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Britain and Ireland, under stones, leaves, and moss.

By far the largest genus of the family under consideration is the Helix, a cosmopolitan mollusk, numbering fifteen hundred species, of which, however, only twenty-four inhabit Britain, and seven of these are confined to the south of our island. The most remarkable of these are the Helix obvoluta, covered with thick curved hairs, and the aspersa and pomatia; the aspersa is, however, better known as the garden-snail. This is the animal pleasantly alluded to by Cowper in the lines:

To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The Snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there, house and all

Who seeks him must be worse than blind
(He and his house are so combined),
If finding it, he fails to find

Its master.

And by Shakspeare in Venus and Adonis, who pictures the sensitive eyes of Venus recoiling from the spectacle of Adonis when wounded by the boar as being like to

The Snail, whose tender horns being hit, Shrinks backward in his shelly cave with pain, And there, all smother'd up in shade doth sit,

Long after fearing to creep forth again.

No snail has probably been so minutely studied as the Helix pomatia. The complexity and bulk of its organs are so great and marvellous that you would suppose that you were looking at those of one of the higher vertebrate animals. Its habits are also extremely interesting. On the approach of winter it scoops a hole in the ground with its foot, sufficiently large to contain its shell, lines and roofs the hole with a kind of mortar made of dead leaves, earth, and mucus secreted by itself, retires into this cell, and then proceeds to make itself still more snug by closing the mouth of its shell with a diaphragm. This consists of a thick calcareous substance, exuded from the edge of the mantle, which gradually hardens into a solid mass, but pervious to air. Having done this, it withdraws into the whorls of

its house and remains torpid during the winter. With returning spring the Helix pomatia quickens into life, breaks open its plaster door-somewhat resembling in form a miniature-painter's pallet, which the conchologist often finds on chalk downs -and reappears on the surface of the ground; and in May, when the woods are melodious with the song of many birds, intent on perpetuating their species, the humble apple-snail is as intent on carrying out the laws of creation.

When a celebrated French malacologist, Moquin-Tandon, wrote,'Les mollusques ont des ruses et des industries, des sympathies, et des inimities, des guerres acharneés et des amours bizarres,' he was believed by many to be romancing. See, however, how truthful he was. For when we find this helix usurping Cupid's darts, and not in a figurative sense, we must admit that mollusks have des amours bizarres.' This


species is provided during the pairing season with tiny crystalline darts, which some malacologists declare they shoot at each other; for these singular love provocatives are occasionally found sticking in their bodies. Mr. Owen, however, doubts this, but affirms that the darts are driven in, being generally used after a kind of preparatory toying with the horns. They are contained in a pouch, and vary in number. We cannot help thinking, that had Shakspeare been aware of this curious fact, he would have called the Helix pomatia into court when describing the loves of Venus and Adonis, as he has done when dwelling on the grief of the former at the sight of her wounded lover.

Our helix makes a nest-like hole in the ground, in which the eggs are laid. These are about the size of a small pea, and resemble mistletoe berries. The average period of hatching is twenty days, when the young snail comes out in a beautiful bubble-like shell, very unlike its future substantial house, and subsists at first on the pellicle of the egg.

The apple-snail is famous as being the edible snail, par excellence. Other snails, the Helix aspersa and


the nemoralis, are eaten, but the Helix pomatia has the honour of being considered a dish for a gastronome. The story that it was introduced into England by the Romans, who were so fond of these snails that they fattened them for the table, is The probability, however, is, that this snail was imported into this country about the middle of the sixteenth century, either as a delicacy or as a cure for consumption. There is no doubt that a diet of apple-snails is efficacious in this disease. Mr. Reeve mentions a case of a gentleman having been lately entirely cured of consumption by taking the expressed mucilaginous juice of this snail, which was administered to him in every conceivable form without his knowledge. And in order that there might be no lack of snails, the gentleman lived during the process of cure near Box Hill, in Surrey, which abounds with apple-snails, descendants, perhaps, of those introduced from Italy into Surrey by Thomas, Earl of Arundel, collector of the Arundel Marbles.' These importations were evidently famous for their edible qualities, as Evelyn speaks of them as 'huge, fleshly, and delicious snails.'


