The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.

This animal, I believe, is a specimen of the Sun-fish (Orthagoriscus).  It has no bony skeleton; nor did we, in our rather hasty dissection, discover any osseous structure whatever, except (as we were informed by one who afterwards inspected it) that there was one which stretched between the large fins.  Its jaws also had bony terminations, unbroken into teeth, and parrot-like, which, when not in use, are hidden by the envelopement of the gums.  The form of the animal is preserved by an entire cartilaginous case, of about three inches in thickness, covered by a kind of shagreen skin, so amalgamated with the cartilage as not to be separated from it.  This case is easily penetrable with a knife, and is of pearly whiteness, more resembling cocoa-nut in appearance and texture than anything else I can compare it with.  The interior cavity, containing the vital parts, terminates a little behind the large fins, where the cartilage was solid, to its tapered extremity, which is without a caudal fin.  Within, and around the back part, lay the flesh, of a coarse fibrous texture, slightly salmon-coloured.  The liver was such as to fill a common pail, and there was a large quantity of red blood.  The nostril, top of the eye, and top of the gill-orifice are in line, as represented in the Engraving.  The dimensions are as under:—­

Eye round, and like that of an ox, 2-1/4 inches diameter.  Gill-orifice, 4 inches by 2-1/4 inches.  Dorsal and anal fins equal, 2 ft. 2 in. long, by 1 ft. 3 in. wide.  Pectoral fins, 10 in. high by 8 broad.  Length of fish, 6 ft.  Depth, from the extremities of the large fins, 7 ft. 4 in.  Extreme breadth at the swelling under the eye, only 20 in.  Weight, 6 cwt. 42 lb.

CAPTAIN BEDFORD, R.N.

* * * * *

BATTLE OF THE BALTIC.

[Illustration:  Letter O.]

    Of Nelson and the North
    Sing the glorious day’s renown,
    When to battle fierce came forth
    All the might of Denmark’s crown,
    And her arms along the deep proudly shone;
    By each gun the lighted brand,
    In a bold determined hand—­
    And the Prince of all the land
    Led them on.

    Like Leviathans afloat
    Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
    While the sign of battle flew
    On the lofty British line;
    It was ten of April morn, by the chime,
    As they drifted on their path: 
    There was silence deep as death,
    And the boldest held his breath
    For a time.

    But the might of England flush’d
    To anticipate the scene;
    And her van the fleeter rush’d
    O’er the deadly space between. 
    “Hearts of Oak!” our Captains cried; when each gun
    From its adamantine lips
    Spread a death-shade round the ships,
    Like the hurricane eclipse
    Of the sun.

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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