By Philip Henry Gosse

Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), a British naturalist, left domestic at age 17 and made his strategy to Alabama in 1838, the place he had heard trained humans have been popular. He used to be hired by means of pass judgement on Reuben Saffold at friendly Hill in Dallas County as a instructor for approximately a dozen youngsters of neighborhood landowners, yet his relevant curiosity used to be average background. throughout the 8 months he lived in th Black Belt he watched, listened, notion, took notes, and made sketches--activities that at last resulted in Letters from Alabama. He lived between Alabamians, talked and listened to them, observed them at their top and their worst, and got here to appreciate their hopes and fears. They have been part of the wildlife, and he paid cognizance to them as any strong scientist might. With the abilities of a scientist and the temperament of an artist, Gosse set down an account of ordinary lifestyles in frontier Alabama that has no equivalent. Written to nobody particularly, a standard literary gadget of the interval, the letters have been first released in undefined, and in 1859 seemed as a ebook. through that point Gosse used to be a longtime student and one among England’s so much famous medical illustrators. 

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Though only twenty-eight at the time, he had already seen a lot Page [8] of the world. At the age of seventeen he left his home in England and indentured himself as a clerk in a Newfoundland seal fishery. Six years at that post were followed by a period on a cooperative farm in lower Canada, and when that venture failed he headed farther south, first to Pennsylvania and then to Alabama. 2 Although his formal schooling was limited, Gosse read widely, observed closely, and by the time he reached Mobile his interest in nature and his artistic skill had shaped him into a promising scientist.

Marine animals. Fishes of various kinds crowd around and beneath it, for the sake of preying on the invertebrate creatures that browse on its leaves, or play among its branches. That curious sea- Page 11 slug, the Scyllæa, one of the naked-gilled mollusca, crawls with its narrow grooved foot about the stems, and surprises one with its uncouth, almost shapeless form, and leather-like consistence. But the most vivacious, and therefore the most amusing of the denizens of this floating forest that I found, were the different sorts of crabs and shrimps that abounded in it.

Them and the Hole in the Wall we soon left far behind, as we ran before the freshening "trade," and passing island after island, soon came in sight of the countless little kays, or islets, on the Florida reef. The water on this reef is very shoal, which is strongly indicated by its colour; instead of the deep blue tint which marks the ocean, the water here is of a bright pea-green, caused by the nearness of the yellow sands at the bottom; and the shallower the water, the paler is the tint. To me it is very pleasing to peer down into the depths below, especially in the clear water of these southern seas, and look at the many-coloured bottom,sometimes a bright pearly sand, spotted with shells and corals, then a large patch of brown rock, whose gaping clefts and fissures are but half hidden by the waving tangles of purple weed, where multitudes of shapeless creatures revel and riot undisturbed.

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