Introduction, Drollery; Letter, Spoof
T H, pseud. [Thomas Hood]
Medical Practitioners, Comparative Anatomy, Dissection, Menageries, Human Species, Cruelty, Physiognomy
The illustration captioned 'Suspended Animation' (323) depicts animals hanging from a tree: a monkey by its tail, a parrot by its beak, and a spider by a thread. The introduction reports that a 'Professional Friend, who was engaged in the study of Comparative Anatomy' had become 'desirous of dissecting a Monkey' and had purchased one from a menagerie, requesting it to be killed and sent to him (323). When it arrived the next day, it was accompanied by a letter from 'James Baycroft' reporting the circumstances of its death. Because of its resemblance to a human, Baycroft and his coadjutor had decided to hang the monkey, which had proved difficult because of its 'repetid climing up the rope with his hind legs'. They hoped they would be paid an additional sum because of the 'shock to feelings with a hanimal we'd bean acquainted with for so manny years'. (324) Baycroft wished that there had been a 'siantificle Gentleman' present 'to studdy his dying fizzogomony'. He asks whether he and his coadjutor might be 'present at the cuttin on him up, having knowed him so long at the Managery it wood be a Pleasure to see the last on him and partikly his Interium wether like our own specius inside as well as out'. (325) An afterword reports that the animal was, in fact, still alive and jumped out when the hamper was opened, and that the doctor allowed him to 'live out his natural term' (326).
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