Page:Sea and River-side Rambles in Victoria.djvu/43

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24

and as the morning air is still chilly, light our pipes and roam away amidst the deep holes, startling myriads of crabs and small fry of all kinds. Our friend hears with amazement that the Actinæ (Sea Anemones) are unknown to us in this locality, so we hasten to where the waves are dashing in over low flat rocks, glittering with the tasselly bead-like Conferva Darwinnii, and the dark green Codium tomentosum, of which there is also an attenuated form in the same or similar situations. We endeavour to reach one, in fact the spot, but are driven back by the heavy waves, yet by perseverance it is at last attained, and oh! the charms which a hasty glance revealed to our wondering eyes, so rapid, indeed, that any attempt at describing species would be entirely out of the question,—there were—

"Living flowers, that rooted to the rock,
 Late from the thinner element,
Shrunk down within their purple stems to sleep,
 Now feel the water, and again
 Awakening, blossom out
 All their green anther necks."

And well has the Poet Southey described this habit of these beautiful creatures; seeing them hanging either like deep-red gelatinous masses from some dark rocky recess, or concealed entirely under every ledge where they may lie unharmed, it would be nearly impossible to recognise any affinity to the lovely tinted forms expanded here before us, crimson, green, pink and white striped, olive spotted with dark brown, white with yellow tentacles, all eager to clutch any small Mollusca or Annelida, which the returning tide may bring within their reach; for delicate as they appear,