Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Walk I
 Walk II
 Walk III
 Walk III (continued)
 Walk IV
 Walk V
 Walk VI
 Walk VII
 Walk VIII
 Walk IX
 Walk X
 Walk XI
 Walk XII
 Back Cover

Title: Sea-side walks of a naturalist with his children
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00023511/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sea-side walks of a naturalist with his children
Alternate Title: Seaside walks of a naturalist
Physical Description: v, 154, 4 p., 8 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Houghton, W ( William ), 1828-1895
Lydon, A. F ( Alexander Francis ) ( Illustrator )
Groombridge and Sons ( Publisher )
F. Bentley and Co ( Publisher )
Publisher: Groombridge and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Bentley and Co.
Publication Date: 1870
Subject: Fathers and sons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Marine biology -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fathers and sons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1870
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Hertford
Statement of Responsibility: by Rev. W. Houghton ... ; illustrated with eight coloured plates and numerous wood engravings.
General Note: "A companion volume to my 'Country walks'."
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
General Note: Illustrations by A.F. Lyndon.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00023511
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 - 002231764
notis - ALH2149
oclc - 03626838
lccn - 43047112
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page ii-a
        PagePage ii-b
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page v
    Walk I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Walk II
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 20a
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Walk III
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Walk III (continued)
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 42a
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Walk IV
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 54a
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Walk V
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Walk VI
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 81
        Page 82
    Walk VII
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    Walk VIII
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 104a
    Walk IX
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
    Walk X
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 120a
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
    Walk XI
        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
        Page 139
    Walk XII
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 142a
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

I I -


. .. .. .


k- ''














I SEND forth this little book as a companion volume
to my Country Walks," hoping that it may induce
some of the numerous young people visiting the
sea-side, to take an interest in the study of Marine
Natural History.
I have once more to thank Mr. Gould for his
kind permission to copy some of his drawings in
his work on the Birds of Great Britain.





f pebitate bis little lowunr.

June th, 1870.


W ALK I. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1
On the Shore-Refuse left by the Tide-Shark's Egg-Sea-
fir Coralline-Knotted thread Coralline-Marine Polyzoa-Natica
Monilifera-Eggs of Natica Monilifera-Sea Mouse.

W ALK II. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 14
On the Shore-Various Shells-Pholas Dactylus, Boring
action of-Sea-gulls-Uncle John's Gull "Jim"-Sand-launces-
Pectinaria Belgica-Shrimp-woman-Lesser Weever, or Sting
fish-Dead-men's Fingers.

WALK III. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 26
Train to Colwyn-Walk from Colwyn along the Shore-Sea-
weed, Ammophila-Yellow horned Poppy-Wild Geraniums-
Sea-Anemones-Sea-weeds-Ptilota Plqmosa-Sea Lettuce-
Corallina Officinalis-Purple Laver-Cornish Sucker-Snake-
locked Anemone-Account of Rhos.Fynach Farm and Weir.

WALK III.-(Continued) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 38
Mr. Parry Evans's Fishery Weir-The celebrated Salmon-
catching Dog Jack "-Fish left in the Pool by the retiring Tide
-Salmon-Mackerel-White-bait-Garfish-Sapphirine Gur-
nard-Fine fun at the Weir-Admirable behaviour of the dog

W ALK IV. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 48
On the Shore again-Sea-holly-Sea Spurge-Poisonous
nature of the Spurge family-Cormorants-Tern, or Sea Swallow
-Crabs, Metamorphosis of-Crab-pots-Sea-weeds-Rhodyme-
nia, etc.-Zoophytes, Plumularia, Campanularia, etc.

v Contents.
W ALK V. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 61
Train to the Weir-Search amongst the Stones and Rocks-
Common Whelk-Egg Clusters-Dog-Whelk and Egg cases-
Pipe-fish Sea-Horses Delesseria Sanguinea Phyllophora
Rubens-The Shanny-Naked-gilled Molluscs, Eolis Coronata-
The Sea Long-Worm.

WALK VI. ... ... .. .. ... .... .. ... ... 73
Train to Llandudno-Walk round the Great Ormeshead-
Cotoneaster Rock-Roses Catch-flies Spiked Speedwell-
Puffin Island-Trawlers-Trawl Net and Trawling described-
Puffins-More Wild Flowers.

WALK VII. ............. ... ... ... ... ... 83
In the town of Pensarn-Buying a Sponge-Foraminifera-
On the Shore again-Lugworms-Lesser Black-backed Gull
-Skua Gulls--Terebella.

WALK VIII.... ... ... ... .... ... ... ... 94
On the Shore after a Storm-Sea-Cucumbers, curiously
formed spicules of-Cormorants again-Fishing with tame
Cormorants-Serpula-Hermit Crabs.

W ALK IX. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 105
Train to Colwyn-Pwllycrochan Hotel-On the Shore-
Shell-Drakes-Prawns-Prawn-Trap-Teredo navalis or Ship
worm-Sea Acorn Shells-Barnacles-Skates.

W ALK X. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 116
In Pensarn-Humming-Bird Hawk-Moth--On the Shore-
Sand-Hoppers-Star-fish-Common Five Fingers, destructive
to Oyster-Rail once caught by his bill by an Oyster-Oyster
Catcher-Oysters, old and young-Top Shell.

W ALK XI. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 126
On the Shore during a Storm-Porpoises-Ascidians-Cuttle -
Fish-Solenensis or Razor-shell-Mode of Catching-Molluscs-
Whelk-Tellina-Donax-Old Oyster Shell-Storm Petrel-
WALK XII. ... ... ...... ... ... ... ... 140
On the Shore, Weather Calm Meduse or Jelly-fish,
development of-Cydippe pomiformis-Sea Anemones-Skate
-Leech-Jaws of Angler Fish-Habits of described-Limpets-
Crab covered with Oysters-Periwinkles-Lines from Tennyson
-Mussels, Byssus of-Sea-Hare-Conclusion.





ERE we are at the sea-side! How I do rejoice
in a sea-side holiday! It is the month of
July, and we have left the hot lanes and dusty
roads, and parched fields of the country to breathe
the fresh invigorating sea breezes. How many curious
forms of animals and plants we shall meet with in our
daily rambles on the shore! how delightful it will be
to take Willy and Jack for a bathe every now and
then, as the tide suits We are at the little village of
Pensarn, close to the town of Abergele, on the Chester
and Holyhead Railway; we can easily visit Rhyl, Con-
way, or Llandudno, stay at either place for a few hours,
and home again at night. Indeed," said Willy, it
will be very pleasant. I shall look out for the sea
anemones, so beautifully drawn in some of your books
at home, and for sea-side shells, and worms and other

2 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

creatures; and May will collect sea-weeds to dry and
take home for examination; and Jacko is sure to find
something curious; and little Arthur and Robin can
make sand-tarts on the shore." Yes, we are quite
certain to find lots of things to interest us, and from
which we may all gain delight and instruction, so we
will be off on the sands at once. I will take my
fishing-basket and a few wide-mouthed bottles, and
my vasculum for plants; and you, May and Jack,
must each have a strong muslin net for catching fish,
and small crustacea in the pools left by the tide. On
the shore then we soon find ourselves, the tide is
already half way out, and grown-up people and chil-
dren are strolling on the shore; some of the latter
digging in the sand or throwing stones into the retir-
ing waves. Now let us look out for what the tide has
left at high-water level. You observe how far the water
has reached and that it has left various refuse behind
it-bits of sea-weed, stick and rotten wood, cinders
which have been cast overboard from steam-boats,
entangled masses of stringy stuff, and I can't tell you
what besides. "Aha !" said Jack, "here is a very
curious thing entangled in a heap of what I suppose
must be sea-weed, what can it be, papa ? it is not alive,
is it ?" Let me look; what you call sea-weed, and
what, no doubt, most sea-side visitors look upon as
mere dirty rubbish, contains multitudes of beautiful
and instructive objects. But let us first see what has
attracted Jacko's attention. Ah! I know it well;
similar forms are very common on every coast; the
leathery oblong thing you hold in your hand is the

Sea-side Walcs of a Naturalitd.

empty case of a shark's egg. "A shark's- _-*:*!"
exclaimed May; "well, I did not suppose that any
creature's eggs were of such curious form." Most
sharks do not lay these horny eggs but produce their
young alive; some, however, lay these strange-looking
eggs, in each of which a young one has been developed.
This one which Jack holds in his hands is about three
inches long, with two handles at each end, which extend


themselves into very long tendrils. You see how tough
and leatheryit is; the long tendrils coil themselves round
sea-weed or coral stalks, and so anchor the egg securely
against the tossing of the waves, until the enclosed young
one is ready to be hatched. Papa," said Willy, I am
sure I have seen pictures of these things in some of
your books, and I think the people of the coasts some-
times call them mermaid's purses." You are quite
right, my boy ; and somewhat similar things, which
are the horny eggs of some of the skate or ray fishes,
are often called skate barrows, from a sort of resem-
blance to a barrow. "But, papa!" said May, "is

4 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

this the egg-covering, of that fierce shark we read of
that so often kills men when they fall overboard?"
No it is not. That which you are looking at is the
egg-covering of the lesser spotted dog-fish. "I
thought you said it was a shark's egg," said Jacko.
Dog-fish belong to the shark family, and in general
form and structure all the members of that family
resemble each other. The names dog-fish, smooth
hound, rough hound, etc., which distinguish different
species are all meant to show the rapacious habits of
these fish; they may also be applied to them from
their habit of hunting their prey in companies or


The chief difference between sharks and other
fish with which you are all familiar, consists in the
former having five slits on each side of the neck;
these are the branchial openings, or gills. In most
other fish, the gills are protected by an operculum, or
gill-cover. At each end of this horny egg membrane
is a long slit or fissure; these slits allow for the

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 5

admission of sea-water, without which the egg could
not be developed into a young fish; from the one
near the head the young one escapes. When the
young are hatched, they have each a round membrane
containing the yelk attached to their under surfaces
as in other fishes, by means of which nourishment is
conveyed into their bodies, till the mouths of the
young fish become capable of seizing their prey.
"Are not sharks' teeth very formidable things,"
asked Willy, "and capable of inflicting severe in-

"/ V-
/ .. , ..v


juries ?" Yes, the teeth of all the shark family are
very sharp and pointed, though they differ consider-
ably in form according to the species; the jaws are
furnished with several rows of teeth. You will laugh
when I tell you that some years ago sharks' teeth,
under the name of serpents' teeth, used to be set in

6 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

silver, and given to children cutting their teeth, it
being supposed that they had some peculiar charming
May wished to know whether I had ever seen a
Hammer-headed Shark, and whether the fierce shark,
the terror to sailors in warm seas, ever approached
our coasts? and Jack asked me what was the largest
shark I had ever seen at any sea-side place? I have
never seen a specimen of the strange Hammer-headed
Shark, and believe it does not often visit our shores.
I only know of it from drawings and descriptions; it
is said to be a fierce creature and to attack bathers,
and to measure sometimes seven or eight feet in
length. I believe it is not uncommon in the Medi-
terranean Sea. We may be thankful that the White
Shark, that dread of bathers in the seas around the
West Indies and other tropical countries, is not
found near our coasts. One or two instances are
recorded of specimens having been taken, but there
seems to be considerable doubt about the matter.
The largest shark I ever saw was taken by some
fishermen at Tenby many years ago. It was a speci-
men of the Blue Shark, and measured about six feet
in length.
But what," asked May, is this entangled mass ?"
You said it was not sea-weed. Well, look through
this hand-magnifier, and you will see the object more
clearly. I break a bit of the thread-like stuff, and
now you see it is branched like a miniature tree; you
notice that each branch buds out on each side a number
of little cups; they are empty now, but were once

Sea-side Wal4ks of a Naturalist. 7

occupied by a number of little jelly-like creatures,
called polyps. Here is a larger piece; see how
beautiful it is; it is called the sea-fir coralline (Sertu-
laria abietina). Let us examine the entangled mass
again. Here is a very fine specimen of the squirrel's-
tail coralline (S. argentea), that has been washed off
the shell of some oyster or other mollusc. It is very
graceful when floated out in water, and bears some
resemblance to the tail of the squirrel. But what, asked
Willy, are the little creatures like, that once inhabited
these cells; are they at all like the fresh-water
polyp or hydra we used to find in our country
walks ? Yes, they bear a strong family likeness; but
the fresh-water hydra, you remember, is naked, and
can move from place to place. But the animals that
inhabit these horny branches live in colonies, and
cannot, at least in their adult stage, go from place to
place. Ah! what have I here ? Why, the knotted-
thread coralline (Laomedea geniculata), and actually I
do think there are some live polyps within the cells.
I will put a bit in my bottle with clear salt-water;
there, as I thought, you see them pushing out their
little heads. You see that this coralline is attached
to a piece of sea-weed (Laminaria). Mr. Couch tells
us he has found some of the finest specimens growing
on the back and tail-fins of a dog-fish. The cells of
this species are bell-shaped; the polyps are like the
fresh-water hydra in form; you observe their nume-
rous tentacles expanded outside of each horny cell.
" But what kind of animals do you call those which
"Country Walks," p. 64.