excellent stewed, either with a white or brown sauce. In short,' adds our informant, they are one of those things which you can hardly spoil.' In these days of easy travel, you may indulge a laudable curiosity to taste Helix pomatia in almost any of the chief continental towns; few of the Parisian dealers in comestibles are without a bowl of these snails temptingly displayed in their artistically decorated windows. In 1854 the consumption of this snail was estimated to exceed half a million francs in Paris alone, since which period it has considerably increased. In Dijon six thousand francs worth of apple-snails are sold monthly, the usual price being one franc fifty cents the hundred. But if you desire to fatten on this snail, go to Corfu, for there the Helix pomatia which is sold in the market, attains gigantic proportions. A specimen from that locality now before us measures five inches and threequarters in circumference.

Man, however, is not the only animal that appreciates the helix family. Birds, we know, are partial to them; but it is not probably so generally known that sheep regard the Helis virgata and ericetorum, as a bonne bouche. These are the snails seen in such myriads on our downs after a shower of rain; and it is certain that the sheep pasturing on these downs eat them by thousands. The fact is important to us, for it is said to be owing in some measure to the relish of the sheep for these dainties that our Southdown mutton has attained its celebrity. Indeed, all our south-country sheep have long indulged in these snails; and hear what Borlase says of Cornish mutton one hundred years ago: The sweetest mutton is reckoned to be that of the small sheep which feed on the commons where the sands are scarce covered with green sod, and the grass is exceedingly short. From these sands come forth snails of the turbinated kind, which spread themselves over the plains and yield a most fattening nourishment to the sheep.'* It is worthy of remark, that these tur

It is not easy to say why the apple-snail, which Ben Jonson and Lister, as well as Evelyn, extol as a dainty dish, and which is eaten largely, and highly appreciated, in France, Germany, and Italy, should be now neglected by us. The writer can speak from personal experience of their excellence; and should our readers be tempted to essay this pabulum, here is a receipt for cooking them from a master in the culinary art: Select those that have dark-brown shells, heavy and well closed at the mouth, for these are in the best condition; lean snails, as well as lean mutton, being to be met with, and both have a tendency to be hard. Scald them to get them from their shells, and then fry them Iwith a few crumbs of bread and seasoning of pepper, salt, and a pinch of fine herbs; thus they will not disappoint you: or they are

* Natural History of Cornwall. 1758.

binated snails are only common in our southern counties. May we venture, therefore, to argue, that if they could be distributed throughout Britain our north-country mutton would be better?

The next snails of interest in the family under consideration are the Clausilice. These mollusks are provided with a valve, which is extremely like a door, made to close by means of a spring. The valve consists of calcareous matter secreted by the snails, and when this is constructed they spin an elastic filament, which is attached to one side of the door, and causes the latter to close on the animal when it retreats into its shell.

Another curious feature in this family of mollusks is their habit of carrying their shell, when in motion, nearly upright, and in some species, of swaying it from side to side.

Passing over the Auriculacea family, which present no very remarkable features, we come to the Lymnaeacea, or Pond-snails. These, which are lung-gilled, and breathe both in water and air, are comparatively numerous in Britain; indeed, there are not many more species in all Europe than there are in the British Isles. Among the most remarkable are the horny Planorbis and the Physa. The former, which is common in muddy ponds and ditches, has the curious property, when irritated, of emitting a purple fluid so copiously that attempts have been made to utilize the secretion for dyeing purposes. The latter mollusk is remarkable for its locomotion in water. This, as many readers will have noticed, is effected by a series of sudden jerks. By bringing the lateral margins of the foot into contact, the animal constructs a tube for inhaling and suddenly expelling the water, and by this hydraulic action the jerking motion is effected. It has also the power, in common with the Lymncea, of walking rapidly at the surface of the water with its back downwards.

