In the centre of the big buildin’ is a fish-pond all ornamented with rock work, and all sorts of aquatic plants.
And then all joined on to the main buildin’, at each end and connected with it by carved arches, handsome as arches wuz ever made in the world, and trimmed off in the uneek way I’ve mentioned prior to and beforehand, wuz two other buildin’s, each one on ’em 135 feet long.
The buildin’ to the east is the aquarum, or live fish exhibit, and that to the west is to show off the anglin’ exhibit. They wuz round and kinder double-breasted lookin’ on both sides.
The shape on ’em is called pollygon—probable named after the man’s wife that built it. It had a good many sides to it—mebby Polly had to her. I know wimmen are falsely called seven-sided lots of times.
Wall, in the middle of the buildin’ designed for the aquarum is a big pool of water 26 feet in diameter; in the middle of the pool is a risin’ up some rocks covered with moss and ferns, from which cool streams of water are a-drippin’ and a-drizzlin’ down onto the reeds and rushes, where the most gorgeous-colored fishes you ever see are playin’ round in the water, as cool and happy in the middle of a meltin’ summer-day—not needin’ no fans or parasols, jest a-divin’ and a-splashin’ down in the wet water, and enjoyin’ themselves. I bet lots of swelterin’ folks jest envied ’em.
Surroundin’ this rotunda, under a glass ruff, runs two lines of aquarums, separated by a wide gallery—more’n fifty of ’em in all.
In the fresh water wuz all kinds of fishes from all parts of the country, and the world. Salmons, muskalunges, the great Mississippi cat-fish, alligators, trout, white-fish, sun-fishes, etc., and etcetry.
In the salt water wuz sharks, torpedoes, dog-fishes, goose-fishes, sheeps heads, blue-fishes, weak-fish, and strong ones, too, I should think—why, more’n I could name if I should talk all day.
[Illustration: In the salt water wuz sharks, torpedoes, dog fishes, goose-fishes, weak-fish, and strong ones, too, I should think.]
Why, I shouldn’t a been surprised a mite if I had seen a-floatin’ up to me that old Leviathan of Job’s that “couldn’t be pulled out with a hook, or his nose with a cord that wuz let down.”
Why, I wouldn’t a been surprised at nothin’—I felt a good deal of the time jest like that in all of the buildin’s, and I said so to my Josiah when he’d try to surprise me by lookin’ at some strange thing. “No, Josiah,” I would say, “I can’t be surprised no more, the time for that has gone by—gone by, a long time ago.”
And then there wuz gobys, sticklebacks, sea-horses, devil-fishes, and I believe there wuz a jell fish, though I didn’t see it.
Though so fur as jell goes, as I told Josiah, I would ruther make my own jell out of my own berries and crab-apples, and then I know how it’s made.
But, howsumever, there wuz all the fishes that ever swum in America, Mexico, South America, Europe, and Asia, and I d’no but what there wuz a few from Africa. And to see on the bottom of them aquarums shells a-walkin’ round, with the owners of them shells inside of ’em, wuz a sight to see.