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fishers who pushed out to sea in boats and
made long tracks of light on the phosphorescent
water. They seemed to be at work
in fire where they were stirring about with
fish baskets, seizing fishes and detaching
shells from rocks. After a time they returned
singing, wet from their task, and their whole
persons covered with living fire. They
brought with them gigantic crabs and
frightful rays, and thousands of shells all
glittering with light, which they poured out
upon the grass, and then often they would
dance, naked savages as they were, about
their huts, and look like fairies, or fire-

Now that we are by the sea, we will
abide upon it. What if there were no waves
nor tides, nor currents in the ocean? What
if it were not salt? To take only one
consideration. What if it were possible for the
sea to become frozen over like the Serpentine?
Put upon a short allowance of vapour,
when all the summer supply had been duly
condensed and discharged in rain, we should
have dry winters and springs, we should
want clouds, want rain, want water springs
and water. The sand islands and marshes,
and the many diverging channels, naturally
formed as a delta at the mouth of most
great rivers, are very ugly; but they are
formed naturally and like all things in
nature have their use. We may say that
they exist where it is geographically
inevitable that they should exist, but He who
made alike the laws and the things under
the laws, so made them, that whatever
accident may arise from their working,
whatever secondary or other combinations
they may run into, everything has more
than one use for good. Where we see no
use the fault is in our ignorance; for we
have millions of years of work to do, before
we can say that we have turned out all
the knowledge that is locked up in this
little cabinet we call our world. The
marshes and low islands at a river's mouth
serve, we may say, as breakwaters for the
protection of the inner country. If they
were less open-mouthed there would be no
"bore" in the Severn or the Hooghly.

When we feel inclined to pride ourselves
on our great wisdom, let us think how very
little they appeared to know of nature who
lived in the world before us, and feel that
the very rapidity with which new information
is now pouring in will in the end tell
of our ignorance more tales than of our
wisdom, since it will cause us also hereafter
to appear marvellously short-sighted in the
eyes of those by whom our places will be
taken. The tides to which we have been
just referring, Kepler took for the respirations
of the earth, which he regarded as a
living animal, and Blackmore attributed the
eruptions of Mount Etna to fits of colic.
We have pushed out into somewhat deeper
soundings, but they still will deepen as we
go, and of the sea of knowledge we may
say too, as of the salt water sea, that there
are parts of it which no man may ever
expect to fathom.


HERE the white-ray'd anemone is born,
Wood-sorrel, and the varnished buttercup,
And primrose in its purpled green swathed up,
Pallid and sweet round every budding thorn:
Grey ash and beech with rusty leaves outworn.
Here, too, the darting linnet has her nest,
In the blue-lustred holly, never shorn;
Whose partner cheers the little brooding breast,
Piping from some near bough. O simple song!
O cistern deep of that harmonious rillet,
And these fair juicy stems that climb and throng
The vernal world, and unexhausted seas
Of flowing life! and soul, that asks to fill it
Each of them alland more, and more than these


I HAVE the honour to be an inhabitant
of the village of Salmon Falls, Eldorado,
California. It is a place set in a ring of
mountains; a scene of a prison with high
walls, practicable only in those places
through which our friendly river makes his
entrance and his exit. We call the village
Salmon Falls, because the river contains
salmon, and is broken very near us by a
water-fall of about sixteen feet, up which the
fish now and then succeed in leaping. The
right of fishing, by tacit consent, still
belongs to the Indians, and in summer they
come down to catch the salmon, both by
spearing and by nets. Our fishing in the
river is for gold; of which it is said to contain
not shoals. Every year we dam small
portions of it, and having then drained by
ditches or flumes, look for the scales that we
love better than scales of any fish that swims.
Frequently, after months of toil and patient
industry, the river-bed, after it has been
drained off, displays only a barren stretch of
rock, and we have lost our labour. Fortune
at other times is very kind to us.

Not long ago this village was a canvas
town; but it has become now a substantial
place, and we inhabit wooden houses. In the
street between these houses there walk men
of almost all nations under the sun. At one
door is perhaps a group of Americans, of
white men, as they are often called, in
contradistinction to the rest, who are all considered
foreigners. Over the way may be a crowd of
Chinese in their own odd costume, with,
hats of wicker-work, like saucepan-lids, with
bodies wrapped in three or four dark-blue
cotton jackets of unequal length, the undermost
padded throughout; with sublimely
baggy trousers, and slipshod shoes; every
man, too, with his tail touching the ground,
thanks either to nature's liberal supply of
hair, or to the silk cord with which
deficiency is eked out and concealed. The