Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

the material forces of Nature. Of the Lady Mary Topham, who in giving her formula of his own religious belief, few account of certain spiritual manifestations, people outside his own community, ever ended up by saying, “and you know, heard him speak. He was “no graceless Mr.

Warien seeing is believing zealot” fighting for “ modes of faith ;'! Yes, Lady Mary-and-believing is seebut certainly

“ his life was in the right” ing,” was the sharp retort. if ever man's was in this world.

When the craze of table-turning was at Though reticent about the articles of its height, my husband and I had not inhis Faith, Faraday was outspoken and frequently the pleasure of dining in comconsistent in referring all phenomena to pany with Cobden and Bright, on Sunday the Omnipotent wisdom of God. In the evenings, when the party never exceeded first lecture in his course on the non-me- six or eight people. One soon forgot tallic elements, in the Spring of 1852, Cobden's broad Sussex tone of voice, in there occurs a fine passage.

lle was re-
the genuine charm of his

manner. The marking on the protean aspects of these first evening I remember, Bright was late elements which constitute so large a pro- in making his appearance, and we began portion of the material world, when he dinner without him ; at length he came proceeded to say :

in upon us like Jove's thunderbolt. He “But higher contemplations than those had been detained by the necessity of seeof mere che nical science are suggested by ing the Greek Minister ; there was some the investigation of these properties : ob. burning question at issue, about which he jects of greater interest present themselves and Cobden began talking in bainmer and than the deductions of law or the perfec- tongs fashion ; they seemed so violently tion of systems. An investigation of the opposed to one another, that I thought a distinctive properties of chemical elements quarrel between this political Damon and unfolds to us the mysterious yet simple Pythias nothing short of inevitable. I means chosen by the Omnipotent for ac- was aghast at the highly militant aspect complishing His results ; teaching us how of the Peace party—it was said of John elements the most seemingly unmanage- Bright, that if he had not been a Quaker, able and discordant are made to watch like he would have been a prize-fighter. Pres. ministering angels around us—each per- ently, in the midst of the discussion, Cobforming tranquilly its destined function- den said something conclusive of the argumoving through all the varying phases of ment, with an infinitely humorous turn, decay and death—and then springing into and every body laughed, Bright included. new life, assuming new forms.”

Frem politics the conversation turned It was early in the Fifties, when we all upon general subjects, and in rejoinder to thought the trusty schoolinaster was abroad Mr. Crosse's remark that the present age with his primer, and when as Kingsley was devoid of sublimity, Mr. Bright said, said, “the devil was shamming dead”; Shakespeare and Milton can be overthat Sudge the medium made his appear- rated ; as a matter of fact, Shakespeare ance,“ turning tables” and introducing has written a great deal of nonsense ;" and to the “awe-struck, wide-eyed, open- he went on to say, that what he liked best mouthededucated classes

in Paradise Lost," is the description of

the revolt of the angels. My impression “ Milton composing baby-rhymes, and Locke was that Bright in saying this, and a good Reasoning in gibberish, Homer writing deal more that was very anti-poetical, was

in a mood for indulging in paradox. In noughts and crosses, Asaph setting psalms

After dinner was over, the gentlemen To crotchet and quaver."

soon joined the ladies in the drawing

room, and Mr. Bright proposed that we Publishers and unbelievers in these should try table-turning. We all arranged posthumous writings of the immortals, ourselves round a table that seemed to have were confronted by friends, whose veracity agile possibilities, and placing our hands they had never doubted, asserting that in the regulation manner waited for manithey themselves had heard and seen these festations. We waited, and we waitedmarvels of waving hands and mystic writ- it was wearisome—for nothing came of ing. Warren, the autbor of “ Ten Thou- it; but meanwhile, Mr. Bright was exsand a Year," made a capital answer to horting us to have patience. Presently

[ocr errors]

Greek

[ocr errors][merged small]

forgotten to tell one evening as us! was found the ne away at the glo: been all night.

