Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/560

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The foregoing remarks are intended to apply mainly to questions connected with the more recent geological periods. The older epochs have happily been treated as beyond the barriers, and consequently have enjoyed and made good use of their greater freedom. It is to be hoped that, when the phenomena of these later periods are judged of by the evidence of facts rather than by rules, they will receive more independent interpretations—interpretations that may escape the dwarfing influence of uniformitarianism.—Nineteenth Century.


DAVID STARR JORDAN was born in 1851, at Gainesville, New York. His father was a farmer who devoted far more attention to the elder poets than to the Rural New-Yorker. His mother is characterized by strength of will, depth of feeling, and pithiness of speech. Goethe tells us that he owed to his father his stature and his seriousness, and to his mother his happy disposition and his delight in story-telling. In Jordan's case this order was reversed. From the mother he seems to have inherited his executive power, and from the father his literary instinct. He grew up a very unusual farm product a shy, observant lad, much given to lonely excursions with a copy of Gray's Botany in one pocket and Longfellow's poems in the other. He early exhibited his instinct for classification by attempting a catalogue raisonné of the Assyrian kings, but as his teacher could supply him with data for but two categories, viz., the good and the bad, his labors were not very fruitful. Owing to his distaste for the severe manual labor generally expected of boys on a farm, young Jordan was considered lazy by the neighbors, and doubtless some of them blamed his parents for allowing him to loiter and dream his time away.

Not that he was idle. He attended first the village school, and afterward, no secondary school for boys being accessible, was admitted to the academy for young ladies in the neighboring town of Warsaw. He learned French and Latin; he made a catalogue of the plants of his native county; he read a good deal of history, and grew intimate with the best American and English poets. But he was the victim of no rigorous system of academic routine. He came to his studies, as a boy comes to a well-spread table, with a healthy appetite. A stranger to "cram," his mind assimilated its own, rejected what was not food, and was never