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AMHERST COLLEGE. Amherst has given to the world of letters and boasts the finest collection in the country, many brilliant men, and its fame as an in- including the large collection made by Pro stitution of learning is wide-spread, enjoying, fessor Shepard, and many fossils, particularly to-day, a high position among the classical those of the sandstone, of which they possess schools of our country. We are enabled to many excellent specimens. Amherst is compresent, on page 515, a picture of the college paratively a young college, having been buildings and the observatory which occupy founded in 1821, and incorporated in 1825, the finest and most sightly position of any in but its steps have been rapid in attaining the charming little town of Amherst, com- position. The standard of instruction is very manding a view of Mountains Tom and high, and graduation is no holiday effort, but Holyoke, and the Connecticut river, from is evidence of work and accomplishment. The which latter it is about four miles distant. college possesses excellent philosophical apThe prospect of upland and intervale coin- paratus, and a library of more than 20,000 prised within the bound of observation is in- volumes. deed charming, a continual relief to the dry The views from the college hill are much details of mathematics and sciences forming enjoyed by visitors who make Amherst a the routine of the students' life. The hill on resting-place during the summer months. which the college is situated divides the long The mountains are seen from here in their public green, with streets on each side of it, grandest forms. The noble Holyoke hills, ornamented with shrubbery, and the main with their lofty outline, are ever in the part of the handsome village is beyond it on student's eyes as he paces the college terraces, the north, not visible in our engraving. The and must inspire him with lofty aspirations, college grounds are quite spacious, and great while their majestic repose and the rural pains are taken regarding their improvement sweetness of the nearer woods and meadows and preservation. The buildings, with their soothe his wild ambition. More than thirty terraces and lawns, are exceedingly pictur- villages are seen from this summit, the charmesque, while the observatory is a sightly and ing and thrifty town of Amherst lying at its ornamental object from all directions. The feet, with its busy industry and evident original college buildings consist of three prosperity, while the Holyoke range form a brick edifices, four stories high, for the accom- background reaching far to the south, till they modation of the students, library, etc. The suddenly halt at the East and West Rocks at observatory is provided with extensive and New Haven. There are few more delightful perfect instruments, and great attention is places in the Commonwealth than Amherst, paid the prosecution of the science to which to sojourn in, where one may have more satit is devoted. The lower portion of the ob- isfaction communing with charming nature, servatory is used as a mineralogical cabinet, here spread out in grandeur and beauty.
ODD FISH. We do not mean by this that class of hu- own waters abound with odd fish. There is man bipeds known as “odd fish," who by no fishing party that does not produce these their many eccentricities make themselves odd specimens, a source of the deepest inoffensively ridiculous or positively bores by terest to the student. The common sculpin, their character-acting, that is neither pretty that everybody hates for its exceedingly nor pleasing. Such might, we think, assume ravenous and obtrusive habits, possesses many the head of some one of the finny tribe below points worthy of attention. Though not a depicted, with advantage; though we look handsome-featured fish it is not irredeemably upon such when we see them and fancy the hideous, and kindness may throw in a word fishy peculiarities as the character develops in mitigation, as Captain Smith did of his itself. We mean the fish of the sea, so vast alligator, that, though not naturally handsome, in variety, so infinite in form, seen it had a very amiable expression when he among those we are enabled to examine with- smiled. The skate is another monstrosity, in the brief scope of our observation. Our but who can look at the almost human mouth,
as it lies panting upon the deck, without a creature is remarkable for the singular defeeling of pity? Then there is the sea-raven, velopment of the dorsal and pectoral fins, the a brown, bloated monster, who appears to latter being of such vast proportionate size have no claim to regard but his ugliness, and that they were formerly supposed to act like the bladder-fish that swells up when you the corresponding organs of the flying fish, tickle him to such a degree that he sinks no and to raise the creature out of the water into more to his old level; like the effect of flattery the air. Such, however, is not the case, for on a weak mind, and herein is another the rays which carry the connecting memsimilarity between odd fishes out and in brane are not supported by a corresponding the water.
strength of bone as in the true flying fishes, But we grow familiar with our odd fish, and are far too weak to serve that purpose. and are pleased when some one goes abroad Indeed, the object of this remarkable developand brings to our notice specimens of those ment is one of the many mysteries with which existing in other waters. Florida abounds the inquiring zoologist is surrounded, and with angel fish, devil fish, and hosts of others, as we have seen, and the tropics make rare revelations through the agency of Agassiz. We present a few specimens from more distant waters as odd curiosities.
