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The porcupine is a rodent, having spines to protect itself, that is found in both Old and New World varieties.

One reference in the series to the animal actually is a malapropism. From Jack's conversation with the quartermaster at the con, in The Thirteen-Gun Salute:

"A lovely young woman indeed, Heaven," said Jack. "Mrs. Heaven, if I do not mistake?"
"Why, sir, in a manner of speaking: but some might say more on the porcupine-lay, the roving-line, if you understand me."
"There is a good deal to be said for porcupines, Heaven: Solomon had a thousand, and Solomon knew what o'clock it was, I believe. You will certainly see her again."

It is obvious from the context that Heaven means "concubine". Deciding whether Aubrey understands this but goes along with his mistake to avoid embarrassment or is equally confused, is an exercise for the reader.

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