Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Coral Islands
 Ahmeek the Beaver
 A Shilling's Worth of Wonder
 Questions and Answers
 Blue Snail Shells
 Mircoscopic Objects
 Microscopic Objects (Second...
 The Red Snow Plant
 The Red Snow Plant (Second...
 A Rambling Essay
 Back Cover

Title: Waifs and strays of natural history
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026186/00001
 Material Information
Title: Waifs and strays of natural history
Physical Description: 165 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Gatty, Alfred, 1809-1873
Bell and Daldy ( Publisher )
Chiswick Press ( Printer )
Whittingham & Wilkins ( Printer )
Publisher: Bell and Daldy
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Chiswick Press ; Whittingham & Wilkins
Publication Date: 1871
Subject: Marine animals -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1871
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: by Mrs. Alfred Gatty.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026186
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002230158
notis - ALH0505
oclc - 57726764

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
    Half Title
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Title Page
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Table of Contents
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Coral Islands
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Ahmeek the Beaver
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    A Shilling's Worth of Wonder
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
    Questions and Answers
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Blue Snail Shells
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
    Mircoscopic Objects
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    Microscopic Objects (Second Paper)
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    The Red Snow Plant
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
    The Red Snow Plant (Second Paper)
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
    A Rambling Essay
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
    Back Cover
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
Full Text
This page contains no text.

The Baldwin LibraryUniversityFlorida

L t ;j* o' /C~ ^/A</4 Id>2*2Z /1y~Ji -\9


"And Nature, the old nurse, tookThe child upon her knee,Saying : C Here is a story-bookThy Father has written for thee."' Come wander with me,' she said,'Into regions yet untrod;And read what is still unreadIn the manuscripts of God.'"LONGFELLOW.

A,, -*:.l'. /,. -. ^ ,"4,. a tB^S j a ^ -0' a d" /<^ L/ 7t, f/z2 s- h d- i .B pe a





CORAL.i ^ C HE following papers are really whatthey profess to be, "Waifs andStrays." They are arranged in noS systematic order, nor upon any definiteplan. They come before the reader as "Waifsand Strays" from the ocean come ashore -drifted or floated at the pleasure of winds andwaves. Sometimes they are answers to actualinquiries; sometimes they were written because,the subject had been brought accidentally underthe writer's notice ; sometimes because she desiredto awaken an interest in others for pursuits whichhave afforded so much pleasure to herself. Re-turning to the royal "we" of authors, our hopeis, that as the waifs and strays of nature are allthe more acceptable to the shore wanderers fromtheir unclassified variety, so ours may, from asimilar cause, be all the more likely to catch theattention of restless imaginative youth. In whichtrust we offer our readers our first attempt,B

2 CORAL.namely, on Coral, for in speaking of it, we aretalking to them of a thing they know well bysight and touch already. Most children pos-sess or have seen coral necklaces, or little coralcharms, or perhaps even one of the fine old coralrattles given to babies to rub against their poorgums in teething-pain, and which, being orna-mented with silver bells, is a favourite toy, evenafter the tooth is cut, and the coral end is notwanted.Well then, this coral-the pretty pink or redstuff of which trinkets are made-is a substancewhich in common parlance, and correctly, people say"grows" under water in several seas; the Medi-terranean chiefly, but also in the Red Sea, PersianGulf, and some others. It grows in a tree-like, i. e.branched manner, in little stiff bushes on the rocksat the bottom of these seas, or from the roofs andsides of submarine grottoes, and this at a depth ofwater varying from 350 to 600 feet from the sur-face. And a large coral bush of this sort willsometimes grow till it is twelve or even sixteeninches high, but after that it grows no more.Now, when you think of the number of coraltrinkets to be seen even in one jeweller's shop-window, it is clear that, let the material growever so deep at the bottom of the sea, men musthave found out some regular way of getting at it.And so they have. The " coral fishery," as it iscalled, is an important branch of trade, and num-bers of people gain a livelihood by it in the

CORAL. 3neighbourhood of those seas where the treasureabounds.Coral is got at both by diving and dredging,and in many different ways. One common sortof dredge is made of two strong beams of woodfastened together crosswise, with netting attachedunderneath. This is taken out in a boat, called a"Coralline," by fishermen, who are also practiseddivers, and who, having reached the coral ground,let down their wooden cross, well weighted withstones, into the sea; one of them following, todrive the arms of the cross about, one afteranother, into the hollows of the rocks, till thecoral bushes are entangled in the netting andbroken off; after which the machine with itsgatherings is drawn up, and the coral picked outfor sale.Further; let us suppose that a twelve-inch highcoral bush has been broken off the rock, got outof the sea, and taken to market in this manner.What does the coral fisherman do next year?Does he go back to the same place and let downhis dredge again, and expect to find the coralbushes re-grown? By no means, for the fisher-man, rough sailor though he be, has found outthat coral bushes take ten or twelve years to cometo that size. Consequently his plan is to clear aneighbourhood at once, and not return to it tillthe ten or twelve years are over, and he has areasonable hope ,of finding new coral bushes inthe place of the old ones.

4 CORAL.Here you begin to think how slowly a coralbush grows by comparison with most of the bushesin a garden-rose, laurel, laurustinus, azalia-almost any sort you can name, in fact; and youperhaps fancy that this may be because they growin the sea.But no, that has nothing to do with it. Theseaweeds which grow on rocks have many of themas quick a growth as land plants. There are verylarge ones which die down and grow again seasonafter season.The secret is that a coral bush is not a plant,but an animal formation; rather one may call it acity of animals; every branch representing a street,along the, sides of which the inhabitants have eachtheir own particular home. So a tree might becalled a city of animals were the leaves and barkto be gifted with animal instead of vegetable life,and grow limy instead of woody stems and branchesfor itself.This may surprise some of you very much, butnot every child even; for now that those glasseswith sea-creatures in them, called " aquariums,"have become common, many children have learntto know one zoophyte well by sight, namely, a sea-anemone, and have heard of other varieties of zoo-phytes, where a quantity of the same sort of littleanimals, though infinitely smaller in size, live to-gether in a common home, out of the tiny windowsor open-fronted cells of which they thrust out thosefeelers, which learned people call "tentacles." The

CORAL. 5feelers of a sea-anemone are a well-known sight,but if we could look down into the depths of acoral sea we should see every branch of the coralbushes adorned with rows of somewhat similarfeelers; the wart-like cells in which the littleanimals themselves live being dotted along thebranches at short intervals throughout.Now, hearing this, you perhaps take hold ofyour coral beads, look at them, and wonder thatyou can see no signs of either animals, feelers, orwarty cells. No, not now; but when the coralwas alive and growing, this beautiful hard sub-stance was covered by a soft fleshy overcoat. Andit was in this overcoat the wart-like cells were tobe seen, and in these cells the coral animals (orpolyps, as they are called,-each a miniature sea-anemone,1 with eight feelers round its mouth-)lived. This overcoat is a half slimy, half chalkymaterial when fresh, but dries into a thin, porous,reddish, and at last, powdery incrustation, whichis very soon got rid of; a coarse brush or towelbeing sufficient for the purpose.By what mysterious power these jelly-like crea-tures manufacture or "grow" (for after all that isthe correct phrase) the fine, solid substance with-in that overcoat, no human being can explain;1 The sea-anemone is instanced because so well known, andas giving a general idea of a polyp. Strictly speaking, the coralpolyp is more like that of the " Dead Man's Hand" (Alcyoniumdigitatum). But few by comparison have observed this zoophytealive in sea-water, so as to notice the polyps.

6 CORAl.neither why, the coral polyp being white, thesecretion from it should be coloured. But neithercan we explain how we human beings grow ourown bones. We have neither will nor power> inthe matter. Coral is, in fact, the common skeletonof the coral-polyp community. As the fleshy-over-coat with its colony of living creatures increases,so the internal, almost marble-like coral stemsincrease too. Beyond this we know nothing. Butlet us pursue their history when left to themselves.By-and-by, when the bush has grown old, itsholdfast to the rock is apt to give way. It isinjured, perhaps, by accident, or by sea-worms,which have bored holes in it, till it comes loose,and away go the coral branches, a sport to the everrestless waves. And now comes the end. Thesecoral polyps are delicate creatures, and can onlyexist when stationary and in quiet. Tossed up anddown they die; the whole overcoat comes off likea worn-out garment, and the beautiful red stemsare left naked and exposed; and these, when thrownashore after storms, soon fade, or are ground todust by their everlasting fretting against rocks andstones.But with this natural fate of coral-tree life manhas for long interfered. The fisherman's greatobject is to get the pretty material in a state ofperfection, as its price depends on its condition.He cannot wait for the chance of picking it up,therefore, but must at all risks obtain it from thedepths of the sea before worms have pierced it and

CORAL. 7storms thrown it into the air to fade. Hence thelabour and contrivances we have described.The scientific name of this sort of coral isCoracllium rubrum, and no less than fifteen varietiesof it have been counted up, distinguished by thedifferent tints of red it assumes in differentlocalities. Of coral, historically, we will just saythat it was known to the ancients. The Greeksgave it its name "Korallion;" and the Romanshung beads of it on the cradles of new-born infantsto preserve them from sickness, it being consideredby their soothsayers as a charm. The Gauls usedit to ornament their swords, bucklers, and helmets,and doctors prescribed preparations of it for allmanner of complaints. Nevertheless, well as allthese knew it, they had no suspicion of what itwas. Ovid described it as a plant, which re-mained soft under water, but turned hard onexposure to air; a statement which, at any rate,shows that people had noticed even in his time thesoft overcoat we have spoken of. A later writer(fifteenth century) even classed it among minerals,but the general opinion for centuries was that itwas a plant,-a plant, too, which flowered underthe sea. One writer even described the eightfeelers of the polyps as the eight petals of whiteflowers, which, spreading themselves out on theleafless branches, contrasted beautifully with thebrilliant scarlet of the stems to which they werefixed!Our own traveller, Dr. Shaw, who wrote in

4-8 CORAL.1738, gives another interpretation, for he describesthe feelers of the polyps as the roots of the plant,and points out how conveniently they supply inthe water the place of the large roots which landplants need to keep them steady "against theviolence of wind."That these later writers did observe the polypsat all was something; and the discovery of otherpolyps in both fresh and sea water-all resemblingeach other by being armed with feelers or tentacles-led by degrees to a right understanding of theanimal origin of coral bushes; John Ellis, aLondon merchant, contemporary with Linnaeus,being the first who demonstrated this truth to theconviction of the public mind.So much for the coral of commerce; the coralof the coral islands deserves a paper to itself.It forms a beautiful contrast to the true coralwe have been describing. For although themanufacturing animal is still a soft-bodied polypwith feelers, he builds himself here a stonyhouse to live in, and not a stony stem roundwhich to live.S.i

CORAL ISLANDS.OW for the Coral Islands!But here I may possibly be asked"J "How do you know anything aboutS them? Have you seen them yourself?Were you ever there ?"No. And yet I am not going to copy outaccounts from books which you could as easily readfor yourselves. We people who stay at home havesometimes friends who not only travel, but are ableand willing, when asked, to use their eyes in theparticular direction desired by those they leavebehind. And so it comes to pass that I havebefore me two accounts of the Coral Islands fromeye-witnesses. One, a quite unscientific friend,but full of kind spirit and observing intelligence,who lately made an expedition from Rangoon tothe Andaman Islands in search of the sea-weedsand zoophytes he had been asked to look after; theother scientific, and knowing the meaning of whathe saw as he canoed over Coral-island wonders in

10 CORAL ISLANDS.the Pacific. And these two accounts it shall be mybusiness to make intelligible to young readers.But first, I recommend a peep into the map ofAsia, that it may be seen whereabouts the AndamanIslands are: viz., south-east in the Bay of Bengal,-within the tropics therefore. I may add, that myfriend (one of the chaplains to the forces in India)was warned at Moulmein (whence he sailed) thathe would find no sea-weeds at the Andaman Islands;but knowing the worthlessness, generally, of suchreports, having also friends there, and having sethis mind upon going, he went; and after a monthor more's prowling and hunting, wrote thus onboard the Bremen Barque "America," on hisreturn voyage:-"If you could d but see the wonders and beautiesof this part of the world! A coral bed and theextraordinary animals in it! Huge creatures likesnakes, only with a thing like a little sea-anemonewhere the head ought to be: large sea-slugs, whichthe Chinamen eat; sea-anemones, too, of all huesand sizes,. some six, seven, eight, or more inchesacross, &c. &c. But the coral! oh, it is so lovely-pink, green, lilac, purple, blue, brown, all kinds;some branchy with thick branches, others delicateand fine: others like those flat fungi which growout of trees in England, only twenty times as large,and from only a quarter of an inch thick at theedge to an inch or so at the middle. BUT" (letthe reader notice this but) " of course when it istaken out of the water all the beautiful colours dieand fade, and it smells abominably."

