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quence of its oyster-loving propensities. They think that the creature watches until an oyster opens its shell, and then pokes one of its "fingers" between the valves as a wedge, with the intent of presently whipping out its prey, but that sometimes the apathetic mollusc closes on his enemy, holding the finger fast, whereupon the crossfish, like some defeated warrior, flings his arms away, glad to purchase freedom and safety at the expense of a part which it has the power to reproduce.

There is, however, reason to think that the cross-fish destroys his prey in a very different manner from that just narrated. He places himself over whatever he means to feed upon, as a cockle-shell, for instance, the back gradually rising as he arches himself above it; he then turns his stomach well-nigh inside out, so as to enclose his prey completely, and proceeds leisurely to suck out the animal from its shell.

The fishermen are not without other notions still more wide of the truth, and superstitious practices accordant with their beliefs. There is a species of star-fish called the Butt-thorn, which owes its name to a singular superstition of the fishermen at Scarborough. The first that they take is carefully made a prisoner of, and placed on a seat at the stern of the boat. When they hook a butt (that is, a halibut), they immediately give the poor star-fish its liberty; but if their fishery is unsuccessful, it is left to perish, and may eventually enrich the cabinet of some industrious collector.

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Five-finger" is not a term that would suit every star-fish: some have at least twelve arms or rays, though then, it is true, they get denominated sun-stars. The common sun-star (Solaster papposa) is one of the handsomest of all the British species. Sometimes the whole upper surface is deep purple, and frequently the disc is red, and the rays white tipped with red. It sometimes measures eleven inches across. disc and rays are studded with small whitish knobs, which seem simple to the eye, but when magnified are seen to be formed of short and close-set spines.


Mr. Gosse has just dredged a sun-star near the harbour at Teignmouth, and the gaping mouth of the gaily-painted gentleman gives an unexpected insight into his diet. A bit of an echinus-shell is seen, which being laid hold of with a pair of pliers and carefully dragged, lo! forth comes the entire box of a purple-tipped urchin, nearly an inch in diameter, empty of course, through the force of Mr. Sun's gastric juice, and denuded of spines. Ugh, the cannibal! to eat his own first-cousin!

Besides star-fishes and sun-stars we have in this class the ophiuridæ, or snake-stars, with long serpent-like arms, which are appended to the disc, rather than blended with it, as in the star-fish proper. They have no true suckers, yet they move with much more rapidity than the star-fishes, their manner being to extend one arm in the direction in which they mean to advance, then bring forward two others to meet it, three arms being thus usually in advance, and then they drag the rest of the body on.

And some of the star-fishes would be beautiful adornments of a cabinet, in addition to possessing a scientific interest. The small "cribella," Professor Agassiz tells us, presents the greatest variety of colours: some are dyed in Tyrian purple, others have a paler shade of the same hue, some are vermilion, others a bright orange or yellow. A glass dish filled with cribellæ might vie with a tulip-bed in gaiety and vividness of tints. It will be a stronger recommenda-stars, which look like so many centipedes or tion to some persons that the star-fish may be rendered useful, at least after its death. Dr. Lankester, on a journey from Ipswich to London passed through a fleet of small boats engaged in dredging, off the coast of

Among those found in the British seas are the "sand-stars," which have a whiplike or lizard-tail appearance, and the brittle

annelids attached at regular distances round a little sea-urchin. The granulate brittlestar-a very fine imposing species-reminded Mr. Gosse of the great South American 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 specimen to a shallow tank at home, after a few days he missed him one morning, and on searching the whole room carefully, found him at length under the edge of the hearthrug, some yards from the tank, with all his rays broken into many pieces, and only the short stumps remaining. Brittle star! We have heard of Japanese gentlemen committing the happy despatch when their dignity is offended, and we are aware that crabs will throw away their fore-claws when alarmed; but this brittle-star is either excessively timid or most sensitively alive to insult. Place but a finger on him, and he breaks up his dishonoured body into fragments before your eyes. He thinks no more of throwing away his legs and arms than a young lord in London thinks of squandering his acres.

