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Heads and Tales : or, Anecdotes and Stories of Quadrupeds and Other Beasts, Chiefly Connected with Incidents in the Histories of More or Less Distinguished Men.   By: (1817-1879)

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HEADS AND TALES.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY EDINBURGH AND LONDON

[Illustration: The Tasmanian Wolf. ( Thylacinus Cynocephalus. )]

HEADS AND TALES;

OR,

ANECDOTES AND STORIES OF QUADRUPEDS AND OTHER BEASTS,

CHIEFLY CONNECTED WITH INCIDENTS IN THE HISTORIES OF MORE OR LESS DISTINGUISHED MEN.

COMPILED AND SELECTED BY

ADAM WHITE, LATE ASSISTANT IN THE ZOOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT, BRITISH MUSEUM.

Second Edition.

LONDON: JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET. MDCCCLXX.

PREFACE.

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

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

CONTENTS.

MAMMALIA.[1]

PAGE MAN 1

Gainsborough's Joke Skull of Julius Cæsar when a boy 2

Sir David Wilkie's simplicity about Babies 3

James Montgomery translates into verse a description of Man, after the manner of Linnæus 4

Addison and Sir Richard Steele's Description of Gimcrack the Collector 5

MONKEYS 9

The Gorilla and its Story 9

The Orang Utan 11

The Chimpanzee 12

Letter of Mr Waterton 20

Mr Mitchell and the Young Chimpanzee 22

Lady Anne Barnard pleads for the Baboons 24

S... Continue reading book >>




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