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A DISH OF FROGS.

THE general opinion with respect to frogs
appears to be, that they were created solely
for the purpose of experiment; to be
galvanised, poisoned, and otherwise scientifically
ill-treated by philosophers; or to be swallowed
alive, made to hop against their inclinations,
or be pelted to death by irreverent schoolboys.
Whatever the processuseful, amusing,
or simply cruelthe result is always the same:
the frogs invariably get the worst of it. This
is hard measure to deal out to any class of
animals; but, when a race so inoffensive
as that of the Anourous Amphibia or Tailless
Batrachians, is always selected for victimisation,
the injustice of the act demands more
than common censure. It is my intention,
then, to put in a plea for frogs, as
lively, intelligent, graceful, handsome, eatable
creatures; whose merits, to my thinking, have
not been sufficiently appreciated by the world
at large.

Few naturalists knew better than M. de
Lacepède what those merits are, and you
shall hear what he says about them:—"The
frog," he observes, "is as agreeable in its
conformation as distinguished by its qualities,
and interests us on account of the phenomena
which it presents at the different periods of
its life. . . . We see in it an animal from
which we have nothing to fear, whose instinct
is refined and which, uniting slim and supple
limbs with a slight form, is adorned with
colours that please the eye, and exhibits tints
rendered still more brilliant by a viscous
humour which is spread over the skin, and
answers the purpose of a varnish"—polished,
in fact. In another place he says:—"The
figure of the frog is light, his movements
rapid, and his attitude graceful." On this
last point M. de Lacepède strongly insists:—
"When a frog leaves the water, so far from
moving with his face turned towards the
earth and basely wallowing in the dirt, like
a toad, he advances by lofty leaps. One
would say that he desires to associate himself
with the air, as the purest element; and when
he rests on the ground, he always does so
with his head erect and his body raised upon
his fore-feet, an attitude which gives him the
upright appearance of an animal whose
instincts have in them something noble, rather
than those which belong to the low, horizontal
position of a vile reptile."

That frogs have in them qualities which
are out of the common is indisputable, or
why should Homer have sung their battles,
or Aristophanes have made them the principal
personages in one of his best known
comedies? Why, also, if they were not
lively and intelligent should the epithet
Frog be applied to our gallant French friends?
There is a much better reason for it, believe
me, than the fact of their being articles of
diet in France; for the southern German
consumes a far greater number at table than
the Gaul; teste the Frog-market (Frosch-
markt) at Vienna, and nobody in their
senses ever thought of calling the Viennese
either lively or intelligent!

Frogs, in the course of their career, have a
dual existence, as befits animals who live
alike on land and in water. In the tadpolian
stage they belong entirely to the latter
element; advanced to positive froghood, they
are equally at home in the pond or the
meadow, preferring the ditch, perhaps, as a
mezzo termine between the two. There is
much about the tadpole that is interesting.
Look at his figurehow round! what an
image of easy-going softness! what can you
distinguish of him in particular, unless it be
his long, flexible tailthat tail which he
repudiates in after-life, as it has been held by
Lord Monboddo that we ourselves have
done? Which is his head, which his capacious
stomach? Some say he is all headothers
all belly. The French naturalists, who must
be great authorities on the question, evidently
incline to the latter opinion, by the name they
give him, which is têtard. I rather imagine
the former to be the fact from the enormous
quantity of food he absorbs. "The little
being," says Cuvier, "which issues from the
frog's egg calls itself têtard. It is provided,
in the first instance, with a long, fleshy tail,
and a small horny beak, and has no other
apparent members beyond the small fringes
at the sides of the neck." "The mouth of
the têtard," remarks De Lacepède, "is not
placed, as in the adult frog, in front of the
head, but in some sort in the chest: thus,
when he wishes to seize anything that floats
on the surface of the water, or to breathe
more freely, he throws himself on his back

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