Page images

Scientific Notes ON THE

RIBE. In the common cuttle-fish or squid of our coast, the body, which is long and narrow, is wrapped in a muscular cloak or mantle, like a bag, fitting tightly to the back, but loose in front. It is closed up to the neck, where it is open, like a loosely-fitting overcoat buttoned up to the throat. Attached to its throat, by the middle, is a short tube, open at both ends. This tube, or siphon, can be moved about in any direction. The animal breathes by means of gills, which are attached to the front of the body, inside the cloak, and look like the ruffles of a shirt-bosom. By means of these gills the air contained in the water is breathed, and they answer the same purpose for the cuttlefish that our lungs do for us. In order to swim the animal swells out the cloak in front, so that the water flows in between it and the body. Then it closes the cloak tightly about the neck, so that the only way the water can get out is through the siphon. Then it contracts forcibly its coat, and the water is driven out in a jet from the siphon, and the body is propelled in the opposite direction like a rocket through the water. This siphon is flexible, like a water hose, and can be bent so as to direct the stream not only forward, but sideways, and backward, so that the animal can move in almost any direction, and turn summersaults with perfect ease; and so rapidly do some cuttlefishes swim, that they are able to make long leaps out of the water. Usually, however, the animal swims backward, with its long arms trailing behind.

Our common cattle-fish of this coast has, in addition to its eight arms, two long slender tentacles, which may be withdrawn into the body. The tail is pointed, and furnished with a fin on each side. The octopods, to which the Brazilian cuttle-fish belongs, have round purse-like bodies.

The paper nautilus is nothing in the world but a female cuttle-fish that builds a shell. There was a very pretty story told of her habits by Aristotle, the Greek naturalist, which everybody believed until quite lately. He said she rode on the top of the waves, seated in her boat-like shell, and spreading her broad arms to the wind for sails. But, unfortunately, the story has no foundation in fact. She either crawls about on the bottom of the sea, or swims quite like other cuttle-fish, shell foremost, only occasionally coming to the surface. Strangely enough, she holds the two broad hand-like extremities of the arms against her body, and it is the inside of these arms that secrete the paper-like shell, which is only a sort of cradle for her eggs. Not so with the pearly nautilus, which is furnished with a beautiful coiled-up pearly shell, formed on the outside of the animal. The shell is divided into numerous chambers, and the animal, living in the outer one, builds a partition across the back part of it as the shell grows. Cuttle-fish are sometimes used for food by the Brazilians, and different species may be seen in the markets, where one frequently finds them still alive. Sometimes as we stoop to examine one, its body is suddenly suffused with a deep pinkish glow. Before we have time to recover our surprise this colour fades, and a beautiful blue takes its place as rapidly as a blush sometimes suffuses a delicate cheek. The blue, perhaps, is succeeded by a green, and then the whole body becomes pink again. One can hardly conceive anything more beautiful than this rapid play of colours, which is produced by the successive distension of sets of little sacs containing fluids of different colours which are situated under the skin. The cuttle-fish is also furnished with a bag containing an inky fluid, which, when the animal is attacked or pursued, it ejects into the water, thus completely blinding its adversary, and effectually covering its retreat. It is from this fluid that the colour sepia is made. Besides carrying an ink-bottle, some species of cuttle-fish are provided with a long, delicate, horny pen, which forms a sort of stiffener to the back. In some species the pen is hard, thick, and broad, and the cuttle-fish bone of commerce is of this kind. The species found in our waters is very small, and not at all dangerous, being barely large enough to draw blood from the hand; but in the tropical seas they are very large, powerful, and dangerous.-(From "American Naturalist.")

I have myself made acquaintance with these same octopods in the tropics, on the coral reefs of Mauritius, and elsewhere. In Mauritius there are three genera of this family, viz: Octopus dubuis, O. araneus, O. indicus.

All these octopodidæ are edible, and form a staple commodity of food amongst the Creole crews of the chasse-marees, on the coast of the above-named island. Ourite is the name given by the Creoles to this mollusc, which is speared on the coral reefs, and afterwards hung up to dry on wooden frames in the sun. I have tasted the ourite on occasions when the sailors simply thrust a portion into the embers of the fire until it was crisp, when it made a palatable if not luxurious dish.

The size of these octopods may be imagined when I say that I have often seen a tall Indian carrying one of these ourites on a pole over his shoulder whose tentacles trailed on the ground behind him.

S. P. OLIVER, Lieut. R.A.

Hauteville, Guernsey.

Extract of letter from the author of Les Miserables, &c. :—"Je ne puis que l'approuver complètement."-Victor Hugo.

London : Printed by NELSON & CO., Oxford Arms Passage, St. Paul's, London,

[blocks in formation]

" It is highly vexatious to see a thing, though the most perfect, receired with doubt; for the di ubter sets himself up above the trouble of proof, although he demands it from the asserter of the authenticity of the work."-GOETHE.


JUDGMENT. “And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work: after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. FourEquare it shall be being doubled ; a span shall be the length thereof, and & span shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones :

“ The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle : this shali be the first row.

