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dab, must undoubtedly serve to fend ly designed the weever to aim its stab off attacks from above and on the out of water, or that inherited expe. flanks. Still, the possession of such rience of handling by man has been isolated points of defence is to be com- sufficiently cumulative for the fish to pared rather to the handling of a acquire any such instinct in self-desword or spear than to the wearing of fence. The actual venom-sac, like that armor such as, for instance, we find of snakes, though absent in the weever, perfected in the crustacea. The cuirass occurs in a deadly little fish found in of the lobster, the corselet of the Sydney Harbor, and there known as prawn, the bauberk of the crab, all at the “fortescue.” It is difficult to conford protection against the many teeth ceive of either the fortescue or weever that appreciate the good things within. as having many natural enemies, but the Nor would such "shellfish" easily die latter, at any rate, sufficiently resemfrom any natural cause other than old bles the dragonet and bullhead, both age, were it not that Nature has im- of them favorite articles of food with posed on them the necessity of periodi- some larger fishes, to benefit consideracally changing their suit of armor. It bly by its defensive weapons. is while growing the new that they are A fter all, however, the simplest form in their time of greatest danger. of self-defence is retreat. Protective
These spines on fishes may be merely armor is very well as far as it goes. defensive, or they may be capable of Bluff, as the Americans call the art of active employment in inflicting serious imposing on the enemy's credulity, is wounds. The combination occurs in at times even better. But best of all our weevers, which have a protruding for the weaker-and defence, after all, black dorsal fin, doubtless of terrify- belongs to the weaker-is a judicious ing aspect as its owner lies motionless and timely retreat-the sooner the betin the sand, and equally sharp spines behind the gill-covers, the latter furnished with grooved channels, along
He who fights and runs away
Lives to fight another day; which is apparently conveyed a venomous secretion. The mechanism of the but he who runs away first, without Peerer's spines has been erroneously stopping to strike a blow, has a still likened to that of the adder's fang, but better chance for the future. Such is the poison bag and duct are wanting the method adopted with some success in the fish, nor, indeed, is its volition by the launce and sand-eel, the rabbits in the act of wounding quite satisfac- of the sea, which burrow in the sand torily established beyond all question. with great expedition on the approach It is said to throw itself sideways and of danger. Even when the fisherman backwards, even when out of water, is hungry for the best bait that swims, with such accuracy as instantly to stab it takes a strong fork and a quick the incautious finger that touches it. hand to dislodge these little caveI do not cite against this the fact that dwellers from their lair. I doubt of the many scores of living weevers whether any of the larger fishes which that I have tested in this way with prey on the sand-eels when they catch my boot not one displayed any such them would be able to dig fast enough, accuracy of marksmanship. Yet sure the rays alone, which hunt, as a matter ly, if such a power is vouchsafed, it is of fact, after larger fish, having shovel. for use in the water only under natural shaped snouts sufficiently pointed for conditions. No one is going to make the purpose. The flatfish also find me believe either that Nature original- safety in the sand, though they rarely
submerge their head, trusting to their being seen at all, or, if seen, to frightprotective coloring, about which some- ening their enemies by a simulation of thing has yet to be said, to dupe their a strength that is not theirs. These watchful enemies.
different manæuvres involve two sepaThere is the flight that seeks safety rate lines of action. The first is dependin distance from the pursuer, and there ent on the aid of protective coloring. is the instinct that prompts the small In the aquariums of Plymouth, boy, when threatened by a bully, to Brighton, and Naples I have seen turrun for protection to a bigger fellow. bot lying on sand, shingle, or concrete, This habit, which I do not remember and in each case the fish harmonized to have noticed in either birds or so well with its background that but reptiles, is seen in the pilot-fish, which for the movement of its respiration the cowers beside the shark, and in the human eye could not, I think, have little Fierasfer, which swims secure distinguished it in a dozen feet of under the protecting bell of a medusa, water. not by any means as a noxious para- To take full advantage of protectiv site, but rather as a grateful messmate, coloring an animal must remain perfeeding on the small organisms sus- fectly motionless. Whether any ani. pended in the water. The mere out. mal, other than man, and particularly distancing of a pursuer is constantly a fish, can hold its breath in moments enacted in the world of waters under of great danger, or whether, being able, our eye, and I have watched hundreds it ever occurs to it to do so, I do not of sand-eels escape in this way from know; but certainly the breathing of the jaws of hake and bass. As seen, these turbot alone betrayed them to at any rate, in the aquarium, the the eye. larger fishes do not seem to persist in What measure of voluntary adaptapursuit. Their plan is rather a sud tion to the different backgrounds aforeden dash, and if that is fruitless they mentioned there may have been in await another chance without going in these turbot could not be easily deterpursuit.