CORAL ISLANDS. 11Here was a mystery indeed, and these Andamancorals must certainly be very different from the redcoral of the Mediterranean, which is as brightround the neck of a child as when three hundredfeet deep in the water.But hear the unscientific friend further. "HowI wish I could describe one coral pool, so that youcould form an idea of its beauty Imagine a deeplittle bay (under water, of course) in the rock, allthe rock being coral of every shape and hue.Fancy the most beautiful pieces you ever saw in amuseum collected together, with many othersbesides, they forming the bay; and at the bottomof the clearest water imaginable, other coral lumpsof all colours; among them monster starfish a footin diameter, sky blue and brilliant scarlet; fish, too,of most curious shapes and colours-one more likefeathers than any thing else, and so airy andbeautiful that it has the name of Angel fish,coloured white, lilac, brown, and black, in shadesand bands; some others half black, half white;some all black with white tails; some, again,mottled brown; which last run out of the water andskip up the rocks, and there sit and stare at you.No doubt these are the climbing fish, described asso great a curiosity in the Illustrated:' but everypuddle, fresh and salt, is full of them here; andbesides these, such curious shells, and in nooks inthe coral, sea-urchins --- "But here we break off, for the letter has wanderedfar from our subject-Coral-and we must not be

12 CORAL ISLANDS.tempted further still into an account of ediblebirds' nests. On the contrary, you shall now hearthe scientific friend's explanation of the matter, forhis description both corroborates and explains." As to the corals of the Andaman islands andof the Pacific reefs, &c." he says, "they are of quitea different sort from the precious coral (coralliumrubrum). Their coral is external, and naturally whiteor dirty coloured. All the beautiful colours youhear described, and which are very vivid andvaried, come from the living animal, when it peepsthrough its skeleton. When it retreats within, orwhen it dies, they disappear, and you have theplain white coral. Don't believe any one who saysotherwise! Nothing can be more lovely than tocanoe over a coral bed at some ten to fifteen feetbelow you; for the fishes that ply among thebranches are often as brightly tinted with red, blue,violet, and yellow, as are the coral animals them-selves."Our young readers can follow this, surely,Here is what it amounts to. In the Mediterraneancoral, the polyp animals grow a hard inside skeleton,as we ourselves do, and they " live and move andhave their being" in the fleshy over-coat whichcovers it, somewhat as our flesh covers our bones.In the tropical corals, on the contrary, the polypsgrow their skeleton outside, as a snail does his,and live within it in their separate little homes;each polyp growing its particular cell for its ownparticular use, but all combining to build up one

CORAL ISLANDS. 13large, common pile, city or territory, as the casemay be. But you may certainly call it a territoryin the case of coral reefs1 extending many hundredsof miles. As to the polyps, they differ considerablyin size and shape, as do the corals themselves, butthese distinctions are unimportant in explainingthe general system.Even the dead coral specimens betray the truthof these statements. Look at the magnificentpieces you sometimes see under glass cases on adrawing-room table, and are sure to find in anygood museum, and the commonest attention willshow you that, instead of having a fine marblysmooth surface like the precious coral of yourbeads, it is riddled or marked all over with holes.Let the coral mass be of what size or shape itmay, branched like a shrub, flat like a fungus, aslately described, or round like a large plum pudding,as is not uncommon, the one character I mentionnever fails, the surface is perforated in all directions.I do not say what the holes are like, for they varywith the species of coral. In some cases, you mightthink a busy hand had punched beautiful little starsall over it with a sharp instrument. At other times,you see meandering lines of punctures, whichseem made at random, yet combine to form as re-gular a pattern over the huge plum-pudding lumpas could have been marked out for canvas work; or,looking at the deep fissures in the mushroom coral,SA "reef" is a ridge or ledge of rock.

14 CORAL ISLANDS.you might fancy the fairies must have quarrelledwith their thrones in- the fields, and flung them tothe bottom of the sea, where they had turned intomilk-white petrifactions.Now, all these holes or perforations, of whateversize and sort they may be, tell, unmistakably, thetale you have been listening to. They were oncethe cell-homes of the living, flower-like polyps,which built and animated the whole coral mass:the " portals" where these appeared in such beauty" like a happy assemblage of living flowers,"'when they spread out their coloured tentacles forfood or enjoyment in the depths of tropical seas!This is a mere sketch of a subject full of interest,and may lead to many inquiries which cannot beanswered here. But such of our young readers ascare to enter further into the history of coral reefformation, will find a pleasant paper on the subjectin "Hardwicke's Science Gossip" (October, 1865).There the writer begins at the very beginning, andtells how a coral gemmule first settles down on arock and begins to grow, secreting the milky,(really limy) fluid which is soon to harden roundhim into the first house of the marvellous city, andhow as he goes on eating he goes on building,ascending upwards as his house ascends, " keepinghis mouth below the top of the wall, but highenough to enable him to thrust out his tentacula."And how, countless numbers of such coral buds,Landsborough's Introduction to Hist. of Br. Zoophytes.

CORAL ISLANDS. 15building side by side on one plan by one instinct,there arise those vast specimens of architecture-coral reefs, which may in time form continents.Let me conclude with the words which Hogarth,the painter, wrote to Ellis, the naturalist, about thezoophytes of our British shores:-" When I havethe pleasure of seeing you next, we will sit down,nay, kneel down if you will, and admire thesethings."Our frontispiece represents a species of tropical:coral in its two conditions-dead and alive. Theempty dwelling, that is to say, and the dwellingwith its inhabitants-each in his own apartment.

AHMEEK THE BEAVER." Very pleasant is your dwelling,O my friends; and safe from danger;Can you not, with all your cunning,All your wisdom and contrivance,Change me, too, into a beaver ? "--Hiawatha.-' : HOSE who have read Longfellow'spoem will surely remember the tricksand transmigrations of Pau-Puk-i Keewis, and Row he coaxed thebeavers into letting him come among them and bemade a beaver, that he might hide and escape hisenemies. This charming story comes involun-tarily to one's mind, in thinking about beavers atall; the descriptions are so fresh, and Ahmeektakes such a hold on one's affections from hismingled sagacity and kind-heartedness. " O, myfriend, Ahmeek the Beaver," began the roguePau-Puk-Keewis," Cool and pleasant is the water,Let me dive into the water;Let me rest there in your lodges,Let me, too, become a beaver !"

AHMEEK THE BEAVER. 17But on first hearing the request:" Cautiously replied the beaver.With reserve he thus made answer-Let me first consult the others,Let me ask the other beavers."Which he accordingly does, diving into the waterfor the purpose; and soon after " the others,"equally cautious, come to the surface of the poolto make a personal inspection of the stranger." From the bottom rose the beavers.Silently above the surfaceRose one head and then another,Till the pond seemed full of beavers,Full of black and shining faces."And then the consent is given; for with all their"wisdom and contrivance " they did not discoverthat Pau-Puk-Keewis was a rascal. He has hisway, therefore, and the transmigration takesplace:" Black became his shirt of deer-skin;Black his mocassins and leggings;In a broad black tail behind himSpread his fox-tails and his fringes:He was changed into a beaver."We linger over this fiction, for it is " cool andpleasant" as the water in which the beavers aredescribed as having built their lodge, i. e. thecommon house, which is the great characteristicof beaver architecture.And turning from fiction to fact, we can assureour young readers that the facts of beaver lifehave their romantic side too-indeed are so won-derful, that travellers have often been carriedC

18 " AHMEEK THE BEAVER.away by enthusiasm into fancying a good dealmore than they saw, or at any rate into interpre-ting what they saw as something more wonderfulthan it really was. Hence the marvellous tales wemeet with of their building houses many storieshigh, with platforms supported by carefully piledfoundations; of their interlacing the stakes withboughs of trees, throwing in mud and stones toconsolidate the work, and then at last plaisteringthe whole over with a kind of mortar preparedwith their feet, and laid on with their tails,' whichthey had before made use of to transport it to theplace where it was wanted. Then the houses, weare told, have different apartments to eat andsleep in; the floors are "curiously" strewn withleaves or pine branches to keep them clean andcomfortable, and there are two entrances, one tothe land, the other next the water, &c,Believing all this, and a good deal more, wellmight M. Bonnet, the French naturalist, describea society of beavers as a " company of engineersworking upon organized plans, which they rectifyor modify as circumstances require ; carrying themout with as much perseverance as precision; allanimated by one mind, and combining their willsand energies for a common end-and that always" "Les murs ont environ deux pieds d'epaisseur, et sonttres bien maqonnes. Les parois sont revetus d'une sorte destuck applique avec tant de proprete, qu'il semble que la mainde l'homme y ait pass; et ce n'est pourtant que la queue duCastor que execute cela!" Ch. Bonnet: Contemplation de laNature, 1781.

AHMEEK THE BEAVER. 19the general good of the society. In one word,"he exclaims, " beavers had to be discovered to bebelieved in. A traveller ignorant of their exis-tence, but seeing their habitations, would concludehe had come upon a nation of very industrioussavages."These marvellous stories of beavers were cur-rent and fully credited till in 1795 the traveller,Mr. Samuel Hearne, published the result of hispersonal observations on the subject, and gave theworld the true version of the wonders they sup-posed they had seen; joking at the same time theardent believers in beaver-reason by remarkingthat after such statements as were then abroadabout them, little more remained to be added be-sides " a vocabulary of their language, a code oftheir laws, and a sketch of their religion " Hewas preceded indeed in exposing the fallacy ofpopular accounts of beaver-life, by one Mr. GeorgeCartwright, who wrote on the subject in his" Journal of Transactions on the Coast of Labra-dor," 3 vols. 4to. 1792; but his work does notseem to have attracted much attention, and Hearnehas always been regarded as the real reformer ofmen's credulous fancies about these creatures.Now it may seem a useless waste of time tohave repeated such old wives' tales merely tocontradict them, especially as Hearne's accounthas been quoted and re-quoted in every popularwork that has touched on the subject; but theyhave an interest in more ways than one. In the

20 AHMEEK THE BEAVER.first place, it is only justice to the naturalists whopreceded Hearne, to show that their mistakeswere rather misinterpretations than wilful mis-statements; while, on the other hand, we learn awholesome lesson ourselves by seeing how far aheated imagination can distort both mental andbodily vision; for the danger has not died outbecause Mr. Hearne's sober-minded accounts ofbeavers have enlightened us on that particularsubject.The facts, then, as to these undoubtedly won-derful animals are as follows :--It is generally inJune or July that they assemble in companiesvarying greatly in number, but sometimes of 200or 300 at a time, on the borders of lakes, ponds,rivers, or creeks connecting lakes, for the purposeof choosing a spot suitable for the island homeswhich it is their peculiar nature to construct.And in this choice they have several things toconsider. First, they require such a depth ofwater as is certain not to be frozen to the bottomby the frosts of winter ; secondly, they preferrunning water to still, on account of the use theymake of the current above in conveying wood andother necessaries to their dwelling-places. Hearneadds, " and because houses built in streams areless easily taken than those in standing water."That they secure a current when the place suitsin other respects is certain, unless their populationbe so large for the neighbourhood that some musttake to the lakes and ponds. With regard to the

AHMEEK THE BEAVER. 21depth of water, where they cannot get it exactlyto their mind, or have reason to fear that the waterin the stream above may ever freeze or fail, andso leave their habitations dry, they provide againstany possible accident in the following ingeniousmanner. At a convenient distance below theirbuilding-place they throw a dam right across thestream, just as we should do ourselves for a simi-lar purpose, and by this means insure round theirdwellings a sufficient quantity of water at allseasons to keep their entrance doors below thesurface-that being their great object; while toprevent an excess which might submerge thewhole habitation, they leave an opening in theembankment to let the water out when it risesabove a certain level!This dam or embankment, which is of veryfrequent occurrence-though never made whenrendered unnecessary by natural depth of water-is the first building operation of the beavers,and the whole company join in executing it. Buthow is the question; for these dams are strongmasses of wood, mud, and stones so intermixed asto secure solidity, and they are of considerableextent where a river is wide as well as shallow.Where are the beaver's tools for such a work ?Where do they get their hatchets, their pickaxes,their spades, their wheelbarrows ?Nay! they have not to look beyond themselvesfor tools. If they do not find driftwood sufficient,and want a tree or two besides, say ten inches in

