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If Cousin Cramchild says, that if there are water-babies, they must grow into water men, ask him how he knows that they do not? and then, how he knows that they must, any more than the Proteus of the Adelsberg caverns grows into a perfect newt?

If he says that it is too strange a transformation for a land-baby to turn into a water-baby, ask him if he ever heard of the transformation of Syllis, or the Distomas, or the common jellyfish ?

If he says that things cannot degrade, that is, change downwards into lower forms, ask him, who told him that water-babies were lower than land-babies ?

And, lastly, if he says (as he most certainly will) that these transformations only take place in the lower animals, and not in the higher, say that that seems to little boys, and to some grown people, a very strange fancy. For if the changes of the lower animals are so wonderful, and so difficult to discover, why should there not be changes in the higher animals far more wonderful, and far more difficult to discover ?

And if he says (as he will), that not having seen such a change in his experience, he is not bound to believe it, ask him respectfully where his microscope has been ?

And so forth, and so forth, till he is quite cross. And then tell him that if there are no water-babies, at least, there ought to be; and that, at least, he cannot answer.


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But toward evening it grew suddenly dark, and Tom looked up and saw a blanket of black clouds lying right across the valley above his head, resting on the crags right and left. He felt not quite frightened, but very still ; for everything was still. There was not a whisper of wind, nor a chirp of a bird to be heard ; and next a few great drops of rain fell plop into the water.

And then the thunder roared, and the lightning flashed, and leaped across Vendale and back again, from cloud to cloud, and cliff to cliff, till the very rocks in the stream seemed to shake...,

The rain came down by bucketsful, and the hail hammered like

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shot on the stream, and churned it into foam ; and soon the stream rose, and rushed down, higher and higher, and fouler and fouler, full of beetles, and sticks; and straws, and worms, and addle-eggs, and wood-lice, and leeches, and odds and ends, and omniumgatherums, and this, that, and the other, enough to fill nine


Tom could hardly stand against the stream, and hid behind a rock. But the trout did not; for out they rushed from among the stones, and began gobbling the beetles and leeches in the most greedy and quarrelsome way, and swimming about with great worms hanging out of their mouths, tugging and kicking to get them away from each other.

And now, by the flashes of the lightning, Tom saw a new sigbt -all the bottom of the stream alive with great eels, turning and twisting along, all down stream and away. They had been hiding for weeks past in the cracks of the rocks, and in burrows in the mud; and Tom had hardly ever seen them, except now and then at night: but now they were all out, and went hurrying past him so fiercely and wildly that he was quite frightened. And as they hurried past he could hear them say to each other, “We must run, we must run. What a jolly thunderstorm! Down to the sea, down to the sea !

And then the otter came by with all her brood, twining and sweeping along as fast as the eels themselves; and she spied Tom as she came by, and said :

Now is your time, eft, if you want to see the world. Come along, children, never mind those nasty eels: we shall breakfast on salmon to-morrow. Down to the sea, down to the sea !'

' Down to the sea ?' said Tom; "everything is going to the sea, and I will go too.'

And now, down the rushing stream, guided by the bright flashes of the storm; past tall birch-fringed rocks, which shone out one moment as clear as day, and the next were dark as night; past dark hovers under swirling banks, from which great trout rushed out; .... on through narrow strids and roaring cataracts, where Tom was deafened and blinded for a moment by the rushing waters ; along deep reaches, where the white water-lilies tossed and flapped beneath the wind and hail; past sleeping


villages; under dark bridge-arches, and away and away to the

And Tom could not stop, and did not care to stop; he would see the great world below, and the salmon, and the b eakers, and the wide wide sea.



Eight or nine hundred years ago, of course.' ONE day he was so tired with sitting on a hard chair, in a grand furred gown, with a gold chain round his neck, hearing one policeman after another come in and sing, 'What shall we do with the drunken sailor, so early in the morning ?' and answering them each exactly alike

• Put him in the round house till he gets sober, so early in the morning'That, when it was over, he jumped up, and played leap-frog with the town clerk till he burst his buttons, and then had his luncheon, and burst some more buttons, and then said: 'It is a low spring-tide; I shall go out this afternoon and cut my capers.'

Now he did not mean to cut such capers as you eat with boiled mutton. It was the commandant of artillery at Valetta who used to amuse himself with cutting them, and then stuck upon one of the bastions a notice, 'No one allowed to cut capers here but me,' which greatly edified the midshipmen in port, and the Maltese on the Nix Mangiare stairs. But all that the Mayor meant was, that he would go and have an afternoon's fun, like

any school-boy, and catch lobsters with an iron hook.

So to the Mewstone he went, and for lobsters he looked. And when he came to a certain crack in the rocks, he was so excited, that, instead of putting in his hook, he put in his hand; and Mr. Lobster was at home, and caught him by the finger, and held on.

Yah !' said the mayor, and pulled as hard as he dared: but the more he pulled the more the lobster pinched, till he was forced to be quiet.

Then he tried to get his hook in with his other hand; but the hole was too narrow.



Then he pulled again ; but he could not stand the pain.

Then he shouted and bawled for help: but there was no one nearer him than the men-of-war inside the breakwater.

Then he began to turn a little pale; for the tide flowed, and still the lobster held on.

Then he turned quite white; for the tide was up to his knees, and still the lobster held on.

Then he thought of cutting off his finger; but he wanted two things to do it with-courage and a knife; and he had got neither.

Then he turned quite yellow ; for the tide was up to his waist, and still the lobster held on.

Then he thought over all the naughty things he ever had done : all the sand which he had put in the sugar, and the sloe-leaves in the tea, and the water in the treacle, and the salt in the tobacco (because his brother was a brewer, and a man must help his own kin).

Then he turned quite blue; for the tide was up to his breast, and still the lobster held on.

Then, I have no doubt, he repented fully of all the said naughty things which he had done, and promised to mend his life, as too many do when they think they have no life left to mend. Whereby, as they fancy, they make a very cheap bargain. But the old fairy with the birch rod soon undeceives them.

And then he grew all colours at once, and turned up his eyes like a duck in thunder; for the water was up to his chin, and still the lobster held on.

And then there came a man-of-war's boat round the Mewstone, and saw his head sticking up out of the water. One said it was a keg of brandy, and another that it was a cocoa-nut, and another that it was a buoy loose, and another that it was a black diver, and wanted to fire at it, which would not have been pleasant for the Mayor: but just then such a yell come out of a great hole in the middle of it that the midshipman in charge guessed what it was, and bade pull up to it as fast as they could. So somehow or other the Jacktars got the lobster out, and set the Mayor free, and put him ashore at the Barbican. He never went lobster-catching again; and we will hope he put no more salt in the tobacco, not even to sell his brother's beer.



ONCE on a time, there were two brothers. One was called Prometheus, because he always looked before him, and boasted that he was wise beforehand. The other was called Epimetheus, because he always looked behind him, and did not boast at all; but said humbly, like the Irishman, that he had sooner prophesy after the event.

Well, Prometheus was a very clever fellow, of course, and invented all sorts of wonderful things. But, unfortunately, when they were set to work, to work was just what they would not do: wherefore

very little has come of them, and very little is left of them.

But Epimetheus was a very slow fellow, certainly, and went among men for a clod, and a muff, and a milksop, and a slowcoach, and a bloke, and a boodle, and so forth. And very little he did, for many years : but what he did, he never had to do over again.

And what happened at last? There came to the two brothers the most beautiful creature that ever was seen, Pandora by name; which means, All the gifts of the Gods. But because she had a strange box in her hand, this fanciful, forecasting, suspicious, prudential, theoretical, deductive, prophesying Prometheus, who was always settling what was going to happen, would have nothing to do with pretty Pandora and her box.

But Epimetheus took her and it, as he took everything that came; and married her for better for worse, as every man ought, whenever he has even the chance of a good wife. And they opened the box between them, of course, to see what was inside: for, else, of wbat possible use could it have been to them ?

And out flew all the ills which flesh is heir to; all the children of the four great bogies, Selfwill, Ignorance, Fear, and Dirt-for instance: Measles,


Unpaid bills,

Tight stays,

Bad wine,


And, worst of all, Naughty Boys and Girls

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