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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/561

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541
THE SCALLOP.

delicacy." The "great quantities" in those days meant a few hundred bushels, eaten by the dwellers on Long Island bays, for at that time there was no market for them. The rich, sweet taste of the scallop is disagreeable to a few persons and has been known to produce nausea at times, but to many its tenderness and pronounced flavor are more agreeable than those of any other bivalve.

An old legend claims that the scallop shell rightfully belonged, as a badge, not to the Crusaders and pilgrims to the Holy Land, but only to such as had made the pilgrimage to the celebrated shrine of St. James at Campostella, in Spain, as may be learned from the following account of a miracle:

"The ship in which the body of St. James was conveyed to its last resting place happening to draw near the coast during the performance of certain nuptial festivities, the bridegroom's horse, becoming ungovernable, plunged into the sea and together with its rider sank; but, at the moment the ship was passing by, rose again, close alongside of it. There were several miracles in this case. The first was, that the sea bore upon its waves the horse and horseman as if it had been firm land, after not having drowned them when they were so long under water. The second was, that the wind, which was driving the ship at full speed into port, suddenly fell and left it motionless; while the third and most remarkable was that both the garments of the knight and the trappings of his horse came out of the sea covered with scallop shells, which were afterward enjoined to be worn in commemoration of the event." If such a miracle should happen at New Suffolk to-day the judgment of the inhabitants would be like that in the historical eel caseā€”the scallops would be sent to the shops, and the horse and its rider would be "set again."

Like all marine shells, our scallop is not as clean on the outside when it comes from the water as it appears after preparation for ornamental use. Many forms of animal and vegetable life have attached to it and made their homes upon it, especially on the upper or flatter valve. Here we find the red boring sponge which eats pinholes in all shells, inhabited or not, cutting through to the lining of nacre and occasionally through that to the interior. This injury is promptly repaired from the inside, but small elevations remain to show where the breach was healed. Tube worms build their twisted houses in such masses as to impede the movements of the scallop, and they have been known to bind several individuals together in a mass by their calcareous tubes while the mollusks were lying quiescent, a fact which seems to show that at some seasons the scallop must remain in one place for some time, long enough for the tube worms (Serpula contortuplicata) to grow and build their dwellings as increase of size