Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/25

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PUBLIC AQUARIUMS IN EUROPE.

selves boldly back upon law, because we can interpret human progression, within the limitations by which it must everlastingly be circumscribed, not as an accident, but as part of a gradual and orderly unfolding of cosmic processes, that we can still hold fast to our faith on the one hand, in the permanent significance of duty; on the other hand, in the fundamental actuality of human aspirations. We said just now that we find inspiration to sow the seeds of action only by reason of our faith in the harvest of results. Well, science holds out no promise of the visionary harvest of a "far-off infinite bliss"; but it gives us definite assurrance of what, after all, is of vastly greater consequence to us—the steadily growing harvests of the years immediately to be. Little as each more separately can do, that little is thus seen to be well worth the doing; and the old message comes down the ages to us with ever-renewed force—"Work while it is yet day, for the night cometh when no man can work!"

 

PUBLIC AQUARIUMS IN EUROPE.
By BASHFORD DEAN,

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

THE life of the sea has ever had a peculiar interest to people of every class and calling—the strange and bright-colored fishes, the sea stars and anemones, the rich forests of seaweeds, the ghostly and luminous jellyfishes introduce to their observers a submerged world which bears with it every charm of the unreal and the unknown. A feeling of awe is not absent in the long, dusky corridor of an aquarium, as with hushed voices the visitors are gazing through the bright-colored windows; through each they may see the depths of a miniature ocean. Here a common interest brings together visitors of every class, and in the changing crowd are strangely mingled types of faces—refined, illiterate, scholarly, rustic—all fixed and earnest, absorbed with the brilliance and variety of the ever-changing scenes. Within the entrance of a gallery a number of sailors have long stood motionless before one of the larger tanks, watching the undulating movements of the swimming ray and the feeding of a dull-looking shark, with perhaps none the less interest that they have seen these fishes many times before. A few yards away a group of children are visiting the aquarium for the first time; they stand spellbound, gazing open-mouthed at the graceful movements of a sea horse; or if that they have discovered the large eight-armed cuttlefish which is slowly writhing itself into a less conspicuous corner of its rocky den? And yonder a gray-bearded