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brown hair, growing coarser, thinner, and finally falling out with age.
In landing and crawling over low, rocky beaches, shelves, and bowlders, or in dragging themselves out on sand-bars, the walrus is as ungainly and as indolent as the sloth; they crowd up from the water in slow, labored movements, accompanied by low, swine-like grunts and then by a stifled bellowing, like that of oxen. The first walrus out from the water no sooner gets composed upon the ground to bask and sleep than the second one comes along, prodding and poking with its blunted tusks, demanding room, and causing the first to change its position a little farther on and up from the surf; then the second is in turn treated similarly by the third arrival, and so on; in this way, a piece of beach or shingle will be packed in the course of a day or two with hundreds and thousands as thickly as they can lie, their heads or posteriors being frequently pillowed upon the bodies of one another; and throughout the whole congregation there is nothing like ill-humor evinced. As they pass all the time when on land in sluggish basking or deep sleep, they seem to have an instinctive appreciation of the necessity of keeping watch, and guarding themselves from attack, and this is done satisfactorily by resorting to a somewhat singular though effective method; whenever a dozing herd of walrus is approached, there are always one or two stirring with their heads high up, snorting and grunting; these remain on duty only a very brief period,
usually a few minutes, when they lie down to sleep, but before doing so, they strike and poke the drowsy forms of their nearest companions with their tusks, causing them to rouse up suddenly; these stand on the alert in turn for a few minutes also, again pass the blow to the next, and resume their pleasant siesta: and thus the signal of danger is incessantly transmitted throughout the whole herd; this disturbance, evidently preconcerted among themselves, has the effect of always keeping some four or five of their number more vigilant than their drowsy fellows.
In moving on land, the walrus has no power in its hind limbs, which are always dragged and hitched up in the rear as the animal slowly and tediously progresses by a succession of short, trembling steps on the stubby fore-flippers. If in good condition and undisturbed, the herds will remain out of the water, in the summer season, and fast in great apparent comfort for a month or six weeks at a time. The rosmarus is monogamous, and the difference between the sexes in size, color, and shape is inconsiderable, save in respect to the teeth; the female is never found to possess as long or as heavy tusks as the male, but her ivory is generally harder and whiter. The walrus mother is devoted to her offspring, caring for and nursing it nearly a year, but her action in protecting it, as well as herself, is always passive. The writer finds it exceedingly difficult to reconcile the stories so frequently told of the
attacks made by sea-horses upon boats and their crews, with the timid and rapid dispersion which always attended the appearance of his boat among a swimming herd. Under no provocation whatever could either males or females be persuaded to show fight.
Occasionally, if you are coasting in are coasting in Behring Sea, running along before a light breeze, your vessel will silently glide upon a small band of walrus sound asleep in the water; and, unless the sail flaps or the keel strikes a sleeper's form, you will pass on and leave them entirely unconscious of their dreaded visitor. They sleep grotesquely enough at sea, just like so many waterlogged sticks, one end down and the other up. Nothing but the muzzle, with a few inches of the gleaming white tusks, appears to mark the position of a sleeping morse; its huge body rests vertically extended to a depth of twelve or thirteen feet below the surface of the rippling wavelets. You arouse a sleeper, and, with one short snort of surprise, it instantly tips itself back into a horizontal position and swims off, steering with its hind flippers; if not badly frightened it will re-appear, head and shoulders, after a
lapse of ten or fifteen minutes, to resurvey and grunt its amazement; but if thoroughly alarmed, it disappears entirely.
Much amusing speculation has been indulged in by various writers as to what particular animal gave rise in olden time to the weird idea of the merman and mermaid : some authorities, and one of them encyclopedic, declare it is the "human expression of the rosmarus! Evidently that man has never seen the beast, for no matter how harshly he may feel toward mankind, he never for a moment would make this charge, could he only see his type; however, several species of the common hair seals (Phoca vitulina) and the dugong, as they rise from the water, have a decided suggestion in their eyes of the famous girl-fish, and these are probably the source of the suggestion. No amount of imagination can invest the uncouth head of the sea-horse with this pleasant fancy, for when the gristled muzzle of a walrus rises above the sea an observer cannot see the creature's eyes; those small, skin-colored organs are wholly undistinguishable at the distance one is compelled to keep by reason of the excessive timidity of the snorting pachyderm.
EVERY city holds out-of-the-way places unknown to the mere sojourner within its gates, and full of local oddities and delights which the stranger, however experienced, can never share with the citizen. To the casual visitor in Philadelphia the cabalistic word "The Neck," and the piquant phrase "Down in the Ma'sh," convey no meaning. To the native Philadelphian who can recall days when the lore of "Watson's Annals " was oral tradition, not vulgar written words, the Neck contains unspeakable associations. "The Old Point House," a half-forgotten structure on the Delaware, figures in many stories still told by the small boy as he fishes from the dilapidated wharf near its site. The
Philadelphia urchin has a strange affection for his uncle, by the way if you threaten him, it is always his uncle who is a policeman and will avenge him, his uncle who owns the tightest gunning-skiff in the Ma'sh, his uncle who shot a fabulous number of reed-birds last year. He will tell you how his uncle stopped over night at this inn, the Old Point House, and, being attacked by some vile Jerseymen or Hessians, frightened them off with an accountbook which they took for a horsepistol; how his uncle saw the headless horseman who used to ride down into the Ma'sh from the old coach-factory, which, tradition has it,-no doubt untruthfully, was the house in which part of the festivities attending the famous Meschianza were held. The Old Point House was in the Neck, Eleven-Gun Battery is in the Neck, the Ma'sh is part of the Neck, and Martinsville, or Frogtown, is in the Neck.
