« AnteriorContinuar »
are shaking themselves free of their brown down the window to keep up her character sheaths with surprising quickness. The as an invalid. fountain too sparkles merrily in the sun- Clémence has gone to meet her father shine, and seems to be calling for its play- under the archway; he draws her hand fellows, the gold-fish, to disport themselves fondly within his arm, and they come back in its basin.
together into the court-yard. Clémence stands waiting in the middle Clémence looks full of expectation. of the court-yard; her mourning dress “ It is all right,” Monsieur smiles down looks sad in contrast to the brightness into her questioning eyes. “I had a overhead, but there is no sorrow in her long talk with Louis and also with Rosalie. sweet earnest dark eyes.
They seem very happy. The most hopeEvery now and then they are turned to ful sign about her is her loving gratitude the arched passage with an expectant look to thee, Clémence: she says, if she is hapin them.
py in this new life with Louis, she owes it She is not looking at Eulalie, who stands all to thy unselfish love." outside the window of the little sitting- “ Hush, my father;" but Clémence's soft room, with her arms akimbo, chatting with eyes are full of tears. Madame de Vos. The cook of the “Ours “I am not afraid of spoiling thee, my d'Or” has evidently softened toward the darling,” he kisses her forehead, “ but I visitor; she is actually instructing her at should like to know thy secret, Clémence; this moment on the best method of cook- it could have been no easy matter to win ing chaffinches.
poor froward Rosalie to feel as she now A sound of wheels at last rattling over feels—that a wife is made for a husband, the round stones of the Place, Eulalie re- not a husband for a wife.” treats precipitately into her kitchen. It “I have no secret,” laughs Clémence, does not comport with her self-respect, that softly; "I only love Rosalie dearly, and I her master should find her chatting with think she believes it now.” her old foe. Madame de Vos too shuts
[From St. Paul's Magazine.
BY FRANCIS FRANCIS.
WHETHER we owe many of the matters upon almost as a lusus naturæ by the averwe are about to glance at to fishes or no, age Englishman, who rarely includes ichit is certain that the fishes possessed them thyology amongst his studies—a fact which long fore we did, and though man may is very much to be lamented, for we have be said to have invented them, yet in his large national interests bound up in that savage state he must have taken more or science; in fact, we owe a great deal more less of hints from nature, and have adopt- to fishes than any other nation, not even ed the methods which nature pointed out excluding the Dutch, some of whose cities to him as the most effective in hunting or were formerly figuratively described as built war (which were his principal occupations) on fish-bones, and a professorial chair of whenever they could be adapted to his Ichthyology at the universities would be by needs and appliances. However this may no means an unwise institution. It is not be, it is certainly singular that we should many years since that a review which was find so many existing similarities of a pe- published in an influential paper, dealing, culiar kind between the habits and attrib- amongst other things, with this special utes of men and fishes. For example, point, contemptuously dismissed the fact of there is scarcely a sport we practice or a there being such a thing as a shooting fish weapon of offense that we use which has as a traveler's tale. The ignorance amongst not a parallel among fishes. As to weap- the general public on every thing relating ons—daggers, spears, swords, are all pos- to fish is at times perfectly surprising. I sessed by fish in a very high state of natu- have seen small worthless bass passed off ral perfection, and even guns have a repre- as gray mullet; I have seen even nasty sentative institution among fishes. A gravid pond roach hawked about as gray Shooting Fish would no doubt be looked mullet; I have seen large bass actually
