Taxidermy in the UK

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Hermann Ploucquet.

Ploucquet's work became famous when he was one of fourteen taxidermists to display examples of their work at the Great Exhibition of 1851. His anthropomorphic displays were immensely popular with the public, and Queen Victoria described them in her diaries as "really marvellous". His scenes included a declaration of love between two weasels, a dormouse duel, hedgehogs ice-skating, and six kitten serenading a piglet underneath her window. His most popular work, however, was a series of six tableaux illustrating the German fable Reinecke the Fox based on Wilhelm von Kaulbach's illustrated work of Goethe's tale.

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Front cover of the book by Hermann Ploucquet.

Hermann Ploucquet's work is generally believed to have been an inspiration for Walter Potter (2 July 1835 - 21 May 1918), of Bramber, Sussex, UK. Potter would only have been sixteen years old at the time of the Great Exhibition - and there is no evidence that he attended it - but Ploucquet's book, as well as various imitations of his work, were widely distributed at the time, therefore it would be remise to assume that Potter never had sight of either the actual work produced by Plouquet's or at the very least viewed the prints that would have illustrated his efforts. A page dedicated to the life and work of Walter Potter can also be found within this site.

Taxidermy by Hermann Ploucquet.


January 1861.

To HERRMANN PLOUCQUET, Preserver of Objects of Natural History at the Royal Museum of Stuttgart the capital of the kingdom of Wurtemberg we were indebted for one of the cleverest and most popular displays in the GREAT EXHIBITION. Every one, from Her Majesty the Queen down to the least of the charity-boys, hastened to see the Stuffed Animals from the Zollverein ; every one lingered over them and laughed at them as long as the crowd would allow ; and every one talked of them afterwards with a smile and a pleasing recollection. That these clever productions of Ploucquet's talent may be long perpetuated, we had daguerreotypes of them taken by Mr Claudet, and engravings made from them on wood as faithfully like as possible. We must beg our readers to remember that our sketches were written to illustrate the drawings, for on this plea we claim some indulgence ; but as we know full well that the pictures are the main attraction of the volume, we are not apprehensive of much criticism.

IN a pleasant country where green meadows lay stretched by the side of a broad river, whose banks were lined with the pollard-willow and tall poplar, there once dwelt a family of Weasels, known, from their place of residence, as the Weasels of Holm-wood. Holm-wood was a little island covered with underwood, rushes, and wild flowers. A few aged trees stood by its edge, bathing their long arms in the stream, and in the hollow trunk of one of these the Weasels lived. Any fine morning you might have seen the mother of this family carrying her infant in her arms, and followed by her

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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

other children, a girl and two boys, who would amuse them- selves by dragging little wooden horses, playing at soldiers with mock muskets, running against the wind with little whirligig mills, or frolicking about with a thousand of the antics of children. Their father, known every where as Old "Weasel, was of a most resolute and unbending disposition ; he made many enemies, and was ever at war with one or other of his neighbours. The Partridges of Clover-field asserted that he sucked their eggs and stole their young ones ; the Rabbits of the Warren held Old Weasel and all his family in the deepest abhorrence, and accused them of the greatest cruelties ; but no one complained of them more bitterly than Dame Partlett of the Farm, who accused the whole tribe of being born enemies of her race, and said, that were it not that Old Weasel himself was dreadfully afraid of her neighbour and friend, young Mastiff of Kennel- wood, she verily believed that she should never know any peace on earth.
All the world will understand how, with such a character, the Weasels had but few friends, and that when Miss Weasel grew to be of age, she should have but few admirers ; nevertheless two or three families who were related to them by blood kept up an occasional acquaintance, and among them the Ferrets of Hollow-oak were the most intimate. Now it so happened that one evening, when out for a ramble in the woods, a branch of a tree on which Miss Weasel had mounted in order to get nearer to young Linnet, with whom she wished to be on intimate terms, broke suddenly off, and the poor young lady was precipitated to the ground and sadly hurt. Her cries brought to her assistance her younger brother Tom, who, as soon as he had helped her home, ran for young Ferret, who had lately begun practice as a physician. When the good young doctor came, he found Miss Weasel lying on the sofa, looking very pale and very interesting. He felt her pulse, looked at her tongue, and soon discovered that the lady was more frightened than hurt. However, as he had not many patients, he did not choose to tell all the truth, but prescribing a simple remedy, he ordered her to keep very quiet, and promised to call again on the next day. Whether it was that Miss Weasel had been hurt more than her physician had thought, or whether there were any other inducements, we . cannot say ; but young Ferret thought it his duty to call at Holm-wood every morning, and sometimes twice a day, for at least a month : and if any one could have seen how frequently he felt Miss Weasel's pulse, and how anxiously he studied every expression of her face, he would have set down Dr Ferret as a very attentive at least, if not excellent When Miss Weasel became somewhat stronger, this good young man would lend his arm for her support during an evening walk, would bring her birds' eggs and other delicacies, and in many ways endeavour to contribute to her restoration to health.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

