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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/629

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throws only into stronger relief the utter waste of powers and opportunities on the part of most other Englishmen in like positions. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred, put in Lyell's place, would have been nothing better than masters of fox-hounds or slaughterers of tame pheasants. When one thinks of the life-work performed by such men as Lyell and the great band of thinkers to which he belonged, one sees only the best side of wealth and position: one feels for a moment half inclined to thank the constitution of things as they are here in England for the chance it offers to such broad-minded and comprehensive workers as these. But then one thinks also of the extraordinary rarity of men who so make use of their opportunities, who regard their wealth as anything more than an easy means of the vulgarest personal gratification. It is lamentable to remember all the thousands of conservatories all over England in each of which, without perceptible difference to the owner, a few useful experiments might be tried, a few valuable observations made; and yet how many of them are ever used for any other purpose than to provide distorted flowers for a dinner-table, for a lady's hair, or for a fop's button-hole? We must congratulate ourselves if now and then, at rare intervals, we get a single Lyell out of all this mass of wasted humanity. After all, that result is in itself a great thing. We have always enough of narrow specialists in science, men valuable and important in their own way, though that is not the highest way; but we have never too many of the great coordinating and organizing intelligences, who take the scattered strands of scientific thought, and weave them together into one consistent and harmonious whole. Among such men as these Lyell stands well to the front, though not exactly in the very first rank.—Fortnightly Review.



NATURE has many of what we are accustomed to call the small economies of life. She does nothing without a purpose, and she has a horror of waste. In the world of living beings, particularly, is she careful of her materials. It is no easy lift to bring matter up to the organic level. She has to call in the sun to her assistance, and get their united shoulders under the load, ere it can be raised to the required height; and she can not afford to let it down again while there is any pith left in it.

It is interesting to follow her through this portion of her housekeeping, and watch the care with which she gets all the life-force possible out of her organic stock in trade, letting not a crumb go to