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horns. The term of their life is about twenty years, and they arrive at perfection in three. They browse closer than the stag, and will feed on many vegetables which he rejects, but they are prejudicial amongst young trees, which they frequently strip too close for recovery. The wish to possess some favourite spot often causes a herd of these animals to divide into two parties, and engage each other with equal ardour and obstinacy. On such occasions, the combatants are led by the oldest and strongest deer of the flock; they attack with perfect order, fight with courage, retire or rally as circumstances may require, and even renew the combat for several days; until at length, the weaker party is compelled to relinquish the object for which it has been contending.
The most numerous herds of deer in this county are to be found in the following noblemen and gentlemen's parks, viz. Alderwasley, Francis Hurt, esq.; Alfreton, William Palmer Morewood, esq.; Bretby, the Earl of Chesterfield; Chatsworth, the Duke of Devonshire; Calke, Sir George Crewe, bart.; Drakelow, Sir Roger Gresley, bart.; Hardwick, the Duke of Devonshire; Kedleston, Lord Scarsdale; Locko, Mrs. Lowe; Sudbury, Lord Vernon ; Sutton, Richard Arkwright, esq.; Wingerworth, Sir John Henry Hunloke, bart.; Norton, Samuel Shore, esq.; Stanton, Bache Thornhill, esq.
THE HOG, Sus Scrofa.-Hoof divided, two tusks in each jaw, ridge of the back beset with strong bristles. The dividing of the hoof was formerly considered as an essential character, but a variety has been lately produced with the hoof undivided, having otherwise the same specific character.
The species that belong to the hog tribe, combine the various characteristics of several tribes of animals. They resemble the horse in the number of their teeth, the length of their head, and having but a single stomach; and the cow kind in their cloven hoofs and the position of their intestines; but in their appetite for flesh, their numerous progeny, and their not chewing the cud, they resemble those of the claw-footed kind. Thus they fill up that chasm which is found between the carnivorous and graminivorous kinds; being possessed of the ravenous appetite of the one and the inoffensive nature of the other. In their wild state they offend no other animal of the forest, at the same time they are furnished with arms to terrify the bravest. The wild boar, which is the original of all the varieties, is neither so stupid nor so filthy as that which we have reduced to tameness. It appears, that in the reign of king John, these animals were inhabitants of Derbyshire; for at that time a grant was made to the monastery of Lenton, of tithe of the game taken in the counties of Derby and Nottingham, viz. of stags and hinds, of bucks and does, and of boars and sows. Mon. Angl. Vol. I. page 648.
The chase of the wild boar was one of the diversions of our ancient nobility and gentry, and it constitutes one of the principal amusements of the higher ranks in those countries where it is found. This species of hunting is attended with danger, as his tusks are formidable, and he frequently uses them against his pursuers with terrible effect. The natural term of a hog's life is little known, and the reason is plain-because it is neither profitable nor convenient to keep that turbulent animal to the full extent of its time.
The Sow subsists principally upon roots, acorns, grass, vegetables, whey, grains, meal, and other provisions. It has been known to attack infants, and if it happens to meet with a dead and even putrescent carcass, it immediately seizes upon it. It is indeed sordid, stupid, filthy and brutal in its nature, and appears to make choice only of what other animals find the most offensive. When supplied with sufficient food it becomes inactive and drowsy, and its life is a round of sleep and gluttony, till its flesh is a greater load than its legs are able to support: and it continues to feed, lying down or kneeling, an helpless instance of indulged sensuality. It is, as well as the male, capable of being taught many things, is attached to its companions, and will hasten to the assistance of any of its kind, as soon as it hears them utter the cry of distress. It has been trained like a pointer, and displayed equal sagacity in finding game. Wind appears to have a great influence on this quadruped; for when it blows it appears agitated, and runs screaming to its sty. Sows go with young about four months, and produce six, eight, and often twelve in a litter; their young, when about a month old, are handsome and lively little creatures, and their anticks are very amusing. At six weeks old they are frequently slaughtered, and furnish the table with a luxury too rich for weak stomachs.
