The Porpesse, Porpus, or Porpoise, pp.240-241.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   RESEMBLES the dolphin in outward appearance, but in fact is essentially different. The length of the Porpesse is, from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, three or four feet; and the width about two feet and a half. The figure of the whole body is conical; the colour of the back is deep blue inclining to shining black; the sides are grey and the belly white. The tail is forked and composed of several rays united by a membrane. This fish is covered with a rough skin, but has no scales; and, what is very singular, his blood is as warm as that of quadrupeds. The eyes are very small; he has only three fins, one on the back and one on each shoulder. When the flesh is cut up it looks very much like pork; but although it is sometimes eaten, it certainly has a disagreeable flavour. – The Porpesse is viviparous, like all the other fish which belong to the cetaceous class. They live on smaller fish, and appear generally in large shoals in the mackerel and herring seasons, at which time they do very great damage to fishermen, by breaking and destroying the net to get at their prey. Their motion in the water is a kind of circular leap; they dive instantly to the bottom, but soon again rise up in order to breathe. They are so intent in the pursuit of their prey, that they sometimes ascend large rivers, and several have been seen between London and Westminster Bridges. They have no gills whatsoever, and blow the water with a loud noise, which in calm weather may be heard at a great distance. They are seen nearly in all the seas, and are very common about the English coasts, where they sport with great activity, chiefly at the approach of a squall. 

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