Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/42

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36
COLYMBIA.

adapting ourselves to a subaqueous life, early drew the attention of our philosophers to the probable evolution of the human race from some aquatic ancestor; and although all the missing links have not been discovered, it is considered highly probable that an animal allied to the seal-tribe was our not very remote progenitor. Some of our philosophers pretend, from the presence in man of certain rudimentary parts, to trace our origin to a fish; and a few go still farther, and affect to believe his parentage can be traced back I to a mollusc."

"Ah," I interrupted, "our own philosophers go quite as far as yours. From noticing the monthly phases of some of our normal and morbid actions, they pretend to deduce the origin of man from a littoral ascidian mollusc that must have been powerfully affected by spring-tides to account for these phenomena of monthly periodicity in its descendants."

"But," he replied, rather testily—as he evidently did not like to be interrupted, or perhaps he was unwilling to admit that the speculations of our philosophers were worthy to be ranked with those of his countrymen,—"as spring-tides happen fortnightly, I don't see what they could have to do with phases of a monthly character."

"But you are aware," I rejoined, "that fortnightly periodicity has a tendency to become monthly; thus, our Fortnightly Review now only appears once a month."

"Bosh!" he exclaimed, raising his left elbow as high as his shoulder, which I afterwards learned was the gesture employed in this part of the world to denote contempt.

I begged pardon for interrupting him, and he went on:—