This went on for some time, till the gossips of the neighbouring village would smile whenever they saw the doctor wending his way towards Holm-wood ; and Miss Weasel's two brothers would immediately leave their lessons, which their sister used to teach them, as soon as ever the physician appeared in sight. The other relations of the Weasels who were on visiting terms with them were, the Polecats of the Grange, who came but seldom, and the Martens of Forest-farm, with whom they were more intimate. Now old Mr Marten had always intended that his own son Longtail, who kept a boarding-school for boys near the Warren, should marry Miss Weasel ; and when he heard of the physician's great attentions to that young lady, he was very wroth. At first he thought of waylaying young Ferret in the wood and killing him ; but then he recollected that the Ferrets were a powerful family, who would never rest till they had been revenged. His next thought was to go to his attorney, Sharp Weasel, Esq., of Nettle Cottage, and consult with him as to the best means of thwarting young Ferret's projects. So the old man took down his pipe and his account-book, and set off to the attorney.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

Mr Sharp Weasel was well pleased to see so excellent a client as old Mr Marten, and received him with many smiles. The two quickly laid down a plan of proceedings, and Mr Marten produced his account-booft, and proved that young Ferret owed him for the following goods sold and delivered, viz., one young rabbit ; item, one wood-pigeon ; item, one brace of partridges ; item, one cock-pheasant ; item, one duckling ; item, one fat gosling. For this account young Ferret was next day sum- moned before Judge Fox, who, after hearing the case, immediately gave judgment in favour of plaintiff; and as young Ferret had not sufficient funds to meet this unexpected demand, he was forthwith^ arrested and sent to prison.
Old Mr Marten chuckled and was well pleased at the success of his stratagem, and was on his way to his son Longtail, to tell him of what he considered the good news, when he met Mr Bantam of Holm-farm, searching for his wife and daughters, who had wandered for a walk. Bantam, it was evident, did not particularly wish for this meeting, for his comb grew very red, and he strutted off at a quick pace in an opposite direction ; but old Marten ran through some bushes, and caught him just as he was getting clear of the wood. " Good morning, Mr Bantam," said he.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.


"Good morning, sir," said Bantam, shaking in every feather. " I want you to do me a service, Bantam," continued old Marten ; " but you must not say one word of what I am going to tell you." Bantam promised this, as indeed he would have any- thing else. " You must go to Old Weasel of Holm- wood," whispered Marten, laying his forepaws on Bantam's breast to hold him near him, "and find his daughter. Tell her that young Ferret is a scapegrace and a good-for-nothing fellow, and that Judge Fox has sent him to prison. Then tell her that I am very rich, and that my son Longtail is making a hand- some fortune by his school. This is a delicate matter, Bantam ; if you manage cleverly, I will be your friend through life ; if you betray me, mark this." And the old man clapped his paw on the cutlass he usually wore by his side. Bantam, glad to get out of his clutches on any terms, promised the strictest compliance, and flew rather than ran back to his farmyard as soon as he was released. There the first person he saw was his wife, who had returned, and was wondering what had become of him. To her, of course, he told all his strange adventure, and she, silly thing, went immediately and cackled the whole story to Dame Goose ; who told it to one of the young Goslings, who told it to old Mr Drake ; he quacked it about so loudly that his wife and children soon learned it ; and in ten minutes there was not one in all Hohn-farm who did not know of this wonderful adventure. As for performing his promise, we must do Mr Bantam the credit of saying he never for a moment thought of being such a fool, for he well knew that, the day which saw him enter Old Weasel's house would be his last.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.


