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as by a miracle, into the celled structure of
lungs; the tail grows daily shorter, not
broken off, but absorbed; the heart adds to
its cells; the fish becomes a reptile as the
tadpole changes to a frog. The same process
we observe in toads; and it is also the same
in our newts, excepting that in newts the tail
remains. There is no parallel in nature to
this marvellous and instructive metamorphosis.

The perfectly-formed frog does not live of
necessity in water, or near it, but requires
damp air occasionally. It breathes by lungs,
as we have said; but, as it has no ribs, there
is no chest to heave mechanically. The frog's
air has to be swallowed, to be gulped down
into the lungs. That is not possible unless
the mouth is shut; and, therefore, as we might
suffocate a man by keeping his mouth shut,
so we should suffocate a frog by keeping his
mouth open. Yet we should not suffocate
him instantly; we should disable the lungs;
but, in this class of animals the whole skin is
a breathing surface. A frog has lived a
month after his lungs had been extracted.
All respiratory surfaces, like the inside of our
own lungs, can act only when they are relaxed
and moist. That is the reason why a frog's
skin is always moist, and why a frog requires
moist air. It does not need this constantly,
because, when moisture is abundant, there is
a bag in which it stores up superfluity of
water, to be used in any day of need. It is
this waterpure and clearwhich frogs or
toads expel when they are alarmed by being
handled. Is not enough said, here, to rescue
frogs from our contempt? We may add, that
they are capable of understanding kindness
can be tamed. Frogs hybernate under the mud
of ponds, where they lie close together, in a
stratum, till the spring awakens them to a
renewal of their lives and loves. They lay a
vast number of eggs, at the bottom of the
water; and the multitudes of young frogs that
swarm upon the shore when their
transformation is complete, has given rise to many
legends of a shower of frogs. These
multitudes provide food for many animals, serpents,
as we have seen, birds, fish. And the
survivors are our friends.

The other species of frog found in this
country is the Edible Frog (Rana esculenta).
It has for a long time had a colony in
Foulmire Fen, in Cambridgeshire, although
properly belonging to a continental race. It
differs from our common frog in wanting a
dark mark that runs from eye to shoulder,
and in having, instead of it, a light marka
streakfrom head to tail along the centre of
the back. The male is a more portentous
croaker than our own familiar musicians, by
virtue of an air-bladder on each cheek, into
which air is forced, and in which it vibrates
powerfully during the act of croaking. This
kind of frog is always in or near the water,
and being very timid, plunges out of sight if
any one approaches.

Those are our frogs; as for our two Toads,
they are by no means less innocent. They
are the Common Toad, by style and title
Bufo vulgaris, and a variety of the Natter
Jack Toad, to be found on Blackheath, and in
many places about London, and elsewhere.
The toad undergoes transformations like the
frog. It is slower in its movements, and less
handsome in appearance: similar in structure.
There is a somewhat unpleasant secretion
from its skin, a product of respiration. There
is nothing about it in the faintest degree
poisonous. It is remarkably sensible of
kindness; more so than the frog. Examples of
tame toads are not uncommon. Stories are
told of the discovery of toads alive, in blocks
of marble, where no air could be; but, there
has been difficulty, hitherto, in finding one
such example free from the possibility of
error. It may be found, however, that
toads can remain for a series of years
torpid. It has been proved that snails, after
apparent death of fifteen years, have become
active on applying moisture. A proof equally
distinct is at present wanting in the case of
toads. The toad, like other reptiles, will
occasionally cast its skin. The old skin splits
along the back, and gradually parts, until it
comes off on each side, with a little muscular
exertion on the toad's part. Then, having
rolled his jacket up into a ball, he eats it!

No reptiles remain now to be mentioned,
but four species of Newt. These little
creatures are abundant in our ponds and ditches,
and some are most falsely accused of being
poisonous. They are utterly harmless. Their
transformations, their habits, their changes of
skin, their laying of eggs, can easily be
watched by any who will keep them in a
miniature pond. A large pan of water, with
sand and stones at the bottom, decayed
vegetable matter for food, and a few living
water-plants, extracted from their native
place, will keep a dozen newts in comfort.
The water-plants are needed, because a newt
prefers to lay her egg upon a leaf. She stands
upon it, curls it up with her hind legs, and
puts an egg between the fold, where it remains
glued. These being our reptiles, are they
proper objects of abhorrence? At this season
they are all finishing their winter nap. In a
few weeks they will come among us, and
then, when

———"the songs, the stirring air,
   The life re-orient out of dust,
   Cry through the sense to hearten trust
In that which made the world so fair"—

may we not permit our hearts to be
admonished by the reptiles also?

On the 22nd instant will be ready, price. 5s. 6d.,
neatly bound in cloth,




Containing from Number 27 to Number 52, both inclusive.