mined, but I have certainly seen young Throwing dust in the enemy's eyes, examples of these species, taken by the as practised by the retreating cuttlefish late Matthias Dunn in a hand-net in with its cloud of "ink,” which must the clear water off Pentewan, change in the still water have the same effect within half an hour from their original as a sudden fog in the London streets, whiteness to the blackness of the iron. has no parallel among fishes, though bucket to which they were presently some of the flatfish feebly imitate the transferred. Seahorses, too, particuruse by iinging up a little sand, under larly some of the Australian species, cover of which they manage to alight adapt their appearance wonderfully to once more out of sight. A similar plan the outline of the weed-fronds amid is also adopted by shrimps, which I which they hide. Some of the skates have noticed behave in this manner and rays show similar protective colorwhen dislodged, resembling in their ing to that of the flatfish when lying action grasshoppers suddenly disturbed on the bottom of their aquarium tanks. on a dusty road.
and them, too, the movement of the Where it is a question of retreat and breathing-spiracles alone betrays. pursuit, the battle is to the swift. The flat shape of the turbot and sole. Some fishes, however, are not built for aids them in escaping notice when lys flight, and such as these must remain ing on the sand, and it is said that the where they are, and trust either to not distribution of the color, on the upper
surface only, still further contributes stand the best chance in such a comto this appearance of fatness.
petition. The sharks and rays are less The hiding of the dory, which is a preyed upon than preying, so that their vertical-swimming fish, depends on an mighty size and exceeding ugliness are other optical illusion. So thin is the not, perhaps, of much service to them. dory from side to side, so close do the selves, rather helping their victims to fins lie to its sides, that, viewed end on, see them in time and effect an escape. the fish vanishes to a thin line. I have As regards other groups, our standrepeatedly watched dory creep right on ards of beauty are not necessarily unsuspecting sandeels beneath Bourne- those of the fish critics, but it may permouth Pier in this fashion, and there haps be assumed that, even to the eye can be little doubt that the hiding of a fish epicure, there can be nothing which serves to ambuscade a weaker very appetizing in the appearance of but swifter victim will also on occasion such eerie creatures as the anglerfish, serve to escape from a stronger enemy. chimæra, lumpsucker, scabbard-fish, Color protection is also observed in the wolf-fish, red bandfish, or sunfish, to cod, conger, and some other of our mention only a few of the uglier memsea-fish which are captured on either bers of the British submarine commonrocky or sandy ground, those examples wealth. caught on the rocks being conspicuous. The darkness of night is, of course, ly darker than those whose abode is in the sea as well as on land, some sort on the sand. The conger are, in fact, of protection for the feeble, but in both distinguished by the fishermen as situations night-hawks are apt to profit "black" and "white" conger. Those by an illusion of security and to fall who have bathed in Australian bays upon their victims under cover of a will recall a similar and very necessary gloom that betrayed where it should distinction between "black" and have shielded. Conger, hake and other "white" water, the latter being that marauders are also on the prowl durwith a background of sand which be. ing the night hours, and against such trays the presence of dreaded sharks. of these as hunt by scent-and my own Even the blue-and-silver herring opinion is that fishes are wonderfully blends so wonderfully with the ruffled adaptive in this, being guided by eye surface-water that on a breezy, sunny or nose as circumstances dictate—the day the individual fish can be distin- smaller kinds have a poor chance. guished only with the greatest diffi- There is another feeding-time, however, culty.
which is in many ways safer for the Some among our fishes, however, are weak, and that is on the falling tide. too conspicuous to hide with any hope Those who angle in tidal waters know of success. The screens of weed and well that it is on the flood that, with walls of rock do not offer those aids few exceptions, they get their best to concealment which man finds in his fish, but I have noticed that the smaller artificially constructed dwellings, and individuals, the pout and pollack and hiding in the sea is a very different whiting, often bite best on the ebb. art from hiding in cities. Two con- Thus they take their turn when their ditions prejudice the success of hid- elders are resting, with the advantage ing in such conditions: size and con- over night-feeding that they can see spicuous shape or coloring, the last their enemy before he is upon them. only, perhaps, in the shallow water, So far, then, we have seen that fishes where the light penetrates to the bot- defend themselves by almost every tom. Perhaps the largest and ugliest method known to beasts and birds. With that form of defence which con- of interest. When fishing for bass in sists in giving blow for blow, other- estuaries we use living sand-eels, and wise fighting it out until the stronger these are kept in a floating wooden box wins, I have not concerned myself, tethered to the boat and hauled from though we constantly come upon evi. the water whenever a fresh bait is redences of severe battle, and Orientals quired. On three consecutive occasions even amuse themselves with the fights one morning last summer the bait, of captive fishes kept, like gamecocks, which I picked from the rest, lay apfor the purpose.