When we were ratory, Faraday tions to Ander notice his kir these orders ; which implied obligation, ali and servant. Norman an Michael Far finer gentle Faraday his rassed Rou courtiers r

Our Cia theatre of the exce vacant, the sem How o

see this

cation, turers

ing di

filled :
the h
stan
savar,
and 1
erin
ma
but

1 Cr ter fo' he

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

can

ine poetry in the laws of Nature, No ber rightly, one of the many passages setentive listener erer came away from lected from Tennyson was as follows : we of Faraday's lectures without having

There rolls the deep where grew the tree. .e limits of his spiritual vision enlarged, O earth, what changes hast thou seen ! r without feeling that his imagination Tbere where the long street roars, hath been 'ind been stimulated to something beyond

The stilluess of the central sea. he mere exposition of physical facts. “ The hills are shadows, and they flow

Nor does Faraday stand alone as a phy- From form to form, and nothing stands ; sicist who is touched by the afflatus of They melt like mist, the solid lands poetry. I remember at one of the Friday

Like clouds they shape themselves and

go." evening lectures at the Royal Institution, Dr. Tyndall quoted Helinholtz, who finely It is remarkable that Browning—though says:

supreme in his adjustment of moral barThe cleavage of crystalline slate rocks are mony, and profoundly intellectual in his so many telescopes to our spiritual vision, by ethical system-should have passed modwhich we see backward through the ern science coldly by on the other side. night of antiquity, and discern the forces Even in his

Even in his "Paracelsus," which, if which have been on the earth's surface

treated historically, would have suggested “ Ere the lion roared,

the search for knowledge through the Or the eagle soared.”

phenomena of creation, or by experiments In reference to the attitude of poetry on forces that have the power to bind and toward science, I remember Professor to loose ; yet the poet does not so treat Huxley remarking that “ Tennyson is the the subject, preferring to look for Naonly poet of our day who has fused true ture's secrets in the souls of great men, science into song. This was said, and relying on the knowledge which springs said truly, more than three decades since, direct from the human mind. but posterity has proposed no amendment. Poets were not the only people who Tennyson may still be described as stand- failed in the full recognition of science. ing alone in his reception of the inductive I remember a smile passing round the dinprocesses of science, which, passing into ner-table when a political personage, who his mind have moulded his thoughts. has since been a Cabinet Minister, made The philosopher looking into nature the curious mistake of supposing that the “ Sees his shadow glory.crowned,

Royal Society and the Royal Institution He sees himself in all he sees.

were one and the same. Though Cardinal

Wiseman, who was then extremely ré“In Memoriam” is full of passages pandu in society, together with Sir Henry that echo, if they do not anticipate, the Rawlinson and other non-scientific men, voice of science. The following lines it lectured frequently in Albemarle Street, will be remembered had appeared before the Friday evening meetings were evidently Darwin had formulated his theory of evo- utterly unknown to the politician—albeit lution :

he was himself a writer of biography. Ocean sounds,

The slip was the more remarkable as it And, star and system rolling past,

was made by a man too young to plead, A soul shall draw from out the vast And strike his being into bounds,

as did the late Lord Derby, that he unAnd, moved thro' life of lower phase, fortunately belonged to a pre-scientific

à Result in man.”

age. And the same key-note is struck in the

Mr. Grote, the historian, was one of familiar lines in form of exhortation :

the few scholarly writers whom I met in

the old days, who brought a disposing “ Arise and fly mind to the fresh array of scientific facts ; The reeling Faun, the sensual feast ;

not that he was technically informed on Move upward, marking out the beast, And let the ape and tiger die."

those subjects, as he himself confessed,

but he took stock of their value among Sir Andrew Ramsay, the geologist, the possessions of the human intellect. many years ago wrote a parallel between The courteous, old-fashioned tone of Lyell and Tennyson,” showing how the Mr. Grote's conversation hardly led one geological facts of the scientist were re- to expect him to be so modern in thought Hected in the poet's verse.

