The seam should now be well primed on both sides with the solution of corrosive sublimate, to prevent the entrance of moths.
The articulations of the legs are then bent, and the animal placed on its feet, and pressure used at the natural flat places, so as to make the other parts rise where the muscles are visible.
A board is now prepared, on which to place the cat. But before fixing it permanently the animal should be set in the attitude in which it is intended to be preserved, and the operator, having satisfied himself, then pierces four holes for the admission of the feet wires, which must be drawn through with a pair of pincers till the paws rest firmly on the board. Small grooves are then made for the reception of the pieces of wires which have been drawn through, so that they may be folded back and pressed down in them, and not be beyond the level of the back of the board; wire nails are now driven half in, and their heads bent down on the wires to prevent them from getting loose or becoming movable.
The stuffer next directs his attention to the position and final stuffing of the head and neck. The muscles of the face must be imitated as correctly as possible by stuffing in cotton at the opening of the eyes, as also at the mouth, ears and nostrils. To aid in this also the inner materials may be drawn forward by the assistance of instruments, and also small pieces of wood formed like small knitting meshes.
Our next care is the insertion of the eyes, which must be done while the eyelids are yet fresh. Some dexterity and skill are required in this operation, and on it will depend most of the beauty and character of the head. The seats of the eyes are supplied with a little cement, the eyes put in their place, and the eyelids properly drawn over the eyeballs; but if rage or fear are to be expressed, a considerable portion of the eyeballs must be exposed. The lips are afterwards disposed in their natural state and fastened with pins. If the mouth is intended to be open, it will be necessary to support the lips with cotton, which can be removed when they are dry. Two small balls of cotton, firmly pressed together and well tinctured with the arsenical soap, must be thrust into the nostrils so as to completely plug them up to prevent the air from penetrating, as also the intrusion of moths; and, besides, it has the effect of preserving the natural shape of the nose after it has dried. The same precaution should be adopted with the ears, which, in the cat, require but little attention in setting.
We must again recommend the stuffer to Bee that he has sufficiently applied the preservative soap; and the nose, lips, eyes and paws, being very liable to decay, must be well imbued with spirits of turpentine. This is applied with a brush, and must be repeated six or eight times, at intervals of some days, until we are certain of the parts being well primed with it; and, after all, it will be advisable to give it a single coating of the solution of corrosive sublimate.
The methods of stuffing, which we have pointed out in the preceding pages, are applicable to all animals, from a lion down to the smallest mouse. Animals of a large description require a frame-work suited to their dimensions; these we will point out in their order. There are also some animals whose peculiarity of structure requires treatment differing a little from the ordinary course.
Apes and Monkeys. One of the chief difficulties to contend with in setting up monkeys and apes, is the preservation of their hands and hind hands, or what we commonly call their feet; because we must not attempt to deprive these limbs of their flesh, as we never could again supply its place anything like what is in nature. The hands must therefore be dried, and then well imbued with turpentine and the solution of corrosive sublimate, repeated eight or ten times at least, at intervals of four or five days. The other parts of the stuffing should be exactly similar to that recommended for quadrupeds generally. The paws of several will require to be colored with the different varnishes, and, when dry, slightly polished with fine sand paper to remove the gloss. The callosities, on the hinder parts of many of them, will also require to be colored, and treated in the same way as the face.
Bats. The wing-membranes of this varied and numerous tribe do not require either wire or parchment to set them. They are very easily dried by distension. They are laid on a board of soft wood, the wings extended and pinned equally at the articulations, and, when dry, they are removed from the board.
Hedgehogs. When it is wished to preserve hedgehogs, rolled into a ball, which is a very common position with them in a state of nature, there should be much less stuffing put into them than is usual with quadrupeds, so that they may the more easily bend. No wires are required in this case. The head and feet are drawn close together under the belly; then place the animal on its back in the middle of a large cloth, and tie the four ends firmly together; suspend it in the air till thoroughly dry, which finishes the operation.
If hedgehogs are wished with the heads and limbs exposed, the usual method of mounting is adopted. The skins of mice, moles, etc., having a very offensive smell, it will be necessary to add a considerable portion of the tincture of musk to the solution of the corrosive sublimate with which the skins are imbued. The same applies to badgers, wolverenes, polecats and skunks, all of which are strong smelling animals.
Bears. The structure of the wires requires to be different in these larger animals from any we have before described.
Procure a bar one inch thick, two inches broad, and as long as to reach horizontally from the shoulders to the connection of the thighs, or os pubis. A hole is bored four inches distant from one of its ends, from which a connecting groove must be formed, extending on both sides to the end of the plank next the hole; this groove must be cut out with a hollow chisel deep enough to receive the wire. The wire is then passed through it, one end of which is just long enough to be twisted with the other at the end of the plank. The wire on both sides is now pressed down into the grooves and twisted firmly together by the aid of a pair of strong pincers. Pierce some holes obliquely into the groove and insert some wire nails into them, which must be firmly driven home, and then bent over the wires to keep them firm. The longest end of the wire should be at least eighteen inches beyond the bar so as to pass through the skull of the animal.