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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/852

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834
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tiger, elephant, and many more will doubtless be known to our descendants a century hence by their pictures in books and their remains in the museums of the day.

This great question of the economic value of animals is of radical importance to every citizen. It should secure our thoughtful attention, and be taught in our schools and colleges. We should demand from the Government absolute protection to the fur seal; our humane societies, which have accomplished so much, should extend their good offices to the protection of song birds, the wild game of our forests, and to all animal life.

 

SKETCH OF LOUIS FIGUIER.
By IDA M. TARBELL.

WHO in America, reading twenty years ago, does not remember The World before the Deluge? It was translated from French into English at a time when the great call in our schools was for more science; when the ministers in numbers of pulpits were "reconciling Genesis with geology," and when boys and girls of fifteen were observing strata and fossil plants and animals as they never had before. Its direct statements, its vivid pictures, above all its exciting reconstructions of primitive epochs—a Silurian age whose principal inhabitant was a tranquil trilobite; a carboniferous era rich in giant ferns and "horsetails"; a Jurassic, whose terrible denizens, ichthyosaurus, plesiosaurus, pterodactyl, haunted the dreams—caused it to be read by hundreds of young people. There are many men and women in America who can trace their first interest in geology to that work, or to some one of those in the series to which it belonged.

The author of The World before the Deluge, M. Louis Figuier, it was my fortune to meet frequently in the winter of 1893 and '94 in his home in Paris, and the announcement of his death a few months ago led me to believe that many American readers might be interested in the recollections I have of our conversations and in the impressions his curious personality made upon me. M. Figuier was one of those men whom the popular fancy had wearied of and dropped, and who, unable to understand why he was not as thoroughly in touch with his generation as ever, insisted tenaciously on being heard.

The modest apartment of M. Figuier, like the house, was of a past generation. Its vestibule, whose walls were covered with the light striped paper in vogue long ago, and hung with family portraits in fading crayon and water colors, was furnished with