Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/562

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Then he ventured upon a repetition of his exercise before anything had moved in his neighborhood. I opened the door in the midst of his practice and he stopped, and he never would crow when any one was present. There is nothing particularly remarkable in the crowing of itself, for many birds imitate the sounds made by other animals. The curious fact about this circumstance was, that the bird would not crow in my presence, and would always stop when any one appeared to witness his exercise. There is no evidence that he had ever had an unpleasant experience in connection with crowing. His conduct must therefore be attributed to a kind of feeling of shame, or to a sense of the unfitness of that method of expression to a bird of his character and standing. Have we not in this another proof of the possession by animals of a psychical quality which it has been usual to regard as peculiarly and distinctively human?—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Kosmos.


THE contributions of Sir David Brewster to the progress of science were principally connected with his researches in optical properties and phenomena; and many of his discoveries in this line were almost immediately turned to practical use. He also did a wholesome work in diffusing knowledge and awakening interest in scientific subjects by the publication of his popular and readable but accurate and carefully prepared books.

Sir David Brewster was born at Jedburgh, Scotland, December 11, 1781. His father was rector of the grammar-school, and a teacher of considerable reputation, whom neighborhood fame characterized as "the best Latin scholar and the quickest temper in Scotland"; but he was kindly withal. It was intended that David should become a minister, and he was sent to the University of Edinburgh, to be educated with a view to that profession, when only twelve years old. His tastes had, however, even before this time, turned into another direction. It is recorded of his earlier school-days that, though he was never seen to pore over his books like the other boys, he always had his lessons, kept a prominent place in his classes, and was frequently applied to by his fellow-pupils for assistance. And it was in the days of his childhood "that a dilapidated pane of glass in an upper window of his father's house produced the inquiring thoughts which led him afterward to search into the mysteries of refracted light."

He had become acquainted with James Veitch, of Inchbonny, half a mile from Jedburgh, whom Sir Walter Scott has mentioned as a "self-taught philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician." Veitch