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st sight of these features, which had caught his attention the moment he landed on the continent. In one of his later lectures he gives a striking account of this first impression. In the autumn of 1846, he says, six years after my visit to Great Britain in search of glaciers, 1 sailed for America. When the steamer stopped at Halifax, eager to set foot on the new continent so full of promise for me, I sprang on shore and started at a brisk pace for the heights above the landing. On the first undisturbed ground, after leaving the town, I was met by the familiar signs, the polished surfaces, the furrows and scratches, the line engraving, so well known in the Old World; and I became convinced of what I had already anticipated as the logical sequence of my previous investigations, that here also this great agent had been at work. The incident seems a very natural introduction to the following letter, written a few months later:— To Elie de Beaumont. Boston, August 31, 1847.
early opportunity of seeing some embryos, freeing themselves from their envelope. Meanwhile a number of these eggs containing live embryos were cut out of the nest and placed in separate glass jars, in order to multiply the chances of preserving them; while the nest as a whole was secured in alcohol, as a memorial of our discovery. The next day I found two embryos in my glass jars; they moved occasionally in jerks, and then rested a long time motionless on the bottom of the jar. On the third day I had over a dozen of these young fishes, the oldest beginning to be more active. I need not relate in detail the evidence I soon obtained that these embryos were actually fishes. . . . But what kind of fish was it? At about the time of hatching, the fins differ too much from those of the adult, and the general form has too few peculiarities, to give any clew to this problem. I could only suppose it would prove to be one of the pelagic species of the Atlantic. In former years I had m
g people, rough trellises of tree-trunks interwoven with branches; green as arbors while fresh, a coarse thatch when dry. There was always a large open space in front, sheltered by the projecting thatch of the house, and furnished sometimes with a rough table and benches. Here would be the women at their work, or the children at play, or sometimes the drovers taking their lunch of tortillas and wine, while their animals munched their midday meal hard by. The scenery was often fine. On the third day the fertile soil, watered by many rivers, was exchanged for a sandy plain, broken by a thorny mimosa scattered over the surface. This plain lay between the Cordillera of the Andes and the Coast Range. As the road advanced farther inland, the panorama of the Cordilleras became more and more striking. In the glow of the sunset, the peaks of the abrupt, jagged walls and the volcano like summits were defined against the sky in all their rugged beauty. There was little here to remind one
n the moonbeams. We crossed the plain during the night, and reached Augsburg at dawn. It is a beautiful city, but we merely stopped there for breakfast, and saw the streets only as we passed through them. On leaving Augsburg, the Tyrolean Alps, though nearly forty leagues away, were in sight. About eighteen leagues off was also discernible an immense forest; of this we had a nearer view as we advanced, for it encircles Munich at some distance from the town. We arrived here on Sunday, the 4th, in the afternoon. . . . My address is opposite the Sendlinger Thor No. 37. I have a very pretty chamber on the lower floor with an alcove for my bed. The house is situated outside the town, on a promenade, which makes it very pleasant. Moreover, by walking less than a hundred yards, I reach the Hospital and the Anatomical School,—a great convenience for me when the winter weather begins. One thing gives me great pleasure: from one of my windows the whole chain of the Tyrolean Alps is vis
cles seemed insurmountable where great aims were involved, and the opening of the school was announced for the 8th of July. He left Boston on Friday, the 4th of July, for the island. At New Bedford he was met by a warning from the architect that it would be simply impossible to open the school at the appointed date. With characteristic disregard of practical difficulties, he answered that it must be possible, for postponement was out of the question. He reached the island on Saturday, the 5th, in the afternoon. The aspect was certainly discouraging. The dormitory was up, but only the frame was completed; there were no floors, nor was the roof shingled. The next day was Sunday. Agassiz called the carpenters together. He told them that the scheme was neither for money, nor for the making of money; no personal gain was involved in it. It was for the best interests of education, and for that alone. Having explained the object, and stated the emergency, he asked whether, under th
