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undersized, white Fowls, with black combs and indescribable plumage, that had been sent to her Majesty from the East, which I suppose are the breed to which you refer. See the article ‘ Pheasant’ in the ‘Penny Cyclopaedia.’ My brother tells me that he saw some very small White Silky Fowls which had been brought from Calcutta. If I remember aright, her Majesty's were as small as many Bantams.”—J. S. W. 3rdly, there is another kind of Silky Fowls, with plumage almost black, with black comb and skin, and with bones that are black, or of a dark colour ; and, 4thly, I am led to believe that there exists, what would be the true Negro Fowl, a bird with black comb, skin, and bones, and with plumage which is black, but not silky. Instances of creatures having bones naturally discoloured, are, I think, rare. The only other one I can call to mind is that of the gar-fish, which is not unfrequent in the London markets, a most curious piece of organization, with a long beak like a snipe, a long body like an eel, but flattened like a riband, and grass-green bones. “The Wool-bearing Hen I take to be altogether fabulous, and its figure in Aldrov. lib. 14, cap. 14, taken out of a certain map, fictitious. Perchance it was no other than the frizzled or Friesland Hen, which Odoricus de Foro Julii and Sir John Mandevil call the Wool-bearing Hen. The birds which M. Paulus Venetus makes mention of in these words, “In the city Quelinfü, in the kingdom of Mangi, are found Hens, which instead of feathers have hairs like Cats, of a black colour, and lay very good eggs,’ seem to be Cassocaries.”— Willughby, p 156. A daring piece of scepticism for those times! However, the Frizzled and the Silky Fowls are quite distinct. Aldrovandi's own words are:—“Gallinae hujus lanigerae icon desumpta est ex cartà quádam cosmographică. Civitas est maxima versus Orientem, in quâ maximi Galli nascuntur. Gallinae sunt albae instar nivis, non pennis, sed lanis, ut testatur Odoricus de Foro Julii, tectae, ut pecus. Item M. Paulus Venetus scribit, “in civitate Quelinfü, in regno Mangi nomine, Gallinas inveniri, quae loco pennarum pilos habeant, ut cati, nigri scilicet coloris, et ova optima pariant.’” “The likeness of this Woolbearing Hen is taken out of a certain cosmographic map. There is a very great city towards the East, in which the largest Cocks are produced. The Hens are white as snow, and, according to Odoricus of Forum Julii, (three different towns rejoice in that name) are covered not with feathers, but with wool like sheep. Also Marco Polo, the Venetian, writes that “in the city Quelinfu, in the kingdom Mangi by name, Hens are found that in the place of feathers have hairs like cats, are of a black colour, and lay most excellent eggs.’” Aldrovandi's figure is black, with large wattles, and elaborately jagged comb. The bird is covered with curly locks. But an inspection of these old wood-cuts, especially in botanical works, suggests the idea that many of them were merely symbolical, intended rather to give the hieroglyphic of the thing meant, than an actual verisimilar representation of it.


It is difficult to say whether this be an aboriginal variety, or merely a peculiar instance of the morphology of feathers; the circumstance that there are also Frizzled Bantams would seem to indicate the latter case to be the fact. School-boys used to account for the up-curled feathers of the Frizzled Fowl, by supposing that they had come the wrong way out of the shell. They are to be met with of various colours, but are disliked and shunned, and crossly treated by other Poultry. Old-fashioned people sometimes call them French Hens. The reversion of the feathers rendering them of little use as clothing to the birds, makes this variety to be peculiarly susceptible of cold and wet. They have thus the demerit of being tender as well as ugly. In good specimens every feather looks as if it had been curled the wrong way with a pair of hot curling-irons. The stock is retained in existence in this country more by importation than by rearing. The small Frizzled Bantams at the Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park, are found to be excellent sitters and nurses. Aldrovandi has an unmistakeable figure of the Frizzled Cock, and gives the following account of it : “De hoc Gallo ad me scripsit Pompilius Tagliaferrus, Parmensis, inter praeclaros medicos haud infimus, his verbis: ‘Ad te mitto Galli monstrosi effigiem, etsi tamen in illo delineando pictor haud mihi satisfecerit. Sed scias velim, duo potissimilm in hoc Gallo reperiri admiratione digna, quae in Gallinaceis, et Gallinis nostris visuntur minimè. Primum, et praecipuum est, quéd alarum pennae contrario, quam in aliis modo situantur, nam pars illarum prona, quae ex naturae praescripto in aliis interius vergit, in hoc exterior conspicitur, ita ut tota ala, penitus inversa videatur. Alterum notatu dignum existimo, quod cervicis plumulae caput versus cirri instar eriguntur; quorsum etiam tota cauda attolli conspicitur.’ Haec ille. Quae tamen de hoc Gallo commemorat, nec ejus imago ad me missa, nec nostra icon satis exprimunt: quod pictoris imperitiã factum fuisse ejus verba ostendunt.” “Pompilius Tagliaferrus, of Parma, not the lowest amongst distinguished physicians, wrote to me respecting this Cock, in these words: “I send thee the effigy of a monstrous Cock, although the painter has not satisfied me in its delineation. But I wish you to know that two things particularly worthy of admiration are to be found in this Cock, which are scarcely ever seen in our own Cocks and Hens. The first and principal is, that the feathers of the wings are situated in a contrary manner to what they are in others, for the flat part of them, which by the prescript of nature in others bends inwards, in this is seen outward, so that the whole wing appears entirely reversed. I think another thing worthy of notice, namely, that the small feathers of the neck are erected towards the head, like curls, whither also the whole tail appears to be bent.’ So far he. But what he records of this Cock, neither its portrait sent to me, nor our figure sufficiently express; which his words show to have happened through the unskilfulness of the painter.” Aldrovandi seems to doubt the fact. His bird is drawn with a large, deep-cleft comb.


London: BRADBURY AND Evans, PRINTERs, white FRIARs.

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