Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/724

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QUAGGA—QUAIL

Literature.—For a fuller treatment of all these points see Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. p. 523 foll.; for the existence of the quaestorship under the monarchy, and a different view of the second station of the Italian quaestors, see A. H. J. Greenidge, Roman Public Life, pp. 63, 215.

QUAGGA, or Cougga, an animal of the genus Equus (see Horse), nearly allied to Burchell’s zebra, formerly met with in vast herds on the great plains of South Africa between the Cape Colony and the Vaal river, but now completely extinct. Generally speaking, the colour of the head, neck, and upper-parts of the body was reddish-brown, irregularly banded and marked with dark brown stripes, stronger on the head and neck and gradually becoming fainter until lost behind the shoulder. There is a broad dark median dorsal stripe. The under surface of the body, the legs, and tail are nearly white, without stripes. The crest is very high, surmounted by a standing mane, banded

NSRW Quagga.png

The Quagga (Equus quagga).

alternately brown and white. It is, however, not improbable that there were two or more local races, for which separate names have been proposed. Though never really domesticated, quaggas have occasionally been trained to harness. The accompanying illustration is reduced from a painting made from one of two which were driven in Hyde Park by Mr. Sheriff Parkins in the early part of the 19th century. The name is an imitation of the shrill barking neigh of the animal, “oug-ga, oug-ga,” the last syllable very much prolonged; it is also commonly applied to the bonnte-quagga, or Burchell’s zebra (see Horse and Zebra).

QUAGMIRE, a bog or marsh, a piece of ground so saturated with water that it cannot support any weight. The word is composed of “quag” or “quake” (O.E. cwacian; cf. “quaver,” “quiver”) and “mire,” mud (Icel. myri, Swed. myr).

Skeat suggests that quag may be connected with the root seen in “quick,” and quotes (Etym. Dict. 1898) Piers Plowman, c. xxi. 64, of an earthquake, the earth “quook as it quyke were,” i.e. shook as if it were alive.

QUAICH, or Quaigh, a form of Scottish drinking vessel. The word is an adaptation of the Gaelic cuach, cup, bowl; cf. Welsh cawg, and is usually referred to the Gr. καῦκος, καῦκα through Lat. caucus. In the 18th century it is sometimes spelled “quaff,” and a connexion has been suggested with “quaff,” to drink with a large or at a single draught; the New English Dictionary, however, considers this doubtful. The “quaich” was doubtless inspired by the low silver bowls with two fiat handles, frequently used as bleeding vessels in England and Holland in the 17th century. The earliest quaichs were made of a solid block of wood, or of small staves of wood, often of different colours, supported by hoops, like barrels. They are generally fitted with two, and, more rarely, three short projecting handles. In addition to wood, they are made of stone, brass, pewter, horn, and of silver. The latter were often engraved with lines and bands in imitation of the staves and hoops of the wooden quaichs. The origin of these vessels in Scotland is traced to the Highlands; it was not until the end of the 17th century that they became popular in such large centres as Edinburgh and Glasgow. The silversmiths of such local gilds as Inverness and Perth frequently mounted them in silver, as may be seen from the hall-marks on the existing examples. They are found, of silver and pewter, in use as communion cups in various parts of Scotland; four, with the Edinburgh hallmark for 1722, belong to Ayr parish church; and a large one with the same hall-mark for 1663–1684 is used as an alms-dish at Alvah, Banffshire. The loving cup at Donaldson’s hospital, Edinburgh, is a large silver quaich, with the Edinburgh stamp for 1724, which belonged to the founder of that hospital. The finest collection of these vessels is in the possession of the marquess of Breadalbane.  (E. A. J.) 

QUAIL (O. Fr. Quaille, Mod. Fr. Caille, Ital. Quaglia, Low Lat. Quaquila, Du. Kwakkel and nl, Ger. Wachtel, Dan. Vaglel), a well-known bird throughout almost all countries of Europe, Asia and Africa— in modern Ornithology the Colurnix communis or C. daclylisonans. This last epithet was given from the peculiar three-syllables call-note of the cock, which has been grotesquely rendered in several European languages, and in some parts of Great Britain the species is popularly known by the nickname of “wet-my-lips” or “wet-my-feet.” The quail varies somewhat in colour, and the variation is rather individual than attributable to local causes; but generally the plumage may be described as reddish-brown above, almost each feather being transversely patched with dark brown interrupted by a longitudinal stripe of light buff; the head is dark brown above, with three longitudinal streaks of ochreous-white; the sides of the breast and flanks are reddish-brown, distinctly striped with ochreous-white; the rest of the lower parts are pale buff, clouded with a darker shade, and passing into white on the belly. The cock, besides being generally brighter in tint, not infrequently has the chin and a double-throat band of reddish or blackish-brown, which marks are wanting in the hen, whose breast is usually spotted. Quails breed on the ground, and lay from nine to fifteen eggs of a yellowish-white, blotched and spotted with dark brown. Though essentially migratory by nature, not a few quails pass the winter in the northern hemisphere and even in Britain, and many more in southern Europe. In March and April they cross the Mediterranean from the south on the way to their breeding homes in large bands, but these are said to be as nothing compared with the enormous flights that emigrate from Europe towards the end of September. During both migrations immense numbers are netted for the market, since they are almost universally esteemed as delicate meat. The flesh of quails caught in spring commonly proves dry and indifferent, but that of those taken in autumn, especially when they have been kept long enough to grow fat, as they quickly do, is excellent. In no part of the British islands at present do quails exist in sufficient numbers to be the especial object of sport. In old days they were taken in England in a net, attracted thereto by means of a quail-call—a simple instrument,[1] the use of which is now wholly neglected—on which their notes are easily imitated. In South Africa and India allied species, C. delegorguii and C. coromandelica, the latter known as the Rain-Quail, respectively occur, as well as the commoner one, which in Australia and Tasmania is wholly replaced by C. pectoralis, the Stubble-Quail of the colonists. In New Zealand another species, C. novae-zelandiae, was formerly very abundant in some districts. Some fifteen or perhaps more species of quails, inhabiting the Indian and Australian regions, have been separated, perhaps unnecessarily, to form the genera Synoecus, Perdicula, Excalphatofia, and so forth.

America has some fifty or sixty species of birds which are commonly deemed quails, though by some authors placed in a distinct family or sub-family Odontophorinae[2] The best

  1. One is figured in Rowley’s Ornithological Miscellany (ii. p. 363).
  2. They form the subject of a monograph in folio by J. Gould, published between 1844 and 1850. See also S. D. Judd, Bulletin 21 of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (1905); D. G. Elliot, Game Birds of North America (1897).