Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/247

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235
EDITOR'S TABLE.

themselves with forms of life hitherto inaccessible and known chiefly in books, the aquarium is invaluable, and will be a great help in promoting the work of science. The museum shows us dead specimens, stuffed, dried, and variously preserved, and is of course not without interest. But the aquarium opens to us the living, moving curiosities and wonders that are nowhere else to be seen. What the menagerie is to the creatures of the forest, the desert, and the prairie, the aquarium is to the tenants of the lake, the river, and the ocean. But, while land-animals have long been captured and collected for inspection, the aquarium is a new and recent affair, involving great difficulties in its successful management. These difficulties can only be overcome at large expense, by persevering experience, and through special and thorough knowledge of the conditions of life of an immense variety of aquatic creatures. The opportunity such an establishment opens to the scientific observer, investigator, and experimenter, should be highly prized, and we have no doubt it will be well appreciated by this class of students.

In an educational point of view, or as a means of popular instruction, a well-stocked aquarium cannot fail to be of the highest value. Natural history is a growing subject in our schools, but is so generally pursued merely from textbooks which give no real knowledge, that a great available museum of living objects is precisely what is wanted to give reality and efficiency to this branch of study. The New York Aquarium should be brought into very close relations with the common-school system of the city. We are glad to observe that this element of its usefulness has not been overlooked in the plan and management of the enterprise. Provisions for study, instruction, and systematic observation have been incorporated with it, and this feature has been held so important as to be placed in special charge of a cultivated naturalist. Mr. W. S. Ward, who has been abroad this season and visited the chief aquariums of Europe, with a view of acquiring information that will be valuable to the scientific management, will devote himself to the educational service of the institution.

It is a noteworthy fact that we are indebted for the New York Aquarium entirely to private enterprise. There was talk that the city would establish something of the kind in the Central Park; but it came to nothing, and, after the municipal fizzle over the fossil restorations undertaken by Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, we may conclude that it was perhaps best that the city did not undertake this work. But what it was unable or disinclined to do has been projected and carried out by the persevering enterprise of Mr. W. C. Coup, who has devoted his energy to its organization, and risked his money upon his chance of success. The aquarium is an honor to this metropolis and promises a large benefit to the public, and it should be liberally patronized and well sustained. We have no doubt it will meet from all classes with the encouragement it certainly deserves.

 

 

A CASE IN MENTAL PHYSIOLOGY.

An account comes to us of an enterprising Englishwoman who was equal to the following exploits in sharp practice: "By a series of the most extraordinary misrepresentations and cleverly carried out impostures, she raised large sums of money on no security whatever, and spent them as recklessly; imposed on jewelers so that they trusted her with goods worth many hundreds of pounds; furnished grand houses entirely at the expense of trusting upholsterers; introduced herself by sheer impudence to one great nobleman after another, and then introduced her dupes, who, on the faith of those distinguished