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quence of its oyster-loving propensities. Essex, opposite Colchester. On inquiring They think that the creature watches until what they caught, he was surprised to hear an oyster opens its shell, and then pokes that it was the common star or cross-fish, one of its "fingers” between the valves as which the fishermen sold to the farmers on a wedge, with the intent of presently whip- the neighbouring coasts as manure. ping out its prey, but that sometimes the
“Five-finger” is not a term that would apathetic mollusc closes on his enemy, hold- suit every star-fish: some have at least ing the finger fast, whereupon the cross- twelve arms or rays, though then, it is true, fish, like some defeated warrior, flings his they get denominated sun-stars. The comarms away, glad to purchase freedom and
mon sun-star (Solaster papposa) is one of safety at the expense of a part which it has the handsomest of all the British species. the power to reproduce.
Sometimes the whole upper surface is deep There is, however, reason to think that purple, and frequently the disc is red, and the cross-fish destroys his prey in a very the rays white tipped with red. It somedifferent manner from that just narrated. times measures eleven inches across.
Both He places himself over whatever he means
disc and rays
are studded with small to feed upon, as a cockle-shell, for instance, whitish knobs, which seem simple to the the back gradually rising as he arches him- eye, but when magnified are seen to be self above it; he then turns his stomach formed of short and close-set spines. well-nigh inside out, so as to enclose his
Mr. Gosse has just dredged a sun-star prey completely, and proceeds leisurely to
near the harbour at Teignmouth, and the suck out the animal from its shell.
gaping mouth of the gaily-painted gentleman The fishermen are not without other gives an unexpected insight into his diet. A notions still more wide of the truth, and bit of an echinus-shell is seen, which being superstitious practices accordant with their laid hold of with a pair of pliers and carebeliefs. There is a species of star-fish called fully dragged, lo! forth comes the entire the Butt-thorn, which owes its name to box of a purple-tipped urchin, nearly an a singular superstition of the fishermen at inch in diameter, empty of course, through Scarborough. The first that they take is the force of Mr. Sun's gastric juice, and carefully made a prisoner of, and placed on denuded of spines. Ugh, the cannibal! to a seat at the stern of the boat. When they eat his own first-cousin ! hook a butt (that is, a halibut), they im- Besides star-fishes and sun-stars we have mediately give the poor star-fish its liberty ; in this class the ophiuridæ, or snake-stars, but if their fishery is unsuccessful, it is left with long serpent-like arms, which are apto perish, and may eventually enrich the pended to the disc, rather than blended with cabinet of some industrious collector.
it, as in the star-fish proper. They have no And some of the star-fishes would be true suckers, yet they move with much more beautiful adornments of a cabinet, in addi- rapidity than the star-fishes, their manner tion to possessing a scientific interest. The being to extend one arm in the direction in small “cribella,” Professor Agassiz tells us, which they mean to advance, then bring presents the greatest variety of colours : forward two others to meet it, three arms some are dyed in Tyrian purple, others have being thus usually in advance, and then a paler shade of the same hue, some are they drag the rest of the body on. vermilion, others a bright orange or yellow. Among those found in the British seas A glass dish filled with cribellæ might vie are the “sand-stars,” which have a whipwith a tulip-bed in gaiety and vividness of like or lizard-tail appearance, and the brittletints. It will be a stronger recommenda- stars, which look like so many centipedes or tion to some persons that the star-fish may annelids attached at regular distances round be rendered useful, at least after its death. a little sea-urchin. The granulate brittleDr. Lankester, on a journey from Ipswich star-a very fine imposing species—reminded to London passed through a fleet of small Mr. Gosse of the great South American boats engaged in dredging, off the coast of hairy spiders, with a brown body and long
bristly legs, sprawling over a width of eight terminating eye, the spinous eyelid of which or ten inches. Having consigned a speci- opened and closed with something exceedmen to a shallow tank at home, after a few ingly like a wink of derision. days he missed him one morning, and on The common brittle-star, says the same searching the whole room carefully, found entertaining naturalist, often congregates in him at length under the edge of the hearth- great numbers on the edges of scallop-banks, rug, some yards from the tank, with all his and I have seen a large dredge come up rays broken into many pieces, and only the completely filled with them-a most curious short stumps remaining. Brittle star! We sight, for when the dredge was emptied, have heard of Japanese gentlemen com- these little creatures, writhing with the mitting the happy despatch when their strangest contortions, crept about in all dignity is offended, and we are aware that directions, often flinging their arms in broken crabs will throw away their fore-claws when pieces around them; and their snake-like alarmed ; but this brittle-star is either ex- and threatening attitudes were by no means cessively timid or most sensitively alive to relished by the boatmen, who anxiously insult. Place but a finger on him, and he asked permission to shovel them overboard, breaks up his dishonoured body into frag- superstitiously remarking that the things ments before your eyes. He thinks no more
“ weren't altogether right.” of throwing away his legs and arms than a Far back in the geological ages, before seayoung lord in London thinks of squandering urchins, and cross-fishes, and brittle-stars, his acres.