If I remem- and expression as he really was. Mr. and NEW SERIES. – Vol. LIV. No. 5.

42

a

[ocr errors]

the spirit of mischief possessed Mr. Cob- ent who was said to be in a state of clairden, who was next me, and myself, ex- voyance, was supposed to manifest exchanging a glance of mutual understand- traordinary emotion when, as directed, ing, we two exerted ourselves to move the Dr. Faraday turned the apex of a rock unimpressionable table by mere muscular crystal toward her. But ihe girl could force. It began to slide round, for our see the crystal, and the obvious conclusion feet helped our lands. " It's going, it's was—that she was in collusion with the going !" cried out Mr. Bright in triumph ; giver of the séance and was acting a part. but just then he looked up, and seeing It was pretended that the action of her orthat we were laughing, exclaimed : “Oh, dinary senses was in abeyance, and that it's all a trick, I see Mrs. Crosse and Cob- in fact her eyes saw nothing outwardly. den are in league. Of course I am in Mr. Crosse banded his hat to Dr. Faraday the League, as the wife of a free-trader to use as a screen before the object ; this is bound to be," I replied laughing. Just was no sooner done than the clairvoyant at that moment, a gentleman present asked failed utterly to respond to the movements Mr. Bright some questions connected with of the crystal. There were other exbusiness in the House ; the latter turning hibitions, which, under the test of comtoward him, adjusted the high quaker mon sense, failed equally ; the whole collar of his coat, with a trick of manner thing was a perfect fiasco, quite un rorthy peculiar to him, and slightly throwing the serious consideration of scientific men. back his head, spoke in answer gravely Faraday often took occasion to remark and forcibly. In that moment I caught “ On the tendency there is in the human an impression of the great orator ; his mind to deceive ourselves in regard to all face was full of power and earnestness — we wish, and the lack of all real educathe earnestness of internal conviction, the tional training of the judgment." This power to influence the multitude.

was said in 1853. In the summer of the A few days after this dinner, I saw our same year, Faraday wrote a letter to his Somersetshire neighbor, Colonel Charles friend Schönbein, which tue world Tynte-Mezzo-Tinte, as he was called, though it believes itself better educated, because his father and his son

were also

more advanced and wiser generally—inay colonels. I mentioned to him the inter- read with interest and profit, for the folly est I had felt in meeting the leaders of of the foolish is always with us. the Free Trade movement. In conversa

“I have not been at work," writes Faraday, tion he told me what Lord John Russell

except in turning the tables upon the table. had quite recently said to him, imitating turners, nor should I have done that, but that as he did so the speaker's drawling man- so many inquiries poured in upon me, that

I ner : “ If you ask me,” said his lordship,

ought it better to stop the inpouring flood

by letting all know, at once, what my views who is the best speaker in the House

and thoughts were. What a weak, credulous, well, I must say, John Bright.”

incredulons, unbelieving, superstitious, bold, But to return to spiritualism ; whether frightened--what a ridiculous world onrs is, as one met Mrs. Milliner Gibson-as that far as concerns the mind of man. How full of somewhat over-dressed lady was called inconsistencies, contradictions, and absurdi

ties it is !'' with her magic bracelet of amber beads, or Dr. Ashburner with his phials of mes. All those who were fortunate enough to merized water, which, if you looked into have known the great electrician must them long enough, would picture all the have been impressed by the singularly scenes of your past life ; the tiresome even balance of his mind; a contrast to subject would crop up.

