Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/696

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shoots it, and, in his study, with a knowledge of all its posituræ, produces a portrait that sparkles with active life. The figures are Audubon-like, of life-size, and every one is strikingly natural. And the trees and plants, too, are so accurate that any botanist can, at a glance, identify the species. Each picture has the Flemish peculiarity of scrupulous attention to details, being, in its own way, a bit of rigidly realistic art. All this commends the work especially to the naturalist, and is much in the spirit of the famous Audubon. And, joined to the youthfulness of the artist, it was just this realistic truthfulness which made these simple bird-pictures of New Jersey so attractive at the great Centennial show.

But, can we not see an intimate relation between this æsthetical outcome of the artist and his own ethical inwardness? All this tender care for the details, this high regard for the truthful narration of the pictorial story, comes of the scientific conscience. Its processes are directed by the religiosity of good, honest work; and thus form is given to what may be called, as its resultant, the conscientiousness of art.

And yet, strange to say, this charming naturalist and artist, this, so to speak, consecrated student of Nature in her own haunts, whom so long every one, both at home and abroad, lauded for his fidelity to Nature, has of late been under a cloud. Yes, the truthfulness of even Audubon stands under attaint of both ornithologists and botanists. Let us adduce the specifications.

Our boyish delight still lingers in memory over the reading of this wonderful man's account of his first sight of that bird whose celebrity, unhappily, has given place of late to an undesirable notoriety. In a burst of enthusiasm, in which the love of Nature and of country mingled, he called it "the bird of Washington," and that Science, to the end of time, should do the same, he named it Haliaëtus Washingtonii. Thus stands his behest to science in his "Ornithological Biography," vol. i., p. 58:

"He first saw it on the Upper Mississippi, in February, 1814. A few years after, he met with a pair near the Ohio River, in Kentucky, which had built their nest on a range of high cliffs. Two years after the discovery of the nest, he killed a male, which was the subject of his description. After this he saw two other pairs near the Ohio River. It seems not to have been seen by any other ornithologist. Though this bird is admitted as a species on the authority of Audubon, many ornithologists do not regard it as such; and, from Audubon's own testimony, there seems sufficient ground for doubting the validity of the species."—("American Cyclopædia," revised edition, article "Eagle.")

In one of those delightful "Letters on Ornithology," by Dr. Coues, now appearing in the Chicago Field (Letter IX., on the "Hawks"), occur these words:

"While we have gray eagles, and black eagles, and eagles without stint, my word for it, reader, this eagle business is about done to death. Let me beg you