We went round the bay, but found no traces of man, but numerous herds of the amphibious animal, called sometimes the sea-lion, the sea-dog, or the sea-elephant, or trunked phoca: modern voyagers give it the last name. These animals, though of enormous size, are gentle and peaceful, unless roused by the cruelty of man.
Upon one side the three Nevians; amphibious, cone-headed, loop-necked, scale-bodies, four-legged things to us monstrosities: upon the other the three humans, air-breathing, rounded-headed, shortnecked, smooth-bodied, two-legged creatures equally monstrous to the fastidious Nevians.
The amphibious maiden, who dwelt in the bottom of the river, could not be drowned by jumping into the stream; and it is evident that she only resumes her true aquatic form in escaping from her husband, who, it should be added, is himself called Partridge and seems to be regarded as, in fact, a fowl of that species.
"All Guerande is turned upside down about Calyste's passion for this amphibious creature, who is neither man nor woman, who smokes like an hussar, writes like a journalist, and has at this very moment in her house the most venomous of all writers, so the postmaster says, and he's a juste-milieu man who reads the papers. They are even talking about her at Nantes.
Like ducks many of them took to the water and became sailors. Abijah was a sailor. The amphibious habits of boyhood gave to his manhood a restless, roving character. Like the element which he loved he was in constant motion. He was a man of gifts both of mind and body. There was besides a strain of romance and adventure in his blood.
This amphibious life makes them fit for neither, for if the bawd uses them ill, away they trip to service, and if the mistress gives them a wry word, whip they are at a bawdy-house again, so that in effect they neither make good whores nor good servants. Those who are not thus slippery in the tail, are light of finger; and of these the most pernicious are those who beggar you inchmeal.
"That's Beresford to the rescue," said Castellan, in a not over-cheerful voice. "Now if it wasn't for those devil-ships of my brother's there'd be mighty little left of the Allied Fleet to-morrow morning; but I'm afraid he won't be able to do anything against those amphibious Flying Fishes, as he calls them. Now, we'd better be off to London."
After the first paroxysm was over, Tommy rose up, kissed Mrs Laker on the cheek, bade her goodnight with unwonted decision of manner, and went straight to the amphibious hut of his friend Bluenose, whom he found taking a one-eyed survey of the Downs through a telescope, from mere force of habit. The Captain's name was more appropriate that day than it had been for many years.
Other amphibious creatures I perceived at times a large water-lizard that almost rivalled the crocodiles in bulk and I once had a peep at the rare creature, the "red water-bog" of the Cameroons for the little river we were anchored in was not far from the same latitude as the Cameroons itself, and the same species inhabited both.
Sharp actions on shore between the forts of the patriots and those of Parma, which were all intermingled promiscuously along the banks, and amphibious and most bloody encounters on ship-board, dyke, and in the stream itself, between the wild Zeelanders and the fierce pikemen of Italy and Spain, were of repeated occurrence.