Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/95

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85
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS AND HER BABY.
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS AND HER BABY.
By FRANK BUCKLAND.

ON the 5th of November, 1604, two hundred and sixty-eight years ago, the whole of London was in a state of commotion at hearing of the discovery of "Guy Fawkes" sitting in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament, on a powder-barrel, with a match in his hand, his intention being to blow up James I. and the House of Lords.

On the 5th of November, 1872, London was again put in a state of commotion by the appearance of another "Guy Fawkes;" this time, however, not in the cellar under the Houses of Parliament, but in the straw by the side of his mother in her den at the Zoological Gardens. In the engraving on page 86, you can now, kind reader, see the portrait of this celebrated animal, "Guy Fawkes," so called on account of the date of his birth. The father hippopotamus came over here in the year 1851, and was accompanied in his journey by the well-known captain of the "Rob Roy Canoe," who happened to be a fellow-passenger in the steamer with him. The female hippopotamus was sent over to England, by my friend Consul Petherick, at a later date. From these parents three young ones have been born at the Zoological Gardens; unfortunately, two of these interesting infants died. I made two casts of the first Baby Hippo: one cast is in the giraffe-house at the Zoological Gardens, the other is in my Fish Museum at South Kensington. The first two young ones remained by the head of the mother, evidently not knowing where the udder was. Mr. Bartlett, the talented and ever-obliging superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, tells me that, before these two hippopotami were born, the people at Paris and Amsterdam had written to him to advise him "never, on any account, to let the baby hippopotamus go into the water." He took their advice on the former occasions, but at the birth of "Guy Fawkes" he was determined to try the very reverse plan. He therefore allowed the young one to accompany its mother into the big bath. It is to Mr. Bartlett that must be ascribed the honor of the discovery that the young hippopotamus certainly sucks under water. It would seem, therefore, that the young hippopotamus has some peculiar anatomical structure which enables it to remain a much longer time under water than its parents.

A few days after the birth of the young one, Mr. Bartlett was watching it swimming about the tank. It then suddenly dived, but did not reappear for such a long time that he thought it had had a fit, and was lying drowned at the bottom of the tank. He therefore made arrangements to have the large plug pulled out—this plug had been fixed expressly for this purpose—and to run off the tank quickly, so as to resuscitate the little beast if possible. They were just going