Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/817

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799
THE PRESENT STATUS OF MINERALOGY.

man walking along the road knew that a stranger was walking behind him. The first man sneezed, and, though he was a bachelor, he liked to appear to be the head of a household, and exclaimed, "Ah, my wife is thinking of me!" The second man, on reaching home, asked his wife why she had not thought of him at all that day. The wife inquired why he asked that unusual question, and, after much persuasion, got him to reveal the reason for his unjust accusation of disregard. When he told her that he had not sneezed, while his fellow-traveler had received that proof of a wife's remembrance, the wise little woman told her jealous spouse that on the morrow he would have evidence of her consideration. The next morning he went to carry two jars of oil to a neighboring village, and, as the sun was hot, his wife urged his wearing a wet towel on his head under his hat to protect him from the heat. The towel was cold, and gave the poor man a chill. Just as he was going down a steep slope he sneezed violently, stumbled, fell, and spilled the oil. When he reached home that evening, he said to his wife, "If you are going to think of me when I am absent, I wish you would do it when I am on level ground, and not when I am going down-hill!"


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THE PRESENT STATUS OF MINERALOGY.

By Professor F. W. CLARKE.

IN the study of any branch of science it is well to pause occasionally, that we may look about us, see where we are, what we are doing, and what we had better do. For that which distinguishes science from empirical knowledge is its unity of purpose, its coherence, and its definite relation of part to part; and these features develop best when attention is temporarily withdrawn from the details of special research. As a science growls, and increases in complexity, the individual worker must confine himself more and more to particular investigations; these, to him, assume undue importance, and their higher significance as part of a broad general field is ignored or lost. The petty details are essential; but, incoördinated, they make not science, but chaos. The scattered bricks are good material, but they must be brought together into one symmetrical structure.

These remarks are particularly true of a concrete science like mineralogy. Here we have a branch of knowledge which rests upon the observation of material facts; and which, hitherto, has owed little to abstract reasoning. Ii has grown up, partly as a "natural" science, partly as an outlying division of chemistry; and hypothesis has had little to do with its upbuilding. The mineralogist collects, observes, describes, and classifies species as he finds them, determines their mode of occurrence, chemical composition, and physical properties; and then, too often, considers his work finished, except as re-