Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/115

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SKETCH OF WILLIAM SPOTTISWOODE.

dicted by the recorded fact that one out of a litter of common mice has become a "cantatore" or "cantatrice," while the rest have remained incapable of "favoring with a song."

The fact is that, although singing mice are not very rare, they are not common enough to have permitted any competent zoölogist to note their birth and parentage, observe their habits in life, and dissect them after death in a series so complete as to give assurance of scientific accuracy.

I was amused on reading in a paragraph in Nature of the 25th ult., that, in reply to a letter from Dr. Berdier in La Nature, affirming that mice sing, "a distinguished herpetologist, M. Lataste, suggested that Dr. Berdier might have made confusion with the singing of a raniform batrachian, the Bombinator igneus; but Dr. Berdier said there was no marshy ground near the room in which he had heard it, and he stuck to his assertion," There certainly was no "raniform batrachian, Bombinator igneus" in the comfortable dining-room in Gower Street, where I was introduced to "Nicodemus" and "The Chirper," and one would suppose that the instances of mice having been seen, as well as heard, singing, have been sufficiently numerous and well attested to render unnecessary so extravagant an explanation as that of the "distinguished herpetologist." The subject was, however, regarded as worthy of being brought before the Société d'Acclimatation at its last meeting, when M. Brierre confirmed the observation of Dr. Berdier, and stated that he had himself heard mice sing, though not more recently than 1851-'53.—Land and Water.

 
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SKETCH OF WILLIAM SPOTTISWOODE.

WE in the present number of the Monthly offer to our readers a portrait of Mr. William Spottiswoode, F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D., President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at its late session in Dublin.

William Spottiswoode is the son of Andrew Spottiswoode, M.P., printer to the Crown and the House of Lords, and prominent in the history of printing for his earnest encouragement of every invention tending to perfect that important art. The son was born in London, January 11, 1825. Having studied successively at the famous public schools of Eton and Harrow, winning high honors at the latter institution, he in 1842 entered Balliol College, University of Oxford, and three years later graduated A. B. as a first-class in mathematics. He had already made considerable progress in that particular branch of knowledge, and in 1837 and the following years had printed for circulation among his friends "Meditationes Analyticæ." He has ever since