the fish, analogous to the stone in the human body. On being squeezed
they will eject the Pearl, and often cast it spontaneously in the sand
of the stream."
The fame of the Conway as a source of Pearls, led Spencer, writing in the sixteenth century, to describe the river, in his Faerie Queen, in these terms :—
"Conway, which out of his streame doth send Plenty of Pearles to deck his dames withall."
Welsh Pearls are mostly of a dull colour, and indeed River-Pearls not
unfrequently present a dim leaden hue. The author recently received a
Pearl from the mouth of the Conway, which was quite black.
The Pearl mussels are known to the Welsh as Cragen-y-duliw. They are referred by most naturalists, as stated in an early chapter of this work, to the Unto margaritifer, though some con-chologists place them in Say's sub-genus Alasmodonta, and others in Schumacher's sub-genus Margaritana. It
appears that in addition to the Pearls obtained from these fresh-water
mussels, there are many Welsh Pearls of inferior quality yielded by the
common marine mussel—the edible species, Mytilus edulis—which
is found abundantly at the mouth of the Conway, where it is largely
gathered at low water as bait and as food for swine. These shells