hour,
When the sweetest odour comes from the flower ;
Man will not learn to leave his lifeless bed,
And be wise and copy thee, thou busy, busy bee!
Thou wert working late, thou busy, busy bee!
After the fall of the cistus flower,
I heard the last as I saw thee first,
When the primrose-tree blossom was ready to burst ;
In the coolness of the evening hour,
I heard thee, thou busy, busy bee!
Thou art a miser, thou busy, busy bee!
Late and early at employ ;
Still on thy golden stores intent,
Thy youth in heaping and hoarding is spent,
What thy age will never enjoy ;
I will not copy thee, thou miserly bee!
Thou art a fool, thou busy, busy bee!
Thus for another to toil !
Thy master waits till thy work is done,
Till the latest flowers of the ivy are gone,
And then he will seize the spoil,
And will murder thee, thou poor little bee!
- ROBERT SOUTHEY
THE STAG BEETLE
See the proud giant of the Beetle race ;
What shining arms his polish'd limbs encase !
Like some stern warrior formidably bright,
His steely sides reflect a gleaming light ;
On his large forehead spreading horns he wears,
And high in air the branching antlers bears ;
O'er many an arch extends his wide domain,
And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain.
- MRS. BARBAULD.
Observe the insect race, ordain'd to keep
The lazy sabbath of a half year's sleep ;
Entomb'd beneath the filmy web they lie,
And wait the influence of a kinder sky ;
When vernal sunbeams pierce their dark retreat,
The heaving tomb distends with vital heat ;
The full-form'd brood, impatient of their cell,
Start from their trance, and burst their silken shell ;
Trembling awhile they stand, and scarcely dare
To launch at once upon the untried air ;
At length assur'd, they catch the favouring gale,
And leave their sordid spoils and high in ether sail :
Lo! the bright train their radiant wings unfold,
With silver fring'd, and freckled o'er with gold ;
On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower,
They, idly fluttering, live their little hour !
Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
All Spring their age, and Sunshine all their day.
What atom forms of insect life appear !
And who can follow Nature's pencil there?
Their wings with azure, green, and purple gloss'd,
Studded with colour'd eyes, with gems emboss'd,
Inlaid with pearl, and mark'd with various stains
Of lively crimson, through their dusky veins.
- MRS. BARBAULD.
THE CORAL INSECT.
TOIL on! toil on! ye ephemeral train,
Who build on the tossing and treacherous main ;
Toil on, - for the wisdom of man ye mock ;
With your sand-bas'd structures, and domes of rock ;
Your columns the fathomless fountains lave,
And your arches spring up through the crested wave;
Ye're a puny race, thus to boldly rear
A fabric so vast, in a realm so drear.
Ye bind the deep with your secret zone,
The ocean is seal'd, and the surge a stone ;
Fresh wreaths from the coral pavement spring,
Like the terraced pride of Assyria's king ;
The turf looks green where the breakers roll'd ;
O'er the whirlpool ripens the rind of gold ;
The sea-snatch'd isle is the home of men,
And mountains exult where the wave hath been.
But why do ye plant 'neath the billows dark,
The wrecking reef for the gallant bark?
There are snares enough on the tented field,
'Mid the blossom'd sweets that the valleys yield;
There are serpents to coil, ere the flowers are up;
There's a poison-drop in man's purest cup,
There are foes that watch for his cradle-breath,
And why need ye sow the floods with death?
With mouldering bones the deeps are white,
From the ice-clad pole to the tropics bright ;-
The mermaid hath twisted her fingers cold
With the mesh of the sea-boy's curls of gold,
And the gods of the ocean have frown'd to see
The mariner's bed 'mid their halls of glee ;-
Hath earth no graves, that ye thus must spread
The boundless sea for the thronging dead?
Ye build, - ye build, - but ye enter not in,
Like the tribes whom the desert devour'd in their sin ;
From the land of promise, ye fade and die,
Ere its verdure gleams forth on your weary eye :
As the kings of the cloud-crowned pyramid
Their noteless bones in oblivion hid ;
Ye slumber unmark'd 'mid the desolate main,
While the wonder and pride of your works remain
- L.H. SIGOURNEY
THE CORAL GROVE.
DEEP in the wave is a Coral-grove,
Where the purple mullet and gold-fish rove,
Where the sea-flower spreads its leaves of blue,
That never are wet with falling dew,
But in bright and changeful beauty shine,
Far down in the green and glassy brine.
The floor is of sand, like the mountain-drift,
And the pearl shells spangle the flinty snow ;
From coral rocks the sea-plants lift
Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow :
The water is calm and still below,
For the winds and waves are absent there ;
And the sands are bright as the stars that glow
In the motionless fields of upper air.
There with its waving blade of green,
The sea-flag streams through the silent water ;
And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen
To blush, like a banner bath'd in slaughter :
There with a light and easy motion,
The fan-coral sweeps through the clear deep sea ;
And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean
Are bending like corn on file upland lea:
And life, in rare and beautiful forms,
Is sporting amid those bowers of stone,
And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms
Has made the top of the wave his own :
And when the ship from his fury flies,
Where the myriad voices of ocean roar,
When the wind-god frowns in the murky skies,
And demons are waiting the wreck on shore ;-
Then far below in the peaceful sea,
The purple mullet, and gold-fish rove,
Where the waters murmur tranquilly,
Through the bending twigs of the Coral-grove.
- J.G. PERCIVAL.
ALL NATURE BEAUTIFUL.
Nature in every form is lovely still.
I can admire to ecstacy, although
I be not bower' d in a rustling grove,
Tracing through flowery tufts some twinkling rill,
Or perch' d upon a green and sunny hill,
Gazing upon the sylvanry below,
And harking to the warbling beaks above.
To me the wilderness of thorns and brambles,
Beneath whose weeds the muddy runnel scrambles,-
The bald, burnt moor - the marsh's sedgy shallows,
Where docks, bullrushes, waterflags, and mallows,
Choke the rank waste, alike can yield delight.
A blade of silver hair-grass nodding slowly
In the soft wind, the thistle's purple crown,
The ferns, the rushes tall, and mosses lowly,
A thorn, a weed, an insect, or a stone,
Can thrill me with sensations exquisite -
For all are exquisite, and every part
Points to the Mighty Hand that fashion'd it.
Then as I look aloft with yearning heart,
The trees and mountains, like conductors, raise
My spirit upward on its flight sublime,
And clouds, and suns, and heaven's marmorean floor,
Are but the stepping-stones by which I climb
Up to the dread Invisible, to pour
My grateful feelings out in silent praise.
- New Monthly Magazine.