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GLIMPSES AT DARWIN'S WORKING LIFE.

population is by force disseminated among them in isolated houses, and constitutes at most only little hamlets. The inhabitants, thus dispersed, differ in manners and character from those whom an indefinite abundance of underground water has drawn together and condensed into large groups.

Such are some of the social influences of subterranean waters, the importance of which has not always been fully appreciated.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue des Deux Mondes.

 

GLIMPSES AT DARWIN'S WORKING LIFE.
By WILLIAM H. LARRABEE.

THE qualities of Mr. Darwin most prominently brought out in the reading of his "Life and Letters" are his thorough humanism, his industry, his great modesty, amounting to even distrust of his powers, his perfect candor, and his kindly spirit. The piece of his autobiography which was published in the December number of the "Monthly" describes the beginning of his life, and shows how his boyhood was like that of the youth of the majority of men, with nothing in it to suggest a probability of future greatness; a commonplace, humdrum experience, in which all his most active instincts were repressed or ignored; and he was "trained"—that is, the effort was made, with his consent or against it, to fit him to the standard handed down from of old by the schools. As he wrote years afterward for Mr. Galton's "Life Histories," his schooling omitted all habits of observation or reasoning, and was of no peculiar merit whatever. He was considered, by those who had to do with him educationally, as "a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect." It does not appear that he ever realized, until the world spoke it to him in tones that he could not fail to hear, that, in all his researches, he was doing more than the simplest, most insignificant work.

He fared but little better, so far as the recognized course was concerned, at the university (of Edinburgh), where the lectures, except those of Dr. Hope on chemistry, were "intolerably dull." But, during his second year there, his brother having ceased to attend the university, he was left to his own resources; and this proved to be to his advantage, for he became well acquainted with several young men fond of natural science. He accompanied a pair of his friends on their collecting tours for marine animals, and went trawling with the fishermen for other specimens. From some of these specimens, though without any regular practice in dissection, and having only a wretched microscope, he made a discovery, concerning which he read, in 1826, his first scientific paper before the Plinian Society. With these experiences as his start in real education, he told Mr. Galton that he con-