sold for salmon at one of our fashionable of its body, and with huge sacks like bagwatering places. After this, if the Lon- nets attached to its gill-covers, in which it doner constantly buys coarse, dry, tasteless stows its victims; and what a cavernous buil-trout as fine Tay salmon, it is not to mouth! Surely a fish so repulsive and be wondered at. The Eton boy hastening with a capacity so vast and apparently omhome for the holidays provides himself nivorous, would frighten from its neighborwith a tin tube and a pocketful of peas. hood all other fish, and would, if its powWe beg the present Etonian's pardon; we ers of locomotion were in accordance with should have said he used to do so formerly, its size, be the terror of the seas to fish when there were boys at Eton, and, backed smaller than itself; but Providence knowby some skill as a marksman, therewith eth how to temper its gifts, and the Lophiconstituted himself an intolerable nuisance us is but an indifferent swimmer, and is too to every village and vehicle he passed on clumsy to support a predatory existence by his road home. The Macoushee Indian the fleetest of its motions. How, then, is makes a better use of his blow-tube; he this huge capacity satisfied ? Mark those puffs small arrows and hardened balls of two elongated tentacles which spring from clay through it with unerring aim, doing the creature's nose, and how they taper great execution amongst birds and other away like veritable fishing rods. To the
Now the Chætodon, (Chæto- end of them is attached by a line or a slendon rostratus,) which is more or less a na- der filament a small glittering morsel of tive of the eastern seas from Ceylon to Ja- membrane. This is the bait. The hooks pan, rather perhaps resembles the Macou- are set in the mouth of the fisherman down shee Indian than the Eton boy, though his below. But how is the animal to induce gun, shooting tube, or blow-pipe, or what- the fish to venture within reach of those ever it may be termed, is a natural one. formidable hooks ? Now mark this perfect His nose is really a kind of beak," through feat of angling. How does the Thames which he has the power of propelling a
fisherman attract the gudgeons ? They small drop of water with some force and are shy; he must not let them see him, yet considerable accuracy of aim. Near the he must draw them to him, and he does it edge of the water is perhaps a spray of by stirring up the mud upon the bottom. weed, a twig, or a tuft of grass; on it sits “In that cloud of mud is food,” say the a fly, making its toilet in the watery mirror gudgeons. Then the angler plies his rod below. Rostratus advances cautiously un- and bait. Just so the Lophius proceeds, der the fly; then he stealthily projects his and he too stirs up the mud with his fins tube from the water, takes a deadly aim, as and tail. This serves not only to hide him, though he were contesting for some pisca- but to attract the fish. Then he plies his tory Elcho shield, and pop goes the watery rod, and the glittering bait waves to and bullet.
fro like a living insect glancing through
the turbid water. The gudgeons, or rathPoor insect, what a little day of sunny bliss is thine !
er gobies, rush toward it. “ Beware! beware!"
But when did gudgeon attend to Knocked over by the treacherous missile, warning yet? Suddenly up rises the cavdrenched, stunned, half-drowned, she drops ernous Nemesis from the cloud below, and from her perch into the waters below, to snap:” the gobies are entombed in the be sucked in by the Chætodon. But if we bag-net, thence to be transferred to the have fishes who can shoot their game, we Lophius's stomach, when there are enough have also fishes who can fish for it; ay, of them collected to form a satisfactory and fish for it with rod and line and bait mouthful. as deftly as ever angler coaxed gudgeons But we have still other sportsmen fish; from the ooze of the New River or salmon we have fish who hunt their prey singly, or from the flashing torrent of the Spey. Wit- in pairs, or even in packs, like hounds. ness this clumsy-looking monster the Fish- The reader, possibly, has never witnessed ing Frog (Lophius piscatorius.) Frightful a skäll in Scandinavia. It is a species of and hideous is he according to our vulgar hunt in which a number of sportsmen take notions of loveliness, which the Lophius in a wide space of ground, where game possibly might disagree with. The beast exists, drawing a cordon around it, and is sometimes five or six feet in length, with narrowing