Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/275

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

them by losing his spectacles, which had to be recovered the next day."

He shone as a correspondent. Few idle men kept up so large a correspondence as this extremely busy one. His letters, frank, cordial, sympathetic, full of lively touches, apt suggestions, and pleasant reminiscences, were highly prized by all who were favored with them, and gave naturally to strangers who read them a most pleasing impression of the writer's character. The fortunes of his friends were always in his mind. Nothing of joy or sorrow could happen to one of them without eliciting from him a letter of sympathy, which exactly fitted the need. The dumb animals about him—"My poor relations," as he was wont to style them—shared his tenderness. Long after his death, "a favorite cat haunted his vacant study, evidently seeking the friend who would rather resign his favorite chair than have her disturbed." His benevolence was not undiscriminating, as the regulations of his "Newsboys' Home" sufficiently show; but in his private charities he allowed himself a freer hand and, so to speak, a willing credulity. "He was a perfect fortune to beggars. Taken in again and again, every new applicant seemed to him 'a very decent-looking fellow,' especially if he happened to be Scotch. And if nothing else could be said, he would excuse his generosity by 'It's hard to be poor,' or 'I was once poor myself.' He did, indeed, note that the word 'borrow' seemed to have no connection with that other word 'repay'; but he went on lending still." A poor woman who, coming to ask for him, found crape on the door, went away saying, "The blessing of those that consider the poor will surely fall on him and his."

It is easy to predict that this singularly fine character, illustrious for many great qualities and achievements, and with no shadows except such pardonable failings as "lean to virtue's side," will shine brighter in becoming better known, and will be hereafter ranked among the beacon-lights of the age. In the scientific world, the large-minded and far-seeing scholar, who first gave a place and a name to the science of "prehistoric man," must always be a conspicuous figure.


In his presidential address before the Geographical Section of the British Association, Mr. Henry Seebohm expressed the opinion that life, areas or zoogeographical regions are more or less fanciful generalizations. Animals recognize facts, and are governed by them in the extension of their ranges; they care little or nothing about generalizations. The mean temperature of a province is a matter of indifference to some plants and to most animals. The facts that govern their distribution are various, according to the needs of the plant or animal concerned. Actual temperature governs them, not isotherms corrected to sea level.