Am I presuming too much on my position, as merely the editor of the following Lectures, when I ask leave to dedicate them to you? It is unquestionably a liberty with the production of another which only very peculiar circumstances can at all excuse. Yet, in the present case, I venture to think that those peculiar circumstances do exist; and I feel assured he would readily pardon me, whose work this is, and whose memory you so much revere. Without your co-operation, I believe that neither the Cruise of the Betsey nor these pages could by this time have seen the light. When my own over-laden brain refused to do its duty, you gave me to hope, by offers of well-timed assistance, that the task before me might still be accomplished. Your friendly voice, often heard in tones of sympathizing inquiry when I was unable to endure your own or any other human presence, — even that of my dear child, — was for a time the only sound that brought to my heart any promise or cheer for the future. It was then, while un able to read the very characters in which they were written, that I put into your hands the papers containing The Cruise and Ten Thousand Miles over the Fossiliferous Detosits of Scotland. You undertook the editorial duties connected with them con amore, and performed your task in a manner that left nothing to be desired.
During the preparation of the present volume for the press, you have
given me all the advantage of your ready stores of information, both in
carefully scrutinizing the text to see where any addition was required
in the form of notes, and in referring me to the best authorities on
point regarding which I consulted you. And while so doing, you have confirmed my own judgment, — perhaps too liable to be swayed by partiality, — by expressing your conviction that this work is calculated to advance the reputation of its author.
Long may you be spared to be, as now, the life and soul of those scientific pursuits so successfully carried on in your own district! Many a happy field-day may you enjoy in connexion with that Society of which you are the honoured president. Would that all associations throughout our country were as harmless in their methods of finding recreation, as invigorating to body and mind, and as beneficial in their results to the cause of science! In exploring the beautiful fields, and woods, and sunny slopes of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, in earnest and healthful communings with, and, I trust, with nature's God, — the perennial springs of whose bounty are seldom quaffed in this manner as they ought to be, — I trust that much, much happiness is in store for you and for the other gentlemen of the Malvern Club,1 to whom, as well as to yourself, I owe a debt of grateful remembrance.
And for the still higher and nobler work which God has given you to do, may He grant you no stinted measure of His abundant grace, to enable you to perform it aright.
Ever believe me, dear Sir,
Yours most faithfully,
1 The Malvern Club devotes stated periods, — monthly, I think, — to rambles over twenty or thirty miles of country, when the naturalists of whom it is composed, — botanists, geologists, etc., — carry on the researches of their various departments separately, or in little groups of two or three, as they may desire. They all dine afterwards together at an inn or farmhouse, as the case may be, where they relate the adventures of the day, discuss their favourite topics, and compare their newly-found treasures. As a consequence of this, the Malvern Museum is a perfect model of what a local museum ought to be. There is no town or district of country where a few young men, possessing the advantage of an occasional holiday, might not thus associate themselves with the utmost advantage both to themselves and others.