AFTER old Marten had let Bantam* go, lie himself went straight to his son, whom he found engaged in his professional pursuits. At the moment of his father's entry, young Longtail was hearing a class of the young Rabbits, on one of whom he was inflicting summary chastisement for great neglect and carelessness in his arithmetic. The poor young fellow was squeaking terribly, and his three brothers, with tears in their eyes, were trying with all their might to cast up their sums on their slates, which shook so in their hands that they could scarce see the figures. Their master left off the beating when he saw his father, and consequently young Rabbit, for the first and perhaps only time in his life, was very glad to see the old man. The class was dismissed ; and if you had seen these four youngsters scamper off, shaking their white tails and jumping half a yard high as they ran to the Warren, you would have thought it was a good thing to have the light-heartedness of children. The Martens, father and son, retired up an oak-tree, at the old man's request, to talk over their private affairs. When the son heard of his father's plans, and how young Ferret had been arrested, he was struck dumb with amazement. He had never dreamed that his father would interfere in such a matter ; and if the truth must be told, he was already engaged to Miss Pussy, the eldest daughter of old Mrs Hare of the Ferns. However, he knew better than to contradict his father's intentions too suddenly, for he felt assured that the old man would cut him off with a shilling if he were to offend him ; so he pretended to acquiesce in all that was said, and promised compliance in every particular. But as soon as his father had bidden him farewell, and had got out of sight, young Longtail ran as fast as his legs would carry him to the cavern where the doctor was imprisoned, paid the amount of the debt for which he had been arrested, and took young Ferret home with him to consult about their future conduct.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

It would have amused you, could you have heard all the plans discussed by these young lovers for their joint benefit ; how the one talked of his darling Miss Weasel, and the other of his dear Miss Pussy ; how they agreed that in matters of

love every thing was allowable ; and how they swore eternal friendship to each other throughout their lives. Two days afterwards it was known all over Holm-wood that the fair Miss Weasel had eloped with Longtail Marten. Mrs Goose and the four Miss Goslings were full of the information for every one they met. It was the finest piece of scandal they had known for years. "Only think," said they, " after all her engagement to young Doctor Ferret, to go and take up with the schoolmaster ; and all, forsooth, because Old Marten is rich !" But scarce had the first news of Miss "Weasel's extra- ordinary behaviour run through the farm-yard, than old Bantam was seen hurrying in, very red in the face from over exertion, and was heard to declare, that he never knew the like of it, but as sure as he was a living cock, he had met young Ferret the physician running away with Miss Pussy, the daughter of old Mrs Hare of the Ferns. Mrs Goose turned up the whites of her eyes and almost fainted. Dame Partlctt ran with all speed, that she might be the first to cackle the intelligence to Mr Drake ; and the whole island was soon in a ferment at this wonderful piece of gossip.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

Interpretation of the above drawing Hermann Ploucquet.

Of course, old Mr Marten soon heard of all this ; and so pleased was he that he immediately altered his will, doubling the amount he had previously given to his dear boy Longtail, and getting so extremely excited at the "Huntsman and Hounds" on the same afternoon, that, sad to relate, he was untimely carried off by an effusion of blood. And what think you became of the lovers ? Why, the very day all this commotion happened at Holm-wood the two pair met at their aunt's, old Mrs Stoat's, of Four-mile Cross, as they had agreed. There the young fellows, overjoyed at the success of their scheme, changed their fair partners, and, to complete their happiness, immediately set out for a tour on the neighbouring Continent. There, on fine summer evenings, you might often have seen the doctor and his beloved, quietly strolling by wood- sides and along the banks of the green meadows, listening intently to the warbling of the tender birds they loved so much ; while young Longtail Marten and his bride, fonder of more boisterous excitement, devoted themselves to the pleasures of the chase, scouring rapidly over hill and dale whenever they heard the huntsman's loud horn, or the hounds' deeper notes ; and never so happy as when, after the sports of the day were done, they finished up with a ball, and danced joyously till the next day's dawn.
Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.


