Shell suborbicular; valves very dissimilar, the upper one concave at the umbones; the under valve very convex; strong ribs, fifteen or sixteen in number; rather broad, and distinctly striated; auricles large, nearly equal; hinge without teeth; ligament internal, placed in a triangular recess.
The great edible scallop, though generally distributed in our seas, is only locally abundant. At Eastbourne and Brighton numbers are brought in by the fishing-boats, and in the spring, during the prevalence of the easterly gales, live specimens may be found on the beach at Dawlish. The London markets are supplied from various parts of our coasts, but I am told that tons of scallops and periwinkles are sent yearly from Brading Harbour, in the Isle of Wight; but the greatest supply is from Holland. They are sold at 2s. per dozen, and are chiefly sought after for the shell. There are large scallop beds off the Isle of Man, and the name for this shell in Manx is Raucan, or Roagan. At Vigo, Pecten maximus is the constant food of all classes from Christmas to Easter; after which it is only eaten by the very poor people, and there it is known by the name of Beira. In Andalusia it is called Rufina, and in Galicia, Vieiras and Avineiras.
Pecten maximus, Scallop.
del. _G.B. Sowerby, lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.
The French call the scallops, Peignes, Coquilles de St. Jacques, Grosille, Grand' -pélerine, Gqfiche, Palourde, Ri-carde or Ricardot;* and the name for them in German is Jacobsmuschel, Pilgrimsmuschel, and Kammmnschel. At Tarento the fishermeu call this shell Concha, di San Dialogo, and consider it a great delicacy; and formerly it grew so large there, that Horace says, "Pectinibus patulis jactat se molle Tarentum".† In other places it is called Cappa di San Giacomo; and, according to Poli, Cozza di San Giacomo, by the Neapolitans, and Cappa Santa, by the Venetians. In Sicily it is known by the name of Pettenu. In Youghal, these mollusks are called Kirheens, or Kirkeen thraws; and another Irish name for them is Sligane-mury. In Scotland scallops are often called clams, and are used as bait for the white-fish lines; but other shells are called clams, amongst them is Pholas dactylus, which is generally used by us as bait, though eaten in France;‡ and in the Shetland Isles the large Cyprina Islandica is the clam. A species of Mya, eaten by the natives of the Zaire or Congo river, is stated by Mr. Fitzmaurice to resemble what is usually called the clam, in England; and at Dawlish, the Solen is called the Sandclam. Lutraria maxima is called the Great clam, as we have already seen. In America, Mya arenaria is the soft clam, and Venus mercenaria the hard clam., and it is from the shell of the latter that the wampum, or Indian money, is made, although other shells are used for the same purpose; the white "wampum" being made sometimes from the Bahama conch, or strombus. It is the token of peace and friendship amongst the American Indians. The coloured portion of the inside of Venus mercenaria - the clam shell - is ground into oblong pieces, varying from one quarter of an inch usually, to three quarters of an inch in length, and of the diameter of a crow's quill. The pieces are then strung together like beads, to the number of about two dozen and a half to three dozen on a string, and this is called a string of wampum. The worth of wampum is regulated very much by its freedom from white and by the intensity of its blue or purple. The manufacturers prepare two kinds, which are of different value. According to their deepness of blue, or freedom from white, is the estimation in which the pieces and strings are held. Formerly the price of a horse, a pack of beavers, or anything else, could be estimated exactly in strings and pieces of wampum. Belts are made of pieces of wampum strung together, and it is believed that the Indians adapt and arrange them in such a manner as to be significant like writing. Belts of wampum are, therefore, mostly delivered at treaties, and on great public occasions. In ' Flint Chips,' Mr. Stevens mentions that Mr. Granville John Penn, a descendant of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, had until quite recently in his possession, the belt of wampum, the sole title-deed of an extensive transfer of land, delivered by the Lenni-Senape Sachem Indians to William Penn, at the Great Treaty, under the elm-tree at Shackamaxon, in 1682. It was handed down for generations in the Penn family, and was presented to the Historical Society of Philadelphia in 1857. It was composed of eight strings of "wampum," formed of white and black beads, worked upon leather thongs, and the whole made into a belt, twenty-eight inches in length by five and a half inches in breadth. The ground is of white beads, and the pattern consists of three diagonal stripes of black beads, and, in the centre, Penn is represented taking the hand of the Indian Sachem, the former being the larger figure of the two.*
* 'British Conchology,' vol. ii. p. 74. † Aufrere's 'Travels'.
‡ 'Book for the Seaside,' p. 48.
The native money of New Britain consists of small cowrie-shells strung on strips of cane - called in Duke of York Island, Dewarra - measured in lengths. The first length being from hand to hand across the chest, with the arms extended; the second length from centre of breast to the hand, one arm extended; the third from the shoulder to the tip of the fingers along the arm; fourth, from the elbow to the tip of the fingers; fifth, from the wrist to the tip of the fingers; and sixth; finger lengths. Fish are generally bought by their length in Dewarra, unless they are too small. A large pig will cost from thirty to forty lengths of the first measure, and a small one, ten. The measurement of the shell-money is the same in New Britain as in Duke of York Island, though called by another name, Taboo.†
The deep valves of Pecten maximus are used by fishermen as lamps for their huts, and, according to Fuller, they were also made use of by the pilgrims in Palestine as cups and dishes; but I believe that the real Pilgrim scallop is Pecten Jacobœus, which is found in the Mediterranean, and is smaller, more convex, the ribs more defined and angular. The scallop was also the badge of the pilgrim, and the poet Bowles says: -
* 'Flint Chips,' by Edward T. Stevens, pp. 460 - 462. † 'Wanderings in a Wild Country,' by Wilfrid Powell.
"He clad him in his pilgrim weeds, With trusty staff in hand And scallop shell, and took his way, A wanderer through the land".