22 AHMEEK THE BEAVER.diameter, for instance-a party of three or four ofthem sit round it on their haunches, and gnaw itdown with their four huge front teeth or "'in-cisors," which, having chisel-like edges, and beingvery powerful, accomplish the work with verylittle trouble. Long ago the American Indiansdiscovered the value of these natural tools, andstuck them in wooden handles to make use of incarving their bone weapons.Here it is to be observed that our intelligentlittle friends collect driftwood and cut down treesonly in the upper part of the stream in whichthey are going to build, and thus, as before hint-ed, save themselves the trouble of conveyance.For which purpose they cut through the trunk insuch a manner that it shall fall towards the water;but whenever personal labour is necessary, it istheir teeth they make use of to drag the logs fromone place to another, as well as to cut off branchesand 'make them portable. After being droppedinto the current, the trees and branches so ob-tained are of course carried safely down to thebuilding place, and there detained, and laid side-ways across the stream, being kept in their placeby stones and mud. For all the old stories aboutpiled foundations to these dams are delusions ofthe imagination. Both dams and houses aremasses of wood of all sizes, commonly placedcrosswise, and intermingled with mud and stonesin such proportion as to secure solidity and firm-ness; but certainly not built up on stakes, as was

AHMEEK THE BEAVER. 23once supposed. They so thoroughly answer theirpurpose, however, that old embankments, afterfrequent repairs '(for they are kept regularly re-paired), will resist almost any amount of waterand ice. Moreover, they are sometimes so wellwooded that birds build their nests in the treeswhich have rooted and sprung up from the greenwillow, birch, and poplar branches, originallythrown in with the heavier wood. There is anothercurious peculiarity. They are differently shaped,according to the nature of the stream. Wherethe current is very strong, they are formed with aconsiderable curve, the convex side to the stream,while in quieter water they are thrown acrossnearly in a straight line. The conveyance of themud and stones, which form so important a partof the solid mass of their embankments and houses,is another proof of beaver ingenuity, They carrythese materials between their little forepaws andchins, and, Hearne tells us, are so expeditious intheir work, that he has seen thousands of thesetiny handfuls of mud so conveyed during onenight-night being always, be it observed, theworktime of beavers.With respect to the beaver houses orlodges them-selves we yet need more exact information. Still,all accounts agree in describing them as dome-shaped mounds, and closed in so that no enemycan get into them from the land, the only en-trances being from the water and,. there is nodoubt, always below it. Cartwright describes en-

24 AHMEEK THE BEAVER,trances as " gently sloped passages, leading fromthe chamber above to at least three feet below thesurface of the water." Of these there are sometimesone, two, and even three; and these entrancesare called by the hunter " The Angles," and todiscover the direction in which they lie, is hisfirst object when preparing to capture the in-habitants.The lodges themselves according to him aregenerally oval- ten or twelve feet from end toend, nine across, and from four to seven high,and he adds, they hollow it inside as they go on,and so obtain a chamber. Moreover, these lodgesare built of the same materials as their dams, andin the same way, that is, with wood held togetherby stones and mud; and their one object in raisingthem above the water seems to be that they liketo have a dry place to lie on; for, being amphi-bious animals, they do not care to be under waterfor a very long time together, and need thereforea dry place of retreat for sleeping, or occasionallyeating; but such a thing as a separate set ofeating and sleeping apartments is unknown.Sometimes, however, they will repair some olddeserted habitation, or build another by its side,and this circumstance may have given rise to theidea that lodges have several chambers. Butthough such is not the case, the wise rogues willoccasionally build a small "hovel" near the onethey live in, to fly to for refuge in case of beingattacked The above particulars on the authority

AHMEEK THE BEAVER. 25of Mr. Cartwright, commend themselves speciallyto our belief, as his great object was to disabusethe popular mind of fallacies while making theinteresting facts of which he was eye-witness,known.Hearn corroborates much of this, and also men-tions that beaver lodges are liable to be of verydifferent sizes, according to jhe number of fami-lies who agree to live under one roof; but evenin one case he describes, where a dozen apart-ments were thus joined together for as many fami-lies, there was no communication from one to theother, except by water. Each household knew itsown cell, and was no further implicated with itsneighbour than by friendly intercourse, and thefact that different families are always ready tocombine in their labours for building or repairingthe necessary dams and houses. They build incompanies of various sizes. Major W. Ross King,in his " Sportsman and Naturalist in Canada,"mentions seeing one of their old settlements, towhich the name of " Beaver Town" had beengiven, near Niagara ; and Mr. Lord, in his "Na-turalist in Vancouver's Island and British Colum-bia," describes another in the lower KlamathLake, which he decided " must be the head centreof the entire beaver population of Oregon," sogreat was its size. At a rough guess he concludedthis lake to be thirty miles in circumference, and" more like a huge swamp than a lake; simplypatches of open water, peeping out from a rank

26 AHMEEK THE BEAVER.growth of rushes, at least twelve feet in height."He tells us that "in some of the patches of openwater there certainly, was not room to jam in evena tiny beaver cottage of the humblest pretensions,although the open space occupied by the townwas many acres in extent." "Where could onefind a more enjoyable sight," exclaims Mr. Lordin conclusion, "whether viewed with the eye of anaturalist or lover of the picturesque ? Before meis the reedy swamp, with its open patches of water,glittering like mirrors in the bright sunlight,rippled in all directions by busy beavers-somemaking a hasty retreat to their castles; othersswimming craftily along, crawl on to the domes,and peep at the intruder."Beavers choose their building grounds and cuttheir wood chiefly in the summer, and at the sameseason lay up stores of provisions for the winter,by collecting bark and the green boughs andbranches of trees, and sinking them near thedoor of their habitations by stones laid on theheap; the bark of trees and the root of a kind ofwater lily (Nuphar luteum), which grows in thewater, being their chief food during winter. In/summer, when most of the beavers go about onshore, they eat several kinds of herbage, and theberries of shrubs. The actual building of a newlodge, or common house, seldom begins before themiddle of August, and is never completed till thecold weather sets in; and the builder's last act isto put on a final coat of mud, which, being ac-

AHMEEK THE BEAVER, 27complished in the late autumn, freezes hard whenwinter comes on. This being done year by year,the walls, especially the roofs of the lodges, becomeexceedingly strong, sometimes six or seven feet inthickness. Hearne speaks of these annual lateautumnal mud coverings as " a great piece ofpolicy," for by the roofs freezing, in consequenceas hard asi stones, their enemy the " wolverine,"or "glutton" (Gulo luscus), is kept out. He alsomentions, as no doubt the origin of the idea thatbeavers use their tails for trowels, their habit offlapping them occasionally as they walk overtheir work, and always when they plunge intothe water; a custom they retain even when do-mesticated-for, be it observed, beavers are easilytamed, and make very pleasant, docile indoorcompanions, learning to answer to their names,and following those they are accustomed to, like adog; and quite as much pleased as any domesticanimal at being fondled.But, after all, M, Bonnet's philosophy, if nothis facts, is 'correct. They do not reason. Mr.Wood, in his " Sketches and Anecdotes of AnimalLife," quotes the account of a tame beaver, keptby Mr. Broderip, in which the building propensity,as an unreasoning instinct, was carefully observed.The creature built purposeless dams across thecorners of the room with anything it could layhold of, and the family took care to leave avariety of materials in its way. A sweeping-brushand a warming-pan were among the large things

28 AHMEEK THE BEAVER.he chose, and, after laying these crosswise, hefilled up the area between the ends with rush-baskets, books, sticks, cloths, dried turf, or any-thing portable! Another curious fact Mr. Bro-derip mentions is, that after the animal had builthis house, and carried in cotton and hay to makea nest, he sat up and combed his fur with thenails of his hind feet. He was also very fond ofdipping his tail in water, and when it was keptmoist he never seemed to care to drink. Strangeto say, bread and milk and sugar were the petbeaver's favourite food; a curious change fromthe green bark of trees, his natural food; but, itmust be owned, he also liked succulent fruits androots. He was a most entertaining creature, Mr.Broderip said; and his account is enough to temptany one, who had the power, to follow his ex-ample, and bring one of these animals home to beplaced among the domestic pets of an Englishhousehold.The scientific name of the common Americanbeaver is Castorfiber. Length of head and bodyabout three feet and a half; of the tail or " caudalpaddle," about a foot. It is three years in attain-ing its full size; its fur varies from glossy brownto almost black, and was, till lately, in great re-quest for gentlemen's hats and ladies' bonnets.Its tail is used as a rudder in diving or ascending,and is flat, scaled, and oar-like. Its hind pawsare webbed.In conclusion, we must allow the beaver to be

-low-o- z I,"Page 29..

This page contains no text.

AHMEEK THE BEAVER. 29one of the most gifted of the lower animals, butstill the limits of its powers are fixed. Thebeavers of to-day have made no advance from thebeavers of generations ago, and they are bornfrom age to age, with neither more nor less ofability. In other words, the race of Ahmeek doesnot progress.We are happy in being able to illustrate ourbeavers from real life. The woodcut, by M.Griset, which accompanies this paper, was drawnfrom the lodge built by the beavers in a pond atthe Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park. Theyhad previously burrowed their way from theirenclosure in the gardens to the canal, as offeringthem a larger field for their operations, but beingreclaimed, and measures adopted for keeping themmore safely enclosed, they made the best of cir-cumstances, and raised this poor rough cabin of a" lodge," in which, nevertheless, they afterwardscontrived to rear a brood of young beavers. It ispainful to have to add, that both parents andyoung ones have since died-possibly they cannotbear such narrow bounds, and need a runningstream.Their place has been filled by fresh beavers,but we fear for the results. Surely some possessorof a " mere," or large sheet of water, will try theexperiment of bringing back these interestingcreatures to our country, where they were onceindigenous. On this point we may surely quotein evidence from an interesting paper by Dr.9

30 AHMEEK THE BEAVER.Tristram on "Beavers and building," publishedtwo years after our own, in " Good Words for theYoung." (July 1869.)"Time was, when the beaver was the firstarchitect in the British Isles. Long before roundtowers had arisen to mystify future antiquarians,the beaver was modelling his dome in the fens ofYorkshire and the mountains of Wales. Butin Scotland and in Wales, the beaver finds aplace in written history. An old monk who writeshis travels in Wales, tells of the beavers in Car-diganshire, and, three hundred years later, aboutA.D. 1490, we are told they abounded about LochNess, whence their furs were exported. Stilllater lingered the tradition among the Highland-ers about Lochabar, of the former abundance ofthe broad-tailed otter' there, the very same nameby which it was known in Wales. But the beaver'scoat was too precious for him to be allowed towear it in peace, for Howel the Good, when hefixed the price of furs by law in the ninth centuryfor the Welshmen, while he rated an otter's skinat 12d. estimated the beaver's as worth 120d." We know not whether the Crusaders worethem for their cloaks; but when the Archbishop ofCanterbury, A.D. 1180, went to the Principality tobeat for recruits, his secretary and biographerwas so delighted with the beavers of Cardigan-shire, that, forgetting the Crusades, he can onlytell us about their huts, their tails, and theirteeth, and how their habitations, formed of willow

AHMEEK THE BEAVER.. 31stumps, so soon as the boughs begin to shoot,look like groves of' trees, rude and naturalwithout, but artfully constructed within. Butthis was long ago, and all the traces the beaverhas left are his name, still attached to some watersin the Principality, telling us of the home of theold family; just as in Yorkshire, Beverley,'Beaver's Legh,' by its name and its coat ofarms, reminds us of an inhabitant more ancientthan the monks and the minster."P. S. Since the foregoing paper was compiled,the return of my daughter, Mrs. Ewing, froma two years' residence at Fredericton, NewBrunswick, enables us tp add a word or twomore. She and her husband made there theacquaintance of a Milicete Indian Piel orPeter--several of whose tribe were in the habitof visiAng the town, from time to time, bring-ing baskets and bead-ware of their own manu-facture for sale. Peter became in time bothuseful and companionable. He made them acanoe, taught them scraps of his language, &c.,and from him she heard that the Milicete namefor' a beaver was, not Ahmeek, but " Quaw-peet."Reader, we have marked it with those long marks,to express the slow impressive way in which eachsyllable should be uttered-the very reverse ofour hurried English intonation-soft deliberatespeech being, it would seem, an Indian character-istic. But Mrs. Ewing shall now speak for her-self:

32 AHMEEK THE BEAVER." Peter used to come up from time to time andstand outside our door, leaning on his paddle in avery picturesque attitude of repose; and we usedto get him to teach us the Milicete names ofthings. Last August (1869), on one of these oc-casions, I asked him if the Indians made pets ofany animals but dogs and cats. Peter considered,and then said, with as much energy and emphasisas I ever saw vary his usual dignified calm-' Quaw-peet make very nice pet. Nice as dogs!'He then told me that some years before, he hadgot several very young beavers which he com-pletely domesticated, and he repeatedly assuredme that they were nice as dogs.' Peter's hut(for he and his people have now discarded wig-wams) is on the bank of the beautiful New Bruns-wick River S. John, and he told me that hisyoung beavers were free to go into the river,which they did; but when Peter came out uponthe bank and called to them, these 'nice pets-nice as dogs,' came out like so many lovingwater-spaniels to their master's feet." Of course, I was wild for Peter to get me aQuaw-peet to take home to England. But it wastoo late in the season. He said that June wasthe time, and if you wish to tame them, theymust be taken quite young from the mother."'They would bite-now,' he repeated slowly,and chuckled long and softly at my excitementabout a Quaw-peet pet. But I mean to have ablack-faced, wise-eyed Quaw-peet yet, when I can

AHMEEK THE BEAVER. 33find a chaperone for it across the sea. Peter willget me one. He fed his beavers in summer onthe young ranches of .willow by pailsfull, and inwinter on bits of the inside of the bark oftrees."\p

A SHILLING'S WORTH OF WONDER.B ALLING one summer afternoon atthe cottage of a village friend, ashoemaker, my eye was caught bythe sight of a very unusual nosegayin a jug on the table; not that a nosegay in thathouse was at all an uncommon sight, for my friendwas a very intelligent man, and particularly fondof flowers; moreover, he had a little daughterwho, though rather invalided at times, had astrong taste in the same direction. But this par-ticular nosegay was a decided puzzle, for certainlynone of the lanes in the neighbourhood could havefurnished the flowers, and I doubted whether anygardens within reach had grown the magnificentrhododendrons, two handsome branches of whichadorned the flower jug. But that was not all:besides these and a fine piece of yellow laburnum,there were two flowers I had never seen before;one was like laburnum in shape, but of a pinkishstone or dull red colour, the other purple, of a

A SHILLING'S WORTH OF WONDER. 35much deeper hue than the rhododendrons, andgrew on a branch which had the stiff straightgrowth of a broom branch. I expressed my ad-miration of the rhododendrons, and was not sur-prised to hear that they came from the groundsof a country seat in the neighbourhood, whichhappened just then to be uninhabited, the familyhaving bought an estate in another part of Eng-land and gone away: but looking at the otherflowers, I remarked that I could not imagine whatthey were, and asked the shoemaker what sort ofshrubs he had gathered them from, owning that Ihad never seen them before. The man smiled,and said they were a curiosity, for he had pickedthem both off a laburnum tree. " Off a laburnumtree?" I repeated, thinking I had misunderstoodhim. "Impossible !""Impossible !" How free we poor creatures,limited to an allowance of five senses, are withthat word! But the force of habit overrules one'smore serious philosophy, and I told my villagefriend he must have made a mistake, or rather, Ibelieve I asked him the question in several dif-ferent ways in order to bring out the fact that hehad done so; which pertinacity induced him totell me the whole story of his obtaining the won-derful flowers.Some friend had told him there was a curioustree in the hall grounds, and the two had gonetogether and found it, and he assured me he hadseen the yellow and pink laburnums growing to-

36 A SHILLING'S WORTH OF WONDER.gether among the branches, while here and therepatches of the purple flower stood out in shrubbytufts-" tussocks" he called them-as if they hadfallen on the branches from the skies.I listened and looked, and we stood over theflower jug together, and my friend went on to askme how I thought it had happened; he and hisfriend had been considering that perhaps the beeshad carried the seeds of some other plant to thelaburnum tree, or could it be the birds ?I said, "Well, perhaps; but it was very oddthey should have taken two sorts of seeds to onetree; still such an accident might happen-atleast I did not know that it might not." Theseand a few other such inane remarks I made, aspeople usually do when they are talking uponsubjects they know nothing of, but at last I shookmy head and acknowledged my utter ignorance.As I did so, however, I still kept looking at andhandling the flowers, my strongest feeling beingone of uncertainty as to the fact itself-not that Idoubted the shoemaker's believing what he saidwhen so decidedly spoken, but I was far too muchof a naturalist to accept the statement without as-certaining its truth for myself; so, having ob-tained the best account I could of the road to thetree, which he explained was in a wild and unfre-quented part of the grounds, I took an early oppor-tunity of going off on the quest. It proved aweary search, and I and my young companionmade many mistakes, but at last arrived at a little

A SHILLING'S WORTH OF WONDER. 37grove of laburnum trees, at the top of a hill over-looking a fine view. We were almost in despairat the time, we had walked so far in vain, and atfirst sight could detect nothing but " Laburnums'dropping-wells of fire" of the usual golden hue.At last, however, we gave a shout. On one sideof a low wall the bending branches all bore yellowflowers, but on the other there were among theyellow ones several of the pinkish stone colour Ihad seen in the cottage. It cannot be said that theywere more beautiful than the yellow ones, but themixture was most curious as well as pretty, andour point was gained. The tree had been graftedof course, said I. But how little that told! fornot being a botanist or horticulturalist, I did nottrouble myself to wonder with what. The searchfor the purple flower was a much longer affair,and again and again we agreed that our goodfriend must have been mistaken about that; butafter staring upwards at all the trees round tillour necks ached, we uttered shout the second.On one of the bending branches high out of reachof the same tree where the dull-red blossoms grew,we caught sight of a strange-looking tuft, stand-ing out as if it had dropped on the tree by anaccident, or burst out from it with some strangedisease, all the lower part of the branches of thetuft being covered with the bright purple flowersI have described."C Extraordinary !" was my next exclamation,for Impossible !" was now out of the question. I

38 A SHILLING'S WORTH OF WONDER.could only reach two sorts of flowers, it is true, togather them, but the third was looking down atme from an unmistakable laburnum branch.What was to be done next? My companionand I talked for a bit of bees and birds, and thewonderful changes in flowers produced by insectsin their wanderings. This was idle talk, how-ever, and I soon bethought me of the scientificfriend who was certain to be able to solve thedifficulty, unless it really was an unprecedentedcase. To him, therefore, I wrote at once, andreceived for answer that it was a very curiousbut very well known affair. Come, then, extra-ordinary was no such bad term after all! and nowfor the history of the Wonder." It is said," wrote my friend, "to have origi-nated in a Dutch or Belgian nursery, where ona Laburnum stock had been grafted a purpleCytisus (which is of the same genus as Labur-num) ."Now, from the spot where the graft enteredthe stock came a bud, which seemed to combinethe properties of both bud and stock, for when itblossomed it bore dull-red flowers such as hadnever been seen before."Buds from it were grafted on other laburnumstocks and grew, and these have the queer pro-perty of breaking out irregularly either withpurple, yellow, or dull-red flowers, each flowerbeing accompanied by its own proper-shaped leavesand twigs. I don't understand it in the least," my

A SHILLING'S WORTH OF WONDER. 39friend went on to say, "and there is no similarmonstrosity on record. But truth is strangerthan fiction. The bees have nothing to say to itas far as we know." And then came the con-clusion, "You can buy a plant for your garden atany London nursery, and it ought not to costmore than a shilling or so."To be had at a nursery garden for "a shillingor so." What a descent from the sublime to theridiculous The " impossible wonder" come downto an "extraordinary fact-;" the extraordinaryfact to " something very curious;" the somethingvery curious to be had at twenty places in Londonfor " a shilling or so !" Why, half the civilisedworld would cry " impossible" to its being curiousat all even, if it is to be had so cheap. Well, theymust say what they please. We, with our poorfive senses, make very free use, as I said before,of the word "impossible," but equally so of theword "commonplace." Those who have lookedinto nature long 'enough and deep enough, knowhow wonderful are even the commonest facts ofthat silent magic world. The seeds, the plants,the flowers, tell no tales audible to our ears; but-very nearly everything they do, or that happensto them, is "impossible," if our being able toaccount for it is to be the test of what is possible.The utmost, in fact, that we can really attainto is to know what is common and uncommonwithin the limited sphere of human observation;and that the growth of the Three-flowered Cytisus

40 A SHILLING'S WORTH OF WONDER.is uncommon there can be no doubt, even thoughLondon nursery gardeners may sell it at a shillingor so the plant. Oh, in talking over these wondersof nature, what a thought is the revelation instore for us hereafter! If even now, seeingthrough a glass so very darkly in the physicalas well as moral world, we behold wonders andbeauties which make our very souls leap withlonging for a clearer light and deeper insight,what will the full unfolding be ? Verily eye hathnot seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into theheart of man, the glories which shall one dayburst upon the vision of those who have lovedand adored their great Creator here below.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.A HEARTY laugh is a very wholesomeThing both to enjoy and listen to;and I can laugh still at the recollec-, tion of our dear Schoolboy's faceyesterday."Is camphor very dear, mother ?" he asked,quite suddenly.The question broke a silence during which Ihad been reading very intently, and being, at themoment, in my mind's eye among the Latookasavages of Central Africa, where glass beads andshells have an unlimited local value, I couldscarcely collect my thoughts for a proper answer." Very dear ?-Well, no, not exactly that; stillit isn't so very cheap. Really, I don't rememberwhat it is an ounce ;-but why do you ask ?"" Oh, nothing," answers Schoolboy, under theconsciousness of having interrupted a train ofthought. But being pressed, it came out that,having gone into the village that morning, he had

42 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.called on an old washerwoman-a childhood'sacquaintance-now a complete crone, and a greatcuriosity in more ways than one, and that he hadfound her in much perplexity and distress ofmind; first, because somebody had told her the"chollery," was coming; secondly, because shecouldn't find a piece of camphor she had put by inher drawer two years before, when the small-poxhad been in the place; and who could have hadthe heart to steal " a bit of stuff as was good fornothing but the affections" she couldn't imagine.Neither could the good-natured fellow who shouted," infection you mean," in her ear, to begin with,and then offered to join in the hunt for the lostcamphor himself. On which the two set to worktogether, and routed out a couple of dresser-drawers from end to end, bringing to light an in-credible amount of rubbish scraps, but, to theirowner's distress, no camphor. Schoolboy wenton to describe her exclamations during his rum-maging through her belongings, her " laws amercy !" " deary me's!" and somewhat insincere"bless yau's," with considerable dramatic fun, andgave, too, with her own special shakes of the headand hand, her conjectures as to which of theneighbour's daughters must have purloined thetreasure, while she had slipped down the villagefor her " baccy ;"-that "brazen lass " of --'s,whom she had seen the day before with a camphor-bag round her neck being, of course, the culprit."And it is a horrid shame they will steal so, isn't

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. 43it, mother?" concluded the boy; on which I said,"Yes, and bear false witness too, my dear," whichhe did not understand; but so saying, we sobereddown from our merriment over his adventure, heremaining at the end altogether unconscious ofwhat had really amused me most-viz. the ideaof his having, in all good faith, joined the old ladyin her search for a bit of camphor put loose in adrawer some two years before! However, theclassics do not teach physics, and perhaps Homerand JEschylus might have joined in a similarhunt, had occasion offered, in similar unconscious-ness of its absurdity.The upshot of the matter was: "Would I givehim another piece of camphor for old WidowYarrow ? She had told him she wanted to beprepared for the chollery.'" I wish she would be prepared in other ways,"muttered I, for Widow Yarrow was one of thosetough-witted old ladies in whom it is next to im-possible to awaken any real sense of spiritualneeds." But, at any rate, as far as camphor is con-cerned, she shall be prepared," observed I. "Youshall take her a piece to-morrow."" Thank you, mother," said he, getting up quitesatisfied; "that's all.""9 No, but it isn't all, by any means," I ex-claimed, detaining him 'by the arm. "My dearboy, is it possible you don't know that camphorgoes away of itself ?"

44 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS." Goes away of itself, mother ?" repeatedSchoolboy, in his firmest tones, and resuming hisseat, while he fixed his eyes on my face with sosensible and intelligent an expression of. incre-dulity that a half creepy sensation came over meof having talked absolute nonsense. He added,too, with a reflective contraction of the brow, anda fine curl on his upper lip, " How can it ?" look-ing full at me as he spoke, just as I was lookingat him.Nothing could be more absurd. We sat staringat each other so for several seconds-he the veryimpersonation of young ignorant unbelief, yetlooking so much the more sagacious of the two,that I was quite conscious of my inferior positionfor the moment, and then both of us burst into alaugh, and he repeated his question with an abso-lute giggle."How can it ?" as if I had been trying to takehim in by a joke."E pur si move! nevertheless it does," I ex-claimed, with all the authority of one who knowswhat he is talking about; and then the boy askedat once:"What is camphor, mother ?"So, so! the right turn in the road was taken atlast. Led from doubt to inquiry, and from in-quiry to truth, as far as human wit can get at it,which is not always very far.And as the answer to "What is camphor?"

