HOW TO SEE THE BRITISH MUSEUM IN FOUR VISITS
W. BLANCHARD JERROLD
VISIT THE FIRST
SOUTHERN ZOOLOGICAL ROOM.—Hoofed Animals:—Giraffe; Walrus; Rhinoceros; Buffalo; Antelope.
SOUTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.—Hoofed Animals:—Wild Ox; Hippopotamus; Elephant; Llama; Bison; Armadillo; Deer.
MAMMALIA SALOON.—Bears; Monkeys; Cat Tribe; Dog Family; Bear Tribe; Mole Tribe; Marsupial Animals; Seal Tribe; Corals
EASTERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.—Birds of Prey; Perching Birds; Scraping Birds; Wading Birds; Web-footed Birds.
NORTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.—Bats; Reptiles; Serpents; Tortoises; Crocodiles; Frogs.
BRITISH ZOOLOGICAL ROOM.—Carnivorous Beasts; Glirine Beasts; Hoofed Beasts; Insectivorous Beasts; British Reptiles; British Fish.
NORTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY—(continued).—Spiny-finned Fishes; Soft-finned Fishes; Cartilaginous Fishes; Sponges; Shell-fish; The Beetle Tribe; Butterflies and Moths.
EASTERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.—Star-fish; Sea-eggs; Shells.
VISIT THE SECOND
NORTHERN MINERAL AND FOSSIL GALLERY.—Fossil Vegetables; Minerals; Fossil Animals; Fossil Fishes; Fossil Mammalia.
THE EGYPTIAN ROOM.—Human Mummies; Animal Mummies; Sepulchral Ornaments; Egyptian Deities; Sacred Animals; Household Objects; Tools; Musical Instruments; Toys; Textile Fabrics.
THE BRONZE ROOM.—Greek and Roman Bronzes.
ETRUSCAN ROOM.—Etruscan Vases
ETHNOGRAPHICAL ROOM.—Chinese Curiosities; Indian Curiosities; African Curiosities; American Curiosities
VISIT THE THIRD
EGYPTIAN SALOON.—Egyptian Sculpture; Egyptian Coffins; Egyptian Tombstones; Sepulchral Vases; Human Statues; Egyptian Sphinxes; Egyptian Frescoes.
THE LYCIAN ROOM.—Lycian Tombs; Lycian Sculpture.
THE NIMROUD ROOM.—Assyrian Sculpture.
VISIT THE FOURTH
Townley Sculpture; Antiquities of Britain.
PHIGALEIAN SALOON.—Battle with the Amazons.
ELGIN SALOON.—Elgin Marbles; Metopes of the Parthenon; Eastern Frieze; Northern Frieze; Western Frieze; Southern Frieze; Eastern Pediment; Western Pediment; Temple of the Erectheum; Temple of Theseus; Lantern of Demosthenes.
The money to found a British Museum was raised by a lottery in the middle of the last century. Sir Hans Sloane having offered his books and museum of natural history to Parliament, for less than half its value (20,000L.), it was purchased, together with the famous Harleian and Cottonian MSS., and deposited in Montague House, Bloomsbury, which had been bought of the Earl of Halifax, for the sum of 10,250L. Of the present British Museum this beginning forms a very insignificant part. The nucleus was established however; and soon eminent men, who valued their literary and scientific collections as storehouses that should be accessible to all classes of students, began to turn their attention to the collections in Montague House. Foremost among the donors George the Second should be mentioned, as having made over to the nation the royal library, together with the right of demanding a copy of every book entered at Stationers' Hall. Successively, the libraries of Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Birch, Sir John Hawkins, Dr. Burney and Garrick, and the Royal, Arundel, Lansdowne, Bridgewater, and other MSS. were added to the great store. Captain Cook returned home with additions to the museum of natural history; Sir William Hamilton's collection of vases was purchased in 1772; the spoils of Abercrombie's Egyptian campaign enriched the museum with some fine Egyptian antiquities; grants of money secured the Townley marbles, the Phigalian sculptures, and at last the Elgin marbles; and of late, the accessions to the vast collection, including Layard's treasures, the Xanthian marbles, fossils, birds, curiosities, from the frozen seas, China, the solitudes of Central Africa, and other remote places, where scientific men have been of late prosecuting their studies have been received. In 1823 it was allowed by Parliament that the collection had grown too large for the house in which it was crammed; and accordingly in this year it was resolved to destroy the old residence of the Earl of Halifax, and build a new structure on its site. Sir Robert Smirke, the architect of the present structure, has certainly had good cause to complain of the niggardly supplies voted from time to time for the building, which has been twenty-eight years in progress. The regulations for the admission of the public have fairly kept pace with the progress of those liberal ideas to which the collection is greatly indebted, and of which it is a monument. It will be interesting for the visitor of to-day, to contrast the rules by which he is admitted, with those that fettered his ancestors of the eighteenth century. In the year 1759, the trustees of this institution published their "Statutes and Rules relating to the Inspection and Use of the British Museum." This instructive document may now serve to illustrate the darkness from which, even now, we are struggling. Those visitors who now consider it rather an affront to be required to give up their cane or umbrella at the entrance to our museums and galleries, will be astonished to learn, that in the early days of the museum, those persons who wished to inspect the national collection, were required to make previous application to the porter, in writing, stating their names, condition, and places of abode, as also the day and hour at which they desired to be admitted. Their applications were written down in a register, which was submitted every evening to the librarian or secretary in attendance. If this official, judging from the condition and ostensible character of an applicant, deemed him eligible for admittance, he directed the porter to give him a ticket on the following day. Thus the candidate for admission was compelled to make two visits, before he could learn whether it was the gracious will of a librarian or secretary that he should be allowed the privilege of inspecting Sir Hans Sloane's curiosities. If successful, his trouble did not end when he obtained the ticket; for it was provided by the trustees that no more than ten tickets should be given out for each hour of admittance. Accordingly, every morning on which the museum was accessible, the porter received a company of ten ticket-holders at nine o'clock, ushered them into a waiting-room "till the hour of seeing the museum had come," to quote the words of the trustees. This party was divided into two groups of five persons, one being placed under the direction of the under-librarian, and the other under that of the assistant in each department. Thus attended, the companies traversed the galleries; and, on a signal being given by the tinkling of a bell, they passed from one department of the collection into another:—an hour being the utmost time allowed for the inspection of one department. This system calls to mind the dragooning practised in Westminster Abbey, under the command of the gallant vergers, to the annoyance of leisurely visitors, and of ardent but not active archaeologists. Sometimes, when public curiosity was particularly excited, the number of respectable applicants for admission to the museum exceeded the limit of the prescribed issue. In these cases, tickets were given for remote days; and thus, at times, when the lists were heavy, it must have been impossible for a passing visitor in London to get within the gateway of Montague House. In these old regulations the trustees provided also, that when any person, having obtained tickets, was prevented from making use of them at the appointed time, he was to send them back to the porter, in order "that other persons wanting to see the museum might not be excluded." Three hours was the limit of the time any company might spend in the museum; and those who were so unreasonable or inquisitive as to be desirous of visiting the museum more than once, might apply for tickets a second time "provided that no person had tickets at the same time for more than one." The names of those persons who, in the course of a visit, wilfully transgressed any of the rules laid down by the trustees, were written in a register, and the porter was directed not to issue tickets to them again.
These regulations secured the exclusive attendance of the upper classes. The libraries were hoarded for the particular enjoyment of the worm, whose feast was only at rare intervals disturbed by some student regardless of difficulties. To the poor, worn, unheeded authors of those days, serenely starving in garrets, assuredly the British Museum must have been as impenetrable as a Bastille. We imagine the prim under-librarian glancing with a supercilious expression upon the names and addresses of many poor, aspiring, honourable men—men, whose "condition," to use the phrase of the trustees, bespoke not the gentility of that vulgar age. In those days the weaver and the carpenter would as soon have contemplated a visit to St. James's Palace as have hoped for an admission ticket to the national museum.
These mean precautions of the last century, contrast happily with the enlightened liberty of this. Crowds of all ranks and conditions besiege the doors of the British Museum, especially in holiday times, yet the skeleton of the elephant is spotless, and the bottled rattlesnakes continue to pickle in peace. The Elgin marbles have suffered no abatement of their marvellous beauties; and the coat of the cameleopard is with out a blemish. The Yorkshireman has his unrestrained stare at Sesostris; the undertaker spends his holiday over the mummies, and no official suppresses his professional objections to the coffins. The weaver observes the looms of the olden time: the soldier compares the Indian's blunt instrument with his own keen and deadly bayonet. The poor needlewoman enjoys her laugh at the rude sewing-instruments of barbarous tribes: the stone-mason perhaps compares his tombs with the sarcophagi of ancient masters. No attendant is deputed to dog the heels of five visitors and to watch them with the cold eye of a gaoler; no bell warns the company from one spot to another: all is open—free!
Through the bright new galleries of Sir Robert Smirke, crowded with the natural productions of every clime, the printed thoughts of the greatest and best men, the marvellous art of forgotten ages, and the poor barbarisms of savage life, we propose to conduct the visitor, in
FOUR DISTINCT VISITS.
VISIT THE FIRST.
