« EelmineJätka »
to take a thick stick when feeding her.-W. A. Gain.
Two SIDES OF THE MEDAL.-Surely Mrs. Alice Bodington is labouring under some misapprehension as to what Mr. Wallace and other naturalists mean when they say that the effects of use and disuse are not inherited. I judge this to be so because as examples of the contrary she gives the cases of the inheritance of deafness, supernumerary toes, insanity and other characters which are born with people, not acquired by them either through use or disuse, and because her breath is taken away on reading Weismann's statement that "the inheritance of acquired characters has never been proved." Let us take the case of two men, A. and B. A. is born with large muscular limbs, while B. is not, but by dint of careful training and exercise he contrives to make his limbs as big as A.'s. Mr. Wallace, and those who think with him, say that A.'s children would be more likely to have muscular limbs than B.'s, since the big muscles of the latter are the result of use, while A's are natural. Again, suppose C. to be born without thumbs, and D. to lose his by accident. Does Mrs. Bodington suppose that D.'s children would be as likely to be born thumbless as C.'s? Wallace and Weismann think that D.'s children would be as likely to have thumbs as those of any one else. My friend Mr. W. P. Ball, in a little book recently published by Messrs. Macmillan, in "Nature Series," has analysed very destructively the cases which have been adduced in favour of the hypothesis of what he calls "use-inheritance," and I think that those who wish to look at both sides of the medal should read this work carefully.-Charles Bird, Rochester.
TWO SIDES OF THE MEDAL.-I think many of your readers would be glad if Mrs. Bodington would explain what third set of renals exist in vertebrates, besides the true kidneys and the Wolffian organs.— F. R.
BECHE-DE-MER.-Will some reader of SCIENCE GOSSIP kindly inform me where "Trepang," or "Bèche-de-mer " can be procured in Londoneither by purchase or exchange?—E. H. R., Painswick, Gloucestershire.
NATURAL HISTORY NOTES.
On the 11th of August, 1887, a snow-white specimen of the yellow wagtail was observed on Quainton Hills (not far from this village) by a friend of mine. On the morning of the next day he saw it again, and got within a few yards of it, and saw it well before it flew away. Its flight and chirrup were quite normal. An albino wagtail I consider to be a rare and somewhat unusual occurrence amongst birds. Several white starlings have been observed in this neigbourhood at various times by different persons, and one was seen on the 16th of July, 1890, and again on the 18th with other starlings by my cousin, Mr. P. H. Ward, who also saw it settle on the back of a sheep, after it had flown from the place where he first saw it. Several white house-sparrows (more or less deficient in colour) have also been seen and shot in this district.
In the winter of 1885 a sparrow was caught in a trap with the crown of its head pure white, and one was seen on the 6th of last November, 1889, and again on the 18th, in company with a flock of its companions, with its back and tail quite white. So recently as September 24th, 1890, one with a white wing was observed amongst a large flock of sparrows,
which frequented a stubble-field for the littered grains and loose ears of wheat when the rest had been carted away to the barn or stack. Another albino bird, of the finch family, was seen by my cousin on June 6th 1890, who thought it was either a chaffinch or a linnet, but he could not be certain of its species. I have been told by a person of good authority that he saw a white blackbird in his father's orchard a few years ago. Another parishioner said that when he was at harvest-work near Wendover, a few years ago, he killed a white pheasant.-H. G. Ward, North Marston, Bucks.
A. MAYFIELD.-The average length of the slow worm (Anguis fragilis) is from 9 to 10 inches. Your specimen, 17 inches long, is very unusual.
E. PARKER.-Re "Lobster and whelk." It is not a lobster at all, but the hermit crab (Pagurus Bernhardus), which always lives in empty whelk shells, its own body being permanently soft. It is a type of a distinct order of crustacea.
B. C. ROBINSON.-You will doubtless obtain a good secondhand copy of Kirby and Spence's "Introduction to Entomology" of Messrs. W. Wesley & Son, Essex Street, Strand, or Mr. W. P. Collins, 157 Great Portland Street, London, W. C. OLDHAM.-To preserve frogs, &c., try a mixture of halfand-half spirits and glycerine.
M. J. TEESDALE.-You can prepare your new magic lantern slides by getting the usual sizes of ground glass, similar to those used for cl ildrer's transparent drawing slates, and by placing them over any, oook illustration or otherwise, sketching on them with a pencil. The sketches can then be filled in with transparent oil colours.
