f^firfifi vJjlvi^f £.;iiJs

PJakX':^'IL

NATURALIST'S EAMBLES

DEYONSHIRE COAST.

PHILIP HENEI GOSSE, A.L.S., &c.

AUTHOR OF ' THE OCEAN,' ' A NATURALIST'S SOJOURN IN JAMAICA ;' &c.

What prodigies can powei* Divine perform. More grand than it produces year by year. And all in sight of inattenti%-e man ?

Cow PER.

LONDON : JOHN VAN VOORST, PATERNOSTER ROW.

M. DCCC. LIII.

PKEFiCE

The following pages I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to make a mirror of the thoughts and feelings that have occupied my o%\ti mind during a nine months' residence on the charming shores of North and South Devon. There I have been pursuing an occupation which always pos- sesses for me new delight, the study of the curious form?, and still more curi'ous instincts, of animated beings. So interesting, so attractive has the pursuit been, so unex- pected in many instances the facts revealed by the research, that I have thought the attempt to convey, with pen and pencil, to others the impressions vi\'idly received by my- self might be a welcome service.

Few, very few, are at all aware of the many strange. beautiful, or wondrous objects that are to be found by searching on those shores that every season are crowded by idle pleasure-seekers. Most curious and interesting animals are dwelling -within a few yards of your feet, whose lovely forms and hues, exquisitely contrived struc- tures, and amusing instincts, could not fail to attract and charm your attention, if you were once cognizant of them. "But who will be our guide to such sources of interest?'' Deign to accept these pages as your " Hand-book" to the sea-side. They contain a faithful record of what actually has fallen under an individual's observation in a single season, and may therefore be assumed to present a fair average of what may be expected again.

But I have not made a book of systematic zoology ; nor

<L

0 *»•

Vi. PHEFACE.

a book of mere zoology of any sort. I venture to ask your companionship, courteous Reader, in my Rambles over field and down in the fresh dewy morning; I ask you to listen with me to the carol of the lark, and the hum of the wdld bee ; I ask you to stand with me at the edge of the precipice and mark the glories of the setting sun ; to watch with me the mantling tide as it rolls inward, and roars among the hollow caves ; I ask you to share with me the delightful emotions which the contemplation of imbounded beauty and beneficence ever calls up in the cultivated mind.

Hence I have not scrupled to sketch pen-pictures of the lovely and romantic scenery with which both the coasts of Devon abound ; and to press into my service personal narrative, local anecdote, and traditionary legend ; and, in short, any and every thing, that, having conveyed pleasure and interest to myself, I thought might entertain and please my reader. It is not the least of the advantages of the study of natural history, that it strengthens in us "the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beau- tiful in all that meet and surround us."

If it should be objected that to treat of the facts which science reveals to us, in any other manner than that tech- nical measured style, which aims not at conveying any pleasurable emotions beyond the mere acquisition of know- ledge, and is therefore satisfied with being coldly correct, is to degrade science below its proper dignity, I would modestly reply that I think otherwise. That the increase of knowledge is in itself a pleasure to a healthy mind is surely true ; but is there not in our hearts a chord that thrills in response to the beautiful, the joyous, the perfect^ in Nature ? I aim to convey to my reader, to reflect, as it were, the complacency which is produced in my own mind by the contemplation of the excellence impressed on everything which God has created.

PREFACE. Vll.

Wordsworth has said that man and nature are essen- tially adapted to each other, and that the mind of man is naturally the mirror of the fairest and most interesting properties of Nature. The same mighty mover of the human heart tells us that " Poetry is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all Science." And all that is required to make the remotest discoveries of the Man of Science proper objects of the Poet's art is famili- arity with them, so that " the relations under which they are contemplated by the student be manifestly and palpably material to us, as enjoying and suffering beings."

Another eloquent writer thus speaks of the relation existing between Poetry and the Physical Sciences.

" Such studies lift the mind into the truly sublime of nature. The poet's dream is the dim reflection of a distant star : the philosopher's revelation is a strong telescopic examination of its features. One is the mere echo of the remote whisper of nature's voice in the dim twilight ; the other is the swelling music of the harp of Memnon, awakened by the Sun of truth, newly risen from the night of ignorance."^

Yet I would not have it supposed that I have ever stated the facts of Natural History in a loose, vague, imaginative way. Precision is the very soul of science, precision in observation, truthfulness in record : and I should deem myself unworthy of a place among natu- ralists, if I were not studious to exhibit the phenomena of Nature with the most scrupulous care and fidelity. Humanum est errare : I dare not suppose I have escaped error ; but I am sure it is not the result of wilfulness, I trust it is not that of carelessness.