"And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.

“And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.

"And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper.

“They shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a sig. net; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes."

“And he made the breastplate of cunning work, like the work of the ephod: of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. It was foursquare; they made the breastplate double: a span was the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof, being doubled.

And they set in it four rows of stones.

“ The first row was a sardius, a to. paz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row.

"And the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.

“And the third row, a ligure, an Agate, and an amethyst.

*** And the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper.

* They were inclosed in ouches of gold in their inclosings. And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engrav. ings of a signet, every one with his name,according to the twelve tribes."

THE BLESSING. "Reuben, thou art my firstborn, the land that it was pleasant; and my migbt, and the beginning of my bowed his shoulder to bear, and strength, the excellency of dignity, became a servant unto tribute. and the excellency of power: unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; “Dan shall judge his people, as because thou wentest up to thy fa- one of the tribes of Israel. Dan ther's bed; then defiledst thou it: shall be a serpent by the way, an he went up to my couch.

adder in the path, that biteth the

horse heels, so that his rider shall " Simeon and Levi are brethren; fall backward. I have waited for instruments of cruelty are in their thy salvation, O Lord. habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their “Gad, a troop shall overcome assembly, mine honour, be not thou him: but he shall overcome at the united: for in their anger they slew last. a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their “Out of Asher his bread shall bo anger, for it was fierce; and their fat, and he shall yield royal dain. wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide ties. them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

“Naphtali is a hind let loose : ho

giveth goodly words. “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even shall be in the neck of thine ene. a fruitful bough by a well, whose mies; thy father's children shall branches run over the wall: the ar. bow down before thee. Judah is a chers have sorely grieved him, and lion's whelp: from the prey, my shot at him, and hated him: but his son, thou art gone up: he stooped bow abode in strength, and the arms down, he couched as a lion, and as of bis hands were made strong by an old lion; who shall rouse him up? the hands of the mighty God of Ja. The sceptre shall not depart from cob: (from thence is the shepherd, Judah, nor a lawgiver from between the stone of Israel:) even by the his feet, until Shiloh come; and God of thy father, who shall help unto him shall the gathering of the thee; and by the Almighty, who people be. Binding his foal unto shall bless thee with blessings of the vine, and his ass's colt unto the heaven above, blessings of the deep choice vine; he washed his gar. that lieth under, blessings of the ments in wine, and his clotbes in breasts, and of the womb : the bless. the blood of grapes: his eyes shall ings of thy father have prevailed be red with wine, and his teeth above the blessings of thy progeni, white with milk.

tors unto the utmost bound of the

everlasting hills: they shall be on “Zebulun shall dwell at the ha- the head of Joseph, and on the ven of the sea; and he shall be for crown of the head of him that was an haven of ships; and his border separate from his brethren. shall be unto Zidon.

" Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: “ Issachar is a strong ass couch- in the morning he shall devour the ing down between two burdens : and prey, and at night he shall divido he saw that rest was good, and the spoil.

"All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; overy one according to his blossing he blessed them."


many modern books which treat of Scriptural antiquities fail to present any consistent theory to account for the identity and position of the precious stones which formed the high priest's breastplate, described as above in Exodus xxviii. and xxxix. ; there are, however, some very remarkable coincidences and analogies which underlie the whole description.

The following are our various versions :

[blocks in formation]





[blocks in formation]












אֹדֶם פַּטְדָה בָּרֶקֶת נֹפֶךְ ספיר יהלם לֶשֶׁם שְׁבוֹ אַחְלָמָה 9 תַּרְשִׁישׁ 10 שהם שְׁפֶה


Topazius Topaz
Smaragdus Emerald
Carbunculus Carbuncle
Sapphirus Jasper


Achates Amethyst
Amethystus Agate
Chrysolithus Chrysolite
Onychinus Onyx
Beryllus Beryl






[blocks in formation]




The Septuagint, which is our leading authority as to the real meaning of the original Hebrew words, differs therefrom in the transposition of jusper, which, being No. 12 in Hebrew, is made No. 6 in Greek; Josephus, our next authority in point of date, has very

This word appears as Sard (Wars, v. v. 7), where also the order varies again : an apparent confusion in the change from right to left, and left to right.

† The writer is indebted to Harry Emanuel, Esq., for this suggestion.

nearly the same stones as the Septuagint, but differently arranged; the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome is an apparent compromise between these two.

It is to be remembered that Hebrew commences at the right hand, and is read on towards the left : so the correct order runs as in the following diagram :*

[blocks in formation]

The intention adopted in “the blessing” has manifestly been to give the issue of each mother seriatim, leading off with Leah's six sons; then the four sons of the two hand maidens, arranged upon a principle of compromise; and, finally, Rachel's two sons, the youngest. Even upon this showing, Zebulun and Issachar seem transposed. I think we may conclude that it was intentional, because Dan was really fifth in priority of birth; and again, one would suppose that if Dan precedes Joseph, Gad, by parity of reasoning, should precede Issachar; so, where precedent may pos

* Four stones, manifestly open to discussion, appear here in their original names.

« PreviousContinue »