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enjoyed (supposing him to have been an
innocent man able to enjoy it) for the space
of thirty years.


I HAVE rarely gone upon the beach with a
country cousin who did not take up a handful
of dry sea-weeds, and ask me what the
white serpentine things were, which he saw
upon it. Wrack-spangle, the popular name
of these things, implies that they deck the
sea-weeds as spangles adorn robes. The
savans call them Serpulsæ, from the Latin
word serpo, I creep. Mollusks and worms
living in pipes are called tubicolæ, or tube-
dwellers. The serpulæ live in as fantastically
twisted pipes as ever any man smoked.
Everything in the sea is more or less covered
with these people of the pipes,—shells, crabs,
weeds, timber, everything in short; and
when bottles have been thrown overboard
from ships, they have often been washed
ashore, gorgeously and fantastically decorated
with sculpture-like festoons of them. Glassy
or milky, round or angular, smooth, wrinkled
or spiral, prostrate or erect, social or solitary,
there are great varieties of these pipe-worms,
differing in size as in form, from the tiniest
spangle of the wrack, to the serpulæ found in
the coral reefs of the tropics which are
sometimes three feet long. The body of the
animal is cylindrical, tapering smaller as it
recedes from the head.

The first segment of the body is surrounded
with a collar which appears to secrete the
tube, as the mantle secretes the shell of the
mollusks. The crystallised portion of the
tubes being more prominent than the organic,
the tubes of the worms have more of a
mineral, and somewhat less of an animal
nature, than the shells of the conchylions.
These worms breathe by fan-like gill-tufts
issuing from their heads. The gill-tufts of
these annelidæ, or ring-like animals, are
always bizarre in their appearance, and
display sometimes beautiful colours. The pipe-
worms are usually seen with a lid or stopper
closing the mouth of their tubes. When
some of the species lift up the lid or
opercule, gill-tufts are seen as beautiful as living
flowers of orange, violet, or carmine hues.
A pipe-worm lifting up his opercule, and
displaying his gills, is like a tuft of petals
coming out into full blow and brilliance.

The sand-shell is nearly as well known as
the wrack-spangle. Every child knows it
who has ever played with the wrack and
sand at high-water mark. I made my first
acquaintance with it when determinedly
building castles of sand, which were to be
Stout enough to defy the German Ocean.
I am now cured of my belief in all
such castles. When the sand castles
withstood the waves, the children applauded
the castles, and when the waves destroyed
the castles three tremendous cheers were
given to the waves; but of course grown-up
folks never do the like. The sand-shells of
Sabella, Terebella, and Amphitrite, consist of
fine sand glued together, and forming tubes
resembling the bits of paper which are
twisted round to make squills, or form
cigarettes. Sabella secretes, the anatomists
are not sure where, the glue which cements
together the silicious and shelly sand of the
funnels. When found upon the shore a touch
suffices to destroy them. Sabella asthe
common worm of the sand, or sable, is prettily
calledlives in these narrow funnels near
low-water mark. Sabella, like serpula,
belongs to the sub-order of the Head-gills. In
sabella, the spiral tentacles serve both to
take in the aliment, and to renew the water
which supplies the gills with oxygen. Sir John
Dalyel said he had observed the reproduction
of the sabella by scission, as among the
planaria. Several Head-gills, serpula,
terebella, and protula, for example, fix their eggs
in clusters upon stones near their funnels.

Children playing with the sand, find cowry
shells as frequently as sand-funnels. These
pretty little univalve shells are called cowries
because this is their name in India, where
they are used as money. The French call
them the porcelain sea-fleas, les
porcelaines poux de mer. The porcelain polish
is due to the mantle issuing from the shell,
and covering the whole of it. The porcelain
cowries crawl like snails, displaying
upon their mantles, and upon their heads,
a rich variety of colours. They have long
tongues covered with tentacles. The cowry,
like the sabella, dwells in the vicinity of low-
water mark. Cyprea, the learned name of
this creature, is, I suppose, derived from
mythology, and bestowed in compliment of
the beauty of this pretty conchylion. The
manufacture of the porcelain shells of the
cyprea is as curious as the shells
themselves are beautiful. At first the shell
consists of a simple and smooth twist round the
imaginary axis of the central column,
while the lips are thin, and the colour
disposed in bands or waves. As the shell
solidifies, teeth appear, and the back is
painted with a coat of colours in obscure
bands, or waves. Finally, as the teeth
strengthen, the sides are thickened with a
colouring enamel arranged in lines, blotches,
nets, and waves, of various hues and

Lieutenant J. B. Hankey, of the Collingwood,
observed a cowry while renewing its
shell. His observation needs confirmation
to convince the gainsayer; which I
hope it will obtain speedily. The formation
of the shell is a work of time; the renewal
of it, the gallant Lieutenant says, is only an
affair of a few days. He observed a cowry
retire into a nook, as if it were intent on
something. The animal was too big for its
shell. The process of the first formation of
the shell was reversed. The colours became

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