It would be a difficult task to describe the varieties of this valuable animal, which are bred and fed in this county; Pilkington, nearly forty years ago, says, there were at that time three
The Rev. Gilbert White, in his Natural History of Selborne, says, a neighbour of his kept a half-bred Bantam sow, who was as thick as she was long, and whose belly swept on the ground, till she was advanced to her seventeenth year; at which period she showed some tokens of age, by the decay of her teeth, and the decline of her fertility. For about ten years this prolific mother produced two litters a year, of about ten at a litter, and once twenty at a litter; but as there were near double the number of pigs to that of teats, many died. From long experience in the world, this female was grown very sagacious and artful; when she found occasion to converse with a boar, she used to open all the intervening gates, and march, by herself, up to a distant farm, where one was kept; and when her purpose was served, would return by the same means. the age of about fifteen her litters began to be reduced to four or five, and such a litter she exhibited when in her fatting pen. She proved when fat, good bacon, juicy and tender; the rind or sword was remarkably thin. At a moderate computation, she was allowed to have been the fruitful parent of three hundred pigs; a prodi gious instance of fecundity in so large a quadruped.
different sorts of swine in the county, viz. some very large, weighing from forty to fifty stone, with very long heads, and large ears hanging over their eyes, and extending almost to their nose, giving them a disagreeable appearance. A smaller sort, with short ears pointing upwards. But the most common were a mixture of the two, weighing about twenty-five stone each. Since that period, great attention has been paid to improve the breed of this animal, and several of the noblemen and gentlemen of the county have introduced breeds from China, France, and other countries. Sir George Crewe, bart.; Sir George Sitwell, bart.; Rev. C. H. R. Rodes; Mr. Heywood, of Brimington; Mr. Thomas, of High Fields; Mr. Greaves, of Bakewell; and others, have been competitors for the prizes offered by the Agricultural Society for the best breed. In 1827, Mr. Heywood obtained the Societies' prize; and in 1828, Mr. Greaves of Bakewell had it awarded to him, for producing to the Society the pure Neapolitan breed. We have seen Mr. Greaves's farm-yard, and his breed of pigs; for symmetry, they are not to be excelled; their characteristics are striking; they are black, with no hair on their bodies, and have short ears, pointing upwards; they are light in the bone, and Mr. Greaves informs us, they are more hardy than any other race of pigs, as they will do well on the most common food. The boar appeared to be very ferocious.
DIVISION 2. DIGITATED QUADRUPEDS.
THE DOG, Canis Familiaris.-Bends his tail to the left, varieties many, as bloodhound, mastiff, Newfoundland, bull, shepherd, coach, greyhound, fox hound, beagle, terrier, Spanish pointer, English setter, springer, spaniel, water spaniel, shock, lap, cur, &c. All these varieties we have noticed in this county; we shall therefore endeavour to give a short description of some of the principal, and notice a few gentlemen who are celebrated for having a superior breed of some particular sort of these animals.
A modern Author, who has written on Natural History, says, of all carnivorous quadrupeds, the dog-kind must indisputably claim the preference: being the most intelligent, courageous, docile and domestic attendant on man. Always assiduous in serving his master, constant in his affections, friendly without interest, and much more mindful of benefits than injuries offered; he is not alienated by unkindness, but even licks the hand that has been just lifted to strike him, and eventually disarms resentment by submissive perseverance. Dogs have six cutting teeth in each jaw; four canine teeth, one on each side, above and below, and six or seven grinders. Their claws have no sheath, as those of the cat tribe, but continue to the point of each toe, without the power of being protruded or retracted. The nose is longer than in the cat kind, and the body is in proportion more strongly made, and covered with hair instead of fur.
The Bloodhound is well-formed, of a reddish brown colour, and was in high esteem among our ancestors. His employment was to recover any game that had escaped wounded from the hunter, or had been stolen out of the forest; but he was still more serviceable in hunting thieves and robbers by their footsteps. For the latter purpose they are now almost disused.
The Mastiff is peculiar to our own country, and is commonly used in this county as a watch dog. It is nearly the size of the Newfoundland, strong, active, and possessed of great sagacity. The Mastiff, it is said, seldom uses violence against intruders, unless resisted, and even then he will only throw down the person, and hold him for hours without doing him further injury till he is relieved.
The Newfoundland Dog came originally from the island whence it derives its name; it has a pleasing countenance, is very docile, and of great size and sagacity. The feet of this dog are more palmated than usual; which enables it to swim fast, dive easily, and to bring up any thing from the bottom of the water. It is, indeed, almost as fond of the water as if it were an amphibious animal. It is so sagacious, and so prompt in lending assistance, that numbers of persons, on the point of being drowned, have been rescued from a watery grave by its exertions; this circumstance, together with its uniform good temper, has justly rendered it a universal favourite.
