Instinct of Animals, by R. Lee

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Animals, by R. Lee

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Title: Anecdotes of the Habits and Instinct of Animals

Author: R. Lee

Illustrator: Harrison Weir

Release Date: June 30, 2007 [EBook #21973]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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    In making a selection of anecdotes, those have been assembled which were supplied by me to other works, and in most instances have received considerable amplification; others have been given which never before were printed—perhaps not even written; while all which have been transferred from other pages to mine have received the stamp of authenticity. Besides those whose names are already mentioned, I have to thank several friends who have drawn from their private stores for my advantage, and thus enabled me to offer much that is perfectly new.

    Dry details of science and classification have been laid aside, but a certain order has been kept to avoid confusion; and, although endeavours have been made to throw as much interest as possible over these recorded habits and actions of the brute creation; I love the latter too well to raise a doubt by one word of embellishment, even if I did not abstain from principle.

    The intentions with which this work was commenced have not been carried out, inasmuch as materials have crowded upon me beyond all calculation; and, although a large portion has been rejected, the anecdotes related go no farther than the Mammalia, while almost all animals were to have been included.

    With regard to the remaining orders—if the present work should meet with a favourable reception, I shall hope next year to present the public with touching and amusing proofs of the sagacity and dispositions of birds, and of "hair-breadth scapes" from reptiles, etc., some of which will, like those in the present volume, be carefully selected from the works of travellers, from the resources of friends, and from my own experience.

    To the pleasing task of enlightening those, who, shut up in close cities, have no opportunity of observing for themselves, and to the still higher enjoyment of directing young minds to an elevating pursuit, the naturalist adds a gratification even better than all, by making known the hidden wonders of nature; and leaving to those who delight in argument, the ever unsolved question of where instinct ends and reason begins, he sets forth the love of the great Creator towards all His creatures, and the ways He takes to show His wisdom.


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    Formed like man, and practicing similar gestures, but with thumbs instead of great toes upon their feet, and with so narrow a heel-bone, that even those who constantly walk upright have not the firm and dignified step of human beings; the Quadrumana yet approximate so closely to us, that they demand the first place in a book devoted principally to the intellectual (whether it be reason or instinct) history of animals. This approximation is a matter of amusement to some; but to the larger portion of mankind, I should say, it is a source of disgust. "Rapoynda," I exclaimed, one day, to a troublesome, inquisitive, restless negro, pointing to a black monkey, which much resembled him in character, "that is your brother." Never shall I forget the malignant scowl which passed over the man's features[Pg 2] at my heedless comparison. No apology, no kindness, not even the gift of a smart waistcoat, which he greatly coveted, ever restored me to his good graces; and I was not sorry when his Chief summoned him from my vicinity, for I dreaded his revenge.
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