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. 45may interest others besides our Schoolboy, I de-cide to write it down.To begin with, Camphor is a vegetable produc-tion, however little it looks like one, but it is ob-tained from plants, and plants only, and that isenough.The Materia Medica speaks of it as "a principlefound in many plants, but only in two in any greatabundance."' One sort is by some said to be ob-tained from rosemary, sage, lavender, and mar-joram; yet one might chop up an herb-bed fromend to end without finding one single morsel ofwhatwe call camphor. But that is because weunderstand by the word, only that solid, white,crystalline material which wt buy in chemists'shops by the name; whereas that is only thecamshor principle-camphor, i. e. in a particularcoadi ioh. It exists in a quite different conditionin some of the plants whence it is obtained, and isonly brought into that solid crystalline state by aspecial process it goes through.Thus much to explain the possibility of such apresence in some of our British plants, whetherwe can detect it or not.The extraordinary thing is that it should befound in two perfectly different conditions in theonly two plants in which it exists abundantly.These two plants are both of them trees, and1 Royle's "Manual of Materia Medica," &c. edited by Dr.Headland, third ed;

46 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.trees of considerable size, and both foreigners-theone being a native of the islands of Borneo andSumatra, the other of China and Japan. TheBorneo tree is called Dryobalanops Camphora.The other, a Chinese evergreen, is one of theLaurel tribe, Laurus GCmphor, or C&mphoraOfficinarum.Now, in Dryobalanops (or shall we call it theBorneo camphor tree?) the "principle" is foundin greyish-white fragments interspersed throughthe substance of the woody stems, and may bepicked out by instruments. Indeed, we read ofpieces a foot in length being exposed to viewwhen the trunks are split open, running throughthe centre of the wood like pith, but mixed withor surrounded by the same camphor principle ina liquid state-i. e. camphor oil.In this case, of course, the material is obtainedat once from the tree by mechanical means; I;Atthe truth is, we have personally nothing to dowith Dryobalanops. The Chinese never allowthat sort of camphor to enter our market. Theyset so high a value on it themselves, that theyare willing to pay twenty times the money'for itthat they ask us for their own camphor, and, aswe have never discovered its great superiority, weare quite contented to take the Chinese camphor-at the cheaper price.But now, about the Chinese tree from whichcomes all the camphor we ever see in England.Well, the camphor principle exists in it in a

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. 47diffused, unformed state, but is not the less there,ready to be got out by those who are ingeniousenough to find out the way. Bruise the leaves,the bark, the wood, and the fine odour betrays itspresence at once. As to the process by whichthe solid material is obtained, it varies in differentparts of the country, but the following is easilyunderstood:The roots, stems, branches, and twigs arechopped up and thrown with water into ironvessels, which have hollow earthen covers orhoods, in which are placed pieces of rice-strawand rushes. Heat is then applied to the lowerpart of the vessel, and the water gradually boilsup, when the camphor, rising as a vapour from thewood, flies off and upwards intc the hollow earthencover, where it condenses-that is; becomes solid-upon 4fhe rice-straw and rushes, in greyish-white, Ilightly-sparkling grains, which, graduallyaccumulating as the distillation just describedgoes on, form masses of raw material, which theChinese sell to us as crude camphor. But in thisstage it is very different from the firm white sub-stanc Widow Yarrow put by in her drawer. Itis dirty-coloured and crumbly, for it has yet toundergo another process- namely, that of refining-by means of which it is both cleared from strawsand other impurities, and is hardened. The refiningprocess was first practised by, and for many yearsknown only to, the Venetians, who used to receivecanisters of crude camphor from China, and send it

48 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.out refined to the markets of Europe. In processof time, however, the Dutch discovered the secret,and it is now a secret no longer.But now comes another fact. This camphorprinciple, which was by its original nature sovolatile-that is, apt to fly off-that it rushed outof the wood of the Camphor Tree to settle amongthe straws in the hood of the vessel in which itwas boiling, continues volatile in its solid conditionalso, and flies off amazingly fast whenever it comesin contact with air; and thus, while WidowYarrow thought she had got her Jack-in-the-boxquite safe because she had put him by in a drawer,he was gradually availing himself of the air whichfilled up the vacant spaces between her worsteds,knitting-needles, rags, &c., to make his escape.The poor old lady was not likely to know what afly-by-sky customer she had got hold of; butschoolboys who have ever fastened little camphorbags into butterfly cases, can scarcely fail to havenoticed that they get empty, and have to be re-newed. And once in the open air, with no air-tight cover to hold it in, it goes off and away, and" there an end," for what becomes of it nobodycan say."How very curious!" remarked Schoolboy,meditatively, as, seated backwards-way on a chair,he leant his head on his crossed arms, as they re-posed upon the woodwork behind-" how verycurious But, after all," he added next minute,

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. 49lifting himself up with sudden liveliness, "onecan understand the sort of thing exactly! Ofcourse, it's the scent, you know, that keeps goingoff into the air, till the whole thing has wastedaway. Don't you think so ?"" Can't accept the explanation," I answered;"hyacinths give out scent, and very strong scenttoo, yet never waste away.""No, because they fade and die, mother; onecan't tell what they would do if they went onliving," he persisted." Ingenious enough," I laughed, "but it won'tdo. There is musk, you know, which gives outscent as strong as that of camphor; yet a solidpiece of it would have stayed quietly enough inthe old lady's drawer for two years, and muchlonger, and not wasted by a grain!"How VERY curious !" remarked Schoolboy,leaning his head once more on the folded arms,while I went on to tell him that the volatile natureof some substances, and the non-volatile or fixedcharacter of others, were part of the long list ofwhat philosophers are pleased to call "ultimatefacts "-things, that is to say, which have beenfound out to be, but behind which nobody can getto discover why.E

GUM-ARABIC.A HHIIERE is no accounting for the anti-pathies of children. I once hatedGum-Arabic! Thought it bitter andS nasty, which the poor, innocent,tasteless gum could never be. But though noneof the people I lived with could even have guessedat a reason for the foolish dislike, I know it now.The story was this :-In the old-fashioned days, when my grand-mother-a city dame-was in her prime (and itwas a prime of great personal beauty), she waswont, though without the excuse of noblesse oblige,to hold weekly reception-days. That is, on everyThursday in the week during the season she was" at home" to callers, the fact being announcedpreviously to friends and acquaintance by cardsof invitation.These were gala days for the grandchildren inthe house as well as for grandmamma. For notonly was she beautifully attired in silk orna-

GUM-ARABIC. 51mented with lace, which added refinement to an atall times refined face, but the children also weredressed in their Sunday's best-white frocks withcoloured sashes for the girls; and the boy, ac-cording to the fashion of the day-and spent allthe afternoon in the drawing-room, sitting up forcompany; the girls in little cane chairs with theirbest dolls on their knees, and a pretty polishedmahogany child's table between them, to receiveany toys which might be allowed as befitting theoccasion; the boy with a horse on wheels, and apicture book.Now among the carriages which on thoseimportant occasions drove up to the door, andwere peeped at by the children from the windowas soon as the trampling horse-steps were heardon the gravel outside-none came oftener thanthat of the widow of a certain Knight-Sir Some-thing M grandmamma's greatest friend.How long ago her husband had died, and what hehad been made a knight for, are not worth mentionnow. She, at the time I remember her, was. asomewhat painfully-stout, elderly woman, who,between weight and asthma, moved heavily andwith difficulty along. It was a puzzle to childishminds to see how long a time she took in enteringthe room, and a still greater one to hear thewheezing sounds of laboured breathing whichcame up from her chest, and filled one with a sortof mysterious dread of what could be the cause." My dears, she has got the asthma," was grand-

52 GUM-ARABIC.mamma's explanation, "and can't help wheezing. If-you had the asthma, you would wheeze."The explanation was not complete-what expla-nation is ?-but thus much was clear: poor LadyM did wheeze dreadfully, and it must besomething very horrid which made her make sucha noise; of that one was perfectly sure.But Lady M- had another peculiarity. Shehad a rough chin-a very rough chin-and the boyhad no scruple in saying she had a beard; and shenever called without our dreading the operationwhich we knew was in store for us of being kissed:for Lady M---, rough as her chin was, was veryfond of children, and of us in particular, and wenever succeeded in passing unnoticed. No, we wereregularly called to her side, to be petted, talked to,and remarked upon; and, to do childish observationjustice, we knew that the rough hairy face was avery good-natured one, and were aware of anamount of love beaming all over it, which, if onecould not return, one could feel.But little things prejudice little folks, and themorning calls were not long enough to dispel theimpression made by such very unusual personalpeculiarities as those of grandmamma's dearfriend. Such a contrast, too, in appearance, tograndmamma herself!So we used to stand by her side, letting herhold our hands and talk to us, and, I fear, feltmuch less grateful than we ought to have done.And then, when the chat was over, came the final

GUM-ARABIC.. 53parting act, which has stamped the memory ofLady M for ever on our minds." What have I brought for little girls and boys,I wonder?" she would say, trying to speak asclearly as she could, and with the most good-natured of smiles on her face; and out she woulddraw from her pocket the loveliest of amber boxes,edged with gold, and within the box, as she openedit, appeared crystals of-surely ?-bright, half-transparent sugar-candy." Put your fingers in, dears, and help your-selves," cried the old lady, cheerfully.Oh Lady M- Lady M you smiled asif it was sugar-candy-you know you did! Yourface almost said it was sugar-candy-somethingthat little girls like-crisp, and shining, and sweet-something worth keeping in a beautiful amberbox edged with gold. But, oh! Lady M ,Lady n- when we put the shiny crystals inour mouths, and went away to our little canecompany chairs to eat them, behold they were notsweet at all! These were no sugar crystals, butnasty slippery bits of something, almost bitter bycomparison, which fell flat on palates, expectant ofbetter things, and made us inclined to spit themout." Lady M- 's sugar-candy isn't nice, grand-mamma," said we, after she was gone; " why isn'tit sweet ?"" My dears," said grandmamma, with a smile,"it isn't sugar-candy at all it's poor Lady

54 GUMI-ARABIC.M- 's Gum-Arabic; she takes it for the asthma,,you know."No, we didn't know, and we didn't care to know.Gum-Arabic was nothing to us but sham. sugar-candy. We hated it for its deceitful bitterness-once and for ever. The oddity was, too, thatthe disappointment was repeated again and again.Somehow or other, we hoped against hope; when-ever we saw the clear Gum-Arabic in the box;and we picked out the bits that were most like ourfavourite sugar-candy, under some vague hope thatshe might have found out that it was good forasthma too.What we might have thought, if anyone hadoffered to explain to us what Gum-Arabic was, Iknow not; but young folks, who not only have noprejudice against it, but may have found it apleasant remedy in a cold, will surely be glad tohear where it comes from, and what it is.To begin with:-Gum is contained in thetissues of trees, and is formed in large quantitiesin their juices. It oozes out through the bark.Those who are fond of hard words, therefore,may call gum a vegetable exudation or product.When it first comes out it is liquid, as it existsinside the tree, but it quickly hardens in the air,and forms into solid little lumps, which are foundscattered over the bark of the trees in pieces,varying in size from a pea to a walnut.There are several varieties of Gums-even ofgums which are considered real gums by scientific

GUM-ARABIC. 55people, one necessary character of such being thatthey will dissolve in water; while those which willdissolve only in spirits are properly called Resins.But of all the gums, none is so well known, orperhaps so important, as our Gum-Arabic, and it isof that particularly we mean to speak.Its name is not a very happy one, for it mightdeceive people into believing it came from Arabia,which is certainly not the case now, at any rate.True, a Frenchman, M. Durand, who made avoyage to Senegal, in Africa, half-a-century ago,and, what is more, arranged treaties on the part ofthe French with certain African tribes on thesubject of gum, tells us that before Senegal Gumwas known the whole of what was consumed inEurope came from Arabia, but that since the dis-covery in Senegal, its price had diminished, andthe traffic with Arabia had ceased.'At the present day, our gum is obtained in largequantities from both the West and East Coasts ofAfrica, from Egypt, India, Australia, and the Capeof Good Hope. And it is called Gum Acacia, aswell as Gum-Arabic, because it all comes fromdifferent species of the Acacia, or Mimosa trees,Acacia vera (Mimosa Nilotica) being one of thebest known.Acacia vera is a tree of middle size, bearing both"1 "Gum Senegal " is nevertheless not considered so good inquality as some called "Babool Gum," or " Gum Gattie,"which is exported to us from Calcutta and Bombay, and whichis the produce of Acacia Arabica.

