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Francis Trevelyan Buckland

Most of those whose lives are sketched in this volume lived to be old

men; but Frank Buckland, the pet and pride of thousands in England, died

in his prime, almost at the beginning of his fame; a man of whose life

our "Popular Science Monthly" says, "None more active, varied, and

useful is recorded in scientific biography."

He was the oldest son of the Dean of Westminster, Dr. William Buckland,

and was bo
n December 17, 1826, at Christ Church, Oxford, of which

cathedral his father was canon at that time.

"I was told," says Frank, in later years, "that, soon after my birth, my

father and my godfather, the late Sir Francis Chantry, weighed me in the

kitchen scales against a leg of mutton, and that I was heavier than the

joint provided for the family dinner that day. In honor of my arrival,

my father and Sir Francis went into the garden and planted a birch tree.

I know the taste of the twigs of that birch tree well. Sir Francis

Chantry offered to give me a library. 'What is the use of a library to a

child an hour old?' said my father. 'He will live to be sorry for that

answer,' said Sir Francis. I never got the library.

"One of my earliest offences in life was eating the end of a carriage

candle. For this, the birch rod not being handy, my father put me into a

furze bush, and therein I did penance for ten minutes. A furze bush does

not make a pleasant lounge when only very thin summer garments are


The father, Dean Buckland, was distinguished as a man of letters, and

for his geological research. The mother, as is often the case with sons

of genius, was a remarkable woman, who idolized her boy, and who

received in return an affection unusual in its intimacy and confidence.

She began to write about him early, in her journal. "At two and a half

years of age," she says, "he never forgets either pictures or people he

has seen. Four months ago, as well as now, he would have gone through

all the natural history books in the Radcliffe Library, without making

one error in miscalling a parrot, a duck, a kingfisher, an owl, or a


On taking him to see the camelopard and kangaroos in Windsor Park, she

says, "He ran about with the latter and the other live animals without

the least fear, though he got thrown down by them. He is a robust,

sturdy child, sharp as a needle, but so volatile that I foresee some

trouble in making him fix his attention."

When three and a half, she says, "he certainly is not at all premature;

his great excellence is in his disposition, and apparently very strong

reasoning powers, and a most tenacious memory as to facts. He is always

asking questions, and never forgets the answers he receives, if they are

such as he can comprehend. If there is anything he cannot understand, or

any word, he won't go on till it has been explained to him. He is always

wanting to see everything made, or to know how it is done; there is no

end to his questions, and he is never happy unless he sees the relations

between cause and effect."

At four he began collecting specimens of natural history. At this time a

clergyman brought some fossils to Dr. Buckland. Calling his son, who was

playing in the room, the Dean said, "Frankie, what are these?"

"They are the vertebrae of an ichthyosaurus," lisped the child, unable to

speak plainly.

Mrs. Buckland gave her boy a small cabinet, which now bears this

inscription: "This is the first cabinet I ever had; my mother gave it to

me when about four years old, December, 1830. It is the nucleus of all

my natural-history work. Please take care of the poor old thing."

"In his early home at Christ Church," says Frank Buckland's

brother-in-law, George C. Bompas, in his interesting life of the

naturalist, "besides the stuffed creatures, which shared the hall with

the rocking-horse, there were cages full of snakes, and of green frogs,

in the dining-room, where the sideboard groaned under successive layers

of fossils, and the candles stood on ichthyosauri's vertebrae.

Guinea-pigs were often running over the table, and, occasionally, the

pony, having trotted down the steps from the garden, would push open the

dining-room door, and career round the table, with three laughing

children on his back; and then, marching through the front door, and

down the steps, would continue his course round Tom Quad.

"In the stable yard and large wood-house were the fox, rabbits,

guinea-pigs, and ferrets, hawks and owls, the magpie and jackdaw,

besides dogs, cats, and poultry, and in the garden was the tortoise (on

whose back the children would stand to try its strength), and toads

immured in various pots, to test the truth of their supposed life in

rock cells."

The boy Frank naturally developed a taste for natural history in the

midst of such surroundings. At nine years of age, he was sent to school

at Cotterstock, in Northamptonshire, and at twelve was elected scholar

of Winchester College.

He tells an interesting experience on his entrance. "Immediately after

chapel, the old stager boys all came round the new arrivals, to examine

and criticise them. I perfectly recollect one boy, H., to whose special

care my poor confiding mother had entrusted her innocent, unsuspecting

cub, coming up to me with a most solemn face, and asking me if I had

brought with me a copy of the school-book, 'Pempe moron proteron.' I

said I had not. 'Then,' said he, 'you must borrow one at once, or the

doctor,' i. e. Dr. Moberly, the head master, 'will be sure to flog you

to-morrow morning, and your college tutor, one of the praefects, will

also lick you.'