parently lifeless, its gill-covers hardly There is, however, one more trick of moving on the palm of my hand, and, self-defence, familiar to naturalists in as a half-dead bait is useless for the higher animal groups, though always work, I pitched the moribund sand-eel a subject of dispute among animal overboard. The first had no sooner psychologists, and that is the ruse of touched the water than it darted off feigning death, and thus deceiving the as in perfect health. The second bestronger enemy into leaving the field haved likewise. This roused my susclear. Even brute beasts, unless they picions, and I purposely sacrified the be carrion-eating hyænas, do not as a third. If the bait had not been getting rule molest a dead body. This manner scarce, or rather, perhaps, if my anof deception has been called "foxing," gling zeal had not for the moment yet some of those who know the fox dominated my devotion to scientific best declare that it never practices such knowledge, I should have tried the fish methods. The animal which undoubt- until all were overboard. Even those edly “foxes,” according to the testi- three cases, however, are not, I think, mony of many independent observers, quite without interest, and it would is the opossum of America. With the be useful to learn whether similar cases exact mental operation which induces have come under the observation of this behavior I am not here concerned. any who are in the habit of live-baiting Some regard it as a mere cataleptic col- for pike with dace or gudgeon. The lapse under strong fear, while others lowest expression of "foxing" is when accept it as a genuine deception. With one village lad lies in the road with his some reservations, I must rank myself arm shielding his head, and another with the latter; and it is, therefore, stands over him and at intervals adparticularly interesting to me to have ministers a stimulating kick. Such found, as I think, a genuine instance cowardice one hardly expects to find in of "foxing" in a fish. I give the fol. fishes, but a fragile sand-eel is surely lowing case only for what it may be excused if it declines combat with an worth as evidence, but, as I do not ogre in whose palm half a dozen of its remember to have seen any such in- kind could lie at full length. stance previously recorded, it may be
F. G. Aflalo. The Cornhill Magazine.
AN ENGINE-ROOM AFFAIR.
The Honorable John Oswald had engines for such wages as accrue from quite enough money of his own with that somewhat precarious pursuit. His out there being any need for him to many friends did not understand it; spend his time driving cranky marine neither did they approve. For months
he would live decorously at his rooms -requested a second from his host. in Piccadilly, and behave as an or- Soon other visitors learnt tacitly to dinary mortal of his class. Then he drop away and leave the two alone. would disappear. Later some acquaint. He rode with her; they shared the ance would remark that he had met same punt; she sang to him after dinOswald masquerading as engineer on ner. He was a slight fair man with a Norwegian tripper, or patching a hair just tinging gray around the temdonkey boiler on a Highland coasting ples, quiet, active, and determined. steamer. This was unnecessary and She was a tall, dark, graceful girl erratic. Therefore, it was also foolish- whose appearance attracted attention ness.
everywhere. Directly he realized that He had served his time with a Clyde he loved her, he asked her gravely to firm, and had extracted various special marry him, and-she refused. steam certificates out of the examiners The Hon. Jack Oswald forthwith of the Board of Trade. He never made a voyage to the Black Sea as boasted, but his knowledge of marine chief on a grain boat, whose owner engineering extended from the oscillat- was a friend of his, and had no objec. ing type of a penny steamboat to the tion to the services of a highly comlatest form of turbine. He was re- petent engineer at lowest scale wages. ported to have assisted at the tinkering Then he quietly returned to his suit as up of the flaw-shattered tail shaft of if he had never been rejected, and the liner Ocean Queen with a thousand found that Miss Nora had meantime souls on board in mid-Atlantic in an discovered that she liked him very equinoctial gale; and he was said to much indeed. But this was where the have nearly lost his life when the tubes parents unexpectedly intervened. There of a patent water-tube boiler blew out was the stormiest of scenes with old on Lord Lysington's craft-half yacht Colonel Graham, and there was a long and half gunboat-in the Caribbean lovers' walk in Kensington Gardens, Sea. Then he would come home, and This I know, because both of them told duly attend at Ascot and at Henley me about it afterwards on two conlike a rational person. He could dis. secutive days. Then the business cuss with equal acumen the skirt seemed to drop. Jack said she was far dancing of the latest lady professional, too precious to be worried more than or the recent eccentricities of a bilge possible, and he must wait till somepump. He had patented a new injec- thing should turn up to help them, tion valve; he was an authority on Such waiting, however, is wearisome. the differing qualities of steam coals. In June the Grahams departed to the He could tell you, if he liked, of a side Mediterranean for a two months' holi. of sea life known solely to firemen and day on the Queen of England-one of greasers. Wherefore, it was not to be those pleasure steamers with a mixed wondered at if he came to be regarded company of tourists, a brass band, and askance by the cautious old-fashioned an itinerary which enticed the unwary parents of a certain most charming by the allurements of Carthage, maiden,
Athens, and Constantinople. I went When Jack Oswald first met Nora in her too, and I thought Miss Nora Graham at a country house in Berk- looked a little tired with life when I shire, he decided indifferently that he met her on the tender at Tilbury. She didn't like her. Nevertheless he out. seemed quite pleased to see me, and stayed his first invitation at the house, asked rather shyly if I knew where and then coolly-as he did most things Jack was. I didn't; all trace of him