Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/427

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413
EDITOR'S TABLE.

rine Biological Laboratory anything we might find of interest or of use. We took advantage of this kind permission to detach from the walls the inscriptions which decorated the laboratory, and to which President Jordan refers. They were written on heavy paper and were in perfect preservation; they will hereafter adorn the walls of the linear descendant of the Penikese school the—Marine Biological Laboratory.

The inscriptions were not written upon the blackboard, as President Jordan states, on the authority of Prof. Eigenmann. This was occupied by some notes and drawings apparently used in illustration of a lecture on the vertebrata, said, I know not on what authority, to have been delivered by Prof. Wilder. The inscriptions themselves are not quite correctly quoted by President Jordan. They are as follows:

"Study Nature, not books."
"Learn to say, I do not know."
"A laboratory is to me a sanctuary, and I would have nothing done therein unworthy of the great Creator."

I quote these from memory, and am not quite sure as to the completeness of the second one, though what I have given contains the gist of it. It is advice which all young teachers, for whom it was primarily intended, should conscientiously heed.

Yours respectfully,
J. Playfair McMurrich.
University of Cincinnati, April 7, 1892.
 

 

FLOWERING HABIT OF THE AMERICAN ALOE.

Editor Popular Science Monthly.

Sir: In Grant Allen's very readable paper in the May issue—A Desert Fruit—mention is made of the American aloe (Agave americana) in a way to mislead as to its flowering habit. Permit me to say that the plant in question does not, as the writer says, "flower . . . once in some fifteen years or so"; it flowers once only, and then dies. In this city it is somewhat the exception for a summer to pass without one or more specimens of the agave throwing up an immense flower-stalk—not a spike but a panicle—to the height of twenty-five feet or more, with large clusters of flowers on the ends of its two-to six-foot branching pedicels; but, after the development of the flowers and ripening of the fruit, nothing remains of the previous tall rosette of fleshy leaves but a lot of withered and empty skins. And, by the way, the house-leek (Sempervivum tectorum), which takes several years to flower—five or six in these parts—has the same trick of dying as soon as it completes the process. It is doubtless on account of the habit which both these plants have, of multiplying by suckers or stolons, that many have overlooked their monocarpous nature, and have supposed that the new plants standing around were the same as flowered fifteen years ago.

George Pyburn.
Sacramento, Cal., May 1, 1892.

[We are glad to have the above particulars about the habit of the aloe, but we do not find in Mr. Allen's casual words any assertion that the same plant flowers more than once. Editor.]

 

 

A CORRECTION.

Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Sir: On page 137 of your May number you inadvertently do a great injustice to Mr. Nicola Tesla, by styling him "the able lieutenant of Mr. Edison."

Mr. Tesla is an independent investigator, whose path has been the development of the alternating current, while Mr. Edison has followed the course of the direct current. I venture to suggest a note of correction.

Yours faithfully,
Charles Paine.
Century Club, New York, April 23, 1892.
 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

MOTHERHOOD.

MUCH advance has been made within the last generation in the matter of the education of women; bat even the ambitious programmes of the present day do not make as full or as distinct provision as might be desired for instruction in the elementary duties and responsibilities of motherhood. We are very ready to allow that not every woman is called to be a mother, and we sympathize to a considerable extent with those who object to holding up marriage as the only goal at which women should aim. At the same time we incline very strongly to the opinion that the education of no woman can be complete unless it embraces the best obtainable knowledge as to how children should be brought up and trained, and as to the