"So he sent me to another boy, who said he had lent his 'Pempe moron

proteron,' but he passed me on to a third, he on to a fourth; so I was

running about all over the college till quite late, in a most terrible

panic of mind, till at last a good-natured praefect said, 'Construe it,

you little fool.' I had never thought of this before. I saw it directly:

Pempe (send) moron (a fool) proteron (further). So the title of

this wonderful book, after all, was, 'Send a fool further.' I then went

to complain to H.; he only laughed, and shied a Donnegan's Lexicon at my


"A few nights afterwards," says Frank, "I dreamt I was wandering on the

seashore, and that a crab was pinching my foot. Instantly awakening, I

experienced a most frightful pain in my great toe. I bore it for a

while, until at last it became so intense that I had to jump up with a

howl of agony; all was quiet, but the pull continued, and I had to

follow my toe and outstretched leg out of bed. I then found a bit of

netted whipcord tight round it; but the whipcord was so ingeniously

twisted among the beds, that it was impossible to find out who had

pulled it. I returned to bed as savage as a wounded animal. The moment I

was settled, the boys all burst into a shout: 'Toe fit tied! By Jove,

what a lark!' This barbarous process is called 'toe fit tie' because

there is a line in Prosody which begins, 'To fit ti, ut verto verti.'

Hence the origin of this Winchester custom."

A school friend says of Frank at this time: "Imagine a short, quick-eyed

little boy, with a shock head of reddish brown hair (not much amenable

to a hair-brush), a white neck-cloth tied like a piece of rope with no

particular bow, and his bands sticking out under either ear as fancy

pleased him,--in fact, a boy utterly indifferent to personal appearance,

but good-tempered and eccentric, with a small museum in his sleeve or

cupboard, sometimes a snake, or a pet mouse, or a guinea-pig, or even a

hedge-hog. In the summer he would be always in the hedgerows, after

birds, weasels, or mice, or in the water-meadows, after crayfish,

tomculls, and other fish which hide under stones.... In fact, he was a

born naturalist."

Another says: "Frank set up a sort of amateur dispensary or hospital. He

had a patient or two. One man I remember, with a bad hand, who used to

come down to College Gate at twelve o'clock to consult him and be

experimented upon. In his toys (cupboard) he had various bottles and

specimens, one very highly treasured possession being a three-legged


"His own natural disposition was of the sweetest and gentlest. I never

saw him in a passion, though he used to get a good deal teased at one

time for his untidiness. But he always had a bright smile amidst it all,

and was ready to do anything for anybody immediately after. One thing

used to strike me very much about him, and that was his exceeding love

for his mother. Boys are generally reticent upon this point, but Frank

seemed never tired of telling me about his, and how much he owed her....

"In school hours he was a painstaking and conscientious worker, never

leaving his lessons or preparing his task quicker or better than when he

had some pet, a dormouse or sometimes a snake, twisting and wriggling

inside his college waistcoat, which, having found its way out at his

boots, would be carefully replaced under the waistcoat, to go through

the same journey again."

While at Winchester, Frank determined to become a surgeon, and chose as

a parting gift from one of his tutors, instead of Goldsmith's poems,

"Graham's Domestic Medicine." At his request, his parents sent him a

lancet, with which he bled his college mates, if they were courageous

enough to submit to the operation, offering each one sixpence as an

inducement. Nevertheless, when, in vacation, he witnessed an amputation

at the Infirmary, he fainted.

When Frank left Winchester, Bishop Moberly said, "I always had the

utmost satisfaction in him as a school-boy; and I look back with very

great regard to his simple, earnest character, and his devotion to the

studies which have made him so well known. To me he was just what I

always found him, full of curious information, excellently kind-tempered

and affectionate."

In 1844, at the age of eighteen, Frank entered Christ Church, Oxford.

Here he turned the court between his college rooms and the canon's

gardens into a menagerie. He owned a young bear, Tiglath Pileser, Jacko

the monkey, an eagle, a jackal, besides marmots, guinea-pigs, squirrels,

and dormice, an adder and other snakes, tortoises, green frogs and a

chameleon. Skeletons and stuffed specimens were numerous.

Many of these pets strayed away. The marmot got into the chapter-house,

and the eagle stationed himself in the chapel doorway, and attacked

those who wished to enter.

Dr. Liddon tells of being invited to Frank's rooms, to breakfast with

him. "The marmots, which had hibernated in the cellar below, had just,

as he expressed it, 'thawed.' There was great excitement; the creatures

ran about the table, as entitled to the honors of the day; though there

were other beasts and reptiles in the room too, which in later life

would have made breakfasting difficult. Speaking of reptiles, one very

early incident in my Oxford life was joining in a hunt of Frank's adder.