As for the good folks at Holm-wood, as soon as Mrs Hare discovered that her daughter had run away, she sent for her eldest son, Jack Hare, who lived in a farm close by, and asked him to pursue his sister, and bring her back ; but Jack said she was quite old enough to know her own mind, and that he would have nothing to do with it. When, however, the old lady learned that her daughter was married to the rich young Marten, and not to the poor physician, then she was greatly rejoiced, though she confessed she could not make out why her dear child Pussy should run away with the doctor and then marry the schoolmaster ; but she supposed it was all right. As for Jack, when he heard that old Mr Marten had died, leaving great riches behind him, he, to follow the fashion, fell in love with Grace, the only daughter of the deceased, and only sister of Longtail. Miss Grace listened favourably to Jack's suit for she was very lonely now her father was dead, and her brother away; and as there was no papa to consult in their case, they got married quietly at home, and asked all their neighbours to a ball, when Jack Hare and Grace Marten (that was) led off the polka in grand style, greatly to the admiration of all the young folks in the island.

Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

MERRILY sounded the cock's shrill horn, and brightly shone the early morning sun, when a party of young sportsmen set out to the field, armed with their guns and game-bags. Four beaters from the neighbouring village attended them, each with a long stick to rout the hares and rabbits from their hiding-places. Gaily went they forth, these merry sportsmen and their helpers ; light was their step across the green meadows and up the sandy hill-sides ; loud was their laughter when one of them, trying to jump through a broken hedge, fell into the neighbouring ditch ; great was their mirth when another's gun went off and lamed a squirrel in an adjoining tree ; and joyous was the shout with which they scared a frightened rabbit from its morning meal. At last the sportsmen came to the side of a wood, and one of the beaters reported that just round the corner of the palings he could see nearly a dozen hares feeding together. A council of war was summoned ; each sportsman looked to the priming of his gun, and trod with a more cautious step ; each beater bent his head nearly to the ground, and crept along the grass. A plan of attack was formed ; the beaters stole within the wood to stop the hares that way, while the sportsmen suddenly appearing on the other side, caused the poor hares, surrounded as they were, to run into the very jaws of destruction. They that leaped towards the wood received blows on their heads from the beaters ; they that ran down the hill met Ponto the dog, who pounced on them open-mouthed ; and they that ran upwards were soon sent downwards again, toppling head over heels, killed by the fire of the enemy. JSTot a hare escaped. The gun-bearers took deadly aim, and Ponto and the beaters prevented their flight. While the young sportsmen and their helpers were yet picking up the hares and rejoicing at their good fortune, the sky became quickly overcast, black clouds gathered, and a hurricane of wind swept through the wood, tearing off large branches of the trees. The sportsmen stood amazed at the suddenness of the storm, but presently their amazement was changed to fear ; for, riding in a bright chariot drawn by six snow-white swans, blown swiftly by the wind, there appeared a lady of fairy-like beauty. At her command the beautiful birds stayed their flight, and the chariot rested on the green turf close by the sportsmen. " Young men," said the lady in a melodious but mournful voice, as she pointed to the dead hares, " you have murdered these poor innocents for your sport : know, I am the fairy called KINDNESS, and these hares were all of them my friends. In punishment for your cruelty, you sportsmen shall be changed into Martens, and you attendants into Weasels. In such shapes you may pursue your cruel sports ; you are not worthy of the forms of men." And, waving her wand, the swans bore her instantly out of sight. They who live in this country say that every old Michael mas-day, five martens and four weasels, with long sticks, may still be seen hunting hares near this wood ; sometimes a dog's bark is heard and a shrill whistle, but if any of mankind appear in their sight, the creatures run quickly away, and hide themselves in the wood.