R. DE G. B.-You are probably correct in surmising that the cases are the cocoons of a coccus. It will be best to wait till they come out. The best Handbook on British Birds is written by Mr. Howard Saunders, and published by Messrs. Gurney and Jackson in twenty shilling parts, illustrated.
MISS CHICHESTER.-The Editor is much obliged for the drawings and photographs of the holly bough, which is exceedingly interesting. The flattening is due to "fasciation," but it is uncommon in the holly.
WANTED, choice unmounted material, polycistina, &c., in exchange for choice microscopic slides of every description.R. Suter, 5 Highweek Road, Tottenham, London.
WANTED, fossils from various localities. Good duplicates offered in exchange.-Thos. W. Reader, 171 Hemingford Road, London, N.
SCIENCE-GOSSIP from vol. i. (1865) to vol. xvi. (1880), unbound, but wrapped and tied up in vols., with the exception of
WANTED, eighth and following parts of Braithwaite's "Moss Flora," or "Sphagnacea." Dried plants and mosses, or other books in exchange, including Greene's "Coelenterata and "Protozoa;" Eyton's "Rarer British Birds" (woodcuts); Carpenter's "Microscope," and others. List sent.-J. A. Wheldon, 32 Langham Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.
OFFERED, "Our Earth and Its Story," 3 vols., and "Dictionary of English History," both in parts, but in excellent condition. Wanted a detective camera.-R. H. Lawton, 6 Mosley Street, Manchester.
WANTED, the "Library," vols. i. and ii. (unbound preferred), also "Great Thoughts," vols. i., ii. and iii., first edition. Both must be clean, complete, and in good condition.-Chas. Leigh, Library, Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.), Cromwell Road, London, S.W.
NUMEROUS duplicates in carboniferous fossils, especially ferns and corals, in exchange for trilobites.-P. Wright, Bruntwood, Galston, Ayrshire, N.B.
DUPLICATES.-Machaon, cardamines, agon, Adippe Io, polychloros, P. chrysilis, Z. filipendula, E. lanestris, L. potatoria, Cucullia verbasci, in exchange for others.-E. Wilson, 115 St. Martins at Oak, Norwich.
BRITISH reptiles and batrachians wanted, perfect adult living or spirit specimens, in exchange for correctly named foreign species or other objects.-G. E. M., 5 Warwick Place West, Belgravia, London.
GOOD specimens of dentaria bulbifera, and Gentiana pneumonanthe, in exchange for fossils from the Wealden London clay, and Bournemouth beds.-Curator, The Vicarage, Southborough.
OFFERED, good cast of ichthyosaurus from lias of Lyme Regis, 22 X 12. Wanted, any good fossils from any formation. -M., 56 Clarendon Villas, West Brighton.
WANTED, brilliant foreign coleoptera; need not be set, but must be correctly named. Good exchange given in first-class botanical sections, either mounted or unmounted, or objects of general interest. State quantity of specimens with sample.R. G. Mason, 69 Clapham Park Road, Clapham, S.W.
MANY species of marine and land shells from S. Australia, Madeira, Porto Santo, and Gibraltar, for exchange. Any offer of shells-in good condition, and not already in collectionaccepted. Send list of duplicates to-F. W., Lordship House, Tottenham.
WANTED, ether freezing microtome, Williams's preferred. Will give powerful Quackenbush air-gun, with slugs and darts, almost new, cost 48s.-H. Ebbage, Framlingham, Suffolk.
WANTED, good objective for microscope, or inch, with Societies' screw; also "Micrographic Dictionary." Offered, three volumes of "Knowledge," and micro-slides.-P. Briggs, Clayton, near Bradford, Yorks.
DUPLICATES.-Harpa ventricosa, Ovulum ovum, Cypræa arabica, Bulla ampulla, Olivancillaria gibbosa. Wanted, other foreign shells.-J. E. Cooper, 93 Southwood Lane, Highgate, N.
WANTED, a copy of the "London Catalogue of British Mosses and Hepatics," published in 1881.-Ernest S. Salmon, Clevelands, Reigate.
I SHALL be very glad if persons interested in conchology, residing in Exeter and neighbourhood, and willing to cooperate in establishing a local society, will communicate with me. Address-L. J. S., Monmouth House, Monmouth Street, Topsham, S. Devon.
WANTED, any good poultry in exchange for minerals and geological specimens. William Hetherington, Nenthead, Alston Moore, Cumberland.
