Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/859

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
835
SKETCH OF LEO LESQUEREUX.

untouched they were as well-behaved remnants of mortality as could be desired, but if meddled with, and the cupboard seems to have been always unlocked, they instantly resented the affront with knockings, rustlings, banging of doors, steps on the staircase, and other manifestations of outraged spirits. All this was alarming enough, and there was for a long time considerable difficulty in finding a care-taker, the simple expedient of burying the bones or of locking them securely away never apparently having occurred to any one. At last an old family gamekeeper (whom it was supposed the family ghost might tolerate), with his wife and a mischievous boy of about ten, were installed in charge. Gamekeepers are not as a rule much troubled with nerves. Familiarity in this instance, as in most others, bred contempt, till in a year or two the only notice the old man took of a violent outbreak on the part of his spiritual associates was to remark, "There's that dratted boy been a-playing w' they bones again" as if the youth were surreptitiously preparing to join an Ethiopian troupe!

Rain seldom fails us in England, and very rarely do we suffer from anything approaching to drought. The ordinary wells, pits, and springs suffice for the farmers' needs, and they can dispense with resort to magic arts in search of water. Yet in the provinces would a man be deemed worse than profane who should express doubt in the virtue of the divining-rod. It is true that search for hidden treasure is not as general a pursuit as it was before the days of the rural police; but when Dousterswivel makes his appearance, as he still does from time to time in quiet country towns, he can reckon upon many believers and a fair supply of victims.

Can we fail to join "Wide-oh"—Mr. Hardy's rural wizard—in his astonishment "that men could profess so little and believe so much at his house, when at church they professed so much and believed so little"?—Saturday Review.

 

SKETCH OF LEO LESQUEREUX.
By L. R. McCABE.

AMERICAN science owes an incalculable debt to the Geneva Revolutionary Council of 1848, that suppressed the Academy of Neufchâtel and sent to our shores Agassiz, Guyot, and Lesquereux. In the heart of Switzerland's mountain grandeur this illustrious trio first saw the light and drank of that love of Nature which, deepening with the years, peculiarly linked their lives. Agassiz had been in America two years, when he was joined by Guyot and Lesquereux, whose friendship had been formed while they were collaborators in the quaint Swiss town. Humboldt and Cuvier had showered their encomiums upon the great naturalist, and Continental Europe was heralding his praises, when the political changes of his native