The Harlequin Dreams Of Being A Lobster

The first fruits of my lobster research:

The common English lobster, (Homarus vulgaris), as seen on the marble slab of the fishmonger, is very unlike his relatives beneath the waves. The curled up form in which he is seen when so exposed is not that usually assumed in its own element, unless in the act of exerting its immense powers of retrograde motion. These are so great that one sudden downward sweep of its curiously constructed, oar-like tail, is sufficient to send it like an arrow, three- or four-and-twenty feet, with the most extraordinary precision, thereby enabling our friend to retreat with the greatest rapidity into nooks, corners, and crevices among the rocks, where pursuit would be hopeless. His eyes being arranged on foot stalks, or stems, are free from the inconvenient trammels of sockets, and possess a radius of vision commanding both front and rear, and from their compound form (being made up of a number of square lenses) are extremely penetrating and powerful. The slightest shadow passing over the pool in which the lobster may chance to be crawling or swimming, will frequently cause one of these sudden backward shoots to be made, and H. vulgaris vanishes into some cleft or cavity with a rapidity of motion which no harlequin could ever, even in his wildest dreams, hope to achieve. Down among the deep channels, between the crags at the sea’s bottom, alarms, except from the sea robbers themselves, are not to dreaded.

W B Lord, Crab, Shrimp, And Lobster Lore, Gathered Amongst The Rocks At The Sea-Shore, By The Riverside, And In The Forest (1867)

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