On arriving in front of the British Museum for the first time, the visitor will not fail to notice the Grecian Ionic facade, ornamented with forty-four columns, and rising at its extreme point to the height of sixty-six feet. The sculpture which decorates the tympanum of the portico is the work of Sir Richard Westmacott, and is an allegorical representation of the progress of civilisation. The spiritual influences that have successively worked upon the savage natures of the dark ages, have here distinct types. Religion tames the savage; Paganism makes him a crouching sensualist; the Egyptian sees a God in the stars of heaven; and then the mathematician, the musician, the poet, and the painter set to work, and these prophets of mysterious beauties realise civilised mankind. The visitor enters the museum, after ascending a noble flight of steps, by a massive carved oak door, into a fine entrance hall, the ceiling of which is highly coloured, and the general decoration of which is Grecian Ionic. Here he will observe, in addition to one or two of the Nineveh sculptures, at once, three statues: one of the aristocratic lady sculptor, the Honourable Mrs. Damer; Chantrey's statue of Sir Joseph Banks; and Roubillac's study of Shakspeare, presented to the museum by David Garrick. Before entering the galleries of the museum the visitor should observe, that the building faces the four points of the compass, and that the facade forms the southern line. This observation will facilitate a careful and regular examination of the interior. Branching westward from the entrance hall, then eastward to the gallery, is a noble flight of seventy steps, the walls of the staircase being richly inlaid with marble. Having ascended this staircase, the visitor's attention is at once arrested by two stuffed giraffes—the giraffe of North Africa, and the giraffe of South Africa, given to the museum by the late Earl of Derby. These striking zoological specimens at once introduce the visitor to
THE SOUTHERN (CENTRAL) ZOOLOGICAL ROOM,
which is devoted, together with the next room to the east, to Hoofed Animals. Looking eastward from the western side of the room he will observe at once that his way lies down a passage, marked on either side by formidable zoological specimens, which he would rather meet, with their present anatomy of hay, than in their natural condition. In the first room, near the giraffes, stand the walrus of the North Sea; the African rhinoceros; and the Manilla buffalo. He will next observe, that the walls of the room are lined with glass cases, about twelve feet in height, and that in these cases various stuffed animals are grouped. The groups in this room include the varieties of the Antelope, Sheep, and Goats. Grouped together in two or three cases, are the sable and other antelopes from the Cape of Good Hope; the algazelle, and the addax and its young from North Africa; the sing-sing, and the koba from Western Africa; the sassaybi; the chamois of the Alps—the subject of many a stirring mountain song; the goats of North Africa; the strange Siberian ibex; the grue and gorgon from the Cape; varieties of the domestic goat, and the beautiful Cashmere goat. Here also are specimens of sheep, including the wild sheep from the Altai; the bearded sheep of North Africa; the American arguli; the nahorr and caprine antelopes from Nepal; and upon the higher shelves of the cases are grouped the gazelles from Senegal, Nepal, and Madras, whose praises have been sung more than once. The beauty and grace of these delicate creatures, with their taper active limbs, and the soft expression of their heads, may be faintly gathered even from these inanimate stuffed skins with the glassy eyes instead of "the soft blue" celebrated by the poet. Grouped hereabouts are also the four-horned antelope of India; the pigmy antelope from the coast of Guinea; and the madoka from Abyssinia. Before leaving this room, or ante-room, to the great zoological sections of the museum, the visitor should notice the varieties of horns,—straight and tortuous, but all graceful,—of different kinds of hoofed animals.
Advancing eastward the visitor arrives in
THE SOUTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.
Here the visitor is still in the midst of the hoofed beasts. The way lies between two rows of animals. Of these the visitor should notice particularly the wild oxen of India and Java; compare the Indian rhinoceros with that of South Africa; and notice the hippopotamus family, from South Africa, as well as a diminutive specimen of the Indian elephant, and a half-grown elephant, from Africa. Having noticed these ponderous creatures, the attention of the visitor will be next attracted to the Llamas, which are arranged in the first two wall-cases. Of these, the wild are generally brown, and the tame of mixed colours. The next fourteen wall-cases are filled with specimens of the different species of Oxen and the Elephant tribe. Among the former the visitor should notice the white bulls of Scotland and Poland: the splendid Lithuanian bison, with his shaggy throat, a present from the Russian Emperor; the bison of the American prairies; and the elando. The specimens of the elephant tribe, ranged in the upper compartments of these cases, include the tapir of South America; the tennu, from Sumatra; the European boar, with its young; the Brazilian peccari: and other curious animals. Here, too, are specimens of the Armadillo tribe. The attention of the visitor will, however, be soon riveted upon an animal which, with the beak of a duck and the claws of a bird, has the body of an otter. In Australia (its native country) this singular animal is commonly called a water mole, but to scientific men it is known as the mullingong; it is placed in the same order with its neighbour, the spring-ant or echidra, also a native of Australia. Before leaving these cases, the visitor should pause to notice the Sloths, and particularly the repulsive aspect of the yellow-faced sloth of South America.
The visitor should now pass to the cases marked from 17 to 30. These are devoted to the Horse tribe and Deer. Here the reindeer from Hudson's Bay, the red fallow deer of Europe, the elk, and the cheetul of India, will catch the eye immediately. The beautiful South African zebra is here also, grouped near the Asiatic wild ass, and the Zoological Society's hybrids of the zebra, wild ass, and common donkey. The upper shelves of the cases are devoted, as usual, to the smaller specimens of the tribe below. Here are the European roebuck, the West African water musk, the Javan musk, the white-bellied and golden-eyed musk. Having examined these zoological specimens, the visitor should proceed on his way east to
THE MAMMALIA SALOON.
This saloon is one of the most interesting parts of the exhibition to the general visitor, as he sees here at a glance the various classes of the highest order of the animal creation, all grouped after their kinds, and in that gradation of development which nature has assigned them. Those specimens which are placed on the floor in the central space of the room include some large varieties of the Bears, and a few small specimens of Seals, including the young of the harp seal, with the white fur, which clothes them on their first appearance in the world, and the young of the Cape of Good Hope eared seal; but these isolated specimens should not engage the attention of the visitor before he has followed the systematic arrangement or classification adopted with regard to the animals deposited in the wall-cases that line the saloon. The first series or family of animals to which, according to Cuvier, his particular attention should be attracted are
ranged in the first eleven wall-cases. These cases contain the species of monkeys found in the Old World. The varieties in colour, shape, size, and attitude, are endless. Here are the green monkeys from Western Africa; the white-throated monkey from India; the bearded monkey, with a republican air about him; and the monkey who appears to have had his ears pulled, but is in reality known to scientific men as the red-eared monkey; both from Fernando Po: the Risley of monkeys, called the vaulting monkey, with his white nose; and the talapoin, from Western Africa; the gaudy macaque, known as the brilliant from Japan; that dingy gentleman, the sooty mangabey, from Africa: the African chimpanzee (to whom satirical gentlemen with a turn for zoological comparisons, are greatly indebted); the ourang-outan, with his young, from Borneo; the presbytes, dusky and starred, from Singapore, Malacca, and Borneo; and the drill and mandrill, from Africa. The Monkeys of the New World are grouped in six cases (12-18). Herein the visitor should particularly notice the curious spider monkeys, from Brazil and Bolivia: the negro monkey; the apes, with large eyes, like those of the owl, called night apes; the howlers, so called from the incessant howling they maintain at night in their native forests; the quaint marmozettes and handsome silky monkeys; and the Jew monkeys. The next two cases contain specimens of the lemurs, more familiarly known as Madagascar monkies. Of these the flying lemur is the most remarkable species. Specimens of this species are grouped in the lower part of the cases; they are from the Indian Archipelago; and in the texture of their skin and the loose and light way in which it connects their limbs, they resemble bats. They nurse their young by forming a kind of couch with their body suspended downwards from the branches of a tree.
It now remains for the visitor to direct his attention to the fine collection of
ranged in thirty-two distinct wall-cases in this room. The first tribe, taking the cases in their order of succession, to which the visitor's attention will be attracted on passing from the cases of lemurs, is
THE CAT TRIBE.
The animals which he will find grouped in the first seven cases (21-27) are properly Cats. Here is the South African lion, the fine black leopard, which is pointed out to visitors as a beast that killed its keeper; the lynxes of Spain, Sardinia, and America; the wild cats of Europe; the curious booted-cat, imported from the Cape of Good Hope; the American ocelots; and the Asiatic and African chaus. These animals are picturesquely grouped in seven cases. In the next case, in order of succession (28), are the hyaenas of South Africa and Egypt. Here are the spotted hyaena, with its young; and the striped hyaena. The three following cases are filled with varieties of the civet family (esteemed for the strong scent which some of them, as the African cibet and the Chinese and Indian zibet, yield), including the hyaena civet from the Cape of Good Hope: genets and ichneumons, which will be found on the lower shelves; and the Mexican house-marten. The five following cases are filled with the varieties of
THE DOG FAMILY.
Here the sporting visitor may amuse himself by examining the points of the Dogs of the four quarters of the globe. Here are the well-known Newfoundland dog, the wild dogs of different climates, the four-toed hunting dog of Abyssinia and South Africa, the Cape of Good Hope dog, with its long ears; the varieties of fox and wolf; all expressing great activity and extraordinary cunning. Ladies will be pleased to notice a lap-dog almost hidden by his long hair, placed under a particular glass-case: this exclusive little aristocrat is from Mexico.
In the next case to which the visitor will direct his attention (38) are grouped the varieties of the Mustelina, or Martens, of America and Europe. These lesser specimens of the cat tribe, include the weasels of Himalaya, Mexico, and Siberia; the American and European polecats: the lesser otters, from the north of America and Europe; and the curious animal known as the false sable of America. It is amusing to notice the sameness of expression—that of cunning—shown in the heads of every specimen of the cat tribe. The next case (39) introduces the visitor to those mammalia which are included in
THE BEAR TRIBE.
This tribe includes the Racoons, Otters, Badgers, Skunks, Gluttons, and Bears. The case to which the visitor's attention is now directed, contains the varieties of the glutton family—the Chinese musk weasel; the European and North American badgers; the Javan stinkard, and the American skunks and conepats.
