186 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
breath is suddenly checked. A very little seems sufficient to divert attention from that desire, and to leave the sense only of being ill and on the point of swooning. My chief experiences may seem hardly credible ; they were due to a fancy of mine to obtain distinct vision when diving. The convex eyeball stamps a concave lens in the water, whose effect has to be neutralised by a convex lens. This has to be very " strong," because the refractive power of a lens is greatly diminished by immersion in water. My first experiment was in a bath, using the two objectives of my opera-glass in combination, and with some success. I then had spectacles made for me, which I described at the British Association in 1865 . With these I could read the print of a newspaper perfectly under water, when it was held at the exact distance of clear vision, but the range of clear vision was small. I amused myself very frequently with this new hobby, and being most interested in the act of reading, constantly forgot that I was nearly suffocating myself, and was recalled to the fact not by any gasping desire for breath, but purely by a sense of illness, that alarmed me. I t disappeared immediately after raising the head out of water and inhaling two or three good whiffs of air.
Mr. Alexander Macmillan asked me in the later fifties to undertake the editorship of a volume to be called Vacation Tourists [ 11 ], which would be repeated annually if the venture succeeded. His view was that many able young men travelled every summer, each of whom would have enough to say to make a good article, and that a collection of their contributions would suffice for an interesting annual volume. I