COLLINS', new, in fine condition, cost 37. 35. What offers in exchange?-E. Wagstaff, 3 Waterworks Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
WANTED, vols. 4-9 of the "Young Naturalist," bound or unbound; must be in good condition. State desiderata toF. W. Paple, 62 Waterloo Street, Bolton.
SAVILLE Kent's "Infusoria," no further use for it, bound in half-green morocco cloth, excellent condition. What offers? -E. Wagstaff, Waterworks Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
FOR slide of starch grains from bulb of spider orchis, for the polariscope, send other slide.-John Boggust, Alton, Hants.
WANTED, fossils from all formations, in exchange for coalmeasure fossils, Spirorbis, Anthracosia robusta, A. acuta, A. elongata, scales and teeth of megalichthys, rhizodus, &c. Address-John Laycock, 20 Botany Lane, Ashton-underLyne, Lancashire.
Good foreign shells wanted; need not be named. Offered, nat. hist. and other literature, or suitable exchange. Foreign correspondence solicited.-W. Jones, jun., 27 Mayton Street, Holloway, London, N.
WANTED, vars. of Helix aspersa, H. nemoralis, H. arbus torum, H. hortensis, H. cantiana, H. pisana, H. virgata, H. caperata, H. ericetorum, H. rotundata, Bulimus acutus, &c., H. revelata, type; Clausilia Rolphii and biplicata, Achatina acicula. Will give darts of helices in return.A. Hartley, 8 Cavendish Road, Idle, near Bradford, Yorkshire. OFFERED, hardy fern roots, primrose roots, &c. Wanted in exchange, store boxes to hold insects, eggs, shells, fossils, coins, &c.-W. Z. Balmbra, The Cottages, Warkworth Station, via Lesbury, Northumberland.
ACHARIUS'S "Lichenographia Universalis," a fine, wellbound copy, offered in exchange for double nose-piece, bent, Society screw, or for good copy of Leighton's "Angiocarpous Lichens."-Wm. Smith, 28 Addison Place, Arbroath, N.B.
WANTED, Sach's "Text-Book of Botany," and parts of Braithwaite's "Moss Flora," also slides from mosses, terns, and hepaticæ. Will give other mounts in exchange.-T. B., 124 Castle Street, Hinckley.
WANTED, to exchange "Knowledge," vols. i. to v., Carpenter's "Mental Physiology "Nature," various volumes, and other books (list sent), for micro-slides, microscope apparatus, &c., or books on botany and microscopy.-G. Freeman, B.Sc., 51 Danby Street, Denmark Park, S. E.
SCOTCH lichens offered in exchange for southern species, especially from the English limestone districts.-Wm. Smith, 28 Addison Place, Arbroath, N.B.
OFFERED, Helix pisana, rufescens, ericetorum; Planorbis complanatus and corneus, Bulimus acutus, Limnæa stagnalis, Clausilia rugosa. Wanted, Pisidium fontinale, Vertigo antivertigo, Zonites cellarius and nitidulus, Testacella kaliotidea, Pupa secale, Dreissena polymorpha.-H. W. D., Southborough Vicarage, Tunbridge Wells.
WILL give Flower's "Osteology of the Mammalia," for living pupa of lepidoptera, sphingidæ preferred.-Ernest Platt, West Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon.
OFFERED, H. alborabris, H. throides, H. fallax and Z. excavatus (North America), Pecten tigrinus, Lacuna divaricata, L. pallidula, T. testudinalis, Myra truncata, Unio margaritifer, Cl. laminata, Pl. nitidus, and many others. Wanted, land, freshwater and marine shells not in collection. -P. R. Shaw, 48 Bidston Road, Birkenhead.
BOOKS, ETC., RECEIVED FOR NOTICE. "An Explanation of the Phonopore," by C. Langdon-Davies (London: Kegan Paul).-"The Lepidoptera of Suffolk," by E. N. Bloomfield (London: W. Wesley)." British Cage Birds," Part 10, and "The Canary Book," Part 10. by Robt. L. Wallace (London: L. Upcott Gill).-"Transactions Hertfordshire Nat. Hist. Society," Part 9, vol. v., and Parts 1, 2 and 3 of vol. vi.-"Phenomena of the Glacial Period," by Dugald Bell.-"The Honey Bee: Its Natural History, Anatomy, and Physiology," by T. W. Cowan (London: Houlston & Sons).-"Electricity; a Sketch for General Readers," by E. M. Caillard (London: John Murray).-" Are the Effects of Use and Disuse Inherited?" by W. Platt Ball (London: Macmillan).-"The Book of Aquaria," by Messrs. Bateman and Bennett (London: L. Upcott Gill).-"Geology of the Country around Liverpool," by Geo. H. Mortom (London: G. Phillip & Son).-"The Naturalist of Cumbrae," by the Rev. Thos. R. R. Stebbing (London: Kegan Paul).-"A Class-Book on Light," by R. E. Steel (London: Methuen & Co.).-Wesley's "Natural History and Book Circular.""American Microscopical Journal."-"The Microscope." "American Naturalist."-"Canadian Entomologist."-" The Naturalist."-"The Botanical Gazette."-"The Gentleman's Magazine."-"The Midland Naturalist."-"The Garner.""Quekett Journal," January.-"Feuille des Jeunes Naturalistes."-"Quarterly Journal," Royal Microscopical Society, &c., &c.
COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED UP TO THE 12TH ULt. from: M. J. T.-J. A. W.-E. H.-W. C. S.-C. O.-G. R.D. W. B.-R. S.-T. W. R.-T. B.-A. H.-J. W. B.-T.E. H. R.-S. B.-E. A. M.-F. H. W.-L. C. H.-W. M. W. -A. H. W.-W. P.-J. E. L.-R. H. L.-J. A.-E. H. W. -W. J.-F. W. P.-W. L. B.-E. P.-J. B.-J. L.-E. W.W. H.-F. R.-B. C. R.-L. J. S.-J. E. C.-R. G. M.-— E. S. S.-H. E.-P. B.-F. W.-F. C. M.-F. W. F.-C. B.. -Miss C.-E. P.-W. J. S.-E. B.-T. B.-W. S.-E. W.P. R. S.-G. F.-H. W. D.-G. A.-H. D.-W. G. K.-S. J. -T. G. B.-I. H. C.-J. S. N.-R. de G. B.-&c., &c.
THE COLOUR AND BANDING IN LAND AND FRESHWATER SHELLS: A REPLY TO MR. FRYER.
By J. W. WILLIAMS.
INCE forwarding for publication my reply to Mr. Pace's strictures on my article which was printed in the August number, Mr. Fryer has, on Pp. 241 and 242 ante, published a very interesting and courteous criticism to which I may be allowed to reply. His opening remarks to a large extent I appreciate, but as shown by my concluding remarks of the article in ques
tion I gave the theory as a tentative one only, and certainly it will be conceded that no matter what our present knowledge may be, yet the promulgation of a theory on such grounds, and as a working one merely, is perfectly legitimate. There would be no harm done even if with further research it led to no good and stable result; for it certainly would not allow us to vegetate. With the qualification to Von Baer's law (italicised by Mr. Fryer), I do not agree, simply because it is a wellknown fact and law that no matter whether retrogression has occurred or not in our present day forms, evolution has progressed primarily along a line leading from the simple to the complex. My critic says that if this is what I intend to " convey, it certainly does not accord with the views of evolution as laid down by Darwin, Wallace, and Spencer;" but this statement is plainly negatived by the fact that Mr. Wallace (in litt. September 7, 1890), agrees No. 316. APRIL 1891.
with my conclusions. Throughout Mr. Fryer does not seem to attack the main points in my theory, and our greatest difference seems to me to be this:-that he does not recognise the fundamental law of Hæckel, while I do.
This appears to me a pity, because while recognising to some degree Von Baer's law, he appears to totally set at naught the very law, on the principle of which the grandest contributions of embryology and paleontology have been furnished to the hypothesis of evolution, viz., that "Ontogeny is a brief epitome of phylogeny." And even more does it appear a pity since the majority of our biological teachers in this country give it as forming the groundwork, with that of Von Baer, on which the whole superstructure of the evolution hypothesis has been raised. In my reply to his several headings, I shall then count on the validity of these two laws, and I imagine legitimately in the present day teaching of science.
(1.) This sentence seems to me somewhat ambiguous, for to me Mr. Fryer appears to directly contradict himself in one breath. He uses the words "chitinous plug," and afterwards speaks of it as composed of "conchiolin, not chitin." I have replied to this criticism in my former note on Mr. Pace's strictures, and made reference to Balfour. I cannot see how it invalidates my theory if I believe in Hæckel's law.
