The opportune arrival of a beautiful little Elephant, an animal which has for some time been a desideratum to the Menagerie, fortunately enables us to add to our list of subjects that which in all probability presents the most generally attractive spectacle among the whole class of Mammiferous Quadrupeds. The strong and peculiar interest which the Elephant possesses above all other beasts arises in fact not so much from his gigantic bulk and immense muscular power, as from the high opinion usually entertained of those intellectual qualities with which he has long been supposed to be preeminently endowed, and which have rendered him a theme of exaggerated encomium to the careless observer, while even in some philosophic minds they have furnished the groundwork on which perverted ingenuity has built up theory after theory as baseless and imaginary as the foundation on which they have been made to rest, the reason and reflection of a brute.
True it is that on some occasions the Lion has been known, in the capriciousness of his disposition, to suffer his prostrate prey to escape but little injured from his clutch; but these instances are of rare occurrence, and may safely be referred either to his natural indolence, when excited neither by hunger nor by provocation, or to that intellectual debasement which among brutes is the usual concomitant of increased bulk and formidable strength. But to conclude from such whims and freaks, unaccountable as they may sometimes appear, that he is actuated by feelings of mercy, or by the natural impulse of a generous mind, would be about as reasonable as it would be to assume from the instances which are recorded of the justice and generosity of a Tamerlane or a Tippoo, that those monsters of sanguinary cruelty were in reality the mildest and most merciful of despots.下载
The specimen now in the Menagerie is a young female about three years and a half old. She was a present to his Majesty from the Emperor of Morocco. During some tempestuous weather, which occurred on her passage, the male who accompanied her was killed, and she herself met with an accident, from the falling of a spar, by which she was curtailed of her fair proportions, and deprived of the greater part of her tail. The disfigurement thus caused is, however, trifling, and she is still a very fine animal.下载
The other individual at present in the Tower is a Tigress of great beauty from Bengal, scarcely a twelvemonth old, who also promises to become an exceedingly fine animal. During her passage from Calcutta she was allowed to range about the vessel unrestricted, became perfectly familiar with the sailors, and showed not the slightest symptom of ferocity. On her arrival, however, in the Thames, the irritation produced by the sight of strangers completely and instantly changed her temper, rendering her irascible and dangerous. Her deportment was so sulky and savage that Mr. Cops could scarcely be prevailed on by her former keeper, who saw her shortly afterwards, to allow him to enter her den: but no sooner did she recognise her old friend, than she fawned upon him, licked him, and caressed him, exhibiting the most extravagant signs of pleasure; and when he left her she cried and whined for the remainder of the day. To her new residence and her new keeper she is now perfectly reconciled.
Three supposed species have been described; but naturalists in general are at present inclined to admit of no more than two; and even with regard to these we have yet no sufficient proof that they are really more than strongly marked varieties. The one from which our figure was taken belongs to the brown kind, which is distinguished from the other chiefly by its darker colour both above and below, and by the blackness of the sides of its snout. The tails of both species are usually encircled by rings alternately black and fulvous; and each has the eye surrounded by three white spots.