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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/833

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MR. FRANK BUCKLAND.

paratively subordinate official position, and who has left no first-rate work behind him to illustrate the achievements of a singularly ready pen. Yet Mr. Frank Buckland occupied so exceptional a position, and held it so long, that common justice requires that his memory should be preserved; and a short article on his doings, on his character, and even on the eccentricities which formed part of his character, may be welcome to hundreds of persons who knew and loved the man, and to thousands of other persons who did not know the man but loved his writings.

Francis Trevelyan Buckland was the eldest son of the Very Reverend William Buckland, the founder of the modern school of geology, the author of one of the best known of the Bridgewater Treatises, and Dean of Westminster. His mother—Miss Morland before her marriage—threw herself into the geological researches which made her husband famous, and frequently proved a ready assistant to the Dean. His father was probably one of the most popular lecturers ever known at Oxford. With the zeal of an enthusiast, he never confined his teachings to the lecture-room, but frequently organized parties to scour the neighborhood of the university, and explained the geology of the district standing on the very stones on which he was commenting. He had the rare art of throwing interest into the most abstruse subjects; and stories are still told of him, to illustrate his ready wit, which would enliven any article. In 1826, when his eldest son was born, he had already acquired a considerable reputation; and he chose as sponsors for his boy two men who both filled some position in the world—Sir Francis Chantrey, the sculptor, and Sir Walter Trevelyan, the apostle of temperance. The boy owed his two names, Francis Trevelyan, to his two godfathers. But these names are probably unfamiliar to the majority of the people who were afterward acquainted with him; the future naturalist almost always signed himself, and friends and strangers always spoke of him as, Frank Buckland.

Dr. Buckland is said to have expected his son's birth with as much impatience as Mr. Shandy awaited the arrival of Tristram. When the nurse told him that the child was a boy, he declared that he should go at once and plant a birch, for he was determined that his son should be well brought up. The declaration proved a prophecy. Young Buckland was educated by his uncle, Dr. Buckland, of Laleham, the friend and kinsman of Dr. Arnold, but a most severe and even brutal pedagogue. He was subsequently sent to Winchester, and in due course passed on to Christchurch. At school he certainly received his share of chastisement, and within a year or two of his death he showed some of his friends scars on his hand which he said were his uncle's doing. He was probably a trying pupil to an impatient schoolmaster; yet he contrived to acquire a large share of classical knowledge. He had whole passages of Virgil at his fingers' ends. He used to say, when he could not understand an act of Parliament,