It had escaped into Mr. Benson's rooms, and was pursued into the bedroom

by a group of undergraduates, who had, however, different objects in

view. Frank certainly had the well-being of the adder chiefly at heart,

the rest of us, I fear, were governed by the lower motive of escaping

being bitten anyhow--if consistently with the adder's safely, well--if

not, still of escaping. Eventually, the adder was caught, I believe,

without great damage.

"One day I met Frank just outside Tom Gate. His trousers pockets were

swollen out to an enormous size; they were full of slow-worms in damp

moss. Frank explained to me that this combination of warmth and moisture

was good for the slow-worms, and that they enjoyed it. They certainly

were very lively, poking their heads out incessantly, while he repressed

them with the palms of his hands....

"He was certainly one of the most popular men in Christ Church; when he

was in the schools, to be examined viva voce, almost the whole

undergraduate world of Christ Church was there.... He always struck me,

in respect of the most serious matters, as combining strength and

simplicity very remarkably; it was impossible to talk to him and not to

be sure that God, life, death, and judgment were to him solid and

constantly present realities."

Another college friend says: "One evening when I was devoting an hour to

coaching him up for his 'little go,' I took care to tuck up my legs, in

Turkish fashion, on the sofa, for fear of a casual bite from the jackal

which was wandering about the room. After a time I heard the animal

munching up something under the sofa, and was relieved that he should

have found something to occupy him. When our work was finished, I told

Buckland that the jackal had found something to eat under the sofa. 'My

poor guinea-pigs!' he exclaimed; and, sure enough, four or five of them

had fallen victims."

Tiglath Pileser, the bear, had to be sent away from Christ Church. The

dean said, "I hear you keep a bear in college; well, either you or your

bear must go." So Tig was sent to Islip, seven miles from Oxford, a

living held by Dean Buckland, who had now become Dean of Westminster.

The bear did so much mischief at Islip, in grocer's shops and houses,

that he was sent to the zooelogical gardens, where he died in cutting his


Jacko, the monkey, was a source of great amusement, and greatly prized

by young Buckland. "Once, when carrying him on a railway train, in a

lawyer's blue bag," says Mr. Buckland, in his "Curiosities of Natural

History," published some years afterwards, "Jacko, who must needs see

everything that was going on, suddenly poked his head out of the bag,

and gave a malicious grin at the ticket-giver. This much frightened the

poor man, but, with great presence of mind, quite astonishing under the

circumstances, he retaliated the insult, 'Sir, that's a dog; you must

pay for it accordingly.' In vain was the monkey made to come out of the

bag and exhibit his whole person; in vain were arguments in full

accordance with the views of Cuvier and Owen urged eagerly, vehemently,

and without hesitation (for the train was on the point of starting), to

prove that the animal in question was not a dog, but a monkey. A dog it

was in the peculiar views of the official, and three-and-sixpence was


"Thinking to carry the joke further (there were just a few minutes to

spare), I took out from my pocket a live tortoise I happened to have

with me, and, showing it, said, 'What must I pay for this, as you charge

for all animals?' The employe adjusted his specs, withdrew from the

desk to consult with his superior; then returning, gave the verdict with

a grave but determined manner, 'No charge for them, sir; them be

insects.'" Whenever Jacko got loose, he found mischief. One day he

covered a shoe, sole and all, with blacking, and poured what was left in

the bottle inside the shoe. He also rubbed the white kitchen table all

over with black-lead and water.

Young Buckland spent his vacations at the University of Giessen, under

the famous teacher and chemist, Professor Liebig, to whom he became

greatly attached. "Returning in October, 1845, I brought with me," he

says, "about a dozen green tree-frogs, which I had caught in the woods

near the town.... I started at night on my homeward journey by the

diligence, and I put the bottle containing the frogs into the pocket

inside the diligence. My fellow-passengers were sleepy old smoke-dried

Germans. Very little conversation took place, and, after the first mile,

every one settled himself to sleep, and soon all were snoring. I

suddenly awoke with a start, and found all the sleepers had been roused

at the same moment. On their sleepy faces were depicted fear and anger.

What had woke us all up so suddenly?

"The morning was just breaking, and my frogs, though in the dark pocket

of the coach, had found it out, and, with one accord, all twelve of them

had begun their morning song. As if at a given signal, they one and all

of them began to croak as hard as ever they could. The noise their

united concert made seemed, in the closed compartment of the coach,

quite deafening: well might the Germans look angry; they wanted to throw

the frogs, bottle and all, out of the window, but I gave the bottle a

good shaking, and made the frogs keep quiet. The Germans all went to

sleep again, but I was obliged to remain awake, to shake the frogs when

they began to croak. It was lucky that I did so, for they tried to begin

their concert again two or three times.

