It stirred Sylvia to the depths. At the close of the song "Where Corals Lie," she sighed some comment, and Miss Martha spoke: "That isn't what you'd call a pretty tune, not near as pretty as a lot that Edna sings," she remarked, "but that song goes right to my backbone somehow and chills right up and down it; and the way she says, 'Leave me, leave me, let me go And see the land where corals lie,
The fossil shells and corals were perceived to be almost all of unknown species, and to have in general a near affinity to those now inhabiting warmer seas.
In certain districts, as at Doue, in the Department of Maine and Loire, ten miles south- west of Saumur, they form a soft building-stone, chiefly composed of an aggregate of broken shells, bryozoa, corals, and echinoderms, united by a calcareous cement; the whole mass being very like the Coralline Crag near Aldborough, and Sudbourn in Suffolk.
Near the head of the lagoon I was much surprised to find a wide area, considerably more than a mile square, covered with a forest of delicately branching corals, which, though standing upright, were all dead and rotten. At first I was quite at a loss to understand the cause; afterwards it occurred to me that it was owing to the following rather curious combination of circumstances.
Let us give a glance now at the animals which inhabited the waters of this period. In the Radiates we shall not find great changes; the three classes are continued, though with new representatives, and the Polyp Corals are increasing, while the Acalephian Corals, the Kugosa and Tabulata, are diminishing. The adjoining wood-cut represents a characteristic Crinoid of the Carboniferous age.
But at college all that ceases; bats and balls sink into the nothingness in which corals and bells had sunk before. One grows manly, and worships coronets and carriages. I saw it was a fine thing to get a prize, but it was ten times a finer thing to get drunk with a peer.
There were several small sponges and Alcyonia, seaweeds of two or three species, two species of Comatula, and one of Aphiura, of the most vivid colours and markings, and many small, flat, round corals, something like Nummulites in external appearance.
The rocks were very high, and the boats were not to be seen without any one should come to the edge of the precipice; and even then they would, in all probability, have been supposed to have been rocks. The water was as smooth as glass, and when it was broad daylight, the men hung listlessly over the sides of the boats, looking at the corals below, and watching the fish as they glided between.
From this circumstance and from their similarity in form, structure, and relative position, both to the bank called NORTHERN TRIANGLES, on which there is an islet between seventy and eighty feet, and to COZUMEL Island, the level surface of which is likewise between seventy and eighty feet in height, I consider it more probable that the three foregoing banks are the worn down bases of upheaved shoals, fringed with corals, than that they are true atolls, wholly produced by the growth of coral during subsidence; left uncoloured.
Sailors were inspecting the life-boats. Huge masses of water seethed against the ship's side, cutting into its course obliquely. The waves made a mad leap into the air, hung there for an instant in the form of white corals, and fell like a thousand lashes on the deck, which was all awash.