The Bull Dog, though less in size than the Mastiff, is nearly equal to him in strength, and superior to him in fierceness. No natural antipathy can exceed that of this animal against the bull. Without barking, he will naturally fly at and seize the fiercest bull; running directly at his head, and sometimes catching hold of his nose, he will pin the bull to the ground, nor can he without great difficulty be made to quit his hold. Such is his rage, that at a bull-fight in the north of England, a brute, in the shape of a man, laid a wager that he would successively cut off the feet of his dog, and that the animal should return to the attack after each amputation; this horrible experiment was tried, and the wager was won. Though we have not to record any act of barbarity, so outrageous as that just related, hav ing taken place in this county, yet it is with regret we have to notice that that useful and noble animal the bull, has been too often put to the torture by exhibitions of that nature; to afford amusement to a few unprincipled men, whose callous feelings, and ferocious anxiety, has been depicted in their countenances, when they have beheld their favourite dog gored and tossed in the air. These scenes, so hurtful to the feelings of humanity, and injurious to the morals of society, are much less frequent than they were twenty years ago.
The Shepherd Dog is a valuable assistant to man in the mountainous districts of this
county, where large flocks of sheep are kept. We have seen the shepherd take his station on a hill, and give orders to his dog to fetch his flock around him, and the faithful animal has obeyed his master with the greatest alacrity.
The Coach Dog is a beautiful animal, marked with spots of various colours. Naturalists disagree as to its origin. By some it is said to be the common harier of Italy. Its powers of smelling is but indifferent, and it is generally kept in genteel houses as a handsome attendant on the carriage.
The Greyhound is a fleet and elegantly formed animal, and was once held in such high estimation, that it was the frequent companion of a gentleman; who was anciently known by his horse, his hawk, and his greyhound. It was in such repute, that king Canute enacted a law, that it should not even be kept by any one who was under the rank of a gentleman. It is the swiftest of the dog kind, and easily trained for the chase when twelve months old; it courses by sight, and not by scent, as other hounds do; and is supposed to outlive all the dog tribe. The coursing meetings held in this county, at Sudbury and Chatsworth, are generally well attended. They attract gentlemen from distant parts of the kingdom, which causes an incitement amongst the gentry of this county, who are lovers of that diversion, to pay great attention in having the best breed of dogs of this description. The Right Hon. Lord Vernon; Abraham Hoskins, esq. of Newton Solney; Samuel Rowland, esq. of Derby; Rev. Charles Stead Hope, of Derby; William Milnes, esq. of Ashover; Thomas Hallowes, esq. of Glapwell; Joseph Hassall, esq. of Packington; Colonel Halton, of Winfield; James Hunloke, esq. of Birdholme, and several other gentlemen, are celebrated for having excellent dogs.
The Fox Hound is closely allied to the beagle, though larger, more swift and vigorous. It is ardent in the chase, and frequently outstrips the fleetest sportsman. A mixed breed, between this and the large terrier, forms a strong, active and hardy hound, which is used in hunting the otter. The pack of fox hounds, kept by Hugo Meynell, esq. for the diversion of the gentlemen in the south and south-west division of the county, and those kept by Sir George Sitwell, bart. in the Scarsdale hundred, are excellent.
My hounds are of the Spartan kind,
So fleeced, so sanded; and their heads are hung
Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Beagle is the smallest hound used in the chase, and is chiefly employed in hunting hares, which are numerous in some parts of the county. It is remarkable for the melody of its tone and the keenness of its scent. Of this dog there are two varieties, the rough beagle and the smooth beagle. Sir Henry Every, bart. of Egginton hall, has a superior pack of hounds of this kind; and Thomas Caril Worsley, esq. of Overton hall, in the parish of Ashover, has also an excellent pack of these dogs.
The Terrier is a small thickset hound, of which there are two distinct varieties, the one with short legs, long back, and commonly of a black or yellowish colour, mingled with white; the other is a more sprightly animal, with a shorter body, and of various colours, as black, brown, white, &c. It has a most acute sense of smelling, and is an inveterate enemy to all kinds of vermin. Its courage is not excelled by any other dog; it will encounter the badger with great bravery, and though it often receives severe wounds from its competitor, it bears them with great fortitude. As it is very expert in forcing foxes and other game out of their coverts, and being particularly hostile to the fox, it is generally an attendant on every pack of hounds.