The Wandering Chætodon,” on this page, is an example of a very large genus, comprising about seventy species, all of which are striking from their shape and color. Some of them are almost circular or disclike in the general contour of their figure, and the arrangement of the markings is very conspicuous. The muzzle is moderate in length, and the scales are rather larger in
WANDERING CHÆTODON. proportion to the dimensions of the body. The Wandering which make his task so exhaustlessly fascinaChætodon is a native of the waters extending ting. The Red Fire Fish is common off the from the Red Sea to the Polynesia, and is one Ceylonese coast, and is said to be very valuof the common fishes of the Ceylonese coasts. able as an article of food, its flesh being very The colors of this fish are very beautiful, and white, firm and nutritious. The native fishare arranged after a very curious fashion. ermen hold this species in some dread, thinkThe ground color of the body is almost golden ing that it can inflict an incurable wound yellow, on which a number of purplish brown with the sharp spines which arın its person lines are drawn in a manner that can readily and stand out so boldly in every direction. be understood by reference to the illustration. This idea, however, is without any founda
The next picture, on page 518, is the “Red tion; for, although the thorny spines may Fire Fish,” a marvellously ugly beast, provok- prick the hand deeply and painfully, they ing the wonder what object Nature had in carry no poison, and inflict no venonied hurt. view in producing such. This extraordinary The general color of the Red Fire Fish is
pinky brown, barred with darker brown, and fish, could we but know it, that looks to dethe head is redder than the body. It is gen- fence or support, for the Great Author makes erally about seven or eight inches in length. no mistakes in his creations, and nothing is
The “ Three-Lobed Blepsias," depicted on amiss. page 319, is one of those species to which the Mr. Robert Carter spent a portion of one ancient naturalists had affixed certain names summer, 1858, in Massachusetts Bay and without any apparent motive for so doing along the coast, in search of pleasure and There is no particular meaning in the word, health, and found both, as we learn from the and the sum of information obtainable from delightful account of it he published the same lexicons is, that it signifies a certain fish. The year, which book is still in demand. He members of this genus are found on the described many queer fishes that were caught, coasts of Kamschatka, and some fine speci- that may be pertinent to our subject and inmens in the British Museum were obtained teresting to our readers. He says of the from the New Oreas Islands, in the Gulf of Skate: “I caught this evening, for the first Georgia. This species is not very common, time, a skate-a very singular-looking fish,
which sometimes is found of great size, weighing as much as two hundred pounds. The one I caught weighed probably three or four pounds. It was a flat fish, with a broad, brown back, somewhat raised in the middle, the under side of the body of a dirty white. The snout was sharp and projecting, shaped like a spade; the mouth large, and armed with strong teeth. It had a tail like a monkey's, long and slender, and armed with spines. There were also numerous spines upon the body. When hook. ed it pulled with some
force, and when thrown RED FIRE FISH.
on deck rolled itself up
like a hedgehog, lashbut may easily be known from its congener, ing the deck with its tail, and uttering a faint the Two Lobed Blepsias (Blepsias Bilobus), squeak as if in anger.” He thus describes the by the peculiar manner in which the spiny capture of a Sea Wolf off Nahant: “At length portion of the dorsal fin is notched so as to I hooked something of greater size and vigor form the whole fin into three distinct lobes. than anything we had yet taken. Observing In the second species this structure is not seen. the force with which it resisted capture, the In both, the soft portion of the dorsal fin is seamen watched with eagerness its arrival at greatly developed, and the body and fins are the surface, in the hope that it might be a boldly marked with dark streaks upon a halibut. It proved to be a catfish, or wolflighter surface. The body is entirely covered fish, or sea-wolf, as it is sometimes called. with prickles.
The Scotch fishermen terni it sea-cat, and in The eye of taste nor the eye of science may the Orkneys it is known as the swine-fish, see beauty or use in the almost hideous pro- from a swinish movement of its nostrils. It ductions of nature, but in them is a wisdom, was a hideous-looking, black, slimy monster, nevertheless, that reveals in the habits of the thirty-two inches long by sixteen wide, weigliing ten pounds. The head was large, flat on tivalve shell, was long thought to be a mollusk, the top, and blunt at the snout; the jaws and was so classed. It is now, however, filled with long, thick-pointed teeth, with placed among the crustaceans, and the young which the creature snapped ferociously when- of it is found to be a small crustacean, swimever we touched him. These jaws have great ming freely in the water. This animal has a strength, and our fishermen handled their stout, fleshy peduncle for attachment. Its owner very cautiously.” The taking of a Sea flattened body is enclosed in two large princiRaven is thus depicted: “The Assyrian, pal valves and several small supplementary seated comfortably at the stern of the sloop, ones. From between these valves a horsewith his invariable cigar in his mouth, was shoe-shaped cluster of long, curved, cirriform lazily pulling up the occasional cod or baddock arms are protruded, which sweep through the that were so accommodating as to fix them. water with a grasping motion, in search of selves on his hook, when suddenly he started food. In the centre of this cluster the mouth to his feet exclaiming, "I've got a halibut, is situated.” We close with the Monk-fish: now, I think. We all gathered round him as, with surprising animation, he pulled in his line, of which he had out a great quantity, the tide having carried it away from the vessel. A brief observation of the process of hauling in satisfied the old pilot. He stepped back to his own line, saying, 'You have got no halibut there. It was evidently, however, a large fish of some sort, and in time arrived at the surface. On catching sight of it the Assyrian paused, as if paralyzed with astonishment. "What in Tophet is this? he muttered. Lift it up,' said the artist, and let us look at it.' The Assyrian reluctantly complied. It was a frightful, spinous, blood-red creature, “ The head of the monk-fish is wide and flat; about two feet long. 'A sea-raven,' said the the mouth nearly as wide as the head. The professor. The old pilot laughed. “You may jaws are armed with numerous teeth, of call it a sea-raven, but it's a sculpin-a deep- different length, conical, sharp, and curving water sculpin.' 'So it is,' rejoined the pro- inward. The lower jaw is the longer, and is fessor; “but there are many kinds of sculpin, fringed all round the edge with a sort of and the books call this one the sea-raven.”' beard. The eyes are large and dull; the pecThe Sun-squall: “The professor with his toral fins broad, and rounded at the edge, and dip-net caught a quantity of beautiful sun- wide at the base. The body is narrow comsqualls as they floated by. He also caught up pared with the breadth of the head, and some floating capsules of fucus, or rockweed, tapers gradually to the tail. The whole fish attached to which we found specimens of the is covered with a loose, rough skin, blackish Anatifa vitrea, a species of duck-barnacle. brown on the upper surface, and white on the This curious animal, having a regular mul- lower. The specimen we got weighed 30 lbs.”