'I have been contemplating on coral, and my mind is staggered amazed confounded at the thought of these countless myriads of animalcula industriously sifting the lime from the sea-water for so vast a sequence of generations and in such prodigious quantities that they have formed this island, this reef, to say nothing of the countless others that do exist. And all founded upon what? Upon the skeletons of other coral-polyps, the calcareous external skeletons of other coral-polyps, in quantities that run far beyond conception, that is what. For I do assure you, Jack, that everything here apart from these trifling adventitous vegetables' - waving towards the palms - 'is coral, living or dead, coral sand or solid coralline accumulation. There is no subjacent rock at all. How can it have begun, in this deep tempestuous sea? The force of these waves is very great: the animalculum is miserably frail. How do these islands come about? I cannot tell at all: I cannot form the beginning of a hypothesis.'