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properly from level ground. It seemed to
us also that there was an attention paid to
regularity in placing the nests in a line or
street, so that one main path might
communicate with all of them.


HIDDEN from our view, and enjoying life
in the bosom of the waters, little is known
of the habits of fish. Still, however, according
to the laws of nature, means are always
so admirably adapted to ends, that from the
inspection of our finny specimen we can
sayalmost with positive certaintywhat
must have been its food, and its manner of
procuring it. As amongst animals that live
on the face of the earth, so among fish we
find representatives of the carnivorous and
of the herbivorous tribes; and, to enable
each to live, the body and the teeth are always
in conformity with the mode of life the
individual is destined to pursue.

Let the observant reader comparewhich
he may now do with ease, at the vivarium of
the Zoological Gardensthe form of the pike
with that of the sluggish tench, or the rapid-
loving barbel. The pike, in shape not unlike
the elongated iron steamers, which make
such short voyages across the Atlantic, is
constructed for sudden and rapid motion
at a moment's notice. He basks, motionless
as a block of wood, watching, with
greedy eyes, a shoal of sportive minnows.
Now they are near enough; one wag of the
screw-like tail; the fresh-water shark is
among them; and, seizing his victim, carries
him off to devourin anglers' parlance, to
gorge, at his leisure. Many a hot July
day have we been out on a jack-wiring
expedition: armed with a noose of the finest
brass wire fastened to the end of a long
willow wand. The avenger of the minnows
creeps quietly along the banks of the weedy
ditch or stagnant pond; there, shaded by the
leaves of the great water lilylike the Great
Mogul under his umbrellathe murderer
basks in fancied security. Gradually and
quietly the wire cuts the water; a steady
hand and delicate touch passes it up to his
fins; rather pleased, than otherwise, by the
tickling, he will, if well managed, of his own
accord place these fins into the fatal noose.
A sharp, quick pull upward, and there he is,
dancing a hornpipe on the bank.

The growth of the pike, if well supplied
with food, seems almost unlimited. A large
pike was caught in a pond in Wiltshire, and
the fisherman determined to fatten him up for
the market; he therefore bored a hole in one
of his pectoral fins, and passing a rope
through, tethered him to a post in his native
pool. He supplied the captive with plenty
of dead fish and garbage of all sorts, all of
which he greedily devoured. In the course
of a few months, the prisoner attained an
enormous weight. He became one of the
lions of the place, and was not even
deteriorated by being perpetually hauled up to
be inspected by visitors.

It is a question whether fish ever die of old
age. There is, however, preserved in the
Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford, an enormous
eel, which was found floating dead on the
surface of a secluded pond at Shottover Hill
near that city. There were no marks of
violence upon his body, and from his general
personal appearance the verdict of a jury of
naturalists held upon this patriarch was
"Death from natural causes."

As an exact opposite in habits and form to
the pike, let the visitor to the Gardens
examine the tench confined in a tank close by
his carnivorous neighbour. This fish is
herbivorous, as the contents of his stomach
have informed us; but he also is fond of the
various soft-bodied animals, such as the spawn
of fresh-water shells, which he finds in his
weedy home. To secure these, he does not
require long sharp teeth like the pike; those
that he has, therefore, are very small and
placed in his throat; to enable him to tear off
his favourite morsels, he has a hard and fleshy
palate admirably adapted to the habits of its
owner. That he may push his way through
the groves of weeds in which he delights to
dwell, the form of his body is fashioned not
unlike that of the punt used by the duck-
hunter; and that he may not be entangled
in his movements, his scales are small and
thin, and covered by a sort of slime which
renders them exceedingly slippery.

The tench in olden times was supposed to
possess medicinal virtues. An old writer
informs us that "in the head of the tench
there are two small stones that have an
absorbent, detergent, and diuretic quality;
these when powdered are used to absorb
acids in the stomach, and to stop looseness."
Ancient doctors were in the habit of applying
tenches to the feet in fevers, to cause "a
revulsion from the brain." They had a
doctrine also, that if a living tench were applied
to the region of the liver, and suffered to
remain there until it died, the jaundice would
speedily be cured and the skin of the fish
become yellow on the side next to the patient.
Glorious old times, those, to have been an
invalid in!

All the carp tribe, to which the tench and
the gold-fish belong, are very tenacious of life
out of the water. Last summer I was invited
to inspect the result of a haul of gold-fish
from a small garden pond near London.
So mighty was the draught, that it three
quarters filled a watering-cart, such as is
used in London for watering the streets.
All colours of the rainbow were reflected
from their resplendent bodies. On sorting
them, my surprise was great to find that
the majority were alive, although at that
time they had been out of the water,
recumbent in the cart, twelve long hours. By