"These frogs came safely to Oxford, and, the day after their arrival, a

stupid housemaid took off the top of the bottle, to see what was inside;

one of the frogs croaked at that instant, and so frightened her that she

dared not put the cover on again. They all got loose in the garden,

when, I believe, the ducks ate them, for I never heard or saw them


The next autumn, after a short tour in Switzerland, he returned to

Oxford, this time bringing a jar full of red slugs. "They at least were

noiseless and would not croak like frogs. In the opposite corner of the

diligence placidly slumbered a traveller with ample bald head; Frank

also slept, but, waking at midnight, he saw, with horror, that two of

his red slugs had escaped and were crawling over the traveller's bald

pate. What was to be done? To remove them might waken the sleeper. Frank

sat, as it were, on tenter-hooks, until the diligence stopped at the

next stage, when, firmly covering up the jar and what remained of the

slugs, he slipped quietly out of the diligence, resolved to proceed on

his journey by another conveyance next morning, rather than face that

man's awakening."

Young Buckland took his degree in 1848, and entered St. George's

Hospital. "My object," he said, "in studying medicine (and may God

prosper it!) is not to gain a name, money, and high practice, but to do

good to my fellow-creatures and assist them in the hour of need.... My

object in life to be a great high-priest of nature, and a great

benefactor of mankind." Wealthy, and of the highest social position, he

had determined not to live for himself, but for the good of others.

He was now twenty-two; genial, full of kindness, democratic in his

feelings, one of "nature's noblemen." At his father's house, the

Deanery, he met Lyell, Davy, Faraday, Sir John Herschel, Guizot, Liebig,

Agassiz, Ruskin, Rogers, Lord Brougham, Sir Robert Peel, Lord John

Russell, Lady Franklin, Lady Shelley, and scores of other distinguished


Here his menagerie was larger than ever. The stuffed forms of Tiglath

Pileser and Billy the hyaena were in the hall. Jenny, a monkey from

Gibraltar, had come to join Jacko, bringing a pet chicken with her,

which lived in her cage, and which she fondled as a nurse does a child.

Here were tailless Manx cats, lizards, snakes, and fifty or sixty rats,

usually kept in the cellar. Young Buckland would often take snakes out

of his pockets to show his friends. "Don't be afraid," he said to a

young lady at a party, as he showed her some snakes; "they won't hurt

you, I've taken out their fangs. Now, do be a good girl, and don't make

a fuss;" and he wreathed one snake around her neck, and one round each

arm. "His sisters were so often bedecked with similar reptilian

necklaces and armlets that they became used to the somewhat clammy,

crawling sensation which is a drawback to such ornaments."

About this time, Buckland wrote an article on the muscles of the arm,

and took it to several periodicals, but none would accept it. Urged by

Mr. White Cooper, the queen's oculist, he wrote an article upon his

rats, which the friend carried to "Bentley's Miscellany." It was

accepted, and thus began his successful authorship. This was

subsequently published in his first book, "Curiosities of Natural

History," in 1857.

He tells of one of his rat families: "One day a poor mother had moved

her young about into several parts of the cage, but could not fix on one

point. I saw what was wanting, she could not obtain cover for them. I

put my hand into the cage, full of tow and cotton wool; she came

instantly and took it out of my hand, and covered up her young. But,

notwithstanding all this care, and although evidently most anxious for

their welfare, this kind mother, obeying, I suppose, some wise law of

nature, devoured during the following night every one of the little ones

of which she had been so careful the preceding day."

After being house-surgeon at St. George's Hospital for some time,

Buckland became assistant surgeon to the Second Life Guards in 1854. He

had already given his first lecture, "The House We Live in," delivered

at a Working Men's Coffee House and Institute established by his mother,

in Westminster, London.

About this time he was nearly fatally poisoned by a cobra. He says, "I

had not walked a hundred yards before, all of a sudden, I felt just as

if somebody had come behind me and struck me a severe blow on the head

and neck, and at the same time I experienced a most acute pain and sense

of oppression at the chest, as though a hot iron had been run in and a

hundred-weight put on the top of it. I knew instantly, from what I had

read, that I was poisoned. I said as much to my friend, a most

intelligent gentleman, who happened to be with me, and told him, if I

fell, to give me brandy and eau-de-luce, words which he kept repeating

in case he might forget them. At the same time I enjoined him to keep me

going, and not on any account to allow me to lie down. I then forgot

everything for several minutes, and my friend tells me I rolled about as

if very faint and weak. He also informs me that the first thing I did

was to fall against him, asking him if I looked seedy. He most wisely

answered, 'No, you look very well.' I don't think he thought so, for his

own face was as white as a ghost; I recollect this much. He tells me my

face was of a greenish yellow color.