56 GUM-ARABIC.leaves and thorns in pairs; the latter being froma quarter to half an inch long. The flowers areyellow, and form globose heads, and the podswhich succeed are short, straight, and do notcontain more than a few seeds. Gum-Arabic usedto be produced plentifully in Upper Egypt andNubia, being collected of the finest quality in thewinter months, to the extent of from 10,000 to14,000 cwt., which was conveyed on camels everyyear from Bara to Dongola, on the Nile, and thencetaken to Cairo, whence it was distributed overEurope. Quantities are also carried to the portsof the Red Sea, and from thence to the oppositecoasts of Arabia, whence it is exported to Bombay,and thence returns to this country. But a gooddeal of this comes from Acacia Seyal, Ehrenberghiiand tortilis; so that it would be very difficult, inbuying an ounce of Gum-Arabic in a shop, to sayto which species of Acacia it owed its origin.Enough that, if good, it must have come from theEast, and not from our plum and cherry trees, thebrown, glutinous, never really solid lumps of whichmost children know by sight and taste-the sweetflavour having a sort of charm for them, in spite ofthe stick-i'-the-mouth nature of the material.The best Gum-Arabic is clear and pale, eitherwhite or more or less tinted yellow, bright andtransparent when broken. Inferior varieties aredarker, being brown, and sometimes defaced byscraps of bark, &c.By some authorities Gum-Arabic has beendeclared to be nutritious. Six ounces will, it is

GUM-ARABIC. 57said, sustain the life of a grown-up man for twenty-four hours; but we cannot recommend any but avery fat man to make the experiment! It is butlittle used in medicine, except as a mixture, to whatthey call " suspend" other substances. Neverthe-less, it has a soothing effect on an irritable throatand chest when dissolved gradually in the mouth;and hence Lady M- 's custom of carrying thelittle amber box containing it in her pocket.We have mentioned the Senegal Gum Companyin France. It was established in 1784 with theconsent of Government, and obtained an exclusiveprivilege of trading in gum, slaves, gold-dust,ivory, wax, and other products of the RiverSenegal and its dependencies, from Cape Blanco toCape Verd, Goree being chosen as the residence ofthe administrators. This was when Louis XVI.was king. It was in the year following thatM. Durand was appointed director-general of thecompany, and took up his residence in the countrywith a view to putting the commerce on an im-proved footing; and in that year several treatieswere drawn up between himself, as director of thecompany, and the three Moorish princes in whoseprovinces the three gum forests of Sahel, Lebiar,and Alfatak, lay.And so singular are these documents that wepropose citing one of them as an amusement to ourreaders, who, perhaps, little suspected Gum-Arabicof having taken so prominent a place in theinterests of two nations.

58 GUM-ARABIC." TREATY WITH THE MARABOUSOF ARMANKOUR2 ON THESUBJECT OF GUM." IN THE NAME OF THE ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OFHEAVEN AND EARTH AND ALL LIVING CREA-TURES." Under the auspices and direct protection ofM. le Comte de Repentigny, governor for hisMajesty the most Christian King of France andNavarre, of Senegal and its dependencies;" Be it known to all whom it concerns or mayconcern in any way:" The chiefs of the nation of the Marabous ofArmankour, to wit: Chems, Mahemetdun, Ma-hambouna, Bibilou and Zeine, represented byBibilou, deputed for the purpose, charged with thepowers of Chems and of all the tribe, for which hetreats, &c., on the one side;"Jean Baptiste Leonard Durand, ancient consulof France, pensioner of his Majesty, director-general of the company, having the exclusiveprivilege of the gum trade on the River Senegal,and its dependencies on the other side;1 M. Durand says these Marabous are doctors and preachersof the law of Mohammed.2 This tribe gathered gum in the forest of Lebiar, thecentral one of the three, and about ten leagues distant from theothers. These forests border on the Desert of Sahara.

GUM-ARABIC. 59"All these parties desiring to establish a fullagreement among themselves, a firm friendship,and fixed rules upon all matters connected withthe gum trade during the period of the company'sprivilege, &c., have agreed upon the followingarticles :" ARTICLE 1.-The Marabous of Armankour, byreason of the particular affection which they bearand will always maintain towards the French, andas a result, also, of the conditions of the presenttreaty, make oath and promise never to hold,directly or indirectly, any communication with theEnglish: they make oath, also, and promise besides,to employ all practicable means for interceptingand entirely suppressing the commerce which theEnglish might establish at Portendick, whetherwith the Marabous of Armankour themselves, orwith any other nation or individuals who may enterthe country for the purpose, &c., &c." ARTICLE 2.-In consequence of the obligationconferred by the preceding article, and in returnfor the friendly offices of the Marabous of Arman-kour, M. Durand, director-general of the company,undertakes and promises on its behalf to give thema gratuity over and above what is customary everytime they shall stop gum on its road to Portendickand cause it to be conveyed to the desert, so thatthe company may be assured that none of it willbe sold at Portendick." ARTICLE 3.-The Marabous of Armankourpromise and engage to use all their efforts to secure

60 GUM-ARABIC.annually to the company the most abundant gumtraffic they can set on foot.(ARTICLE 4, concerns the size of the measureused in the sale of gum.ARTICLE 5, consists of assurances of general goodoffices in influencing other merchants.)" ARTICLE 6.-In return for the services of theMarabous of Armankour, M. Durand, in the nameof the company, promises and engages to treat themas true friends, and to show them the utmostfavour." ARTICLE 7.-Custom having introduced thehabit of paying the Marabous of Armankour somesort of tax for the liberty of pursuing the gumtrade in their country-and this tax having variedwith circumstances-it is henceforth to be fixed ina positive and permanent manner by the followingArticle." ARTICLE 8.-When the Marabous of Arman-kour shall come to the Island Saint Louis to visitthe director-general of the company (which mustonly happen once a year), the director shall causeto be delivered to them each day for their main-tenance: 12 moulds of millet; 6 bottles ofmolasses; 2 bottles of wine; a sheep, or its equi-valent in beef; 2 candles; and a reasonable quan-tity of wood to burn. And when they shall leavethe Island St. Louis to return to their own country,the director shall cause to be given to them 30pieces of long cloth; 30 copper basins, or the equi-valent; 30 pairs of scissors; 30 looking-glasses;

GUM-ARABIC. 6130 snuff-boxes full of cloves; 30 small pocket-knives; 30 combs; 30 necklace clasps (cadenas) ;30 quires of paper; 10 lengths of glass beads (orglass trinkets)."When the vessel shall have reached the desert,as soon as the first kacntar (measure) of gum shallbe given out, a cannon-shot shall be fired as asalute and announcement of the traffic; and at thesame moment shall be paid to the Marabous ofArmankour: 20 pieces of long cloth; 5 double-barrelled guns; 25 single-barrelled guns; 15 ellsof scarlet cloth; 10 pieces of fine white linen(possibly lawn) ; 20 bars of iron, eight feet long;5 kegs of molasses; 10 lengths of glass beads(or glass trinkets)." During the time of the gum trade' theMarabous shall be provided for their maintenancein the desert every day as follows: 40 moulds ofmillet; 2 sheep; 6 bottles of wine." Besides which they shall have a present of apiece of long cloth for every eighth kantar thatshall be measured and conveyed on board."And at the end of the trade they shall receive30 pieces of long cloth: 5 muslin turbans, or 10ells in measure."Finally, as a last adieu, a cannon shot shall befired, and twenty pieces of long cloth shall be dis-tributed.S1 There are two seasons of gathering, December and March,the former the more prolific.

62 GUM-ARABIC.(ARTICLE 9.-Orders the vessel to be sent bythe company up the River Senegal during thetime of the gum traffic.ARTICLE 10.-The Marabous of Armankour areto ask for nothing further, and to give up allother demands.ARTICLE 11.-The parties protest their sincerityand good faith.ARTICLE 12.-In case of quarrel, the director ofthe company to be referred and submitted to.)" Five copies to be made of the above andplaced-one in the Archives of Government-another with the Marabous of Armankour, andthe three others with the director of the company." The whole decided upon and agreed to inpresence of M. le Comte de Repentigny, governorof Senegal, and of the retinue of Bibilou to thenumber of twelve Marabous." REPENTIGNY." In the Island Saint Louis, the 2nd of May, 1785.Durand, Director-General."What must not the profits of the Senegal GumTrade have been, small as the district is whicheven the three gum forests covered, as comparedwith other parts of Africa equally rich in thematerial! And we have given M. Durand's Treatywith only one of them. More than half a centuryago, however, the European consumption wasestimated at a thousand tons; a quantity whichone can hardly imagine to be needed even now, ofan article only used in the arts and in medicine.

GUM-ARABIC. 63We have been led a long way from LadyM-- and her amber box, in considering the sub-ject of its contents. But our readers will have nocause to be angry, if the perusal of these ex-tracts from an old gum treaty adds one tittle tothe impression so wholesome for us all to receive-how much wider is the world-how much morevaried its interests than we in our chimney cornerare apt to think; how small a point we occupy init ourselves; how insignificant we each of us are,even in the sight of our neighbours, and to manyof them how utterly unknown.The Senegal Company was abolished in 1792,by the National Assembly, and when the ex-director general published his book in 1802, thefirst consul sat on the throne of Louis, and M.Durand exclaimed in his enthusiasm, " Le bonheurdu monde est fonde." The happiness of the world isestablished. And that, too, passed like the rest!

BLUE SNAIL SHELLS.Lines addressed to the Mother of Eight Children, to whom aFriend had sent eight perfect Specimens of the " OceanicBlue Snail Shell" from the West Coast of Ireland.UR Friend, my love, has sent to theeEight little shells of tropic birth-They as great wanderers on the seaAs he has been on sea and earth.These little shells of texture slightAnd azure hue, were born to roam,And never from the waves alightUntil they found a final home.Storm-cast upon a distant strand,Yet not so roughly as to break,Our friend with his accustomed handDid gather them for thy dear sake;Did lift them as they softly fellBy foam envelop'd on the beach,Did say to each arriving shell," This, too, a parable will teach !"

BLUE SNAIL SHELLS. 65And thus they tell us, as we standUpon the shore of Life's dark sea,Watching and waiting the commandWhich shall forbid us here to be;That on the troubled waves of lifeEight of our children float, nor knowThe issue of that stormy strife,Its height above, its depth below;That they are delicate and frail 'As are those azure shells he found:Toss'd to and fro by every gale,Still far away from solid ground;That they must face the night of pain,The morn of toil, the eve of care:Alternately feel loss and gain,And sink from rapture to despair.And as through changes great as these,From gales, and billows crown'd with foam,And softest winds and calmest seas,These azure shells have found a home;Even so, the eight so dear to thee,May find at last, what we have found,A haven from life's stormy sea,.A resting-place on quiet ground;Like ships at anchor-nothing more-Rather like stranded ships, I'll say;Like azure shells cast on the shore,From which the life has died away.

66 BLUE SNAIL SHELLS.For what is life when youth is gone,Ambition dead, and struggle past ?What can it be but waiting onFor something that will always last ?-For something empty shells can't show,Though symbols of this shadowy state-For something man can never know,Till safe beyond the mortal gate ?But there, within a home Divine,Rescued from this world's stormy sea,Those eight, with others, thine and mine,May I behold, and thou with me!A.. G..NOTE." Oceanic blue snail shell," or " violet snail"(Woodward), lanthin fragilis; ianthina signify-ing violet-coloured, and fragilis the frail delicacyof the material. Perhaps mauve expresses thecolour more accurately than either blue or violet;but the shell was known before the colour andits French name, became popular. Every oneknows the garden snail (Helix hortensis) by sight;let them imagine a garden snail with a semi-translucent shell, and mauve colour throughout,only the base of the shell deepest, so that it pales,and has a tendency to whiten even, in the spire,and they will have a tolerable idea of those lovelywanderers from tropical coral seas-the lanthince.