Some of the investigations here touched upon are of high interest to naturalists : such as those connected with

o

Hunt's 'Poetry of Science', p. 292.

viii. PREFACE.

the alternation of generations, the embryology and develop- ment of the Zoophytes, and the nature and functions of their special organs. The varied forms and singular properties of the Thread-Capsules in the Polypes and the Medusa?, in particular, have excited my own admiration.

The curious observations of Sir J. G. Dalyell and other zoologists on the propagation of the Hydroid Zoophytes, might seem to render those recorded. in this volume need- less; but the words of the indefatigable naturalist just named warrant the multiplication of observed facts. Speaking of the mysterious appearance of certain Meduste in connexion with Tuhularlce^ he says, " Were similar instances recorded, our embarassments might be relieved ; for more frequent, easier, and stricter investigation being admitted, doubtless such a train of discovery, and thence the solution of what are to us the most abstruse problems, would follow."

The plates have been all drawn from living nature, with the greatest attention to accuracy. They are twenty eight in number, of which twelve are printed in colours : they comprise about two hundred and forty figures of animals and their component parts, in many instances drawn with the aid of the microscope.

London: March 30ih, 1853.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I.

A Flitting to the Coast Rival Claims of North and South De- von— Marychurch selected Beauty of Devonshire Lanes Author's Outfit First exploring Jaunt Babbicombe Sands Pretty Rock-pool Petit Tor Jackdaws Kestrel Pol- lock-fishing on the Rocks Boulders examined Contents of a shallow Pool Green Sea- worm Smooth Anemone Turn- ing stones at Babbicombe Finger-cutting Serpulse Naked- gilled MoUusca Their Elegance and Beauty Manners in Captivity Spawn of Doris Form and Structure of the yovmg Anthea Its Form and Colours Voracity of an Eolis Manners of Anthea Its Mode of marching of swimming Beautiful Variety Reflections. Page 1

CHAPTER II.

Petit Tor Squirrel Limestone Ledge— Stone-borers Anemones and Sea-weeds Clear Rock-pools Daisy Anemone— Diffi- culty of procuring Specimens Mode of Operation A Metamorphosis Description of the Species Tentacles Colours Varieties Habits Structure of the Tentacles Thread-shooting Capsules— Petit Tor Pools Thick horned Anemone Description of the Species Suggestions of Iden- tity with A. coriacea Its Habits Beautiful Varieties Changes of Figure Deep Tide-pool Prawn Its Beauty of Colour Changes produced by Exposure to Light. 21

CHAPTER III.

A Visit to Brixham The Road Character of the Coast Berry Castle Legends Brixham Coast Scenery Animals of the

X. CONTEXTS.

Shore— The Painted Scallop— Its Beauty— Mantle Tentacles Gem-like Eyes Climbing Powers— Leaps Mode of per- forming these misunderstood— Explanation Functions and Structure of the Eyes— Structure of the Gills— Ciliary Action Beauty of the Phenomenon Oddicombe Rock-pool Its Form Contents The Feather-star Its Habits in Captivity Reproduction of its Limbs Watcombe Romantic Scenery Sandstone Cliffs— The Sea Lemon— The Purple Dye— Mode of applying it Changes of Colour Tor Abbey Sands Shore Animals— The Pholas— Its Siphons— Their Use, Structure and Currents Curious Contrivance Anstey's Cove View from Babbicombe Downs— Skylark's Song Precipice of Limestone Abundance of Animals Pleurobranchus. 44

CHAPTER IV.

The Dead Man's Fingers Appearance when contracted— when expanded Beauty of the flower-like Polypes Structure— Spiculae The Polypidom Zoophytes and Crustacea upon Tangle Small Nudibranchs and their Spawn The Angled Laomedea Its medusiform Young Appearance, Manners and Structure of the Embryo Escape of one from the Vesicle Regular Arrangement of the Zoophytes The Rosy Ane- mone— Its Locality Description Habits Structure The Snowy-disked Anemone— Peculiarities of its Locality— De- scription— The Snake-locked Anemone Description Fare- well to South Devon. 76

CHAPTER V,

llfracombe— Beautiful Scenery—AValk to Watermouth— Hele Hockey Lane Fine Sea-view Daws Doves Charms of Spring Watermouth Curious mode of Fishing Grove of Flowers— Rabbits— Sharp Rocks Gemmaceous Anemone Living Madrepores Their Localities— Appearance Mode of detaching them— Their Structure— The Plates— Beauty of the Animal— Protrusion of the soft Parts Their Translu- cency— Analogy with the Anemone— Brilliancy of Colours- Tentacles— Cilia on their Surface— The globose Heads— The Tentacles are tubular Imprisoned Animalcule— Sensibility

CONTENTS. XI.

of the Madrepore to Light —Experiments in feeding them Sense of Taste Keproduction of Parts The Frilled Bands Their Use Their Structure— Thread- Capsules Singular Forms of these Organs The Madrepore easily preserved alive. 101

CHAPTER VI.