their circle little by little, and an enormous head in proportion to the rest driving the game together into a flock, when they shoot them down. There was escape, while its pursuer bends and turns some years ago a capital description of to every motion, following close upon his porpoises making a skäll upon sand-eels, track, and cutting him off exactly as a written by the late Mr. James Lowe, some- greyhound does a hare. Now he rushes time editor of the Critic and “ Chronicler” among a shoal of his fellows, hoping to be of the Field, who saw the sight while fish- lost sight of in the crowd and confusion; ing near the Channel Islands with Peter le but the grim foe behind is not to be baffled Nowry, the pilot. Having searched for or deceived, and singling him out and this passage several times, without be- scattering the small fry, which fly in all ing able to find it, I am reluctantly com- directions, ruffling the surface of the water pelled to quote from memory. They were like a sudden squall of wind in their fright, fishing off Guernsey, when Mr. Lowe call- follows up his victim with unerring instinct. ed Peter's attention to several porpoises, In an agony of terror the poor little quarry which seemed to be engaged in a water springs again and again frantically from frolic, swimming after one another in a the water, only to fall at last exhausted .circle. “ That is no frolic, but very so- into the gaping jaws of his ravenous foe, ber earnest for the sand-eels,” said Peter. who, gripping his body crosswise in his “Now,” he continued, “ I will show you a mouth, sails steadily away to his lair, there sight which I have only chanced to see two to devour his prey at leisure. Other fish or three times in my life, and you therefore hunt their food like dogs or wolves in are very lucky to have the opportunity of packs, as does the bonito chase the flyingseeing it at all. There is a great shoal of fish, and one perhaps of the fiercest, most sand-eels yonder, and the porpoises are savage, and resolute of these is the Piräi, driving them into a mass; for, you see, the of South America. So fierce and savage sand-eel is only a very small morsel for a are these little pirates, when their size and porpoise, and to pick them up one by one apparent capability is taken into considerwould not suit Mr. Porpoise, who would ation, that their feats of destructiveness are get hungry again by the time he had done little short of the marvelous. Stand forth, feeding on them singly; so they drive them then, “piräi” of the Carib, "black sawinto a thick crowd, in order that when they bellied salmon” (Serra salmo niger) of make a dash at them they may get a doz- Schomburgk; so called, doubtless, from en or two at a mouthful. But, as we want the possession of the peculiar adipose fin, some for bait, we will join in the hunt." common only to the salmon tribe, though And they edged down to the spot till they in no other respect does it resemble a salwere within the circle. The porpoises, fol- mon, there being positive structural differlowing one another pretty closely, were ences between the species. Let us take swimming round, now rising to the surface, the portrait of this fish. Doubtless the now diving below, and gradually contract- reader figures to himself a fish of “a ing the circle. The terrified sand-eels were and hungry look," a very Cassius of a fish, driven closer and closer, and in their fear with the lanthorn jaws of a pike. But, in came to the surface all about the boat; and fact, the piräi is somewhat aldermanic and just as two or three porpoises made a dash like a bream in figure, with a fighting-lookinto the crowd, snapping right and left, the ing kind of nose, and a wondrously exfishermen plunged their nets into the wa- pressive eye-cold, cruel, and insatiable, ter, and brought them up quite full of these and like to that of an old Jew bill discountlittle fish. Of course the shoal soon broke er when scrutinizing doubtful paper. There up and dispersed, but the skill with which is 70 or 80 per cent in that eye at the very the skäll was conducted and the beauty of least, and ruin to widows and orphans unthe sight were much dilated on by Mr. numbered if they come in its way. If it Lowe, and it must have been a very inter- were a human eye, the owner would be esting one.
