Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/278

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DIMYARIA.—UNIONIDÆ.

however, seem to have made use of Pennant's short notice of it only, which itself was taken from the abridgement, and not from the original. It is a remarkable paper, on account of the correctness of observation displayed in the personal statements of the author, who seems to have been a person with considerable natural-history powers. His description of both shell and animal is curiously correct as far it goes. He states that they were fished in the rivers of Tyrone, Derry, Donegal, near Dundalk, near Waterford, and in Kerry. The poor people fished them in the warm months before harvest time, when the rivers were low. They took them with their hoes, or wooden tongs, or by thrusting a stick into the shells which they caught sight of among the stones as they lay in part opened, with the white foot protruded, 'like a tongue out of the mouth.' Sir Robert saw them lying on their sides, and his informants described them as 'set up in the sand like eggs in salt, with the sharp edge downwards, and the opening side turned from the torrent.' One in a hundred might contain a pearl, and about one in a hundred of the pearls was tolerably clear. There were no pearls in the young mussels. 'Some gentlemen of the country made good advantage thereof, and I myself whilst there saw one pearl bought for fifty shillings that weighed thirty-six carats, and was valued at forty pounds. Everybody abounds with stories of the good pennyworths of the country, but I will add one more. A miller took out a pearl which he sold for four pounds ten shillings to a man who sold it for ten pounds, who sold it to the late Lady Glenealy for thirty pounds, with whom I saw it in a necklace; she refused eighty pounds for it from