The next case (40) is devoted to the otter family. These ingenious animals are found in the four quarters of the world. Here are the common European otter; the otters of Java and India; the clawless African otter, from the Cape of Good Hope; and the sea and muffled otters, from America. Next to these interesting animals, are some of the bears, including the savage Arctic white bear, the Malay bear, and the Indian sloth bear. Next to these bears, the racoons are grouped, and they close the collection illustrative of the bear tribe. In the case following those which contain the racoons is one (43) in which the varieties of
THE MOLE TRIBE
are arranged. These include Moles from the four quarters of the world. There are the North American marsh moles and long-tailed star-nosed moles; the golden moles, from the Cape of Good Hope; the varieties of the shrew-mouse, including the remarkable blue shrew-mouse of India, the African elephant shrew, and the Russian musk shrew; the Javan insectivorous squirrel; and a curious variety of hedgehogs, from opposite quarters of the globe. Having examined these inferior mammalia, the visitor will pass in direct order of succession to the cases in which
THE MARSUPIAL ANIMALS
are deposited. These fill nine wall-cases, and they should be carefully examined, as exhibiting a peculiar economy of animal life. The marsupial animals are placed by some zoologists in the lowest class of mammalia. They include carnivorous, herbivorous, and insectivorous families, and their head-quarters appear to be Australia. In the first two cases (44, 45) which the visitor will examine, are the varieties of Australian phalangers; and here also are the New Holland bears, the Australian wombat, the flying squirrel of Norfolk Island, the flying phalangers; and in the right corner of the case are grouped those notable animals to which public curiosity has of late years been so keenly directed—the kangaroos. In the next five cases (46-51) the visitor will find more varieties of these strange, awkward-looking creatures. Here amid the kangaroos of Australia are the long-nosed, rock, and jerboa kangaroos, the New Guinea tree-kangaroo, and below, the Australian koala. The two next cases (52, 53) contain the varieties of Australian opossums, and below are the opossums of America.
These close the attractions of the wall-cases, and the visitor should now glance round the saloon at the specimens of the varieties of
THE SEAL TRIBE,
which are arranged along the tops of the wall-cases. These include the leonine seal of the Southern Ocean, the Cape porpoise and dolphin, and the long-beaked dolphin of the Ganges. Having noticed these specimens, the visitor should proceed to examine the extensive collection of
which are arranged upon the central tables of the saloon. To explain the presence of coral in the midst of a zoological collection it is necessary to remind the visitor that this beautiful substance, which is chiefly a deposit of carbonate of lime, is also the fossil remains of that animal known to zoologists as the polypus. These polypi put forth buds, which remain attached to the parental polypus, and generate other buds; and in this way countless polypi, linked together, yet maintaining a separate and distinct existence, spread themselves over miles and miles of submarine rocks, in endless varieties of shape, and leave their remains to be dredged by the hardy fisherman, for the adornment of beauty. These beautiful polypi skeletons cluster in curious formations, as the visitor will perceive on examining the fine collection of corals before him. Among the remarkable coral formations to which the general visitor's attention may be directed, are the sea-mushroom, the remains of a single polypus of great size; the brainstone, which presents a circular mass of long winding cells, and altogether has the appearance of the masses and veins of the brain; the sea-pen, and the sea-fan. In the cases, ranged together in the saloon, the visitor who feels interested in the infinite varieties of coral formation, will find specimens that-will give him a full idea of the architectural abilities of the active zoophytes that carry on their operations upon the rocks that lie not far below the surface of the ocean. From the coral tables, the visitor's way lies out of the Mammalia Saloon to the north, into a gallery of which all Englishmen who understand the value of a perfect museum, are justly proud.
THE EASTERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY
of the British Museum runs the entire length of the building. It is divided into five compartments, and its space is devoted to the display of Birds, Shells, and a few Paintings. The birds exhibited in this gallery fill no less than one hundred and sixty-six wall-cases; and the shells which are distributed throughout the central space occupy fifty large tables: the lesser tables which are placed here and there near the birds, being devoted to the display of birds' eggs. The pictures are hung above the wall-cases. This general glance at the arrangement of the gallery, will prevent the visitor from falling into the error of distracting his attention from one order of zoological development to another at frequent intervals. Already he has examined the various species of animal life which rank in the highest class—the mammalia. Before him now, are ranged vast numbers of the second class of animal life; and he will do well to pay these some attention, and to get definite impressions regarding them, before he turns to the other attractions which the museum offers. Before proceeding to examine the first order of birds which are in the first eastern room, the visitor should glance at the historical portraits suspended above the cases. Among them he will find a Mary Queen of Scots, by Cornelius Jansen; a Cromwell, presented by the Protector to Colonel Rich of the parliamentary forces, by whose great-grandson it was bequeathed to the trustees of the museum; William Duke of Cumberland by Morier; Zucchero's Queen Elizabeth; Sir Peter Lely's Charles the Second; and the Queen of George the Second by Jarvis. Having sufficiently examined these works, the visitor should at once begin his inspection of the Raptores or
BIRDS OF PREY.
These include some splendid ornithological specimens. They are divided into two families: those who pursue their depredations by day; and those which wait till night cloaks their proceedings. It is almost possible to read the special instincts of the two families in their formation, and expression. The daring expressed in the fierce glances of the eagles and falcons, bespeaks the fearless spoliator, in broad daylight and in the face of an enemy; whereas the large vacant eyes of the owls, have a cruel, coward look, that stamps the midnight assassin.
In the first case the visitor will notice the strongbearded vulture of the Alpine and Himalayan mountains. The next six cases (2-7) are filled with the varieties of the Vulture, including the American, carrion, black, and king vultures; the South African sociable vulture; the angola vulture from Congo; and, towering above all, the great condor of the Andes, with his immense breadth of wing. The vultures, with their fierce and cruel aspect, are, nevertheless, cowardly birds, and feed rather upon dead bodies than venture to kill for themselves.
Next in order, after the vultures, the visitor will find the Eagle branch of the falcon family distributed in ten cases (8-17). This family includes some handsome birds. Foremost amongst these the visitor will remark the athletic golden eagle of Europe, a frequenter of Great Britain. This bird preys upon hares and rabbits, and has been known to plant its claws in a young lamb with success. In this vicinity are also the Indian Pondicherry eagle, sacred to the Brahmins; the Egyptian booted eagle; the Brazilian eagle; the South American harpy eagle; the European Jean le Blanc eagle; the marine eagle of the Indian Archipelago; the South American crested goshawk; the varieties of the osprey; and the short-tailed falcon from the Cape of Good Hope. Next after the eagles, are ranged the Kites and Buzzards (18-24). These include the South American caracaras; the European rough-legged falcon; the European kite; the Indian colny falcon; varieties of the honey buzzard; and the North American spotted-tailed hobby. The true falcons follow next in order of succession (24-26). The courage of these birds is familiar to all who have read of the hunting days of old. In the cases before the visitor, are grouped the European hobby and kestrel, and the peregrine and jet falcons. Many visitors from the country will be familiar with some of the sparrow-hawks in the next case (27). They may be often seen sweeping swiftly along near the earth, intent upon their prey. The last cases of diurnal birds of prey (28-30) contain the Harriers. These are birds of prey that meet their victims on the ground, and frequent bog-lands. The specimens here presented, include the secretary of the Cape of Good Hope; the chanting falcon from the same region; the ash-coloured falcon, hen-harrier, and Madagascar falcon.
And now, proceeding on his easterly way, the visitor approaches the Birds that Prey by Night. They are solemnly assembled in five cases. Their reputed wisdom has its parallel in the human family: we also have our owls, with their large eyes and solemn demeanour, who cheat people into the idea that there must be something in all that solemnity and gravity of expression. Poets of the dismal school, however, owe a great debt of gratitude to these mysterious and unsociable birds. The visitor will at once call to mind the usual sequel of poems that open with the hooting of the owl, or with the intimation that it is the hour when the wise bird opens his eyes with some effect. Let us glance at the varieties of the dismal family before which we have brought the visitor. Here are the snowy owl of North America and the hawk owls. In the cases (32, 33) are grouped the eagle owls, including the great-eared owls, and the North American Virginian eared owl. The next two cases contain the howlets, including the Tengmalm's owl of the north of Europe; the Javan bay owl, and the barn white owls of various countries. These birds close the collection of birds of prey; and the visitor, refraining from the temptation to inspect the central tables, for the present, should advance into the room, the wall-cases of which are filled with
The perching birds are subdivided into five families: the Wide-gaping; the Slender-Beaked; the Toothed-Beaked; the Cone-Beaked; and the Climbers, or Scansores. The family of wide-gaping birds, is that ranged first in order, occupying cases 36 to 42. The visitor will first remark the goatsuckers with their wide bills and large eyes, adapted to catch the insects on which they feed. The varieties here collected, include the great goatsucker; the goatsuckers of Europe, New Holland, North America, and Africa; and the wedge-tailed goatsucker. The next case (38) contains specimens of the varieties of Swallows and Swifts, including those of North America; the esculent swallow of the Indian Archipelago; and the sandmartin of Europe. In the two following cases (39, 40) are grouped the varieties of the tody and broadbills, from the West Indies, and Brazil; and the curncuis from the southern parts of Asia and America. The visitor next arrives before two cases (41, 42) of birds of brilliant plumage, suggestive of the regions where the humming birds float in the air "like winged flowers." The kingfisher at times startles the English pedestrian when he is sauntering near a high-banked brook;—its gaudy plumage contrasts so forcibly with the sober tints of our English song birds, that he is at first inclined to take the gay fellow for a truant cage bird. But the fisher is quite at home, and is probably diving for his fish dinner. The kingfishers grouped in the two cases before which the visitor now stands, include specimens of the Australian brown kingfisher; the green and great jacamars of South America; the European bee eater; the Javan night bird; and the Ternate kingfisher from the Philippine Islands. Having feasted his eyes upon the gaudy colours of these feathered fishermen, the visitor will find in the next case (43) the first specimens of the slender-beaked perching birds. These slender beaks are divided into sub-families of Sun Birds; Humming Birds; Honey Eaters; and the Creepers, &c. The sun birds live upon the pollen of flowers. The specimens here grouped together, include the numerous species of African and South American sun birds; the paradise birds of Molucca; the promerops of New Guinea and Africa; the Sandwich Islands honey eater; and the Australian rifle bird. Next in order are grouped the famous American humming birds (44). These brilliant little creatures, not larger than moths, are famed for their beauty all over the world. The delicacy of their structure, the splendour of the colours in which they are habited, their poetical diet, and the impossibility of keeping them alive in a confined state, are the attributes of delicacy and beauty which have made them objects of interest to all persons who have any insight to the mysterious graces of animal organisation. So brilliant is the plumage of some of the varieties, that they have been named after gems: thus, in the case before which the visitor has arrived, he will find the garnet-throated humming bird, and the topaz humming bird. Next to these brilliant creatures of the south, in case 45 are the curious Australian honey eaters, with their feathered tongues, made to brush the sweet essences from flowers: and the two following cases contain the remaining varieties of the slender-beaked family. Here are the Creepers of Europe; the Nuthatches of North America and Europe; varieties of the Wren; and the Warblers of Guiana and Patagonia. The visitor next approaches the varieties of the family known as the tooth-beaked perching birds. To this family our choicest songsters belong. They fill five cases (48-52). The visitor will observe in the first of the four cases, the tailor birds, remarkable for the fantastic domes they form to their nests; the Australian superb warbler; and the Dartford warbler of Europe. The common song birds of Europe are grouped here, including blackcaps, wrens, the active little titmice, together with the North American wood warblers. Next to these are cases (53-55) of Thrushes, including the tropical ant thrushes; the Javan mountain warbler; the Brazilian king thrush; the rock thrushes: the imitative Australian thrush; the blackbird; the North American mimic thrush; the Chinese and South American thrushes, celebrated for their babbling; the yellow orioles, of Europe and the east; and here also are the short-legged thrushes of the tropics.
