that it almost amounts to incapacity to distinguish the vowels a and i, and is almost universal in large classes of the population of London. The name of the “Cockney School of Poetry” was applied in 1817 to the literary circle of which Leigh Hunt was the principal representative, though Keats also was aimed at. The articles in Blackwood’s Magazine, in which the name appeared, have generally, but probably wrongly, been attributed to John Gibson Lockhart.
COCK-OF-THE-ROCK, the familiar name of the birds of the genus Rupicola (subfamily Rupicolinae) of the Cotingas (allied to the Manakins, q.v.), found in the Amazon valley. They are about the size of a pigeon, with orange-coloured plumage, a pronounced crest, and orange-red flesh, and build their nests on rock. The skins and feathers are highly valued for decoration.
COCKPIT, the term originally for an enclosed place in which the sport of cock-fighting (q.v.) was carried on. On the site of an old cockpit opposite Whitehall in London was a block of buildings used from the 17th century as offices by the treasury and the privy council, for which the old name survived till the early 19th century. The name was given also to a theatre in London, built in the early part of the 17th century on the site of Drury Lane theatre. As the place where the wounded in battle were tended, or where the junior officers consorted, the term was also formerly applied to a cabin used for these purposes on the lower deck of a man-of-war.
COCKROACH (Blattidae), a family of orthopterous insects, distinguished by their flattened bodies, long thread-like antennae, and shining leathery integuments. Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, secreting themselves in chinks and crevices about houses, issuing from their retreats when the lights are extinguished, and moving about with extraordinary rapidity in search of food. They are voracious and omnivorous, devouring, or at least damaging, whatever comes in their way, for all the species emit a disagreeable odour, which they communicate to whatever article of food or clothing they may touch.
The common cockroach (Stilopyga orientalis) is not indigenous to Europe, but is believed to have been introduced from the Levant in the cargoes of trading vessels. The wings in the male are shorter than the body; in the female they are rudimentary. The eggs, which are 16 in number, are deposited in a leathery capsule fixed by a gum-like substance to the abdomen of the female, and thus carried about till the young are ready to escape, when the capsule becomes softened by the emission of a fluid substance. The larvae are perfectly white at first and wingless, although in other respects not unlike their parents, but they are not mature insects until after the sixth casting of the skin.
The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) is larger than the former, and is not uncommon in European seaports trading with America, being conveyed in cargoes of grain and other food produce. It is very abundant in the Zoological Gardens in London, where it occurs in conjunction with a much smaller imported species Phyllodromia germanica, which may also be seen in some of the cheaper restaurants.
In both of these species the females, as well as the males, are winged.
In addition to these noxious and obtrusive forms, England has a few indigenous species belonging to the genus Ectobia, which live under stones or fallen trees in fields and woods. The largest known species is the drummer of the West Indies (Blabera gigantea), so called from the tapping noise it makes on wood, sufficient, when joined in by several individuals, as usually happens, to break the slumbers of a household. It is about 2 in. long, with wings 3 in. in expanse, and forms one of the most noisome and injurious of insect pests. Wingless females of many tropical species present a close superficial resemblance to woodlice; and one interesting apterous form known as Pseudoglomeris, from the East Indies, is able to roll up like a millipede.
The best mode of destroying cockroaches is, when the fire and lights are extinguished at night, to lay some treacle on a piece of wood afloat on a broad basin of water. This proves a temptation to the vermin too great to be resisted. The chinks and holes from which they issue should also be filled up with unslaked lime, or painted with a mixture of borax and heated turpentine.
COCK’S-COMB, in botany, a cultivated form of Celosia cristata (natural order Amarantaceae), in which the inflorescence is monstrous, forming a flat “fasciated” axis bearing numerous small flowers. The plant is a low-growing herbaceous annual, bearing a large, comb-like, dark red, scarlet or purplish mass of flowers. Seeds are sown in March or April in pans of rich, well-drained sandy soil, which are placed in a hot-bed at 65° to 70° in a moist atmosphere. The seedlings require plenty of light, and when large enough to handle are potted off and placed close to the glass in a frame under similar conditions. When the heads show they are shifted into 5-in. pots, which are plunged to their rims in ashes or coco-nut fibre refuse, in a hot-bed, as before, close to the glass; they are sparingly watered and more air admitted. The soil recommended is a half-rich sandy loam and half-rotten cow and stable manure mixed with a dash of silver sand. The other species of Celosia cultivated are C. pyramidalis, with a pyramidal inflorescence, varying in colour in the great number of varieties, and C. argentea, with a dense white inflorescence. They require a similar cultural treatment to that given for C. cristata.
COCKTON, HENRY (1807–1853), English humorous novelist, was born in London on the 7th of December 1807. He published a number of volumes, but is best known as the author of Valentine Vox, the Ventriloquist (1840) and Sylvester Sound, the Somnambulist (1844). He died at Bury St Edmunds on the 26th of June 1853.
COCKX (or Cock), HIERONYMUS [Jerome] (1510–1570), Flemish painter and engraver, was born at Antwerp, and in 1545 was admitted to the Gild of St Luke as a painter. It is as an engraver, however, that he is famous, a number of portraits and subject-pictures by him, and reproductions of Flemish masters, being well known. His brother Matthys (1505–1552) was also a painter.
COCOA, more properly Cacao, a valuable dietary substance yielded by the seeds of several small trees belonging to the genus Theobroma, of the natural order Sterculiaceae. The whole genus, which comprises twelve species, belongs to the tropical parts of the American continent; and although the cocoa of commerce is probably the produce of more than one species, by far the greatest and most valuable portion is obtained from Theobroma Cacao. The generic name is derived from θεός (god) and βρῶμα (food), and was bestowed by Linnaeus as an indication of the high appreciation in which he held the beverage prepared from the seeds, which he considered to be a food fit for the gods.
The common cacao tree is of low stature, seldom exceeding 25 ft. in height, but it is taller in its native forests than it is in cultivated plantations. The leaves are large, smooth, and glossy, elliptic-oblong and tapering in form, growing principally at the ends of branches, but sometimes springing directly from the main trunk. The flowers are small, and occur in numerous clusters on the main branches and the trunk, a very marked peculiarity which gives the matured fruit the appearance of being artificially attached to the tree. Generally only a single fruit is matured from each cluster of flowers. When ripe the fruit or “pod” is elliptical-ovoid in form, from 7 to 10 in. in length and from 3 to 4½ in. in diameter. It has a hard, thick, leathery rind of a rich purplish-yellow colour, externally rough and marked with ten very distinct longitudinal ribs or elevations. The
- The word is a corruption of Sp. cucaracha. In America it is commonly abbreviated to “roach.”
- As a matter of nomenclature it is unfortunate that the corrupt form “cocoa,” from a confusion with the coco-nut (q.v.), has become stereotyped. When introduced early in the 18th century it was as a trisyllable co-co-a, a mispronunciation of cacao or cocoa, the Spanish adaptation from the Mexican cacauatl.