Astronomers are greatly disappointed when, having traveled halfway around the world to see an eclipse, clouds prevent a sight of it; and yet a sense of relief accompanies the disappointment.
As years passed away I have formed the habit of looking back upon that former self as upon another person, the remembrance of whose emotions has been a solace in adversity and added zest to the enjoyment of prosperity.
Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.
The result was that, if it happened to clear off after a cloudy evening, I frequently arose from my bed at any hour of the night or morning and walked two miles to the observatory to make some observation included in the programme.
My father was the most rational and the most dispassionate of men.
Quite likely the twentieth century is destined to see the natural forces which will enable us to fly from continent to continent with a speed far exceeding that of a bird.
So far as the economic condition of society and the general mode of living and thinking were concerned, I might claim to have lived in the time of the American Revolution.
Until I was four years old I lived in the house of my paternal grandfather, about two miles from the pretty little village of Wallace, at the mouth of the river of that name.
Whenever a total eclipse of the sun was visible in an accessible region parties were sent out to observe it.
In 1858 I received the degree of D. S. from the Lawrence Scientific School, and thereafter remained on the rolls of the university as a resident graduate.
When about fifteen I once made a great scandal by taking out my knife in prayer meeting and assaulting a young man who, while I was kneeling down during the prayer, stood above me and squeezed my neck.
My father followed, during most of his life, the precarious occupation of a country school teacher.
Aerial flight is one of that class of problems with which men will never have to cope.
We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy.
The reports of the eclipse parties not only described the scientific observations in great detail, but also the travels and experiences, and were sometimes marked by a piquancy not common in official documents.
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