BLUE SNAIL SHELLS. 67But how came they then to the West of Ire-land ? Drifted thither, dear young readers, bythat marvellous " River in the Ocean," the warmgulf-stream, of which Professor Maury has writtenat once a scientific account and a romance.' If youhave not his book, to show you the various direc-tions its currents take, you can at any rate lookfor the Gulf of Mexico in any common map ofAmerica. Out of that gulf come the warm waters,some currents of which streaming, happily for us,in a north-westerly direction, bring to GreatBritain the softening influences which preserveus from the almost perpetual winters of Labrador,a country in the same latitude as our own. Andof course the first place to receive the benefit isIreland.Accordingly, it was at Miltown Malbay, incounty Clare, where he had become acquainted asa lad with these and other marine treasures, thatour British Algologist, Dr. Harvey, when hevisited the place as an invalid in 1861, picked upthe eight specimens which gave rise to the pre-ceding verses.The south-west winds drive many Gulf-streamcuriosities on that coast towards the close of sum.mer. With the Ianthince come in great quantitiesa little blue jelly-fish, Velella spirans, sometimescalled the smaller Portuguese, man-of-war, onwhich Woodward says the lanthince. are said to1 "Physical Geography of the Sea."

68 BLUE SNAIL SHELLS. ^feed. "It is a fearless navigator," says Dr. Har-vey, in his "Seaside Book," "boldly venturing,'Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,'across the widest and deepest ocean." And thetwo pretty creatures are constantly thrown onshore together, " entangled in floating seaweed."Romantic coasts like that of West Ireland haverocks, however, and rocks have hard hearts, andVelellas are delicate, and lanthinas brittle, andfor one of the latter you pick up perfect, you meeta dozen chipped and broken specimens.One of the most interesting features of theirlife is, that they have no home. They are calledpelagic (wandering). And in this respect theyresemble that vegetable wanderer, the " Gulfweed"(Sargassum bacciferum), whose berry-like air-ves-sels-acting as bladders-keep it afloat in theocean in masses sometimes miles in extent, withno root to enable it to settle down anywhere. Noroot, no home! And thus it is with the "bluesnail shell." So far from having a home, it secretesfrom its foot a raft by which to float through thewaves of the troublesome world it is born to.This is composed of a number of little bladders,gristly in substance, and joined together so as toform an expansion of sufficient extent to supportboth shell and animal from sinking; nay, thecreature's eggs too, when necessary, for these arealways seen suspended below it, as represented inWoodward's figure.

BLUE SNAIL SHELLS. 69Woodward describes the oceanic snails as "gre-garious in the open sea, where they are found inmyriads;" and as "frequently drifted to 'thesouthern and western British shores, especiallywhen the wind continues long from the south-west." This is a hint for those who may feel awish to look for them. He further states that"when handled, they exude a violet fluid," and" in rough weather are driven about, and theirfloats broken or detached, in which state they areoften met with." In Swansea Bay, however, theyhave been found with the animals quite freshinside.It must needs be an interesting shore, wherewaifs and strays from such distant lands may behad. With lanthina and Velella come sometimesthe larger "Man-of-War" (Physaliapelagica), and,occasionally, the Crozier Nautilus (Spirula Pe-ronii), the internal shell of a fleshy cuttle-fish;while opposite currents also bring in drift fromCanada and Newfoundland. Bits of the PaperBirch bark, usedin canoe-making, .and stems ofa strictly northern Alga, ILaminaria longicruris.Physalia pelagica sometimes visits the Channel

70 BLUE SNAIL SHELLS.Islands and Devonshire coast also in regularfleets, and in the Scilly Isles comes ashorewith life enough to sting the unwary collectorpretty sharply-the blue jelly, as it lies on thesand, being a tempting-looking object, it must beowned.In conclusion, the possessor of a well-colouredspecimen of Icnthina fragilis is recommended tokeep it out of light and sunshine. The mauve ofshells, even, is exceedingly apt to fade.iN

ZOOPHYTES.' iiHOSE of our readers who have takenan interest in the previous paper on0, " Coral," may like to hear somethingmore about the Zoophytes which in-habit the various seas of the world, and someforms of which are found in fresh-water ponds andstreams.What is a zoophyte ? is the first question; andit is not a very easy one to answer. Still we willdo our best.To begin with. The word zoophytee" meansliterally animal plant, or, as some interpret it,plant-like animal; but it was given before thecreatures were well 'understood. The great Lin-naus decided that zoophytes were between vegetablesand animals; vegetables with respect to their stens,andc animals with respect to their florescence: anidea which used to be carefully instilled into theminds of young people, quite within the memoryof man; and which made a sea-anemone a sort ofenchanted. creature to the wondering eyes of one's

72 ZOOPHYTES.youth. Now, however, it is well known thatzoophytes are of an altogether animal nature. Butmoreover the second interpretation of the wordzoophytee" will not always fit either, because,though many, perhaps most of them, are plant-likein appearance, others are not so at all; we must acceptthe name, therefore, merely as a name. Zoophytesare of many different appearances, and belong toclasses of animals so widely different that they havescarcely anything in common- except exceptwhat? for if they have one thing in common it isa characteristic by which to recognize them. Well,the unfailing characteristic is that their structureis very simple: much more simple than that of in-sects, for instance, though not so simple by anymeans as that of sponges and their allies.1 No dis-tinct animal has ever yet been detected in a sponge,whereas the zoophyte animal is plain enough to beseen when the specimen is alive and in sea water.It is usually called a polyp or polypide, and it con-sists in all cases of a fleshy body more or less sac-shaped in form, having at one end an aperture(mouth), round which are set one or more rows offeelers called tentacles. These the creature can con-SA mere child may understand what simplicity of structureis from its toys. A doll carved out of wood is of a very simplestructure, for instance: it is the same inside and out, all butglass eyes and joints at the legs and arms. But a wax doll,whose eyes can open and shut, is more complicated, because ithas machinery inside, even if only that of a wire. A dollwhich can say "mamma" has much more; a bird whichjumps out of a box and sings, has more still, and so on.

ZOOPHYTES. 73tract or expand at pleasure, and they are used forsecuring its prey. A few years ago all creaturesanswering this description-that is, soft-bodied,sac-shaped, with a mouth fringed by tentacles-would have been called zoophytes. But amongthem, some are much' more complicated in struc-ture than others, and naturalists have raised these,called Bryozoa or Polyzoa, to companionship withmollusks. And thus the higher department ofwhat used to be called zoophytes will .be foundnow in books on Shells, rather than in any modernwork on Zoophytology.Having paid due deference to science by men-tioning this distinction, we must add that we donot intend to tie ourselves down to it in the fol-lowing account.1Zoophytes (speaking generally, then) are eitheraltogether soft-bodied polyps, or soft-bodied polypsenclosed in horny or stony covers, or soft-bodiedpolyps surrounding (together with the pulpy sub-stance whence they originate) a horny or stonyskeleton, just as our flesh surrounds our bones.Of the first sort are the well-known sea-ane-mones of the rocks, and the much less observedlittle hydras of fresh-water ponds. Of the secondkind are the corals of the Coral Islands, and mostof the commonest zoophytes of our shores, as the"sea-mat," "bottle-brush," &c. Of the third,1 Dr. Johnston described their higher organization, butnevertheless included the Bryozoa in his "History of BritishZoophytes."

74 ZOOPHYTES.are, not only the red coral of commerce, but thoselovely, graceful, drooping, feathery forms, chieflyinhabitants of tropical seas, of every hue-red,yellow, lilac, white-which you may see underglass cases in the Coral-room at the BritishMuseum. These are the Gorgonias and alliedgenera, of which only very few species are foundin British seas.Again, zoophytes differ in another respect. Theyare either simple, i.e. single individuals, or com-pound, that is, composed of many individuals asso-ciated together. We will give instances, first,from the altogether soft-bodied kind.A sea-anemone is a single creature. It has itsown place on the rock, is independent of all theworld, can move from one crevice to another, andlives and dies an individual life of its own, suchas that life is. So the little hydras in ponds.They often live close together, even grow fromeach other, but are yet separate individuals, quiteindependent one of the other.But there is another soft-bodied zoophyte of theshore, which is rather a house of creatures thanan individual one. You may have picked himup many times, and thrown him away, withoutknowing what he was; or some one may havebid you " put the nasty thing down," and if youasked " Why, what was it ?" you may have beentold it was called "dead man's hand." It is anasty name, and the stiff, cold, leathery, un-shapely lump is a nasty-looking object. But if it

ZOOPHYTES. 75has only just come ashore, and so is yet alive, youhave but to carry it home, put it into a basin ofsea water, and wait a bit; and then, indeed, youwill see what you will see, and be astonished!First, if you look very closely, and through a mag-nifying-glass, you will perceive that the nastylump is marked all over with small starry pores,or holes; starry, because they seem to be com-posed of eight lines meeting in a centre. Then,presently, these starry pores will open, and youwill behold the "nasty lump" covered all overwith soft-bodied polyps, sac-shaped, with a mouth-aperture surrounded by tentacles; in this case,eight in number, corresponding with the eightrays of the stars.This is a zoophyte, then, you say. Yes, but doyou not see how greatly it differs from a sea-anemone, inasmuch as it is not a single animal,but composed of ever so many together ? Thereare perhaps some hundreds of these polyps comingout of starry pores from the shapeless lumpin question; but as they are all connected with,and grown from the internal structure of thelump, we do not consider the mass a number ofzoophytes, but one. Only it is a compound zoophyte-a zoophyte breaking out all over into polyp life,but still a zoophyte; and if you keep it after it isdead, you would speak of it as a specimen ofAlcyonium digitatum. This is an easily observedexample; but as there is another, which you areequally likely to meet with, and might even mis-

76 ZOOPHYTES.take for the Alcyonium, it may be as well to say afew words about him here.This also is a shapeless lump, but -a lump ofhigher quality than the last-a bryozoon, namely-and therefore cousin, though a few times re-moved, it must be owned, to shell fishes. Thereare marks of distinction, however, between himand the dead man's hand, by which you mayeasily know one from another. The dead man'shand is leathery and stiff, the bryozoon is fleshyand pliable; it will bend over your fingers if youpick it up, and has a tendency to be semi-trans-parent, which is never the case with the other.Dead man's hand is opaque, greyish, white, -ororange-coloured; the bryozoon is semi-pellucid,brown, varying to clear yellow; in some instancesjust like pale barley-sugar. Its surface, too, isspeckled closely over with tiny dark dots. Theseare the polyp bodies showing through as they liein their cells just under the surface of the skin,from whence, when put in sea water, hundreds ofthem come out, as in Alcyonium digita-t um. Onlyhere they are so minute and thick-set, and theirsixteen tentacles are so fine, that when all are ex-panded, the lump looks as if a white mist hadsettled down upon it, and to detect the polyptentacles you must use a strong magnifier, or,better still, cut off a bit of the specimen and put itunder a microscope for examination.The two "lumps " above described are so com-monly found, either on old shells from deep water,

ZOOPHYTES. 77or tossed ashore loose, that you can hardly takea walk when " wreck " is lying about the sands,without finding one or the other. And either willserve the purpose of explaining what is meant bya compound soft-bodied zoophyte." Dead man's hand" is a more convenientspecies to study, however, than Alcyonidiumgelatinosum, the bryozoon. But you must lookwell about you at low-water mark to secure aliving specimen, whether on a shell or free. Andwhen secured put him at once into a bottle of seawater, lest his death disappoint you of your show.Here, in conclusion, let us explain that there isa better and more appropriate word than "lump"for the zoophyte masses we have been speaking of."Lump," you know, is an ugly word, and tellsnothing of shape or size. So much the better, ofcourse, for our friends Alcyonium digitatum andAlcyonidium gelatinosum, which are to be met withof all shapes and sizes; the former sometimeshalf encrusting a shell, like a patch of mortar,at others standing up from it in lobes like swollenthumbs; the latter a stick of barley sugar in someeases; in others divided into eight or ten finger-like branches (lobes). But "lump " is not an ap-propriate word for compound zoophytes generally,so many of them being, as their name avers,plant-like in growth, or else feather-like, or ofsome other beautiful form. There is a properword, therefore, which includes all these and more,and the lumps also, viz. Polypidom, that is, Polyp

78 ZOOPHYTES.House-the house of the Polyps. Sometimes, indeed,you will find the compound fleshy zoophytes called"polyp masses," but in the same description youmay observe " polypidom " slipped in as a matterof course. The truth is, the habitations of Polyps,whether of flesh or horn, are Polypidoms, andlong as the word looks, it is easy enough to pro-nounce, as you will find by speaking it as if it hadtwo p's instead of one-Polyppidom.We have described Zoophytes as either "alto-gether soft-bodied, or soft-bodied polyps enclosedin horny or stony covers, or soft-bodied polyps sur-rounding (together with the pulpy substancewhence they originate) a horny or stony skeleton."These horny or stony covers and skeletons arePolypidoms, and we hope to give some account ofthem presently. So far we have described thethree natural, because obvious, sub-divisions ofzoophytes, and explained the further distinctionof simple and compound forms, giving instancesof each from " altogether soft-bodied" families.It is one step on the road.The learned folk would laugh at us, no doubt,for our fanciful subdivision of zoophytes. Neitheris it founded on scientific principles. Science veryproperly looks at the structure of the animalbefore it classifies. But how can amateurs do thisin the case of the minute polyps which go to forma compound zoophyte? Such examination re-quires not only the possession of a good micro-

