« EelmineJätka »
is set before us. The dainty resembles a cockle, but is indeed very distinct, and an awkward pause hereupon ensues, when the village beauty with thickly-pencilled eye-lashes, dark eyes and ancestral cheek-bones comes forward, and wiping a knife on her apron she watches them hiss and splutter and protrude their syphons in delightful anticipation. The next moment she is bolting them like a codfish, and exclaiming, “ Just as if they are not good."
The concluding portion of our walk lies through a pine clearing, along whose ferny borders the scarce swallow-tail butterfly is poising and floating, but it is yet a good league to the point, and the tide is quickly mounting and severing the Goat's Island from the mainland, so that we shall have recourse to the boat. The ferryman when we arrive is cooling himself on the floor of his cottage and drinking milk, and as we walk down to the quay he tells us that owing to our ignorance of the short cuts we have walked too far. He then takes us out in his flatbottomed punt to his wherry; a light zephyr sits in the flapping sail, and as we glide over the cerulean water the big tumulus behind the white cottages insensibly draws near. An avenue of wind-swept elms, some twelve feet high, leads up from the shore, which nevertheless he tells us has been planted these fifty years, for the dreamy shade of the elm does not increase like that of the aromatic coniser, and transform the scenes of our infancy: let us here find reason to pause and observe this minute groundbeetle, Aristus capito, that carries its prodigious head like a hippopotamus, its eyes too, seem placed at a disadvantage, and it is a puzzle to know what use it makes of its brains. But the tumulus where they tell us our grand-parents had a fairy grotto among the blooming furze is likewise a puzzle, it would seem. “Round about,” exclaims a short, stout man, ap. proaching with a tallow dip and a match-box, "hats !” By Saint Pol a not unnecessary warning, for it must have been with looks demure that the buried dolmen was entered. The match is struck and the light is paraded round the stony walls, revealing a kind of hatching, similar to the tatoo of the Pacific islanders, upon the slabs, which in the eyes of innocence might have presented the appearance of the ripple on the pebbles or the lines of nacre ; the jade instruments too, that chased it are also so faithfully represented that we suppress a tear, and then there are some zigzags. But what evidence is there that these lithe and nimble beings dwelt here? we ask in breathless expectation. The short and stout man hereupon points to three coalescent holes suitable to hold a scent-bottle or wash the tips of your fingers, directly above which there is a blink of the blue sky, and he explains how they made use of these footings and crept in and out of the crevice like rabbits, for this was their only entry, Here it was then that the happy lovers lived, and here they were buried in right
and possession of the Goat's Island, we exclaim halfconvinced, with a romantic sigh.
The wind blows fair and it is a straight course across the misty river of Auray to Locmariaquer. The huge stones that stood there as a landmark are fallen and lie broken, but the dolmens remain, and the village children are waiting to show us where they lie hid among the blue-bottles and springing corn. As is often the case, a mound or tumulus directs us to the dolmens, and the children instinctively teach us how to creep in and show us where are the carvings. One resembles a turnip-top, but the hieroglyphics are with little doubt a hoax, like the Hebrew L. D. wanting an S. to be found somewhere.
Again we are on a straight glaring road with taverns at intervals, hearkening to the chirping of the field-crickets. Who can count the grains of sand and who can count the harpists here disclosed by the tepid spring ? but merry as they are on their native heaths, these musicians when imprisoned in a town, after a time cease to rejoice at the passing wheels, and remain mute until they die at the expiration of June. Whilst listening to the crickets we have passed by several dolmens that we might have visited, and we are now in the ferry-boat crossing the river of Crach, where tiles are made and converted into oyster cots. A fishing-boat with blue sails is coming in, coasting along the mud flats, and the two garreted cottages on the high banks recall the Scottish Highlands, and bring to mind the labours of an archeologist from the north country whose museum at Carnac we are desirous to visit, were it only for the sake of seeing the shapely stone hammerhead there exhibited. Reluctantly we leave this peaceful spot, and the same straight sandy road leads us onward until we come upon a shallow inlet parted into oyster-beds, and fringed with tamerisks. Here we mount the declivity on the right and skirt the dusky pine wood, but lost in the gloom we turn down a vista where a canopy of creepers veils the heraldry of a castle gateway. The sunlight idly slumbers on the white walls, extinguisher spires, and parterres within, and were the gardener to be seen we might enquire concerning the corkscrew variety of the garden snail, here to be looked for, as on the coast at Deal. But perhaps some of the dependants are about who will direct us to the standing stones of Carnac; let us see. Cave canem ! here they are to be sure, the bouncing mastiff with clenched teeth and prodigious howl in front, the spotted dog with bulldog snout just behind, and all the rough-coated favourites with cocked-up ears bringing up the rear.
