Book-knowledge is a poor resource in the problems of life; assiduous study with the facts is preferable in this connection to the best stocked library. In many cases, ignorance is a good thing: the mind retains its freedom of investigation and does not stray along the roads leading nowhither, suggested by one’s reading. I have proved the truth of this once more.
An anatomical monograph had told me that the Languedocian Scorpion is big with young in September. Although it was written by a master’s hand, how much better should I have done not to consult it! The family sees the light of day long before this season, at least in my climate; and, as the rearing lasts but a short time, I should have seen nothing had I delayed until September. A third year of observation, tiresome to wait for, would have become necessary, in [154]order at last to witness a sight which I foresaw to be of the highest interest. But for exceptional circumstances, I should have allowed the fleeting opportunity to pass, and should have lost a year and perhaps even abandoned the subject.