In that priceless human document, “Autobiography of Nathaniel Southgate Shaler,” the author tells us of his entry, in 1859, into the laboratory of Prof. Louis Agassiz and of the methods of instruction which then and there prevailed. Professor Agassiz gave him a rusty tin basin and seated him at a small pine table in front of a window in a greatly crowded room, 15 feet wide by 30 feet long. His neighbors were Alpheus Hyatt, P. W. Putnam, A. E. Verrill, E. S. Morse, Richard Wheatland, and Caleb Cook.
Professor Agassiz supplied him with a small fish, taken from a bottle of old alcohol, whose fragrance is described by our author as a “stench.” To his inquiry, “What shall I do ?” the Professor replied, “Find out what you can without damaging the specimen. When I think you have done the work I will question you.” The new student was, . . .