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eggs is quite a modern branch of knowledge.
Little more than two hundred years have
elapsed since William Harvey of Folkestone
revealed the greatest secrets of nutrition
and reproduction, the use of the valves on
the circulation of the blood, and the evolution
of all animals from eggs.

Many of my seaside readers may kick eggs
with their boots, without heeding them, in
their strolls upon the sea shore. Ever since
they lisped in numbers,

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are

they may have thought, if they had the
handling of the stars, and could turn them
over, toss them about at pleasure to observe
them, and dissect them under their microscopes,
they would seize the opportunity
eagerly. But, few study eggs, although at
handaccessible, plentiful.

I have no call here to plunge into the
depths and difficulties of embryology. I am
writing for town folks who have temporarily
become Coast Folks, and who wish to know
what the things are which they find at the
seaside. Seeking a mouthful of fresh air,
they have not gone to the coast to study
ovology, although glad enough, while reddening
their blood with oxygen, to cheer their
minds with a few fresh ideas. It indeed is
one of the wisest fashions of our time which
drives town folks to the coast every year to

"Raze out the written troubles of the brain,"

by photographing upon it pictures of new
scenes and strange objects. If I may
express myself in the jargon of the Kantian
philosophy, objectivity is the remedy for
the sorrows of subjectivity. When the mind
has become diseased by too much reflection
and care, the remedy is to be found in the
activity of the observing faculties. A shell,
a weed, a fossil, or an egg, can restore an
overwrought, or minister to a diseased,

It is annoying to meet with common things
frequently of which we are ignorant. This
ignorance is indeed a seaside annoyance, and
nothing excites it more frequently than the
eggs of shell-fish, skates, and sharks. I was
once menaced by looks and gestures because
I truly told a strong man, in giving a civil
answer to a rude question, that the things he
held in his hand were eggs. It was upon the
beach at Brighton, upon one of those days
when Bright Helmstone, the city of the shimmering
stones, is seen to most advantage.
Until the Brightonian shall have the wisdom
to paint their houses green, very bright
shiny days will always bring out disagreeably
the blinding whiteness of their houses and
of their cliffs. When there is too much sun,
the lofty mansions, with large windows all
staring and glaring from them, of this London
upon the sea, look like rows of cockneys
drawn up on parade to quiz with their
glasses the blushing and beautiful ocean.
Brighton is best seen on a day when there is
just enough of sun to sprinkle sparkling
patches from angular rays here and there
over the vast surface of grey green water.
I was wandering upon the beach upon such a
day, when I observed a tall, powerful man,
dressed in black, picking up things left by
the tidal waves. On coming near him, he
seemed one of those strong men whose
muscular system is hardened by working in iron.
His comrades were in advance of him, and
he was indulging a curiosity more lively than
theirs by picking up every strange-looking
thing he saw, and examining it attentively
prior to throwing it down again. When I
looked at him closely, I perceived he was in
a state of intense excitement. He held in
his hand a light froth-like mass resembling a
bit of a wasp's nest, or a collection of little
half-inch bladders lighter than wafers.

'"What is this?" he asked me in a tone
which seemed to say his great eagerness to
know, made ceremonial politeness unnecessary,
and to intimate to me that I was bound
to answer him on pain of displeasing a man
stronger than myself, and ready to express
his displeasure in the most forcible way.

"It is a collection of eggs," I answered,
smiling at him.

His lips moved as if restraining imprecations;
and his gestures seemed to tell me he
was the stronger man of the two, while he

"You are making a fool of me."

"Rub it," I replied, "in your fingers, and
you will see the tiny shells of young whelks."

When he had rubbed the froth-like mass
against the palm of his left hand, there was a
little heap of tiny univalve shells in it.
Improving my advantage, I asked him if he
knew what a whelk was? and he said, O,
yes; he knew whelks, but was very ignorant
of the sea, having never seen it before,
and having only come down by the excursion
train in the morning to return in the

While he spoke, a wave, advancing its
thin edge rapidly up the beach, wetted his

"Why," he said, "it has come out farther
than any of the others! Does it always do

"It advances to a certain point twice in
every twenty-four hours; and the extreme
limit of the last tide is marked by those lines
of dry seaweed which you see stretched along
the coast."

My rough pupil received every little bit of
common information I gave him as if it had
been a blow, and could not have been more
humbled if I had beaten him in a boxing or
a wrestling match. On hurrying away with
a gruff and hasty salutation, to join his
comrades, who were waiting for him, he gave me
a look which strangely mingled expressions
of shame, gratitude, and vexation. I have

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