FISHES. In natural history, form the fourth class of animals in the Linniean system. Their most general or popular division is into fresh or salt water ones. A few species only swim up into the rivers to deposit their spawn; but by fax the greatest number keep in the sea, and would soon expire in fresh water. There are about four hundred species of fishes (according to Linnaeus) of which we know something ; but the unknown ones are supposed to be many more; and, as they are thought to lie in great depths of the sea remote from land, it is probable that many species will remain for ever unknown. Linnaeus' method of preserving fish for cabinets, is to expose them to the air; and, when they acquire such a degree of putrefaction that the skin loses its cohesion to the body of the fish, it may be slid off almost like a glove; the two sides of this skin may then be dried upon paper like a plant, or one of the sides may be filled with plaster of Paris to give the subject a due plumpness. A fish may be prepared after it has acquired this degree of putrefaction, by making a longitudinal incision on the belly, and carefully dissecting the fleshy part from the skin, which is but slightly attached to it in consequence of the putrescency. The skin is then to be filled with cotton and the antiseptic powder as directed for birds; and to be sewed up where the incision was made. In the posthumous papers of Mr. H ooke, a method is described of gilding live craw-fish, carps, &c. without injuring the fish. The cement for this purpose is prepared by putting some Burgundy pitch into a new earthen pot, and warming the vessel till it receives so much of the pitch as will stick round it; then strewing some finely powdered amber over the pitch when growing cold, adding a mixture of three pounds of linseed oil, and one of oil of turpentine, covering the vessel, and boiling them for an hour over a gentle fire, and grinding the mixture, as it is wanted, with so much pumice stone in fine powder as will reduce it to the consistence of paint. The fish being wiped dry, the mixture is spread upon it; and the gold leaf being then laid on and gently pressed down, the fish may be immediately put into water again, without any danger of the gold coming off, for the matter quickly grows hard in water.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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