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from eating, so that it dies, not of any
malady, or extreme old age, but simply
because it cannot make use of its beak." I
fear this is not one of the facts derived from
Belon's own observation.

Our fashionable ladies have a passion for
eider-down: but did they ever hear that the
vulture can supply them with an article
quite as soft? "Their skin,'' says our
author, " is almost as thick as that of a kid,
and under the throat is a spot about the
breadth of a palm, where the feathers are
reddish, like the hair of a calf; and these
feathers have no quills, any more than those
on both sides of the neck and under the
wings, where the down is so white that it
shines like silk. The furriers, after removing
the large feathers, leave the down, and curry
the skins for mantles, which are worth a
sum of money. In France they use
them chiefly to place on the stomach (what
we call bosom-friends). It would scarcely
be believed that the vulture's skin is so
stout, if one had not seen it. Being in Egypt
and on the plains of Arabia Deserta, we have
noticed that the vultures are large and
numerous, and the down from a couple of
dozen of these would quite suffice for a large
robe. At Cairo, on the Bezestein, where
merchandise is exposed for sale, the traveller
may obtain silken dresses lined with the
skins of vultures, both black and white."

Belon was a great observer of all the birds
of prey, and appears to have taken many
notes of their habits while living near the
Monts d'Or, in Auvergne, under the protection
of M. Duprat, the Bishop of Clermont.
It was there he learnt the fact about
the peasantry eating the goivan, called also
the boudrée, which he thus describes:
"There is not a peasant in the Limagne (a
great plain) of Auvergne who does not know
the goivan, and how to capture him with
traps baited with frogs, or with lime, but
more commonly with snares. He is taken
principally in the winter, when he is very
good to eat, for he is so fat that no other bird
comes near him in that respect. The
peasants lard or boil him, and find his flesh quite
as good as that of a hen. This eagle eats
rats, mice, frogs, lizards, snails, caterpillars,
and sometimes serpents."

That there may be no doubt about the
last-named viand being food for eagles, one
of Peter Belon's lively portraitures follows the
statement, in which a goivan is depicted in
the act of dining on a serpent, twisted into a
figure of eight (as well he might be), and a
number of astonished frogs and fishes scurrying
away for dear life,— all save one philosophical
member of the tadpole family, who,
sitting on the tumultuous waves of an
adjacent ditch, calmly contemplates the scene.
It is observable throughout the plates in
Belon's work that the smaller quadrupeds
endure the infliction of being devoured alive
with far greater resignation than the Reptilia.
I have before me at this moment the portrait
of a rabbit, on whose back a buzzard is
standing as if in the act of going to sing,
while the long-eared animal on which he
has pounced seems to apprehend his fate no
more than if he were a music-stand. A
mouse in the claws of a speckled magpie,
puts on, in another plate, an air of equal

Amongst the birds of prey known to the
French villagersand to their costis one
called by the singular name of White John
(Jan le Blanc), or The bird of St. Martin, —
but why the latter name was bestowed on it,
Belon is at a loss to discover. The first is
obvious enough, for its belly and part of its
tail are of spotless white. This fellow is
very daring, and carries off fowls and
rabbits from under the eyes of the owners;
he feeds largely, too, upon partridges and all
the smaller birds, so that he is not a Cheap
John, at all events. But Belon has one
comfort: White John has a natural antagonist in
the Hobby-hawk, and the way they fight in
the air till they tumble entangled to the
ground and are taken, is quite a pleasant
thing to see (moult plaisant à voir). This
combat is not depicted; but on the next
page there is a striking delineation of the
manner in which a falconer lures a bird of
prey. He does it in this wise: a hawk having
caught a partridge, stands on its back in
the air, quietly devouring it, and the cunning
fowler takes this opportunity of approaching
with the leg of another bird in his hand,
which he offers on his knees to the hawk, in
the expectation, apparently, that the greedy
bird of prey will give up the whole for a
part. Of the share which the falconer's dog
has in the transaction, I say nothing;
because, though in the foreground of the
picture, he is not a quarter the size of the
victim partridge. It must be confessed that
Belon's descriptions are more satisfactory
than the artist's illustrations. This remark,
however, does not apply to the actual portraits
of the birds, which are in most instances
very accurate. Nothing, for instance, can be
better done than the Royal Kite, which some
in France call Huo, and others Escoufle.
This bird, being a lover of carrion, is
protected ; so much so, that "in England a fine
is imposed on those who kill him." Belon
records a pleasant piece of pastime which this
kite affords the infidels:

"The Turks who live at Constantinople
take pleasure in throwing lumps of raw meat
into the air, which the kites pounce upon so
rapidly that they seize and carry it off before
it can fall to the ground."

The Venetian nobles amuse themselves
differentlynot with kites, but cormorants.
When the weather is calm, they go out on
the lagoons in light boots, two or three dozen
in company, each boat being rowed by six
men, and pulled very swiftly. Having
surrounded the cormorant (like French huntsmen