which in some species is as hard as a stone. One of the most singular species among this tribe of the eleven common to our islands is the Cyclostoma elegans, or round mouth. This conspicuously proboscismouthed mollusk is the solitary representative in Britain of a group inhabiting in great abundance the West India Islands. The proboscis is used to remove earth and also to assist the animal in crawling. In some of our inland counties, but chiefly in chalk districts, this handsome mollusk may be seen in great numbers in the spring of the year. The children in Kent string the shells for necklaces and bracelets. In dry weather this mollusk buries itself in the soil by the aid of its muscular proboscis and lobed foot.

The second tribe of freshwater mollusks consist of animals provided with an operculum or mouth lid,

In the tribe under consideration are the Paludince, or marsh-snails, which breathe in water only. They are distinguished by being ovo-viviparous. The eggs are hatched in the ovary, and at the end of about two months the young are ejected alive. It is remarkable that although these mollusks are common in the southern half of our island, they are not found in Scotland nor in Ireland.

Our limited space precludes our dwelling at greater length on these interesting mollusks, but before parting from them we must allude to the astonishing vitality of some species.

Pond-snails have been frequently found alive in logs of mahogany from Honduras. Madeira snails have survived incarceration in pillboxes for two years and a half. But the most wonderful example of resuscitation occurred in the case of a specimen of the Desert snail, from Egypt, as described by Dr. Baird. This individual was fixed to a tablet in the British Museum on the 25th of March, 1846, and on the 7th of March, 1850, it was observed that he must have come out of his shell in the interval, as the paper had been discoloured, apparently in his attempt to get away, but finding escape impossible, had again retired, closing his aperture with the usual glistening film; this led to his being immersed in tepid water, and to his marvellous recovery.

Mr. Darwin, in his Origin of Species, also notices the vitality of small mollusks. He informs us that he found numbers of the Ancylus fluviatilis, a diminutive limpet, which had adhered to the feet of a duck alive for twenty hours after the duck had been out of the water; a sufficient time, as Mr. Darwin observes, with reference to the distribution of species, for the duck to have flown seven hundred miles.

The second, or headless class of mollusks comprise three families and four genera. Among the first is the Dreissena, a triangular, fanshaped mussel, which was not detected in Britain until 1824. In that year, Mr. Sowerby accidentally observed a gentleman fishing for perch with it as bait in the Commercial Docks. The mollusk had been imported from Eastern or Northern Europe, probably across the Baltic, either among timber or attached to the ship's bottom, and was abundantly multiplying. It has now increased so largely that it is common in most of our docks, lakes, canals, reservoirs, and even in our water-pipes, for it has not only been found in the reservoirs of the New River, Grand Junction, West Middlesex, and other water companies, but even within the iron water-pipes when they have been taken up for repair, in such quantity as to choke them.

are all referrible to one, the apparent varieties being due to the quantity and character of the food, the stillness or disturbance of the water, its chemical composition, and other causes.

The genus Unio (a pearl) is closely associated with the Anodons. The British species of this mollusk are the tumidus, pictorum, and margaritifer. All produce pearls, but the latter is the most prolific. The pictorum or painter's unio, was formerly used by painters for containing their colours (whence its name), and is still employed by artists' colourmen for holding gold and silver preparations for illuminating purposes. The Unio margaritifer, or pearl-bearing unio, is found throughout Great Britain and Ireland; but only those inhabiting turbulent waters are remarkable for their pearl-secreting functions. These functions appear to be stimulated by rapid rivers, whereas the unios living in gentlyflowing or stagnant waters seldom produce pearls of any value.