Z3 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

dwell in these little homes?" asked Willy. They
belong to the class called Hydrozoa, a word meaning
water-animals, very indefinite certainly, but when
naturalists use the term, they mean by it small jelly-
like animals, with a body that can contract, a mouth

with numerous tentacles around it which bring it
food, and a stomach. This is enough for you to
remember at present. The hydrozoa contain many
families, and a great number of species. They are

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 9

very interesting microscopic objects; so we will collect
a lot of this stuff, which people would, perhaps, call
"rubbish," and try to name the species, by the help
of the microscope, when we get home.
Here is another curious thing; it is merely a dirty
white substance, like a bit of gristle, surrounding a
branch of coralline for the length of about half an
inch. By the aid of my lens I notice it is covered

of long tentacles. At first sight we should suppose

S. .i . 44 Ar

with small blunt conical excrescences, but not a
symptom of either cells or polyps. If put in water for
a time and examined under the microscope, we should
see coming out of the various parts of the mass a bunch
of long tentacles. At first sight we should suppose
that this encrusting animated mass was closely related
to the Sertularia and Laomedea we found just now;
but we should be wrong: you would find that the
animals of this colony are much more highly deve-

10 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

loped and of more complex structure than the
hydrozoa. The name of this little specimen is
Cycloum papillosum; it is one of the class Polyzoa,
fresh-water species of which, you may remember, we
found last summer in our country walks.*
Holloa! Master Jacko, what have you got now ?
" Oh, papa, I really don't know," said Jack; "it
is a broad band in the shape of a horse-shoe, and


seems to be made of jelly and sand; I found it lying
loosely on the shore."' Let me look," said May; "if
you hold it up to the light, you see it is nearly
transparent, and the surface is marked with numerous
angular spaces. What is it, papa ?" It is an egg-
cluster laid by a mollusc, with an elegantly-marked
shell. You may often pick up these shells on the
shore; they are very common. Keep the curved egg-
cluster in your hand, and I have no doubt I can soon
find you a specimen. "But what is it like?" said
Willy; univalvee or a bivalve ?" It is a univalve,
pretty polished, of light brown colour, but marked
Country Walks," p. 97.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

with dark stripes and spots. "Oh !" said Jacko,
"this is the fellow then? it exactly answers your
description." Quite right, my boy. This is the shell,
the animal belonging to which lays these curious egg-
bands. Its name is Natica monil:fcra. There is no
animal inside it now; but if we were to dig in the
sand I dare say we should find some shells with
animals inside; they are said to be voracious, and to
drill holes in the shells of other molluscs in order to


get at the dainty meat inside. Let us take this strap.
shaped band of eggs to our lodgings, and see whether
we can succeed in hatching some little naticas.
Oh! papa," cried May, "I do think here is a
sea-mouse lying on the shore. Bah! I don't much
like to touch it." You are quite right, May; the
creature you see on the sand is the sea-mouse. I
need not tell you it is no more a mouse than you are;
it is an animal much lower in the scale of creation
than an active, warm-blooded, four-legged mouse; it
is, in fact, a worm. "I do not think, papa," said
Jack, "that it looks much like a worm; how different
it is from the worm we use in fishing." No doubt,
Jack, it is very different in outward form; but in its

12 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

inward structure-and you must wait till you are a
little older, when you will be able, I hope, to examine
for yourself-it is clearly a worm. Let us look at it.
It has an oval body, three or four inches long, dullish
grey in colour, with a quantity of fine silky hairs
down the back; on the sides you see several rows of
hard, dark bristles, and amongst these, long silky
hairs, perhaps an inch long; see now, I turn the
animal to the light at different angles, how brilliant
and metallic they are! Orange and green tints in
abundance. Under these silky hairs on the back I
see several pairs of scaly plates. I will turn the
creature over; see how the under surface is divided
into a number of transverse rings; I can count about
forty of them. Now remember this division into rings.
Each ring is produced at the margin into a short
fleshy lobe, armed with a threefold row of stiff hairs;
by means of these bodies the sea-mouse can swim or
crawl; the stiff hairs are curious weapons with barbed
teeth, and can inflict a severe wound on soft bodies;
by an admirable contrivance they can be withdrawn
within their respective sheaths. The specimen we are
looking at shows brilliant colours; but, poor thing, it
has been knocked about by the waves, and does not
appear to the best advantage. The best specimens are
obtained by dredging. I remember some years ago,
when at Guernsey, getting splendid fellows in the
dredge. The sea-mouse preys upon other animals, and
does not object to make an occasional meal on one of
its own species. Mr. Rymer Jones once kept two
sea-mice in an aquarium; after living peaceably

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

together two or three days, the former was found
attempting to devour his companion, which was a
good deal smaller. One half was already swallowed
into its strong and capacious proboscis, while the
victim struggled desperately to be free. However,
after retaining the prey for some time, the assailant
was obliged to disgorge it, but the animal's back was
broken. Next morning only half of the poor fellow
remained, the other portion having been devoured;
the conqueror now darted out its proboscis repeatedly,
in order to finish its meal on the rest, as it lay in a
corner. Well, we have not found many objects, so
far as number goes, but all are interesting, and will
unfold tales of delight to those who care to examine
their structure carefully. There goes an old shrimp-
woman: we have not time to go and chat with
her; but the old lady's net is quite a treasury for a
naturalist. We will talk with her and examine the
contents of her net on some other occasion. Let us
return to our lodgings and examine our captures.

14 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.


E tide will be a low one to-day, so we will
stroll along the beach for a couple of hours
before low water; there are several people
on the sands, but few that take any interest in the
curious things to be found there. Now, May, look
about for shells, put them in your basket, and let me
see if I can name them. Well, what have you got ?
Here is the very common but very beautiful and very
delicate Tellina tenuis; here is the razor-shell, mactra,
pholas, mya truncata, donax trunculus, cockle, and
mussel shells.
The tellinse you see are very common; you can
hardly walk a yard without finding some; they are
beautifully polished, and often painted with glowing
hues. "But, papa," said Jack, "the shells are
always empty, and we generally find them single;
sometimes, however, we find the two valves joined
together, forming such a pretty little box; where do
the animals that form them live ?" These molluscs
live in sand or mud, and you may get a few by
digging; the animal is of a delicate white colour, and
has two long nearly equal siphons, and a pretty
fringed mantle; but you must put the creature in
water before you can see them. "But what is the

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

use of these siphons ?" asked Willy. The siphons
are merely tubular prolongations of the animal's
mantle; the one brings currents of water to enable
the animal to breathe, the other expels the water after
it has passed through its gills or lungs. Here is the
brittle paper-shell, Pholas dactylus, of delicate texture
and of a pure white hue; the outer surface is rough
with transverse scaly ridges. The word pholas is
derived from a Greek word signifying to be hidden,"
in allusion to the custom of the animals to live in
holes which they make for themselves in peat, mud,
clay, wood, and stone. But, papa," said Jack, how
can an animal with so brittle a shell-see how easily
it breaks in my hand-bore for itself a hole in hard
stone?" You have asked a puzzling question, and
one on which, I believe, there is still much difference
of opinion; but, first of all, let me tell you what the
animal is like. He is fat and club-shaped, with a
large flat foot, and a pair of siphons united externally
into one. I have already said these siphons are
respiratory organs; the one admits the water, the
other expels it. These currents may be seen by
placing the animal, or any other mollusc possessing
the respiratory siphons, in a vessel of water with
minute particles of matter; by the one entrance you
will see the water to be drawn in, by the other
expelled. "But you have not told us how so brittle a
shell can pierce the rocks in which you say the pholas
often lives," Willy remarked. You may suppose that
various explanations have been given, and I will
first enumerate them. Some say that the boring

16 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

molluscs perforate by means of the rotation of the
valves of their shells, which serve as augers; others
say that the holes are made by rasping, caused by
silicious particles studding the surface of certain parts
of the animals; others, that currents of water, set in
action by the motions of vibratile cilia, are the agents.
Some affirm that the animal secretes an acid which
dissolves the substance into which it bores; others
say that the boring is effected by the combined
action of some acid, and the rasping of the valves.
"Who shall decide when doctors disagree ?" My
own opinion is that the boring is effected by the
simple constant action of the mollusc's foot. But,"
said May, "it still seems curious that so soft a
thing as a sea-snail's foot should wear a hole in a
solid hard wall." Very good; but you must remem-
ber that time works wonders. Look at these hollows
on this bit of rock; those impressions, I know, were
made by limpets, which, by moving their soft bodies
constantly on one spot, wear away the substance on
which they have taken their stand. Well, papa,"
said Jacko, "that reminds me of what I have often
seen under the canal bridges at Preston. You know
there are some iron pillars placed against the corners
of the stone bridges, and you can see several grooves
made in these pillars by the action of the rope against
them, as it is drawn tightly by the horse that is
towing the barge. I suppose the soft rope has made
these grooves in the hard iron." You are quite right,
Jack, and your illustrations a capital one. As, in time,
a soft rope constantly rubbing against hard iron wears

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

it away, so, I believe, the foot of a pholas, by constant
rubbing, in time wears away a hole in the solid rock.
Oh, do look how prettily the sea-gulls are skim-
ming over the surface of the water; now ascending
with extended wings, now darting down and nearly
touching the water; it seems no effort whatever to them
to raise themselves quite suddenly aloft. "Papa,"
said May, "I think you said, some time ago, that it
was not lawful to shoot gulls and other sea-birds
during the breeding season; the poor birds must
enjoy their holiday." Yes, I am very glad the sea-
fowl are protected by law; but I wish the insect-
feeding birds of our country lanes and fields were also
protected. It was a good thing for our Government
to stop the wholesale destruction of sea-birds; they
should crown the whole by passing a law to protect
our land-birds, a much more important consideration,
in an economic point of view. I love to hear the wild
cry of the gulls, and to watch their airy flights. They
are voracious birds, and can swallow very large food.
I remember a tame gull Uncle John had at Brockton
some years ago; he used to call it Jim," and, long
after the bird's death, a small strip of water in which
it used to swim retained the name of Jim's river."
After dinner we used to put our heads out of the
window, and call "Jim;" the bird soon responded, if
he was hungry, by making a peculiar noise. Presently
"Jim" made his appearance in front of the window,
and we used to throw out pieces of bone with meat
on. Jim" could swallow enormous bones. Some-
times we caught a rat in a steel trap, and "Jim" was

18 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

very fond of rats; he would pull the rat about for a
time, and bruise it with well-directed blows of his
strong bill; and when he thought it was sufficiently
tender, he would raise his head aloft, and, with four
or five consecutive efforts, contrive to swallow the rat,
tail and all. But Master '" Jim was fond of daintier
food than rats; the young ducks and chickens used to
disappear down his capacious throat, and strict watch
had to be kept upon him. I forget what became of
" Jim;" he died long before his master, but whether
by a violent or natural death, I do not now remember.
Oh! just look at this fish's head popping above
the sand near low-water mark. How curious I "Why,


if we look about us," said Willy, "we can see any
quantity; some near the water's edge are quite lively,
but those higher up and further removed from the sea
are dead. What are they ?" They are little fish called
sand-launces, Ammodytes, and very pretty little fish
they are. There are, I believe, three species of sand-
launce, and all inhabit the water near the sandy
coasts. Here we meet with the larger and lesser
sand-launce. See how the whole shore is spread