came into being, there were creatures which The first time I ever took one of these might have been readily mistaken for them, creatures, says Edward Forbes, I succeeded which combined their characters and fore. in getting it into the boat entire. Never shadowed their advent. These were the having seen one before, and quite unconscious members of the order “crinoïdea” or lilyof its suicidal powers, I spread it out on a like animals, whose fossil remains are often rowing-bench, the better to admire its form called stone-lilies. In later times the group and colours. On attempting to move it for of crinoids has been gradually dwindling in preservation, to my horror and disappoint number and variety. Its present represenment I found only an assemblage of rejected tatives are the pentacrinus of Porto Rico, members. Next time I went to dredge on attached throughout life to a stem or footthe same spot, determined not to be cheated stalk, which fixes it to some solid body, and out of a specimen in such a way a second the comatula, or feather-star, which has a time, I brought with me a bucket of cold stem only in the early stages of its growth, fresh water, to which article star-fishes have and is free when adult. Before 1823 it was a great antipathy (i.e. immersion in cold nct known that any representative of the fresh water kills them, as it does most other ancient lily-stars existed in the European marine creatures). As I expected, a luidia seas, but in that year Mr. T. V. Thompson came up in the dredge, a most gorgeous dredged, in the Cove of Cork, a small comaspecimen. As it does not generally break tula, still on its stalk, and astonished all up before it is raised above the surface of the naturalists. the sea, cautiously and anxiously I sunk my Let us suppose ourselves on the sea-shore bucket to a level with the dredge's mouth, with Mr. Lewis. We capture one curiosity and proceeded in the most gentle manner after another; and see! what pink-andto introduce luidia to the purer element. white feathery creature is this clasping the Whether the cold air was too much for him, weed with a circle of pale-pink roots ? By or the sight of the bucket too terrific, I know Jove! it is a comatula ; and now that we not, but in a moment he proceeded to dis. have put it into our bottle of sea-water how solve his corporation, and at every mesh of it expands its feathers, and reveals itself as the dredge his fragments were seen escaping. an animal fern, marvellous to look up In despair I grasped at the largest, and “ All the way home the bottle was conbrought up the extremity of an arm with its | stantly being raised to my loving regard, that I might feast myself upon the waving exist, besides the joints of the lateral (or grace of those pink-and-white feathers.” side) appendages, which are probably more
At first sight the comatula resembles a than 50,000 additional. As each joint was brittle-star, but on a closer examination, we furnished with at least two bundles of musfind that the arms are made up of short cular fibre, one for extending it, the other joints of stone, carrying at their sides a pair for drawing it in, we have 300,000 such in of diverging beards, all of which together, the body of a single pentacrinus—an amount by their number and arrangement, give of muscular apparatus far exceeding any to the ray the appearance of a beautiful that has been elsewhere observed in the feather. If it is the Comatula rosacea that animal creation. we have got hold of, the whole elegant In the encrinus, another fossil form, creature is of a lively rose tint, interrupted found abundantly in the marble before by patches of bright yellow, disposed with referred to, the body and jointed stem no regularity or apparent order; the whole, exhibit rather a rounded than a pentagonal both the yellow and the rosy portions, form, and the stalk is attached by a sort of studded with crimson dots.