(2 and 5.) The nuclei of my specimens of H. virgata are brownish horn-coloured, and not black. Possibly, there is a fallacy here; if a little of the digestive gland be left behind in cleaning, the nuclei may appear black. But even were it so, it would not negative the general conclusion to which I arrived, simply because it may but prove an after-extension or development of colour. That there is a law of extension of colour appears to me proved by the following sentence quoted from Eimer:-"Würtemberger finds that in Ammonites all structural changes
show themselves first on the last (the outer) whorl of the shell-as in living animals, e.g. in my lizards at the tail-and that then such a change in the following generations is pushed farther and farther towards the beginning of the spiral-as e.g. in my lizards towards the head-until it prevails in the greater number of the whorls" ("Organic Evolution," p. 31). This may explain the coloured nuclei of H. maritima and H. syriaca, but I cannot say anything of these as I have not any specimens of these species by me. And if there be such a law of after-colour extension, as suggested by Eimer, the reader will see that it has other bearings on my theory than the one here indicated.
(3.) Mr. Fryer, while recognising the fact that the Limnæas are horn-coloured, mentions the banded and spotted Chiliniæ, and the members of the families Paludinidæ, Neritida, Cerithiadæ, &c. With these exceptions other conditions I imagine come into play, but it is a patent fact that in all of them the young secondary shell is horn-coloured and unbanded. What these other conditions are is not known, but it is a pity that those exceptions which Mr. Fryer adduces are in the main foreign and cannot be observed by us in their natural and living state under their own peculiar environment or surrounding. Considering the fact italicised by me and remembering Hæckel's law, I cannot see how this criticism can invalidate my theory.
(4) The fact that white "may be due to the molecular structure of the surface " rather, it appears to me, upholds and substantiates my theory. Mr. Fryer would not then allow a unicoloured white specimen any pigment secreting cells at all, that is on the grounds of theoretical reasoning; more of this deduction shortly. But if the primitive shell was horn-coloured, as he appears to admit, but that an advance to white was not next made, how does he explain the fact that the primary shells in the shellgland are sometimes white, though more generally horn-coloured, and that the persistent primary shell in Arion, Amalia and Limax is always white? Remember in this connection the law of Hæckel, and do not forget it in re-reading the query which Mr. Fryer gives directly afterwards. But what does Mr. Fryer mean by atrophy of the pigment glands in this relation? Does he really mean that nature finds it easier to differentiate cells than to let them remain in statu quo? It appears to me, that considering the ontogeny of the shell was from horncolour to white, pigment-secreting cells were only differentiated when pigment was needed, that during the horn and the white periods pigment cells were not in existence, and had never been developed.
(6.) I cannot see how the criticism affects my theory. If its "light appearance seems to be due to the absence of band-colour," etc., as most assuredly it does, or it would not be var. exalbida, then why may it not be a "reversion" "?
(7.) Answered in my reply to Mr. Pace.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Fryer leans towards the suggestion of Mr. Cockerell that the colour of our Hyaline is probably due to the suffusion of darker band colours. But if so, banded reversions would occur not only in one but in all the species, and this is known not to be the case. The question of H. cantiana, H. cartusiana, &c., as equally and more legitimately (I think) supports the opposite conclusion to that at which Mr. Fryer seems to arrive. I look upon banded specimens as more advanced in colour development than those which are unbanded. Banding means a specialisation of pigment-secreting cells in the mantle edge. And were Mr. Fryer's remark true, the bands in this case of Hyalina should be lighter than the ground-colour; but in the varieties he adduces, they are darker !
(i.) Answered by ontological facts, von Baer's law, and the law of Hæckel.
(ii.) This is more an extension of my theory than a contradiction. It shows that, in some cases, uncolourous specimens may be produced by an intermingling of bands, though ontology negatives this for horn-coloured and white specimens. Evidently castanea is an advance on the clearly banded forms of H. nemoralis.
(iii.) I cannot see how these observations, interesting in their way, affect my general theory. Again I stand behind the fortress of Von Baer and Hæckel, and to those who understand the full bent of the laws which were formulated by them it will appear that I shall not use much powder and shot.
(iv.) This also becomes intelligible in the light of the development of the shell. And I think more legitimately. What, again, I ask about the horncoloured and whitish primary shells of the embryo, and the persistent ones in Arion, Amalia, and Limax ?
(v.) Replied to in my answer to Mr. Pace. But Helix aculeata and H. pygmea are horn-coloured also! But besides what I have before said, what Mr. Fryer adduces as regards shrews and ants rests on probability and not actual observation. See the references which he gives.
"BIRDS OF THE WEST."
