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to shrink from my new acquaintance. He reconnoitred the finger from side to side, and at length discovered a suitable place to commence his ascent. At the root of the nail he paused; I felt a sharp prick repeated in the same spot once or twice. I then guessed what was about to happen, and stooping as I was in a most irksome position, I awaited the issue. I did not disturb him at his feast till quite a small trickle of blood was running down the side of the nail. I then carried him into the house on a laurel leaf and put him into a glass tumbler. He measured more than four inches in length. He crawled to the edge of the glass and we fed him from a penknife with milk, which he sucked down with great relish through the small triangular opening of the lips, within which lay concealed the sharp teeth that had done the mischief. Having fed at our board we could not straightway deliver him to the executioner, in the shape of a gardener, so the next morning we restored him to his native wilds, far from the haunts of man, with the parting hope that his path and mine should not cross again. It was some days before the sore place in my finger quite healed, a small piece of flesh and skin having been bitten out.

I related the occurrence to several scientific friends, who expressed themselves ignorant of this leech-like propensity in the slug. I can find also no reference to it in Turton's “ British Shells," or in Woodward's “Mollusca.” Land-soles are all vegetable feeders, though they have been known to devour dead worms and injured individuals of their own species. There is a single exception—the carnivorous habits of the Testacelle, which pursues and feeds on live earth worms, are well known.

This voracity for warm blood shown by cold-blooded animals is very curious, especially so when we consider how few individuals can ever have a chance of indulging it. It can scarcely be called an acquired taste: it seems instinctive. Yet as Prof. Rymer Jones points out in his admirable and comprehensive popular work (“ A General Outline of the Animal Kingdom”), the blood gorged by the leech is not by any means suited to its nourishment, and often causes its death.

The lingual teeth of Arion make a beautiful and interesting microscopic slide; they are of Ainty substance, serrated and tricuspid as in Limax. Arion empiricorum has 160 rows with 101 teeth in each. The shell is oval and concave, or represented by irregular calcareous granules. The breathing orifice is near the front of the mantle on the right side ; the tail ends in a mucous gland which secretes the glistening trail the animal leaves behind it.

Some slugs climb trees and lower themselves to the ground by a mucous thread drawn from this gland. The eggs, which are from seventy to a hundred in number are laid in the ground between May and September: they hatch in from twenty-four to a hundred days, and the young attain maturity in less than SELBORNIANA, &C.


a year. The eggs of one species (Arion hortensis), are phosphorescent for the first fifteen days.

Land snails and slugs have many enemies beside man; they afford food for birds, especially for the thrush tribe, and also for insects, as the predacious beetle and the luminous larva of the glow-worm that lies like a living green spark on our lawns of a dark summer night.

Too wholesale a destruction of slugs would destroy the beautifully adjusted balance of nature, interference with which we have lived to regret too often as the result of man's selfish, thoughtless abuse of his power over the lower animals.

[Mr. Anthony Belt, of Ealing, tells us that he has been the recipient of similar attentions from Arion ater, but that the process was one of biting or rasping, rather than sucking. We are inclined to refer it to the ordinary saw-like action of the odontophore exercised upon the soft flesh of the finger, rather than to any sanguinary propensities on the part of the slug; but should be glad to learn the experience of malacologists on the interesting subject to which Miss Buckton has drawn attention.]


The New POEMS OF LORD TENNYSON, PRESIDENT OF THE SELBORNE SOCIETY.-The latest volume of our President, Demeter, and other Poems, proves that there is not the slightest falling off in his powers or in his love of Nature. In “Owd Roä ” (Old Rover), he tells of a dog's saving a child from death by fire. Maimed and blind the brave brute lives on, and years after his master says of the loyal servant, in words which might bring some shame to those who speak with scorn of what they are pleased to call the “ inferior ” animals :“ Sarved me sa well when 'e lived, that Dick, when 'e cooms to be deäd,

I thinks as I'd like fur to hev soom soort of a sarvice read, 'Faaithful an'True'—them words be i' Scripture --an' Faäithful an’ True

Ull be fun’ upo' four short legs ten times fur one upo' two." The admirable fidelity with which Tennyson has always depicted the details of Nature is shown in the following lines from the “ Progress of Spring" :

The groundflame of the crocus breaks the mould,

Fair Spring slides hither o'er the Southern sea,
Wavers on her thin stem the snowdrop cold

That trembles not to kisses of the bee :
Come, Spring ! for now from all the dripping eaves

The spear of ice has wept itself away,
And hour by hour unfolding woodbine leaves

O’er his uncertain shadow droops the day.
She comes ! The loosen'd rivulets run ;

The frost-bead melts upon her golden hair ;
Her mantle, slowly greening in the Sun,

Now wraps her close, now arching leaves her bare

To breaths of balmier air ;
Up leaps the lark, gone wild to welcome her,

About her glance the tits, and shriek the jays,
Before her skims the jubilant woodpecker,

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The linnet's bosom blushes at her gaze,
While round her brows a woodland culver flits,

Watching her large light eyes and gracious looks,
And her open palm a halcyon sits