The first time I ever took one of these creatures, says Edward Forbes, I succeeded in getting it into the boat entire. Never having seen one before, and quite unconscious of its suicidal powers, I spread it out on a rowing-bench, the better to admire its form and colours. On attempting to move it for preservation, to my horror and disappointment I found only an assemblage of rejected members. Next time I went to dredge on the same spot, determined not to be cheated out of a specimen in such a way a second time, I brought with me a bucket of cold fresh water, to which article star-fishes have a great antipathy (.e. immersion in cold fresh water kills them, as it does most other marine creatures). As I expected, a luidia came up in the dredge, a most gorgeous specimen. As it does not generally break up before it is raised above the surface of the sea, cautiously and anxiously I sunk my bucket to a level with the dredge's mouth, and proceeded in the most gentle manner to introduce luidia to the purer element. Whether the cold air was too much for him, or the sight of the bucket too terrific, I know not, but in a moment he proceeded to dissolve his corporation, and at every mesh of the dredge his fragments were seen escaping. In despair I grasped at the largest, and brought up the extremity of an arm with its

opened and closed with something exceedingly like a wink of derision.

The common brittle-star, says the same entertaining naturalist, often congregates in great numbers on the edges of scallop-banks, and I have seen a large dredge come up completely filled with them-a most curious sight, for when the dredge was emptied, these little creatures, writhing with the strangest contortions, crept about in all directions, often flinging their arms in broken pieces around them; and their snake-like and threatening attitudes were by no means relished by the boatmen, who anxiously asked permission to shovel them overboard, superstitiously remarking that the things "weren't altogether right."

Far back in the geological ages, before seaurchins, and cross-fishes, and brittle-stars, came into being, there were creatures which might have been readily mistaken for them, which combined their characters and foreshadowed their advent. These were the members of the order "crinoïdea" or lilylike animals, whose fossil remains are often called stone-lilies. In later times the group of crinoids has been gradually dwindling in number and variety. Its present representatives are the pentacrinus of Porto Rico, attached throughout life to a stem or footstalk, which fixes it to some solid body, and the comatula, or feather-star, which has a stem only in the carly stages of its growth, and is free when adult. Before 1823 it was not known that any representative of the ancient lily-stars existed in the European seas, but in that year Mr. T. V. Thompson dredged, in the Cove of Cork, a small comatula, still on its stalk, and astonished all the naturalists.

Let us suppose ourselves on the sca-shore with Mr. Lewis. We capture one curiosity after another; and see! what pink-andwhite feathery creature is this clasping the weed with a circle of pale-pink roots? By Jove! it is a comatula; and now that we have put it into our bottle of sea-water how it expands its feathers, and reveals itself as an animal fern, marvellous to look upon. "All the way home the bottle was constantly being raised to my loving regard,

that I might feast myself upon the waving grace of those pink-and-white feathers."

At first sight the comatula resembles a brittle-star, but on a closer examination, we find that the arms are made up of short joints of stone, carrying at their sides a pair of diverging beards, all of which together, by their number and arrangement, give to the ray the appearance of a beautiful feather. If it is the Comatula rosacea that we have got hold of, the whole elegant creature is of a lively rose tint, interrupted by patches of bright yellow, disposed with no regularity or apparent order; the whole, both the yellow and the rosy portions, studded with crimson dots.

