Dr. Ebrard adds that, during the famine of 1816 and 1817, snails were most valuable articles of food to the inhabitants of Central France; again, that from the coasts of Saintonge and Aunis, snails have been for a long time exported in casks to Senegal and the Antilles, amongst them Helix aspersa; but in 1825 this trade had greatly declined. M. Valmont Bomard saw the peasants, in the neighbourhood of La Rochelle, gather-ing an immense quantity of small snails to. send to America, in casks filled with branches of trees, crossed again and again, so that the snails might be able to attach themselves firmly, and not be much shaken during the transport.
Helix aperta, which is not known in England, but is figured in Messrs. Forbes and Hanley's ' British Con-chology,' from a dead specimen having been found in Guernsey, in 1839, is highly esteemed amongst real connoisseurs of snails, and is found in Provence (where it is called by the Provencaux, Tapada, Tapa, or Tapet), in some parts of Italy, and in the islands of the Mediterranean.
M. Moqum-Tandon tells us that vessels regularly visited the coasts of Liguria, in search of considerable quantities of Helix aperta, for food for the higher classes at Rome, where it is known by the name of Monacello. The shell is of a yellowish-olive colour and nearly translucent, thin, and of an ovate-globular form. It has a large mouth, with the peristome white, and the whorls four in number. In the heat of summer, and during the winter, this Helix, like Helix pomatia, buries itself in holes in the ground, shutting up the aperture of its shell with a calcareous epiphragm.
Two of the specimens I have in my collection, which came from Italy, still have this epiphragm very perfectly preserved, and it is glossy, and slightly convex. Theophrastus, in his ' Treatise upon Animals which live in holes,' states that snails have the habit of burying themselves. He says, "Snails live in holes during the winter, and still more in summer, on which account they are seen in the greatest numbers during the autumn rains. But their holes in the summer are made in the ground, and in the trees.*
Helix nemoralis is also eaten, and at Toulouse sells for five or ten centimes a dish; but by some, snails with striped shells are not considered good, as they have a bad taste and smell. M. Moquin-Tandon purchased, in 1847, in the market at Toulouse, a basket containing four hundred specimens of Helix aspersa, for sixty centimes; and another, with 1503 specimens of Helix nemoralis, for seventy five centimes - making fifteen centimes the hundred for the former, and a little less than five centimes for the latter. Helix nemoralis, and Helix hortensis, are known by various names in France; for instance, "at Bordeaux they are called Demoiselles; Moqne at Libournes, Limaio at Agen, Moli-morno at Limoges, Limaia at Montpellier, Livrèe in the north of France, and Garacolo in the Pyrenees".*
* Athenaeus, 'Deipn.' vol. i. p. 104.
Helix piscina, which is a very local species with us, and only found at Tenby (where I have seen it in profusion), at Manorbeer, in Cornwall, Jersey, and Ireland, is greatly prized as an article of food abroad, and is larger than it is with us, indeed, almost as large as Helix nemoralis.
At Marseilles the average sale of Helix pisana and Helix rhodostoma, is about 20,000 kilogrammes, at three francs the fifty kilogrammes, which makes the sum of 1200 francs. By the sale of our common garden snail (Helix aspersa) the same price is realized, and that of Helix vermiculata amounts to 4800 francs. It is also stated that in the market at Dijon is sold, annually, about 6000 francs worth of the vine snail Helix pomatia (the escargot par excellence, and called also Luma, Gros luma, and le Moucle de vigne) at one franc fifty centimes per hundred.† In Italy the vine snail is known in some places by the name of Bovolo. In Corsica the same species are eaten, as those above mentioned, and it is said that, in the Island of Re the sale of these Helicidœ amounts annually to 25,000 francs, but probably this sum is exaggerated.
In Burgundy, Champagne, and Franche-Corntè, a great quantity of snails of all kinds are consumed, and also sent to Paris; and Professor Simmonds mentions that (in 1859) there were fifty restaurants, and more than 1200 private tables in that city, where snails were considered a delicacy by from 8000 to 10,000 consumers; that the monthly consumption of this mollusk was estimated at half a million; again, that the market value of the vineyard snail (vine snail, Helix pomatia) was from 2s. to 3s. per hundred, while those from the hedges, woods, and forests, brought only Is. 6d. to 2s. He further adds, that in the vicinity of Dijon the proprietor of one snailery is said to clear nearly £300 a year by his snails; and also that there are exported from Crete annually about 20,000 okes (each nearly 31bs). of snails, valued at 15,000 Turkish piastres. M. Renou (as quoted by M. Cailliaud of Nantes), in a curious account, read in 1864 before the Academical Society at Nantes, on the importance that the ancients attached to snails, observed, that during 1862 and 1863, the escargots brought to the Marché de la Bourse, at Nantes, on Sundays and fete days, amounted in number to 996,000, producing the sum of 2490 francs.* M. Roux, superintendent of the Clos de Vougeot, and neighbouring vineyards, gave, in the 'Union Bourguignonne,' some details of the operation of clearing the vines of snails. The Clos de Yougeot vineyard yielded fifty-five double-decalitres (each thirty-five pints); Romanée-Conti, six; Chambertin, six; Per-riere and Plante-Chaude, three; in all, seventy. It was calculated that these snails would have eaten up buds, the produce of which, M. Roux estimated at from fifteen to twenty pipes of wine, without reckoning the injury to next year's growth. The cost of clearing these snails in the fifty-five hectares of the vineyard in question amounted to 120 francs, a mere trifle compared to what was saved. It is further stated that these mol-lusks were sold at a remunerative price, as, when sold in Dijon, Lyons, and especially in Paris, they represented a value of several thousand francs.†
* Dr. Ebrard, 'Des Escargots'.
* 'Catalogue des Radiaires, des Annelides, des Cirrhipedes,' etc, par Frederic Cailliaud, de Nantes, p. 222. † 'Morning Post,' May 8th, 1868.