Patient--the secret splendour of the brooks.
Come, Spring! She comes on waste and wood,

On farm and field : but enter also here,
Diffuse thyself at will thro' all my blood,

And, tho' thy violet sicken into sere,

Lodge with me all the year!
Robert BROWNING AS A NATURE PAINTER.–At this moment when

“ Dumb is he who waked the world to speak

And voiceless hangs the world beside his bier,” one instinctively turns to the works of the great master that has gone from us, to find what he too says on this same topic of spring. See what he puts in the mouth of “An Italian Person of Quality,” surely crediting that person with a power of word-painting quite beyond such a being

“ Is it better in May, I ask you ? you've summer all at once ;

In a day he leaps complete with a few strong April suns !
'Mid the sharp short emerald wheat, scarce risen three fingers well,
The wild tulip, at end of its tube, blows out its great red bell

Like a thin clear bubble of blood, for the children to pick and sell.” And here is an English spring, so different from the Italian, just at those best days of the year, when showery April meets with sunny May,

And after April, when May follows,
And the white-throat builds, and all the swallows,
Hark! where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters to the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops-at the bent spray's edge-
That's the wise thrush ; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture

The first fine careless rapture ! “ Having in mind Shakespeare and Shelley, I nevertheless think the last three lines the finest ever written touching the song of a bird.” So says Edmund Clarence Stedman in his Victorian Poets. Some of us will be ready to admit that the praise, high as it is, is none too high.

Robert Browning, as well as Alfred Tennyson, was one of the earliest patrons of the Selborne Society.

A DAISY DECEMBER.-The poetry of Nature once more: the following beautiful lines by Mr. Paget Toynbee are (by permission) extracted from the Academy of 23rd December, 1889.

“ Sad, solitary daisy, did some dream

Of unknown life and long-desired delight
Flash on thy wintry slumbers like the gleam

Of silent lightning in the summer night?
“What sudden promptings pierced thy tender core,

And thrilled the quivering fibres of thy root ?
What secret longing never felt before

Impelled thy leaves thus ere their day to shoot ?
“ Did'st seem to hear the lark's light love song run

Adown the sky, and fall extinct to earth ?
Did'st feel the glow of summer's golden sun

Flush thy pale petals at its rosy birth ?
“ Wast wooed with whispers by the warm west wind

To dash the trembling dewdrop from thine eye?
Did'st taste the kiss of one of thine own kind,

And, faint with new life, feel content to die?



“How sad to wake and find 'twas but a dream !

To feel the blasts of winter's icy breath,
And shiver ’neath the pale sun's cheerless beam,

To hear no lark, to die a lonely death." Wild FLOWERS IN WINTER.-Daisies in December are not quite so rare as. would appear from the verses just quoted, and it is certainly to be hoped that each one does not go through the mournful process of disillusionment described by the poet. Miss C. R. Little, of Twickenham, and some other young ladies whose enthusiasm for botany leads them to cultivate the study in all seasons, send us the following list of December flowers found in Middlesex—which has probably the poorest flora of any county in England-daisy, wild pansy, primrose, dandelion, red campion, gray procumbent speedwell, field speedwell, shepherd's purse, groundsel, chickweed, ivy, white dead.nettle, red dead-nettle, comnion ragwort, wild strawberry, meadow buttercup, white clover, mouse-ear chrickweed, ivy-leaved toadfax, furze, wood-sage, common mayweed, pimpernel, all-heal, yarrow, wild camomile, tormentil, bramble, cut-leaved geranium, annual meadow-grass (thirty in all). Gilbert White, in the Naturalists' Calendar, only notes about half-a-dozen plants found in bloom in December.

MR. T. F. WAKEFIELD ON COLLECTORS. — The following is an extract from an interesting paper read at a recent meeting of the Lower Thames Valley Branch of the Selborne Society, held at the Star and Garter Hotel, Richmond. Prizes were distributed by Sir Edward Hertslet for some excellent collections of dried plants; and subsequently that genial and enthusiastic Selbornian, Mr. T. F. Wakefield, made the following strictures upon collectors. We shall be glad to hear what those wicked persons, the “scientific botanists,” think of the grave charges made against them! “ It seems to me that two of the chief objects of the Selborne Society are (I) to foster the love of the beautiful in nature with a view to its preservation, and (2) to teach a reverence for life, whether it be of animals, birds, insects or plants. You can take life, but you cannot give it. Life is a mystery which neither the man of science nor the metaphysician can explain. Familiarity, it is said, breeds contempt, and we are so hedged about with the traditional and commonplace in ordinary life that we are actually hindered from thinking for ourselves, and we are content to call things common and pass them by as unworthy of regard when they are really objects of the most transcendent beauty. The daisy and the buttercup are common in the sense of being plentiful, but in no other sense, for they are Aowers of exquisite grace, both of form and colour. In Nature nothing is common. We must open our minds and eyes, and we shall then recognise, as Carlyle says, 'how every object has a divine beauty in it; how every object verily is a window through which we may look into infinitude itself

