Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/246

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234
MONOMYARIA.—OSTREADÆ.

or when, the two shells being shut, a fair shilling will rattle between them. The places where these oysters are chiefly catched are called the Pont-Burnham, Maiden, and Colnewaters. * * * This brood, and other oysters, they carry to creeks of the sea at Brickel-sea, Mersey, Langro, Fringrego, Wivenho, Folesbury, and Saltcoase, and there throw them into the channel, which they call their beds or layers, where they grow and fatten, and in two or three years the smallest brood will be oysters of the size aforesaid. Those oysters which they would have green, they put into pits about three feet deep in the salt-marshes, which are overflowed only at spring-tides, to which they have sluices, and let out the sea- water until it is about a foot and a half deep. These pits, from some quality in the soil co-operating with the heat of the sun,[1] will become green, and communicate their colour to the oysters that are put into them in four or five days, though they commonly let them continue there six weeks or two months, in which time they will be of a dark green. . . .

"The oysters, when the tide comes in, lie with their hollow shell downwards; and when it goes out they turn on the other side. They remove not from their places unless in cold weather, to cover themselves in the ooze. The reason of the scarcity of oysters, and, consequently, of the dearness, is because they are of late years bought up by the Dutch. There are great penalties by the Admiralty Court laid upon those that fish out of those grounds which the court appoints, or that destroy the cultch, or that take any oysters that are not of

  1. Rather from the abundant increase in such pits of the green Infusoria and Desmideœ, on which the Oyster feeds.