ition to the programme of studies: I shall myself superintend the methods of instruction and tuition, and while maintaining that regularity and precision in the studies so important to mental training shall endeavor to prevent the necessary discipline from falling into a lifeless routine, alike deadening to the spirit of teacher and pupil. It is farther my intention to take the immediate charge of the instruction in Physical Geography, Natural History, and Botany, giving a lecture daily, Saturdays excepted, on one or other of these subjects, illustrated by specimens, models, maps, and drawings. In order not to interrupt the course of the narrative, the history of this undertaking in its sequence and general bearing on his life and work may be completed here in a few words. This school secured to him many happy and comparatively tranquil years. It enabled him to meet both domestic and scientific expenses, and to pay the heavy debt he had brought from Europe as the penalty of his
see him take his place on the platform, without anxiety. And yet, when he turned to the blackboard, and, with a single sweep of the chalk, drew the faultless outline of an egg, it seemed impossible that anything could be amiss with the hand or the brain that were so steady and so clear. The end, nevertheless, was very near. Although he dined with friends the next day, and was present at a family festival that week, he spoke of a dimness of sight, and of feeling strangely asleep. On the 6th he returned early from the Museum, complaining of great weariness, and from that time he never left his room. Attended in his illness by his friends, Dr. Brown-Sequard and Dr. Morrill Wyman, and surrounded by his family, the closing week of his life was undisturbed by acute suffering and full of domestic happiness. Even the voices of his brother and sisters were not wholly silent, for the wires that thrill with so many human interests brought their message of greeting and farewell across t
I have been to Cudrefin for lampreys, but found nothing. Rodolphe An experienced old boatman. has been paddling in the brook every day without success. I went to Sauge,—no eels, no anything but perch and a few little cat-fish. Two mortal Sundays did I spend, rod in hand, trying to catch bream, chubs, etc. I did get a few, but they were not worth sending. Now it is all over for this year, and we may as well put on mourning for them; but I promise you that as soon as the spring opens I h I made a special study last summer. Twice a week Karl Schimper lectures to us on the morphology of plants; a very interesting course on a subject but little known. He has twelve listeners. Agassiz is also to give us lectures occasionally on Sundays upon the natural history of fishes. You see there is enough to do . . . Somewhat before this, early in 1828, Agassiz had made the acquaintance of Mr. Joseph Dinkel, an artist. A day spent together in the country, in order that Mr. Dinkel m
nters together. He told them that the scheme was neither for money, nor for the making of money; no personal gain was involved in it. It was for the best interests of education, and for that alone. Having explained the object, and stated the emergency, he asked whether, under these circumstances, the next day was properly for rest or for work. They all answered for work. They accordingly worked the following day from dawn till dark, and by night-fall the floors were laid. On Monday, the 7th, the partitions were put up, dividing the upper story into two large dormitories; the lower, into sufficiently convenient working-rooms. On Tuesday morning (the 8th), with the help of a few volunteers, chiefly ladies connected with the school, who had arrived a day or two in advance, the dormitories, which were still encumbered by shavings, sawdust, etc., were swept, and presently transformed into not unattractive sleeping-halls. They were divided by neat sets of furniture into equal spaces
ten busy too with Oken. His Natur-philosophie gives me the greatest pleasure. I long for my box, being in need of my books, which, no doubt, you have sent. Meantime, I am reading something of Universal History, and am not idle, as you see. But I miss the evenings with you and Schimper at Heidelberg, and wish I were with you once more. I am afraid when that happy time does come, it will be only too short. . . . Braun to Agassiz. Heidelberg, May, 1827. . . . On Thursday evening, the 10th, I reached Heidelberg. The medical lectures did not begin till the second week of May, so that I have missed little, and almost regret having returned so soon. . . . I passed the last afternoon in Basel very pleasantly with Herr Roepper, to whom I must soon write. He gave me a variety of specimens, showed me many beautiful things, and told me much that was instructive. He is a genuine and excellent botanist, and no mere collector like the majority. Neither is he purely an observer like Dr
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