Excerpt: "The professor was pottering about his laboratory. He called it a laboratory, this work-room down in New Jersey, where he was peacefully ending his days, but it was not such in the ordinary acceptation of the term. The brightly burning lights shone on no apparatus for distilling evil-smelling gases, no glass retorts, no long lines of bottles. What instruments it disclosed were of a kind more likely to appeal to a sailor than to a chemist, though many of them would probably have seemed odd to both. A lead-line with ?marks? and ?deeps,? various scoop nets, a long sectional aquarium in which various sea creatures moved, barometers, anemometers, and other ?meters? for measuring winds and waters, a great globe, and piles of charts, were some of the articles the room contained, for this was the workshop of Professor Shishkin, the great Russian physicist, member of scores of learned societies, and the ultimate authority on the waves, winds, currents, flora, and fauna of the ocean. The Professor had come to America about twenty years before, bringing with him a young daughter, a working knowledge of the English language, and a profound acquaintance with the ocean. He had secured a post in a small school, from which he had gone from one college to another, all the while growing in reputation until he came to be probably the best known physicist in the world. When he came to America, he was apparently about fifty years of age, but where and how he had passed those fifty years he never told. Obviously, he must have been a student if not a professor, and it seemed strange that one with his attainments could have lived for half a century unnoticed; yet of his early life no trace was to be had. His name did not appear on the rolls of any of the great European universities; and even after he grew to distinction, no alma mater claimed him for her own. Deliberately he had cut himself off from his early life. To him, the past was dead."