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360 FRAGMENTS or SCIENCE.

sess its facts and make them living seeds which shall
take root and grow in the mind, and not lie like dead
lumber in the store-house of memory. This is a task much
heavier than the mere cataloguing of scientific achieve-
ments ; and it is one which, feeling my own want of time
and power to execute it aright, I might well hesitate to
accept.

But let me sink excuses, and attack the work to the
best of my ability. First and foremost, then, I would ad-
vise you to get a knowledge of facts from actual observa-
tion. Fact-s looked at directly are vital; when they pass
into words half the sap is taken out of them. You wish,
for example, to get a knowledge of magnetism; well, pro-
vide yourself with a good book on the subject, if you can,
but do not be content with what the book tells you; do
not be satisfied with its descriptive woodcuts; see the
actual thing yourself. Half of our book-writers describe
experiments which they never made, and their descrip-
tions often lack both force and truth; but no matter how
clever or conscientious they may be, their written words
cannot supply the place of actual observation. Every fact
has numerous radiations, which are shorn off by the man
who describes it. Go, then, to a phiIOSOphical instrument-
maker, and give, according to your means, for a straight
bar-magnet, say, half a crown, or, if you can afford it, five
shillings f0r a pair of them; or get a smith to cut a length
of ten inches from a bar of steel an inch wide and half an
inch thick; file its ends decently, harden it, and get some-
body like myself to magnetize it. Two bar-magnets are
better than one. Procure some darning-needles such as
these. Provide yourself also with a little unspun silk;
which will give you a suspending fibre void of torsion;
make a little loop of paper or of wire, thus, and attach your
fibre to it. Do it neatly. In the loop place your darningg
needle, and bring the two ends or poles, as they are called,

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