The two next cases (56, 57) contain the Flycatchers, which catch insects on the wing. The varieties to be seen here include the South American pikas and shrikes, with their gay plumage. These shrikes—better known as butcher-birds—are so called from the cruelty with which they treat their prey. In the second case of flycatchers are grouped the true flycatchers, which are mostly from the old world; those from America being the solitary flycatcher, the black-headed flycatcher, the king and broad-billed tody, and the white-eared thrush. In the two next cases (58, 59) are the families of the Chatterers, with their resplendent plumage. In the first case, are groups of the Asiatic and American thick-heads, and the gorgeous little Manakins of South America and Australia. They are called after their colours, as the speckled manakin, the white-capped South American manakin, the purple-breasted, variegated, purple-throated, and rock manakins. Next to the manakins, are the Indian, African, and American caterpillar eaters; the Malabar and African shrikes; and in the two last cases of the tooth-beaked group, are placed the true butcher-birds and bush shrikes.
The next group of perching birds are the cone-beaked. This group includes the large family of the Crows to which the birds of paradise of New Guinea are allied; that of the Finches, with their relations from every clime; and the Hornbills, remarkable for the size and strength of their bills. The first two cases (62, 63) devoted to this group, contain the varieties of the Crow family. Here the visitor should notice the finely-marked jays from various parts of the world; the noisy and piping rollers of Australia and New Guinea; the crows, rooks, and jackdaws from various parts of Europe; the New Zealand wattle bird; the African changeable crow; and the rufous crow of India. The next case (64) is bright with the gleaming plumage of the New Guinea crows, or birds of paradise; and here, too, are the curious grakles—the foetid and the bare-necked from South America; and the Alpine and red-legged crows, or choughs, of elevated lands. Next in succession is a case (65) in which are grouped the shining thrushes of Australia, Asia, and Africa, which include the ingenious and tasteful satin bower birds, that form decorated bowers of twigs and shells to sport in; and here amid the grakles of the Indian Archipelago will be found those curious birds, that gather their sustenance from insect larvas which secrete in the coarse skin of the rhinoceros: these birds are known under the name of African beef-eaters. The Starlings, which are also of the crow family, are grouped in the case (66) next to that in which the visitor found the beef-eaters and shining thrushes. They resemble the beef-eaters closely in their mode of life, like them deriving their food from the insect life that congregates upon various kinds of cattle. Starlings are found in all the quarters of the globe, and present many varieties, as the observer of the case under notice will see. Here are the rose-coloured thrushes of Europe; the grakles of Malabar, India, South Africa, and South America; and the stares of America and Europe. The next case contains the varieties of the American Icteric Orioles, which lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, like the cuckoo. Among the varieties, the visitor should notice the red-winged, crested, and banana orioles. The African and Indian Weavers, so called from the peculiar construction of their nests, occupy the case (68) next to that filled by the orioles. Here are also the African, European, and American grosbeaks, so christened from that strength of bill which enables them to demolish hard fruits. Among these are the African widow birds; the Galapagos ground sparrows. The beauty of the Tanagers of North and South America is well known. In order of succession they here follow the grosbeaks (68, 69), and present a brilliant group, including the golden tanager, the red-breasted, the summer, and the bishop. And then the Finches, in all their varieties of colour and size, occupy two cases (69, 70). Here, among the more sober and unassuming of the numerous family, the visitor will notice the common sparrow that chirps cheerfully through the smoke of London alleys; the brown linnet with its lively notes; the gayer goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, the North American songfinch, and the many varieties of the buntings, including the epicure's ortolans that are found in various parts of the world. Next in order to the finches, the Larks are grouped in a single case (71) with other varieties of the great finch family. These birds sing as they soar into the air; and on cloudless days, how often do the happy notes of the skylark come down to the wanderer upon earth, with a cheerful influence:—
"... The lark that sings in heaven Builds its nest upon the ground."
Here, with the larks, are several curious birds, including the crossbeaks of Europe, the grosbeak of the South Sea Islands, the plant cutters of South America, and the colies of India and the Cape, that sleep in companies each suspended by one foot. The two last cases of the cone-beaked perching birds, are devoted to those birds known collectively as Hornbills, from the size and formation of their bills. These remarkable birds are said to be another off-shoot of "the great corvine nest;" and the author of "The Vestiges of Creation" regards the hollow protuberance upon the upper mandible (which is the distinguishing feature of the family), as "a sounding-board to increase the vociferation which these birds delight to utter." The remarkable varieties in the cases, are the helmet hornbill of India, and the African rhinoceros hornbill. These birds prey upon small birds and reptiles, which they toss into the air and then swallow whole.
The Scansores, or Climbers, form the last section of the perching birds. This is an interesting group, since it includes all the varieties of the parrot, cockatoo, and macaw species; the woodpeckers, the toucans, and the cuckoos.
The visitor will arrive first before the three cases (74-76) devoted to the Parrots, Cockatoos, and Macaws. The gaudy colours which they display, and their well-known habits and powers, always ensure them a large circle of spectators. Here the visitor should notice the red-crowned parrot, and ground parrot of Australia; the South American yellow-headed, and hawk-headed parrots; the horned parrot from New Caledonia and the racket-tailed parrot of the Philippines. Among the Macaws are the hyacinthine macaw of South America, and the blue and yellow varieties. Among the Cockatoos, the visitor should notice the great white cockatoo from the Indian Archipelago; and here also are the Alexandrine parroquet and the Papuan lory. The Toucans, which inhabit the deep recesses of tropical American forests, here occupy the next case (77). They are recognised as a branch of the great corvine family. Their enormous beaks are peculiarly adapted for searching in quest of eggs about the crevices of trees. The varieties here, include the Janeiro toucan, and the yellow-breasted toucan. The three next cases contain the many varieties of the Woodpecker. Woodpeckers are represented by naturalists as crows with a structure adapted to "an insect-eating life amidst growing timber." They are to be found in all quarters of the globe, searching out, with their long beaks, the minute life that gathers in the interstices of trees. The first case of the series, contains the South American and African barbets, and the groove-billed barbican; the minute woodpecker, the North American three-toed and white-billed woodpecker, and the spotted woodpecker common in Europe. In the second case are the larger varieties of the woodpecker, including the well-known great black woodpecker of Europe; the North American red-headed woodpecker, and the South American yellow-crested variety; the Carolina woodpecker; and the Cayenne woodpecker. The third case contains the African and American ground woodpeckers; and the Wrynecks of Africa, Europe, and India. The chief food of the wrynecks consists of ants, which they pick up with their delicately tapered tongues.
The three last cases devoted to perching birds, are occupied by the varieties of the Cuckoo family. In this country, the notes of the cuckoo are hailed as the announcement of the dawning summer; and the solitary and peculiar habits of the bird, but particularly its custom of placing its eggs in the nests of larks, finches, sparrows, &c., and so getting alien birds to bring up its young, have always made it an object of particular curiosity to people generally. This latter custom has been explained, by a high authority, thus:—"The fact is, that the cuckoo is obliged by its constitutional character to stay an unusually short time in the northern regions where it produces its young. In our country its normal stay is only from the middle of April to the beginning of July. Belated in its approach to the nursing regions, it is obliged to make use of the nests of other birds, which it finds ready built. What is worthy of notice, it employs the nests of its own nearest relations, the larks, pipits, finches, sparrows, &c.—an arrangement we may suppose to be connected in some way with the early history of the whole group of species—a family or clan sacrifice, as it were, for the benefit of a less fortunate member." In the first case of cuckoos, are the African honey cuckoos, and the South American rain cuckoos. The birds of the former of these varieties are noted for guiding depredators to the wild honeycombs; and the latter live upon insects, snakes, and fruits. Here too are the Coucals of Africa, Java, South America, and Australia, including the Australian giant coucal, the Asiatic, South American, and West Indian anis; and the two cuckoos of the tropics, including the gilded cuckoo, the greatspotted cuckoo, and white-crested cuckoo from Africa, and the common European cuckoo. Before leaving the region devoted to perching birds, the visitor should glance at a few of the pictures which are suspended above the cases in this compartment. They include, amongst various portraits of British Museum donors, three of Sir Hans Sloane, one by Murray; Robert Earl of Oxford, by Sir Godfrey Kneller; and Edward Earl of Oxford, by Dahl.
The visitor's way now lies to the north, into the third, or central compartment of the gallery, the wall cases of which contain the gallinaceous, or
This order is divided into four distinct families—the Pigeons, the Curassows, the Pheasants, and the Grouse and Partridge tribe. Of these families the museum contains a fine and complete collection. The beauty of the pheasant family—its varieties ranging from the gaudy splendour of the peacock to the more modest beauty of the common hen—are here fully represented.