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

with them. Hundreds are quite dead; the tide is
unusually low, and the fish have been waiting for the
return of the sea-water. The hot sun, I suppose, has
destroyed them; at any rate, there they are quite
dead. Those nearer the water are pretty lively; the
sea-water has only just left them. Willy wanted to
know whether they were ever eaten. They are valued
as food by some people. I should think, to judge
from their appearance, they are very good eating;
but I have never had any cooked. These fish can
move quickly enough in the wet sand, but do not
seem able to bear it when it is dried by the hot sun.
The sand-launces are a favourite bait with fishermen,
who use them for catching mackerel.
See, papa," said May, what is this pretty little
tube of fine sand; it is nearly an inch long, and open
at both ends, conical in form." It is the sand-house
of a very interesting little worm, called Pectinaria
belgica. I will pull him out of his case. There, you
see there are some shining bristles on its head,
arranged in a comb-like form; whence the creature's
name ;--pecten, in Latin meaning a comb." Let us
look for some more of them.- Here they are in abun-
dance; the tubes always stand upright, with the tail
end slightly imbedded in the sand; the head has
many tentacles besides the comb of bristles.
But, papa," said Jack, "how does the little worm
make this delicate tube of sand as thin as paper ?"
It selects the grains of sand by means of its ten-
tacles, which secrete a sticky fluid; the grains adhere
to them and the creature applies them to the rim of

20 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

its tube. Oh !" exclaimed May, in this respect
the little pectinaria resembles the fresh-water Melicerta
we find abundantly on the weeds in the canal at
home." It does, and both build upwards, for the tube
is only increased by addition to this end, the tail por-
tion undergoing no alteration. The worm exactly fits
its case, the thickness of which does not exceed a
single grain. The usual length of these tubes is about


an inch; butvthey are occasionally found as long as
two inches and a half; Sir John Dalyell mentions his
having seen a tube five inches long, the worm nearly
corresponding in size. It is probable this was a diffe-
rent species. Ah! there is the old shrimpwoman

- Lv
p. I -_~llla-~~

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

about two hundred yards ahead of us; she is pushing
her shrimp net before her, let us hasten to her before
she throws her "rubbish" away. Well, old lady,
are you having good sport? Have you caught many
shrimps ? bring your net out, please, and let us
look. "I have caught a goodish few," said the
old woman, will you be so good as to buy six penn'oth
of srimps; they be very fine ones." Oh yes, we
will buy some, but let us look what you have got in
your net besides shrimps. "Lor, young master,
dunna ye touch that nasty baste," exclaimed the old
lady, as she thought Willy was about to seize on a
small fish he espied in the net ; it'll sting ye, lad,
till ye cry out wi' pain." Well, let us get the fish
out of the net and place it on the sand that we may
get a good view of it. Ah! it is the. lesser weever
(Trachinus vipera), a very common fish on all our
shores; this specimen is about four inches long.
"But how does it sting?" asked Jack. Do you
notice that black fin on the back with its four or five
sharp prickles; those are the fish's weapons, and
there is no doubt a prick from one of them occa-
sions a good deal of pain with much swelling. Do
you observe also the up-turned position of the fish's
mouth? Its habit is to bury itself in the sand with
its head exposed, the shape of the mouth being
admirably formed for snapping up any creature that
may swim over it which it wishes to eat. The preci-
sion and skill with which the formidable spine of the
neck is thus directed to an object of fear that shall
touch it or approach too closely, are indeed sur-

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

prising; by a sudden and rapid impulse it will inflict
a wound if even the touch is confined to the tail,
and that too without any injury to itself; and for-
midable indeed is the effect produced by the punc-
ture. It is certain that no exudation or discharge
of a poisonous fluid proceeds from this projecting
spine; but it is equally certain that the pain which
instantly follows the puncture is severe; and there are
instances where within a few minutes this pain has
extended from the hand as high as the shoulder. On
one occasion when a fisherman had laid hold of a weever
which he had taken on a line, the sudden plunge of
the piercing instrument instantly compelled him to
drop his prize; and when ignorant of the danger, it
was grasped successively by two other persons, so
great was the agony felt by all of them, that they
were compelled to leave their fishing and proceed to
land in order to procure relief; which however was
readily obtained by means of smart friction with the
sand of the shore.* I must also ask you to notice
two long formidable spines directed backwards and
fixed to the gill cover; there is no doubt these would
inflict similar pain. There is a larger species of
weever, not uncommon on some parts of the British
coasts, measuring a foot or more in length; this species
prefers deep water; it is called the greater weever or
sting-fish (Trachinus draco). The French eat it and
say it is excellent, but the fishermen are compelled
by a police regulation to cut off the spines before they

* Couch's Fishes of the British Isles."

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 23

expose the fish for sale. Drayton in his Poly-
olbion," has the following lines-

The Weever, which although his prickles venom be,
By Fisher's cut away, which buyers seldom see;
Yet for the fish he bears 'tis not accounted bad.

"Ah! what is this white thick mass in the old
woman's net ?" It is the zoophyte popularly termed
" dead men's fingers." The net contains a number
of young flat fish, small crabs, bits of sea-weed,
some star-fish. We will pick some of these things out
of the net, buy six pennyworth of shrimps from the
woman, give her another sixpence for having kept her
waiting, and say good morning to the old dame.
What a curious name, Dead Men's Fingers,' to
give to this zoophyte," said Jack. Yes it is; the
specimen before us is a long, thick, oblong mass, but
sometimes they are divided into several finger-like
branches; it looks very uninteresting at present and
very inanimate; but fill the largest glass jar with clear
water, and let us look at it for a few minutes. There,
do you see a number of little star-like bodies issuing
from the fleshy mass ? Look at it with this lens; each
polyp has a clear cylindrical body with a beautiful
flower-like mouth with eight rays; and now the whole
substance is densely covered with these miniature
animated flowers. If this spectacle will not delight a
man, I should think nothing can. The Alcyonium digi-
tatum, for that is the Latin name, is a good specimen
of a compound polyp; like the hydra, each polyp of
the alcyon, seizes its food by means of its eight ten-

24 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

tackles, the mouth being situated in the centre of the
flower. I will suddenly move the glass jar; do you
see every little creature has withdrawn itself into
its cell ? the flowers are all gone, and the alcyon

is nothing but an apparently dead mass. Imbedded
in this fleshy mass are a number of curious bodies
called spicula. You cannot see them without the
help of a good microscope; but if I were to cut a

thin slice off this mass, lay it on a glass slip, with
a little caustic potass to dissolve the fleshy portion,
and put it under the microscope, I should see these
calcareous spicules. The specimen before us is a small

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

one. Alcyonium loves deep water, from whence very
large specimens may be obtained by dredging. They
are generally attached to old oyster-shells. What
a number of jelly-fish the retiring waters have left
behind them they look very uninteresting now, but
it is a beautiful sight to see them on a calm summer's
day to watch their movements in the water; we will
pay attention to them on another occasion.
Now is it pleasant in the summer-eve,
When a broad shore retiring waters leave,
Awhile to wait upon the fine fair sand
When all is calm at sea, all still on land;
And there the ocean's produce to explore
As floating by, or rolling on the shore;
Those living jellies which the flesh inflame
Fierce as a nettle, and from that their name;
Some in huge masses, some that yon may bring
In the small compass of a lady's ring;
Figured by Hand Divine-there's not a gem
Wrought by man's art to be compared to them.
Soft, brilliant, tender, through the wave they glow
And make the moonbeam brighter where they flow.

26 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.


O-DAY we will take the train to Colwyn, and
from thence walk along the shore as far as
the Fishing Weir at Rhos-fynach, to see
Mr. Parry Evans and his celebrated dog "Jack"
catching salmon. Oh !" was the universal excla-
mation of delight, that will be fun; and we will take
our baskets and bottles in case of catching something
we would like to bring home." So off we start by
train from Pensarn. When we have passed over about
two miles of the railroad we come to that memorable
spot where the dreadful Abergele accident" happened
a few years ago. There is the cottage on the right
hand side to which the engine-driver was taken;
nothing now remains to mark the exact spot but a few
stones lying on the side of the embankment. Well,
we soon pass over; but we cannot do so without
deep thought as we picture to ourselves that
terrible calamity. On we go through a tunnel
and skirt the coast, looking down upon the calm,
clear, blue sea; the children chattering with delight
at the prospect of seeing a dog catch live salmon;
I myself wondering what different kinds of fish or

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

other marine creatures will be left in the Weir as
the waters retire. Oh for a life not on the ocean
wave, but somewhere near it, a spot where I could
study some of the endless forms of marine zoology,
and inhale the invigorating sea breezes, come they as
the gentle zephyr or the violent storm.

The sounds and seas each creek and bay
With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals
Of fish that with their fins and shining scales
Glide under the green waves, in scales that oft
Bank the mid sea; part single or with mate
Graze the sea-weed their pasture, and through groves
Of coral stray, or sporting with quick glance
Show to the sun their waved coats dropped with gold;
Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend
Moist nutriment; or under rocks their food
In jointed armour watch; or smooth the seal
And bended dolphins play; part huge of bulk
Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait,
Tempest the ocean.

Colwyn, Colwyn," uttered in loud, but peculiarly
indistinct tones-railway porters always cry out the
names of the stations in unintelligible language-
aroused me from my reverie, and we were soon on our
way along the shore towards Mr. Parry Evans' Weir
Fishery at Rhos-fynach. But we have more than a
mile to walk, and lots of time; and how can a man
walk along the shore without stopping every minute
almost to look at something that has caught his eye.
Here are some odd-looking plants, close to the railway
embankment. They are growing in the driest kind of
sand. Here we see the sea-weed (Ammophila arun-

28 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

dinacea), a very coarse but handsome grass, sometimes
called mat-weed, from its matted, creeping roots; it is
now in flower. As its roots are of use in preventing
the inroad of the sea on the land, it is protected by an
Act of Parliament. I do not think any kind of cattle
will eat it; not even a half-starved New Brighton
donkey. Here is the yellow-horned poppy, with its
very long, horn-like pods; here, too, are some wild
geraniums and stork-bills. Let us take a few back
with us. "What are those little fish?" asked Willy,
" that the tide has left in these small pools ?" You
ought to know them as we have seen them before;
but try and catch two or three. Well! now you must
know them? "Oh yes, they must be young sand-
launces, about three inches long." "Papa," said
May, "there are some large stones near the water;
do you not think we might find some sea-anemones
attached to these stones ?" Off we all scamper, and
Jack very soon tells us he has discovered what he
thinks must be a sea-anemone. At once I recognize
the animal as a specimen of the common smooth
anemone (Actinia mesembryantherzum); we will wait by
this large stone and examine the creature. It is fixed
by its broad fleshy base to this bit of rock, its
numerous tentacles spread out in the little pool the
tide has left; the mouth is situated in the centre of
the disc. I dare say we can tempt the creature to use
it for our instruction. I will catch a small fish and
offer it to the anemone. See the tentacles have caught
hold of it, and are bringing it to its mouth; in about
two minutes the fish is swallowed.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 29

Here is another sea-anemone, a much finer speci-
men than the one Jack found. "Oh," said May, "it
is a beautiful specimen; is it the same species ?" It
is generally considered to be a variety of the other
one; it is called the strawberry" anemone, from its
resemblance to the fruit of that name. If I touch its


tentacles, it immediately closes itself up. These
creatures have no eyes, yet are so susceptible of
light, that they will often show they are aware of a
passing cloud by shrinking. Should an unlucky
crab, though stronger far apparently and much more
active than the zoophyte, touch the expanded arms,
activity and strength avail it little; with slow, but

30 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

pertinacious and unflinching grasp, the actinia seizes
hold of it, and soon involving all its limbs with the
tentacula around the mouth, the victim is gradually
dragged into the polyp's stomach, there to perish.
All its softer parts, all that can be nutritious, is
digested and dissolved, until at length the actinia,
being satisfied with its abundant meal, opens again

._.- ._. .

