Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/334

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Thirty years ago, we did the best we could. I was living in Nice in a private house, since turned into a hotel, which stood on a projecting rock. My fishing-ground was in the Bay of Villafranca, which, cutting deep into the shore a few kilometres to the eastward, was inexhaustibly rich in swimming creatures. I had come to an understanding with an intelligent fisherman. When the weather seemed favorable to the flowing of rich tides into the bay, Joacchino would come early in the morning to my house and tell me that the Graziella lay at the dock. Then he would pack two baskets with large, wide-mouthed glasses: I would stuff into my pockets as many small glasses as they would hold, and take a net made of the finest bolting-cloth stretched upon a copper ring, and furnished with a long, strong handle. Joacchino had a similar net of his own in the boat. Magnifying glasses and compasses, hung by ribbons from the neck, completed the outfit, which was quickly deposited in the boat; Joacchino rowed, for we only went out when the air was still, and I steered. In about an hour we were in the bay.

"Do you see the tide, Joacchino?"

"There, sir, before the Sanita," answered Joacchino, after having risen and looked around.

I saw, indeed, the clear streaks with smooth, unruffled surface that usually denote the coming in of the tide.

"I hardly think," I said, "that we shall fill our vessels to-day. It is getting cloudy, and the sun is not shining."

"So much the better, sir. The sirocco is blowing outside on the sea, and will come in here in the afternoon. Do you see the long swells on the tide which run from the offing along the coast to the back of the bay? I will wager that the stream reaches to the other side of the bay, over by the lighthouse, and from there to the mouth. . That is a good sign. The more cloudy the sky is, the more butterflies we shall catch."

"We must go out from the land to catch butterflies. We might perhaps get a few swallow-tails, mourning-cloaks, or a few pretty Jasons out there; but here—"

Joacchino somewhat nervously drove the boat by vigorous oar-strokes to the edge of the stream, which was really swarming with animals of various kinds.

While the Medusæ and the polyps had some attractions for him, he aimed particularly for a place where a transparent animal was making a fierce eddy in the stream. I at once recognized the indomitable creatures that turn so wildly in circles. It was a perfectly transparent Pterotrachea, about a span in length, as thick as one's finger, which keeps its long snout incessantly foraying around.

"Where you see them," said Joacchino, "the butterflies are not