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The expense attending this mode of conveyance was so excessive, that the censors were obliged to issue a mandate prohibiting their frequent importation. They were thus enabled to bring but few from those distant parts, these were preserved in ice, in order to render them fresher and more agreeable to the palates of the gourmand. It is from Pliny also we have learned this refinement of sensuality.

We are not aware what means were adopted by the ancients in order to preserve the freshness of the Oysters during long voyages, through very hot countries, and in all seasons of the year. This is a secret of which we are unhappily ignorant.

Apicius, one of the greatest cooks that ever existed, the same, as is related, to whom we are indebted for the treatise De Re Culinari, sent some of them to Trajan, when this Emperor was in the country of the Parthians, where they arrived as fresh as those that were eaten on the Rocher de Cancale.

Strange circumstance! Pliny considered a voyage as useful to Oysters as to certain wines. These Oysters bore no resemblance to those of Havre or Cancale. In France, the Oysters most prized are those which come from the neighborhood of Brittany, Normandy produces the largest. The gourments, however, prefer the English Oysters.

The Oyster, Ostrea L., fifth class of the animal kingdom (mollusca) fourth order of this class (acephaleous) genus of shell-fish of the species bivalve, having one of the valves flat, and the other more or less convex, irregular, adherent, veiny, opening in an oblong form, and jointed at the back, furrowed crosswise by which means it is connected with the ligament of the animal. It possesses but one muscular impress in each valve.

On examining the Oyster, there may be observed a covering divided in two lobes furnishing the larger portion of the valves, the edges of which are ciliated; then four membraneous leaves, crossed and striated, acting as capillary funnels open at the farthest extremities. These leafy coverings or gills, are spread unequally over the sides of the body, performing the functions of the lungs, and, separating from the water, the air necessary to support the fish's life. The mouth is a sort of proboscis or trunk, with a slit sufficiently large, edged with four lips equal to the gills, but six or eight times shorter.

Behind the gills may be found a large fatty part, whitish

and cylindric, which turns on a central abductor muscle, and encloses the stomach and intestines. This part is like the feet of other fish of the testaceous species, but they are not susceptible of extension or of contraction; the intestinal pipe is placed on the back of the muscle.

Oysters have circulatory vessels, at the base of which may be seen muscular cavities which perform the duties of the heart, and which disperse the humours they contain over the membranes, when put in contact with the water or the air.

The naturalist Poli, has given the name Péloris to the creature, Oyster, and has proved by his observations, that they are completely hermaphrodite, viviparous, and have no appearance of feet.

Oysters cast at the commencement of spring a spawn of a greenish colour which resembles a drop of fat, in which may be observed, through the aid of a microscope, an infinite number of little Oysters already quite formed and furnished with their valves, by which they attach themselves to the rocks, to stones, and other solid bodies dispersed in the sea. They attain quickly the power of re-producing others, and from the fourth month after their birth they can increase anew.

At this period this species of mollusca become weak, lean and spent, nor do they regain their size, quality, or flavour till towards the month of September.

Some ancient authors were under the impression that the Moon exercised a species of influence at certain periods during its course on the increase of the flesh of the Oyster and other shell-fish; but this was an error which time and increased knowledge have helped to refute.

Sometimes the floods occasioned by heavy rain and high tides drift the spawn to a great distance, and it frequently happens that trees are completely covered with Oysters; this must be the reason that Horace expresses himself thus

Piscium et summâ genus hæsit ulmo,

Nota quæ sedes fuerat columbis.

The shell is formed of a mixture of two substances closely blended, one of which is entirely animal, and the other purely calcareous. This animal matter which forms part of a new shell, is to be found blended with the cretaceous molecules which constitute the solid part of the shell; without this reunion neither fibres nor membranes could be formed, as it has been proved that it is the external surface of the body of

the animal which secretes the calcareous matter which forms, increases, and repairs the shells, by means of glands or cryptas solely adapted for this duty. The secreted fluid is viscous, and contains calcareous molecules which draw closer and agglomerate on losing their humidity.

There are local circumstances which determine the mode of their position: they attach themselves to rocks, to the roots of trees, and sometimes to each other; and in this case form banks which increase daily, and in certain latitudes extend several leagues in length and are of considerable width. They fasten themselves by their convex valves in such a manner as to render themselves unable to change their places.

