"Fe fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman; be he alive or be he dead, I'll break his bones to make my bread." Well, I don't think we feel exactly that way about the Englishmen who are going to sail their Sceptre in the forthcoming America's Cup races here in September. You can't help but admire the sportsmanship of the Britishers all through the frustrating years and their spirit of keeping everlastingly at it. It isn't their fault if we know how to make faster boats or know how to sail 'em better. Evidently they've got a pretty fast boat themselves in Sceptre. I'd be a bit surprised if she won, but if she does I certainly shan't go into any hair-tearing routine over the matter.
The left-handed Methodist parson, who apparently plays an excellent game of golf, refused to go AWOL from church to play in the last phase of a golf tournament which he probably could have won. But he made up for it in part by preaching a sermon on golf and the Scriptures, in which golf made a pretty good showing. But he failed to say anything about taking the Lord's name in vain even on a golf course. He may have come to the conclusion that there are some things better left unsaid.
KENNETH R. PYATT
I thank you for that wonderful article on the swordfish (SI, July 28).
I am especially interested in swordfishing. My father and I have been trying our hardest to land one for seven years. My father has hooked three, all off Santa Catalina Island, but we have still to land one. I am not bragging, but any fisherman who can set a hook in a broadbill has a lot of fishing skill.
The late Sir William E. S. Tuker and George W. Garey between them held the world's broadbill record for a good many years, with fish caught off Tocopilla, Chile. One of Tuker's prized possessions was a small broadbill sword, not over three inches long. This was stuck in the skin of a normal-size swordfish, near his mouth, and was removed when the fish was captured. It was a normal sword, corresponding in all its proportions to the large ones found on adult fish, and seemed to indicate that a broadbill attains its mature form when it is of an extremely small size. This does not check out with the assumption made in Mr. Lineaweaver's excellent and interesting article.
G. F. COOPE
Carlsbad, N. Mex.
?On the relatively sketchy evidence gathered so far by ichthyologists, the most warranted assumption is that the swordfish does not assume his mature form until he has grown to between four and six feet. However, it is not inconceivable that some maturation differences could exist among geographical areas.—ED.
On a recent visit to Managua I was told that when Lake Nicaragua became landlocked from the Pacific Ocean thousands of years ago the swordfish and sharks adapted themselves through generations to the fresh water. Both varieties are reputedly vicious but somewhat stunted, making for very little boating or swimming on this 100-mile lake.
Incidentally, a unique sport is practiced by a few plantation owners. They have tree platforms near the mouth "of the Tipitapa River which overhang the water, and after chumming with a little bloody meat they use revolvers for shooting the sharks. It takes a great deal of skill to correct for the angle of refraction.
Perhaps Mr. Lineaweaver has some information on swordfishing there.
H. RICHARD RICHHEIMER
?There are indeed man-eating sharks in the fresh water of Lake Nicaragua but no species likely to have evolved from the swordfish. The shark belongs to a more primitive family (Elasmo-brandchii, or cartilaginous fish without bone structure) and has great ability to adapt itself to a variety of environments.—ED.