Curious Men contains selected journalism by Frank Buckland, a Victorian writer who reported on various oddities — waxworks, two-headed people, petrifications, and so on. Buckland is a lively and engaging reporter and this is a good selection of curious work. An excerpt:
Mermaids seem to have gone out of fashion about the same time as the dried heads of New Zealanders, but still I have been enabled to examine minutely three specimens of mermaids here in England. . . . Mermaids in pictures generally are represented with a hand-glass and comb, as though they paid great attention to the toilet, with the openly avowed purpose, as Tennyson tells in his “Confessions of a Mermaid,” that–
All the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in the hearts for the love of me.
If I were a merman I should decidedly not fall in love with any mermaid who was not a great deal more particular in matters of hairdressing than our friend under the glass case. (68-69)