Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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•205
'I will tell you all about the otter,' con-
tinued Mr. Redingfiekl. 4t is naturally a
very fierce animal, and is found in ponds
and streams; it lives on fish, which it ca-
tches with great agility. Its body is ex-
ceedingly supple, so that when turning
about in the water you would hardly sup-
pose there was a bone in it. It has web-
bed feet, and a mouth adapted to seize its
slippery prey. And, as you will see pre-
sently, it has a black nose and long whis-
kers.
'I had often thought f should hke to
tame an otter,' continued the yeoman, 'for
I was particularly struck with the elegance
of their motions when in the water. So I
determined to have one; and, making my
desire known to the men, Jim Sykes, the
red-headed fellow you saw in the stable as
you came in, soon found two young ones,
which he brought to me one evening. They
were about six weeks old, and I took them
and put them in a little rock-house close
by the side of the pond, part of which I
enclosed by wire-work, so that they could
not get out. They soon grew up into fme
animals, as I fed them well on milk, and
bread, and fish. I then found them very
docile, and I taught them to fetch and
carry, which they did as* well as dogs do,
and seemed delighted with their play. After
this I took them out with me, and sent
them into the streams after living fish,
which they captured and brought to me.'
'But how do they get over their natural
state?' inquired Charley.
'Well, I will tell you. They are always
found at the edge of the water, and, when
under the protection of the dam, she
teaches them instantly to plunge into the
deep water, and escape from their pursuers
among the reeds and rushes that fringe the
stream, and, except in the absence of the
parent, they are not to be easily taken.
When the otter, in its wild state, has taken
a lish, it carries it to the shore, generally
a few yards from tho water's edge, just as
the heron does, for fear it should leap back
again to its native element. It then de-
vours its head and upper part, leaving the
remainder for rats and weasels.'
'It must be good fun to hunt them,' said
Charley.
'Not quite so fast, my young gentleman,'
replied Mr. Bedingfield; 'not quite so fast.
[ remember reading a passage once in the
journal of the dear, good Bishop Heber.
He says: 'We passed, to my surprise, a
row of no less than nine or ten large and
beautiful otters, tethered, with straw collars
and long strings, to bamboo stakes on the
banks of the Matter-Colly. Some were
swimming about at the full extent of their
strings, or lying half-and-half out of the
water; others were rolUng themselves in the
sun on the sandy bank, uttering a shrill,
whistling noise, as if in play. I was told
that most of the fishermen in this neigh-
bourhood kept one or more of these ani-
mals, who were almost as tame as dogs,
and of great use in fishing, sometimes driv-
ing the shoals into the nets, sometimes
bringing out the largest fish with their
teeth. I was much pleased and interested
with the sight,' continues the humane
Bishop. *It has always been a fancy of
mine that the poor creatures whom we
waste and persecute to death for no cause
but the gratification of our cruelty, might,
by reasonable treatment, be made the sour-
ces of abundant amusement and advantage
to us.'
But is not otter-hunting good sport?' in-
quired the youngster. 'I remember seeing
a picture of Mr. Landseer's at the Great
Exhibition, called 'Spearing the Otter,' in
which a poor otter was run through with a
spear and held on high by the spearer,
while all the dogs were leaping up at it
to tear it to pieces. It was a fearful sight
to see the poor animal writhing in the tor-
tures of death on the point of the spear, 1
must own, and quite as fearful to imagine
its being torn in pieces by the dogs.'
'You are quite right, my boy,' said Mr.
Bediugiield, 'and I am giad to say otter-
hunting is becoming every day more rare.
But in the older annals of sporting in this
country, otter-hunting held a considerable
place. When the otter is found, he in-
stantly takes to the water and dives, re-
maining a long time underneath it, and ris-
ing at a considerable distance from the
place at which he dived. Then the anxious
watch that is kept for his rising to 'vent,'
that is, breathe, the steady purpose with
which the dogs follow, and bait him, as he
swims; the attempts of the cunning beast
to drown its assailants by diving whilst they
have fastened on him; the baying of the
hounds, the cries of the hunters, and the
fierce and dogged resolution with which the
poor helpless quarry holds his pursuers at
bay, inflicting severe and sometimes fatal
wounds, and holding on with unflinching
pertinacity even to the last, forms, to a
certain order of minds, a great delight still;
but I should hope that young persons of
the present day have Httle of that fiendish
propensity which feels delight at the suffer-
ings of others, whether man or beast.
'I will tell you of the sport I once had