FEW notes on birds observed by me, in the west of Co. Mayo, during the months of August and September, may be of interest to some of your readers. I saw no particularly uncommon ones: in fact, my observations merely comprise the results of a few desultory walks from time to time, most of my attention being occupied with fishing.
At the beginning of August, on the sandy sea coast, golden plovers were in some numbers and very tame: grey plovers did not seem to have arrived yet; dunlins also were exceedingly plentiful; they breed in the neighbourhood. Curlews and
whimbrels were to be seen both by the sea, and especially inland, flying over the bogs, and arresting one's attention by their mournful cries: associated with them on the coast, were oyster-catchers, whose black and white plumage rendered them very conspicuous. All three birds are exceedingly wary and difficult to approach: in the open it is almost impossible to get within shot of them; the only chance of success is to hide behind banks and stalk them, often on hands and knees.
Whimbrels are called here "May-birds," as in many other parts of the kingdom, from the fact of them arriving in May: most of the natives consider them young curlews.
Knots and sanderlings were in large flocks: there were a good many redshanks, but I saw no godwits.
At high water, large flocks of ringed plovers were to be found on the sand, just above high-water mark : most of them appeared to be asleep in the sun; at any rate, they allowed me to approach within half-adozen yards before taking to flight; a few, however, in each flock were more restless, running about among their comrades in an aimless fashion.
On the marshes near the sea, one could always find herons (hibernicè cranes), on the look-out for crabs, I suppose; for crabs were the only animals I could find there. Later on, in the same place, I saw a good many snipe, and some small ducks. I could not get near enough to the latter to determine their species, but I think they were golden-eyes. I am told that the west coast of Mayo is a great resort of ducks and geese in winter: the people say that the geese are principally barnacles, but I think this is a mistake, as the name is very generally misapplied in Ireland to brent geese.
Hooded crows and rooks were very common : magpies, although very numerous and tame in most parts of Ireland, were conspicuous by their absence here probably the want of trees in the district accounts for this.
I was surprised to see so few hawks : one or two kestrels, a single peregrine, and another that I took to be a sparrow-hawk-it was some distance off —were all I noticed. Report says, however, that there are a pair or two of golden eagles on the cliffs of Achill Island: I regret that I could not find time to go to look for them.
Inland, I saw a few common buntings; yellow hammers, linnets and meadow-pipits swarmed, but of goldfinches, tolerably plentiful in other seemingly similar parts of Ireland, I saw none.
On my pointing out a kingfisher to my gillie, he told me that he had never seen the bird before.
Water ousels were common on the mountain streams, and as I fished, flitted from rock to rock, and on settling bowed gravely to me in their comical way.
Wheatears were fairly numerous in September, there were very few swifts and swallows; terns were
plentiful about some of the inland lakes, amongst them being a great many immature birds.
I saw a skylark with almost pure white body. A good many rare birds have been recorded from time to time in Co. Mayo, but, of course, to get any, one must be constantly on the look-out, and collect systematically.
A barred warbler is recorded in a recent number of "The Zoologist" to have been procured near Belmullet in 1884, and to be now in the possession of Dr. Birkett of that town.
The natives have some curious beliefs: on asking one of the men who work the salmon nets whether he was not very liable to rheumatism from constant wading in the water, he informed me that at the beginning of the season, he ate salmon every day for a fortnight, and that in consequence, the water ran off his skin as from a duck's back. Another legend was, that all the rats which entered the precincts of a ruined abbey, used as a burial-ground, immediately dropped down dead. I took the trouble to visit the place, but saw no rats, dead or alive. On one of the graves were dozens of long "church-warden pipes, it being the custom at a funeral for each of the mourners to deposit one on the tomb: do any of your readers know of a similar custom in any other part of the country, or the origin of the practice? H. J. W.
THE CARBONIFEROUS LIMESTONE OF
By CHAS. WArdingley.
URNING now for a short time to the consideration of the carboniferous limestone as it occurs in the Dumfries district, it may be remarked at the outset that good exposures such as may be obtained in quarries and railway cuttings are rather limited in number. Of these, the best and most accessible are shown in the accompanying sketch-map.
The village of Closeburn is situated about twelve miles north of Dumfries, and the quarries are a mile to the south-east of the railway station. These have been worked almost continuously since 1770 and the vast amount of rock laid bare affords an excellent opportunity for its study. Here the limestone has blue-grey Silurian strata for its base or foundation, and the total depth or thickness, excluding the top rubble, is a little over 60 feet and is divided as under.