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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in pulls after him a bundle of heath of
sufficient size to close it. A carcase of a
sheep or dog, or a fish or fowl, being pre-
viously left without at the distance of from
twelve to twenty yards, the lyer-in-wait
watches patiently for the descent of the
eagle, and the moment it has fairly settled
upon the carrion, fires. In this manner,
multitudes of eagles are yearly destroyed
in Scotland. The head, claws, and quills,
are kept by the shepherds, to be presented
to the factor at Martinmas or Whitsunday,
for the premium of from half-a-crown to
five shillings, which is usually awarded on
such occasions.
172. THE WHALE FISHERY.
The animal popularly known by the name
of the whale is, at least in its more re-
markable varieties, not only what Milton
calls the Leviathan in one passage, — that
sea-beast
— 'rhich God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream;'—
but the 'hugest of living creatures,' as the
same poet elsewhere describes the monster
mentioned in scripture, thus giving it the
precedence over even 'Behemoth, biggest
born of earth.' There is no reason to ima-
gine that any creature ever trod the land
approaching to the magnitude of this sove-
reign of the deep. The common Green-
land whale (Balaena mysticetus) is not un-
usually 58 or 60 feet in length, by 30 or
40 in circumference. This implies a weight
of about seventy tons, being equal to that
of two hundred fat oxen. The love of the
marvellous, not satisfied with these enorm-
ous dimensions, has indeed propagated sto-
ries of whales of much larger size. Many
naturalists have spoken of such as had at-
tained their full growth measuring some-
times '150 or 200 feet; and some of the
older writers assure us, that specimens have
been seen of above 900 feet in length: but
these statements are, undoubtedly, wild and
ignorant exaggerations. Referring to the
Balajna mysticetus, Captain Scoresby in-
forms us, that of three hundred and twenty-
two individuals, in the capture of which he
had been personally concerned, no one, he
beheves, exceeded 60 feet in length. A few
instances may have occurred in which eight
or ten feet more had been attained; but
there is no evidence that the animal was
ever seen of a greater length than 70 feet.
Sixty feet is the length commonly assigned
to it even by the older writers, when they
speak from their own observation.
There is, however, another variety, the
Balsena physalis of Linnajus, or that known
by the name of Razorback among the
whalers, which reaches a larger size, being
sometimes found 100 or 105 feet long. *lt
is probably,' as Captain Scoresby remarks,
'the most powerful and bulky of ci'eated
beings.' The Razorback, however, which
derives its name from a small horny pro-
tuberance or lin running along the ridge of
the back, is no great favourite with the
whale-fishers, being both more active and
difficult to capture than the common or
what they call the right fish, and very far
from being so valuable a prize when ob-
tained.
The following description of the northern
or Greenland whale will apply to the south-
ern, in all essential points. The Asiatic and
African elephants are each in the same
manner remarkable for such differences of
structure, particularly in the form of the
head, which are sufficient to constitute dis-
tinct species.
The whale is popularly considered as a
fish; but, except that it lives in the water^
it has little or no similarity to the class of
animals properly so designated. It is vivi-
parous, that is to say, it brings forth its
young, not enclosed in an egg, but alive
and full formed; it has usually but one at
a time, which it suckles with milk drawn
from its teats. It is therefore considered
as belonging to the class of the Mammals,
the same under which man is comprehend-
ed. It is also, like man, a warm-blooded
animal; the blood, however, being of con-
siderable higher temperature than in the
human species. Finally, it is provided, like
the human being, with lungs, and can only
breathe by putting its head out of, the
water.
The skin of the whale is dark-coloured,
smooth, and without scales. Its form in the
middle part is cylindrical, from which it
gradually tapers towards the tail. This
part of the animal is usually only five or
six feet in length; but its width, or extent
from right to left, its position being hori-
zontal, or flat upon the water, is sometimes
twenty-five or twenty-six feet. The power
of this bony fin, as we shall have occasion
more particularly to notice in the sequel,
is prodigious. It is the instrument by which
the animal principally makes its way through
the water, and also its most effective wea-
pon of defence. Towards the head it like-
wise possesses two fins, or swimming paws,
as they have been termed, attached to the