The Greenwich Pensioner
Extract, Miscellaneous, Drollery
Physiology, Experiment, Vivisection, Naturalists, Menageries
In a quizzical disquisition on Greenwich pensioners, the writer observes: 'We have all read of crabs being despoiled of their claws, locusts of their entrails, and turtles of their brains, receiving in lieu thereof a pellet of cotton, and yet retaining life, and appearing, in the words of the experimentalizing and soft-hearted naturalist "very lively and comfortable." Now, the real Greenwich pensioner distances all these; he is, indeed, an enigma; nature knows not what to make of him' (218). Reflecting that 'a Greenwich pensioner fresh from the sea' is out of place on dry land, the writer remarks: 'Compare him to a hippopotamus in a gentleman's park, and he would tell you, he had in his day seen a hippopotamus, and then [...] acquiesce in the resemblance' (220).
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