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while from near the base to the top, elegant frills or furbelows rise at their intervals, composed of interlacing fibres. These frills rise gently from the general surface, and stand out from it to a distance of from one to three-eighths of an inch. They have a general disposition to form diagonals to the square meshes, which they cross in graceful undulations. They are wider at the base than at the top, and no doubt materially strengthen the delicate structure which they adorn. In the writer's specimen they are in two sets, one at right angles to the other, and must be regarded as beautiful instances of decoration, arising out of a construction evidently intended for the useful purpose of increasing the resisting power of an extremely light framework.
The first aspect of the Euplectella, under low magnification, leads to the notion that the vertical and horizontal bundles of silicious threads are simple cylinders, more or less closely packed together; but a closer investigation shows that they are more complex. It is common to find two or more, as it were, soldered together, and the external ones, especially, frequently throw out branches and prolongations, which form junctions with other threads far and near. These junctions are sometimes smooth, and at others marked by slight rounded prominences. A thread will often proceed for some distance as a simple cylinder, and then divide, either with a bold furcation, or forming two nearly parallel threads, joined at intervals by cross pieces. Many instances may be observed of little projections from such threads looking at each
Fig. 1.–Portion of Network of Skeleton of Euplectella speciosa, magnified. other across the narrow gulf, but not quite meeting, as if their growth were arrested or incomplete. The threads that take slanting directions across the corners of the square meshes are much branched and forked, and frequently spicules with cross heads may be seen. There are also numerous jagged threads, not belonging to the main structure, but appended to it, and often terminating in a knot of recurved hooks, like certain walking-sticks cut from thorns. Spicules, of a more elaborate pattern, probably belong to the sarcode, are perhaps more frequent in rough dingy-looking specimens than in those which have been bleached and cleaned.
Fig. 1 (p.163.) represents a portion of the net-work, reduced one-half from the original drawing, made with a magnification of about 17, and selected to represent the general character of the threads crossing the square meshes. In this sketch the horizontal and vertical threads are depicted as simple cylinders, which appearance they often present under low powers for considerable distances.
Fig. 2 is a reduction from a sketch made under higher magnification (x 40), from a portion that well shows the way in
FIG 2.--Euplectella.-Magnified portion, showing organic junction of fibre. which fibres from the main bundles form junctions with fibres springing from other parts.
Fig. 3, reduced one-half from a sketch made with magnification of 17, exhibits the structure of the frills or furbelows.
The top of the Euplectella is covered in full-grown specimens, with a network of threads soldered together, and crossing at various angles, making three and four-sided meshes of different sizes.
When single fibres are separated from the Euplectella, they are found to possess a considerable degree of elasticity, in this respect resembling spun glass, and they may be bent, to some extent, without breaking. Holding a fibre in a spirit
lamp causes it to split, and fly to pieces, but if the process is carefully managed, and the burnt portion is examined under the microscope, the character of its formation, by the superposition of concentric fibres will be discovered. Likewise, if a number of ends of broken threads be examined, some will be found to exhibit the aspect of a series of tubes, like the draw tubes of a telescope, one entering into the other.
The production of such an exquisite and complicated framework as the Venus' Flower-basket, by precipitation of silex in a film of sarcode, is, in the highest degree curious and instructive. Probably purely chemical laws of precipitation, under certain conditions, combine with those other laws-whatever they may be—which determine the vital processes of the organization.
The base of my specimen has a rounded form, and is shaggy with the white hair-like fibres, amongst which are entangled a mass of minute shells, foraminifera, mud particles, and sundry spicules; but I have not in the base, or anywhere else, found any of the elegant flower-like four-rayed spicules figured by Dr. Bowerbank, and which probably belong to the sarcode, and have been washed away from mine, and other sponges that have been carefully cleaned, in order to exhibit the beauty of the skeleton in a more perfect way.
Towards the base of the writer's specimen the vertical bundles of fibres separate and form a loose mass, readily capable of holding extraneous matter, and anchoring the entire structure. The fibres at this end are all, or nearly all, more or less jagged, so much so that they feel rough to the touch. In this respect they differ from the smoother fibres of the Hyalonema, which do not hackle together or combine in any way, but are like a slightly twisted bundle of glass hairs.
The Euplectella was supposed, until lately, to be very rare; but now stories are told of its being frequently found and offered cheaply at Manilla. It is to be hoped that some naturalist on the spot will inquire into its mode of growth, and send us specimens, preserved, as far as possible, in their natural state. When covered with sarcode they might be less beautiful than in the artificially-prepared state in which they usually reach us, but many important particulars can only be ascertained by studying the sponge in that condition. When portions of clean Euplectella fibres are under the microscope they shine with a glassy lustre with reflected light, and exhibit the transparency of glass hairs when transmitted light is employed. Spicules, properly so called, do not seem to enter importantly in the construction of the frame-work-at least it would be scarcely correct to give that name to very long fibres which have thorny projections, or to other long fibres united by various silicious processes to similar fibres in their vicinity.
The high refractive power of the silicious threads gives rise to the opaque porcellanous aspect which the Euplectella exhibits when seen from a little distance. It is the most elegant of known sponges, and will be the delight of judicious collectors, even though a larger supply of specimens should reduce its price.
DRESS ACCORDING TO STATUTE.
BY FRANCIS W. ROWSELL,
To all who desire to paint accurately on the mental retina a historical picture of the past, the study of the dress in which the byegone people clothed themselves, must be as interesting as the study of the buildings in which they lived, or of any other strictly personal thing belonging to them. Without a knowledge of the kind and quality of the clothes worn by our ancestors, any idea we may form of them as units in the everyday, working world, must necessarily be imperfect; we may read of men, of their sayings and doings, of their lives, and of the effect they had upon the lives of those who were coeval with them; but in the absence of means for bringing vividly before our minds the image of their persons, they will be to us as so many lay figures, entities, not persons, wanting those very essentials which alone enable the historian to create before the mind's eye of his readers a word-picture which shall truly and properly describe the men of the old order. For this reason, if for no other, the study of costume cannot fail to be deeply interesting to the historical student. Does not “the apparel oft proclaim the man?” and is not the garb of a people, especially in certain classes, a pretty sure indication of their style and character ? But when it is found that, this reason set aside, the article of dress appears again and again in the statute-book as a subject not unworthy the consideration of the legislative wisdom of the country, one feels bound to inquire somewhat closely concerning it, placed as it is on the same level with great questions of finance, religion, trade, and war. As a matter of fact, the article of dress does appear constantly in the statute-book as a subject of legislation, and it is the purpose of the writer of this article to pursue somewhat closely an inquiry into the sartorial question which appears to have exercised our forefathers so severely. In doing so he will be guided solely by the light which the statute-book affords, assisted where that fails by those equally trustworthy records, written for the most part by contemporaneous authors, and now published anew to the world by the Master of the Rolls, after a sleep, in which their existence was endangered, for several centuries in the old libraries of our oldest colleges.
Long before the political economists of the day took notice of the clothes in which men dressed themselves, the clergy