Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/621

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The beauty of the cow counts almost as much as her usefulness in popular estimation, and the best breeds are really handsome. It is true that a British amateur, accustomed to the level back of the English beast, at first looks unfavorably on the hump and the falling hind quarter. The head seems too large and the body too short. But he acknowledges at once the clean, thoroughbred legs, the fine expression of the eye, the air of breeding in the broad, convex brow and slender muzzle, the character given by the deep, thin dewlap, the smooth, mole-like skin, and in the large breeds an indefinable majesty of mien. In addition to their high caste and shapely look, the hind legs are much straighter and less "cow-hocked" than those of the English animal, and are not swung so far out in trotting. On occasion the animal can jump a fence with a carriage of limbs like that of the horse. So

PSM V40 D621 In a good season poster.jpg
Fig. 5.—In a Good Season.

in a very short time the Briton drops his prejudices, and is even reconciled to the hump, which, like that of the camel and the fat tail of the dūmha sheep, has some mysterious relation to the varying conditions of a precarious food-supply. They say vaguely it is a reserve of sustenance, but it would take a physiologist to explain how it acts. Some insist that the sloping quarter is the result of ages of scanty or irregular feeding, but it is now, at all events, a fixed anatomical peculiarity.