Punch,  39 (1860), 188.

Sharks on the South Coast (A Study from St Harold's.) To Mr Punch



Letter, Spoof


Zoology, Natural History, Exhibitions, Taxonomy, Adulteration

    Observes that sharks are not confined to tropical seas, and that visitors to south coast resorts can sometimes see dead specimens exhibited by fishermen when caught in the herring nets. Draws parallels between the sea shark and the 'land-shark', being the avaricious lodging house keeper. Reports that the sea shark he recently saw at the resort of St Harold's was a 'fine specimen of the Chondropterygian family', and a member of the 'Squalidae', and notes that the St Harold's land-shark is likewise 'eminently "squalid"'. Noting stories about the enormous appetites of sea-sharks, observes that the 'land-shark' has an 'extraordinary relish for condiments'. Thinks that unlike sea-sharks, with which it shares large jaws and 'an insatiable stomach', the 'land-shark' possesses a bill that suggests that it should be classified as the 'Ornithorhyncus paradoxus'. Notes that he had contemplated presenting readers with the 'bill' that he had 'extracted from my land-shark' but decided against it when he realised that 'every paterfamilias who has soujourned on the South Coast' could 'parallel' his specimen. Goes on to describe the adulterated food which he, 'a struggling paterfamilias', ate, owing to the fact that the lodging house was above a grocer's shop.

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