In the first case (84) of Scraping Birds, are grouped the Asiatic, African, and Australian tree pigeons, which inhabit the woods, and live on berries and various kinds of seeds. The collection includes the Javan black-capped pigeon, and the parrot and aromatic pigeons of India. The two next cases (85, 86) are filled with the true pigeons and turtles of various parts of the world, in all their varieties—the Indian nutmeg pigeon, and the Australian antarctic pigeon. The next case is devoted to the common European turtle and the North American migratory pigeon. The next case is filled with the varieties of the ground Dove, among which the visitor should notice the ground turtle, the West Indian partridge pigeon, the great crowned pigeon of the Indian Isles, and the bronze-winged pigeon of Australia. Leaving the pigeons behind, the visitor's attention is next called to the two cases of Curassows (89, 90), the poultry peculiar to South America. They feed on fruit, worms, and insects; and live in small flocks. The curassows are followed by the varieties of the pheasant tribe, grouped in thirteen cases (91-103). The three first cases are given up to the splendid East Indian Pheasants known to Europeans generally, as peacocks. They were brought to the west and valued for the beauty of their plumage many centuries before the Christian era, and no doubt helped to inflame the imagination of the Mediterranean merchants who dreamt of the untold wealth of the Indies. The specimens of these birds here preserved, are fine samples of the species. They include the iris and crested peacocks, the Japan peacock, the Thibet crossoptilon, and the Argus pheasant. The two following cases (94, 95) of the pheasant family contain the varieties of true Asiatic pheasants; but the visitor's attention will be immediately riveted upon the specimens of the splendid Chinese pheasant known as Reeves' Chinese pheasant. The plumage of this pheasant is very beautiful, the feathers of the tail measuring sometimes between five and six feet in length. The three following cases (96-98) are filled with varieties of the pheasant from Indian climes. In the first case are the pheasants from the Himalayan Mountains, and the pencilled variety from China. In the third case the visitor should notice the handsome fire-backed pheasant of Sumatra, the superb pheasant, Sonnerat's wild cock, and the cock of Java. The two following cases (99, 100) contain the remainder of the pheasant varieties. Amongst these the visitor will find, the horned and black-headed pheasants of India, the American turkey, the pintados of Africa and Guinea, and the pheasants from the north of Asia that live upon bulbous roots, known as the Impeyan pheasants. The immediate successors of the pheasants, in point of order, are the Partridges, of which the collection contains three cases (101-103). These birds inhabit both hemispheres, and specimens of the different varieties are grouped in the cases. In the first case the visitor should notice the Currie partridge, from Nepal, the Cape and bare-necked partridges of Africa, and the sanguine pheasant; in the second case, the common European partridge and quail, the red European partridge, the Indian olive partridge, and the Andalusian quail; in the third and last partridge case, Californian and crested quails, and the Indian crowned partridge. Next in order are the Grouse, grouped in two cases (104, 105). In the first of these cases the visitor will notice the wood grouse of Scotland, and the ruffed and other grouse of America; in the second case, the sand-grouse of the scorching deserts. The last case of the scraping birds is occupied by the Sheathbills, which, as the visitor will perceive, closely resemble grouse. They are from South America; the tinamous, from the warmer parts of the Continent; and the megapodius, of Australia and the Asiatic islands.
It now remains for the visitor to notice a few of the paintings suspended in this compartment, above the wall cases. These paintings include a copy of Klingstad's portrait of Peter I. of Russia, three historical portraits, presented to the museum by the Rev. A. Planta, and a hunting scene by Geo. B. Weenix.
The visitor should now advance into the fourth compartment of the gallery, the wall-cases of which are devoted to the specimens of
Most interesting families of birds are included in this order. First, there are the Ostriches, which are the envy of all people cursed with weak digestive powers; then there is the Dodo, with its mysterious and half-told history; also the Bustards, the Coursers, the Plovers, the Cranes, the Storks, the Sandpipers, the Snipes, &c. These varieties of wading birds are carefully classed, and represented in the compartment of the gallery to which the visitor has now worked his way. First in the order of arrangement stand the ostriches, occupying the cases (107, 109). Some naturalists refuse to class ostriches with the order of wading birds, and elevate them to the dignity of a distinct order, Cursores, or runners; but in the museum, as the visitor will perceive, they are at the head of the wading order. Unscientific people know more about the ostrich than about most other birds of foreign climes. Few people have not heard that the egg of the ostrich weighs three pounds—that the sun is the bird's Cantelo—that he has only two toes to each foot—that he sometimes exceeds six feet in height—and that it would not be an act of madness to back a stout specimen, for speed, against an average horse. The digestion of the ostrich has been considerably strengthened in the minds of unscientific persons by imaginative travellers; the fact being that these birds live upon vegetable food, occasionally swallowing stones, or a bit of iron, in aid of that digestion which has been so misrepresented. In the cases before the visitor are the African ostrich, and his relations, the Australian cassowary, and the American emu—all characterised by the absence of a hind toe. Having noticed these fine birds, the visitor will be anxious to learn something of the mysterious case (108), which contains a foot, the cast of a skull, and a painting. Here he sees all that has yet been traced of the extinct dodo, a bird which is believed to have existed in vast numbers up to a recent period, chiefly on the Bourbon and Mauritius islands. The painting is said to be an authentic Dutch performance, taken from the living bird at the time when the Cape of Good Hope was doubled by adventurous men heated with exaggerated notions of the exhaustless wealth of the Indies. Its precise position among birds has not been finally assigned. It appears to have been incapable of flight, to have had a vulture's head, and the foot of a common fowl. It is conjectured that the race was extinguished by the rapacity of the first settlers in the Mauritius, who, finding the dodo excellent eating and an easy prey, demolished every specimen of the species. Near these wrecks of the dodo, and in the same case, is the New Zealand wingless bird, now almost extinct, but to scientific men an interesting link between the bird and the mammalia. The Bustards occupy the two next cases (110, 111) to which the visitor should direct his attention. Here are the two bustards of the eastern hemisphere, the great European bustard, the African ruffed and white-eared bustards, and the Arabian bustard. The next case (112) contains the varieties of wading birds called, from their power of running, Coursers. These are chiefly found in Africa; but the varieties in the case include, in addition to the North African cream-coloured courser, and the double-collared courser, the thick-kneed European bustard. The Plovers are arranged next in order to the coursers. The varieties included in the case (113) are from Africa, North America, and Europe. Here are, amongst others, the beautiful golden-ringed and dotterel plovers of Europe, and the American noisy plover. In the case which next claims attention (114) are the turnstones, that turn stones on the sea-shore in search of food; the oyster catchers, that wrench shell fish from their shells; and the South American gold-breasted and other trumpeters. The Cranes, of which there is an extensive collection, now claim the visitor's attention. They are from all parts of the world, and love the borders of rivers and lakes, where they can prey upon small reptiles and fish. In the first cases (115-118) are the true cranes, including the common European variety, the Indian crane, the South American caurale snipe, the common and purple-crested herons of Europe, the Pacific heron, the crowned heron, the North American great heron, and the African demoiselle heron. In the two following cases (120, 121) the visitor will find the American blue heron, and the great and little egrets; and in the next two cases given to the crane family (122, 123) are the bittern and little bittern of Europe, the American lineated bittern, the squacco and night herons of Europe, the American night heron, the European spoonbill, and the South American cinereous boatbill. The examination of these varieties will give the visitor a clear idea of the peculiarities of birds that frequent marshes and the borders of streams.
The next case to which the visitor will direct his steps, is that (124) in which the Storks of Europe and America, including the white and black varieties, are grouped. In the case next in order of succession to that given to the storks (125) are some interesting branches of the crane family, including the Indian gigantic crane. Here also are the jabirus of America and Senegal, and the North-American ibis, which will introduce the spectator to the case of ibises, among which is the sacred ibis of the Egyptians; the black-headed Indian ibis; and that of New Holland. Next, in order (127), are the Godwits, which follow the mild seasons from one country to another; among them are the English red godwit; and the Australian terek snipe. In the next case (128) the visitor should examine the varieties of Snipes and Sand-pipers it contains. These birds hunt their food in gravel and amid stones in most localities. The most remarkable of the group are the lanky avocets, with their long legs adapted to hunt rivers for fish spawn and water insects: among them, the long-legged plover should be noticed. The varieties of the sand-piper, in the next case (129), now claim a careful inspection. Sand-pipers inhabit various parts of the world, and, like the ibises, love the neighbourhood of water, where they seek the food congenial to them. The Phalaropes, which are also represented in this case, are natives of the eternal ice of the arctic regions, where they subsist upon crustacea. The visitor passes from the sand-pipers to the case of Snipes (130), including the British varieties, and the snipe of India. In the next case (131) the visitor should notice the Chinese and South American jacanas, that walk about unconcernedly upon the floating leaves of water plants; with these are grouped the South American Screamers. The three last cases devoted to wading birds, contain the varieties of the British and North American Rails: the varieties of the Gallinule, including the European purple gallinule, the South American variety, and the Australian black-backed variety; and the Finfoots of Africa and America. All these birds inhabit marshy land, or the banks of streams, and derive their food from the insect life that swarms near the water. With the finfoots the collection of wading birds closes; but before going on his way, the visitor should glance at the paintings which are hung about the wall cases in this room or compartment. These include portraits of Lord Chancellor Bacon; Andrew Marvel; a copy from the picture at Wimpole of Admiral Lord Anson; Camden; Matthew Prior; William Cecil, Lord Burghley; Sir Isaac Newton; Archbishop Cranmer; and George Buchanan. Having examined these works, the visitor's way lies in a direct line to the last room of the eastern gallery—to that, the wall cases of which, are filled with the families of
WEB FOOTED BIRDS.