Darwin, who lost, if indeed he ever posFaraday was pestered with applications sessed, a love of poctry, and became deaf and letters from people who believed that and blind as it were to the imaginative “ a new force” had been discovered, and side of our nature. Faraday was not expected him to explain it scientifically. given to quote poetry, or to talk about it “ Poor electricity is made accountable for in a literary sense ; but as the mathehalf the follies of the age,” said Faraday matician discovers in the universe “ a one day when we were talking over the divine geometry, so did he discover to

He invited my husband to his bearers—whether he lectured on accompany hin to a séance, where the “ Magnetic Actions and Affections” or following incident occurred. A girl pres

Conservation of Force”-a di

new craze.

on the

go."

can

vine poetry in the laws of Nature. No ber rightly, one of the many passages seattentive listener erer came away from lected from Tennyson was as follows : one of Faraday's lectures without having

There rolls the deep where grew the tree. the limits of his spiritual vision enlarged, O earth, what changes hast thou seen ! or without feeling that his imagination Tbere where the long street roars, hath been had been stimulated to something beyond

The stilluess of the central sea. the mere exposition of physical facts. " The hills are shadows, and they flow

Nor does Faraday stand alone as a phy- From form to form, and nothing stands ; sicist who is touched by the afllatus of

They melt like mist, the solid lands

Like clouds they shape themselves and poetry. I remember at one of the Friday evening lectures at the Royal Institution, Dr. Tyndall quoted Helinboltz, who finely It is remarkable that Browning-though says :

supreme in his adjustment of moral har“The cleavage of crystalline slate rocks are

mony, and profoundly intellectual in his so many telescopes to our spiritual vision, by ethical system-should have passed modwhich we seo backward through the ern science coldly by on the other side. night of antiquity, and discern the forces Even in his "Paracelsus," which, if which have been on the earth's surface

treated historically, would bave suggested “ Ere the lion roared,

the search for knowledge through the Or the eagle soared."

phenomena of creation, or by experiments In reference to the attitude of poetry on forces that have the power to bind and toward science, I remember Professor to loose ; yet the poet does not so treat Huxley remarking that “ Tennyson is the the subject, preferring to look for Naonly poet of our day who has fused true ture's secrets in the souls of great men, science into song: This was said, and relying on the knowledge which springs said truly, more than three decades since, direct from the buman mind. but posterity has proposed no annendment. Poets were not the only people who Tennyson may still be described as stand. failed in the full recognition of science. ing alone in his reception of the inductive I remember a smile passing round the dinprocesses of science, which, passing into ner-table when a political personage, who his mind have moulded his thoughts. has since been a Cabinet Minister, made The philosopher looking into nature the curious mistake of supposing that the * Sees his shadow glory.crowned,

Royal Society and the Royal Institution He sees himself in all he sees.

were one and the same. Though Cardinal

Wiseman, who was then extremely ré. “In Memoriam” is full of passages pandu in society, together with Sir Henry that echo, if they do not anticipate, the Rawlinson and other non-scientific men, voice of science. The following lines it lectured frequently in Albemarle Street, wiil be remembered had appeared before the Friday evening meetings were evidently Darwin had formulated his theory of evo- utterly unknown to the politician-albeit lution :

he was himself a writer of biography. “Ocean sounds,

The slip was the more remarkable as it And, star and system rolling past,

was made by a man too young to plead, A soul shall draw from out the vast And strike bis being into bounds,

as did the late Lord Derby, that he unAnd, moved thro' life of lower phase, fortunately belonged to à pre-scientific Result in man.

age. And the same key-note is struck in the

Mr. Grote, the historian, was one of familiar lines in form of exhortation :

the few scholarly writers whom I met in

the old days, who brought a disposing “ Arise and fly mind to the fresh array of scientific facts ; The reeling Faun, the sensual feast ;

not that he was technically informed on Move upward, marking out the beast, And let the ape and tiger die."

those subjects, as he himself confessed,

but he took stock of their value among Sir Andrew Ramsay, the geologist, the possessions of the human intellect. many years ago wrote a parallel between The courteous, old-fashioned tone of Lyell and Tennyson,” showing how the Mr. Grote's conversation hardly led one geological facts of the scientist were re- to expect him to be so modern in thought Hected in the poet's verse.

If I remem- and expression as he really was. Mr. and NEW SERIES. – Vol. LIV. No. 5.

42

66

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »