HE Ten Lectures of which this volume is composed
were delivered last spring, in St. John's
Wood, to a large audience of children and their
friends, and at their conclusion I was asked by many
of those present to publish them for a child's reading
At first I hesitated, feeling that written words can
never produce the same effect as viva-voce
But the majority of my juvenile hearers were evidently
so deeply interested that I am encouraged to
think that the present work may be a source of pleasure
to a wider circle of young people, and at the
same time awaken in them a love of nature and of
the study of science.
The Lectures have been entirely rewritten from
the short notes used when they were delivered.
With the exception of the first of the series, none of
them have any pretensions to originality, their object
being merely to explain well-known natural facts in
simple and pleasant language. Throughout the
whole book I have availed myself freely of the
leading popular works on science, but have found it
impossible to give special references, as nearly all the
matter I have dealt with has long been the common
property of scientific teachers.