The dual, not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

OUT in the fields, in the hollow of an old willow-tree, two Dormice slept the whole winter long. They neither ate nor drank, nor did they so much as raise their heads from their pillows during all this dreary time. A ray of sunshine, as the sun passed right over their tree, would perhaps make one of them stretch out his paws ; but as soon as the gleam had passed and left them, he would curl himself up all the closer in his nest, and go faster asleep than ever.
Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

But the sun came one bright spring morning, and shone on the Dormice so warmly, that they turned round in their bed, stretched their paws, rubbed their eyes, yawned, and at last woke quite up. " It is summer-time at last," said the elder Dormouse, as he took a nut from his store of provisions and cracked it, " and we may now leave our winter's bed." " I don't believe it," replied the younger. " The wind blows cold ; I shall go to sleep again." "Ah! that's like your laziness/' rejoined the elder; "sleep on ; I'm off to the wood." And so saying, he scrambled up the tree, then down the outside of the trunk, and so into the wide meadows.
The dual, not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

The younger Dormouse went to sleep. He slept for an hour, then he woke again, and finding his companion gone, he turned to the food and ate a hearty meal ; then he slept again, but the sun had made his bed too hot : so he presently woke and made another attack on the provisions ; and this he did the whole day long, until, at evening time, all the corn and nuts which the two Dormice had so diligently col- lected in the autumn, were gone. Soon the moon rose, and the young one curled himself for sleep. In the mean time the elder had wandered about the fields; but the earth was wet, and no corn or fruit was ripe, so at night he returned to his nest wet and hungry. He ran straight to the store-room for food ; but what was his surprise when he found nothing left but a few barley-corns ! His cries woke his companion, from whom he demanded the provisions ; the younger one muttered that he knew nothing about them, and pretended to sleep ; but the unfortunate adventurer, driven to desperation by hunger, flew into a rage and struck the other with his claws : a fight ensued, and the whole neighbourhood was alarmed at the outcry. Two Moles who were passing by the foot of the tree, hearing this dreadful noise, called out to the combatants to stop. The Dormice fearing it might be some of the Weasels who spoke, were silent instantly, and then the Moles bade them come out. So the Dormice came down to the Moles ; and when the Moles found that the silly creatures were bent on their quarrel, they insisted that the combat should be with swords. Moreover, they offered to play the part of seconds, and to dig a grave for the vanquished. To all this the Dormice consented ; the Moles found an old trap, and from the iron parts they fashioned rude swords. These they measured, and gave to the combatants ; and then, with their long spades in their hands, they awaited the issue of the affray. It was fierce and desperate. The hungry one fought with fury, but lie who had had a good feast was the stronger and the calmer : at last the younger one drove his sword right through the body of the elder ; but the elder at the same moment clove his opponent's head asunder, and so they fell dead together. And the Moles dug a deep hole, and buried both the Dormice in the same grave.

ONCE upon a time a cat had six kittens, whom she brought up in the most genteel manner. No one could say that their education was in any wise neglected, for besides being taught the ordinary duties of life by their mother, such as mouse-hunting, fish-stealing, and bird-catching, they received instructions in the arts of singing, and playing the harp and the piano, and were taught to waltz and dance the polka with every imaginable grace. Now when the kittens grew to be of age, it was their custom of an afternoon to spend some hours at tea and intellectual talk. The youngest always performed the duties of servant, while one of the elder ones would entertain the rest by playing airs from the latest opera, or singing a love-song, the music of which she had herself composed. It is true some animals who dwelt close by complained of this music, and called it by all kinds of ill names ; but that is ever the jealous way of the world ; and the kittens frequently performed serenades in their garden by moon- light, when all who passed by would stay to listen to their melody.

Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

But to our tale. It happened that, one fine summer's afternoon, when the kittens were all enjoying themselves at tea ; when Paulina, the eldest, was warbling some of her most delightful songs, and Violet, the second, was entertaining the rest, in an undertone, with a little bit of scandal about a neighbouring Tabby, whom she had seen coming home in a sad condition about five o'clock in the morning, when she, Miss Violet, was taking her early walk ; just at this moment there sounded a tap at the door, and presently in came Diana, the youngest sister, bearing in her hand more cakes for tea, and in the plate with them a note addressed to Miss Rose the next to Violet in age, and by most people considered the beauty of the family. Violet took the letter eagerly from Diana ; but when she saw the address, she remarked that it was evidently a gentleman's handwriting, and tossing her head somewhat disdainfully, she handed it to Miss Rose, who blushed very much, and retired with it to the sofa. Rose opened the note with trembling paws, and a sweet smile played on her features as she read its contents ; then, carefully folding it up, she observed to her sisters that it was merely an invitation for a walk, and springing on to the back of the sofa, she jumped through the open window, and retired to her own summer- house up a fine sycamore-tree in the garden.
Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

