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EVOLUTION AND TIIE AMATEUR NATURALIST.

stone age.

The sun has risen over the great the attention of the wild bees, eastern plain that now constitutes which are already fussing around the German Ocean. From his them. Such advertisements do dwelling - place, consisting of a not concern him at all, and he riverside

cave,

the entrance of does not trouble himself about which is screened by roughly them any more than we trouble interlaced branches, strides one ourselves about the wants of of our ancestors of the early people with whom we have no

He is a brawny, points of contact. As he nears the hirsute savage, hard-featured and trampled spot where the thirsty ruddy like a modern tramp, with herds approach the water he hears his face and naked limbs stippled the shrill cackle of a blackbird over with tattoo - marks. His away in the forest some hundred dress, such as it is, is made of paces beyond the deer-path, and skins of the deer and wild cat, and the screech of a jay accompanied is drawn together by a belt hold- by the warning "pink pink” of a ing a flint axe. In his hand is pair of chaffinches coming from a his bow, and hanging behind his spot nearer to him. Instantly he left shoulder a rough quiver of slips behind the bole of a tree, and flint-tipped arrows. After a keen stands motionless and alert with look at the sky and up and down an arrow upon the string, for he the valley, he moves stealthily has received sure intelligence that away among the bracken and some beast of prey is prowling brambles towards a spot where the near, and it is necessary that he spotted deer of the forest are wont should gain the fullest information to drink at the stream. As he before proceeding. As he stands steps silently along, his eyes and there, still as the tree - trunks ears are alert for the least indi- about him, do you imagine that cation of the presence of prey his mind (although the nearest or of dangerous neighbours. Á alphabet is fifty thousand years off hundred facts have already been in the future) is sluggish or inobserved and commented upon active? It would be well for us (although perhaps unconsciously) if we could bring such keen and before he arrives at the river-bank. apposite thoughts to bear upon He has, in fact, during this short our avocations whenever we wished "journey to business” been read- as those which are now coursing ing his morning paper, including through his brain ! A dozen difthe Weather Forecast, the News ferent theories, suggested by the of the Night, and the State of the signs, are being sifted with lightMarkets as they affect his own ning rapidity and with masterly special calling As is the case discretion by the machinery inside with most of us when we read our of that rugged, weather - beaten modern newspapers, many of the head. At the same moment every items displayed before his eyes faculty is keenly astretch for furdo not awake any interest. For ther information which may aid instance, the varnished petals of in the conclusion he must come the buttercups which reflect the to before he stirs hand or foot. golden sunlight are there to catch Is it merely a belated fox slinking home to his earth in the oak-grove? yards after the herd, has given up He knows that fox well, and all the pursuit, and turned down the his kindred within an area of river-bank in the direction from several square miles. Or is some whence came the black bird's shriek larger and more terrible beast, of warning. The keen eyes of the some huge brindled machairodus, savage wander over the ground in or cave-bear, prowling among the search of one further piece of woods in front of him? Within evidence of the utmost importance. a few minutes while he stands At length he sees where the hoof there, scarcely moving an eyelid, of a flying hind has displaced a he has received news enough pebble. Bending down and shadfrom the disturbed birds and ing his eyes from the dazzling beasts in the valley to fill a column sunlight, he examines the damp in the Times. By comparing surface of the stone intently; and the different notes of alarm which when he rises, ten seconds later, reach his ears he learns at length he could tell you, if you were to that there are two sources of ask him, that the events recorded provocation afoot: one is com- in the writing on the ground happaratively near to him, and is pened almost exactly half an hour merely a fox or wild cat, he cannot before he arrived at the spot! tell which—for the chaffinches and If he were ready to reveal his the jays have the same name for methods you would probably learn both; but the other, where first that in making this calculation he he heard the blackbird's vehement took account of the temperature outcry, is a larger beast, which of the air, the direction of the from the shifting cries of protest, wind, the character of the pebble seems passing slowly down the and of the soil in which it had lain river-bank. As far as he can embedded. Plainly such problems judge, considering its beat and the could not be solved with success time of day, it is a sabre-toothed without an immense and most tiger on the prowl for deer. These accurate knowledge of natural conclusions have been come to, phenomena, an alert imagination, not only through the gathering of and logical ability of no mean innumerable facts, but by means order. of elaborate logical processes, and We will now wish him “good a power of judging the compara- hunting," and return across the tive value of evidence which centuries. For, although it would would do credit to a modern be very interesting to accompany Lord Chancellor.

