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As this little book is intended to be no more than an introduction to an agreeable branch of microscopical study, it is to be hoped it will not require a formal preface; but a few words may be convenient to indicate its scope and purpose.
The common experience of all microscopists confirms the assertion made by Dr. Goring, that the most fascinating objects are living creatures of sufficient dimensions to be easily understood with moderate magnification; and in no way can objects of this description be so readily obtained, as by devoting an occasional hour to the examination of the little ponds which are accessible from almost any situation. A complete volume of pond lore would not only be a bulky book—much bigger than the aldermanic tomes which it is the fashion to call “Manuals,” although the great stone fists in the British Museum would be required to grasp them comfortably,—but its composition would overtask all the philosophers of our day. In good truth, a tea-spoonful of water from a prolific locality often contains a variety of living forms, every one of which demands a profound and patient study, if we would know but a few things concerning it.