Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/842

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No forester knows or will know all the trees of the forest, or, if he does, will know enough of their growth, structure, and climatic conditions of reproduction to be satisfied with himself. No ornithologist ever boasts even to himself that his knowledge of his kingdom, with its wonderfully separate subjects, so unlike all other living things in the grand condition of their lives, is more than fragmentary, or insusceptible of increase. He has never examined all the eagles' eyes, or the angles at which the humming-bird's feathers lie, and therefore flash so unaccountably. Who knows all about lions, or can prove whether or no the wild beasts' rage is an evolution from hereditary hunger continued through ages? Mr. Buckland attended to fish principally, fish from sharks to minnows, and collected, it is said, five thousand specimens, and was always hurrying about inspecting, or receiving, or writing about, new fishes; but, if he had lived a thousand years, he would not have exhausted his pursuit. There would have been still much to know about varieties of gills, and fins, and scales, and more about the fish which could or could not be cultivated; and when that had been done there would remain the inexhaustible and bewildering subject of the comparative intellectual capacity of different fishes. Do carp know their friends or not? A pursuit always so fresh, always so inexhaustible, and always so full of results, is one high condition of happiness; and it has occasionally, and might have oftener this addition—that the naturalist may live by it. Happy the man who in earning his living is in his groove of work, who feels that his faculties are not twisted or repressed by his daily labor, and has in his hardest toil pleasure; but what is his happiness to the naturalist's who earns his income in his play? Imagine the street-boy to whom hopscotch brings a reputable and sufficient subsistence, and yet who can never be tired of hopscotch! Mr. Buckland, curious in fish, and fond of open air, and of traveling about, and of fidgeting in briny places, was set to inspect fisheries, and instruct fishermen, and write about fish in "Land and Water," and tell mankind generally anything it might want to know about fishes, and all the while was adding to his own store and the world's store of knowledge of a subject which he justly thought great, and got by doing all that an excellent income. What wonder that he was happy and cheerful, and given to jocularities, sometimes very clever, sometimes only whimsical, occasionally a little foolish; and had in him a most attractive element of childlikeness, which even secluded fishermen, jealous of the "Government chaps," and half dreading either interference or fines, found it impossible to resist? They "cottoned" to him always, like dogs to a fearless child. Mr. Buckland could have induced Irish fishermen to fish without bounties, a feat supposed impossible; and the magnet in him was the naturalist's magnet, Audubon's, or White's, or Waterton's magnet, the charm of a nature full of the content which springs from harmony between interest and occupation. The man is fortunate who lives in the open