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creatures, which are but indifferent swimmers, and little calculated for ranging 'to a distance from the shore, such as the Turbot and the Flounder, the Bar and Sole, and you will generally observe that they are of the same colour as the sands, or stones, or seaweeds among which they seek their food. Their upper surfaces are either spotted with grey, yellow, black, red, or brown; the under, beautifully varied with lighter shades. When inclosed within the parks that are formed by the fishermen, for the purpose of entrapping them, on the gradual retiring of the tide, they bury themselves by the aid of their fins in the soft sand. Here they remain concealed, and so closely resemble the surrounding pebbles, that it would be impossible for the fishermen to distinguish them without the aid of long poles, with which they trace small furrows along the surface of the gravel in various directions, and thus detect by the sense of feeling, what the eye cannot discern. One exception, and that very important, occurs in this general adaptation of colours, to the wants or incapacities of this description of aquatic natures. It is in the instance of the Thornback. Like the generality of flat fishes, this formidable creature is but an indifferent swimmer, it is, however, marbled with white and brown, and furnished with rows of strong sharp spines, disposed along the back and tail; peculiarities which readily distinguish it in the midst of the azure
billows, or on the gravelly margin of the shore. But why such an extraordinary deviation in the instance of the Thornback? This species is remarkably voracious. They prey upon flat fishes of every description, upon herrings, and sand eels, and even devour crustaceous animals, such as crabs. It is con
onsequently indispensable, that they should bear about with them some characteristic marks, that their less voracious relatives may be able to distinguish and avoid them.
This species, therefore, belongs to the third division of colour, a division that includes a large proportion of the numerous family of Squalus.* The aspect of these denote malignity. The eyes are placed lengthways, they are sunk in the head, and appear fuller of malevolence than fire, the skin is generally rough, the back of a pale ash-colour. Nor is this all. The individuals composing the preceding genus, a formidable class of marine animals, inhabiting the open seas, solitary, vagrant, voracious, frequenting the shores of almost every country, and preying indiscriminately on every living creature that falls within their reach, emit a phosphorescent light which illumines the sea to a considerable distance, and renders them conspicuous in the darkest nights.
Steller, the great explorer of the Arctic regions, frequently observed this phenomenon. Standing on
* This species includes the Zebra, Smooth-hound, and Dog-fish, with different varieties of the Shark genus.
the frozen shores of the island which still bears his name, where all around was silent, solitary, and desolate, the only moving object which met his eyeexcept the moon as she travelled in her glory above the frozen mountains—and the only sound he heard, were those produced by the rapid motion and appearance of a Shark or Dog-fish, as it suddenly advanced from behind some gloomy promontory, rendering the darkness visible, and illumining the waves to a considerable distance.
Delightful it is to trace these various creatures in their respective habitats—to see how beautiful they are, how admirably formed, how wonderfully adapted to the sites of brook or ocean, which they are designed to occupy! nor can I better close this section of my subject, than in speaking of the pleasure which such pursuits afforded to an ardent admirer of nature, when situated amid the wildest and most solitary
This gentleman resided as a physician for some time, in that part of Arundel county which is washed by the river Catapsco, on the north; the great Chesapeake Bay on the west ; and the river Severn on the south- -a country intersected with creek and bay, and covered with a dense pine forest, or thicket of small shrub and sapling, and rendered impervious to human footsteps by the growth of vines, whose inextricable mazes can be threaded only by the fox,
wild cat, or weasel. The soil is generally light and sandy, though yielding an abundant produce for the market, and Indian corn grows there in great abundance; but the country is left undrained, the forest and thickets uncleared, the air is polluted with marshy exhalations, or the miasma of decaying vegetables; and in autumn, the life of a resident physician is one of incessant toil, and severe privation. Riding from morning till night, in order to visit a few patients, his road leads generally through fine forests, whose aged and lofty trees, encircled by a dense undergrowth, present a sombre and unbroken solitude. Rarely, or never, does he encounter a white person on his way, and only once in a long time, will he meet even a negro. The red-headed Woodpecker, and the Fisher, or Yellow-hammer, a kindred species, occasionally glance across his path; sometimes, when he turns his horse to drink at a darkcoloured stream, he disturbs a solitary Thrush, engaged in washing its plumes; or, as he moves steadily along, he is startled by the sudden appearance of a Bunting, close to the path side. Except such wild occupants, and these are rarely seen; he seldom meets with an animated object, and the only sound he hears, except the moaning of the wind, is the harsh voice of the crow, which betokens a cleared field, or the scream of the buzzard, wheeling in graceful circles in the higher regions of the air. At other seasons of the year, a physician must be content to live in great seclusion; the few white inhabitants are all employed in going to and from the market, and even were they at home, they are little suited for companionship.
I notice these particulars, because they prove that in most situations, the lover of natural history may find laudable and innocent gratification. Nature, ever varied, ever beautiful, presents an inexhaustible source of contemplation and delight. In the depth of solitary woods, beside the most secluded streams, she proclaims in language audible to the ear of reason, the greatness and benevolence of the Deity. The emotions which are awakened by a closer acquaintance with her works, are those of joy and peace, of gratitude and adoration. To give to the youthful mind a taste for her pure and simple pleasures, is to provide them, "amid all the trials and agitations of life, with one gentle, and irreproachable friend. It is to lay the foundation of an early and a manly piety; amid the magnificent system of material signs in which they reside, to give them the mighty key which can interpret them; and to make them look
upon the universe which they inhabit, not as the abode only of human cares, and human joys, but as the Temple of the living God, in which praise is due, and service is to be performed.” Thus thinking, our naturalist, though without com