The West Indian representative of the ancient stone lilies-the Pentacrinus caput Medusa-is of considerable size, and possesses a stem more than a foot long. A specimen found alive at Barbadoes was bought by Mr. Hunter at the sale of the museum of the late Duchess of Portsmouth, for the sum of fifteen guineas, and deposited in the museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is something like a star-fish mounted on a long stalk, composed of thin discs or joints, of pentagonal figure. By its side is a Comatula rosacea, and as we gaze at them, they raise up a vision of an early world-a world, the potentates of which were not men, but animals-of seas, on whose tranquil surfaces myriads of convoluted nautili sported, and in whose depths millions of lily-stars waved wilfully on their slender stems. Now, the lily-stars and nautili are almost gone; a few lovely stragglers of those once-abounding tribes remain to evidence the wondrous forms and structures of their comrades. Other beings, not less wonderful, and scarcely less graceful, have replaced them; while the seas in which they flourished have become lands whereon man in his columned cathedrals and mazy palaces emulates the beauty and symmetry of their fluted stems and chambered shells. In some of the fossil species the arms are divided and sub-divided to a much greater extent than in any recent forms, so that the number of pieces in the skeleton becomes very large. In the Pentacrinus Briareus it has been calculated that at least 100,000

exist, besides the joints of the lateral (or side) appendages, which are probably more than 50,000 additional. As each joint was furnished with at least two bundles of muscular fibre, one for extending it, the other for drawing it in, we have 300,000 such in the body of a single pentacrinus—an amount of muscular apparatus far exceeding any that has been elsewhere observed in the animal creation.

In the encrinus, another fossil form, found abundantly in the marble before referred to, the body and jointed stem exhibit rather a rounded than a pentagonal form, and the stalk is attached by a sort of spreading root, like that of many corals. The flat plates which, piled one above another like thick wafers, make up the stem, fall asunder when the cord of animal matter which passed through them has decayed away, and in their separated form get the name of wheel-stones. They were formerly strung as beads for rosaries; and in the northern parts of Britain they still retain the name of St. Cuthbert's beads.

According to a Northumbrian legend, on dark nights, when the sea was running high, and the winds roaring fitfully, the spirit of St. Cuthbert was heard in the recurring lulls forging beads for the faithful. He used to sit in the storm-mist, among the spray and sea-weeds, on a fragment of rock on the shore of the island of Lindisfarne, and solemnly hammer away, using another fragment of rock as his anvil. When the storm subsided, the shore was found strewn with the beads so forged.

"On a rock by Lindisfarne

Saint Cuthbert sits, and toils to frame
The sea-born beads that bear his name.'

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Although St. Cuthbert is now neither seen nor heard at work, the shore, after a storm, is still found strewed with the beads, which are, in fact, the fossilized joints of crinoid stems.

We have only one more order of creatures in the class echinodermata, and they are the "holothurida," or sea-cucumbers, which may be regarded in one light as soft seaurchins, and in another as approximating to the annelids or worms. They have no armour of plates and spines, but the tubular

feet or suckers usually exist, and the radiated or star-like structure is evident in the parts around the mouth, which is situated at one end of the body. On looking down on these parts only, we might almost suppose them to belong to some sort of starfish or brittle-star. The sea-cucumbers have the power of changing their shapes in the strangest manner, sometimes lengthening out till they look like worms, sometimes contracting the middle of their bodies, so as to give themselves the shape of an hourglass, and then again blowing themselves up with water, so as to be perfectly globular. Put one in a jar of salt-water, and presently he protrudes a large chocolatecoloured head, tipped with a ring of ten feathery gills, looking very much like a head of "curled kale," but of the loveliest white and primrose. This little creature-he is from two to six inches long-knows a secret which would be of immense advantage to worn-out epicures and old Indians, who bemoan their livers: he can perform a trick far more astonishing than any Chinese juggler is master of; and for his cleverness, Mr. Charles Kingsley has spoken of him thus :"Happy Holothuria! who possesses really the secret of everlasting youth, which ancient fable bestowed on the serpent and the eagle. For when his teeth ache, or his digestive organs trouble him, all he has to do is just to cast up forthwith his entire inside, and in the course of a month or so grow a fresh set, and then eat away as merrily as ever."

