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young and innocent oysters. When their
shells are sufficiently grown to protect them
from the nets of these enemies, star-fishes and
crabs watch continually for occasions to
practise surprisals, and whip the soft and
succulent bodies of the ostrea from their
valves. Many a five-fingered star-fish loses
a finger in the attempt when the oyster is
wide awake and closes his valves upon it
with a sudden and powerful snap.

Mussels attach their spawn to sea-weed
very early in the spring. They are
encountered in thousands upon the most
exposed brows of rocks at low water. Spawning
in March, their young are as large as
split peas in May, and of the size of beans in
the month of July. Naturalists admire their
cables, and indeed it is a spectacle better
than a play to watch rock-mussels at work
spinning and fixing their anchoring tackle.
The whole progress of the life of a mussel,
from the embryon to the adult, and from the
spat to the growth of the spawner, is a subject
which can be observed easily, and which
will abundantly reward observation.

What are called "marine grapes" drift
ashore, or float about attached to sea-weeds.
Dark-coloured, round-shaped bags, coiled
around sea-weeds by fleshy twining stalks,
their popular name well describes their
general appearance. The marine grapes are
the egg-clusters of cuttle-fishes. Cuvier and
his school class the cuttle-fishes with the
ianthines and natica, mussels and oysters,
because their nervous system is, he thinks,
arranged on the same plan and placed under
the digestive canal. The name of mollusks,
from rnollis (soft), is given to a great number
of species which the Greeks called conchylions,
because they had hard shells. Marine
grapes are very different looking egg-clusters
from the spat of oysters, pholades and
mussels, and, indeed, they are not very like
the floating clusters of whelks and ianthines.
At the point of each of these leathery eggs is
a nipple, through which, when come to
maturity, the young cuttle-fish emerges into
society. Cuvier brings together in his great
embranchment mollusca, the kraken, and the
periwinkle; and the octopus of Lamarck,
whose eight arms can embrace a boat or
drown a man, is made of kind, if not of kin,
with the agreeable conchylion, which we
wind out of his shell with a pin.

Egg-shells of ray-fish and sharks are very
frequently found upon the sea-shore. On
some parts of the coast, the shells of the
rayfish are called hand-barrows. Indeed, they
look like little four-handle hand-barrows four
or five inches long and an inch and a half
broad. They are of a dark brown colour and
a hard horny or leathery substance. The
shells are most frequently found empty, but
sometimes in the spring and early summer
specimens are obtained with the young sharks
in them. Observers admire the coil of their
long tails. Another name for these eggs is
mermaid purses. Poetical superstition,
supposing seals to be women of the sea, could not
let them be without money, any more than
the Vicar of Wakefield's daughters, and these
egg-clusters are, of course, their
portemonnaies.

Being destitute of a spinal marrow, the
whelk and the cuttle-fish are deprived of the
suite of boxes to hold it, called vertebae.
Skate and sharks have spinal marrows and
vertebrae, the contents and the boxes.
Geoffroy St. Hilaire has remarked, that the
difference is less than it looks, the shellfish
having boxes which contain all their soft
parts, among which their nerves are distributed.
The vertebrated animals have boxes
to protect their spinal marrow only, while the
conchylions have boxes to protect completely
the whole of their soft organs. The colour of
the eggs of the sharks is not brownish but
yellowish. A long tendril issues from each of
the four handles of the hand-barrows of the
sharks, and hangs from it curlingly. Coast
Folk use them as barometers. When there is
a moisture in the air they become straight,
and when the atmosphere is very hot and dry
they curl up crisply.

Such are the most common of the sea-side
eggs. My object has not been to talk about
wonders, but vulgar things, and avoiding the
marvels which a little trouble can find, to
describe sufficiently for recognition some
objects which obtrude themselves upon
everybody's notice.

A few words to help young observers
to recognise eggs when they find them. An
egg is a succession of envelopes in envelopes.
An egg is a series of bags incased
in each other without seams and without
apertures. Puzzles of ships in bottles or flies
in amber are nothing to the puzzles how
these envelopes come to enwrap each other.
In a hen's egg there are eight or nine of
these sacks in sacks, but I shall notice
the principal which belong to eggs in general:

1. The skin, called in Greek the chorion.
The chief function of this wrapper, is the
protection of its contents. It is the sack of the
sacks.

2. The provision-sack, which is called in
Latin the vitellus. This bag contains the
nutriment or yolk.

3. The germ, the contents of which burst
and pass into what the French embryologists
call the disque prolifere. Thus, three great
physiological facts are represented in an egg,
protection, nutrition, and fecundation. In
other words, in every complete egg there are
the envelope and the yolk, and, in the yolk,
the germinative vesicule and the germinative
spot, which are both little transparent
globules. In the globules is the life.

Dull, indeed, of soul must the man be in whom
an egg does not inspire emotions of awe and
admiration, wonder and worship. The circle of
life is from the egg to the adult, and from the

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