Great Auk's Egg

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Abstract

“A THANKLESS task the truth to tell,” says a minor poet. In my note (supra, p. 412) I tried to do it in an impersonal way; but Mr. Harting, to my regret, introduces names (p. 432) while falling back upon a statement which was controverted three years ago, and is unsupported by fresh evidence. On some accounts I highly esteemed the late Mr. Bond, with whom I was acquainted for nearly forty years, and I am very sorry to impugn the accuracy of his memory: it is well known that he never kept a note of any specimen in his collection. I express no doubt that his tale of 1860 was correctly reported, and I have none as to the correctness of the report of the tale, purporting to be the same, told by him in 1889 (in Mr. Harting's presence, if I am not mistaken), and carefully taken down. A copy of this, now before me, shows that in the interim the tale, as tales are wont, had developed. In the later version the seller of the egg was 'a fisherman who had been on a whaling ship”; but I hold that neither version is “deserving of consideration.”

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