Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/862

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
836
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mother used to relate that he could always be soothed, when crying, by giving him a flower. When seven years old he was put under the private tuition of Telander, a teacher of only the ordinary stamp, and three years later was sent to Wexiö to school, his father wishing to prepare him for holy orders. The story was the same at both places. He made no progress in the routine studies of the course, except in mathematics and physics, but used every opportunity to look after flowers and turn over books of botany. With Gabriel Hök he did a little better, for that teacher allowed him some liberty to gratify his tastes; but the people at the gymnasium were again troubled by his perversity. Finally, the father and the teachers held a consultation, and it was decided that, although his moral record was unexceptionable, he offered no promise as a scholar, and must learn a trade. So he was, or was about to be, apprenticed to a shoemaker, when the father, having some bodily malady for which he had to visit Dr. Rothman, spoke incidentally of the trouble Carolus was giving him. The doctor thought the boy might succeed in medicine and natural history, and offered to take him to board, and help him in his studies. He gave him private lessons in physiology, and introduced him to Tournefort's botanical system, by the aid of which Linnæus continued to study the local plants. At the end of a year, Linnæus was sent to the University of Lund, recommended as his private pupil by Hök, who, taking great liberties with the facts, substituted his own good opinion for the curious letter with which the principal of the gymnasium had armed the candidate. This letter was to the effect that pupils might be compared to young trees in a nursery: there would sometimes be some that would grow up wild in spite of all the care that might be spent upon them, but which might still do well if transplanted to a different soil. "It is with such a hope that I send this youth to your institution, where, perhaps, another atmosphere may favor his development." At Lund, Linnæus found employment as a copyist with Dr. Kilian Stobæus, Professor of Medicine and physician to the king, who had a museum of minerals, shells, and dried plants. The professor was not at first aware of the kind of treasure which he had in his house; but Linnæus, having formed a friendship with a fellow-student who had access to the doctor's library, borrowed books from it and sat up till late in the night reading them. Mother Stobæus observed the light in his room, and, being worried about danger from fire, warned her son of it. He detected Linnæus at his reading; but the explosion and subsequent explanations resulted in a widening of the young man's opportunities for pursuing his favorite studies. On Rothman's advice, Linnæus determined to go to Upsala, where the advantages seemed to be better than at Lund. The three hundred francs that he was able