A Walk to Hele— Bird's-eye View of the Harbour— Quay Fields Lion Rock Hele Strand A threatened Shipwreck Eu- cratea Description Mode of Growth Form of the Cell Structure of the Polype— Tentacles Digestive System Mus- cular Bands Evanescence of the radiate Character ^Root- Thread Snake-head Coralline Frill Vermicular Organs Door and Hinge Ciliated Cellularia Cells Spmes Birds' Heads Their Motions Slimy Laomedea Structure of a Sertularian Zoophyte Its Contraction Marginal Folds of the Cell Researches in Gastronomy Anemones cooked- Eaten Commended Best mode of preparmg them Anthea tried. 128

CHAPTER VIL

Charm of the Sea-side Watching the receding Tide— The Lion Rock Approach of Evening Its Accompaniments The Warty Cycloum Harvey's Spinx Capstone Hill Its Pro- menade— Precipitous Walks Noble Prospects Sunset Bird's-eye View— The Welsh Coast Flowers The Summit Inland View Seaward Rocks Wildersmouth A fatal Accident The Gemmed Anemone Description Habits Production of the Young Sea-Spider Black Sand-worm— A second Visit to Watermouth Flowers A Crab at Home A walk to Lee Beautiful Valley Character of the Cove Stone-turning The Worm Pipe-fish Its Form and Colours Manners in Captivity Intelligence Appearance of Disease Surgical Aid Difficulties of Microscopical Sketching. 154

CHAPTER VIII.

Rock-pools Their Abundance Sovithey's Description Its truth to Nature Their Loveliness Chondrus Its brilliant Rcflec-

Xil.

CONTENTS.

tions— The Branching Coryne A Parasite A Beautiful Sea- weed— Structure of the Zoophyte— Origin of its Name- Tentacles— Their Structure— Egg Capsules— Escape of the Eggs—The Bird's-head Coralline— Elegant Shape of the Poly- pidom— Advantage of studying living Animals— The Cell

^Xhe Polype Its Organization Muscles Economy in

God's Works A Populous Stone Enumeration of its Te- nants—Reflections—God's Purpose in Creation ^The hopeful Future— The Sessile Coryne— The Belgian Pedicellina- Its Form and Structure Production of its Young Its Habits —Its Affinities— The Slender Pedicellina— Its singular Bulb.

188

CHAPTER IX.

Metamorphosis of Lepralia— Appearance of the Gemmule— Budding of the Cell- spines— Development of the Polype Growth -The Three-headed CorjTie Singular Use of its Disk Beania Coralline Light Lime Light Tubulipora Marine Vivaria The Principle explained Elegance of Sea- plants Facilities for Study Details of Experiments Mode of procuring the Sea-weeds Success Anticpations A curious Coincidence Sponge- Crystals Their elegant Form Immense Numbers Mutual Entanglement Ciliated Sponge Its crystal Coronet Powers of Restoration. 218

CHAPTER X.

Respiration and Circulation A Transparent Ascidia Organs of Sight— Play of the Gills— Ciliary Waves— The Heart— Cours- ing of the Blood-globules Reversal of the Current " Na- ture," what is it ? The Praise of God Luminosity of the Sea A Charming Spectacle Light-producing Zoophytes Luminosity a Vital Function Noctiluca, a Luminous Ani- malcule—Its Structure Production of its Embryo The Slender Coryne Description Parasites. 240

CHAPTER XI.

Hillsborough— Meaning of its Name Its Grandeur Its Flowers Commanding Prospects View Westward Inland East- ward—Seaward—Formation of a Beach A Rock-slip— An-

CONTENTS. Xlll.

t'hea-Its Tentacles retractile Their Structure Thread- Capsules— A Summer Morning Walk Autumnal Flowers Langley Open The Hansman Cm-ious Legend Coast Scenery Lee A Ship's Travels Solitude Caves Sponges The Hispid Flustra Its Appearance and Structure Expansion of its Bells Ciliary Action A miniature Whirl- pool— Visit to Braunton Cam Top Tragical Legend Score Valley Squirrels Trentistowe Vv^hite Bindweed Oak Hedges Reaping Braunton Curious monumental Inscription— Braunton Burrows Sea-side Rocks Marine Animals Rare Plants on the Cliffs Snails Botany of the Burrows Insects Shells The Feather Plumularia Its Egg- Vesicles Young Polypes Their Development from Planules Structure of the Polype. 2G1

CHAPTER XII.

A Visit to Smallmouth Caves Chasm formed by a Rock-slip View of Samson's Bay Samson's Cave Smallmouth Natural Tunnel View of Combmartin Bay Brier Cave Abundance of Animals The Twining Campanularia Form of its Cells The Polypes The Egg-Vesicles Birth of a Medusoid Its Form and Structure Tentacles Eyes Cir- culating Canals— Alternation of Generations Ride towards Barricane A Showery Journey— Lee Damage Farm A romantic Dell Devonshire Wells Rockham Bay White Pebbles Morte Stone— ShipA\Teck Gallant Exploit Morte Tomb of De Tracy Approach of a Storm Kestrels Parasites on a Crab The Bristle Plumularia Birth of its Young —Dissolution The Lobster's Horn Coralline— Second- ary Cells Suggestion of their Purpose Egg- Vesicles Birth of the Planule Its Development into the Polype-form —Death. 292

CHAPTER XIII.

Capstone Spout-Holes Purple Hue of low Rocks Tadpole of a Mollusk— Its Habits Visit to Barricane A Beach of Shells Rock-pools— Theii' Contents— Antiopa— Its Spawn Hatch- ing of the Embryos Immense Number in one Brood The Torrs— Bloody Field— Flowers— View^ from the Cliii— Torr

xiv. CONTEXTS.

Point— Rocky Staircase— White Pebble Bay —Tide-pools— Maiden-hair Fern The Precipice— A curious Medusoid Medusoid Fishing Mode of Operation— Difficulties Thau- mantias pilosella Its Luminosity Description of its Struc- ture The Umbrella The Sub-rmbrella The Peduncle—

The Radiating Vessels— The Ovaries— The Tentacles— Pig- ment-cells—Eyes. 320

CHAPTER XIV.

Rapparee Cove— Strange Gravel Its singular Origin The Glassy ^quorea— Its Form and Structure The Forbesian .Equorea The Bathing-Pool— ]Medus8e therein Description of a new Species Its Habits Luminousness Distinctive Characters The Ruby Medusa— Its first Occurrence Wig- mouth Production of the Gemmules Their Appearance Motion of the Turris Metamorphosis of the Gemmules Their Polype-form Goodness of God in the Beautiful A Christian's Interest in Nature The Redeemed Inheritance The Crystalline Johnstonella Its Beauty Its Doubtful Affi- nities— The Starry Willsia Parasitic Leech Thread- Cap- sules— Nature of these Orsfans. 338

CHAPTER XV.

This Coast favourable for Oceanic Productions The Red-lined Medusa Its Form and Structure The Eyes The Fur- belows—A parasitic Shrimp Its supposed Young Beauty of the Medusa Its Prehensile Powers Capture of Prey Curious Mode of eating— Experiments New Use of the Furbelows Development of the Eggs Their Structure Thread- Capsules Synonymy The "White Pelagia The Mantis Shrimp Its spectral Figure and strange Actions Its Weapons The Caddis Shrimp The Tiny Oceania Busk's Thaumantias— The Fairy's Cap. 363

CHAPTER XVI.

The Maritime Bristle-tail— Its Nocturnal Habits— Discovery of its Retreats— Its Companions— The Scarce Polynoe Its Armoury of Weapons— A rocky Bay Romantic Incident—

CONTENTS. XV.

Chivalrous Self-sacrifice The Tunnels Crewkhorne Cavern —The Torr Cliffs— Precipitous Path— Torr Point— Solitude— The Scarlet and Gold Madrepore Scene of its Discovery Description of the Species Its Microscopical Structure The Stony Skeleton— Thread- Capsules of Actinia— The Club- bearing Medusa Entanglement of Air Structure of the Tentacles— The Eyes, 389

CHAPTER XVII.

Various Effects of Liglit on Scenery Ode to Light The Sabella Its Tube Its Crown of Plumes Fatal Attack Discovery of more Specimens Laborious Mode of Procuring them The Young Reproduction of the Crown The Corynactis A low Spring-tide The Tunnel Rocks Discovery of the Species Its Form, Structure, and Colours Manner of taking Food Thread- Capsules -Their elaborate Structure Propul- sion of the Thread Identification of the Species The Pur- ple-spotted Anemone Its Locality and Manners Its Form and Colours Thread- Capsules Nature of these Organs Systematic List of Zoophytes Conclusion. 412

APPENDIX.