spreading root, like that of many corals. The West Indian representative of the The flat plates which, piled one above ancient stone lilies—the Pentacrinus caput another like thick wafers, make up the stem, Medusa—is of considerable size, and pos- fall asunder when the cord of animal matter sesses a stem more than a foot long. A spe- which passed through them has decayed cimen found alive at Barbadoes was bought away, and in their separated form get the by Mr. Hunter at the sale of the museum name of wheel-stones. They were formerly of the late Duchess of Portsmouth, for the strung as beads for rosaries; and in the sum of fifteen guineas, and deposited in the northern parts of Britain they still retain museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is the name of St. Cuthbert's beads. something like a star-fish mounted on a According to a Northumbrian legend, on long stalk, composed of thin discs or joints, dark nights, when the sea was running high, of pentagonal figure. By its side is a and the winds roaring fitfully, the spirit of Comatula rosacea, and as we gaze at them, St. Cuthbert was heard in the recurring they raise up a vision of an early world—a lulls forging beads for the faithful. He world, the potentates of which were not men, used to sit in the storm-mist, among the þut animals—of seas, on whose tranquil spray and sea-weeds, on a fragment of rock surfaces myriads of convoluted nautili on the shore of the island of Lindisfarne, sported, and in whose depths millions of and solemnly hammer away, using another lily-stars waved wilfully on their slender fragment of rock as his anvil. When the stems. Now, the lily-stars and nautili are storm subsided, the shore was found strewn almost gone; a few lovely stragglers of with the beads so forged. those once-abounding tribes remain to evidence the wondrous forms and structures
“On a rock by Lindisfarne
Saint Cuthbert sits, and toils to frame of their comrades. Other beings, not less
The sea-born beads that bear his name." wonderful, and scarcely less graceful, have Although St. Cuthbert is now neither seen replaced them; while the seas in which nor heard at work, the shore, after a storm, they flourished have become lands whereon is still found strewed with the beads, which man in his columned cathedrals and mazy are, in fact, the fossilized joints of crinoid palaces emulates the beauty and symmetry stems. of their fluted stems and chambered shells. We have only one more order of creatures
In some of the fossil species the arms are in the class echinodermata, and they are the divided and sub-divided to a much greater " holothurida,” or sea-cucumbers, which extent than in any recent forms, so that the may be regarded in one light as soft seanumber of pieces in the skeleton becomes urchins, and in another as approximating to very large. In the Pentacrinus Briareus the annelids or worms. They have no ar. it has been calculated that at least 100,000 / mour of plates and spines, but the tubular
feet or suckers usually exist, and the ra- -or it may be, the people who cannot afford diated or star-like structure is evident in the to be over-nice, I am not positive—as if in reparts around the mouth, which is situated venge for this envious distinction of the seaat one end of the body. On looking down cucumbers, eat a variety of species of them. on these parts only, we might almost sup- In the South Kensington Museum there are pose them to belong to some sort of star- a number of these animals which have been fish or brittle-star. The sea-cucumbers have caught and dried, and are exhibited for the the power of changing their shapes in the purpose of drawing attention to the articles strangest manner, sometimes lengthening of diet of other nations. Captain Flinders, out till they look like worms, sometimes in 1803, fell in with a fleet of Malay proas, contracting the middle of their bodies, so near the Gulf of Carpentaria, on the north as to give themselves the shape of an hour. coast of New Holland, carrying sea-cucumglass, and then again blowing themselves bers to the China market. The quantity up with water, so as to be perfectly globular. annually brought to China from Macassar, is
Put one in a jar of salt-water, and pre- usually about four hundred and sixteen tons. sently he protrudes a large chocolate. The creatures are gathered on the reefs, or coloured head, tipped with a ring of ten dived for to a depth of one or two fathoms, feathery gills, looking very much like a head are boiled and dried on shore, and then of “curled kale," but of the loveliest white stowed away in bags on board the vessel. and primrose. This little creature--he is Sea-cucumbers are usually found clinging from two to six inches long-knows a secret firmly to stones and pieces of rock, in situawhich would be of immense advantage to tions where they are not exposed to light. worn-out epicures and old Indians, who be- It may perhaps encourage you to search for moan their livers : he can perform a trick them if I mention that a species with twenty far more astonishing than any Chinese jug- tentacles round the mouth, which Professor gler is master of; and for his cleverness, Mr. Forbes has said was never before observed Charles Kingsley has spoken of him thus :- in the British seas, was discovered by Mr.
