Imagens da página

SUN FISH. While lying in Little Killery Bay, on the coast of Connemara, in her Majesty's surveying ketch Sylvia, we were attracted by a large fin above the surface, moving with an oscillatory motion, somewhat resembling the action of a man sculling at the stern of a boat; and knowing it to be an unusual visitor, we immediately got up the harpoon and went in chase. In the

meantime, a country boat came up with the poor animal, and its crew inflicted upon it sundry blows with whatever they could lay their hands on — oars, grappling, stones, &c.—but were unsuccessful in taking it; and it disappeared for some


SIDE VIEW OF SUN FISH. few minutes, when it again exhibited its fin on the other side of the Bay. The dull and stupid animal permitted us to place our boat immediately over it, and made no effort to escape. The harpoon never having been sharpened, glanced off without effect ; but another sailor succeeded in securing it by the tail with a boat-hook, and passing the bight of a rope behind its fins, we hauled it on shore, under Salrock House, the residence of General Thompson, who, with his family, came 4own to inspect this strange-looking


[ocr errors]


inhabitant of the sea. We were well soused by the splashing of its fins, ere a dozen hands succeeded in transporting this heavy creature from its native abode to the shore, where it passively died, giving only an occasional movement with its fins, or uttering a kind of grunt.

This animal, I believe, is a specimen of the Sun-fish (Orthagoriscus). It has no bony skeleton ; nor did we, in our rather hasty dissection, discover any osseous structure whatever, except (as we were informed by one who afterwards inspected it) that there was one which stretched between the large fins. Its jaws also had bony terminations, unbroken into teeth, and parrot-like, which, when not in use, are hidden by the envelopement of the gums. The form of the animal is preserved by an entire cartilaginous case, of about three inches in thickness, covered by a kind of shagreen skin, so amalgamated with the cartilage as not to be separated from it. This case is easily penetrable with a knife, and is of pearly

whiteness, more resembling cocoa-nut in appearance and texture than anything else I can compare it with. The interior cavity, containing the vital parts, terminates a little behind the large fins, where the cartilage was solid, to its tapered extremity, which is without a caudal fin. Within, and around the back part, lay the flesh, of a coarse fibrous texture, slightly salmon-coloured. The liver was such as to fill a common pail, and there was a large quantity of red blood. The nostril, top of the eye, and top of the gill-orifice are in line, as represented in the Engraving. The dimensions are as under :

Eye round, and like that of an ox, 2^ inches diameter. Gill-orifice, 4 inches by 1\ inches. Dorsal and anal fins equal, 2 ft. 2 in. long, by 1 ft. 3 in. wide. Pectoral fins, 10 in. high by 8 broad. Length of fish, 6 ft. Depth, from the extremities of the large fins, 7 ft. 4 in. Extreme breadth at the swelling under the eye, only 20 in. Weight, 6 cwt. 42 lb.

Captain Bedford, R.N.



F Nelson and the North
Sing the glorious day's renown,
When to battle fierce came forth
All the might of Denmark's crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly

By each gun the lighted brand,
In a bold determined hand-
And the Prince of all the land
Led them on.



Like Leviathans afloat

Lay their bulwarks on the brine ;
While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line ;
It was ten of April morn, by the chime,
As they drifted on their path :
There was silence deep as death,
And the boldest held his breath
For a time.

But the might of England flush'd
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rush'd
O'er the deadly space

between. “ Hearts of Oak!" our Captains cried; when each gun From its adamantine lips Spread a death-shade round the ships, Like the hurricane eclipse Of the sun.

[blocks in formation]

On the deck of fame that died
With the gallant, good Riou-
Soft sigh the winds of Heaven o'er their grave:
While the billow mournful rolls,
And the mermaid's song condoles,
Singing glory to the souls
Of the brave.




ANNON took their name from the French word Canne, a reed. Bea fore their invention, machines were used for throwing enormous stones. These were imitated from the Arabs, and called ingenia, whence engi

The first cannon were made of wood, wrapped up in numerous folds of linen, and well secured by iron hoops. The true epoch of the use of metallic cannon cannot be

ascertained; it is certain, however, that they were in use about the middle of the 14th century. The Engraving beneath represents a field-battery gun taking up its position in a canter. The piece of ordnance is attached, or "limbered up" to an ammunition carriage, capable of carrying two gunners, or privates, whilst the drivers are also drilled so as to be able to serve at the gun in action, in case of casualties.

Having reached its destination, and been detached or "unlimbered" from the front carriage, we next see the action of loading ;

the ramrod having at its other extremity a sheep-skin mop, larger than the bore of the piece, and called "a

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


This instrument, before loading, is invariably used, whilst the touch-hole or "vent is covered by the thumb of the gunner especially numbered off for this important duty; and the air being thus ex

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

cluded, the fire, which often remains within the bore, attached to either portions of cartridge-case or wadding, is extinguished. Serious accidents have been known to occur from a neglect of this important preliminary to loading; as a melancholy instance, a poor fellow may be seen about the Woolwich barracks, both of whose arms were blown off above the elbow joint, whilst ramming home a cartridge before the sponge had been properly applied.

[graphic][merged small]

If it is deemed essential to keep up a fire upon the enemy during a temporary retreat, or in order to avoid an overwhelming body of cavalry directed against guns unsupported by infantry, in that case the limber remains as close as possible to the field-piece, as shown in the Engraving above.

« AnteriorContinuar »