bound sooner or later to figure at execuThere are many fish which hunt their tion dock. The jaw is square, powerful, prey singly, as the pike and trout, and the and locked into a very large head for the way in which a large pike or trout will size of the fish; and that is a fat, plump course and run down a smaller fish re- head too, but radiated over with strong sembles nothing so much as a greyhound bone and gristle. The teeth-ah! they coursing a hare. Now the unhappy little would condemn him anywhere, for here is fish turns from side to side in its efforts to a fish sixteen inches long, with the teeth almost of a shark. Schomburgk speaks the fragments torn off by the shark when thus of its destructive power :
feeding on any large body. Doubtless, “ This voracious fish is found plentifully too, there is a certain amount of protection in all the rivers in Guiana, and is dreaded obtained from consorting with monsters by every other inhabitant or visitant of the against other predacious fish. The fact of river. Their jaws are so strong that they the pilot-fish conducting the shark to his are able to bite off a man's finger or toe. prey has been disputed, but veritable inThey attack fish of ten-times their own stances related by eye-witnesses leave no weight, and devour all but the head. They doubt that at times it does fulfill this office begin with the tail, and the fish, being left for the shark. Nor is there any thing sinwithout the chief organ of motion, is de- gular in the fact. The pilot-fish is on the voured with ease, several going to partici- look-out for his own dinner probably, but pate of the meal. Indeed, there is scarcely will not venture on it until his protector any animal which it will not attack, man has helped himself. We have numerous not excepted. Large alligators which instances of this both in human and beasthave been wounded on the tail afford a life. fair chance of satisfying their hunger, and In weapons of offense, besides the shooteven the toes of this formidable animal are ing apparatus already mentioned, fish have, not free from their attacks. The feet of first, the sword. This is represented by ducks and geese, where they are kept, are the blade of the Sword-fish (Xiphias glualmost invariably cut off, and young ones dius.) This fish possesses a tremendously devoured altogether
. In these places it is powerful weapon, backed as it is by the not safe to bathe, or even to wash clothes, great weight and impetus which it can many cases having occurred of fingers and bring to bear upon its thrusts. Many intoes being cut off by them.”
stances have been known in which the Schomburgk then relates astonishing in- bottoms of ships have been pierced through stances of their voracity, in which the toes by the sword of the Xiphias. Ships sailing of the river Cavia are eaten off; a large quietly along have received a shock as if sun-fish devoured alive; ducks and geese they had touched a rock, and when they deprived of their feet and walking on the have been examined after the voyage, the stumps. Of course the lines which are used broken blade of the fish has been found to capture them have to be armed with sticking in the ship's side. In the United metal to prevent their being cut through. Service Museum there is, or was formerly, Their voracity is marvelous, and any bait a specimen of the sword-fish's handiwork will attract them the instant it is thrown in this respect. A portion of the weapon into the water. Precaution is necessary, is shown sticking into the timbers of a however, when the fish is lifted out of the ship, having pierced the sheathing and water, or it will inflict serious wounds in planking and buried itself deeply in the its struggles. The fisherman therefore has stout oak knee-timber of the vessel. Xia small bludgeon ready, with which he phias would, however, be terribly bothered breaks their skulls as soon as they are with the change in naval architecture; and caught.
we are inclined to wonder what he would Thus, there are fish which shoot their make of an iron-clad. Perhaps a little prey, which fish for it, which course it and rough experience in this direction may hunt it, in various ways. There are others make him more chary of indulging naughwhich employ other fishes to hunt it up for ty tempers, and he may be taught quâ them, as we use pointers and setters; such Doctor Watts that, like little children, he as the little Pilot-fish, which leads the "should not let his angry passions rise.” huge shark to his prey; though this has If so, the cause of humanity will be strongbeen disputed, because the pilot-fish has ly pleaded by the iron-clads, and the poor, been known to follow and play about a clumsy, harmless whale will be the gainer. vessel just as it does usually about the The Xiphias frequently weighs five or six body of a shark. The probability is that hundred pounds in weight. The rapidity the pilot-fish is a species of parasite or with which it can cut through the water is diner-out, who will make particular friends very great. It is a great enemy to the with any big person