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It was from Mrs. Merton. Would Mr. Kennedy come and see her for a few minutes in the rose-garden? He went, surcharged with vituperation, and primed with an intelligibly bitter wrath.

“Mr. Kennedy," began Mrs. Merton, “let me anticipate all that you would say. The night you first took me down to dinner you mistook me, I know, for Mrs. Lester, the widow worth 40,0001. I did not know it at the time, and I only learnt it a few days ago in a letter from Frank Colville. Now confess, Mr. Kennedy, you liked me, I daresay. But would you have liked me, had it not been for the 40,0001. which you associated with me? Well enough to tell me what you were going to tell me yesterday? Don't be angry, Mr. Kennedy; there is no harm done. If you have been cured of widowhunting, you will have rather cause for gratitude. You, I am sure, are heart-whole as ever ; and if I did not undeceive you for a couple of days, if I allowed matters to remain as they were,—was my joke a malicious one ? was it not rather a case of diamond cut diamond ? That is no reason why we should not be friends. Nay, rather it is a reason why we should be. Had it not been for the mistake into which you fell on the first night that we met, you might have committed a much more serious blunder. You might have even made the proposal, that you had screwed yourself up to making to me yesterday, to Mrs. Lester, and then what a false position, had she accepted you, would you have been in !—for that City gentleman who dined with us yesterday brought us the intelligence, that in some railway speculations—and Mrs. Lester is a notorious railway gambler —she lost almost every sixpence that she possessed. Say, how would it have been then ? Perhaps it is well, is it not ? You forgive me any thoughtlessness of mine in the last few days? You know, we wives of Indian officers on absence enjoy certain little presumptive privileges, and these are of them. As for the meeting between myself and my husband, it was, as he told you, purely accidental. He was not expected till noon, and he was here at eight. Shake hands, and let us be friends. At least I have spared you Mrs. Lester and penury.”

Bob Kennedy took the proffered hand. Nettled he was for the moment, and to a certain extent annoyed he is with Major Gervase now. But when any of his friends at the Deipnosophist announce their intention of going in for a widow, he never fails to give them

a the warning of his own experience.

“I was foiled by a flirt; but I was also saved by her,” he winds up.

" Sic me servarit Apollo.

UNDER THE GERMAN OCEAN

BY J. E. TAYLOR, AUTHOR OF 'NORFOLK BROADS,' ETC.

It is just possible that few of my readers have wandered along that terra incognita to Londoners—the Norfolk coast. The journey is anything but cheerful. Near Yarmouth the shore is skirted by a low and undulating ridge of 'marram' hills, so called from the particular species of grass whose roots partially bind down and hold together the otherwise shifting sand-dunes. Besides this there is little herbage, and that of the most meagre description. The landscape is nearly as bleak as it is possible to suppose one can become. Here and there maybe, at various distances, squat a few houses, built principally of drift-wood or old boats, much after the fashion which Dickens has described in David Copperfield. These are chiefly fishing villages or settlements. The most noticeable feature about them is the general absence of the male kind. The latter are absent on their fishing expeditions, and their numerous yawls and trawling-vessels scattered over the sea hard by relieve the silent monotony of the landscape. This German Ocean is the piscine harvest-field of the metropolis, and generally of England. It is exceedingly shallow; for there are parts where hardly twelve feet of water exists. Dangerous sandbanks dot its surface, whose neighbourhood at high tide can be easily told by long lines of white breakers. Between them are navigable channels, the deepest of which is about sixty yards. This is known on the charts as the

deep-water channel,' and its course is more or less parallel to the coasts of Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk. Fringing every spit of sand are shoals of cod, haddock, turbot, plaice, sole, &c., all of them greedy to prey upon the mollusca which there find a suitable habitat. The

The open sea is the haunt of the herring and the mackerel, so that the fishing navy is naturally divided into the two classes whose business it is to seek ground and surface fish. The busy scene seawards always provides the spectator with sufficient objects. The vast numbers of trawl- and herring-boats, and the fleets of Newcastle colliers, make it more lively than any other portion of the British seas. This fact, coupled with its dangerous character, accounts for the thick cluster of black dots, which, in each year's wreck-chart, indicates where vessels have gone to pieces.