. He that can discern the loveliness of things we call him poèt, painter, man of genius, gifted, lovable. This capacity for discernment is latent in most of us, and can be developed. Let it be our work to develop it, especially in the young. And when we remember that all things whatsoever that we look upon are emblems to us of their great Creator,' this work will become not only a pleasure but almost a religious duty. After what I have said we members of the committee will not be expected to apologise for having brought you here merely to see a collection of wild flowers and plants. By your presence here you are rendering a service to the cause of true education. To make a collection of wild flowers, to form an herbarium, is an education in itself ; it calls forth the powers of perception and observation, it disciplines the eye to distinguish varieties of form and gradations of shade and colour, it trains the mind to have a due regard for order and arrangement, and above all provides a never-failing source of amusement and in. struction, and, I may say, a life-long occupation. But here I would add a word of warning. The Selborne Society has no sympathy with mere collectors, whose object seems to be to catch or pluck up everything that comes in their way and transfer it to their collection. I am not sure, but I speak with trembling lips, that it is at one with the scientific botanist, who does not care about prettiness and neatness in his specimens, but digs up the root of the plant and transfers all of it bodily to his herbarium. Man may be the lord of the creation, but I deny his right to destroy anything unnecessarily; he is only the last link in the


chain of existence, and it is quite certain that it is not for him alone the birds sing and the flowers bloom, for many of them he has never seen; they have the same inherent right to live and enjoy their brief span of existence that he has; the purpose of his life is to increase the amount of happiness and to lessen the amount of misery in the world ; his God-like reason is given him to control and subdue Nature, to work with her, to study her, and wrest from her her secrets, and to keep under that proclivity for destruction which shows in him the instinct of the primeval savage, cave man or ape, from which, on the physical plane, he is said by the disciples of Darwin to be descended. Man has a nobler origin, mentally and spiritually, and we vindicate that belief by the sentiments which animate us as good members of the Selborne Society. We plead for the life of things ; we say, let them live, let them grow; there is a soul in Nature which will speak to your soul if you only have ears to hear.”

THE ETHICS AND LITERATURE OF FASHION-Books.-Lady Fry writes as follows, from 1, Palace Houses, Bayswater Hill, W. :-“Would it be possible to rouse in the minds of those who write such paragraphs as the one I enclose, for sashion books and reviews, any sense of shame at thus treating the beauties of creation and the marvellous glory of beauty and song as mere adjuncts to a tawdry hai, or reliefs to some novelty of colouring? It is difficult to imagine the woman who does not see the grotesqueness, as well as the cruelty and thoughtlessness of such an idea, but if those writers do not see it one would be glad that their vision should be helped in some way. Could you not write an article on ‘The Milliner's View of Creation'? Perhaps some of your readers may be inclined to take this

The following is the enclosed extract from fashion book for December, 1589:—“ Birds of all colours are used as garnitures, but the blackbird is voted the leader. The Brazilian humming-bird, clad in a coat of warm-brown plumage, save at the throat, which shows now golden, now emerald, is also a favourite, and the tuneful canary is highly esteemed for the warmth and tone of his colouring. A small white bird known as the Java wren is very beautiful in its purity, and is said, by-the-bye, to be the only all-white bird known, except the pigeon. This little bird looks well on gray, on mauve and on the electric shade that in Paris has lately been known as “ Edison.' A gray cloth toque has a draped brim of velvet the same shade ; and in front, where the folls are most intricate, are placed three Java wrens, the velvet separating them so that each is seen to advantage. Of course, a gray-and-white toque can only be assumed by a woman with dark hair, for on a blonde it would have a chilling effect. The low-crowned felt hats with straight, broad brims are generally lined with velvet, for the brims are always turned up either at the back or at the side so that the underfacing shows and exercises a softening influence on the face." We consider Lady Fry's suggestion a very valuable one, and shall be pleased if some lady members of the Selborne Society, who understand the mysteries of fashion books, will discuss their conlents from the ethical as well as the esthetical point of view. To ourselves they have been hitherto “ sealed books ;" but if the above extract is a fair sample of their usual style, we consider them most saddening literature. In all seriousness, we can hardly believe it possible that any English girl or woman can be so steeped in cynical cruelty as to enjoy the elaborate description of the “tuneful

of the canary, of the " warm-brown plumage of the humming-bird, with its beautiful breast, now golden, now emerald,” and of the little white Java wren "s beautiful in its purity” (certainly not typical of its wearer); and at the same time to doom to death the little creatures whose beauties are so dwelt upon. We should certainly have supposed that such deliberate heartlessness would have exercised” a brutalising, not a softening influence on the face."

CRUELTY TO KELTS.—This title does not imply “Another injustice to Ireland,” but indicates a form of reckless and unsportsman-like barbarity, which is occasionally practised towards unclean salmon or kelts. A reviewer of Major Traherne's book on “ The Habits of the Salmon,” in the Academy, thus alludes to it :-“We are wholly with him

above all, in his merciful plea for the kelts, when hooked instead of clean salmon." They are often gaffed without a thought as to whether they are clean fish or kelts, the hook is ruthlessly torn, or cut out of their mouths, or from whatever part of the body it may be fixed in, and


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