Marine Vivaria Facts Established Ozone Its Mode 'of Action Application of Prmciples Aquaria in the Zoological Gar- dens— Parlour Aquarium, 439

XVI.

I.IST OF PLATES

LIST OF PLATES.

Plai

te

To fact

^.parje

1

Actinia bellis, &c.

-

-

28

2

Pleurobranclius, &c.

-

-

66

3

Alcyonium, &c.

-

-

78

4

Laomedea geniculata

-

-

84

5

Caryophyilia Smithii

-

-

112

6

Eucratea chelata, &c.

-

-

134

7

Cellularia ciliata, &c.

-

-

142

8

Actinia gemmacea, &c.

-

-

168

9

CorjTie ramosa

-

-

190

10

Cellularia avicularia

-

-

196

11

Antennularia antennina

-

.

314

12

Peclicellinae

-

.

210

13

Lepralia, &c.

-

-

218

14

Corynes . - -

-

-

222

15

Clavellina, &c.

-

-

236

16

Coryne stauridia, &c.

-

_

254

17

Plumulai-ia pinnata

-

_

288

18

Campanularia

-

-

296

19

Medusoid of Campanularia

-

-

300

20

Willsia, &c.

-

-

360

21

Thaumantias Corynetes

-

..

408

22

Medusoid of Coryne, &c.

-

.

332

23

JEquorea vitrina

-

-

342

24

^^quorea Forbesiana

.

_

346

25

Johnstonella Catharina

_

_

356

26

Balanophyllia, &c. -

-

-

400

27

Clirysaora. - - .

-

(Frontispiece)

28

Thread-capsules

-

-

M

428

A NATUKALIST'S KAMBLES.

CHAPTEK I.

A Flitting to the Coast Rival Claims of North and South De- von— Marychurch selected Beauty of Devonshire Lanes Author's outfit First explormg jaunt Babbicombe sands Pretty Rock-pool Petit Tor Jackdaws Kestrel Pol- lock-fishing on the Rocks Boulders examined Contents of a shallow Pool Green Sea-worm Smooth Anemone Turn- ing stones at Babbicombe Finger- cutting Serpula? Na- ked-gilled Mollusca Their elegance and beauty Manners in Captivity Spawn of Doris Form and Structure of the young Anthea Its Foim and Colours Voracity of an Eolis ^Manners of Anthea Its Mode of marching of swimming Beautiful Variety Reflections.

"You are seriously ill, Henry," said my wife; "you hfeYC been in the study a great deal too much lately ; you must throw it all up, and take a trip into the country."

"O no," said I, "not bad enough for that, I hope ; a few days' inaction, with God's blessing, will set me right. I do not want to leave London."

But I got worse ; sitting by the parlour fire, doing nothing, was dreary work; and it was not much mended by traversing the gravel walks of the garden

B

2 A FLITTING

in my great coat: tliere was notliing particularly refreshing in the sight of frost-bitten creepers and chrysanthemums in January. To walk about the streets in the suburbs, or even in the city, was dreary too, when there was no object in view, nothing to do in fact but to spend the time. But, after all, the dreariness was in myself; I was thoroughly unwell, overworked, and everybody said there must be a rustication. The Doctor added the casting vote: "Bad case of nervous dyspepsia; you must give up study, and go out of town." I succumbed.

"Now where shall it be ? Leamington Ton- bridge Wells Clifton?" No, none of these; since I must go, it shall be to the sea-shore ; I shall take my microscope with me, and get among the shells and nudibranchs, the sea-anemones and the corallines. What part so promising as the lovely garden of England, fair Devonshire ?"

Devonshire then was decided on. But North or South Devon ? The Bristol or the British Chan- nel ? Ilfracombe or Torquay ? Each had its claims for preference, each was unknown, each was said to be "comely in its kind;" South Devon I knew (by report) to be rich in its marine zoology ; North Devon was described as magnificent in scenery. Each too had its objections. The South was too relaxing for a nervous complaint ; the North was out of the world, and difficult of access in winter. So nearly were the pros and cons balanced, that the very evening before the time determined on for starting left the point stih jiidice, when a friend calling, a Torquay man, settled it.

DSI

TO THE COAST. 3

''Why not try Maryclmrch? It is very high, and the air is bracing. Moreover you will be within an easy walk of the shore at several points; the coast round is indented with coves and inlets ; most of it is very rocky, and will give you plenty of hollows and dark pools, full of sea-weeds and zoophytes, interchanged now and then with sandy and shingly beaches. Try the South first; you will then be as well situated as now for reaching the North coast, should the air not suit you."

