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when narrating “ fairy tales of science," unless, it may be, when constructing the theories based upon their fascinating romances. There are many more biologists than there used to be; but, as it seems to us, there are fewer naturalists. " Biology” has taken the place of “ Natural History,” as we used to understand the term; and there are many who know the minute structure of a plant who would not recognise the plant itself were it placed before them. “ What is that beautiful thing ?” said a young lady to a venerable professor, pointing to a brilliant scarlet fungus on his table. “That is a Peziza,” was the reply. “Oh! a Peziza! Why, I have been working at Peziza for the last three weeks," answered his fair questioner. There be many scientists, but few naturalists, and there is none among them to take the place of the Rev. J. G. Wood, who was taken from us on the zoth of January, 1889, a sketch of whose life, from the pen of his son, is now before us.

John George Wood was born in London on the 21st of July, 1827. He was weak and sickly from his birth, and, from an early age, manifested that fondness of books which is often evinced by children who are debarred from more violent sports, and which lasted throughout his life.

He was not a sharp boy at figures. Whether, like the Beaver in the “ Hunting of the Snark,” he

" Lamented with tears how in earlier years

He had taken no pains with his sums," we cannot say; but his arithmetical knowledge was always rudimentary, although his biographer distinctly tells us that he did know that two and two make four,” while the Beaver, it will be remembered

“Fairly lost heart and outgrabe in despair" when endeavouring unsuccessfully to add two to one. boyhood was marked by a fondness for pets, which is not uncommon, but was accompanied in his case by a constant “poking, and probing, and prying here, there, and everywhere, in the endeavour to discover some of the manifold secrets of Nature, and to learn the ways and doings of the multitudinous living creatures that garden and river and woodland afforded.” He was, in fact, even as a boy, a follower of that model naturalist, Sir Thomas Ingoldsby, who

“Would pore by the hour

O’er a weed or a flower,
Or the slugs that come crawling out after a shower ;
Black-beetles and bumble-bees, blue-bottle flies
And moths, were of no small account in his eyes ;
An industrious flea he'd by no means despise,
While an old daddy-long-legs, whose long legs and thighs
Passed the common in shape, or in colour, or size,

He was wont to consider an absolute prize.” -except, however, that Mr. Wood never seems to have taken

His early

any interest in flowers, a somewhat remarkable feature in so ardent a Nature lover.

Young Wood was fortunate in being much encouraged by his father in his tastes and pursuits. Boys are not always so lucky. I know of one who remembers to this day the reproof with which his admiration of the fronds of duckweed spreading over the dark water in a waterbutt was received by his father. “ If you talk like that, people will think you are silly,” said the parent. He went with his family to Oxford in 1830, and soon became a constant visitor at the Ashmolean Museum, where he was on the best of terms with the kindhearted old curator. At school, at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, he collected all sorts of " spoil, both living and dead;” and made extremely intimate acquaintance with the domestic flea during a period of confinement to bed, arising from a broken leg. At seventeen he returned to Oxford, and matriculated at Merton College. During his university career he became an accomplished gymnast

, and in that capacity was the original of “Little Mr. Bouncer," in the chapters which relate to that gentleman's experiences in the gymnasium in Mr. Bradley's “Verdant Green."

During his Oxford career he in no way relaxed his natural history studies; he bred and dissected insects, and observed their habits. His final scientific training, however, was received under Sir Henry Acland in the Anatomical Museum at Christ Church in 1850-51. “During these two years he went through a complete course of research in comparative anatomy, himself dissecting representatives of all the important families of the animal kingdom, and making numberless careful and valuable preparations, of which many remain in the museum to this day." To these two years we may fairly attribute the accuracy of the scientific portions of his books: for Mr. Wood-more, perhaps, than any writer before or since-possessed the uncommon art of combining a popular style with scientific accuracy, and it is to this combination that his books owe their value.

His first book-the smaller Natural History-was published in 1851 ; in 1852 he was ordained deacon, and undertook clerical duty in Oxford. From this he retired in 1854, but, after two years' literary work, he came to London as chaplain to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1859 he married, and in 1862 settled down at Belvedere, near Woolwich, where he remained for more than fifteen years. During this period of his life he was extremely active in clerical work; he was a good musician, and devoted himself with much success to choir work, and was at one time Precentor of the Canterbury Diocesan Choral Union. His regular clerical work—the larger portion of which was unpaidcame to an end in 1874.

Various books on Natural History were issued by Mr. Wood before 1857, when the well-known Common Objects of the Seashore” made its appearance, to be followed in 1858 by the

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still more popular “Common Objects of the Country.” The success of these two-shilling volumes was phenomenal. Of the latter, the first edition of 100,000 copies was exhausted in a week, and other editions followed in quick succession. One of these early copies is before me as I write, and its well-thumbed pages bring back something of the delight with which they were scanned and consulted thirty years ago. It is to be regretted that the author himself benefited little by this large sale; the copyright was disposed of for thirty pounds, and this was "the actual remuneration which he received for each.” With all his excellent qualities, Mr. Wood was not a good business manevidences of this occur more than once in the story of his life.

His most important work, the “ Illustrated Natural History,” began to appear in monthly parts in March, 1859. No expense was spared in its preparation; original illustrations were drawn by the best artists, and the work still holds its position as a standard popular Natural History. “Homes without Hands” —the most popular and best known of his larger works-began its serial issue in 1864; and the “ Natural History of Man,” a companion to the “Illustrated Natural History,” succeeded it in 1867. Other works followed, the last of which was noticed in the April number of Nature Notes; and a constant stream of contributions to various magazines was kept up.