Ztl.i .' `- ':'^ .'


its mouth, and then regurgitates the shell and what is
indigestible. Nor does a little food suffice to satisfy
its appetite. The actinia is voracious, harmless and
flower-like though it seems; sometimes, for instance, it
will swallow whole three or four mussels for a break-
fast, and dissolve them all except the shells. Mr.
Gosse calls this species the beadlet," from its pos-
sessing a number of blue bead-like tubercles around
its mouth. The scientific name of actinia is from a
Greek word, meaning a ray," in allusion to the ten-
tacles. This is a very variable species as to colour, and
the commonest of all the sea-anemone family. The
actiniae resemble their relatives the hydre, in their

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

power of reproducing lost portions of their bodies.
If one be cut in two with a sharp knife or razor, each
half will grow to a whole animal. When we return
home, I will show you beautifully-coloured figures
of the British species of sea-anemones, drawn by
Mr. Gosse in his book on those animals. There
are a great many species, but these shores do
not afford much variety. Look, May, at this pretty


little sea-weed (Ptilota plumosa), a very common, but a
very beautiful species; it often grows parasitically on
the stems of that large strap-like sea-weed, called sea-
tangle (Laminaria). See how lovely it is now I float
it out in water. On the southern shores of England,
this alga is not found at all. Here is the vivid-green
sea-lettuce (Ulva latissima), and here the long Entero-
morpha compressa. These are capital weeds to keep
in an aquarium. Here is a piece of Corallina oficinalis

82 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

incrusting the stone. Look at its purple-pointed
stems, and feel how hard it is; the plant is covered
with a coating of chalk. There is a quantity of the
very common fucus, or yellow tang, with its thick
leathery stems and numerous air-bladders, which crack
as we tread on them. But this shore is but scantily
supplied with sea-weeds; you must wait till we go
to Torquay or Tenby, where you will be delighted


with the numerous little rock pools left by the
retiring tide, and fringed with various kinds of
beautiful sea-weed. Here is the purple laver (Por-
phyra laciniata), a capital condiment with roast
meat. Why, papa," said May, "do you mean to
say that any sea-weed is good to eat ?" Yes, several
kinds are used as articles of food; six or seven
British species are eaten. There is the dulse of the
Scotch, and dillisk of the Irish, which is eaten in

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 33

some parts of Ireland and Scotland. This is the
Rhodymenia palmata, which, after being washed and
dried, is eaten raw. The Irish, or Carrageen Moss,"
you may see in almost every druggist's shop, is a sea-
weed called Ohondrus crispus. It is used for making
jellies, and at one time was used for fattening calves.
" We can see no reason," remark Messrs. Johnstone


and Croall, "why many species of sea-weed should
not contribute to the luxuries of our tables, and
furnish even the poor with a wholesome and nourishing
dish. Many of them are composed almost wholly of
starch, the principal material for which we are in-
debted to other vegetables; and why should we not
receive them through the medium of plants which
grow in the sea as well as on the land ?"

34 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

Oh, papa," exclaimed Willy, "here is such a
curious fish under this stone. Now I have got him;
do you know what it is ?" It is the Cornish Sucker
(Lepidogaster), so called from having been first noticed
on the Cornish coast. It is common enough round
our shores. There, do you see? the fish, after a


slight shake, has attached itself to the inside of my
hand. Now I turn it over, and you see underneath
the fish's sucker; it is a double disc separated by
a groove, and united with the fins. See what a
strange-looking head it has, with a long narrow snout.
It is of a liver colour, and about three inches long.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 35

Ah! here is another species of actinia; it is the
Snake-locked anemone (Sagartic viduata), a very
pretty kind. See how its tentacles lock together, like
so many snakes; it is f6nd of cracks in rocks, in
which it hides itself, but it also lives in the sand.
We have some time to wait yet before the tide
will be sufficiently low for us to go to Mr. Parry
Evans' Weir Fishery. In the mean time, I will read
some account of it, written by the late Archdeacon
Jones, of Brynsteddfod:-

Mr. Parry Evans is said,. in Williams's 'Conway,'
to derive his title to this property by a grant from the
Earl of Leicester, 17 Eliz., as a portion of the Lord-
ship of Denbigh. It may be so; but the name of the
farm to which the Weir is attached, Rhos-fynacl---
in English, the fen-farm of the monks-would seem
to prove that the Weir is of much greater antiquity
than that grant. The names of towns, rivers, and
farms in North Wales are very ancient, and mark
some peculiarity attached to them. Thus, St. Asaph is
in Welch, Llan Elwyn, the town on the Elwy;" Holy-
well, Treffynou, the town near the fountain;" the river
Conway, Cyn-wy, "the first of rivers," being the chief
river in North Wales. The road across the lowland
under Brynsteddfod, sarn Mynach, "the causeway made
by the monks;" and so I would infer that the Weir,
which has been held time out of mind with Rhos
farm, from the farm being designated Rhos-fynach,
was made by the monks of the abbey of Conway,

36 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

when they possessed that farm. In the year 1198,
Llewellyn, Prince of North Wales, founded the abbey
of Conway, and endowed it with large possessions at
Conway, Creuddyn, etc., with the rivers and sea-coast
bounding those lands and the fisheries.
Fish being an article of the first necessity for the
food of the monks, it is reasonable to presume that
the Weir connected with Rhos-fynach-the farm now
bearing that name being not more than three or four
miles from Conway-was erected by them during the
period they were settled at Conway, from 1198 to
In that year Edward I., having conquered Wales,
and not wishing to have so powerful a body of Welch
clergy in his new town of Conway, removed the
abbey to Maenan, ten miles from Conway, with the
consent of the Pope.
He at the same time took from the monks all their
possessions in Conway, giving them in lieu thereof
others of equal or greater value near Maenan.
The chief possessions of the abbey near Conway
were transferred by Edward I. at this time to the
Mayor and Corporation of Conway; but it does not
appear that Rhos-fynach was included in their grant,
nor is there any record of its being within the present
boundaries of the Corporation. In fact, the greater
part of the corporate property has passed into other
hands, sub silentio. The facts now stated are presumed
to be sufficient to show that the Weir is of great
antiquity, and if erected by the monks of the abbey
of Conway-and there were no other within twenty or

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 37

thirty miles of the place-that it is 650 years old. It
may also be shown that it is of the rudest construction,
and has never been adapted to modern improvements,
and that, consequently, it cannot be removed under
the provisions of the Act 24 and 25 Vict. 109." We
will now proceed quietly along the shore to the Weir.
I ought to say that some few years ago the govern-
ment tried to deprive Mr. Parry Evans of his right to
this Weir fishery, but it was decided he had legal
claim to the right. A Weir fishery not more than a
few hundred yards from his, concerning which a
dispute had arisen, was considered illegal; and the
shattered remains at present exist to point out the
former existence of this fishery.

38 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.


E have now reached the Weir; the tide is
getting low, and several spectators have
arrived, anxiously waiting to see the sport.
Ihe Weir, you see, is constructed of large stones and
strong wattle work above; it is something of the shape
of a V. There is a fine iron grating at the point through
which no fish, except the smallest, can escape. Ah
there is the owner of the Weir fishery, Mr. Parry
Evans, and his dog, Jack." Jack came originally
from Prussia; his owner calls him an otter-terrier.
Some years ago, a schooner came to the coast near
Rhos, and the crew, having run short of provisions,
landed with the dog. Mr. Evans' attention was drawn
to Jack" by seeing him swim about very cleverly
round the schooner, and so he made a bargain with
the sailors, and gave them a bag of potatoes in ex-
change for the dog. "Jack was then about nine
months old, and this happened about eight years ago.
Here, Jack, Jack, good dog. See, he comes to us.
Do you notice the silver collar round his neck ? It
cost four guineas, and was made a present to the dog
by public subscription, in acknowledgment of his skill

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 39

and sagacity as a salmon-fisher. We will now climb
on the large stones of the Weir, and look down on
the pool so clear and bright. I dare say twenty
minutes will yet elapse ere Mr. Parry Evans begins to


take the fish out. Oh! look there, look there," said
Willy, something dashed along the water with the
swiftness of an arrow." I see; now the fish is right
under us; it is a salmon, seven or eight pounds'

40 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

weight perhaps. Does he not look splendid in the
bright water? Off he goes again like a shot; he will
give Master "Jack" some trouble to catch, I'll be
bound. "Oh! did you ever see such a beautiful
sight as this? Do look, papa; here is a whole shoal
of fish swimming towards us." It is a splendid sight,
certainly; some three or four hundred mackerel that



have found their own way in, but will have to come
Mr. Evans' way out. There they go, with their bright
blue backs leafed with green, and beautifully crossed
with numerous dark bars orwaved stripes. The mackerel
is a very valuable fish, and, as you know, very excellent
for the table. Enormous quantities of mackerel are
sometimes taken in the nets; as many as 15,000 have
been taken in a single night off Lowestoft and
Yarmouth. At this latter place, the mackerel fishing
employs ninety boats, with a tonnage of upwards of

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

3000 tons and 870 men, producing about 20,000
a year. Mackerel are said to be voracious feeders,
and to grow very fast; they should be eaten when
very fresh, as the fish would in hot weather soon
become unfit for food. On this account, mackerel
were allowed to be cried on Sundays through the
streets of London in 1698, and I believe the law still
exists. Most fish which in the winter retire into deep
water, to be out of the way of violent storms-for
you know it is only the surface of the sea that is
affected by the storms-approach the shores around
our coasts in immense shoals, and thus supply excellent
food, being caught, as mackerel are, in millions every
season. Fish come to our shores in order to deposit
their spawn, thus allowing fishermen to take them in
their nets or by the line. "Did you ever fish for
mackerel with a line ?" Willy asked. Yes, I have
done so, and caught a few occasionally. Anything
bright will do for a bait; a bit of sand-launce is a
capital bait. You let the line out a long way, and
sail or row quickly through the water.
There goes another salmon; we shall have some
sport soon, they cannot pass the iron grating; but
just look at these myriads of tiny shining fish, not
larger than Jack's little finger. They are whitebait,
and Mr. Parry Evans will fill our basket for us if we
like. They are beautiful little things; see how the
water glitters with the scales that have been rubbed
off by the hand-net. Willy asked whether whitebait
was a distinct species, or whether the small fish were
merely the fry of other large ones. It was once sup-

42 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

posed that it was a distinct species. Mr. Yarrell so
thought, and gave it the name of OlCpea alba, and
Mr. Couch is of the same opinion; but other natu-
ralists, and Dr. Giinther amongst them, are convinced
that whitebait is merely the young of the herring,
or at any rate of some member of the herring family
(Clupeidce). Now, as there is so much whitebait, there
is every prospect of salmon; because the latter fish
are exceedingly fond of whitebait, and it is this multi-
tude of shining fry that has attracted the salmon, and
retained them within the pool. Mr. Parry Evans tells
me, "No whitebait, no salmon." I suspect, too, the
mackerel have been similarly tempted. Salmon whilst
they are in salt-water are voracious feeders, but it is
a curious fact that, as a rule, they do not eat the
whole time they reside in our rivers. I have examined
the stomachs of scores of salmon, and never found
the slightest traces of food from fresh-water speci-
mens; but I have taken as many as four good sized
herrings out of the stomach of a salt-water fed
salmon. "But, papa," said Jack, "they must live
upon something all the months they live in our rivers."
They do not take in any food, but are nourished by
their own internal fat; and a salmon after it has been
long in the fresh water gets very poor and very thin.
When once in the sea again its appetite returns, and
it soon regains its health and fatness. Mr. Evans
jams in a lot of sea-weed, fucus and laminaria, into
the iron grating to stop the whitebait from getting
through the bars. But see, here comes another shoal.
Why, May, just look, are they not queer fellows as

r ~,
L~II1 t~.,

. .M .