Fashionable Philadelphians do not affect the Neck as a promenade. It is unknown to the "new people" that dwell in West Philadelphia, and to the rising generation of those quarters in which the aristocratic bicycle and other usurping innovations are common; but to the boy who lives in the part of the city once known as Southwark, it is a well-spring of joy and dirt. It is celebrated for its cabbages, its pigs, its dogs, its dikes, its reed-birds, its inhabitants, and, above all, for its smells. Under the last head it is related that an exiled inhabitant of
Cologne, dying of homesickness,-who had been carried to Hunter's Point, opposite New York City, in the vain hope that there some reviving reminiscence of his beloved town might strike his nostrils,-was immediately restored as the odors from the Neck greeted his bereft olfactories. He recognized his cherished perfumes, accompanied by several
Time and a ruthless municipal government have taken from the Neck much of its romance. In the days of the old fire department, the youthful Philadelphian who could "bag it,"-i.e., play truant on a schoolday, or break away from his mother's apronstring on the blissful Saturday, might have had all the emotions of a dime-novel hero crowded into the space of an afternoon. Having concealed his penknife, his slatepencils, his jackstones and marbles in his boots, his "soaker" (a round disk of leather attached to a string, which the Philadelphia boy soaked and used for pulling up bricks from the sidewalks) up his sleeve, his sling-shot and a choice collection of pebbles in his hat, and miscellaneous articles in his mouth, he started forth stealthily to kill frogs, to hunt rats in the banks, or to meet his foes. If he was a member of the Shiffler Hose Company, the members of
that company who met him would amiably refrain from "tackling" him, and his penknife and other impedimenta might remain in his possession; but woe to him were he to meet a Weccacoe, a Hibernia, or a Fairmount boy! and woe! woe! if a Schuylkill Ranger", or a "Killer" were to take him in hand!
But we have changed all that. Romance has fled; adventure is no more. The boy may wade up to his middle in stagnant ponds on which the iridescent coal-oil floats; he may hunt for frogs, bottle tadpoles, long for the solitary mud-hen, dive from Reed-street wharf when the policeman is away, and cling to the chains of vessels; he may load himself with the marsh-marigold or the malarious buttercup, in the futile hope of propitiating an anxious mother, to whom the Neck is a word of fear; he may receive the sprinkling shot of the city sportsman, he may pick up a stray reed-bird, he may even catch an eel-but he can hardly realize the excitement of those perilous days. The war-cry of "Yea! yea! yea!" no longer resounds over the flats. The excitement of the stone-fight is only a memory. The stones wielded by the Moyamensing boys or the Shiffler champions lie beneath new soil. And the enervated Philadelphia boy,
who knows not the "soaker," fears the fray, and never thinks of breaking a window or "tackling" an enemy for fun,-knows nothing of the ruder days that went before.
The Neck stretches below the city proper. Broad street, passing the palaces of private citizens toward the north, skirts the Union League Club House farther down, flows into the form of a drive, called by the ambitious a "boulevard,"bordered by delicate and nondescript trees, sweeps proudly against the farms of the truckmen, and finally loses itself in League Island, the site of the Navy Yard. On either side of it, the moment it reaches the truck-farms, stretches the Neck. the east, along the Delaware, is the Ma'sh. The land is low, and high dikes, or banks, prevent the aggressions of the Delaware. These banks are fringed with wide spaces of bending reeds-tender in color in the spring (before their beards come) as young spring wheat, perhaps more brightly emerald, but growing yellower as the time draws near for that bird of which all true Philadelphians think and speak with reverence -the bobolink of the New England summer, the rice-bird of the later season in North Carolina, the reed-bird of the Ma'sh.
The sun which gilds the white shutters
of red-bricked Philadelphia with a peculiarly dazzling luster, seen from the city itself, is a clean and respectable sun; but when one stands in the Neck, the mists that arise from the river and the Ma'sh give it a weird and uncanny look. The dikes, which seemed, in the faint gleams of dawn, like castled mounds, or deserted breastworks that had been used by giants, change from weirdness into the ugliness of reality; and the cart, which might three minutes before have been the chariot of the Magog of the city, loses the proportions morning mists give it, and your senses tell you that it conveys to the Neckers that substance gathered in the night which they would not give up for the most approved phosphates. The whole of the narrowing lowland at the southern end of the peninsula on which Philadelphia stands is called the Neck. The majestic Delaware makes a sudden sweep toward the more gentle Schuylkill, and suddenly carries her down to the sea.
There is a fine distinction between the Necker and the Ma'sher. The Necker does not live in the Ma'sh-that is, along the brinks of dikes. He is generally a truckman, while the Ma'sher, living along the banks, often earns his living in other