Proceeding northwards from Great Yarmouth, past Caistor, Somerton, and Winterton, as the pedestrian approaches Happisburgh, he finds a change taking place in the coast landscape. The last memento of the sand-dunes is Eccles Church, nearly buried

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in the drifting sands, with the exception of the upper portion of its round tower, which peeps above like some antediluvian well stripped of its extraneous covering. A good example this of the waste of our Norfolk coasts, which has been going on for ages. From this spot there commences a long line of bold cliffs, composed chiefly of a stiff blue clay, capped by sand and gravel, known to geologists as the 'lower glacial beds’ or • drift. This bold range of cliffs continues to beyond Cromer, and is never lost sight of, alternating in height from thirty to one hundred and twenty feet.

An occasional church, with an unusually high tower, made to do duty in the olden time as a landmark, and pairs of white lighthouses, intended to direct navigators through the intricate labyrinths of the sand-banks, are nearly all the traces of human presence the spectator can see from the shore. At low water the sandy beach extends outwards for miles; proof of the shallowness of the sea. At the proper season it would almost seem as if a human population had sprung into existence by magic; for carts and horses, men, women, and children, are thickly strewn over the shore collecting cockles and mussels, or busy shrimping. But this peaceful scene, with the German Ocean gently rippling over the sands and lapping the base of the tall cliffs, is transformed into a fearful spectacle when a northwest gale has blown for a few days. Then we have the secret of the shallowness of the adjacent sea, as well as of the origin of its dangerous sand-banks. The waves rise to a fearful height, and dash against their barriers with a violence hardly known in the most dangerous seas of our globe. The soft clay masses are eaten away, and then the strata overhead fall down with a shock equal to that of an earthquake. Not content with this wholesale destruction, the hungry sea hurries away with its spoil and distributes it along its bottom. Quantities of the waste are piled up by currents as shifting sand-banks, or thickly silted over the beach. The disintegrating power of these storms may be guessed at, by the fact that boulderstones of a ton weight are washed out of the cliffs, and rolled by the billows miles away from land. These the trawler fears beyond measure; for if once his drag-net gets entangled with a specimen, his profits are gone for many a week to come. Some parts of the sea-bottom are actually unfished on account of the quantity of these dangerous obstructions lying along it. Meantime the dry land is slowly wasted away on an average of several feet in a year. At Happisburgh may be seen rows of houses, formerly inhabited by the coast-guard, all standing solitary and untenanted near the verge of the cliff. The surface of the land, nevertheless, is rich and fertile, and man clings to it as long as he can. But the farms fringing the coast are all let on short leases and on annually decreasing rents.

Cropping out along the feet of these cliffs is a geological phenomenon possessing intense interest even to a non-scientific reader.

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It is neither more nor less than an old Forest-bed of immense antiquity. After one of the north-west gales already mentioned, there may be seen extensive patches and sheets of semi-indurated mud and turf which extend to the very margin of low water, and continue beneath it seawards for miles. This is the soil upon which the old forest grew, and the vegetable exuviæ it left behind.

When examined, it is seen to contain hundreds of the stools of trees, some of them four or five feet in diameter, and each with its roots spreading into the surrounding mud. This old forest-bed has been traced into Suffolk for a distance of nearly forty miles, whilst its accurate landward and seaward extensions are unknown. That it forms no small portion of the floor of the German Ocean there can be little doubt. Fishermen are constantly dredging up portions of its vegetable soil, its old gnarled tree-trunks, and its numerous mammalian remains. Underneath the sea hereabouts is one of the most striking evidences of an old land-surface known to geologists. Were this seabottom to be upheaved only forty yards (a mere trifle compared with what has taken place since the forest grew), then the whole of this strange phenomenon would be laid bare. Owing to the shallowness of the sea, dry land would stretch away from Flamborough Head to Heligoland and Jutland. Norfolk would once more be connected with the great Germanic plain, and England become a westward prolongation of the European continent. The deep-water channel skirting the eastern coast would, under such circumstances, become the course of the Thames and its tributaries. Such a change would, in fact, almost restore to us the terrestrial conditions which existed when this now submarine Norfolk forest bed flourished.