But a word must be said about Mr. Wood as a lecturer, in which capacity he attained much popularity. He began to lecture about 1856, but it was not until 1879 that he took up lecturing “as a kind of secondary profession.” Mr. Wood soon found himself in request, and from 1879 to 1888, inclusive, he delivered lectures in various parts of the country. These were illustrated by sketches drawn on a large and specially constructed black board, and afterwards on a large black screen, in coloured chalks. Mr. Wood was an adept at this method of conveying his ideas, and regretted that he could not illustrate his sermons in a similar manner. Two tours in America, in 1883-4 and the following year, were undertaken—the first was successful, the second a failure. This part of the book is especially interesting, on account of the long extracts from Mr. Wood's letters which it contains; we could wish that even more of these had been printed.

The account of the persevering struggles carried on to the last, when breath was failing and rest was needed, is sad reading. But so steady a worker was not likely to yield until he was constrained by a power stronger than that of his own will; and four days before his death we find him lecturing, revising proofsheets, and writing home, and, although the lecturer was evidently suffering much pain, “ those who were present said that the lecture was as interesting as ever, and the drawings as rapid and exact.” And when the end came, it found his intellect clear and his mind calm ; in his last letter, two hours before his death," the writing is as firm and steady as usual.” At six o'clock on

Sunday, the 30th of January, 1889," he turned his head upon one side, and quietly passed away.”

Not a great life, or even an eventful one, but a life of useful work, of much happiness both to himself and to others. How far the influence of his work may have extended it is impossible to conjecture; but we may, at least, be sure that for much of the love of Nature and of created things which has grown up among us during the last thirty years, we have to thank the example and the teaching of the Rev. J. G. Wood.

James BRITTEN.

THE STARLING.
You with the yellow bill and tongue unresting,

The mottled neck and breast of iris sheen

That from dark purple glances into green.
Where is your gossip, and your wonted jesting ?
Why, with such melancholy loud protesting

So wake the morn? What can your sighing mean?

Does not my roof conveniently lean ?
Have you no pleasure in your April nesting?
Ah! little mocker, you but make-believe,
For you have caught my sorrow's trick and know

My grief, and like a fool in motley bent,

To give me back my long-lost merriment.
Lo! with loud chuckle underneath the eave,
You make your muffled laughter overflow.

H. D. RAWNSLEY.

BIRDS IN ART.

“ Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter.” - KEATS.
HE depicture of the human form has so arrogated to

itself the primary interest in painting, that the
large part that bird-life has played in pictures

appears to have received very little notice; and yet we find that, from the earliest ages, the study of birds formed a part of the artist's education, and one which apparently was brought nearer to perfection than that of the figure or landscape. An old traveller speaks of being able to recognise at a glance the different birds executed on one of the great monumental trophies peculiar to the Egyptians, whilst in Assyrian pictures we see birds flying through the air, pecking at the fruit and buds on trees, and seeking shelter beneath a row of conventional trees, which are supposed to represent a dense forest. Among the Greeks the birds were ever present. We all know how the birds in the air flew down to peck at the grapes carried by a boy in the celebrated picture by Zeuxis,

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which did not win the prize ; then we find a bird bringing mortification to that most hard working and laborious of artists, Protogenes, whose painting of a partridge in his beautiful picture of Ialysos and his panting dog, created such a sensation among non-professional spectators, that the artist scraped it out in his anger that it should receive the praises due to the man and the dog.

Dogs appear to have been a very favourite subject with the old Greek artists. Of the many pictures in which they were introduced, the dog before-mentioned, with foam at his mouth, is the most celebrated; but Nikias, who tinted some of Praxiteles' statues, was famous for the life-like expression of his dogs. Horses likewise received their share of admiration, and if, as is generally supposed, the mosaic of the battle of Issos found in the Casa del Fauno at Pompeii is a replica, of the time of Vespasian, of an old Greek picture of the fourth century B.C., it shows that the great Greek painters had a very thorough mastery of the drawing of the horse, whereas the life-like truth of their pictures is assured by the well-known story of the horse painted by Apelles at which other horses neighed; indeed, like Vandyke, we find Apelles noted for the beauty of his mounted portraits. All this goes to show that a very affectionate observation must have been bestowed on these birds and beasts which were not considered unworthy of the close study of the greatest of the classic Greek painters. Flowers also received their just share of attention, and Pausias, who painted a picture of Glykera as a seller of garlands, may be said to be the first painter of flowers of any importance. Fruit, flowers, and still life in general soon became a chief feature in Greek painting ; whilst all are familiar with the reeds, tendrils, and flowers, which are the raison d'être of the whole scheme of decoration generally known as Pompeian.

To return to birds, their part in the daily life of the GræcoRoman period receives strong confirmation from the numerous dove-illustrations, the most beautiful example of which is now known as the Capitoline Doves. This lovely mosaic was found in Hadrian's Villa, at Tivoli, and represents four doves sitting on the edge of an exquisitely modelled bowl filled with water. The action of the birds is exceedingly tender : one bends down her neck to drink, another plumes herself, the other two look round anxiously as if of a less confiding mind. The soft colouring and the remarkable skill with which the glancing lights and shadows on the plumage have been depicted by the artist makes this mosaic well worthy of its great reputation. This subject of doves sunning and pluming themselves on the rim of a vessel containing water appears to have been a very favourite one among the ancients, and one which Pliny's description of the doves, executed by Sosos in Pergamos, has rendered immortal. Fruit, leaves, shells—indeed, all manner of still life we find depicted in these old mosaics, and not the least interesting is one of those pavements representing the débris of a meal, with a little

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