This section of the birds includes all those which are able to support themselves upon the surface of the water. The varieties include the gaudy Flamingos; the Albatross that frighted the ancient mariner; the Pelicans with their pouches; the impetuous Gannets, and the remarkable Frigate Bird. And here, too, the visitor will find the varieties of ducks, geese, and swans, all classed in regular order. The web-footed birds occupy no less than thirty-one cases; to each of which the visitor should pay some attention. The first case of the series (135) is gay with the bright red plumage of the flamingos, with their crooked upper mandible, and their long legs and necks. The next four cases (136-139) of the series are occupied by the varieties of the Goose. In the first of these cases the visitor should notice the varieties of the spur-winged goose from various parts of the world; including the black-backed goose. In the three following cases the white fronted and grey-legged European geese; the Canada and Magellanic geese; and the Indian barred-headed goose; and the cereopsis from New Holland. The stately Swans from various parts of the world, all graceful; including the handsome black-necked swan, and the whistling swan, occupy the three cases next in succession (140-142). The Ducks occupy no less than eight cases; and the visitor will linger over the beautiful varieties, without once allowing the unkind association of green peas to enter his head. In the first four cases (143-146) are the sub-families of the true duck, collected from various parts of the world;—the teal from China; the whistling duck from South America, and the European varieties of the common teal, the widgeon, and the sheldrake. Three cases (147-149) are filled with those sub-families of the duck which prefer the sea or the great lakes, including the handsome red-crested European duck; the eider duck, which is robbed of its down for the comfort of mankind; the scoter and nyroca ducks; and, in the third case, the spinous-tailed ducks of southern climes. The arctic birds, known as the Mergansers, are grouped in the next case (150): and, proceeding on his way, the visitor will arrive before the cases (151-152) of Divers, from the north, so called from the strength with which they dive for the fish upon which they live; but their powers in this respect are not equalled by those of a sub-family of web-footed birds, which the visitor will presently reach. Before reaching the cases in which the interesting sub-families of the Gulls are exhibited the visitor should remark the varieties of the Grebes in case 152; the two following cases devoted to the Auks from the arctic regions; and the true Auks of Britain; the varieties of the Penguins, or marine parrots; and the Guillemots. From these birds the visitor's way lies in the direction of the six cases (155-160) in which the sub-families of the gulls are grouped. The contents of the first cases will at once strike him: here are the Petrels, and the associations of shipwreck and disaster with which they have ever been connected. The group includes the stormy petrel, and the albatross. They have an altogether wild and singular appearance. The true gulls of every sea are grouped in the next three cases (157-159): they come from the ice of the polar seas, and from our own shores, including the kittiwake gull, and the European black-backed gull. The last case of the gull family (160) is given to the Terns, which are caught in all parts of the world; and the Skimmers, so called from the dexterity with which they skim the surface of the water, keeping the under mandible immersed, and the upper dry, in search of prey. Next to the gulls are placed the Tropic Birds (161), the name of which indicates their native clime. These birds prey upon fish; some, as the red-tailed tropic bird, darting upon the flying-fish; and others, as the darters, boldly plunging into the tide from overhanging boughs, in search of their favourite prey; here, too, is the common Cormorant. Four more cases remain for examination, and then the visitor will have closed his inspection of the museum specimens of birds. These four cases contain, however, one or two birds, the habits of which are singular. First, there are the Pelicans with their capacious pouches. The rapidity with which these birds swallow small fish has been witnessed by most people at our Zoological Gardens. The visitor should notice next, the European Gannet, of which strange stories of strength and prowess are related. The velocity with which they dive in search of food has been variously estimated. It is said that on the coast of Scotland, fishermen have found them entangled in their nets at the extraordinary depth of a hundred and twenty feet below the surface. Pennant relates a story of a bird, which, on seeing some pilchards lying upon a floating plank, darted down with such strength, that its bill pierced the board. And now the visitor should turn to contemplate the grand and solitary Frigate Bird. This bird appears to have the power of sustaining itself in the air for an indefinite period, and to wander with the utmost confidence on its broad pinions, over hundreds of miles of ocean, now and then dipping to secure its prey. This slim, pale, and solitary wanderer must have a noble appearance, when calmly sailing upon its great expanse of wing, a thousand miles from any resting-place, its food floating in the element below, to be taken at will. Before leaving the last, or most northerly apartment of the eastern zoological gallery, the visitor would do well to notice a few of the pictures which are suspended above the wall cases. Here are portraits of Voltaire; the hardy Sir Francis Drake; Cosmo de Medici and his secretary (a copy from Titian); Martin Luther; Jean Rousseau; Captain William Dampier, by Murray; Giorgioni's Ulysses Aldrovandus; Sir Peter Paul Kubens; the inventor of moveable type, John Guttenberg (which would be more appropriately placed in the library); John Locke; a poor woman, named Mary Davis, who in the seventeenth century, was celebrated for an excrescence which grew upon her head, and finally parted into two horns; the great Algernon Sidney; Pope; Ramsay's portrait of the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield, who, according to Dr. Johnson, "taught the morality of a profligate, and the manners of a dancing master," and a landscape by Wilson. At the northern door of this gallery are, a painting of Stonehenge, and one of the cromlech at Plas Newydd, in Anglesea.
The visitor's way now lies to the west out of the eastern zoological gallery into the most southerly of the two northern galleries. This gallery, which consists of five compartments, or rooms, is called
THE NORTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.
The wall cases of this gallery, to which the visitor's attention should now be exclusively devoted, contain various zoological families. In the first eight wall cases of the room are distributed the varieties of Bats. These are placed here, away from the mammalia, on account of the pressure of room. They are not to be mistaken as birds in any particular. They are essentially mammalia, inasmuch as they produce their young in a breathing state and suckle them. The bats of England and other cold climates remain in a torpid condition, and only spread their wings of stretched skin when the songbirds report the advent of the warmth of spring. The visitor will notice amongst the varieties in the three first cases, the Brazilian bats, including the vampire bat (which has been known to attack a man in his sleep and suck blood from him), the remarkable leaf-nosed bats which are ranged upon the upper shelves, and the Indian and African varieties; and underneath are grouped the well-known horse-shoe bats of the eastern hemisphere. In the next case (4) are the long-eared European bats, with ears like curled leaves; and the American, African, and Australian varieties. The fifth case is filled with groups of the African and Indian taphozous; the South American tropical bats; and the West Indian chelonicteres and moormops. The last three cases, devoted to the varieties of the bat (6-8), contain those sub-families which are known as Flying Foxes, from their great size. These live on fruits, and inhabit Australia, and the southern countries of the eastern hemisphere.
The visitor's way now lies westward into the second compartment of the northern zoological gallery; for in this room, as in the rooms through which he has already passed, he should confine his attention, for the present, to the wall cases, reserving the examination of all table cases for his return visit, on his way out. And here the visitor may well pause to think upon the zoological travels he has already made, from the mammalia, which present the highest types of animal life; through the sub-families of birds, which form Cuvier's secondary class of vertebrata, or animals with a back-bone; to the threshold of the room in which the tertiary class of back-boned animals are deposited. This class includes the great families of
of which there are no less than six hundred and fifty-seven varieties. Reptiles are vertebrated animals belonging to Cuvier's first great section, but distinguished from mammalia and birds, by their cold blood, their oviparous generation, and the absence of either feathers or hair from their bodies. They take precedence of fish in the animal kingdom, having lungs for aerial respiration, and "a higher circulatory organisation than the exclusive inhabitants of the water." In the museum, Cuvier's classification has been followed, with slight variations; that is to say, the reptiles have been re-divided into four classes:—the Sauria, or Lizards (in which class some modern naturalists, as Merrem and others, include serpents); the Ophidia, or Serpents; the Testudinata, or Tortoises; and the Batrachia, or Frogs. The lizards occupy the first ten wall cases in this room.
The first case contains those lizards of India and Africa which have long held the regard of eastern nations, upon the slender report that they hiss upon the approach of a crocodile, and so warn the incautious traveller to retreat in time. The truth is, these sauria prey upon the crocodile's eggs, no doubt to the particular annoyance of the crocodile, who are, therefore, it is more than probable, no friends of the monitors. The Egyptian would love the monitor for feeding upon the crocodile germ, as much as for his timely warning of the approach of the uncouth enemy. The curious heloderms, from Mexico, with their ophidian teeth, lie at the bottom of the fifth case: they are supposed, but as yet on insufficient grounds, to be poisonous. In the next case (6) are the lizards of tropical America, called safeguards. Their reputed peculiarity is that, of beating beehives till they compel the bees to retire, and then feasting upon the sweet booty: in the same case with these, is the lizard with the double-keeled tail, known as the crocodilurus. The visitor next faces a case (7) of Serpent Lizards, which do not deserve their reputation for poisonous properties, being quite harmless: here, also, are the Skinks and other varieties, including the blind worms with their hidden legs. Having dismissed the serpent lizards, the visitor will notice the Night Lizards and Guanas. The former are inhabitants of warm climates, and from the ease with which they can adapt themselves to any positions, they may be troublesome visitors; they can run with ease about the walls and ceilings of rooms, like flies; and their propensity is to roam abroad in the darkness of the night. Their broad, ugly heads, and repulsive general appearance, have won for them the character of poisonous reptiles, but the truth is they are harmless. The Crested Lizards which the visitor will notice hereabouts, are the American fruit-eating species, celebrated for violent quarrelling among themselves, and for their power of changing colour with great rapidity. They do not crawl upon the earth, but live on trees, the fruits of which sustain them. Here, too, are the Anoles, with their distended toes, that enable them to imitate the crawling feats of the night lizards. The tenth case devoted to the lizard tribe, is the most interesting of the series. It contains the family of lizards known as the Agama. This family boasts many famous scions. First, here are the Indian dragons; their resemblance to the fabled monster slain by St. George, consists of a loose skin over the ribs, which they can open or fold at pleasure. These bat-like wings will not support them in the air, but serve to steady their bodies when leaping from branch to branch of a tree. From these lilliputian representatives of the monster of fable, the visitor's attention will most probably be called by an important-looking lizard, of which Mr. Allan Cunningham brought the first specimens to this country, from Port Nelson, Australia. We allude to the lizard with a frill round its neck, which has been universally likened to that worn by Queen Elizabeth: it is called the frilled agama. It is supposed that this harmless sauroid extends this frill to frighten away its enemies; as old ladies, who can preserve their presence of mind in the neighbourhood of a bull, open their umbrella to frighten it into an opposite direction. Under these interesting sub-families are grouped the varieties of a species of agama that has won for itself an imperishable reputation—having furnished imaginative minds with matter for the most extravagant speculations—and yielded to the political writer abundant sarcastic images. No politician who has thought proper in the course of a long career, to change his old principles for new ones (as housewives exchange worn-out apparel for new gilded pottery); no philosopher who has by turns embraced conflicting principles of human action; no man of science who has published two opposite theories of the formation of our universe, can pause without emotion before this case of classed Chameleons; for the politician, the philosopher, and the man of science have inevitably figured in hostile reviews under the head of colour-changing sauroids. The popular notion respecting the colour-changing powers of these lizards is, that at will the chameleon can habit itself in any colour of the rainbow; that by turns it is a red chameleon, a blue chameleon, a green chameleon, and a yellow chameleon. The fact of the case is very far-from this notion. Chameleons are found chiefly in Africa and India, but also in some of the tropical islands. In their habits they are sluggards, lounging generally about trees, and distending their long tongues covered with a glutinous secretion, to secure passing insects, upon which they subsist. They have eyes of wonderful power, and can look backwards and forwards at the same moment; but as regards their colour, it is well to assure the visitor, that their usual tint when resting in the shade is a blue-grey, which sometimes pales to a lighter grey, turns green, assumes a brown-grey tint, or darkens to a decided brown. These are the sober observations of observant naturalists on the subject.
The class of reptiles to which the visitor should next direct his attention are those classed by Cuvier and others under the head of Ophidia, or
The particulars in which, the serpent differs from the lizard are, that the former have no feet, cast their bright coats annually (like our metropolitan postmen), and swallow their food without masticating it. They occupy seven cases. The upper part of the first case contains many of the most poisonous serpents. Among these are the well-known and formidable Rattlesnakes of America, with specimens of their rattles lying near them, which, as the visitor-will see, are a succession of osseous joints. Here too are the terrible cobra di capello, and other poisonous serpents of India; the South American fer de lance; the vipers of Europe; the North African crested viper; and the Cape of Good Hope and Western African puff adder; the Guinea nosehorn viper, and the common viper found in England—our only dangerous serpent. These serpents all inflict their poisonous wounds by means of two fangs, which they protrude from the mouth, and from the points of which they inject the poisonous matter into the wounds they inflict. On the lower shelves of this case the visitor will find some specimens of the Sea-Serpents, which frequent the East Indian seas, and the coast of New Holland. They are dangerous reptiles, having small fangs amid their teeth, with which they attack bathing animals or men. Some of them have been found sleeping on the warm bosom of a tropical ocean; and upon the warm sands of the shore they are often found, coiled up in a torpid state. They vary greatly in size: but the visitor will perceive none approaching in length to that remarkable reptile which artists, despairing in their attempts to give it the proper dimensions, lately coiled about the wide pages of pictorial papers.
The visitor will next have his attention drawn to that family of serpents of which the Boa is the great representative. These are all grouped together in cases (12-15). This family has what naturalists call "the rudiments of legs." They are a nobler family than that which the rattlesnake represents, inasmuch as they do not depend upon poison to master their enemy; but fight legitimately, with their muscular strength. The terrible pictures which adorn the pages of eastern travels for children, of poor Indians with just their heads appearing above the folds of a gigantic boa, will probably recur to the visitor, as he surveys the tortuous folds of the placid specimens of the family that lie before him. It is therefore hardly necessary to inform him that the boa family destroy their prey by coiling round it, and having secured their tail to a tree to give themselves additional strength, by crushing every bone in its body. Having thus taken the life out of the victim, the destroyer, with some trouble, if the animal be large, swallows it, and lies down for weeks to allow the process of digestion to go on. Some of these boas are from Africa, some from India, and some from America. The last two cases of serpents (16, 17) include many varieties. Here are the common water and ring snakes of England; the coach whip snakes, that live coiled about trees; the black and red ringed snakes, known as the coral snakes; and the varieties of serpents with which the famed serpent charmers of India exhibit their skill. The juggler snakes have the peculiar power of inflating the skin of the neck till it bulges over the head, and so forms a kind of hood. The Indian varieties of these hooded snakes are poisonous, and are distinguishable from the others by a yellow spot on the back of the neck.
From the serpents the visitor should turn to the families of the Testudinata, or
Tortoises are broadly divided into three species, namely, land tortoises; fresh water tortoises, of which there are no less than forty-six varieties; and marine tortoises, well known to the citizens of London, in the shape of turtle-soup. The land tortoises subsist on vegetables, and are said to live occasionally more than two hundred years. The two first cases devoted to Testudinata (18, 19) contain the American, Indian, and African varieties of the land tortoise. Here is the gigantic tortoise from Galapagos, for the flesh of which many a sailor has been grateful. The visitor will remark that the shells of some of the sub-families are handsomely marked. The fresh water tortoises, having the greatest number of sub-families, occupy three cases (20-22). This species is found in the marshes or rivers of warm climates, where they prey upon small fishes and frogs. The thurgi tortoise of India, and the American snapping-tortoise, grow to a great size. In the lower part of case 22 are specimens of those tortoises which sleep with their heads bent under the margin of their shell. In the last case devoted to tortoises, are those hard tortoises known as the three-clawed terrapins of Asia, Africa, and America. These are the strictly carnivorous family that feed in the water; and may be seen preying upon the human remains that float down the Ganges. Under these terrible epicures are the marine tortoises or turtles; and among them the green turtle of the tropics. Shellfish and sea-weed are its chief food; of its flesh, all Londoners who have not tasted it, can speak pretty confidently from hearsay. It grows occasionally to a great size; those smaller ones which the citizens prize weighing generally about 600 lb. Here too are the turtle of the Mediterranean, and the hawksbill turtle of Arabia, to which ladies are indebted for the choicest of their tortoise-shell combs. Having sufficiently dwelt upon the interesting histories of the tortoises, the visitor's way lies forward in the direction of the two cases next in order of succession, which are devoted to the Loricata, or
The varieties of this family are not many; they are grouped in three cases (24-26). Here are the terrible common crocodiles which have long been the terror of the people whose native land they inhabit; the alligators, which patronise America exclusively; and the gavials of India. They are said to act as orderlies, in the rivers they frequent, devouring all the putrid matter that would else infect the atmosphere. Here too are those curious snakes which are equally thick at either end—a peculiarity which has earned for them the appellation of double-headed, and the supposed power of walking indifferently forwards or backwards. The visitor now approaches the
called by zoologists after the Greek name, Batrachia. The author of the Vestiges of Creation remarks, that the frog is the only animal that, like man, has a calf on the hinder part of its legs. The batrachian animals are here all grouped in one case (26). They have many peculiarities. They are in the first place almost ribless; their feet are in no way armed; many of the toads have no teeth, and those of the frog are insignificant for its size; they have no tails; neither the frogs nor the toads are venomous; the fiery expectorations of the poor toads are matters of household fable only; and their croaking choruses have startled many a poor traveller. One variety, in the case with which the visitor is now engaged, is remarkable. Here are specimens of the tree frogs that can walk with their backs downwards on the most polished surfaces, and can slightly change their colour; the paradoxical frog from Surinam, which is larger as a tadpole than in its condition of maturity; the Brazilian horned toads; the American bull frogs; and the Brazilian pipa, the female of which deposits its eggs upon the back of the male, who carries them about till they burst from their shells; the repulsive siren of Carolina, which Mr. J.E. Gray likens to an eel with fore-legs; and lastly, here is the blushing proteus, which in its native subterranean caverns is of a pale pink, but when brought to the light of day, deepens into a crimson blush; this is represented by a waxen model. It is strange that political and controversial literature, so rich in chameleons, asses in lions' skins, and other figures for human fallibility and stupidity, should not contain a few, just a few, varieties of the blushing proteus.
The visitor has now examined all the wall cases of the second room; and his way again lies to the west. The third or central room of the gallery, which he is now about to enter, is to a large class of country visitors, perhaps the most interesting apartment of the museum. Herein is deposited a complete museum of the animal life of Britain, comprehending the beasts and birds native to its soil, and the fishes that swim in its waters.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGICAL ROOM.
In this room, as in the previous rooms, the vertebrated animals are grouped in the wall cases or on the top of the cases. It is hardly necessary to guide the visitor systematically through the intricacies of a collection, every beast, bird, fish, and shell of which is native to his own land. In the wall cases devoted to British vertebrate animals he will notice, first the Carnivorous Beasts, which include the foxes; stoats; cats; &c.:—the Glirine Beasts, including rabbits; squirrels; hares; rats; and mice:—the Hoofed Beasts, as the fallow deer; the stag; and the roebuck:—and the Insectivorous Beasts, including moles; hedgehogs; &c.
The collection of British birds includes the Birds of Prey, as the hawks; the eagles; and the owls:—the Perching Birds, as the swallows; kingfishers; thrushes; butcher birds; rollers; and wagtails:—the Scraping Birds, as pheasants; pigeons; quails; partridges; and guinea-fowls:—the Wading Birds, including the woodcock; snipes; herons; sandpipers; storks; &c.:—and the Web-footed Birds, including swans; ducks, and sea ducks; grebes; divers; auks; petrels; gulls; gannets; cormorants; &c. The eggs of the birds are in a table case (1) and arranged like the birds.
The British reptiles are all collected in the upper part of one case, including toads; frogs; and lizards.
The British fish occupy the remainder of the wall cases. These include perch; bream; the john-dory; carp; barbel; salmon; pike; trout; sturgeon; the shark; thornback; lamprey; turbot; plaice; sole; flounder; cod; haddock; &c.
INSECTS AND SHELLS.
Three tables (2-4) are devoted to insects with jaws; the insects that are furnished with a proboscis; and a collection of British Crustacea, including lobsters; crabs; woodlice; shrimps; &c. On the table upon which the Insects with Jaws are spread, the visitor will notice many household torments, including beetles; crickets; earwigs, bees; and wasps: and in the general collection, ants; grasshoppers; cockroaches; dragon-flies; &c. The Insects with a proboscis include some beautiful butterflies with their painted wings; gnats; and, to the horror of many female visitors, bugs.
The three next tables are covered with specimens of the shells of British mollusca, or soft-bodied animals. Here are the shells of snails, cockles, mussels, oysters, &c.
The collection closes with a table case (8) which is covered with specimens of those animals called by Cuvier radiated creatures, or creatures whose nervous force is concentrated in a central point whence it radiates, as in the starfish; sea eggs, &c; corals; sea pens; corallines, &c.
Having made this rapid survey of the animal life of Great Britain from its highest to its lowest developments, the visitor should again resume his journey westward, to the fourth room of the gallery, in which the collection of
begins. Here the Osseous or bony fishes are distributed in and on the top of the wall cases. While taking a general glance at the arrangement of the room, the visitor will at once be struck by the specimens of Sword fish—especially by the Indian flying sword fish, which are placed on the top of the wall cases on account of their length—and some of the pikes or swords of these fish, one of which, it is asserted, was driven, by the fish to which it belonged, into the hull of a stout oak ship. On the top of one of the cases the visitor should notice also the remarkable large head, from Mexico, with a long dorsal ray.
There are six orders or families of osseous or bony fish; and specimens of all these will be found in the wall cases of this room. First there is the family of
This family occupies the first thirteen wall cases. Among the fishes in the first four cases, the visitor should notice the flying gurnards; the sea scorpions, and flying sea scorpions; the paradise fish; and the perches, including the fingered variety. The next cases (4-9) include, amid other varieties, the chaetodons, or bristle-toothed fish; mackarel, and horse mackarel; tunny; scombers, &c.; john-dories; and pilot fish. Then follow, next in succession, two cases (10, 11) containing the lively dolphins, which are remarkable for the rapidity with which they change colour when they are withdrawn from the water; the sturgeons, with their lancet spine; and the sea garters. The next two cases include the remaining specimens of the spiny-finned fish. Among these are the wolf fish; the curiously formed tobacco-pipe fish; the big-headed dolphins or anglers; the hand fish, with its long fins; and the rook fish.
THE SOFT-FINNED FISHES
are deposited in nine cases. In the first two cases (14, 15) of the series, are the fresh water fish of different countries, including the voracious and long-lived pike: these form an interesting group for the contemplation of anglers. The next case is devoted to hard-coated fish, as the Callichthes, which are cased with a thick scale armour; and the hard-coated Loricaria. The fish grouped in the other cases of the series, are mostly familiar to the general visitor. Here are the varieties of the salmon and the herring; cod; ling; turbot; flounders; eels of various kinds; whiting; and the lump fish. The remaining four cases of this room are devoted to a series of fishes including, in cases 23, 24, the globe fish with a parrot's beak; and the ungainly sea horses. The two last cases (25, 26) include the file fish; the coffin fishes with their hard case of octagonal plates; and the European and American sturgeons. Having examined the varieties of osseous fishes, the visitor should continue his westerly course into the fifth and last room, a compartment of the northern zoological gallery. In this room he will find the wall cases devoted to
Many of the specimens of this division are placed on the top of the wall cases, being too large to be placed inside the cases. The Cartilaginous fishes here brought together include the varieties of the ray; torpedos; and sharks. At the western extremity of this room the visitor should terminate the onward course of his first visit, and, remembering that the table cases of the northern and eastern galleries through which he has passed, remain to be examined on his way back to the grand staircase, should begin to retrace his steps, confining his attention, as he returns, to the table cases placed in the central space of the rooms through which his way lies. He should now therefore face the east, and return, in the northern zoological gallery towards its eastern extremity. The table cases deposited in the room with the cartilaginous fish are covered with
of different kinds. It will be interesting to the visitor to know something of the natural history of the sponge. It has been ascertained, beyond a doubt, that the sponge is an animal that sucks in its food and excretes its superfluities; that certain of its pores imbibe, while others exude; and that according to the relative positions of the two distinct sets of pores, is the shape of the sponge determined. In a natural state, as it is found in the Mediterranean, the sponge is surrounded with a thick glutinous matter, which is its vital part; like coral, it is a zoophyte: it propagates in the same manner, and its life is indestructible till it is removed from its proper element, and the glutinous matter which makes its vitality has been boiled out of its pores, leaving the soft and beautiful skeletons, of which these cases contain many specimens. Here also are some old sponges preserved in flint. Having noticed these beautiful zoophytes, the visitor should proceed in an easterly direction into the room he recently quitted, to examine the table cases it contains. The first tables to which he should direct his attention here, are those in which a series of Crustacea or hard-coated animals are deposited. They are of Cuvier's order of animal life, known as the articulata, or animals whose bodies consist of a series of moveable joints. These are mostly inhabitants of the sea, and rank in the animal kingdom as the highest class of the Articulata, except the insects, who head the order. The tables upon which the Crustacea or
are deposited, are numbered from 13 to 24. The four first cases (13-16) are covered with Crabs of various kinds, including the long-legged spider-crabs, common crabs with oysters growing upon their backs, and fin-footed swimming crabs. The next case (17) contains in addition to the long-eyed or telescope crab, varieties of the land-crab, which is found in various parts of India; one kind, that swarms in the Deccan, commits great ravages in the rice-fields. The two next tables are covered with Chinese crabs, square-bodied crabs; those crabs with fine shells known as porcelain crabs, and the curious death's head crab, which seems to build a kind of nest of sponge or shells. But upon the next table (20) the visitor will find the most remarkable of the crabs, together with an astonishing lobster. This crab is known as the hermit crab. The visitor will perceive, that it has a long naked tail; and he should know that the one all-absorbing care of its life seems to be to find a place of safety in which this unprotected part may be screened from the dire mischances of war. Accordingly, at an early age, it sets out in search of a deserted shell into which it backs its tail; or if an unoccupied shell be not at hand, without much ceremony, the hermit contrives a summary ejectment of the lawful tenant, that it may shield its tail and be at rest. Upon the same table with this unceremonious hermit, lies the tree-lobster, which is believed to climb cocoa-trees in search of the nuts. Upon the next table (21) are the sea craw-fish and sea locusts; and upon the succeeding table (22) the visitor will remark the destructive scorpion-lobster of India, the excavations of which seriously damage the roads of that part of the world; Shrimps in all their varieties; the delicate alima, with its pale thin shell; and the long king crab. Upon the last two tables devoted to shell fish, or crustacea, are spread the goose shells or barnacles, whale lice, and I the sea acorn.
Having examined these crustacea, the visitor should turn his attention to the twelve tables (1-12) upon which a fine collection of
is spread. The first eight tables are covered with varieties of
THE BEETLE TRIBE.
These include some beautiful insects. The care with which the many thousand varieties have been classified by zoologists, and the minuteness with which the habits of each variety have been traced, have raised these insects to a conspicuous position in the great Animal Kingdom. Their beauty, as they lie here in vast numbers before the spectator, is dazzling. Every colour and every combination and shade of colour can be traced upon them; and in these varieties of tint there appears to be a wise provision of nature, the blue coloured beetle being the frequenter of the bark of trees, the green beetle revelling among the leaves; and the gay red and light beetles being the habitees of flower cups. Upon the first table of the series (1) are some curious varieties. Here are the remarkable burying-beetle, that deposits its eggs in the rotting flesh of small dead animals, and then, with the assistance of some kindred beetles buries the body, leaving its progeny to enjoy the carrion when they quicken; the sacred scarabaeus of the Egyptians, and the British variety of the same beetle, that bury their eggs in their dung. Upon the next table (2) are the golden tropical beetles, whose wings are used by the natives as ornaments; the celebrated glow worms, the females of which emit a phosphorescent light, in order to attract the attention of the males—thus these lights are love signals; the Brazilian diamond-beetle, a splendid insect, and the harlequin beetle. The third table (3) is covered with varieties of the kangaroo beetles, a brilliant collection of ladybirds, the varieties of earwigs, cockroaches, originally tropical insects only; the praying insects, called so from their habit of erecting their fore legs and assuming a prayerful attitude, when, in fact, they are preparing for an attack upon their prey: and the insects which the uninitiated visitor has already mistaken for pieces of stick, but which are the walking leaf-insects; some with wings like dead leaves, and others wingless. The fourth table (4) is covered with the varieties of the Cricket, including the great Chinese cricket, dragon-flies, scorpion-flies, the terrible tropical white ants, caddis flies, wasps, saw-flies, bees, hornets, and sand wasps.
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS.
Then follow three tables (5-7) of splendid butterflies, with their brilliant tints. The two tables (8, 9) ranged next in order to those upon which the butterflies are distributed, are covered with varieties of the moth. Here are the silkworm moth and its cocoon as kept in Siberia; the ghost moth of our hop grounds; the hawk moth, the death's head moth, and the large Brazilian owl moth.
The next table (10) is covered with a great variety of flies and bugs, including the Chinese lantern flies.
The eleventh table is given up to Spiders in all their varieties, including the tarantula, a formidable insect with a power of severe biting; and the curious spider that bores a nest in the ground, lines it sumptuously with its own silk, and then constructs a lid that closes inevitably, as the insect leaves its house. Here too are the scorpions. The last table of the series (12) is covered also with varieties of the spider, including the land and shepherd spiders; the African scarlet tick, and the centipedes. The visitor has now completed his survey of the contents of this room, and should at once pass forward in an easterly direction, traverse the British zoological room, which he has already examined throughout, and pass into the fourth room of the gallery.
The table-cases in this room present nothing that can greatly interest the unscientific visitor. They are covered with varieties of