The geological age of this phenomenon is pre-glacial; that is to say, it dates before the period of intense cold, when an arctic climate replaced our own, and before Great Britain was sunk beneath a wintry sea, all but the tops of her highest mountains. The present cliffs under which the buried forest extends, since it rejoiced in its arboreal glory, have been formed as an immense mud-sheet along the bottom of this glacial sea. The huge masses of sand, gravel, and clay strewn over the Northern hemisphere down to the fortieth parallel of latitude, have all been elaborated since the submarine forest ceased to exist. Our mountains have been sculptured by inorganic forces into their present shapes, our valleys have been eroded into their prevailing fertile and smiling conditions, old continents have gone down like foundering ships, and new seas overwhelmed their areas, since the forest-bed was transferred from its superficial condition.

And yet, geologically speaking, these vast changes are hardly to be compared to the mighty events that took place in ages long antecedent.

The most striking peculiarity about this forest-bed is the extreme contrast between its animal and vegetable remains. The latter, with one or two exceptions, almost exactly resemble the present flora of Great Britain ; whereas the former are utterly unlike any animals now living in these islands. All the geological changes above referred to have therefore taken place within the lifetime of existing species of plants and trees. Elsewhere in this country we have manifold evidences of old land-surfaces. Our coalfields are full of examples; and the Portland dirt bed,' of later date, with its petrified trees allied to tropical forms, is a later illustration. But in the Norfolk forest-bed we have evidence of a temperate climate nearly allied to that now enjoyed by ourselves, as well as striking proofs of our former continental prolongation. A close examination of the soil of this old forest, which is matted into thin layers, reveals the presence of innumerable wing-cases of beetles, fresh-water shells, &c. It certainly is singular to find freshwater strata forming the floor of the sea. Among the stumps of trees so plentifully dotting the black surface are chiefly the Scotch and spruce pines, and branches, roots, and leaves of yew, willow, alder, oak, sloe, and hazel. The matrix is frequently of a turfy structure, and in its dark appearance shows the presence of a great admixture of vegetable matter. Its entire suite of arboreal remains reminds one strongly of the adjacent Norfolk land - surfaces, and extensive muddy marshes. The most advanced opinion relative to this forest-bed is that it is the site of an old river delta, rich in the various mineral elements necessary to a luxuriant vegetation. The fresh-water shells and other remains certainly bear out this idea, which is further supported by our finding such fossil plants as the buck-bean, the yellow and white water-lilies, hornwort, pond-weed, &c. The occasional occurrence of marine and brackish water-shells shows that the sea was not far distant, and tells how its waters made periodical excursions over the low-lying portions of the old delta. In fact, the various circumstances attending the deposition of the vegetable remains indicate conditions exactly like those of everyday life. Hazel-nuts are found perforated by weevils, fir-cones are bitten away as if by squirrels, and even the gum which exuded from the pines may be met with as so many lumps of resin, just as in older strata by the Baltic it is found as amber. The water-lilies bloomed and seeded, although human eyes were not opened on the smiling earth for ages afterwards. The stagnant pools were faintly streaked and rippled by spinners' and water-beetles. Judging from the fineness of the mud or soil, it must have been a long time in process

of formation. At Cromer the stratum attains its greatest thickness, which never exceeds a few feet. Here also one meets with the greatest quantity of vegetable remains. At Runton, a little farther along the coast, the soil of the forest - bed expands into a thick fresh-water deposit. The only tree not indigenous to Britain whose trunks and cones are found is the Norway spruce-pine. This is a

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