Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/29

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

Science and Citizenship

are facilities provided for observation from the summit. Even to the old church and castle towers that survive with their stairway and their observing platform, access is generally made difficult or impossible to obtain. We lock them up, and if that does not guard them against the curiosity of the citizen and tourist, there are other well-known modes of generating indifference. There is the custom of charging an entrance fee, which represents a considerable slice out of the worker's day. And if all these precautions fail, there is the final and frequent resource of losing the key. Assuredly the gods first blind those whom they wish to destroy.

The Imperial Institute in London, which commemorates the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, is adorned with a handsome and commodious tower of many storeys. In each storey there is a large chamber. A visitor in the early days of the Institute asked permission to enter and ascend the tower. The officer in charge was complaisant, and offered to conduct the visitor over the tower; but the key could not be found, and the visitor said he would return another day. On his next visit he was told that the key had been found, but it was not considered advisable to use it, for the structure of the tower was defective! Is any further explanation needed of the admitted failure of the Institute in the first decade of its existence? Happily, it has now been reorganised, and entered on a more useful phase.

24