Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/366

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Thus, among the fishes, we have in the regions of closest competition this degenerate and non-fishlike type, lurking in holes among the rocks, or creeping in the sand, thieves and scavengers among fishes. The eels thus fill a place otherwise left unfilled. In their way they are perfectly adapted to the lives they lead. A multiplicity of vertebral joints is useless to the typical fish, but to the eel, strength and suppleness are everything. No armature of fin or scale or bone is so desirable as its power of escaping through the smallest opening.


PROF. CHRISTIAN THEODOR ALBERT BILLROTH, one of the most eminent surgeons of the century, died at the Austrian winter resort Abbazia, on the Adriatic, February 6, 1894, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. He was born at Bergen, on the island of Rügen, the son of a Swedish Lutheran pastor, April 20, 1839; began the study of medicine in 1848 at Greifswald, in Pomerania, and, having continued his course at Göttingen and Berlin, was graduated in medicine from the latter university in 1852. He then traveled, after the manner of German professional students, visiting the schools of Paris and Vienna; served for several years as an assistant in the clinic of Prof, von Langenbeck, in Berlin; qualified as Privat Docent in the University of Berlin in 1856; became Professor of Surgery at Zurich in 1858, and in 1867 at Vienna, where he spent the rest of his professional life. He was made a member of the Austrian Chamber of Peers in 1887.

The beginning of his career as a professor in the University of Zurich was very modest. He had only ten pupils during his first semester, and his private practice, he was accustomed to say, was not enough "to pay for his morning cup of coffee." His reputation, however, quickly grew; students flocked to his lectures; and with the co-operation of eminent colleagues, notably Griesinger, the British Medical Journal says, he in a few years raised the Medical Faculty of Zurich to a prominent place among German-speaking schools. His clinic in Vienna, the same journal observes, has been for more than twenty six years "a kind of surgical Mecca to which scientific pilgrims from all parts of the world have resorted in constantly increasing numbers. . . . Here his operative triumphs were won. He excised the larynx for cancer in 1868; performed resection of the œsophagus; and first resected the stomach in 1881 for removing cancer of the pylorus. During the Franco-German War of 1870-71 he served in the mili-