The Spanish Pointer is derived, as its name implies, from Spain, but has been long naturalized in this country, where great attention has been paid to preserve the breed in all its purity. It is remarkable for the quickness and facility with which it receives instruction, and may be said to be almost self-taught; whilst the English pointer requires the greatest care and attention in breaking and training for the sport. It is not so capable of enduring fatigue as the English pointer. These dogs are chiefly employed in finding pheasants, partridges, hares and other game.
The English Setter is considered one of the most valuable of our hunting dogs; it is hardy, nimble and handsome, and possessed of exquisite scent and sagacity. Its manner of seeking game is correctly and poetically described, in the following lines, by Somerville:
When autumn smiles, all beauteous in decay,
And paints each chequer'd grove with various hues,
His nose in air erect; from ridge to ridge
Panting he bounds, his quarter'd ground divides
The Springer is a lively animal, and very expert in raising woodcocks and snipes from their haunts in woods and marshes, through which it ranges with an untireable perseve
The Spaniel is of Spanish extraction, as its name imports. It is elegant in form, with long pendant ears, and hair of silky softness, gracefully curled or waved; its scent is keen, and it possesses the qualities of sagacity, docility and attachment. So strong is the latter, that instances have been known in which this animal has died of grief for the loss of its master. This species may be taught a variety of tricks, such as fetching, carrying, and diving. He is employed in hunting the partridge, quail, &c. and his steadiness and patience in the performance of his task, is worthy of admiration.
The water Spaniel appears to be, of all the dog kind, the most attached to man, and more docile than any other. Many of the species are impatient of correction, but the water spaniel, though fierce to strangers, bears blows and ill-usage from his master with undiminished affection. This animal is well calculated for hunting water-fowls, &c. Watching the stroke of the piece, and perceiving the game that is shot, he instantly swims after it and brings it to his master. He will fetch and carry at command.
THE WOLF, Canis Lupus.-Now happily become extinct, was formerly an inhabitant of the High Peak, which district was much infested by them. John de Wolfehunt, who died in the second year of the reign of Edward II. held one messuage and fifteen acres of land, by the service of taking wolves in the forest of the king, in the Peak of Derbyshire.
This animal is about three feet six inches long, and about two feet six inches high. They were formerly numerous in England, but are now completely extirpated. It is found in almost every country in the temperate and cold regions of the globe.
THE FOX, Canis Vulpes.-Tail a brush, tipped with white, legs white, fore-feet black, body reddish brown, length two feet, brush thirteen inches, height thirteen inches.
This animal, one of the most crafty of the beasts of prey, is a native of almost every quarter of the globe, and is found in every part of this county; but in the greatest number at Bradley and Shirley park, in the neighbourhood of Ashbourn. He is smaller and more slender than the wolf, and has a strong offensive smell, which is peculiar to the species. He feeds on poultry, young hares and rabbits, seizes the sitting partridges and the quail, and destroys a large quantity of game. In short, nothing that can be eaten seems to come amiss; for when pressed by hunger, he will prey on rats, mice, serpents, toads, lizards, insects and vegetables; neither the hedgehog, the wild bee or the wasp, are secure from this determined glutton. The bitch fox produces but once a year, and seldom has more than four or five cubs at a litter.
THE WILD CAT, Felis Catus.-Tail long, annulated body, marked with spiral and three longitudinal stripes.
This animal is said to be an inhabitant of Derbyshire; it being the fiercest and most destructive of our animals, may not improperly be denominated the British tiger. Its head is larger, and its limbs are stronger than the domestic cat, which are less in size and of various colours. The domestic cat, which is the wild cat reclaimed, is the only one of the feline race, the services of which man has yet been able to turn to account.
THE BADGER, Ursus Meles.-The general length of this animal is two feet six inches, exclusive of the tail; the upper part of the body is of a grey colour, and the under parts wholly black; tail short, with long stiff hair, face black and white, fore claws long, a transverse orifice between the tail and the anus, and three black bristles over each eye.
The badger is a solitary inoffensive animal, that lives remote from man, and digs itself a deep winding hole with great assiduity, its legs being very strong and its claws stiff and horny. When surprised by dogs, it falls upon its back, combats with desperate fury, and seldom dies unrevenged on its enemies. This harmless animal, like the bear, is often subjected to much cruelty in being baited by dogs for the amusement of the peasantry. Such barbarous practices should, in this enlightened age, be abolished.
