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BEAR–BAITING—BEARD

by the absence of one pair of upper incisors, the small size of the cheek-teeth and the very extensile character of the lips. It is also known as the aswail and the honey-bear, the last name being also given to the Malay bear and the kinkajou. It is about the size of the brown bear, is covered with long, black hair, and of extremely uncouth aspect. It inhabits the mountainous regions of India, is readily tamed and is the bear usually exhibited by the Hindu jugglers. The food consists of fruits, honey and white ants.

Fossil remains of extinct bears first occur in strata of the Pliocene age. Those of the great cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), found abundantly in certain caverns of central Europe and Asia, show that it must have exceeded in size the polar bear of the present day. Its remains are also found in similar situations in Britain associated with those of an allied species (Ursus priscus).


BEAR-BAITING and BULL-BAITING, sports formerly very popular in England but now suppressed on account of their cruelty. They took place in arenas built in the form of theatres which were the common resort even of cultivated people. In the bear-gardens, which are known to have existed since the time of Henry II., the bear was chained to a stake by one hind leg or by the neck and worried by dogs. Erasmus, writing (about 1500) from the house of Sir Thomas More, spoke of “many herds of bears maintained in the country for the purpose of baiting.” Sunday was the favourite day for these sports. Hentzner, writing in 1598, describes the bear-garden at Bankside as “another place, built in the form of a theatre, which serves for the baiting of Bulls and Bears. They are fastened behind, and then worried by great English bull-dogs, but not without great risk to the dogs from the horns of the one and the teeth of the other, and it sometimes happens they are killed upon the spot; fresh ones are immediately supplied in the places of those that are wounded or tired.” He also describes the whipping of a blinded bear, a favourite variation of bear-baiting. For a famous baiting which took place before Queen Elizabeth in 1575 thirteen bears were provided. Of it Robert Laneham (fl. 1575) wrote, “it was a sport very pleasant to see, to see the bear, with his pink eyes, tearing after his enemies’ approach; the nimbleness and wait of the dog to take his advantage and the force and experience of the bear again to avoid his assaults: if he were bitten in one place how he would pinch in another to get free; that if he were taken once, then by what shift with biting, with clawing, with roaring, with tossing and tumbling he would work and wind himself from them; and when he was loose to shake his ears twice or thrice with the blood and the slaver hanging about his physiognomy.” The famous “Paris Garden” in Southwark was the chief bear-garden in London. A Spanish nobleman of the time, who was taken to see a pony baited that had an ape tied to its back, expressed himself to the effect that “to see the animal kicking amongst the dogs, with the screaming of the ape, beholding the curs hanging from the ears and neck of the pony, is very laughable.” Butler describes a bear-baiting at length in the first canto of his Hudibras.

The Puritans endeavoured to put an end to animal-baiting, although Macaulay sarcastically suggested that this was “not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.” The efforts of the Puritans seem, however, to have had little effect, for we find the sport flourishing at the Restoration; but the conscience of cultivated people seems to have been touched, for Evelyn wrote in his Diary, under the date of June 16th, 1670: “I went with some friends to the bear-garden, where was cock-fighting, dog-fighting, bear and bull baiting, it being a famous day for all these butcherly sports, or rather barbarous cruelties. The bulls did exceedingly well, but the Irish wolf-dog exceeded, which was a tall greyhound, a stately creature indeed, who beat a cruel mastiff. One of the bulls tossed a dog full into a lady’s lap, as she sat in one of the boxes at a considerable height from the arena. Two poor dogs were killed, and so all ended with the ape on horseback, and I most heartily weary of the rude and dirty pastime, which I had not seen, I think, in twenty years before.” Steele also attacked these cruel sports in the Tatler. Nevertheless, when the tsar Nicholas I. visited England as cesarevich, he was taken to see a prize-fight and a bull-baiting. In this latter form of the sport the bull’s nose was usually blown full of pepper to render him the more furious. The bull was often allowed a hole in the ground, into which to thrust his nose and lips, his most vulnerable parts. Sometimes the bull was tethered, and dogs, trained for the purpose, set upon him one by one, a successful attack resulting in the dog fastening his teeth firmly in the bull’s snout. This was called “pinning the bull.” A sport called bull-running was popular in several towns of England, particularly at Tutbury and Stamford. Its establishment at Tutbury was due to John of Gaunt, to whose minstrels, on the occasion of their annual festival on August 16th the prior of Tutbury, for his tenure, delivered a bull, which had his horns sawn off, his ears and tail cut off, his nostrils filled with pepper and his whole body smeared with soap. The minstrels gave chase to the bull, which became the property of any minstrel of the county of Stafford who succeeded in holding him long enough to cut off a lock of his hair. Otherwise he was returned to the prior. At the dissolution of the monasteries this tenure devolved upon the dukes of Devonshire, who suppressed it in 1788. At Stamford the running took place annually on November 13th, the bull being provided by the butchers of the town, the townspeople taking part in the chase, which was carried on until both people and beast were exhausted, and ended in the killing of the bull. Certain rules were strictly observed, such as the prohibition of carrying sticks or staves that were shod with iron. The Stamford bull-running survived well into the 19th century. Bear-baiting and bull-baiting were prohibited by act of parliament in 1835.


BEARD, WILLIAM HOLBROOK (1825-1900), American painter, was born on the 13th of April 1825 at Painesville, Ohio. He studied abroad, and in 1861 removed to New York City, where in 1862 he became a member of the National Academy of Design. He was a prolific worker and a man of much inventiveness and originality, though of modest artistic endowment. His humorous treatment of cats, dogs, horses and monkeys, generally with some human occupation and expression, usually satirical, gave him a great vogue at one time, and his pictures were largely reproduced. His brother, James Henry Beard (1814-1893), was also a painter.


BEARD (A.S. beard, O. H. and Mod. Ger. Bart, Dan. baard, Icel. bar, rim, edge, beak of a ship, &c., O. Slav, barda, Russ. barodá. Cf. Welsh barf, Lat. barba, though, according to the New English Dictionary, the connexion is for phonetic reasons doubtful). Modern usage applies this word to the hair grown upon a man’s chin and cheek. When the chin is shaven, what remains upon the cheeks is called whiskers. “Moustache” or “moustaches” describes the hair upon the upper lip. But the words have in the past had less exact meaning. Beard has stood alone for all these things, and whisker has in its time signified what we now call moustache, as in the case of Robinson Crusoe’s great pair of “Turkish whiskers.”

The bearded races of mankind have ever held the beard in high honour. It is the sign of full manhood; the lad or the eunuch is beardless, and the bearded woman is reckoned a witch, a loathsome thing to all ages. Also the beard shrinks from the profane hand; a tug at the beard is sudden pain and dishonour. The Roman senator sat like a carven thing until the wondering Goth touched his long beard; but then he struck, although he died for the blow. The future King John gave deadly offence to the native chieftains, when visiting Ireland in 1185, by plucking at their flowing beards.

David’s ambassadors had their beards despitefully shaven by a bold heathen. Their own king mercifully covered their shame—“Tarry ye at Jericho until your beards be grown”—but war answered the insult. The oath on the beard is as old as history, and we have an echo of it in the first English political ballad when Sir Simon de Montfort swears “by his chin” revenge on Warenne.

Adam, our first father, was by tradition created with a beard: Zeus Allfather is bearded, and the old painters and carvers who hardily pictured the first person of the Trinity gave Him the