A backward retreat and a scurry down into a dell brings us upon the desired stones, standing up in long parallel lines like skittles, and we track them up a hillock crowned with a chess-board tower and over the smooth heath, and as we advance they increase in size until they rise about eight feet. We leave them behind after a hasty glance, and
entering in at a wicket beside a cornfield gain pseudopodial net-work, as has been suggested to me the route to Auray, and proceeding down it by Mr. Wood Mason, and may thus escape detection. come upon another battalion on the right, that for Along the glassy threads of the network, solitary or want of a Joshua, suggest to our untutored minds a associated granules course with varying degrees of game of hide and seek or a race-course. It has, rapidity, and where most active at a rate exceeding however, been suggested that they are mementoes of that of the protoplasmic current (cyclosis) in Vallissome sort, or that they have even astronomical im- neria. A lady to whom I showed the specimen port: and truly in lands where the sun is glorious under description in this note, said it looked as if it and stars are wildly and spiritually bright, temples was pouring itself out into itself—a happy way of and altars may have arisen at the music of the expressing the appearance of this interesting phenospheres, but while our churches are uniformly
The flow in the thicker, and indeed in many oriented, it cannot escape notice that Stonehenge of the finer, pseudopodia, as the projections or faces south-west, while the lines of Carnac run south- the extensions of the body-mass are called, and in east.
the main mass itself, is in opposite directions on Having inspected something short of three thou- the two margins; while in many of the finer filaments sand grotesque stones, old and new, suitable to recall minute, elliptical, or fusiform particles of protoplasm to mind in the evening twilight the tale of the singing glide like rain-drops along a telegraph wire. Nubird and the enchanted water, we turn into the lane merous minute vacuoles appear in the central on the left and gain the high road close beside the portions, and some also in the pseudopodial extentavern of Ker Petit, where we inquire of a rustic the sions and their knot-like expansions. There is no way to the railway-station at Plouharnel. I don't distinction of the body-substance into an outer, or understand that Gallic turnabout. Indeed no, we cortical, denser protoplasm (exoplasm), and an inner, have walked over thirty kilos. and desire to see the more fluid, medullary protoplasm (endoplasm), the Dolmen of the Mane-Kerioned is possible before we animal being of the same highly fluid consistence leave.
throughout ; nor is a nucleus to be detected, though Note.--It would be curious to inquire whether
this last feature may be due, as already suggested, to the late severe winter has produced many albino
the nucleus having been left stranded, as it were,
somewhere in the reticulated pseudopodial expansions. stoats, blackbirds, or meadow brown butterflies ; intense cold by checking secretion must surely be the
Three or four diatoms-a species of Cocconeis causation that here operates. In every case the
which is abundant this season in the tank from which white variety is white from the absence of the usual
Biomyxa was obtained by meand one or two stray colouring-matter.
filaments of a minute green Alga were imbedded in the protoplasm of the main mass of the organism
observed by me. The same water was also the A RETICULATED AMEBA (BIOMYXA
habitat of numbers of minute flagellated monads, VAGANS).
bearing two flagella, one trailing behind and the 'HE observation of Biomyxa vagans in Calcutta, other projected forward; and I watched with
is a sufficiently rare occurrence to justify me in interest several in which the anterior flagellum seemed placing a note of it on record. The scientific name to have become caught in the current of the protoof this interesting organism (from Gr. bios, life; plasm, flowing in the reticulated filaments; these muxa, slime: Lat. vagans, wandering about, or organisms were clearly being towed along the spreading out) accurately and concisely describes its pseudopodia, and three or four were observable, with character. The granular, glassy protoplasm of which careful focussing, in the central mass of the organism ; it consists spreads itself out with a marked tendency but it could not with certainty be made out whether to polarity, its pseudopodial extensions being mainly they were imbedded in it, or were merely adhering projected from its two opposite ends. These ex- to its surface. A larger monad, with only a single tensions are usually filaments, which branch and flagellum, constantly swam up to the circulating interlace freely, thus forming an irregular network mass; touched it repeatedly, and as it seemed which is constantly changing its form. The intentionally, with its whip-like appendage ; and filaments are prolongations of the central mass, released itself without apparent difficulty or effort. and are organically one with it. They here and My objectives are not of sufficiently wide aperture to there anastomose with one another, so as to form admit of my detecting the flagella of the Bacteria, smaller expansions, comparable in all respects save but several Bacteria were being swept along by the size, to the main mass. It seems possible from the marginal protoplasmic current; and from their extreme fluidity of the whole, that any one of these motions as compared with those of the Flagellata small expansions may be continually fed by the referred to above, it seemed obvious that they too flow from the main mass, till it becomes itself the
* Diatoms appear to have formed the chief nourishment of main mass; and it is conceivable that the nucleus
Haeckel's Protomyra aurantiaca. See Vol. IX., " Quarterly may, in this way, be left behind in the web of the
Journal of Microscopical Science," pp. 40 and 42.
were being held by their flagella in the circulating | finding another like it. I should add that the water protoplasm of the filaments. Numbers of Bacteria in the bowl in question has been always rich in and minute monads were lying perfectly still in the Heliozoa, Difflugiæ (D. pyriformis, D. acuminata, D. vicinity of the web of Biomyxa, apparently dead. corona), Arcellæ, and Amoebæ of various kinds, among
Biumyxa vagans—as I have termed it, because I which last A. princeps, A. radiosa, A. limax, and consider the organism found by me identical with A. guttula have already been identified. the one described by Leidy at page 281 et seq., of The accompanying sketches have been made from his work on the 'Fresh-water Rhizopods of North the organism direct, with the aid of Beck's vertical America'-was discovered by me in a glass bowl of camera. At nine o'clock, or a little after, the organism water and weeds (Anacharis and Vallisneria), taken presented the appearance delineated in fig. 177. Its ex. from the tank on the Calcutta Maidan, which is tensions already spread considerably beyond the sheet known as General's Tank. The water was drawn on of paper used for the drawing, and bad commenced the Ist February. On the 22nd of the month, I had to anastomose. The organism varied in form from roughly teazed out a decaying leaf of Anacharis with moment to moment; and hence, while the figures were needles, and was searching over the slide for being sketched under the camera, portions already
organisms, supplying the loss by evaporation from time to time, when I noticed an Entomostracan lying temptingly still, and commenced to sketch it ; while thus engaged, I detected a granular flow in a delicate filament of protoplasm near the edge of the field. This was quite two hours after the water had been first placed under the cover-glass, and under observation. Following up the flow of granules along this filament (which I found anastomosed with others in its course), I was presently led on to the main central mass above described. This was a little after nine o'clock in the morning. The organism was under observation all day, and when it grew dark towards evening, I washed it back into the bowl from which it had been taken ; but though I have carefully searched, I have not succeeded in recovering it, or in
traced had altered slightly in contour, while those actually under delineation had themselves doubtless changed from the form they had at the instant the sketch was commenced. At noon, or a little after, the organisin had obtained its fullest extension and activity: it pervaded altogether four or five fields of the microscope ; and I have endeavoured in fig. 176 to delineate the anastomosis or interlacing of the protoplasmic filaments, using for this purpose two different powers (fig. 176 X 250 ; fig. 179 X 370). At this time I was able to trace the network through a complete circuit in one direction-judging from the objects, such as débris, etc., in the vicinity'; it was a development of the main protoplasmic streams which enclose the great mesh which bounds the clear space marked a in fig. 177. Fig. 179 represents the protoplasmic
was about one-seventieth of an inch in length, but its increased opacity betokened that it was denser, and probably thicker, than it had been at any time in the forenoon, while three or four large and vigorous Amoebæ may sometimes be seen disporting themselves in a single field of the microscope ; Biomyxa with its delicate reticulations fully developed pervades sour or five fields.
Adopting the most recent classification, the systematic position of Biomyxa, according to Bütschli, would be: Rhizopoda; Sub-order I., Amebaa; Family Amabæa reticulosa; Genus Biomyxa (Leidy); there being at present but one
plants"; and this authority would accordingly consign them to a separate kingdom of primitive forms, the Protista, an ill-defined domain which he places between the animal and vegetable kingdoms. The Monera, then, according to Haeckel cannot with confidence be predicated to be either animals or plants. Leidy himself was not free from doubt with regard to the position which should be assigned to his Biomyxa. He says “It has also been a question with me whether to regard it as a true Rhizopod, or whether to view it as the plasmodium of a fungus. In structure and habit, so far as observed, it seems to accord with the latter rather than with the former, though I have not detected a coalescence of individuals in Biomyxa. Cienkowski las described several organisms related with the latter, of which he regards one as a fresh-water plasmodium, while the others are viewed as Rhizopods ;” that is, as animals. Leidy goes on to say that Cienkowski describes a form of naked rhizopod, with the name of Gymnophrys cometa, which resembles Biomyxa, but differs from it in having no contractile vesicles ; in which respect, again, Leidy says, Biomyxa differs from the nearly related Leptophry of Hertwig and Lesser. For ourselves it is safest, at any rate provisionally, to accept Bütschli's classification given above ; and to recognise with Haeckel, that “we are just at the beginning of our knowledge of these very interesting primordial forms."
W.J. SIMMONS. Calcutta.
NOTE.-This paper was read at a meeting of the Microscopical Society of Calcutta on the 9th March, 1891.
species found in the fresh-waters of North America, and we must probably add, of India. In this connection, the presence or absence of a nucleus in these low forms of life is a matter of importance. If a nucleus be present, as it is in the true Amabæ, we have an organism in at least its original sense-a whole constructed, as Haeckel puts it, from dissimilar parts, viz., an inner nucleus, and an outer cell-matter. If, on the other hand, no nucleus be present, then Biomyxa stands amongst what Haeckel has
termed the Monera, organisms without organs ;” bodies which in a physiological sense can still be called organisms because individual portions of them fulfil the essential life-functions of all true organisms, nourishment, growth and reproduction. He considers that in these homogeneous, structureless albumen-bodies, spontaneous generation is more easy of conception than it is in the case of a true cell, possessed of a division into plasma and nucleus. Here we may note that the experiments which are so widely held to disprove Abiogeny, or spontaneous generation, dealt rather with the Bacteria than with the Monera. The Monera, according to Haeckel, may "be classed with equal propriety, or rather with equal arbitrariness, as primitive animals, or primitive plants”: in other words, they may "just as well be regarded as primitive animals or as primitive
NATURAL HISTORY NOTES. EEING the account of a diseased rook in the
January number of SCIENCE-Gossip, I thought I would send the following extract written in 1887.
There has been much mortality among the rooks this winter in this neighbourhood. Under one rookery of about fifty couples of birds, about twenty rooks were picked up dead, or were so weak that they could not fly, and were thus easily killed. A small rookery round here, which had nearly a dozen nests in the spring of last year (1886), now contains only one nest. At the beginning of the present season there were three, but the rooks from another locality came and destroyed two of them as they were finished. One couple went and built in the rookery from whence their depredators came; the other single couple continued for a short time and then forsook.
Two other rookeries, one containing about fortyfive nests, and the other thirteen, now contain sixteen in the largest and only six in the other. The number of rooks are thus reduced to about half their former number.