"After walking, or rather staggering, along for some minutes, I

gradually recovered my senses, and steered for the nearest chemist's

shop. Rushing in, I asked for eau-de-luce. Of course, he had none, but

my eye caught the words, 'spiritus ammoniae,' or hartshorn, on a

bottle. I reached it down myself, and, pouring a large quantity into a

tumbler with a little water, both of which articles I found on a

soda-water stand in the shop, drank it off, though it burnt my mouth and

lips very much. Instantly I felt relief from the pain at the chest and

head. The chemist stood aghast, and, on my telling him what was the

matter, recommended a warm bath. If I had then followed his advice,

these words would never have been placed on record. After a second

draught at the hartshorn bottle, I proceeded on my way, feeling very

stupid and confused."

In August, 1856, Dean Buckland died, and in November, 1857, Mrs.

Buckland. On December 17, her son wrote in his journal: "Thirty-one

years ago, at 6 A. M., I came into the world, at the old house in

Christ Church, Quadrangle. I am now about half-way across the stage of

life, and thank God I am just beginning to feel my feet. But, oh! what I

have lost since last birthday, the best friend a man can have in the

world,--his mother."

He did not know that he was very much more than "half-way across the

stage of life already." It is well that we walk by faith rather than


"Oh! blissful, peaceful ignorance,

'Tis blessed not to know;

It keeps me quiet in those Arms

Which will not let me go,

And hushes all my soul to rest

On the Bosom which loves me so.

"So I go on, not knowing--

I would not if I might--

I'd rather walk with God in the dark

Than walk alone in the light;

I'd rather walk with him by faith

Than walk alone by sight."

In 1859, after a laborious search of some weeks in the vaults of St.

Martin's in the Fields, Buckland found the body of John Hunter, the

father of modern physiology, and the coffin was reinterred in

Westminster Abbey. Though a most disagreeable task, he said, "I must not

shrink from doing a thing at first sight disagreeable, or nothing will

ever be accomplished. Nothing like determination and perseverance." The

Leeds School of Medicine presented him a silver medal, as a mark of

respect for his exertions.

In 1860, he helped to organize the Acclimatization Society, formed for

the purpose of varying and increasing the food supply of Great Britain

by introducing new animals and preserving the native fish. He also

became voluntary consulting surgeon at the Zooelogical Gardens, doctoring

the sick, and increasing by his example the tenderness shown to animals.

His life had now become a most active one. He wrote many valuable

articles for the magazines, since issued in books, the "Log Book of a

Fisherman and Zooelogist," and other volumes, and lectured frequently, to

large audiences, on his favorite subjects.

In 1863, after eight years of service in the Life Guards, he resigned,

and began to devote himself more than ever to fish culture. In January

and February of each year he collected the eggs of trout and other fish

from the Rhine, Switzerland, France, and elsewhere, distributing some

throughout the country and artificially hatching others. Fish-hatching

boxes were exhibited in the South Kensington Museum, and at the Crystal

Palace. Trout ova in ice were sent to Australia, where, after incubation

had been suspended for a hundred days, when placed in running water, the

fish came into the world strong and healthy.

In 1864, Buckland made extended investigations in oyster culture;

delivered lectures upon the subject before the British Association of

Bath, the Society of Arts, the London Institution, indeed all through

England and Ireland. He was appointed Scientific Referee to the South

Kensington Museum, giving a course of lectures and of class

demonstration. He sent about sixteen thousand young fish and eggs to the

Horticultural Gardens, and with these he helped to illustrate his

lectures and inform the public.

Through "Land and Water," a paper established by himself and a few

friends, he reached and educated a large constituency.

In 1863, the year previous, he had married Miss Hannah Papes, and made

his home at 37 Albany St., Regent's Park. Here he gathered all his pets,

who found in Mrs. Buckland a person as kind and tender as their master.

Here were brought his favorite monkeys, "Hag" and "Tiny." The latter

came from the Zooelogical Gardens "as good as dead," but, through Mrs.

Buckland's good nursing, she became well and strong.

With these pets, the overworked naturalist had great merriment. He says

in his "Log Book": "When the fire is lighted in the morning, in my

museum, the servants put the monkeys in their night cage before it, and

directly I come down to breakfast I let them out. They are only allowed

to be loose in my museum as they do so much mischief; and in my museum I

alone am responsible for the damage they do. The moment the door of the

cage is opened, they both rush out like rockets, and the Hag goes

immediately to the fender and warms herself like a good monkey; as she,

being older, seems to know that if she misbehaves herself she will have

to be put back into her cage....

"Tiny steals whatever is on the table, and it is great fun to see her

snatch off the red herring from the plate and run off with it to the top

of the book-shelves. While I am getting my herring, Tiny goes to the

breakfast table again, and, if she can, steals the egg; this she tucks

under her arm, and bolts away, running on her hind legs. This young lady

has of late been rather shy of eggs, as she once stole one that was

quite hot, and burnt herself....

