category:Leisure puzzle


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    With the exception of the quill-feathers of the wings, which are black, the plumage of the Pelican in the Tower is throughout of an extremely light and delicate flesh-colour, varied only by occasional darker tinges. The head and upper part of the neck are clothed with a short down, except on the temples, which are naked and flesh-coloured; the upper mandible is of a dull yellow in the middle, with a reddish tinge towards the edges, and a blood-red spot on its curved extremity; and the pouch is of a bright straw-colour.


    2.The Cubs, which are three in number, two male and one female, were whelped on the 20th of October, 1827, the day of the battle of Navarino; and it is remarked by Mr. Cops, as a curious coincidence, that they are the only Lions which have been whelped in the Tower since the year 1794, rendered memorable by the great naval victory gained by Lord Howe over the French fleet. They are universally considered to be the finest ever bred in England, and are now in a most thriving condition. They have not, however, yet reached the period when the shedding of the milk-teeth takes place, a process which is perhaps more perilous to the brute creation than that of dentition to the offspring of the human race, and appears indeed to be attended with greater risks in proportion to the carnivorous propensities of the respective species. To the Lion it has always proved, at least in his state of captivity, a period of the greatest danger, very few individuals of the numerous whelps which have been produced either here or on the continent surviving its effects. Still there is good reason to hope, from the peculiarly healthy appearance of the present litter, that, by means of skilful management, the danger may be averted, and that a pair at least of these noble animals, “born and bred in England,” may in a few years rival their parents in size, in beauty, and in majesty.
    3.It would be superfluous to enter into any detail of his habits, which correspond but too well with those of his fellow cats already described, and are only modified by his want of equal power. This deficiency is, however, in a great measure supplied by the extreme pliability of his spine, which gives to his motions a degree of velocity, agility, and precision combined, that is altogether unequalled by any other quadruped, and to which the greater lateral compression of his body, the increased length and more slender proportions of his limbs, and the suppleness of all his joints must of necessity materially contribute. Equally savage, equally dastardly, and equally cruel, he closely imitates the manners of the Lion and the Tiger, on a somewhat reduced, but still formidable, scale. Antilopes, monkeys, and the smaller quadrupeds constitute his usual prey, upon which he darts forth from his secret stand, and which he pertinaciously pursues even upon the trees where they may have taken refuge, climbing after them with surprising agility. Man he generally endeavours, if possible, to[38] avoid; but, when hard pressed, he fears not to make head against the hunter; and it frequently requires the exertion of no common share of skill and intrepidity in the latter to save himself from the deadly fangs of the infuriated object of his pursuit. Occasionally, indeed, the cravings of hunger stimulate the treacherous animal to attack the unwary woodcutter, or the lone traveller whose path has led to his secret haunts; but in this case he rarely, if ever, shows himself openly in the face of day, but watches with insidious glare for the fatal opportunity of springing upon his wretched victim from behind, and of annihilating his power of resistance before it could possibly be exerted in his defence.
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