These fish are probably the descendants of spawn laid in the tidal parts of the river, on the gravel-beds and weeds. Doubtless the quantity of fresh water from the spring rains contributed something to the result, but the spawn must have hatched far more successfully than usual. Rivermen on the tidal Thames always distinguish between eels and "fish." The former are also increasing greatly.
And when the spates of Autumn whirl the gravel-beds away You can see their faithful fragments iron-hard in iron clay. Georgii Quinti Anno Sexto, I, who own the River-field, Am fortified with title-deeds, attested, signed and sealed, Guaranteeing me, my assigns, my executors and heirs All sorts of powers and profits which are neither mine nor theirs.
The cause of this is, that the whole of the upper chalk has been washed away, to form the gravel-beds to the north and east of us. Again. Some of you may have been on the Hind Head or on Leith Hill, and have looked southward over the glorious prospect of the rich Weald, spread out five hundred feet below a sight to make an Englishman proud of his native land.
In fact, it seriously damages the whole argument, the water-courses to the contrary notwithstanding. The palæoliths are there. They can be picked up by any visitor. There they lie, great flints of the Drift types, just like those found in the gravel-beds of England and Belgium, on the desert surface where they were made.
The indefatigable labors of Prestwich, in the basin of the Somme and among the gravel-beds of Picardy, first called the attention of geologists to the fact that works of men's hands were also found in undisturbed alluvial deposits of high antiquity, and he had the honor of bringing to light proofs of the existence of man in Europe in more remote times than had been previously admitted, and of demonstrating the stone age of France.
These gravel-beds belong in fact to the glacial period, and in after years I found in them broken arctic shells. But I was then utterly astonished at Sedgwick not being delighted at so wonderful a fact as a tropical shell being found near the surface in the middle of England.
It is certain that the gravel-beds and intermediate red mud were deposited within the period, when existing species of Mollusca held to each other nearly the same relative proportions as they do on the present coast.
You all know how very few flints there are in the chalk-pit, in proportion to the mass of chalk. You all know what vast gravel-beds cover the country to the north, and often to the thickness of many feet. Try and conceive, then, what a much more vast mass of chalk must have been washed away, to leave that vast mass of gravel behind it. Conceive? It is past conception.
These reports had to do with the alleged finding of flint implements, clearly the work of man, in undisturbed gravel-beds, in the midst of fossil remains of the mammoth and other extinct animals. What Falconer saw there and what came of his visit may best be told in his own words: "In September of 1856 I made the acquaintance of my distinguished friend M. Boucher de Perthes," wrote Dr.
Pliny's description of the Clitumnus may be interestingly compared with the passage of this poem in which Ausonius recounts, with fine and observant touches, the beauties of his northern river the liquid lapse of waters, the green wavering reflections, the belt of crisp sand by the water's edge and the long weeds swaying with the stream, the gleaming gravel-beds under the water with their patches of moss and the quick fishes darting hither and thither over them; or the oftener-quoted and not less beautiful lines where he breaks into rapture over the sunset colouring of stream and bank, and the glassy water where, at evening, all the hills waver and the vine-tendril shakes and the grape-bunches swell in the crystal mirror.