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4. And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? but consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
5. And it was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes ? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
6. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel ? may I not wash in them, and be clean ? So he turned and went away in a rage.
7. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it ? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean ?
Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God:
and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel.
Book of Kings (Old Test.).
XXXIII. — HOW TO STUDY NATURAL HISTORY.
1. It was more than fifteen years ago that I entered the laboratory of Professor Agassiz, and told him I had enrolled
my name as a student of natural history. He asked me a few questions about my object in coming, the mode in which I afterward proposed to use the knowledge I might acquire, and, finally, whether I wished to study any special branch. To the latter I replied that, while I wished to be well grounded in all departments of zoology, I proposed to devote myself especially to insects.
“When do you wish to begin ?” he asked. “Now," I replied.
This seemed to please him, and with an energetic “ Very well,” he reached from a shelf a huge jar of specimens in yellow alcohol.
“ Take this fish,” said he, “and look at it; by and by I will ask you what you have seen.”
3. With that he left me, but in a moment returned with explicit instructions as to the care of the object in
trusted to me. “No man is fit to be a naturalist," said he, “who does not know how to take care of specimens.”
I was to keep the fish before me in a tin tray, and occasionally to moisten the surface with alcohol from the jar, always taking care to replace the stopper tightly. Those were not the days of ground-glass stoppers and elegantly shaped exhibition jars; all the old students will recall the huge, neckless glass bottles with their leaky, wax-besmeared corks, half eaten by insects and begrimed with cellar dust.
4. Entomology was a cleaner science than ichthyology, but the example of the professor, who had unhesitatingly plunged to the bottom of the jar to produce the fish, was infectious; and, though this alcohol had "a very ancient and fish-like smell,” I really dared not show any aversion but treated it as though it were the purest water.
5. In ten minutes I had seen all that could be seen in that fish, and started in search of the professor, who had, however, left the museum, and when I returned, after lingering over some of the odd animals stored in the upper apartment, my specimen was dry all over. I dashed the fluid over the fish, as if to resuscitate the beast from a fainting-fit, and looked with anxiety for a return of the normal, sloppy appearance.
6. This little excitement over, nothing was to be done but return to a steadfast gaze at my mute companion. Half an hour passed, — an hour, - another hour; the fish began to look loathsome. I turned it over and
around; looked it in the face; studied it from behind, beneath, above, sideways, at three-quarters view. Seen from whatever point, it presented a ghastly sight. I was in despair.
7. At an early hour I concluded that lunch was necessary; so, with infinite relief, the fish was carefully replaced in the jar, and for an hour I was free.
On my return, I learned that Professor Agassiz had been at the museum, but had gone, and would not return for several hours. My fellow-students were too busy to be disturbed by continued conversation.
8. Slowly I drew forth that hideous fish, and with a feeling of desperation again looked at it. I might not use a magnifying-glass; instruments of all kinds were forbidden. My two hands, my two eyes, and the fish,
- it seemed a most limited field. I pushed my finger down its throat to feel how sharp the teeth were. I began to count the scales, until I was convinced that that
9. At last a happy thought struck me, - I would draw the fish; and now with surprise I began to discover new features in the creature. Just then the professor returned.
“That is right,” said he ; "a pencil is one of the best of eyes. I am glad to notice, too, that you keep your specimen wet and your bottle corked.”
10. With these encouraging words, he added, “Well, what is it like?"
He listened attentively to my brief rehearsal of the structure of parts whose names were still unknown to
me — the fleshy lips and lidless eyes, the spinous fins and forked tail, the compressed and arched body. When I had finished, he waited as if expecting more, and then, with an air of disappointment, remarked,
“ You have not looked very carefully. Why,” he continued, more earnestly, “you haven't even seen one of the most conspicuous features of the animal, which is as plainly before your eyes as the fish itself. Look again!” and he left me to my misery.
11. I was mortified. Still more of that wretched fish! But now I set myself to my task with a will, and discovered one new thing after another, until I saw how just the professor's criticism had been. The afternoon passed quickly, and when, toward its close, the professor inquired, —
“Do you see it yet?”
“No," I replied; “I am certain I do not, but I see how little I saw before.”
“ That is next best,” said he, earnestly, “but I won't hear you now; put away your fish and go home: perhaps you will be ready with a better answer in the morning. I will examine you before you look at the fish.”
12. This was disconcerting; not only must I think of my fish all night, studying, without the object before me, what this unknown but most visible feature might be, but also, without reviewing my new discoveries, I must give an exact account of them the next day. I had a bad memory; so I walked home by the Charles River in a distracted state, with my two perplexities.