The counsel seemed sound and seasonable. The next day the luggage was sent off to the Torquay .station, and we all, (wife, self, and little naturalist in petticoats) followed by easy stages.

And very pleasant it was to us to find ourselves at the end of January in the midst of the ''Devonshire Lanes." No frosts had as yet sullied the verdure of the hedge banks, or nipped the shrubs in the sweet cottage gardens. Indeed frost seems here almost unknown, if we may judge by the myrtles dressed in their glossy foliage of deepest green, reaching up to the eaves of the houses, and the fuchsias, not always of the most common varieties, whose thick roughened trunks have evidently braved the open air through many winters. As we trudged, despite the tenacious red mud that lay ankle- deep, along the narrow lanes around Marychurch and West-hill, lanes that were even now dark with the tall hedges, and the roadside trees that met over our heads, we felt that we had left the reign of winter far behind us. The high sloping banks were fringed every where with the long pendent fronds of the hart's tongue fern ; the broad arrowy

4 DEVONSHIRE LANES.

leaves of the wake-robin, glossy and black-spotted, and great tufts of the fetid iris, a rare plant elsewhere, were springing up from all the ditches. Strange wann damp lanes, so suited for lovers' evening walks, (not exactly at this season to be sure) winding and turning about, ever opening into some other lane, that again presently into another, and all leading apparently nowhere, with the little birds hopping fearlessly about the hedge-tops and the trees overhead, the robin sweetly singing, the tiny gold-crest peeping into the crevices of the ivy, the yellow hammer and the chaf- finch in their gay plumage twittering almost within reach of your hand ! And ever and anon we pass some thatched cottage in the sheltered bottom, its little garden in front trimly kept, and still bright with the blossoms of the chrysanthemums, the trailing roses over the porch displaying a lingering flower or two, and the indispensable myrtle peeping in at the cham- ber lattice ; while at one of the lower windows sits the venerable dame in a snowy cap of ancient fashion, with horn spectacles on her wrinkled but gentle face, reading her large Bible. Early violets were beginning to peep from their lowly retreats, and very soon we found them in plenty, and the delicate pale yellow primroses quickly bespangled every bank.

It was in the midst of such rural scenes, and yet within a quarter of an hour's walk of the boundless sea, that I set myself down for a temporaiy sojourn. I had brought with me a plain but good working compound microscope, a small simple one, and a few books essential to the littoral naturalist. Among them were Cuvier's and Jones's Animal Kingdom,

BABBICOMBE BEACH. 5

Forbes' Star-fishes and Naked-Eyed Medusee, John ston's Zoophytes, Sponges, and Introduction to Con- chology, Yarrell's Birds, and Fishes, Alder and Hancock's Nudibranch Molkisca, Swainson's Maha- cology. Grant's Outline of, and Owen's Lectures on, Comparative Anatomy, Audouin and M. Edwards' Littoral de la France, Harvey's Marine Algee, and his beautiful little Sea-side Book, and a few minor works on the same or kindred subjects. I was not long in discovering that with such aids to inquiry, an ample field was before me, and that I should not lack abun- dant materials of entertainment and instruction for myself, and, as I hope, for others also.

It was on the very first afternoon, that is to say, on the 30th of January, 1852, that I set forth to see what promise the shore might afibrd. A zigzag road, such as a carriage can traverse, leads down the steep from Babbicombe to the beach below. The beautiful coast stretches away before us ; first appear the bluff red headlands from Petit Tor northward, in distinct pro- minence, but each becoming more dim than its prede- cessor: the white houses of Exmouth shiniug in the full afternoon sun on the blue hazy shore ; thence the blue becomes fainter, more hazy and watery, and the band of coast itself slenderer, till at length it can only be discerned by the eye carefully tracing it from the visible part onward. In front expanded

The peaceful main, One molten mirror, one illumin'd plane Clear as the blue, sublime, o'erarching sky.

Montgomery.

The rocks to the right presented little to reward

6 TIDE POOL.

the toil of scrambling over their projecting masses, but I observed strong iron bars driven perpendicularly into the crevices here and there, to which, in one case, a line was affixed that ran out into the sea : this I was told was attached to a herring-net, set across the tide ; though few herrings are yet come in. On the sand and shingle were several young dog-fish ; pro- bably hauled in the seine, and thrown out to putrefy as useless. Towards Oddicombe on the left, in climbing and crawling around the face of the rough cliff, I found a pretty tide-pool, a delightful little reseiToir, nearly circular, a basin about three feet wide and the same deep, fall of pure sea-water, quite still, and as clear as crystal. From the rocky margin and sides, the puckered fronds of the Sweet Oar- weed, (Laminaria saccharinaj sprang out, and gently drooping, like ferns from a wall, nearly met in the centre; while other more delicate sea- weeds grew beneath their shadow. Several sea-anemones of a kind very different from the common species, more flat and blossom-like, with slenderer tentacles set round like a fringe, were scattered about the sides : when touched they contracted, more and more forcibly, into a whitish grey tubercle.