-or it may be, the people who cannot afford to be over-nice, I am not positive-as if in revenge for this envious distinction of the seacucumbers, eat a variety of species of them. In the South Kensington Museum there are a number of these animals which have been caught and dried, and are exhibited for the purpose of drawing attention to the articles of diet of other nations. Captain Flinders, in 1803, fell in with a fleet of Malay proas, near the Gulf of Carpentaria, on the north coast of New Holland, carrying sea-cucumbers to the China market. The quantity annually brought to China from Macassar, is usually about four hundred and sixteen tons. The creatures are gathered on the reefs, or dived for to a depth of one or two fathoms, are boiled and dried on shore, and then stowed away in bags on board the vessel.

Sea-cucumbers are usually found clinging firmly to stones and pieces of rock, in situations where they are not exposed to light. It may perhaps encourage you to search for them if I mention that a species with twenty tentacles round the mouth, which Professor Forbes has said was never before observed in the British seas, was discovered by Mr. Peach, a private in the mounted guard, at an obscure part of the Cornwall coast-a man with four shillings a-day, and a wife and nine children, most of whose education he had himself to conduct. And the twentytentacled sea-cucumber was by no means his only discovery, for every year he came up to the British Association with a few novelties in the way of echinodermata and

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EAR EVERYBODY,-At the beginning of last year the proprietor of this Magazine offered a prize for the best collection of Epitaphs: competitors not to be above eighteen years of age. In due course came the Essays, versatile, veracious, and voluminous. They perplexed the Post Office, they exhausted the postman, they confounded the publisher, they alarmed the editor, they crowded every available space, they swamped the shop, they flooded the stairs, they rushed like a mighty deluge into editorial quarters, they were in everybody's way, and the office people were glad enough to get rid of the lot by sending them, in a vehicle especially engaged for the purpose, to the place of adjudication. There the judges met—“a terrible show"-in solemn council, taking into their serious consideration the comparative merits of the collection.

It was, as the Bishop of London remarked on the question of altering the burial service, a very grave question. The adjudicators were admonished

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Moses," &c. The adjudicators announced that more than ten thousand epitaphs had been sent in—the number was ultimately ascertained to be fifteen thousand and odd. And odd-and some of them were very odd

and, when the Diet closed, the whistler called it the Diet of Würms, I, who had assisted, thought I had seen the last of them, and that the Epitaphs, so far as I was concerned, might be buried "five fathoms deep." But it was not so. Somebody was good enough—bad enough is better—to say that I was good in "deranging epitaphs," and the editor has been worrying me ever since to pick up some of the oddities, and stick them together for the " B. M. M." So at last-like the young lady who consented to matrimony, just to quiet her troublesome lover-I agreed to do it. So much for introduction.

Let us begin with brevity: the epitaph on Richard Groombridge, "He was." Next, the deceased's name-nothing but that, JOHN BURNS, surname in italic, short but unpleasantly suggestive. The next is better, "Honest John-dead and gone!"

Then we have epitaphs with a little more information in them—

"Here lies the body of William Wix. One thousand seven hundred and sixty-six."

The following is explicit, but scarcely so satisfactory

But they did laugh; they could not help it; so many oddities were strung together that if they had not laughed they might have needed epitaphs themselves, One of the adjudicators-I name no names-was distinctly heard whistling "Old Bob Ridley," and rightly was he reproved by the presi--don't have an old head on young

dent, in the words of the immortal bard"Has the fellow no feeling for his business? he sings at grave-making." The rebuke had the desired effect, the whistler subsequently confined himself to such tunes as the "Dead March in Saul," "Down among the Dead Men," "Giles Scroggin's Ghost," "The Shadow Dance," "The Vicar and

"Here lies the body of Jonathan Ground, He was lost at sea, and never was found." Here is a caution to youth-don't do it

shoulders - not by no means. "Verbum sap."

Here lies—to friends, parents, and country


A youth who scarce had seen his 17th year; But in that time so much good sense had shown,

That Death mistook 17 for 71.

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