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than forty years ago, will, it is confidently believed, be as fresh and trustworthy forty years hence as it is now.
The compiler has thought it an advantage to connect stories about a great variety of animals with one person, and he an observer of such credibility and authority that little if anything that was learned of him would have to be un. learned. Mr. Darwin was, of course, pre-eminently such an observer. On the other hand, by carefully connecting these stories also with the places on the earth's surface where the animals were studied, a correct notion will be had of the distribution of the animal kingdom, with a corresponding insight into the geography of the globe in its broadest sense. Finally, by placing these stories first in order, the attention of the youngest readers is assured. No artificial grouping has been attempted.
II. Scarcely inferior in interest to tales of animals are accounts of strange peoples and customs, particularly of sav. age and barbarous life. The section entitled “Man,” there. fore, should not disappoint the youthful reader.
III. Closely allied with the foregoing are the contents of the section entitled (for want of a better designation)“ Ge. ography," which consists partly of descriptions of cities, the habitations of man, partly of descriptions of rivers, mountains, valleys, plains, and other physical features of the coun. tries visited by Mr. Darwin.
IV. Finally, in the section styled “Nature” will be found some account of the grander terrestrial processes and phe
nomena, with other matters which a strict classification might have placed in the preceding section, but which were inten. tionally reserved till the last, as being least easy to compre. hend. But experience may show that, on the whole, this is far from being the least interesting of the four.
From what has been said, it will be perceived that, if the attempted gradation has been successful, this book recom. mends itself to every member of a household, from the youngest to the oldest. A child may safely be left to read as far as he is interested, or as far as he can understand with facility, in the certainty that each year afterward he will push his explorations a little further, till the end has been reached and the whole is within his grasp. Meantime, parents can read aloud selected passages even in advance of the child's progress. Nor does the compiler seem to him. self to overrate his collection of excerpts when he suggests its use as a graded reader in schools. Its capacity for rhe. torical exercise will be found greater than might have been expected, and those who have been led to believe Mr. Darwin a materialist will discover here eloquent expression of human sympathies as broad as those immortalized by the old Roman comedian—“Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto."
Some liberties have been taken with the original text. Notices of the same animal, or place, or nationality, or phe. nomenon, in different parts of the narrative, have been gath. ered together and pieced where necessary; and (always after much hesitation) a more simple word or phrase has occasion. ally been substituted for a less simple. But the amount of these additions and alterations is relatively so slight that it is true to say that Mr. Darwin speaks throughout. A few of the illustrations are borrowed from the original narrative and from its sister reports; but by far the greater number have been derived from other sources, and all with a view to conveying correct information. The maps interspersed with the text or placed at the end of the volume contain every significant geographical name mentioned in the text.
After all, it is hoped that every one who here learns for the first time a small portion of “what Mr. Darwin saw,” on his memorable first journey abroad, will sooner or later betake himself to the delightful and ever wonderful unabridged report of the most momentous voyage round the world since Columbus
New YORK, October 1, 1879.
EVERYBODY has eyes, but, as you know, some people
are blind; and many of those who are not blind wear glasses, and cannot see without them. But even those whose eyes are good and strong do not all see alike. In a roomful of people, you would be sure to see your father and mother; and if all the rest were strangers to you, you would probably not notice a good many of them. Or if you were just learn. ing to read, and were shown a printed page, you would see the words you know how to spell, and would pay very little attention to most of the others. If we should go searching for spring flowers, I, who know what anemones and hepaticas are like, should find more than you who had never seen them before. And if our walk was among woods, some would come home remembering only that they had seen trees; others, that they had seen pines and oaks; and I alone, perhaps, that I had seen birches and ash trees too. And again, if our excursion was by roads you had never travelled before, some of you could next time go the same way without my showing you, while others would feel lost at the first turn.