By Jeffrey M. Camhi

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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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