"Having poured out the tea, I open the 'Times' newspaper quite wide, to

take a general survey of its contents. If I do not watch her carefully,

Tiny goes behind the chair, on to the book-shelf, and comes crash into

the middle of the 'Times.' Of course, she cannot go through the 'Times';

but she takes her chance of a fall somewhere, and her great aim seems,

to perform the double feat of knocking the 'Times' out of my hand and

upsetting the tea-pot and its contents; or, better still, the tea-pot on

the floor. Lately, I am glad to say, she did not calculate her fall

quite right; for she put her foot into the hot tea and stung herself

smartly, and this seems to have had the effect of making her more

careful for the future. All the day of this misfortune she walked upon

her heels, and not upon her toes as usual.

"The Hag will also steal, but in a more quiet manner. She is especially

fond of sardines in oil, and I generally let her steal them, because the

oil does her good, though the servants complain of the marks of her oily

feet upon the cloth. Sometimes the two make up a stealing party. One

morning I was in a particular hurry, having to go away on

salmon-inspection duty by train. I left the breakfast things for a

moment, and in an instant Tiny snatched up a broiled leg of pheasant and

bolted with it--carried it under her arm round and round the room, after

the fashion of the clown in the pantomime. While I was hunting Tiny for

my pheasant, the Hag bolted with the toast; I could not find time to

catch either of the thieves, and so had to go off without any breakfast.

"Tiny and the Hag sometimes go out stealing together. They climb up my

coat and search all the pockets. I generally carry a great many cedar

pencils; the monkeys take these out and bite off the cut ends.... When I

come home in the evening, tired from a long day's work, I let out the

monkeys, and give them some sweet stuff I bring home for them. By their

affectionate greeting and amusing tricks they make me forget for a while

the anxieties and bothers of a very active life. They know perfectly

well when I am busy, and they remain quiet and do not tease me. The Hag

sits on the top of my head, and 'looks fleas' in my hair, while Tiny

tears up with her teeth a thick ball of crumpled paper, the nucleus of

which she knows is a sugar-plum, one of a parcel sent by Mrs. Owen, the

kind-hearted wife of my friend, Mostyn Owen, of the Dee Salmon Board,

and received through the post in due form, directed, 'Miss Tiny and Miss

Jenny Buckland.'"

Besides these monkeys, a writer tells of another pet which he found when

calling on Mr. Buckland. "'It's a jolly little brute, and won't hurt,'

exclaimed Mr. Buckland, as we were about to retreat from the threshold.

The monkeys had seized the jaguar's tail, and, lifting it up with its

hind legs bodily to the altitude of their cage, were rapidly denuding it

of fur. No animal with any feelings of self-respect would submit

silently to such humiliation, and the jaguar was making the place

hideous with his yells.

"Hearing the cries of her pet, Mrs. Buckland came to the rescue; and it

was amusing to see this child of the forest, with gleaming eyes and

frantic yelps, cast itself at her feet, and nestle meekly in the folds

of her dress; she had nursed it through a very trying babyhood, when Mr.

Bartlett had sent it from the Zoo, apparently dying and paralyzed in the

fore-legs, with a promise of fifteen pounds reward for a cure. That sum

has long since been swallowed up in damages for clothes destroyed and

boots devoured, as the invalid's health and appetite returned."

Mr. Buckland used to say: "Mrs. Buckland can tame any animal in the

world--ecce signum, myself."

In 1867, Mr. Buckland was appointed Inspector of Fisheries. This was the

realization of the wish of his life. He says in his diary, after

receiving the appointment: "When I read this I felt a most peculiar

feeling; not joy, nor grief, but a pleasurable, stunning sensation, if

there can be such a thing. The first thing I did was to utter a prayer

of thanksgiving to Him who really appointed me, and who has thus placed

me in a position to look after and care for His wonderful works. May He

give me strength to do my duty in my new calling!"

Buckland carried forward his work with the greatest zeal and energy. He

writes in his journal: "I am now working from 8 A. M. to 6 P. M., then a

bit in the evening,--fourteen hours a day; but, thank God, it does not

hurt me. I should, however, collapse if it were not for Sunday. The

machinery has time to get cool. The mill-wheel ceases to patter the

water, the mill-head is ponded up, and the superfluous water let off by

an easy, quiet current, which leads to things above."

Salmon, which had formerly abounded in Wales and England, and been used

extensively for food, had almost or altogether ceased to exist in many

rivers. Buckland carefully studied their habits. He put himself, as he

often said, in the place of the salmon. He waded the pools, to feel the

force and direction of the current against which they come up from the

sea into the rivers. He did not spare himself in storm or cold.

"Most fish live either in fresh or in salt water; the salmon inhabits

both. Bred in the higher waters of our rivers, the young salmon of one,

two, or three years' growth make their way down to the sea as smolts,

and return thence, impelled by the instinct of reproduction, to seek the

gravelly spawning beds in the mountain streams. In early spring and

through the summer and autumn months they come from the sea,

bright-coated and silvery, and swim and leap and struggle up the rivers.