him on his day's round and watch At length he cautiously moves his method of getting a living, we forward and comes upon the slot have "other fish to fry”; and havof the antlered herd. A glance ing, I think, captured what we tells him that they have been want for the purpose during our startled before reaching the brook, early excursion, we will no longer and have made their way at head- embarrass our archaic progenitor long speed back into the forest. with our clumsy civilised ways. Further scrutiny of the ground Whether or no this imaginary reveals the fact that a huge mach- family portrait is correct in its airodus has leaped from behind a details, I think we may be tolerbush, has clawed the flank of one ably positive as regards one pardeer without seizing it, and after ticular. It was an invariable and galloping clumsily some twenty essential mental habit with him

not only to gather facts, but to the spectroscope has done for the read their meaning, both imme- astronomer, or the discovery of diate and remote. Now if we are the cuneiform alphabet for the justified in ascribing the delight archæologist. As yet we are only which the study of natural history stumbling among the elements of gives to the fact that, when we are the new method, but already it is engaged in such pursuits, we are often possible, by exercising our obeying an inherent impulse de- reasoning faculty and our knowrived from our innumerable hunt- ledge of natural laws when observing ancestors, it follows that the ing the most commonplace phenomore closely such primitive in- mena, to see in them a revelation stincts are obeyed the more enjoy- of the past which was utterly bement will the naturalist be likely yond the reach of our fathers. to get from his pursuits. If, in Yet it must never be forgotten addition to merely collecting speci- that if our attempts to interpret mens and classifying them, we are Nature's hieroglyphics are not able, like our skin-clad forefathers, based upon extensive and accurate to regard each item as part of an knowledge, we shall run the same argument or a narrative, we shall risk of coming to wrong conclusions, reawaken more fully the keen de- as would the savage if he were not light in outdoor pursuits which thoroughly versed in all phases of was the daily portion of the his wild surroundings. It is necessavage.

sary to keep a constant check

upon Now this is exactly what Dar- the innate propensity to draw inwinism has enabled us to do. ferences from whatever we see or Even if we are among those who think we see. One finds that this go no further than did most of the habit of the human mind is curiolder naturalists, and content our- ously automatic : for constantly selves with merely observing and when we are in a "brown study," recording, our pursuits gain infin- and even when we are asleep, we itely in zest. For the most trivial find that attempts are being made, scrap of knowledge, which at one although often of a vague and time would only have been one fatuous kind, to give reasons for more item added to the chaotic what chances to be occupying the dust-heap of useless lore, may now attention. The fact that this habit turn out to be a diamond beyond is universal among mankind, and price. Many times of late years that it is also innate and autohas some small and apparently matic, asserts its extreme antiquity. valueless discovery enabled the Probably in it we find the actual man of science to establish some merging point of instinct and widely reaching law. No single reason. Like many other mental character in the book of Nature and moral attributes which have is without its meaning, and even come down to us from the remote when the key to her cipher is not past, it is liable to get us into yet in our hands, the astonishing grave trouble if not controlled by progress which has been made dur- the most vigilant discipline. Reing a single generation makes it garded in the light of a very raw probable that we have only to recruit, with Logic — that stern wait and to labour awhile longer martinet of the Intelligence Deto be able to read the wondrous partment—ever at its elbow, it is tale. Darwinism has done more still capable of rendering useful in this way for the naturalist than service.