F I S H N C -- ,E [ ,

--- "`

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 43

they swim right under us ? These are a shoal of
garfish. Look at their long, shining, eel-like bodies,
and jaws resembling snipes' bills. Oh! do they not
look beautiful? they seem to be about a foot long.
Mr. Couch tells us that wherever the garfish is found
it is a restless, wandering species, having a quick
digestion, and always prepared to seize a bait, grasping
it with a peculiar action of the protruded jaws. It
does not swallow as quickly as some other species, so
that when the fisherman's boat is passing rapidly
along, the bait is sometimes torn from the fish. When
the garfish feels the hook, it does not try to escape by
darting away, but annoyed by the restraint of the line,
rapidly mounts to the surface, and with body partly
out of the water struggles in many active contortions
with the line. The garfish seems to have a ready
appetite for any animal it can seize and swallow. Mr.
Couch mentions as a favourite food a certain black fly
which alights on the sea in fine weather; he has seen
its stomach filled with these, and also with herrings
at about one-third of their growth, a single one in
each garfish. There are times also, when the sea is
calm and smooth, that it may be seen in solitary
amusement at the surface, or perhaps many together,
leaping again and again over some floating object, as
a rod or straw; or it may thrust itself bolt upright
out of the water, to fall back again in an apparently
clumsy manner. It is an amusement for fisherboys to
throw some slender stick to the garfish, when it will
exercise a variety of evolutions about and over it as it
floats." The poor fish, however, are too much frightened

44 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

at the presence of so many people to be at all play-
fully inclined. I ought to tell you that the bones of
this fish are quite green. There, Willy, do you see
that jelly fish in the water? How different from the
lifeless mass we so often see on the shore Look,
how graceful are its movements, as it contracts and
expands its umbrella-like disc with slow and even
motion. What have we now? Do you see that fish
swimming near the bottom with strange-looking head
and two magnificent fins spread out fan-like ? This is
the Sapphirine Gurnard, and is so called from the beau-
tiful blue colour of the inside of the pectoral fins; this
is a small specimen, but the species grows sometimes
to the length of two feet. There are many British
kinds of gurnards, the sapphirine and the cuckoo
gurnard being probably the most common. They are
very good fish to eat, and often exposed to sale in
the Liverpool market; but I do not think I ever saw
one in Newport or Wellington; they are caught in
trawl-nets, and sometimes with lines and baited hooks.
The gurnards are voracious fish; I have seen them
coming to the top of the water, and jumping out of
it in pursuit of other fish.
Well, Mr. Parry Evans, how many salmon have you
counted in the pool? "There are seven or eight
good fish in, sir, this time; and one or two will be
ten or eleven pounds each." Look at the dog
" Jack;" he is evidently getting a little impatient, as
he sees in the retiring water of the pool every now
and then a salmon darting along. And now Mr.
Evans takes the silver collar off, and sets "Jack"

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 45

free; and in a second he is in the middle of the pool.
Now for the fun! Willy and Jack tuck up their
trowsers, take off their shoes and stockings, and with
nets in their hands enter the water. Bah it is rather
cold at first, but the excitement soon warms them.
There goes a salmon, full tilt, and Jack" after him.
What a splashing in the water, to be sure There is
another dog learning the trade, and "Jack" is his
tutor in the art; he is a brown retriever, and dashes
about the water after the salmon as if he enjoyed the
fun immensely, but he has not yet learned how to
catch a slippery fish. There! there! see! see! good
dog; now you have him No! off again; well done,
salmon Now dog have at him !
How immensely rapid is the motion of a frightened
salmon. "Quick as an arrow" is hardly a figure of
speech. Bravo, "Jack," bravo! Do you see? He
has caught the salmon firmly by the head. Good dog !
Mr. Parry Evans is immediately on the spot, and
takes the fish from old Jack," whom he kindly pats
on the back, holds the salmon aloft for us all to see,
and consigns him to the basket which his man is
guarding on the shore. See, see, again off they go,
dogs and men, and soon another salmon is captured;
and there is lots of fun, meanwhile, in catching the
mackerel and garfish. How they rush about, poor
things, and get dispersed in the commotion. Now,
Jacky boy-not Mr. Evans' dog-you have that long-
nosed garfish. No, he has wriggled off. Well, try
again. Well done, you have him this time. Take
him to the basket. What! you think he will bite?

46 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

Not he. There, you have let him go. "Well, papa,
he was so slippery, you know." Never mind, there
are lots more. Now, Willy, work away. There goes
the dog again, helter-skelter all, dogs and men, and
another salmon. "How beautiful the fish look now
they are landed !" said Mr. Parry Evans. It was a
very natural remark. To my eye, they looked
prettier swimming in the pool; but practically, they
were better for all, no doubt, in the net. Well,
the sport of catching the various fish in the pool-
there were nine salmon, averaging about five pounds
each-lasted about half an hour. "Jack" behaved
admirably; it was wonderful to see his skill in the
pursuit; he generally caught hold of the salmon
by the head, on which he gave one strong bite, and
the fish was rendered helpless almost instantaneously.
Sometimes he would catch hold of the back fin.
When the sport was finished, we went to survey the
spoils; and a nice "kettle of fish" there was. I
bought one salmon and the gurnard; the rest were
soon disposed of by Mr. Evans to his numerous
visitors, all of whom were much pleased with the
sport. But wait a little; some of the fish lie on the
sand. I will look for parasites. Here, on this salmon,
is a curious parasite, with a body an inch long, and with
two long tail-like projections three times the length
of the creature itself. It is a crustacean, and related
to the Argulus foliaceus we have found abundantly on
trout in the rivers in Shropshire.* Those two long
tails are tubes containing eggs; they remind me at
See Country Walks," p. 71.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 47

once of the egg-sacs of the small crustacean Cyclops,
so common in fresh-water ponds. There are some
smaller parasites on the same fish, and somewhat
similar in form, but without the tail-like ends. These
are the males of the same creature. The name of the
parasite is Lepeophtharies stromii. Had it a short
English name, I would have given it you instead.
The old dog, no doubt, thinks he has done a good
day's work, and walks quietly behind his master
home; and we are all of the same opinion as the 6id
dog, and leave Rhos-fynach Weir Fishery with im-
pressions that will perhaps never be effaced.

48 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.


E will stroll again on the shore, and look out
for some plants on the dry part furthest from
the tide. We shall find plants that we
never see in the country, being peculiar to the sea-
shore. Here, for instance, is the Sea-holly (Eryngium
maritimum) with its thick prickly leaves of a glaucous
hue, prettily veined with white. You see it grows
abundantly here, and a very handsome plant it is,
with its dense heads of blue flowers; the roots which
penetrate the sand to a great depth are slightly
bitter; a preparation of them was made many years
ago, with sugar,, in the form of sweetmeats. They
were called kissing-comfits." Shakespeare refers to
them when he puts into the mouth of Falstaff the
following words: Let the sky rain potatoes; let it
thunder to the tune of Green-sleeves; hail kissing-
comfits and snow eringoes, I will shelter me here."
Colchester was long famous for these sweetmeats.
The root of the sea-holly was supposed to have a
tonic property, and I believe it is still used by some
people as a medicine. In Sweden, the young top-
shoots are eaten like asparagus. It is a hardy plant,

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 49

and preserves its colour and form for a long time
after it is gathered.

Eryngo, to the threatening storm
With dauntless pride uprears
His azure crest and warrior form,
And points his spears.

Here is the Sea-spurge (Euphorbia paralias), with
its curious yellowish-green flowers and glaucous leaves.
You see, when I break a bit, what a quantity of milky
fluid flows out. All the species of the spurge tribe
(Euphorbiacece) abound in this juice, which is ex-
tremely acrid. If you were to put a drop on your
tongue and swallow the smallest morsel, you would
feel a burning heat in the mouth and throat for hours.
Large draughts of milk allay this unpleasant sensation.
Old Gerarde, speaking of the sea-spurge, says-
" Some write by respect of others that it enflameth
exceedingly, but. myself speak by experience; for
walking along the sea-coast at Lee, in Essex, with a
gentleman called Mr. Rich, dwelling in the same
towne, I took one drop of it in my mouth, which,
nevertheless, did so inflame and swelle in my throte,
that I hardly escaped with my life. And in like case
was the gentleman, which caused us to take our
horses, and poste for our lives to the next farm-house
to drink some milke, to quench the extremitie of our
heate, which then ceased."
Oh, papa, look there! what is that large bird
flying near the sea-it cannot be a gull ?" said Jack.
No, it is a cormorant. I will tell you something about

50 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

cormorants just now, but I want you at present to
hear a little more about this curious family of plants.
I said that the milky juice of the spurges is poisonous;
and do you know, Willy, that the Irish peasants of
Kerry are said to collect a lot of spurge, and, after
bruising it, to put it in a covered basket and sink it
in the river, for the purpose of poisoning or stupefying
the fish. Some of the members of this order, which
grow in tropical countries, are fearfully poisonous. I
do not know whether I ever told you of the Manchi-
neal-tree of the West India Islands. It is said to be
dangerous even to sleep under its shade, and that the
land-crabs, so frequently found in the Manchineal
woods, acquire their poisonous properties from them.
There may be some exaggeration, perhaps, in the
stories, but the fact that the Manchineal is exceedingly
poisonous remains. Then there is the Manihot of the
same order of plants, a shrub much cultivated in
tropical countries, which contains a very poisonous
substance. I do not see," said Jack, what is the
use of cultivating poisonous plants." Well, I was
going to explain that the Manihot abounds in starchy
matter, that the poisonous properties can be com-
pletely driven off by roasting or washing, and that
the starch is then converted into what is known as
Cassava-bread, a palatable and nutritious article of
diet. The Indians use the juice of this shrub for
poisoning their arrows. "I should not much fancy,"
said May, "the Cassava-bread." You actually have
occasionally eaten nearly the same thing; that is, if
you have ever eaten tapioca-pudding, which is pre-

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 51

pared from the starch of the roots of the bitter
Cassava. The Sandbox-tree, also a native of the
West Indies, sometimes called by the funny name of
the Monkey's Dinner-bell-tree, is another dangerous
plant, the milk of which is so venomous as to produce
blindness if applied to the eye. Castor-oil-don't
shudder Jack-is produced from a tree which belongs
to the spurge family; the poisonous property remains
behind, and is not expressed with the oil from the
"There goes another cormorant," exclaimed
Willy; "are not these birds capital fishers ?" Yes,
indeed they are; and they used formerly to be trained
to catch and bring fish to their masters. There are
two British species of cormorants-the great cor-
morant and the shag. They are both splendid divers;
the shag has been caught in a crab pot a hundred
and twenty feet below the surface. I like to see
these birds perched on some craggy eminence over-
hanging the sea, or flying along with steady flight.
The great cormorant makes a large nest of sticks, sea-
weed, and coarse grass, and lays four or five eggs of
a white colour varied with pale blue. I never saw a
very young cormorant, but they must be queer-looking
fellows; for when first hatched they are covered with
a bluish-black skin, acquiring a thick covering of
black down in the course of a few days. Cormorants
have very wide throats and can swallow large fish.
Eels are dainty morsels with them; a cormorant has
been seen to pick up an eel from the mud, return to
the rail he was previously sitting upon, strike the eel

52 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

three or four hard blows against the rail, toss it
up into the air, and catching it by the head in its
fall, swallow it in an instant. "I should much like,"
said Willy, to possess a tame cormorant, would it
not be fun to teach it to catch fish for us ?" Cormo-
rants possess great intelligence. I think it is Colonel
Montague who tells us of one that became so tame
that it never seemed happy unless in the presence of
its owner. "But to this day in China," Willy
remarked, "the people use tame cormorants for fish-
ing purposes, do they not ?" Yes, I believe so.
Here is an account given by a traveller in that
country:* "There were two small boats, containing
one man and about ten or twelve birds in each.
The birds were standing perched on the sides of the
little boat, and apparently had just arrived at the
fishing ground. They were now ordered out of the
boat by their masters; and so well trained were they
that they went on the water immediately, scattered
themselves over the canal, and began to look for fish.
They have a beautiful sea-green eye, and quick as
lightning they see and dive upon the finny tribe,
which, once caught in the sharp-notched bill of the
bird, never by any possibility can escape. The cor-
morant now rises to the surface with the fish in his
bill; and the moment he is seen by the Chinaman he
is called back to the boat. As docile as a dog, he
swims after his master and allows himself to be pulled
into the san-pan, where he disgorges his prey, and
again resumes his labours. And, what is more won-
Fortune's China," p. 99.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 53

derful still, if one of the cormorants gets hold of a fish
of a large size, so large that he would have some diffi-
culty in taking it to the boat, some of the others,
seeing his dilemma, hasten to his assistance, and
with their efforts united, capture the animal, and haul
him off to the boat. Sometimes a bird seemed to get
lazy or playful, and swam about without attending
to his business; and then the Chinaman with a long
bamboo which he also used for propelling the boat,
struck the water near where the bird was, calling out
to him in an angry tone. Immediately, like the truant
schoolboy who neglects his lessons and is found out,
the cormorant gives up his play and resumes his
labours. A small string is put round the neck of
the bird to prevent him from swallowing the fish
which he catches."
The shag is a smaller bird than the greater cor-
morant, and is of a more decided green colour. It is
said never to quit the salt water to follow the course
of a river, as its relative does, and never to settle on
trees. The word cormorant means sea-raven."*
There is another interesting bird flying past; it is
the common tern, or sea-swallow. See how rapidly it
flies, now skimming near the water, now rising aloft.
It is on the look out for fish, and is a very graceful
bird, and has a beautiful red bill and feet. I have
seen this tern occasionally in the middle of Shrop-
shire. There are several British species of terns; they
all come to this country in May, and leave it in Sep-
tember. They lay two or three eggs of a yellowish
Corvus nrarinus.