PETIT TOR.

Feb. ^rd, When the tide was nearly at ebb, I walked down to the cove at Petit Tor. The red earth, so abundant hereabout as to tinge the clothes of the peasants, the coats of the numerous donkeys, and the wool of the sheep, of a rufous tint, was satu- rated by the recent rains, and formed a tenacious mud,

PETIT TOR. 7

very unpleasant to walk in, of which the little lane leading from Mary church has quite enough. This passed, however, a gate leads out on the down at the summit of the cliffs, whence, as the day was most cloud- lessly hrilli ant, the prospect out upon the sea was mag- nificent. There was scarcely any wind, the atmosphere was very clear, and the transparent blue of the water sparkling in the sun was particularly summery. The mossy turf of the down was scarcely firm enough to sustain the tread on the slope, hut continually slid away beneath the feet from the ruddy mud, affording a treacherous footing in the descent, which as the pathways over the cliffs frequentlypass close to the edge of tremendous precipices, is not without danger. A zigzag road, however, leads down to the beach through the gully, or chine, ( as it would be called in the Isle of Wight) which bears the name of Petit Tor, though this name belongs of right to the bluff promontory on the south of it. The object of the road appears to have been the transport of the beautiful variegated marbles, huge blocks of which, some of them sawn and marked with numbers, were lying beside the way at different points, ready for removal. By running, jumping and sliding I arrived at the bottom, and paused awhile to look around. The ruined walls of what was once probably a fisherman's cottage, built in the curious manner peculiar to the neighbourhood, of rough frag- ments of friable limestone, set in a strong red mortar, stand on the declivity ; and in the midst of the beach, starts up from the very shingle a pointed columnar mass of rough conglomerate rock about GO feet high, remind- ing one of our common idea of the pillar of salt. The

8 jackdaws' manoeuvres.

back of the cove is like the receding slope of an amphitheatre, on the grassy sides of which, half-covered with furze-bushes, and tufts of the stinking Iris, and brakes of fern, a few sheep were grazing. On the northern side the cliffs of red conglomerate rise to a great height ; and on looking up to the summit my eye was caught by the Jackdaws, which were playing there, and I sat down on a mass of rock partly hidden by fern and brambles to watch their movements. A flock of fifty or sixty, sometimes more, sometimes fewer, were flying about a chasm near the lofty inaccessible summit, now and then alighting in the fissures, then shooting down into the air to join their comrades' play. They uttered a short querulous call, more sharp and impa- tient than the caw of the rook, and occasionally two would engage in a sort of conversation, a rapid reite- ration of the note. Now they disappeared one by one, and presently they would come trooping round the seaward face of the headland in little companies, as if assembling by agreement, their glossy backs and wings gleaming in the bright sun, play awhile in the air about the chasm, then go again. The rough face of the rock was partially concealed by large patches, green and yellow, of ivy, reaching, irregularly and interruptedly, from the very base to the top ; in the upper parts of this, the daws would frequently rest awhile, but not long. A Hawk, which from its size, and the dark margin of its tail I took to be the Kestrel, was hovering among the troop ; its superior ease and grace of flight were very observable, though the daws are birds of powerful wing. The latter were apparently unfavourable to the intrusion of the suspicious stranger;

SEA-SIDE BOULDERS. 9

for they set upon him in a troop and chased him away, though not far. Presently a Gull came by and sailed away straight out to sea for a long distance, then turned, as if to challenge the terricolous daws to try an ocean-flight with him.

The beach ends northward in a wilderness of boul- ders, enormous masses of red conglomerate detached from the precipice above, and piled in confusjon upon each other, Pelion upon Ossa, and Ossaupon Olym- pus. This sort of composite rock readily yields to the action of the weather, and hence the fallen masses take rounded forms. On one of the most prominent stood a gentleman, angling ; I scrambled over to him, and learned that he was fishing for pollock ; they come in shoals and bite readily ; but it was rather too early in the season now.

Great boulders like these do not generally afibrd.a very favourable field to the naturalist ; where, however, one is resting partially on others, so as to allow an examination of its under side, this is sometimes pro- ductive, provided it be not far from low-water mark. In a dark cavernous recess here I found attached to the overhanging surface of a huge mass, a specimen, as big as a dinner-plate, of that curious dense sponge discovered by my esteemed friend Mr. Bowerbank, and named by him Pachymatisma Johnstonia. In another similarly situated, was a numerous colony of the common smooth Sea-anemone ( Actinia mesemhry- anthemum), composed, in about equal numbers, of two pretty varieties, the one a fine dark red, the other a clear grass- green.