This incident, as may be imagined, caused a great sensation among the sisters ; and all wondered very much who could have been the writer of the note that had so evidently pleased Miss Rose. One hoped that it was not from that scapegrace Tom who lived at the Farm-yard; another feared it might come from young Marten Sable of the Forest ; and Violet demanded of her youngest sister what sort of person it was who had brought the note. Diana did not know, but believed it was a relation of old Mr Weasel, who belonged to the same farm that Tom did. This set them all guessing again, for it was well known that Tom and Old Weasel did not speak to each other ; and in the end they were all just as wise as in the beginning.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

About seven o'clock the same evening an attentive observer might have noticed Miss Rose emerging from her door very quietly, and making the best of her way to the green fields that bordered the sea-coast close by. An illnatured person would have said that Miss Rose had taken especial pains with her toilet, and that she carried her parasol with a lack-a-daisical air ; but Rose herself, at her last peep in the glass, had thought that she looked very nicely indeed ; and so it would appear thought Ensign Squeaker (of the Household Pigade), who, with his regimental sword by his side, and his pocket telescope in his hand, sauntered along the pathway, merely to enjoy the beauty of the evening, and inhale the fresh breezes from the ocean. How it happened that Young Squeaker and Miss Rose met at the corner of the cliff, just as the village clock struck the half-past seven, no one knows ; certain only it is that they did meet ; and that after the interchange of the usual compliments, Miss Rose accepted Mr Squeaker's proffered arm, and that the pair wandered about by the sea-shore until the moon rose ; and Miss Rose, in great trepidation at finding it so late, desired her companion to escort her home. Nor is it known what Mr Squeaker said when he bade a fond adieu to his dear Rose, nor for how long after Rose sat in her arbour in the garden and watched the bats flitting across the moon. It was noticed by the sisters that Rose was very quiet all the next day, and that at times a tear stood in the corner of her eye, which she would wipe away, sighing. Many were the sly allusions to the note of the previous afternoon
Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

Hermann Ploucquet.

and the long evening walk ; and no one tormented poor Rose with her insinuations more than Paulina, who was for some cause in a most unusual flow of spirits. After tea, Rose took down her treasured volume, " Pussicat's Poems," and retiring to the garden, read the tenderest parts. Violet, overcome with the fatigue of a recent mouse-hunt, went to sleep on the sofa ; the younger ones busied themselves with their crotchet and net-work ; and Miss Paulina, saying she was going to call on a neighbour, with her best lace-bordered handkerchief in her hand, sallied forth and took her way towards the forest. And it so happened that young Marten Sable was leaning against a tree, tapping his heel with his cane, and meditating very profoundly at the entrance of the very walk towards which Paulina bent her steps. He started at her approach, and with a sad but eager countenance ran to meet her. " What has happened, Marten," cried Paulina, " that you look so miserable ? tell me directly, I implore you ;" and placing her hand on his arm, she looked piteously in his face. Marten hung his head and seemed overcome with grief ; at last he said in a low husky voice, " We must part, Paulina ; but it will be only for a time ; my father has ordered me to set out for Russia to visit his forests there, and, my darling Paulina, how can I bear the thought !
Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

it will be six months before I see you again." Paulina covered her face with her paws and wept bitterly ; at last, rousing herself, she said, " Let us not, Marten, spend our last evening thus ; come, six months will soon pass, and then " Here Paulina's voice dropped, and Marten threw his arms round her waist and kissed away the tears. We know of every word that Marten said to Paulina, and of Paulina's every reply, for we had it all from a young hedgehog whose curiosity led her to listen . to their talk ; but we think that the hedgehog did wrong to listen, and so, perhaps, did we to listen to the hedgehog, and so we will not tell their secrets ; but this we may mention, that they wandered up and down the pathways of the forest, now and then pouncing on a stray field-mouse or a poor sleeping bird, until the moon shone brightly through the trees. And we know that they parted at length by the sign-post at the edge ol the wood, when Paulina shed many tears, and Marten, laying his paw upon his heart, vowed ever to be constant to her, and in all his travels and all his adventures to remember his sweet Pussy. To have seen how the poor kitten wept when she went to bed that night, would have grieved a hard-hearted, terrier ; and to have seen how melancholy she looked as she wandered about for three weeks afterwards, would have drawn pity from a ferocious bull-dog.