ZOOPHYTES, 79scope, but skill in the use of it; and the latter is aqualification not to be attained without consider-able knowledge and practice. The mere art ofknowing what you see, when you see it is notacquired in a minute. Nevertheless, sea-sidevisitors, who have no particular occupation forthe five or six weeks they are resident on thecoast, would very often like to know what the" bits " are which they pick up " on the shore;and we consider we are doing them a good turnby helping them to a little knowledge of the sub-ject, in however desultory a way, and shall besatisfied if our fanciful classification opens thedoor to further inquiry on their part.Well, then, having given instances of altogetherfleshy zoophytes, simple and compound, we comenext to soft-bodied polyps, enclosed in horny orstony, or, we may add, soft and membranous covers(Polypidoms). And these last are by far the mostabundant on the British shores. They lie in brightbuff or pale brown heaps, in some parts of the coastin great quantities (as north-east), or fringe andenliven dark olive sea-weeds, or stand up, some-times like feathers, sometimes like stiff little bushesor trees, on shells or stones from deep water. Thelast-mentioned are often called Sertularican zoo-phyfes, from the name of a chief family in thedivision (Sertularia); and they all have coversmore or less distinctly horny. Those with coversmore or less stony or coral-like are as often whiteas buff-coloured, and sometimes encrust as well as

80 ZOOPHYTES.grow from stones and shells. And the softestmembranous kinds are occasionally pink. Butone general description serves for all: soft-bodiedpolyps enclosed in horny or stony or membranouscovers. A common species of the horny ones (per-haps the most horny of all) is Tubularia indivisa.It is a collection of tubes, each of which is simple,not compound. You find a bundle of them to-gether, it is true, for they are of a social disposi-tion, apparently, but each polyp has a stiff littletube, two or three inches long, to himself, theopen end of which serves him as door or window,whichever you like to call it,-for out of it heputs his pretty scarlet-tipped head, surroundedwith two rows of feelers (tentacles). But howdoes he get there ? what does he hold by ? so tospeak, for the head is always just outside the endof the tube. Well! all along the tube upwards,from the horny root whence it springs, runs asemi-fluid pulp, pinkish-buff in colour, from theend of which, as it issues from the tube, growsthe polyp! The tube is transparent enough tolet you see this pulp (called the medulla) quiteplainly when the zoophyte is alive, but at its deaththe scarlet head of the polyp drops off like a fadedflower, and generally the pulpy mass oozes out ofthe tube, so that dried specimens are commonlyempty. From this zoophyte, the simplest of itskind, it is easy to understand the structure ofSertularian zoophytes generally. For, althoughthe complicated, beautifully-branched ones look so

ZOOPHYTES. 81different at first sight, the principle is the same inall a tubular' formation, filled with a pulp ormedulla, which breaks out into polyps at the openextremities of the cells. These cells are oftenranged along the sides of the tubular stems andbranches, and they are easily seen, if not by thenaked eye, yet with a tolerably good lens or mag-nifying glass. While living the pulp of the Ser-tiflarian zoophytes is generally a brighter colourthan after death, and in one case it is milk-white(Sertularia fallax) which seems all the moresingular that this species dies into a decidedbrown. Those who are lucky enough (as we wereonce) to meet with it alive, may observe quiteclearly the milky medullary pulp running throughevery ramification, however minute, of the speci-men, and breaking out at every cell-opening intoa polyp Hence, they will understand the applica-bility of the term compound zoophyte to these crea-tures ; the pulp being the original source of the life,and forming as such a connecting link between allthe hundreds of polyps in the polypidom; each ofwhich, nevertheless, enjoys an active life of itsown, taking in food, &c., like the sea-anemoneson the rocks. A strange and apparently contra-dictory existence; singular in the common life-source of the medullary pulp,plural in the individuallives of the separate polyps which spring from it.Unluckily, Sertulariafallax is less common thanothers in which the central pulp is less easilyseen. Moreover, living specimens are not so easilyG

82 ZOOPHYTES.met with as dead ones, and our readers, when theypick up a Sertularian zoophyte on the shore, willgenerally have to take the medullary pulp and thepolyps for granted, and wait for a sight of themtill they can obtain a few fresh specimens bydredging, or learn to find the very common species(Sertularia pumila) which fringes the stems ofFucus at extreme low-water mark. Bearing inmind, however, that there must always have beena medullary pulp, and that from every open-mouthed cell there once peeped a polyp withtentacles, it is easy to understand a Sertularianzoophyte even by the polypidoms that lie scatteredon the shore after rough weather. There is thecommonest of all, for instance, Sertularia abietana,a coarse specimen of a beautiful race-but that isno matter. Its external characters are simpleenough: it is buff-coloured ; it is flexible-that is,it bends to and fro, though its natural growth isstiffly upright; it is roughish to the touch; it ishorny, and the surface is glossy, except in veryold, brownish bits. It grows like a plant, havinga holdfast root, and a stoutish stem always clothedwith shortish branchlets on each side, sometimesdividing into other long branches clothed in asimilar manner, the amount of branches varyinggreatly, however, in different specimens. Thusmuch for naked-eye observation. Under a mag-nifying-glass you see as follows: Along all thestems, on each side, are set tiny little bag-like cells,bulged below, open at top. They stand a little

ZOOPHYTES. 83sideways from the stem itself, which takes rathera zigzag twist. Each of these is the chamber ofa polyp, but each opens into the tubular stemthrough which runs the medullary pulp, when thecreature is alive. And this, with numerous smalldifferences of detail, is the structure of all Ser-tularian zoophytes.We may here, by the way, just hint at one ofthe distinctions between these and the Polyzoa orBryozoons. In the latter the obvious connectinglink of a medullary pulp is wanting. And yetthey build a common house or hotel (well called acenecium), and live together just like the true zoo-phytes, forming beautiful little shrubby or featherytufts, sometimes horny, sometimes stony, some-times of a softer membranous character. But inthese each polyp has its chamber to itself, thedoor of which is shut, the window only open; theconnecting link between one chamber and anotherbeing of too subtle a character to be spoken posi-tively about.We have mentioned three horny polypidoms-Tubularia indivisa (simple), Sertularia fallax, andS. abietana (compound). The stony ones-moreor less stony and coral-like, that is -are oftenmilk-white, like little bits of ivory joined together.The softer and more membranous kinds aregenerally buff, sometimes brown, occasionally apinkish red; and among them is one of the verycommonest that is known to us, Flustra foliaceL,the leafy Flustra. This zoophyte is flat and leafy

84 ZOOPHYTES.instead of tree-like and bushy; for here the polypslive side by side in cells on a plain surface: thecells close together, and on each side of the leaf!So that it would be no easy task to count the polypscontained in one single specimen. Flustra foliaceais a Bryozoon, remember, and we do not rightlyunderstand the connecting link between the cells,i.e. chambers of the ccenecium, or common house.When fresh it has the scent of a lemon verbena.So much for our second division-the zoophytesconsisting of soft-bodied polyps enclosed in horny orstony or soft and membranous covers, of which thecoral, of the coral-reefs, forms, of course, the mostnotable example, but it is unknown to our tem-perate shores.Bearing in mind our fanciful classification ofZoophytes into-1. Altogether soft-bodied polyps, or polyp masses(sea-anemones, dead man's hand, &c.) ;2. Soft-bodied polyps, enclosed in horny, stonyor membranous covers (Sertularias, sea-mats, coralof coral-reefs, &c.;)3. Soft-bodied polyps, lying in a cell-bearingsubstance surrounding a horny or stony skeleton,as our flesh covers our bones;Our readers will know that only the last remainto be spoken about: and, inasmuch as there arevery few British species of the sort, a few wordswill suffice.Their formation is obviously precisely the re-

ZOOPHYTES. 85verse of that last described. There the envelopeswere hard, and the enclosures soft. Here the en-closures are hard, and the envelopes soft! Butwhether inside or outside, the soft pulpy part isalways the life-originating; and, accordingly, wefind the fleshy overcoats of zoophytes No. 3 break-ing out at intervals, more' or less distant, intopolyp-cells, each of which contains a living animal,having an individual life of its own, though con-nected with a social system by links it cannotbreak! .The polyp-cells in these zoophytes are seen ata glance. They either form wart-like lumps on thesurface of the polypiferous overcoat, or are sunkinto it, so as to cause little pits or holes. Andsometimes they are scattered about irregularly,sometimes ranged down each side of the stems,like rows of buttons, or sometimes down one sideonly; for Nature loves to vary her patterns, asmuch as a young lady her fancy-work. So, also,sometimes the polyp-warts are of the same colouras the general overcoat, while at others they arequite different--one lilac, the other yellow, for in-stance-forming a quaint and pretty contrast.The best known of all this race is the red coralof commerce, but of it a sufficient description wasgiven in our paper on "Coral." It is enoughto say here, that the stony skeleton in that case isthe red coral of which trinkets are made; thepolypiferoffs overcoat, with its cells and theirsilver-white inhabitants, having (when taken from

86 ZOOPHYTES.the sea) died, dried up, and turned to dust, whichthe stroke of a handkerchief sufficed to remove!But this is a foreigner. There are no coralsproper in England. There are, however, a fewGorgonias. These have not stony but horny skele-tons, and the one commonest on our coast-Gor-gonia verrucosa--(the warty Gorgonia)-is tree-like in growth, only like a tree trained against awall, all the branches growing flat-wise, not stick-ing out. It grows from a few inches to nearly afoot in length, and spreads as much in width-stem and branches about as thick as a smallishquill pen. It is a creamy white outside; theskeleton-stems within, black. And scattered ir-regularly over the surface, rise roundish cell-warts,wherein lie our little friends, the polyps, secureenough from harm, till curious man fishes themup from the deep water rocks on which theygrow, to ornament his museum, and, let us hope,to furnish both head and heart with wholesomematter for reflection.The Gorgonias are difficult to get at, from thefact of their growing in such deep water; but thedredger finds them, and they are occasionallythrown ashore after storms. In this case, how-ever, they are apt to be imperfect; for althoughthe fleshy overcoat of Gorgonia verrucosa is muchthicker and firmer than that of the red coral, stillthe wear and tear of tossing on the beach amonggravel and rocks is apt to work it off, and youmay sometimes find a skeleton so entirely denuded

ZOOPHYTES. 87of flesh that only the initiated can believe thelittle black horny tree was ever a lovely milk-white Gorgonia, worthy a place in a glass case!More than once, indeed, have we had such skele-tons sent us from the Cape of Good Hope (a grandplace for Gorgonias !) the Mediterranean, Ireland,&c., the senders not having a suspicion of theirtreasures ever having been in a different con-dition.Oh those Gorgonias Let us be proud of thefew we have, as connecting our seas with thosewarmer ones where the lovely race abounds--gor-geous with tints worthy of the sunnier skies-scarlet, crimson, lilac, and yellow overcoats beingas common there as white. The forms there, too,are endless: now they spread into a curious andcomplicated network, arranged in fan-like layers:now they wave to and fro in the water, likeplumes of magic feathers, delicate and majestic asthose of the bird of Paradise itself.Let those who think we exaggerate go look atthe specimens under glass in theCoral Room atthe British Museum. They will have to lift uptheir eyes to see them, however, as they are placedabove the coral-cases. Will they not lift up theirhearts too, in beholding these deep-sea mysteriesof creation, so wonderful in their compound life,so beautiful even in death, so unaccountable inwhat, to our ignorance, seems their purposelessperfection, hidden as they are, for the most part,from all eyes capable of acknowledging their love-

88 ZOOPHYTES.liness-as we think; unable as they are to rejoicein it themselves-as we suppose. They are piti-ful students of Nature, indeed, who can investi-gate without loving; admire, and not adore. "Allthy works praise thee, 0 Lord, and thy saintsgive thanks to thee."With this account of Gorgonias, as representa-tives of our third class of zoophytes, we concludethis brief, unscientific answer to the question,What is a zoophyte ? We remember to have oftenmade Dr. Harvey smile, by asking him to help alame dog over a stile, when we wanted him tomake a scientific statement intelligible to our un-learned ears. If any one similarly circumstancedhas been in the least degree assisted by what wehave written, it is all we have to desire, and morethan we are perhaps entitled to expect. Still," so many men-so many minds," is a proverb asapplicable to the young as the old; and amongour young readers there may be a few who arereally glad to know what a zoophyte is.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs