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desire; the police saying that they could make
no investigations with such a slight clue to
guide them. They may think so, and the
coroner, and doctor, and jury may think so;
but, in spite of all that has passed, I am now
more firmly persuaded than ever that there
is some dreadful mystery in connection with
that blow on my poor lost Mary's temple
which has yet to be revealed, and which may
come to be discovered through this very
fragment of a cravat that I found in her
hand. I cannot give any good reason for
why I think so; but I know that if I had
been one of the jury at the inquest, nothing
should have induced me to consent to such a
verdict as Accidental Death.


A CERTAIN learned physician, named Peter
Belon, a native of the town of Le Mans, the
capital of what was then the province of
Maine, but is now the department of the
river Sarthe, in France, bethought him that
very little was known in his native country
at the time he livedthe middle of the
sixteenth centuryof Natural History; and,
being moved by the example of Aristotle (at
the trifling distance of nearly nineteen
hundred years) he resolved, having been a great
traveller and eke a great observer (two
persons not always united) to give his fellow-
citizens and the world, the benefit of his
experience and opportunities, and take away
the reproach which lay like a shadow over
the land.

Prepared by much study for the cultivation
of his favourite pursuits, he left France in the
year fifteen hundred and forty-seven, being at
that time twenty-nine years of age, and
travelled successively through Germany,
Bohemia, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Palestine, and
Asia Minor, returning to Paris after three
years absence with a large and valuable
collection of plants and specimens of natural
history, which he then occupied himself in
arranging, preparatory to the publication of
the knowledge he had acquired. The first
work which he produced was a history of
strange fishes and serpents, under the title
"De Aquatilibus; " but, tempting as the
subject is, I do not at present intend to
examine it, having another of his productions
before me, which (from the fact of its being a
borrowed book, and liable, therefore, to sudden
seizure by its owner, who otherwise
would never get it back), more immediately
claims my attention.

This coveted volume is the celebrated
History of the Nature of Birds, with their
descriptions and lively portraits, taken from
Nature, and written in seven books, and is,
perhaps, the principal work on which is
founded Peter Belon's claim to be considered
the father of modern natural history. In the
preface to it he promisesand he keeps his
word far better than might have been
expectedthat nothing shall appear in these
books which is not perfectly true; there
shall be no false descriptions or portraits of
suppositious animals; nothing, in short, that
is not to be found in nature. Appropriate to
the publication of a work on ornithology, Peter
Belon caused this volume to be printed, in the
year fifteen hundred and fifty-five, by
William Cavellat, in front of the college of
Cambray, in Paris, at the sign of the Fat
Hen (a sure sign that Peter Belon came
from Le Mans, a city famous for its poultry);
and that there should be no doubt of the
latter fact, the title-page also bore the living
portraiture of a domestic fowl in very high
condition, enclosed within a circle, on the
outer rim of which was inscribed the legend
"Gallina in pingui," an inscription that need
not again be translated. A portrait of Peter
Belon, as he appeared to the justly-admiring
world, at the age of thirty-six, also
embellished the volume. The learned physician
appears to have been a man with a good,
sensible, honest countenance, wearing a large
Crimean beard, and having a cap on his head,
the shape of which, fortunately, has not
yet been adopted for the British army.

Like most other old authors, Peter Belon
takes some time before he can get fairly
under weigh. There are, first, the dedication
to the most Christian kingHenry the
Second of the namewhose humble scholar
the author declares himself to be. Then follows
a homily addressed to the reader, chiefly
for the purpose of assuring him that, in the
lively portraits of the birds which he presents
(Ah, could we but reproduce some of them!),
he is not practising on his credulity, but that,
such as he represents them, the fowls are
themselves, and that, where he cannot get an
authentic likeness he has refused to invent

The royal privilege to publish, sealed with
yellow waxlike a bottle of good old wine
comes next, and finally appear several copies
of verses in praise of the author, by certain of
his friends, which latter had better be
skipped, that Peter Belon's volume, which
has in it a great deal that is worth reading,
may unfold its pages for our gratification. It
is not, however, a resumé of the work, or anything
like it, that I intend to make, but simply
a dip into ithere and thereextending
some of the quaint fancies, curious digressions,
and sound opinions with which it is interspersed,
always desiring our reader to bear in
mind that the author was a physician as well
as a naturalist.

A word or two, before he fairly enters on
his theme, may be allowed him to describe
the pains he was in the habit of taking to
obtain correct information. " It was my
custom," he says, " during my sojourn in
Padua, to go down the Brenta every Thursday
evening, voyaging all night in order to reach
Venice on Friday morning, aud to remain
there on Saturday and Sunday, as much for