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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

One morning, about seven months after the events we have narrated, there was a great commotion in the house where the kittens dwelt ; the bells rang, the flags were hoisted, and little cannon fired. In the papers of the next morning we read that Ensign Squeaker of the Household Pigade carried off the beautiful Miss Rose, and young Marten Sable of the Forest his fair prize Miss Paulina, both on the same day. May they all enjoy much felicity, and may the brides catch plenty of mice !

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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

Two frogs, who were cousins, were hopping about together one warm summer's evening by the side of a rivulet, when they began talking just as the men will talk about a young lady-frog who lived in a neighbouring marsh. One extolled the brightness of her eyes, the other praised the beauty of her complexion, and somehow the two frogs found out that they had both fallen in love with the same young lady-froggy. When they had made this discovery they parted rather abruptly, and muttered something, the mean- ing of which was not very clear.
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Illustrations from Comical creatures by Hermann Ploucquet.

" Bless me," said Mr Croaker, the elder and richer of the two, " I must not let that young scapegrace Jumper get the better of me. A pretty joke indeed that he should think of the beautiful Miss Leapfrog, he who is not worth a sixpence, and is as ugly as a toad." "Who would have thought," said Jumper to himself, " that that old curmudgeon Croaker was going to make love to that dear young Miss Leapfrog ? We will soon see whom she likes best." The next morning Croaker dressed himself with unusual neatness ; and that he might appear to better advantage, he went to a barber-frog who lived in a neighbouring arbour, and asked to be shaved and to have his wig dressed. The barber had just spread his white cloth, had lathered his customer's chin, and was nourishing a razor in his face, when what should catch Croaker's eye through the open doorway but the figure of his cousin Jumper, smartly dressed, with his cane under his arm, and a parasol over his head, to keep the sun off his delicate complexion, walking hastily along the path that led to Miss Leapfrog's residence. To jump from his chair was Croaker's first impulse, and, sad to say, it was his last ; for he fell with his throat upon the edge of the barber's razor, and in two minutes breathed his last. Deep was Miss Leapfrog's grief, and great was Mr Jumper's joy, when the news of this sad misfortune reached their ears. In the first burst of her anguish the young lady accused the barber of having murdered her dear Croaker ; but Mr Jumper hopped about for joy, and vowed that the barber was the best frog alive. And well he might be joyful, for as Croaker had died without a will, Jumper inherited all his estates ; and when, after a week's mourning, the young lady's grief had somewhat subsided, the happy Mr Jumper carried off the beautiful Miss Leapfrog. But alas, how uncertain is happiness either to man or frogs ! Two days afterwards, as Jumper was crossing a brook, a lily-white duck, who had been concealed by the rushes, flew at him with open beak and gobbled him up. And the poor bride was left to mourn in silent solitude.

More examples of this work to compliment the Walter Potter page

The Nonedescript, created by Charles Waterton.

The "game", by unknown taxidermist. Very much in the Vitorian style of Walter Potter

The "Rats" den by Walter Potter

The "Prize fight" by Edward Hart

The Siamese pigs. Not exactly quality taxidermy, but needs to be shown nevertheless. Not the taxidermy we would seek to collect.

Musical Frogs in a glass dome

Red Squirrels by J Lawrence of Birmingham. Very much in the Vitorian style of Walter Potter.

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Frogs under to dome.

The dual, not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

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Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

kittychurch [640x480].jpg
Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.

"The Death" by Walter Potter.

Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence..

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Walter Potter's Mechanical Toads. Each Toad moves as if undertaking excercise.

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