home to his earth in the oak-grove? yards after the herd, has given up He knows that fox well, and all the pursuit, and turned down the his kindred within an area of river-bank in the direction from several square miles. Or is some whence came the blackbird's shriek larger and more terrible beast, of warning. The keen eyes of the some huge brindled machairodus, savage wander over the ground in or cave-bear, prowling among the search of one further piece of woods in front of him? Within evidence of the utmost importance. a few minutes while he stands At length he sees where the hoof there, scarcely moving an eyelid, of a flying hind has displaced a he has received news enough pebble. Bending down and shadfrom the disturbed birds and ing his eyes from the dazzling beasts in the valley to fill a column sunlight, he examines the damp in the Times.' By comparing surface of the stone intently; and the different notes of alarm which when he rises, ten seconds later, reach his ears he learns at length he could tell you, if you were to that there are two sources of ask him, that the events recorded provocation afoot: one is com- in the writing on the ground happaratively near to him, and is pened almost exactly half an hour merely a fox or wild cat, he cannot before he arrived at the spot ! tell which—for the chaffinches and If he were ready to reveal his the jays have the same name for methods you would probably learn both; but the other, where first that in making this calculation he he heard the blackbird's vehement took account of the temperature outcry, is a larger beast, which of the air, the direction of the from the shifting cries of protest, wind, the character of the pebble seems passing slowly down the and of the soil in which it had lain river - bank. As far as he can embedded. Plainly such problems judge, considering its beat and the could not be solved with success time of day, it is a sabre-toothed without an immense and most tiger on the prowl for deer. These accurate knowledge of natural conclusions have been come to, phenomena, an alert imagination, not only through the gathering of and logical ability of no mean innumerable facts, but by means order, of elaborate logical processes, and We will now wish him “good a power of judging the compara- hunting,” and return across the tive value of evidence which centuries. For, although it would would do credit to a modern be very interesting to accompany Lord Chancellor.

him on his day's round and watch At length he cautiously moves his method of getting a living, we forward and comes upon the slot have "other fish to fry"; and havof the antlered herd. A glance ing, I think, captured what we tells him that they have been want for the purpose during our startled before reaching the brook, early excursion, we will no longer and have made their way at head- embarrass our archaic progenitor long speed back into the forest. with our clumsy civilised ways. Further scrutiny of the ground Whether or no this imaginary reveals the fact that a huge mach- family portrait is correct in its airodus has leaped from behind a details, I think we may be tolerbush, has clawed the flank of one ably positive as regards one pardeer without seizing it, and after ticular. It was an invariable and galloping clumsily some twenty essential mental habit with him not only to gather facts, but to the spectroscope has done for the read their meaning, both imme- astronomer, or the discovery of diate and remote. Now if we are the cuneiform alphabet for the justified in ascribing the delight archæologist. As yet we are only which the study of natural history stumbling among the elements of gives to the fact that, when we are the new method, but already it is engaged in such pursuits, we are often possible, by exercising our obeying an inherent impulse de- reasoning faculty and our knowrived from our innumerable hunt- ledge of natural laws when observing ancestors, it follows that the ing the most commonplace phenomore closely such primitive in mena, to see in them à revelation stincts are obeyed the more enjoy- of the past which was utterly bement will the naturalist be likely yond the reach of our fathers. to get from his pursuits. If, in Yet it must never be forgotten addition to merely collecting speci- that if our attempts to interpret mens and classifying them, we are Nature's hieroglyphics are not able, like our skin-clad forefathers, based upon extensive and accurate to regard each item as part of an knowledge, we shall run the same argument or a narrative, we shall risk of coming to wrong conclusions, reawaken more fully the keen de- as would the savage if he were not light in outdoor pursuits which thoroughly versed in all phases of was the daily portion of the his wild surroundings. It is necessavage.

sary to keep a constant check upon Now this is exactly what Dar- the innate propensity to draw inwinism has enabled us to do. ferences from whatever we see or Even if we are among those who think we see. One finds that this go no further than did most of the habit of the human mind is curiolder naturalists, and content our ously automatic : for constantly selves with merely observing and when we are in a "brown study," recording, our pursuits gain infin- and even when we are asleep, we itely in zest. For the most trivial find that attempts are being made, scrap of knowledge, which at one although often of a vague and time would only have been one fatuous kind, to give reasons for more item added to the chaotic what chances to be occupying the dust-heap of useless lore, may now attention. The fact that this habit turn out to be a diamond beyond is universal among mankind, and price. Many times of late years that it is also innate and autohas some small and apparently matic, asserts its extreme antiquity. valueless discovery enabled the Probably in it we find the actual man of science to establish some merging point of instinct and widely reaching law. No single reason. Like many other mental character in the book of Nature and moral attributes which have is without its meaning, and even come down to us from the remote when the key to her cipher is not past, it is liable to get us into yet in our hands, the astonishing grave trouble if not controlled by progress which has been made dur- the most vigilant discipline. Reing a single generation makes it garded in the light of a very raw probable that we have only to recruit, with Logic — that stern wait and to labour awhile longer martinet of the Intelligence Deto be able to read the wondrous partment over at its elbow, it is tale. Darwinism has done more still capable of rendering useful in this way for the naturalist than service.

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