“Happy Holothuria! who possesses really Peach, a private in the mounted guard, at an the secret of everlasting youth, which an- obscure part of the Cornwall coastma man cient fable bestowed on the serpent and the with four shillings a-day, and a wife and eagle. For when his teeth ache, or his di- nine children, most of whose education he gestive organs trouble him, all he has to do had himself to conduct. And the twentyis just to cast up forthwith his entire in- tentacled sea-cucumber was by no means side, and in the course of a month or so his only discovery, for every year he came grow a fresh set, and then eat away as up to the British Association with a few merrily as ever.”
novelties in the way of echinodermata and The epicures of China, Japan, and Siam | zoophytes.
But, oh, Greenfinch! 'tis thy song,
Borne by summer winds along,
Which gives sweetness to the scene
flit amid the green. In the sober, shady wood
Nothing grand or nothing swelling
Issues ever from thy dwelling,
Given 'mid the blooming bushes,
Given forth in artless rushes.
Void of art thy melody,
Unassuming though it be,
In the tranquil forest shade.--T. R.
THE ODD BOY ON EPITAPHS.
EAR EVERYBODY,-At the begin- | Moses,” &c. The adjudicators announced
ning of last year the proprietor of that more than ten thousand epitaphs had this Magazine offered a prize for the best been sent in—the number was ultimately collection of Epitaphs : competitors not to ascertained to be fifteen thousand and odd. be above eighteen years of age. In due And odd—and some of them were very odd course came the Essays, versatile, veracious, -and, when the Diet closed, the whistler and voluminous. They perplexed the Post called it the Diet of Würms, I, who had Office, they exhausted the postman, they assisted, thought I had seen the last of confounded the publisher, they alarmed the them, and that the Epitaphs, so far as I was editor, they crowded every available space, concerned, might be buried “ five fathoms they swamped the shop, they flooded the deep.” But it was not so. Somebody was stairs, they rushed like a mighty deluge good enough—-bad enough is better-to say into editorial quarters, they were in every- that I was good in “ deranging epitaphs,” body's way, and the office people were glad and the editor has been worrying me ever enough to get rid of the lot by sending them, since to pick up some of the oddities, in a vehicle especially engaged for the pur- and stick them together for the “B. M. M.” pose, to the place of adjudication. There So at last—like the young lady who con. the judges met—"a terrible show”—in sented to matrimony, just to quiet her solemn council, taking into their serious troublesome lover—I agreed to do it. So consideration the comparative merits of the much for introduction. collection.
Let us begin with brevity: the epitaph It was, as the Bishop of London remarked on Richard Groombridge, “He was.” Next, on the question of altering the burial ser- the deceased's name—nothing but that, JOHN vice, a very grave question. The adjudica- BURNS, surname in italic, short but un. tors were admonished
pleasantly suggestive. The next is better, Raise not, ye wits, a giddy echo here,
“Honest John-dead and gone!” Where oft affection drops a filial tear; Then we have epitaphs with a little more Let yours be not the obdurate hearts of information in them
whom 'Tis said they could be merry in a tomb! “
One thousand seven hundred and sixty-six.” But they did laugh ; they could not help it ; so many oddities were strung together that if The following is explicit, but scarcely so they had not laughed they might have needed satisfactoryepitaphs themselves, One of the adjudi- “Here lies the body of Jonathan Ground, cators—I name no names—was distinctly He was lost at sea, and never was found.” heard whistling “Old Bob Ridley,” and
Here is a caution to youth-don't do it rightly was he reproved by the presi
- don't have an old head
young dent, in the words of the immortal bard—
shoulders - not by no means.
“ Verbum “Has the fellow no feeling for his business ? he sings at grave-making.” The rebuke had the desired effect, the whistler subse- Here lies—to friends, parents, and country
dear quently confined himself to such tunes as the “Dead March in Saul,” “Down among the But in that time so much good sense had
A youth who scarce had seen his 17th year ; Dead Men,” “Giles Scroggin's Ghost," shown, “The Shadow Dance," “ The Vicar and That Death mistook 17 for 71.