Delight in iridescent shells is common to mankind, and even to the lower animals. For while the untutored savage loves to adorn his person with fragments of shells which display the beautiful phenomena of the spectrum, the curious male bower-bird of Australia is found to make his love bower or 'run' attractive by decking it with pieces of glittering shells. More civilized races select for their adornment the nacre deposited in abnormal secretions on the shell's lining, which in the form of the rose-tinged pearl becomes the proverbial pearl of great price.' But our British pearls cannot vie with those of Indian seas. They have, however, long attracted attention. Tacitus alludes to them as pearls 'not very orient, but pale and wan.' Specimens of considerable size and beauty have been occasionally found. The rapid rivers in Wales, particularly the Conway, have yielded several fine pearls. One of especial purity, presented by Sir R. Wynne to the Queen of Charles the Second, is now in the crown of Queen Victoria. The rivers in Scotland are also celebrated for pearl

In this class are included the mussels, among which are our freshwater pearl-bearing mollusks. It also includes the Anodonta cygnea, the largest of European freshwater mollusks, which sometimes attains the breadth of upwards of six inches. This animal is very common in our lakes, ponds, and sluggish rivers. It has a largely-developed foot of an orange hue, with which it burrows into and trails along the mud. It feeds principally on decomposed animal matter, which it has apparently a great power of scenting, for a dead dog in a pond draws hundreds round it. Malacologists, who have an unfortunate passion for creating synonyms, have made from forty to fifty species of the European Anodons; but it is now pretty generally believed that they

bearing unios. In 1621, James the Sixth issued a proclamation for the preservation of all Scottish waters wherein pearls doe breed,' reserving for himself certain rivers noted for large pearls; and we read of one in the Succinct Survey of Aberdeen, found in that county, of such size and beauty that the provost of that city went expressly to London to present it to the king, who rewarded him by a right royal gift.

Many of the ancient Anglo-Saxon brooches contain British pearls, some fine specimens of which are in the Ashmolean Museum.

The largest European pearls are now found in Bohemia, and are extensively used in combination with garnets.

It is worth mentioning, as illustrative of the state of natural history in the sixteenth century, that pearls were believed to be formed in unios by their inhaling dew. In a topographical description of Cumberland in Camden's Britannia, this passage occurs:Higher up the river Irt runs into the sea, in which the shell-fish, having by a kind of irregular motion taken in the dew, which they are extremely fond of, are impregnated, and produce pearls or shell-berries, which the jewellers buy of the poor for a trifle and sell again at a very great price.'

But 'dew,' in the middle ages, was believed to possess many virtues

besides producing pearls. Its supposed cosmetic powers was a popular superstition, which there is reason to apprehend originated from an allegory by which some village Zadig attempted to induce persons to attend to the wholesome observances of early-rising and exercise.

We must now conclude, though we are far from having exhausted our subject. What we have said will, however, we trust, cause some of our readers to study the habits of our mollusks. And if they do, let them take Mr. Reeve's work as their guide. Apart from his eminence as a conchologist, Mr. Reeve has paid great attention to this speciality. The publication before us has been five years in preparation, and three years have been devoted to the collection of living specimens. The result is by far the best work that has appeared on the subject. For although the land and freshwater mollusks of the British Isles have been ably described by many conchologists, Mr. Reeve's present work is the first in which the exact limits of distribution, not only of the species, but of the genera also, have been worked out and tabulated. We have also to add, that from two to four wood-engravings, of extraordinary beauty and great accuracy, are given of the shell of each species, and of the living mollusk of each genus, as it appears in situ.





RE yet the sun has dried on hedge and furze
Their silver veils of dewy gossamers,
Along the winding road to Lisnamoy


The drover trudges and the country boy,

With cows that fain would crop its fringe of sward,
And pigs, their hindfoot jerking in a cord,
And bleating sheep; the farmer jogs his way,
Or plies his staff, and legs of woollen gray;
The basket-bearing goodwives slowly move,
In milk-white caps with kerchiefs tied above,
On foot, or in the cart-front placed on high
To jolt along in lumbering luxury;


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