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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/835

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815
MR. FRANK BUCKLAND.

sickness. He returned to London, and soon afterward became house surgeon at St. George's. He used to say that the cases which were brought into the accident ward grouped themselves into classes according to the hours of the day. The suicides came at an early hour of the morning; the scaffold accidents next, since a scaffold, if it gave, way at all, gave way early in the day; the street accidents afterward, and so on. At St. George's he collected a fund of good stories, with which he used to amuse his friends to the last days of his life. One of the best of them told, as he never minded his stories telling, against himself. An old woman came to the hospital with a cough, which she declared nothing would alleviate except some sweet, luscious mixture which another out-patient, a friend of hers, had received. The old woman was given a bottleful of the mixture, and returned again and again for more, though her cough got little better. At last Mr. Buckland's suspicions were aroused, and he desired that his patient should be watched. She was watched, and was found outside Chelsea Hospital selling the mixture in halfpenny tarts.

In 1854, while he was still engaged at St. George's, he was offered and accepted the post of assistant-surgeon in the Second Life Guards. Perhaps no army surgeon ever enjoyed so much popularity among his brother-officers. The friends whom he made during his nine years with the regiment remained his friends to the day of his death; and, whenever any of them happened to meet him, Mr. Buckland had an endless store of anecdotes of his old Life Guards days. The nine years during which he served with the regiment were probably the happiest of his life. He left it on the surgeoncy falling vacant, and on finding that the rules of the service necessitated his own supercession by the transfer from another regiment of another surgeon. But during the nine years through which he had served his name had become famous. His contributions to the "Field" newspaper and his "Curiosities of Natural History" had made natural history popular in thousands of households; and the exertions which he had already commenced in the cause of fish-culture had marked him as a man with an idea. Thus he left the army a known man, and during the next few years relied on his pen. Unfortunately, he was unable to continue contributing to the paper which he had been instrumental in originating. Differences arose between himself and the conductors of the "Field," and Mr. Buckland, separating himself from his fellow-laborers, founded "Land and Water." It is not too much to say that the latter periodical was indebted to his pen for its existence and reputation.

A new sphere was, in the mean while, preparing for Mr. Buckland's energies. In 1861 Parliament had sanctioned the appointment of two Inspectors of Fisheries for England and Wales. One of these gentlemen, Mr. Eden, retired in broken health in 1867, and Mr. Buckland was chosen as his successor. He had hardly been appointed when his colleague, Mr. Ffennell, died, and another gentleman had to be chosen