Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/71

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59
BEGINNINGS IN SCIENCE AT MUGBY SCHOOL.

after the poor beggars behind hedges, and then bang at a robin, a wren, a yellow-hammer, or a tit, and perhaps blow it to pieces! That was not good enough. Partridge and pheasant shooting. Jack thought, are hardly much better sport, only you can eat them.

Of course, there was the excitement of cricket and foot-ball, hare-and-hounds, paper-chases, hurdle-racing, jumping — not only not bad, but altogether good and brave and manly sports. But, somehow, a lad of superior mental abilities wants something else.

Now, the scientist is also a hunter. He traces his descent from Nimrod — he is a hunter before the Lord. He roams through the stellar universe for his prey — hunts for stars, comets, planets. He is not daunted because he did not live on the world when it was young, millions of years ago; for he makes up for it by hunting the remains of the animals and plants that lived during countless

PSM V35 D071 Scales of roach and dace.jpg
Fig. 4. — Scale of Roach. Fig. 5. — Scale of Dace.

ages, and which have long been buried in the rocks of the earth's crust as fossils. He hunts for flowering plants and animals in all parts of the earth; braves heat and cold, hunger and thirst, wounds and death, in his ardent search for them. The structures of rocks do not escape his mineralogical hunting, nor the composition of any sort of substance, organic or inorganic, his chemical analysis. He hunts down stars thousands of millions of miles away with his telescope, and creatures less than the fifteen-thousandth part of an inch long with his microscope. Was there ever such a great hunter? This hunting instinct began scores of thousands of years ago, when the hairy, naked Palæolithic men hunted extinct hairy elephants and rhinoceroses. It has been de-