54 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

stone colour, spotted with grey and dark red-brown,
and take great care of their young ones. Mr. St.
John says that the terns are very fond of sand-eels
(sand-launces), and that though "the swiftest little
creature in the whole sea is the sand-eel, yet they
catch thousands of these fish in the same way as the
osprey catches the trout, excepting that the tern uses
its sharp-pointed bill, instead of its feet. I have
often taken up the sand-eels which the terns have
dropped on being alarmed, and have invariably found
that the little fish had but one small wound, immedi-
ately behind the head. That a bird should catch such
a slippery active fish as the sand-eel, in the manner
in which a tern catches it, seems almost inconceivable,
and yet every dweller on the sea-coast sees it done
every hour during the period that these birds frequent
our shores." Mr. St. John also informs us that when
the day is bright and the sun hot, the terns hovering
constantly over their eggs, leave them to the heat of
the sun reflected from and increased by the warm
shingle. Let us get nearer to the water, the tide is
getting low; here is a large shore-crab scuttling away
as fast as his legs can carry him. Crabs are grotesque
fellows, and it is most laughable to watch their doings
in an aquarium. Let us catch this fellow, but mind
he does net bite us; how many legs has he? count
them, Jack. He has got four on each side, papa,
and he wants to bite me with his claws." See how
strong the claws are; the crab uses them as a man
uses his hands. It is amusing to see a crab in an
aquarium quietly helping himself to some dead shell-


~5 j






Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

fish or other food; he picks a bit off and hands it to
his mouth "almost like a Christian," as country folks
sometimes say. Fish, flesh, or fowl, fresh or putrid, is
duly appreciated by Mr. Crab. Crabs, like other crus-
tacea cast their shells. It is most curious to notice how
perfect is the cast-off shell; the antennae, the bristles,
the eyes, the hairs, the most minute parts are seen in the
old shell. The crab who has thrown off his old crusty


coat, remains for some time in a soft state, but in
course of time constructs another shelly coat from
the mineral particles in the water. Willy wished to
know whether crabs underwent any metamorphosis
like insects. The metamorphosis of the crab is an
extremely instructive and interesting subject. The

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

eggs are carried under the tail; and when first hatched,
the young are most strange looking creatures. I
have seen these little things swimming about like an
animated mass of dust in an aquarium. On submit-
ting a few specimens to microscopic examination, I


soon found I had under inspection the young of the
crab. When in its earliest stage the creature was first
observed, it was supposed to be some new thing alto-
gether, and naturalists called it a zoea; in its second
stage of transformation it looks more like a crab; and
still more so in its third stage; finally it assumes the
adult crab form.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 57

"But this is not the kind of crab that people
eat," said May, "is it ?" No; the crab you see ex-
posed for sale in the markets is the edible crab


(Cancer pagurus). It prefers rocky coasts, and I do
not think we are likely to find any on this sandy
shore. Indeed, the large specimens of this species


live out far from the shore in deep water. Crab-
fishing is a very important trade on many parts of our
coast. Immense numbers are taken in what are called

58 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

crab-pots; these are round traps or baskets made of
wicker-work, the twigs of the golden willow (Salix
vitellina) being much used on account of their tough-
ness. But how do the crabs get into these traps ?"
asked Willy. The traps are baited with pieces of
fish or any offal, and are sunk by stones attached to
the bottom; a long line, fastened to the trap with a


cork at the other end, shows where the trap is
situated. A crab-trap is not unlike one kind of
mouse-trap, only the entrance is at the top and not at
the sides. Putrid flesh is the usual bait to which it
is probable the crab is attracted by the sense of
Here, on an old oyster-shell, is a bit of very pretty
pink sea-weed, called Rhodymenia palmata. The

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 59

first-named word means red leaf," or "membrane."
It is common all round our coast, and is a pretty
plant for an aquarium.
We are not aware," say Messrs. Johnstone and
Croall, that it is eaten anywhere in Scotland at the
present day as an article of food, although it is said
to have been so at one period, and it is still much
eaten as a relish by all the inhabitants that live near
the coast. It is always, we believe, eaten in the raw
state; but we remember seeing, when a boy, some
people giving it a slight scorching or roasting by
rolling it round a heated poker, after which it had a
very peculiar flavour, which to most persons, as well
as to us, was very disagreeable. By this process the
red colour was changed to green. Those specimens
which are covered by parasites, such as Calithamnia
and Ectocarpus, are generally most in request; and
many persons consider it no disparagement that a
few of the smaller crustacea (Idotea) and minute shell-
fish (Rissoa and young Mytilus) form a part of the
delicate morsel. When sold in the markets, or
hawked through the towns or rural districts, as it
often is during the summer months, the young stems
of Laminaria digitata (tang or tangle) are generally
mixed up with it; and also a sprinkling of pepper
dulse (Laurencia pinnatifida) ."*
Now, May, take a bite; there are no parasites on
this bit, and you will be able to report on its character
as food. "No, thank you, papa," said May; "it is
very pretty, but the smell is not very inviting."
Nature Printed Sea-weeds," ii. p. 12.

60 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

Here is a tuft of a zoophyte called "Lobster's-
horn," growing on a stone imbedded in the sand;
you see each branch is jointed like the antennae of a
lobster. A row of small cups extends at regular inter-
vals down the inside; these are the houses of the
polyps. Here is Plumularia falcata, a very elegant
little zoophyte, and here is Campanularia verticellata.
Let us put them in one of our small boxes for ex-
amination under the microscope. What wonderful
variety there is in nature !

New buds and bulbs the living fabric shoots
On lengthening branches and protruding roots;
Or, on the father's side, from bursting glands,
Th' adhering young its nascent form expands;
In branching lines the parent trunk adorns,
And parts, ere long, like plumage, hairs or horns.


Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.


E will take the train and visit Rhos-fynach
once more, and after seeing the fun at the
Weir, we will turn over the stones and
examine, the rocks at low tide; we shall no doubt
meet with many interesting specimens of animals, and
I dare say get a few pretty sea-weeds from the rock
pools. On the sands, we found a large univalve
shell; there was, however, no animal inside it; the
shell was that of a whelk (Buccinum undatum). Put
it to your ear, Willy, and listen to the murmurings.
" It seems to make a curious noise, papa," Yes, this
shell is "the roaring buckie" of Scotch children.
Wordsworth alludes to this idea in the following
I have seen
A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
Of inland ground, applying to his ear
The convolutions of a smooth-lipp'd shell;
To which, in silence hushed, his very soul
Listen'd intensely, and his countenance soon
Brightened with joy : for murmurings from within
Were heard, sonorous cadences, whereby,
To his belief, the monitor expressed
Mysterious unions with its native sea.

The whelk, of which there are many varieties, is a
common mollusc in all parts of the British seas. The

62 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

animal is very voracious; it has a yellowish body
streaked with black, and a long powerful proboscis,
within which is a muscular sheath that contains a very
curiously-formed tongue. This tongue is a beautiful
microscopic object, and when we get home again, I
will show you its form and structure. The creature
burrows in the sand. I have often taken specimens out
dredging. Mr. Gwyn Jeffrey's says he has seen between


thirty and forty shells of this mollusc taken from the
stomach of a single cod. Do any people eat whelks
as they eat cockles and periwinkles ?" asked Jack. I
believe vast numbers are eaten in London, where you
may often see them exposed for sale. According to
Mr. Mayhew, as many as four million, nine hundred
and fifty thousand whelks are sold in the streets of
London every year. They have from very early

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

times been eaten in this country; and when the
Romans were in England they acquired a taste for
whelks. "How do you know that, papa ?" said May.
Because whelk-shells have been found mixed with
oyster-shells at Richborough, in Kent, an old Roman
station. We know that the old Romans were very
fond of shell-fish. Snails were dainty morsels; and
do you know they used to eat sea-urchins and sea-
anemones? Even bishops and archbishops used to
eat whelks, for in 1504, when William Warham was
made Archbishop of Canterbury, eight thousand
whelks were provided for the feast at five shillings a
thousand. I should like to see archbishops now-a-
days eating whelks. In the shell-fish market at
Billingsgate, the present species goes by the name of
the white," or common whelk, in contradistinction
to the Fusus antiques, which is there called the red,"
or "almond" whelk; they are brought chiefly from
Whitstable, Ramsgate, Margate, Grimsby, and Har-
Wilks-the word is spelt in different ways-must
be sold during the same day they are received, that
is, the day after they are caught. If the supply is
greater than the demand, they are boiled, in which
state they keep good for several days. Evidence was
given before a Select Committee of the House of
Commons in the Session of 1866, on the Whitstable
Oyster-Fishery Bill, that the whelk-fishery on a sandy
flat in that bay yielded 12,000 a year-part of the
produce being disposed of in the London market for
Jeffrey's British Conchology," iv. p. 290.

64 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

food, and the rest sent to the cod-fishery banks for
bait. They are seldom eaten in the northern part of
our isles. At Dieppe, and Nantes, they may occa-
sionally be seen exposed for sale in the fish-markets."
What is this light ball ?" asked Willy, giving it
a kick. That is a cluster of the egg-cases of the
whelk we have been talking about. Some people call
them sea-wash balls," because sailors are said to use
them instead of soap to wash their hands. You see it
is made up of a number of round pockets, one upon
the other, and attached by their edges at the base;
perhaps there may be four hundred of these pockets,
and each pocket may contain several hundred eggs!
Now there is a very curious fact about these eggs;
though there are so many at first, perhaps not more
than twenty or thirty come to be young whelks.
What has become of the other eggs? Some say that
the eggs are first spherical, but that afterwards they
unite and form bodies of a different shape; but Sir
John Lubbock, a most accurate observer, says that
the more forward young ones swallow the other eggs
whole; and he has drawn a figure of a young whelk in
the act of swallowing an egg. I believe that this is
now generally accepted as the true explanation.
"What have we here, papa," said Willy, "on
these large rough stones ?" Ah! that is a kind of
cousin of the whelks; you see the shells are not very
dissimilar in shape, but much smaller. There are
dog-whelks (Purpura lapillus), and you observe also
on the stone a lot of things shaped something like
miniature egg-cups, are they not curious ? Those dog-

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 65

whelks, or whelk-tingles, are very injurious to oysters,
and destroy vast numbers. But how," asked Jack,
" can they get at the oyster, surrounded as he is by
his hard shelly coat ?" The whelk-tingle has a long
tongue which has a number of flinty spines upon it;
by working this tongue round and round a hole is at
length bored in the oyster's shell. The process is no
doubt a slow one. It has been noticed that it took two


days to get through the shell of a moderately-sized
mussel. This mollusc secretes a purple dye, which was
formerly used by the monks in illuminating their
Biblical manuscripts. I will break one of these dog-
whelks; do you see the slightly yellow fluid ? But,
papa, you said it was purple," said Willy. Well; wait
a minute, you will see it change colour; it is assuming

