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perhaps twenty or thirty feet Iong, studded
with countless adhesive cups. And then, as
Michelet says, there is the contradiction of a
tyrant of the seas being soft and gelatinous.
"While making war on mollusks, he remains a
mollusk also; that is to say, always an embryo.
He presents the strange, almost ridiculous,
appearance of a fœtus furious and semi-transparent,
soft and insatiably cruel, taking life not
for food alone, but for the mere pleasure of

Unless travellers' tales be "the thing which
is not," colossal cuttle-fish still exist, encounters
with which would rival Tartar-catching.
Twenty years ago, some fishermen, near Nice,
took an individual six feet long. Péron saw
in the Australian seas, a cuttle-fish nearly eight
feet long. M. Rung met, in the middle of the
ocean, a short-armed cephalopod of a reddish
colour, whose body was as big round as a tun.
In 1853, a gigantic cephalopod was stranded
on the coast of Jutland. Its body, which was
dismembered by the fishermen, furnished many
barrow loads.

The French steam corvette, Alecton, when
between Teneriffe and Madeira, fell in with a
gigantic calamary, not lessaccording to the
accountthan fifty feet long, without reckoning
its eight arms covered with suckers. At its
largest part, it was some twenty feet in
circumference; the tail end terminated in two
fleshy lobes or fins of great size. The brick-red
flesh was soft and glutinous, and its whole
weight was estimated at four thousand pounds.

The commandant, wishing to secure this
monster, actually engaged it in battle.
Numerous shots were aimed at it, but the balls
traversed its flaccid mass without causing any
vital injury. After one of the volleys, the
waves were observed to be covered with foam
and blood; and the odour of musk, peculiar to
many of the cephalopods, was strongly

Musket-shots not producing the desired
result, harpoons were employed; but they took
no hold on the creature's soft and flabby flesh.
Escaping from the harpoon it dived under the
ship, and came up again on the other side. At
last they succeeded in getting it to bite the
harpoon, and in passing a rope round its lower
extremity. But when they attempted to hoist
it out of the water, the rope, penetrating deep
into the flesh, cut it in two. The head with
the arms and tentacles dropped into the sea
and made off, while the fins and posterior parts
were brought on board. These weighed about
forty pounds.

The crew in their eagerness would have
launched a boat in pursuit; the commander
refused, fearing the animal might capsize it.
It was hardly worth risking the lives of his men
for the chance of catching a cuttle-fish,
however phenomenal. It is probable that this
colossus was sick or exhausted by a struggle with
some other monster of the deep. Otherwise
it would have been more active in its
movements, besides darkening the waters with the
inky liquid which all the cephalopods have at
command. Judging from its size, it would carry
at least a barrel of this black liquid, if it had
not been expended in some recent fray.

One of the most striking episodes in Victor
Hugo's Travailleurs de la Mer, is the fisherman's
battle with the pieuvre. The Natural
History and Fishery of the Sperm Whale
contains a like incident, but true.

Mr. Beale, while searching for shells at Bonin
Island, was astonished to see an extraordinary
looking animal crawling back towards the surf.
Its eight legs, from their soft and flexible
nature, bent considerably under the weight of
its body, so that it was only just lifted above
the rocks. It appeared much alarmed, and made
every attempt to escape. Mr. Beale
endeavoured to stop it by putting his foot on one of
its tentacles, but it got away several times in
spite of his efforts. He then laid hold of one
of the tentacles with his hand and held it firmly;
the limb appeared as if it would be torn asunder
in the struggle. To settle the contest, he
gave it a violent jerk. It resisted the pull;
but the moment, after, in a rage, it lifted a head
with large projecting eyes, and loosing its hold
of the rocks sprang upon Mr. Beale's naked
arm, clinging to it with its suckers, while it
endeavoured to get the beak (which he could
now see), between the tentacles, in a position to
bite him. Mr. Beale described its cold slimy
grasp as extremely sickening. He called loudly
to the captain, who was also searching for
shells, to come to his assistance. He was
released by killing the tormentor with a boat-
knife, the arms being disengaged bit by bit.
This cephalopod, of the species called rock-
squid by whalers, must have measured about
four feet across its expanded arms, while its
body was not bigger than a large hand

The cuttle-fish can easily reply to Don
Diego's question, "Roderick, hast thou a
heart?" It has more than a heart, being
furnished with three; the first two, placed at the
end of the branchiæ; the third, on the medial
line of the body. In another peculiarity the
cuttle-fish surpasses man. Under the influence
of strong emotion, the human face turns pale,
or blushes; in some individuals it even
becomes blue. The cuttle-fish does this, and
more. Yielding to the impressions of the
moment, it suddenly changes colour, passing
through a variety of tints, and only resuming
its familiar hue when the cause of the changes
has disappeared. It is, in fact, gifted with
great sensibility, which reacts immediately on
its elastic tissues in a most extraordinary and
unlooked-for way. Under the influence of passion
man is born to blush; but under no sort of
excitement does he cover himself with pustules.
The cuttle-fish not only changes colour, but
throws out an eruption of little warts. "Observe,"
says D'Orbigny, "a poulpe in a pool of
water. As it walks round its retreat, it is
smooth and very pale. Attempt to seize it, it
quickly assumes a deeper tint, and its body