THE OTTER, Lutra vulgaris.-Colour dark brown, with two white spots on each side the nose, the head and nose are broad and flat, the neck is short, the body long, the tail broad at the insertion but tapers to a point, and about fourteen inches long, the eyes small, ears short, whiskers long, and mouth somewhat like that of a fish. The legs are very short, strong, broad and muscular, and so placed as to be capable of being brought into a line with the body, and performing the office of fins; each foot has five toes, connected by strong broad
webs, like those of water fowl. Its length is four feet, height nine inches, and weighs, when full grown, from 20 to 28 lbs.
These voracious animals are frequently found in the Trent, the Derwent, and the smaller rivers communicating with them, in which they destroy more fish than they can devour. In rivers, where weirs are set, the otter will force its way in and destroy the fish, and then effect its passage out by biting asunder the twigs of which the weir is made. It lives in holes under ground, the opening to which is beneath the surface of the water; it burrows upwards, and provides several cells to retire into in case of floods, in which it displays great sagacity. The female goes with young about nine weeks, and generally produces four or five at a time; if taken while young, they are capable of being tamed, and taught to fish for their owner, which they will do with the greatest address, as they are capable of remaining a long time under water. They afford much diversion in hunting, and no animal defends itself with greater obstinacy, or makes a more desperate resistance against its enemies. The dogs are frequently maimed in the conflict, as its bite is extremely severe.
THE FITCHET OR POLECAT, Viverra Putorius.-Length of the body seventeen inches, tail seven inches, colour a deep chocolate, approaching to black, muzzle and ears white, and nose sharp.
In summer, this animal generally lives in woods or rabbit warrens, as rabbits seem to be their favourite prey, and a single polecat is often sufficient to destroy a whole warren. In winter he haunts barns, hay-lofts, and other out-houses, from whence he sallies forth on the poultry. Its fierceness is remarkable; when confined and unable to escape, it will attack dogs, and it has the faculty, when irritated, to send forth an offensive stench to annoy and drive away its enemies.
THE MARTEN, Viverra Foina.Is rather longer than the polecat, and its colour is more elegant, the scent of it is considered as an agreeable perfume, and it is the most beautiful of all the British beasts of prey.
These animals are found in all the northern parts of the world, from Siberia to Canada and China. They are chiefly hunted for their skins; of which, it is said, upwards of forty thousand are annually imported into England.
THE FERRET.-Resembles the polecat in his manners and habits, yet is evidently a distinct species.
This animal is used for driving rabbits from their burrows into the nets which are set for them; when employed this way they are always muzzled. They are also of great service in driving rats and mice out of corn stacks, &c.
THE WEASEL, Viverra Vulgaris.-This is the smallest of this numerous species, and it is a handsome little animal, about nine inches long; the upper part of the body and tail is of a tawny colour, and the throat and belly is white.
This animal destroys rats, mice, moles, poultry, pigeons, rabbits, hares, &c. and will suck the eggs of birds and poultry. It moves by unequal leaps, and can spring several feet from the ground, or run up a wall without difficulty.
THE STOAT OR ERMINE, Viverra Erminea.—A beautiful white variety, with the tail tipped with black, is sometimes seen.
These too, are so fierce that they will devour rats, young hares or poultry. A cat larger than themselves will fly instantly at their approach. All the weasel tribe have long and slender bodies, short legs and great flexibility of motion, the latter of which is in consequence of the articulation of the spine. They are thus well calculated to pursue their prey through narrow and deep recesses. They destroy all about them before they attempt to satisfy their appetite, and suck the blood before they begin to eat the flesh.
THE HEDGEHOG OR URCHIN, Erinaceus Europeus. It is covered with prickly quills, and resembles the porcupine in that particular, but it differs from it in other respects. It is from nine to eleven inches long, the head, back and sides are covered with spines, and the nose, breast and belly with fine soft hair; it has five toes on each foot, and a long snout, resembling that of the pig.
This animal generally resides in hedge-rows or thicksets, and feeds on fallen fruits, roots and insects. It swims well, and makes a deep warm herbernaculum with leaves and moss, in which it conceals itself for the winter. The female produces from three to five young ones at a birth, which are born blind; and when attacked, defends itself by rolling its body up like a ball, exposing no part that is not covered with its sharp weapons. The hedgehog has frequently been persecuted, in consequence of an absurd belief, that it bites the udders of cows, while sucking them, an operation it cannot perform, because it has such a small mouth.
THE MOLE, Talpa Europea.-Of which there are seven species, is generally six or seven inches long, it has a long snout, fore-legs short, with broad feet turned outwards, five toes on each foot, small eyes, no external ears, and is covered with glossy black hair, remarkably
This animal is admirably formed for its habits of living under ground. It principally lives