The Abbé Diquemare who has closely observed the habits of Oysters, assures us, that when free, they have the facility of transporting themselves from one place to another, of causing the sea water to enter, and emerge suddenly from between their valves, that they can in effect open and close them with such extreme quickness and force as to produce a remarkable sound. It is by these means they are enabled to defend themselves from other small animals, especially crabs, who try to get into their valves when half open. Some go as far as to accord to them a certain degree of foresight; a very strange fact is certainly observable of which the Oysters on the sea side furnish a proof. These Oysters, exposed to the daily alternations of high and low tides, appear to be aware that they are likely to be exposed to dryness during a certain period, and preserve water in their shells. This peculiarity renders them more easy of transportion to remote distances than the Oysters caught off shore, which, wanting in this particular, cast out all the water they contain, and then remain exposed to the heat of the sun, to cold, and to the attacks of their enemies.

Crabs and mud are the most dangerous enemies to the Oysters. We have no doubt of the advantages possessed by the sea crab over the other enemies of this mollusca. To their hostile character they unite a singular intelligence regarding their mode of attack; the principal arms used by them are their claws; for we can give no other name for their two legs or vices which are formed precisely like those of the common crab but much stronger and larger; they use them for the purpose of seizing their prey, and of digging in the mud, and even in the ground.

These fish possess the facility of being able to live out of the water for some time. In general this amphibious species has an organisation and covering similar to the crab, with the exception that its body is flat, its shape square and about three inches in width, where the animal has arrived at its full growth.

When the spring-tides cast the waters of the sea on the coast, the sea-crab is driven by the tide into the shallow water and if unable to enter in consequence of the extent of water, they cower or squat in some cavity or perhaps make a hole in the soft sand around the rocks, in order to be able now and then to pass through and through to come at the Oysters, or it may be await the next spring tide, in order to further their designs. This is the reason that guardians of the Oyster beds are so careful in examining all quarters, after the ebbing of the tide, lest the crabs should have made any havoc in the beds. If they did not observe, and at once repair any damage, the surrounding water would destroy the enclosures, and the Oysters would be thus exposed to a thousand accidents.

Once introduced into an Oyster bed the sea erabs lay all sorts of snares to entrap the Oysters. Sometimes they mount up on them and endeavour by pressure to prevent them opening their valves; the mollusca thus kept in durance have not power either to draw in water or breathe, and are obliged finally to yield, and become the prey of their enemies. Occasionally they dig a hole under them, or beside them, retiring in order that they may fall into it, they are by this means smothered, and then eaten. Finally, the crab is so fond of the flesh of the Oyster, that he employs all manner of artifices to take away his life, and the moment the Oyster dies his valves open, and the aggressor is thus enabled to make a good repast.

The mud or mire is an enemy even more to be dreaded than the crab; this substance is more baneful, attacking them in shoals, and overpowering them in the fish-ponds; a real poison from which they are in danger of perishing, if the caretakers do not come promptly to their assistance, by flooding the water, or by draining off the water so that they may be able to discern the fish.

Oysters are eaten by gourmets before or after soup: common people eat them at any time, some strew over them a very

fine species of ground pepper, called mignonnette; great care, however, should be observed in not using this condiment too abundantly, as it is likely to cause a violent heat at the neck. of the bladder which is rather dangerous; others prefer pouring a few drops of citron, verjuice, or even vinegar over them. Real gourmets, however, eat them naturally off the shell without any mixture whatsoever, and this we believe to be by far the better way.

Milk is considered a remedy against the indigestion consequent on a too great deglutition of Oysters, this is however an error, a table-spoonful of vinegar, according to our notion, would be a far better remedy against such a mishap.

In 1745, a physician named Pourfor-Dupetit, maintained this strange proposition:-"An inter edendum Ostrea meri potus"? We should not drink wine whilst eating oysters. The learned disciple of Hippocrates cites the Greeks and the Romans, prohibiting the use of all kinds of wine.

He piles argument on argument to prove his doctrine, and brings to his assistance Celsus and Galen, Boerhaave and others, according to whom wine hardens the Oyster, rendering it tough and difficult of digestion.

No one undertook the defence of wine, they did better, they drank it and eat the oysters, nor did they find them less easy to digest; this was the best reply to make the doctor, giving a practical denial to his proposition, by doing quite the contrary to what his theory recommended.

It is possible that certain wines which contain too much of the alcoholic principle would be injurious to drink with oysters, wine should consequently be selected in which acid principles predominate.

White wines under these circumstances must be preferred, as it is generally the practice whilst eating oysters to drink a great deal. Those who swallow fifteen, twenty, or thirty dozen Oysters, run a great risk of being very soon intoxicated, if the liquor of the Oysters did not act on the stomach and cause almost immediate digestion.

After having found the Oyster possessed of great alimentary resource and vast powers of nutriment, we shall now examine what are its virtues as a medicament.

We shall begin by recording the cure of a quartian ague under which Henry the Fourth, of France, labored, resisting the skill of all his physicians, and which was effected by eating an abund

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