I went back to the limestone ridge at the southern

10 SMOOTH ANEMONE.

extremity of the cove and amused myself with examin- ing the httle shallow tide-pools, one or two inches deep, regularly paved with small muscles, and fringed with dwarf faci, ulva, Rhodymenia palmata, and coralUne, representatives of the olive, green, red, and stony sea- weeds, all gathered together, but all stunted and poor, being so high above low-water line. Seve- ral of a long slender many-footed sea-worm fPIii/llo- doce lamellif/erajj looking like a centipede, but of a bright green colour, w^ere lithely crawling and turning among the sea- weeds and muscles, and were difficult to get hold of, from their length and slipperiness.

These shallow pools, the sides of the rocks, the boulders, and the small stones left dry by the tide, are all studded with the common Smooth Anemone fAct. mesemhryanthemum) in great abundance. The most frequent variety is of a rich deep red, sometimes brightening into blood-red, but more ordinarily deep- ening into a full brownish purple or liver-colour. Less common is the olive variety, likewise varying in tint according as the green or the brown element prepon- derates. And not rarely we see specimens, usually of large size and of oval outline, with the ground-colour dark-red, marked with numerous and close-set green dots. This species is the most careless of exposure to the air of all our native zoophytes; we see them adhering to the rocks almost up to high-water mark, so that the periods during which these are left dry are considerably longer than their immersions. Yet it is only while covered with water, that they expand their beautiful flower-like disks and petaloid tentacles, and consequently obtain nutriment. And even when we

NAKED-GILLED MOLLUSCA. 11

look at such as are immersed, we quite as frequently see them closed as open.

Southey has poetically described the influence of the returning tide upon these charming creatures.

Meantime with fuller reach and stronger swell, Wave after wave advanced ; Each following billow lifted the last foam That trembled on the sand with rainbow-hues : The living flower that, rooted to the rock, Late from the thinner element Shrank down within its purple stem to sleep, 2^or feels the water, and again Awakening, blossoms out All its green anther-necks.

Thalaba, xii. 3.

NAKED-GILLED MOLLUSCA.

Feh. ISth. The beach atBabbicombe, which, when the tide is in, is composed entirely of pebbles, changes low^er down to larger stones, and at extreme low water presents only rounded and flattened blocks from six inches to a yard in width. They are invested with a clothing of green weeds, and are hence slippery to walk on, and when their drapery is flagged and half withered by the sun, are unpleasing to the eye. It struck me that I might find something under them, however, and I spent an hour or two turning them over, not without some loss of blood, for their edges and under sides were crowded with the shells of 8e?'j)ul(p, tlie little projecting points of which over the mouth were as sharp as needles, and cut and tore my fingers continually. But I was rewarded by a good many of those elegant creatures, the naked

12 MANNERS OF EOLIDES.

gilled Mollusc a, wliicli were adhering to the surface of the loose stones, awaiting the return of tide. The large grey Eolis i)apillosa^ the little Boris hilamellata, and a more minute buff-coloured species of Boris, I took here ; and the pretty green Polycera ocellata was nu- merous ; but the most abundant, and at the same time the most lovely species was the exquisite Eolis coronata, with tentacles surrounded by membranous coronets, and with crowded clusters of papillae, of crimson and blue that reflect the most gem-like radiance.

I brought home my captives and placed them in a vase of sea-water to observe their manners. When out of water they exhibit nothing of their peculiar beauty, and if the searcher has not a sharp eye, he may readily overlook them ; they look like little shapeless lumps of fibrous jelly. But on being dropped into water, no sooner do they feel the bottom and begin to crawl, than all the clustering branchiae are separated and waved, the long oral tentacles are thrown from side to side, and the pellucid animal glides quickly along with a graceful even motion. Both the species oi Eolis hxi^X\Q up their branchiae and throw them forward when irritated. One or two of my specimens had lost some of their tufts of these organs, which were evidently sprouting again. I think that they lost some while in captivity.

E. coronata was very active, continually gliding with a uniform motion around the sides of the vessel, or climbing about the numerous branching sea-weeds, that were growing in it. They frequently crawled close to the edge of the water, but never came actually

SPAWN OF DORIS. 13

out, tlioiisrli tliev occasionallv floated at the surface by means of the expanded foot, back-downward.

Polycera oceUata on the