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

a greenish hue; watch it a little longer, now it is violet,
now it is purple: this change in the colour is due to
the action of the sun. Let us look into this rock pool.
There goes a fish, let us catch him. Oh! what an
odd-looking thing; it is something like an eel," said
Jack. It is not an eel, but one of the pipe-fishes;
what an extraordinary head it has! Its mouth,
you see, is a .cylindrical tube; the jaws being united,
the gills are not formed as in most fishes, but are
arranged in small tufts. It is a curious fact to notice
in the history of these pipe-fishes that the male has a
membraneous pouch on the under part, near the tail,
into which the eggs of its mate are put; here they
are developed into young ones, and herein they are
sheltered from danger. Mr. Yarrell says that he has
been assured by fishermen that if the young were
shaken out of the pouch into the water over the side
of the boat, they did not swim away, but when the
parent fish was held in the water in a favourable posi-
tion, the young would again enter the pouch. But,
papa," said Willy, as the jaws are united how can
the fish open its mouth when it wishes to eat ?" It
cannot separate its jaws of course, but it sucks up the
water through the opening of the tubular mouth by
dilating its throat. The food which consists of small
crustacea, worms, etc., is drawn into the mouth as
water is into a syringe. Those curious little fish
called sea-horses hippocampii)* of which you may
remember I have a pickled specimen at home, belong
to the pipe-fish family, and resemble them a good deal
See Plate, Fig. 3.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 67

in their habits. The short-nosed hippocampus is occa-
sionally met with on our English coasts; it swims
about in a vertical position, ready to grasp with its
tail any object in the water. It is from six to ten
inches long; the body is much compressed, the tail
divided by many ridges, and very prehensile. The eggs
and young are protected in the pouch of the male as in
pipe-fishes. You do see most extraordinary forms of
fish," said Willy, and the hippocampus is certainly
one of them; for though we are not likely to meet
with any specimens here, I remember the one you
have in a glass vessel at home." Yes, and you remind
me of a most curious member of the pipe-fish family.
that inhabits the Indian seas-the foliated pipe-fish
(Syngnathus foliatus), whose head, back, and tail are
provided with a lot of leaf-like appendages set in
strong, rough, spiny projections, giving it a sort of
"rags and tatters look. You would suppose at first

sight that these "rags and tatters" were leaves of
sea-weed that had been transfixed by the spiny pro-

68 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

sections. Oh papa, do come here," cried May;
" here is such a lovely bit of sea-weed growing hidden
under this crack in the rock." It is the Delesseria
sanguine, most beautiful indeed. Look at its brilliant
crimson pink colouring, its delicate membraneous frond
with midrib and branching veins; it is, however, some-
what torn now; had we found it in the month of May
it would have been in a better state of preservation.

Ah another bit of pretty sea-weed (the Phyllophora
rubens), it is of a bright transparent red colour, and of
a firm substance; it loves to hide under the projecting
ledges of little rock pools.
Here is another small fish; what is he, Jack?
"He has retreated under a stone, but I will
soon fetch him out." There, now you have him;
let me look. Oh! I see, it is a specimen of the
shanny (Blennius pholis), common enough in most

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 69

parts of our coasts; it differs from other blennies in
the absence of any appendages on the head. The
shanny confines itself to the bottom, where it takes up
its residence on a rock or stone, from which it rarely
wanders far, and beneath which it seeks shelter from
ravenous fishes and birds; for cormorants, with their
long and sharp beaks, drag multitudes of them from
those retreats, and devour them. When the tide is
receding, many of these fishes hide under the stones or
in pools; but the larger individuals quit the water,
and by the use of the pectoral fins creep into conve-
nient holes, rarely more than one in each, and there,
with the head outward, they wait for a few hours, until
the return of the water restores them to liberty. If
discovered or alarmed in these chambers, they retire
by a backward motion to the bottom of the cavity.
"Lacepede records an instance, where, as he sup-
posed, a shanny had made an attempt to feed on an
oyster that lay with its valves open, in consequence
of which it became shut up a prisoner by the
closing of the shell. In this condition of confine-
ment the fish had continued so long that the oyster
had been dredged and carried to a considerable
distance, when, on opening it, the captive was
again set free, alive and without injury."* Like the
chameleon, the shanny can turn its eyes in opposite
directions. Oh what is this very beautiful little
creature, crawling on a bit of laminaria," asked May;
" is it not lovely ?" It is one of the nudibranchiate
molluscs, an extremely interesting and very elegant
Couch's Fishes, ii. 228.

70 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

family. Let me put it in my bottle. There, now we
see it more clearly; look at the tufts of a delicate rose-
colour which adorn its back; these are the creature's
lungs, and as they are exposed, the term nudibran-
chiate-naked-gilled-has been given to these mol-
luscs. This specimen is the Eolis coronata, one of the
most beautiful of the tribe. The body is about an
inch long, slender, tapering to a point, of a trans-
parent watery-white, tinged with rose-colour and buff.
It has four appendages-two near the mouth, called
the oral tentacles, and two on the back part of the
head, called the dorsal tentacles. The branchial tufts
form six or seven clusters down each side of the back;
they are of a beautiful rose-red colour, slightly tinged
with blue. It looks like a miniature bed of animated
flowers. A great number of various species of nudi-
branchiates have been described as belonging to the
British fauna. I am always much delighted to find
specimens. The early spring, however, is the best
time, I believe, because these molluscs at that time
approach the shores for the purpose of depositing
their spawn on the underside of rocks and stones near
low-water mark. The spawn is a jelly-like thread,
arranged in several spiral coils, within which the eggs
are imbedded. See how gracefully the little crea-
ture bends its tentacles; now extended, now suddenly
contracted, as they come in contact with something.
But do you know that, charmingly beautiful as many of
these nudibranchiates are, they are often sad cannibals.
That they will devour the tentacles of the sea-anemones
I myself have had proof of. Messrs. Alder and Han-

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 71

cock in their beautiful book on these molluscs, which
I will show you when we get home again, say that
they had several opportunities of noticing the car-
nivorous propensities of this species, which is certainly
not the least voracious of its tribe. After having
been for a day or two without food, they will even
devour their own kind-the weaker falling a sacrifice
to the cravings of the stronger. Large individuals will
content themselves with plucking off each other's
papillhe; but should a smaller specimen be within
reach, it is most mercilessly attacked, the more power-
ful animal laying hold of any part of the weaker that
may happen to be nearest. The tail, however, is
generally first seized, and fierce and determined is the
onset. The devourer raises and shakes his papillae in
the manner that the porcupine shakes its quills when
irritated, and then, laying back the dorsal tentacles,
and curling up the oral ones, fixes the protruded
mouth and jaws upon his prey, when, with a convul-
sive shrinking up of the body, morsel after morsel is
appropriated. In this manner it is not uncommon to
see an individual entirely devour another half its own
Oh! papa," said Jack, do come; here is a very
unpleasant-looking creature which I do not like to
touch. I found it under this flat stone; I suppose it
is some kind of worm." It is a worm, and a very
curious one too; and, I must confess, not prepossess-
ing in appearance. It lies coiled up in numerous
irregular entangled convolutions, which it would
appear impossible to unravel. It is about a quarter

72 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.
of an inch thick, of a dark reddish-brown colour, and
may be six or seven feet long. It is the Sea Long-
worm (Nemertes Borlasii). Specimens are said sdme-
times to attain the enormous length of thirty yards.
The mouth is a longitudinal slit; and inside it is a
long tubular proboscis. Sir J. Dalyell, who once kept
one of these strange creatures in confinement, says :
" He was a long time perplexed regarding the
food of this worm; a creature so unwieldly and un-
manageable in itself appeared to be very ill-adapted
for overcoming any resisting prey. In the natural
state, it certainly enters the tube of an Amphitrite to
devour the tenant; and in one instance it seized and
devoured a Terebella before me, which had lost its pro-
tective dwelling; and this, too, in spite of the size and
apparently superior strength of the prey. It feeds on
mussels also." I have occasionally met with this worm,
but am glad to have another opportunity of studying
it. We will take it to our lodgings.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.


E will take the trdin to-day and visit Llan-
dudno, and enjoy a stroll round the Great
Ormeshead; the day is tolerably clear, and
we shall have a lovely view.
We soon arrive at Llandudno, and at once make
our way to the Great Ormeshead. Various plants soon
attract our attention, for the rock of the Ormeshead is
limestone, which is favourable to a varied vegetation;
and one British plant, the Cotoneaster vulgaris, is
found nowhere else, in a truly wild state, in the king-
dom. I remember finding it many years ago growing
on a limestone ledge looking inland; it will take us
out of our beat, however, to search for it now. The
cotoneaster is a shrubby plant with small rose-coloured
drooping flowers and dark-green leaves, producing in
the autumn very pretty red coral-like berries. It is
often cultivated in gardens, and is no doubt familiar
to you all. I will remember the next time I see it to
show you the plant. Oh, papa," said May, "what
is this pretty yellow flower growing so abundantly
here ?" It is the rock-rose (Helianthemum vulgare),
see how beautiful the blossoms look, as the bright

74 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

sunshine tinges their sides, and opens out the golden
petals. The rock-rose, or cistus, as it is also called,
never opens its petals except when skies are bright;
see how sensitive the stamens are. I touch them with
this pin, and at once they lie down on the petals,
where they remain for a long time. Here is another
species, the Hoary Dwarf rock-rose' (H. canum);
its leaves are quite grey with down, hence its Latin
name; the flowers are yellow like the common species
but smaller. It is a very rare species, so we will take
a few specimens home and dry them. Here is another
uncommon plant, the Nottingham Catchfly, as it is
called (Silene nutans); there are several kinds of
catchflies, and I dare say we shall find some more of
them in the course of our ramble. What a curious
name," said Jack, "to give to a flower !" Yes, it
is so called because many small flies are often caught
in the sticky fluid which in some species surround
parts of the stem. The starry blossoms are very pretty
in the evening, and very fragrant; you will detect
neither beauty nor odour now, for this flower loves to
unfold in the evening, unlike the rock-rose which
loves the bright sunshine. The Nottingham Catchfly
is one of

The flowers that shun the blaze of noon,
To blow beneath the midnight moon;
The garish world they will not bless,
But only live in loneliness.

The odour it gives forth is so powerful as to be
unbearable in a room.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 75

"Here," said May, is another very beautiful
plant; do you know its name ?" Indeed it is very
pretty, with its spike of bright blue blossoms; it is
the Spiked Speedwell (Veronica spicata), and is, I
believe, a rare plant, never growing except on lime-
stone or chalk. I have often seen this species culti-
vated in gardens where the spikes of blossoms some-
times grow to nearly a foot in length; gardeners call
it the Cats' Tail Speedwell." "Papa," said Jack,
as we had walked nearly half way round the Ormes-
head, "it is very hot, let us sit down here in the
shade and rest." A very good idea, Jacko; we have
plenty of time before us, and we will look out on to
the sea and refresh ourselves for half an hour. What
is that island nearly opposite us ?" Willy asked; "it
is an island, is it not, papa?" Yes, it is Puffin
Island, so called from the great numbers of birds
called puffins that used to visit it. Is that a fishing-
boat we see in the distance ?" asked Willy. I have
no doubt it is a trawler, and probably has a lot of fish
on board, most of which will perhaps find its way
to the Liverpool market. "What is a trawler ?" May
asked. It is a fishing-boat which carries a net called
a trawl. Some years ago it was a common thing for
the steam-boats plying between Beaumaris and Liver-
pool to stop for a few minutes off Puffin Island, and
take in baskets of fish from the trawlers that came
alongside; these the steamer took to Liverpool. "I
should think," said Willy, it must be good fun being
in a trawler, and seeing the fish and other curious
creatures secured in the net. Have you ever seen fish

76 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

taken in a trawl-net ?" Yes, and while we are resting
I will describe partly in words I used some years
ago elsewhere, the trawl-net and the mode of working
it. The trawl is a purse-shaped net, between sixty
and seventy feet long, about forty feet wide at the
mouth, and gradually diminishing to four or five feet
at the commencement of the smaller end of the net, or
" cod," as it is technically termed. This narrow part
is about ten feet long, closed at the end by a draw
rope. The net is kept open at its broad mouth by a
wooden beam, which is fixed upon two upright iron


frames three feet high, one at each end; these are
called the trawl-heads." The bottom part of the
trawl-head is flat, to rest upon the ground. The under-
side of the net corresponds to the back, excepting at
the mouth, where it is curved deeply inwards; along
this portion runs the ground rope," extending from
one trawl head to another; when the net is on the
ground, this rope rests upon the bottom. The net has
pockets, one on each side, and its meshes vary in
size from four inches square near the mouth to an inch
and quarter square in the cod. The cod portion of the