Then is the fisherman's harvest. In winter the spawning time comes on,

when the laws of nature and of man alike forbid their capture; for the

fish, at other times so rich a luxury, are now vapid and unwholesome.

Lean and flabby, the males with hooked beaks and scarred in fighting,

the spawned fish, or kelts, rush down again to the sea; whence, after a

while, they return, fresh and silvery, fattened to twice their former

weight, and reenter the rivers as fresh-river fish, the joy alike of the

fisherman and the epicure."

Buckland constructed salmon ladders over the weirs, that the fish might

have free passage from the rivers to the sea. He sent a series of models

of these ladders to the American Fishery Commissioners, with five boxes

of specimen oysters, and a photograph of his museum, with its casts and

curiosities. He helped to obtain proper legislation from Parliament,

both as to fishes and sea-birds; indeed all living things, especially

those aquatic, had his sympathy and help.

The results of his work were soon apparent. The yearly sales of English

and Welsh salmon in Billingsgate market, London, before 1861, averaged

about eight tons only. From 1867 to 1876 the average sale was

eighty-eight tons. The sales of Irish salmon in Billingsgate, three

hundred and fifty tons yearly; of Scotch salmon, over one thousand tons

yearly. Thus was food provided for millions of people.

Everywhere Buckland was the friend of animals. He urged that pigs should

have "pure, clean, wholesome water" to drink. He assisted at the opening

of the Brighton Aquarium, a place which American visitors can never

forget, and aided in the establishing of other aquaria.

In 1873, Mr. Buckland published a "History of British Fishes." All his

books went through many editions. In 1874, at the Jubilee Anniversary of

the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, he spoke against

cruelty to seals.

He wrote in the "Times": "Captain David Gray, of the sealing and whaling

ship Eclipse, and myself first brought forward, some three years ago,

the necessity for a close time for Arctic seals. The principal sealing

ground is at Jan Mayen Island, thirteen hundred miles due north from

London.... The ships (sixty sail) arrive at the ice from the 15th to the

20th March, just as the young seals are born. The seal-hunters at once

attack them, and the most horrible cruelty ensues. I quote Captain

Gray's own words to me: 'Last year, the fleet set to work to kill the

seals on March 26, 1874, and in forty-eight hours the fishing was

completely over, the old seals being shot, wounded, or scared away,

while thousands upon thousands of young ones were left crying piteously

for their mothers. These mostly perished of famine in the snow, as they

were not old enough to make worth while the trouble of killing them.

"'If you could imagine yourself surrounded by four or five hundred

thousand babies, all crying at the pitch of their voices, you would have

some idea of the piteous noise they make. Their cry is very like that of

a human infant. These motherless seals collect into lots of five or six,

and crawl about the ice, their heads fast becoming the biggest part of

their bodies, searching, no doubt, to find the nourishment they stand so

much in need of.'"

In 1876, an international close time was established, prohibiting the

killing of seals until after April 3.

Mr. Buckland's reports on crab, lobster, herring, and other fisheries

were most full and interesting. "Before the young crabs are born," he

said, "the mother crab tucks up under her tail her numerous family of

from one to two million coral-like eggs, and she sidles on tiptoe many a

mile from her rocky home to some sandy flat in the deep sea, where her

young family may flourish best. There, or perhaps on returning home, in

early spring, the time for all young things to come forth, the tiny

crabs burst the egg; yet so unlike their parent, that till lately they

were thought some strange animalcula; goggle eyes, a hawk's beak, a

scorpion's tail, a rhinoceros's horn, adorn a body fringed with legs,

yet scarcely bigger than a grain of sand.

"Several strange shapes are assumed in turn ere the young crab attains

the parent form. For the parents of so numerous a family it is well that

nature has provided the young crabs with a strong suit of clothes, which

does not wear out; but it is quickly outgrown. The young crabs shed from

time to time the horny case, even to the finger-nails and eyelids; and

mother Nature straightway provides, underneath, a new, soft, leathery

suit, which quickly hardens into shell. Another marvel is, that the

growth is, as it were, by leaps and bounds; each time it bursts its case

the young crab swells suddenly to twice the size of the discarded shell.

"In crab youth several new suits are annually required. In maturer life

the lady crab, it seems, is content with one new dress each year; yet is

not the romance of life over. In the time of her soft-shelled weakness

and seclusion, a male crab in full armor constantly attends her, guards

her from danger, and solaces her in her retirement. An old crab's shell,

covered sometimes with barnacles, or with oysters of several years'

growth, shows that the patriarch has outlived the change of fashions

which occupied his youth."

The report on herring showed that eight hundred million fish are taken

yearly in Scotland, by more than seven thousand boats.

