Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/662

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
640
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

even for less than a year, be can never catch up. Others have been at work while he was idle, and he is left behind. Pecuniarily a naturalist's work does not pay; the same amount of energy and ability spent in any other direction would bring in ample recompense, but here it does not. It does, however, have its own reward: every new fact discovered gives the student far more pleasure than any money could; each new advance into the terra incognita of Nature lightens the inconveniences of poverty.

And now the question may arise. What is the use of discovering the secrets of Nature if there be no money in it? Yes, that is it. Everything must be reduced to a basis of dollars and cents! The utilitarians who propound such questions do not and can not see any value in learning for learning's sake; it must bring some pecuniary reward. In some instances it is readily seen that such studies have a direct influence in curing or ameliorating some of the ills that human flesh is heir to; in other instances their exact bearings are not immediately apparent. Just one hundred years ago an Italian physician, Galvani by name, discovered some facts which, while interesting, must have seemed at that time wholly without practical bearings. To-day no one can deny that they were fraught with great good to mankind. What would the world be without electricity as a servant? Yet Galvani's experiments contained the germ of all our numerous electrical discoveries. Who can say but that biological studies are to have an equal value in solid gold?

 

CELEBRATED CLOCKS.
By FREDERIC G. MATHER.

WHEN the Emperor Charles V of Spain retired to the Monastery of St. Yuste, he took with him Torriano, his clock-maker, in order to while away the time by constructing the movements of clocks. So wonderful were some of the pieces of work which they made, that the monks would not believe any one except the devil had a hand in them, until the machinery was shown to them by the ex-emperor. It was ordered by Charles that when he should die all of these clocks should cease running—and it is said to be a fact that his orders were obeyed.

Another king of Spain came to Geneva to see a clock which had been made by Droz, a merchant of that city. Upon the clock were seated a shepherd, a negro, and a dog. As the hour was struck, the shepherd played upon his flute, and the dog played gently at his feet. But, when the king reached forth to touch an apple that hung from a tree, under which the shepherd rested, the dog flew at him and barked so furiously that a live dog answered him, and the whole party left in