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 77

net is protected by pieces of old worn-out nets, the
upper part being of Manilla twine for buoyancy, the
lower of a heavier kind of hemp. Well, suppose the
men are moving the trawl over the side of the vessel.
Down sinks the net, beam uppermost; a hundred
fathoms of the warp, which is immensely strong, and
as thick as a man's wrist, are payed out, the depth
of the water being about twenty-five fathoms. The
trawl-heads are evidently on the ground, for had the
net capsized, the men would have known by the
jerking of the warp. All is right, and the net is drawn
in the direction of the tide, gradually adding to its
enclosed stock of fishes. The ground is smooth, a
necessary condition for successful trawling, as rocky
ground soon tears the net to pieces. The trawl-irons
rest on the bottom, and the inside curved margin of
the net, with its border of ground-rope gently rubs
the noses of the fish before it.
It is the nature of fish to lie with their heads
opposite the stream, so when the ground-rope warns
them to "move on," the fish dart forward. If they
take their way upwards, the advanced part of the net
prevents their escape; if they find their way to the
lower portion of the net, they are almost sure to be
caught in one of the pockets.
The smack has been towing the trawl at the rate
of a mile an hour faster than the tide, and now the
master has given orders for hauling," or recovering
the trawl-net. The bulwarks of the smack are taken
away, and hauling begun by the help of a windlass.
Steadily the warp with its heavy burden is drawn up,

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

and the great trawl pulled on deck. What a scene of
excitement as fish of various forms and colours are
emptied out of the cod and pockets what flapping of
fins, shaking of tails, opening and shutting of mouths !
Crawling crabs of grotesque form scudding away, some
with legs like a spider, others with the soft part of
their bodies encased in the deserted shells of univalve


molluscs; old oyster-shells perforated by a boring
annelid with numerous round small holes, and now
become the habitations of sponges, bearing on their
surfaces delicate forms of serpula, whose diminished
heads are hidden within their tortuous tubes; various
starfishes; the red sun-star, the fragile ophiure, the
snake-armed ophiocomse, the common five-fingers,
detested by oyster cultivators for the mischief it causes
amongst those highly-prized molluscs, crawling worms
of various species and of rainbow hues in their own

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

element, though now exhibiting but few attractions.
We observe, also, many sea urchins (Echini), some as
large as a baby's head, others small as a walnut, with
purple spines of different sizes and forms, sea-cucum-
bers, polyzoa, and zoophytes in abundance, tunicated
molluscs, masses of whelk eggs, spawn, magnificent
scallops, grape-like bunches of cuttle-fish eggs,
leathery nidamenta of rays and "dogs," huge oysters,
which, though inferior in flavour to natives, are
palatable enough to appetites sharpened by the sea-
breeze. But nearly all these things are rubbish" to
the fishermen, though treasures to the naturalist; so
overboard they go.
Let us glance at the fish. We see several skates,
with their long prickly tails and squinting eyes-not
bad food, however, when properly cooked, with cockle
or egg-sauce, and held in estimation by college dons
long ago, less popular now than their merits deserve;
haddocks and soles; turbots thirty pounds weight and
more; spotted dog-fish, plaice, flounders, and brill.
Here, too, is a fish of which I have spoken to you
before; beware of touching it, for the erect phalanx
of dorsal spines bespeaks mischief. This is the great
weever, the noli me tangere of the ocean beds, capable
of inflicting a severe wound with its poisoned weapons.
The "rubbish" is soon thrown overboard, and the
men have plenty to do to sort the fish, and consign
them to their respective compartments.
"Have you ever shot a puffin ?" Willy asked.
Yes, many years ago I shot two or three specimens, a
guillemot and a razor-bill-birds that used to be very

80 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

common on the Ormeshead and on Puffin Island. I
had them stuffed. The puffin is a very curious bird;
it is sometimes called the sea-parrot, as its bill beats
some resemblance to a parrot. These birds are only
summer visitors to our coasts, arriving in April and
leaving about the end of August. Early in May
puffins deposit a single large egg, sometimes in
crevices and fissures on the perpendicular surfaces of
the cliffs, at the depth of three or four feet from the
front. Rabbit warrens are not unfrequent on our
coast, and where this happens the puffins often contend
with the rabbits for the possession of some of the
Many puffins, Mr. Selby observes, "resort to the
Fern Islands, selecting such as are covered with a
stratum of vegetable mould; and here they dig their
own burrows, from there not being any rabbits to
dispossess upon the particular islets they frequent.
They commence this operation about the first week in
May, and the hole is generally excavated to the depth
of three feet, often in a curving direction, and occa-
sionally with two entrances. When engaged in
digging, which is principally performed by the males,
they are sometimes so intent upon their work as to
admit of being taken by the hand, and the same may
also be done during incubation. At this period I
have frequently obtained specimens by thrusting my
arm into the burrow, though at the risk of receiving a
severe bite from the powerful and sharp-edged bill of
the old bird. At the farther end of this hole the
single egg is deposited, which in size nearly equals



Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist. 81

that of a pullet. Its colour when first laid is white,
sometimes spotted with pale cinereous,* but it soon
becomes soiled and dirty from its immediate contact
with the earth, no materials being collected for a nest
at the end of a burrow. The young are hatched after
a month's incubation, and are then covered with a
long blackish down above, which gradually gives place
to the feathered plumage so that at the end of a
month or five weeks they are able to quit the burrow,
and follow their parents to the open sea. Soon after
this time, or about the second week in August, the
whole leave our coasts."
Willy wanted to know what these birds feed on,
and whether they are good divers. Puffins feed on
small fish and various crustacea. Mr. Yarrell states
he has seen old birds, when they had a young one to
feed, returning to the rocks with several small fish
hanging by the head from the angle of the gape of the
mouth. JPuffins are capital divers. Mr. John Mac-
gillivray says, that at St. Kilda many puffins are
taken when sitting on the rocks, by means of a noose
of horse-hair attached to a slender rod of bamboo-
cane. This mode is most successful in wet weather,
as the puffins then sit best upon the rocks, allowing a
person to approach within a few yards, and as many
as three hundred may be taken in the course of one
day by an expert bird-catcher."
Well, we have rested long enough, and must
proceed on our walk. Now, May, gather some more
plants. Here is the lesser meadow Rue (Thalictrum
"Ash-coloured," from einis, ashes."

82 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

minus); look at the quantity of stamens, like little
tufts of golden threads. What, May, you do not
admire the odour? It' is unpleasant, I grant. Here
is the Bloody Crane'sbill (Geraneum sanguineum), with
its bright purple flowers and deeply-cut leaves; and
here in abundance is Lady's Fingers (Anthyllis vulne-
raria); the white calyxes are covered with woolly down,
and in some places, on this account, the plant is called
Lamb's Toes. The specific name of vulneraria, from
the Latin word vulnus, a wound," was given to it
from its having been formerly used to staunch wounds.
But we must now make the best of our way to
Llandudno station, though I should much like to
prolong our stay here in search of more wild flowers.

Happy, in my judgment,
The wandering herbalist, who, clear alike
From vain, and that worse evil, vexing thoughts,
Casts on these uncouth forms a slight regard
Of transitory interest, and peeps round
For some rare flow'ret of the hills, or plant
Of craggy fountain; what he hopes for wins,
Or learns, at least, that 'tis not to be won:
Then, keen and eager as a fine-nosed hound,
By soul-engrossing instinct driven along
Through wood or open field, the harmless man
Departs intent upon his onward quest!
No flow'ret blooms
Throughout the lofty range of these rough hills
Or in the woods, that could from him conceal
Its birthplace.

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.


E will have another stroll on the shore to-day.
But before we start, let us go into, the town
and see what the fishmonger has for sale. I
want, too, to buy a sponge. Soles, salmon, kippered
herrings, all which, I believe, are supplied from
Rhyl, are on the slab; we will buy a bit of salmon for
dinner, and a few kippered herrings for breakfast.
And now for the druggist's shop for a sponge. This
one will do well; do you see how full of sand it is?
But, besides sand, sponges contain some very beau-
tiful microscopic objects, called Foraminifera. They
vary much in size, but all are minute. The name is
derived from foramen, "a hole," andfero, "I carry," in


allusion to the number of small holes with which many
of the calcareous shells are pierced. What I see through
my lens are merely empty cases. But once they were
inhabited by little jelly-like creatures, of low organi-
zation, that lived in the sea. They possess a number

84 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

of long, thread-like processes, which may be seen
issuing from the numerous apertures of the shell.
These processes act as feet, and serve for locomotion.
The shells are made chiefly of carbonate of lime, but
the texture varies considerably. In some it is opaque,
like porcelain, and in these there are no perforations;
in others there are numerous little holes; in others
again, the structure is transparent, like glass. Some
forms remind one strongly of the nautilus, and for-
merly the creatures that dwelt inside them were
considered to belong to the molluscous order, and
to be related to the nautilus. It has, however, long
ago been shown that the foraminifera are not at all like
little molluscs, except in the external shape of some of

the shells. But minute and unimportant as these
foraminifera may appear to be, I must tell you that
they have played a very important part in nature.
"The geological chalk formations, which here and
there rise in long chains of mountains, are due to
agglomerations of animalcules with calcareous cara-
paces, and in spite of the size of their layers, are
nevertheess composed of the debris of microscopic
foraminifera. It is they that encircle England with
the immense rampart of beautiful white, to which it

Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

owes its ancient name of Albion. In Russia, near the
Volga, in the north of France, in Denmark, Sweden,
Greece, Sicily, Africa, and Arabia, many chalk hills
have a similar origin." The stones of the Pyramids
of Egypt are full of a species of foraminifera called
nummulite, from its coin-like appearance,-nummus in
Latin, you know, meaning "money." I have no
doubt that the objects which Strabo, the Greek geo-
grapher, speaks of as having himself seen at the
Pyramids, were some kinds of foraminifera. He
says, "I saw one remarkable thing at the Pyramids,
which I must not pass over without notice. In front
of the pyramids lie heaps of stones from the quarries;
among these are found pieces which in shape and size
resemble lentils. Some contain substances like grains
half peeled. It is said that these are the remnants of
the workmen's food changed into stone, which is
I have some very pretty forms of these shells,
which I will show you under the microscope when we
get home. You will also admire the beautiful en-
gravings in Dr. Williamson's and Dr. Carpenter's
splendid books on the Foraminifera. Well has the
first-named naturalist remarked-" Little to be envied
is the man whose eye rests without interest upon
forms so replete with elegance, as are many of these
microscopic atoms. Grace and beauty meet him on
every hand; whilst the objects in which these attri-
butes are displayed often suggest associations little to
be anticipated in creatures so minute. Miniature and
fairy-like representatives of the classic nautilus present

86 Sea-side Walks of a Naturalist.

themselves in rich abundance. The Attic Amphora
and the Roman Lachrymatory are foreshadowed
amongst the graceful Lagene; whilst some of the
Cristellarim might have been the prototypes of those
ancient lamps that illuminated the hall of the Cartha-
ginian queen, when
Dependent lychni laqueraribus aureis,
Incensi, et noctem flammis funalia vincunt."
Imagination may long revel amongst these lovely
creations, ever finding abundant scope for the play of
fancy; and should anyone still exist, in this nineteenth
century, who is disposed to frown upon such objects
as unworthy of serious study, let him submit to be
reminded that in nature as well as in art,
A thing of Beauty is a joy for ever."
Now for the shore again; the tide is going out fast.
Willy, run to our lodgings and borrow a spade; I will
dig for some lugworms. All right; here he comes
with a strong useful spade. Now, do you see these
little hollows in the sand, and the worm-casts near
them? What quantities there are They are made
by the common lugworm (Arenicola piscatorum), so
extensively used as bait by fishermen. I will dig one
up; I dare say he is two feet deep in his sandy retreat.
There I have one perfectly uninjured. Oh papa,"
said May, "it is a disgusting-looking thing." Well,
it is not very prepossessing, I allow, just at present,
and see, is I handle it, it discharges a yellow fluid that
stains the fingers. But I will put the worm into this
tall bottle full of clear sea-water. There! what do you

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