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LUNCH BY THE BROOKSIDE.   83

under his chest. He is a voracious fellow, and now has his eye on a small bug resting on a bit of grass-blade. Cautiously the dragon creeps forward to within less than an inch, when he raises himself well up in front, and shoots out a bit of breast-plate material with two movable arms coming out of the forward end of it, and a sharp hook on each one of them. This instrument is hinged to the throat, folds back when not in use, and when needed is flung forward, seizing the prey in the hooks, and is by them passed to the mouth, for whose service this cruel tool is designed. If I had been in luck here this creature would have crawled out of the water into the sunshine, selected a position on a log or stick where he could get a good hold with his claws, and then wait till the sun dried his shell, when it would crack along the back ; at that signal he would begin to struggle out, till in the course of a half-hour he would be clear of it. During this time his wings are constantly attempting to open, for they are wet and folded close, and if they dry in that condition all will be over with him. If there is no accident, in two hours he will be standing be-side his " outgrown shell," glittering in brilliant hues, with wings delicate as a fairy's fancy might make them, and quivering responsive to


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