who will feed him, whále, and it is generally surmised that it and no doubt would find food in the refuse mistakes a ship sailing through the water cast from a vessel, even as he would from for a whale, and dashes at it with indiscriminating rage, often breaking and los- elongated tooth or tusk. The narwhal, ing its sword by its blind fury. Persons when young, has the germs of but three bathing have not always been entirely safe teeth. Sometimes two of these become from this fish, but have been stabbed to developed and grow out spiked tusks, death by the Xiphias. One instance of pointing in divergent directions; oftener, this occurred in the Bristol Channel, near however, but one is the mature result. the mouth of the Severn, in which a small Whatever the use of this formidable spear fish of some seventy or eighty pounds may be, we know that it is very excellent weight was the malefactor. They abound and valuable ivory; but for any minute in the Mediterranean, and a hunt after, information as to the natural history of the with the harpooning and slaying of the animal itself, we should have to rely chiefXiphias, is usually a work of time and much ly upon the knowledge of the Kamschatexcitement. Akin to the sword-fish in kans, which amounts to little more than their offensive capabilities are the Saw- that it is good eating, produces much oil, fishes, though their weapons resemble rath- and is possessed of a valuable tooth. er such as are used by certain savage tribes Of daggers various we have many specthan civilized saws. Nor does the word imens, more particularly amongst the fam“saw” correctly describe them. They are ily of the Raiidæ ;t and fearful weapons terrible weapons, however, and the Indians they are, some of them being serrated or who edge their spears with shark's teeth al- barbed, and capable of inflicting terrible most reproduce artificially the weapon of the lacerated wounds. In most of these fish saw-fish. The largest of them, Pristis an- the dagger, or spine, is situated on and tiquorum, is commonly found to grow to some way down the elongated tail; and the length of fifteen or sixteen feet. The as the animal has great muscular power in elongated snout is set upon either side with the tail, and is able to whirl it about in any sharp spikes, thickly dispersed, and some- direction it may desire, it not unfrequently what resembling the teeth of the shark. It deals forth most savage retribution to its forms a most fearful weapon, as the poor captors. It knows full well, too, how to whale has good reason to know, to whom direct its aim, and it is told of some of the it is also a deadly enemy. There are sev
members of this family that if a hand, or eral members of the saw-fish tribe; one of even a finger, be laid upon the fish, it can, the most peculiar is the Pristis cirratus, or by a single turn of the tail, transfix with its Cirrated Saw-fish, of New South Wales. spine the offending member. So dangerIn the saw of this fish the teeth are irreg- ous are the consequences of these wounds, ular, one long and three short ones being that it is customary (and in France and placed alternately
Italy it is made compulsory by law on the The weapon of the Narwhal—which by fishermen) to cut off the tails above the the by is not strictly a fish, but a member spines of the fish thus armed before they of the Cetacea found chiefly in the Arctic are brought to market; and in this way seas-is the most perfect specimen of a almost the only specimen of the Eagle Ray very complete and efficient spear, being (Myliobatis aquila) ever captured alive in composed of the hardest ivory and taper this countryf was mutilated; so that the ing gradually to a point. But what the special purpose of this spear is, is not
+ There are three species of rays in this counknown; whether it is used as a means of try which have these weapons--the Sting Ray, the
Eagle Ray, and the Horned Ray. attack upon its enemies, or to secure its # This fish was captured at Ramsgate some prey, or whether it is a mere implement years ago and sent to me; it was 18 inches long, for digging a passage through opposing exclusive of the tail, which was missing, and about ice-floes, as is often supposed, we can but 24 feet broad. Previous to this the tail of one
was examined by Pennant, and a small one was conjecture. It is a very singular fact that found dead off Berwick by Dr. Johnson, but no the spear of the narwhal is always situated living specimen had been captured. Since this on one side of the nose, chiefly the left ; it
was penned, however, but a few months ago, andoes not project from the middle of the notice. This fish was taken off the Devonshire
other one was caught and attracted a good deal of head: it is no long snout or horn,* but an coast, and was about the same size, or a trifle
larger, than mine. It was preserved in the Exe
ter Museum, where it now is. Mr. Buckland These spears were brought home formerly very kindly sent me an excellent photograph of and imposed upon the credulous as the horn of the fish. The colors appear to have been most the unicorn.