"The Log-Book of a Fisherman and Zooelogist" was published in 1875, and a

new edition of "White's Natural History of Selborne," to which Buckland

added many original observations. Most of his writing was done on the

cars, on his way to different places to give lectures or attend to

official business.

In 1878, he was appointed one of the commissioners to inquire into the

sea fisheries of England and Wales, which furnish so much food for the

people. Over a hundred million soles are sold yearly in London alone,

besides fifty million plaice and whiting, and ten million eels. Mr.

Buckland's correspondence with many countries had become extensive. He

had been elected a member of various societies, and had received many

gold medals, for his wide scientific knowledge and its practical


In December, 1879, he writes, "This Christmas week, I regret to say, I

shall not have the opportunity of spending my time up to my neck in

water, collecting salmon eggs for Australia or New Zealand, from one or

other of our northern rivers, or in one of the southern rivers, getting

trout eggs for the Thames. I must say I very much enjoy collecting

salmon and trout eggs; it is very cold, and, at the same time, very hard

work, but I very much prefer it to indoors and the fireside."

The exposure of this kind of work is seen by his description of it.

"Here is a list of my 'Spawning kit.' First, the waterproof dress; this

very useful garment is in fact a diver's dress, and, when properly put

on, admits not a drop of water. It has, however, one fault, it is apt

to freeze when I am out of the water, and then one feels encased, as it

were, in a suit of inflexible armor. Second, the spawning tins....

Third, a long, shallow basket.... Fourth, house-flannel, cut into

lengths of one yard; this is absolutely necessary to hold the struggling

salmon. Those who are unaccustomed to spawn salmon have an awkward habit

of putting their fingers into the gills of the fish, and if the fish's

gills are injured and bleed, he suffers much from it. I never to my

knowledge killed a fish in my life while spawning it. Fifth, dry towels;

these are most necessary, as the slime from the salmon makes one's hands

very slippery ... besides which, wiping the hands warms them, and, when

working in the water at this time of year, the cold to the hands and

arms is fearful.... Eleventh, ordinary baggage, and especially a bottle

of scented hair-oil, with which to well anoint the chest and arms and

tips of ears, when working in the water; a most excellent and

serviceable plan. I took this hint from the Esquimaux."

Frank Buckland's last Fishery Report was made in March, 1880, containing

an interesting description of the anatomy of the salmon, its food,

habits, and the like.

Mr. Buckland had brought on lung trouble by constant exposure and

tireless energy, and must have foreseen the end. At first it seemed hard

to him that he should be taken in the midst of his best work, but he

said, "God is so good, so very good to the little fishes, I do not

believe he would let their inspector suffer shipwreck at last. I am

going a long journey, where I think I shall see a great many curious

animals. This journey I must go alone."

He had before this written in his diary: "I think it not improbable

that, in a future state, the mind will be allowed a greater scope of

knowledge, and the gates of omniscience will be thrown open to it, so

that those things which it now sees through a glass, darkly, will be

opened to the view and understanding. O most glorious reward, for a mind

occupied here on earth in investigating the wonderful works of the

Creator, from the magnificent and stupendously grand scene of geology,

and the theory of the heavens, to the minute and delicate construction

of a microscopic animalcule, or the immeasurably fine thread of a


He died December 19, 1880, and was buried in Brompton Cemetery, on

Christmas Eve.

His last book, "Notes and Jottings from Animal Life," was published soon

after his death.

No wonder that the noble son of the Dean of Westminster is remembered

and loved. A friend wrote, after his death: "Energy was only one of Mr.

Buckland's characteristics. His kindliness was another. Perhaps no man

ever lived with a kinder heart. It may be doubted whether he ever

willingly said a hard word or did a hard action. He used to say of one

gentleman, by whom he thought he had been aggrieved, that he had

forgiven him seventy times seven already, so that he was not required to

forgive him any more.

"He could not resist a cry of distress, particularly if it came from a

woman. Women, he used to say, are such doe-like, timid things, that he

could not bear to see them unhappy. One night, walking from his office,

he found a poor servant-girl crying in the street. She had been turned

out of her place that morning, as unequal to her duties; she had no

money and no friends nearer than Taunton, where her parents lived. Mr.

Buckland took her to an eating-house, gave her a dinner, drove her to

Paddington, paid for her ticket, and left her in charge of the guard of

the train. His nature was so simple and generous that he did not even

seem to realize that he had done an exceptionally kind action."

To read of such a life as this makes us trust humanity, and reassures us

that there are many, very many noble and lovely characters in the world,

both men and women. While we need good judgment and common sense, so as

to discriminate wisely, we need also the sweet, sunny nature which, with

some measure of ideality, sees rose colors amid the sombre tints of

life. We usually find in other hearts what we cultivate in our own.