Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/834

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that he always turned it into Latin; and within a fortnight of his death he was discussing a passage of a Greek play with one of the accomplished medical men who attended him, interesting himself about the different pronunciation of ancient and modern Greek and the merits of Greek accentuation. Mathematics were not supposed to form a necessary part of a boy's education forty years ago, and it may be doubted whether even his dread of his uncle's ferule or the discipline at Winchester could have induced him to make any progress in the study. To the end of his life he always regarded it as a providential circumstance that nature had given him eight fingers and two thumbs, as the arrangement had enabled him to count as far as ten. When he was engaged on long inspections, which involved the expenditure of a good deal of money, he always carried it in small paper parcels, each containing ten sovereigns; and, though he was fond of quoting the figures which his secretary prepared for him in his reports, those who knew him best doubted whether they expressed any clear meaning to him. He liked, for instance, to state the number of eggs which various kinds of fish produced, but he never rounded off the calculations which his secretary made to enable him to do so. The unit at the end of the sum was, in his eyes, of equal importance to the figure, which represented millions, at the beginning of it.

Of Mr. Buckland's Christchurch days many good stories are told. Almost every one has heard of the bear which he kept at his rooms, of its misdemeanors, and of its rustication. Less familiar, perhaps, is the story of his first journey by the Great Western. The dons, alarmed at the possible consequences of a railway to London, would not allow Brunei to bring the line nearer than Didcot. Dean Buckland in vain protested against the folly of this decision, and the line was kept out of harm's way at Didcot. But, the very day on which it was opened, Mr. Frank Buckland, with one or two other undergraduates, drove over to Didcot, traveled up to London, and returned in time to fulfill all the regulations of the university. The Dean, who was probably not altogether displeased at the joke, told the story to his friends who had prided themselves on keeping the line from Oxford. "Here," he said, "you have deprived us of the advantages of a railway, and my son has been up to London."

It was probably no easy task to select a profession for a young man who had already distinguished himself by an eccentric love for animals, which had induced him to keep a bear at Oxford and a vulture at the deanery at Westminster. At his father's wish, Mr. Buckland decided on entering the medical profession. To qualify himself for his duties, he studied in Germany, at Paris, and at St. George's Hospital. While he was at Paris the cholera was raging, and the patients who died of it in hospital were allotted to the Anatomical School. Mr. Buckland, however, had the stoutest of nerves and the strongest of constitutions, and never contracted any illness during the year of