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The Romance of Mathematics
by P. Hampson
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Society is, as it were, split up by the terrible action of such impulsive forces, just as wood is split up by the repeated blows of the hatchet. It is, therefore, the duty of statesmen to increase the power or force of cohesion, to strengthen the fibres of the State, so that the force of such impulsive blows may not be felt, nor disturb the continuity of the framework of the State. If such measures had been adopted in the neighbouring country of France, much misery might have been avoided, and the terrible revolutions which have so frequently convulsed her social system entirely prevented.

Friction is another disturbing element in our calculations, and although it may be made a useful servant, it is a bad master in mathematics, as in polemics. Without the aid of friction, progress would be impossible. For example: Take the case of a man with perfectly smooth skates on perfectly hard, smooth ice; he would be unable to reach the land unless he had provided himself with some stones, by throwing which he would just be able to get to his destination by a backward motion. The engine would be unable to proceed on its iron road if it were not for friction. The same is true in polemical science: the government of the country would not be able to be carried on under our present conditions if it were not for party friction. But suppose it increased indefinitely, party friction becomes party obstruction; and the engine of the State would no longer proceed smoothly and evenly along its appointed course at the rate of sixty miles an hour, but would resemble an old-fashioned coach, up to its axle-trees in mud, its motion altogether stopped by the action of party friction.

We have seen that forces have two ways of acting: that of compelling rest and that of producing motion. In statics forces act so as to prevent any change of motion, or disturb the body's original position. In kinetics, on the contrary, the power is recognised as acting so as to produce or change a body's motion. Now, in polemical science we have these two ways of considering the action of forces. There is the statical or conservative force, which compels rest, which seeks security, stability, and peace, and is not ardently devoted to change. It reduces the system to equilibrium. There are, of course, two kinds of equilibrium—stable and unstable—according as the social and political system is in a healthy or unhealthy state. If a body is in stable equilibrium, and any slight motion takes place, the body will return immediately to its former position; but if in unstable, it will decline further and further away from its original position, and be entirely upset. So a healthy and sound conservative equilibrium is not disturbed by outside forces, and the State will resume its former position of stability and rest when the opposing force is withdrawn. But an unhealthy and insecure conservatism is as easily disturbed as an egg balanced on its narrow end.

The kinetics of society, that is to say the Radical way of estimating force, is the party of motion, generally supposed to be the 'party of progress.' It has therefore many attractions in the eyes of those who delight in motion, speed, and rushing about. To run at full speed, to feel the keen air upon one's face, to experience the delightful sensation of freedom of will, and limb, are joys which cannot be denied. Such exercise is beneficial to the system, bodily or political. Motion is the life of all things; it is characteristic of nature; it adores nature; because it is an emblem and characteristic of life. The ceaseless rolling of the ocean waves, the swaying of the trees, the bending of the flowers, the waving of the corn, all these fill us with pleasure; whereas a flat uninteresting plain, unrelieved by the motion of terrestrial objects, is depressing to the spirit. So there is much to be said in favour of motion, and Carlyle has defined progress as 'living movement.' And men love this 'living movement,' and take up the Laureate's cry:

'Forward, forward, let us range, Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing Grooves of change.'

But, after all, there is a danger in this everlasting motion. We cannot tell whither this progress may lead. It may be along a safe sure road; but perchance a precipice may open out before us; and rejoicing in the acceleration of our velocity, with eyes intent upon some distant heights of glory and ambition, we may not discover our danger until it is too late to stop, and a terrible plunge into an unknown abyss of turmoil and tumultuous waves is the alarming result of an unguarded policy of unrestrained 'progress.' I recall to my mind the quaint words of Holmes which aptly illustrate my contention.

'If the wild filly, "Progress", thou would'st ride, Have young companions ever at thy side; But wouldst thou stride the staunch old mare, "Success," Go with thine elders, though they please thee less.'

Progress and success do not always go together hand in hand; and while motion is essential to life, it is not always safe to urge a country forward at too great a speed; and security and stability are quite as important to the nation's life as actual progress.

There are other impulsive forces which act occasionally in the sphere of politics, and which baffle all our calculations, and exclude scientific considerations of the polemical problems which arise. Ambition is such an impulsive force, and when the rulers of the people are actuated by it, and struggle for money, place, and power, politics is degraded from its position as a science, and it becomes impossible to estimate the result of forces so generated.

In my next lecture I propose to treat the important subject of the Laws which govern States and Governments, and which regulate, generate, and control the social forces which we have seen at work in the body politic.



PAPER VII.

LAWS OF POLITICAL MOTION.

Since the last time I had the honour of addressing you on polemical matters, I have met with a passage in the writings of M. Auguste Comte which afforded me much pleasure. It seemed to be the one word for which I had been waiting, and confirmed many of my own impressions and speculations. He lays down two propositions: first, that the constructive politics of the future must be based on the history of the past; and second, that political science is a composite study, and presupposes the complete apprehension of every branch of science, beginning with the physical, such as astronomy, and ending with the moral, such as ethics and sociology. M. Comte evidently does not regard as a vain dream and imaginative speculation the theory that it will be possible for statesmen to calculate a policy, and to determine a course of action by purely scientific considerations. May I entertain the hope that in this university, where all branches of physical science have found a home, and are studied by most able and learned professors, the science of politics may be pursued under most favourable circumstances? I trust that each professor will bring before me the results of their deliberations, and contribute to the growth of this particular science for which our university has already become deservedly famous.

My present lecture is devoted to the important consideration of Law. At first sight it may appear to you that the wills and passions of mankind are so diverse and unknowable, that it would be absurd to suppose that they can be calculated, or rendered amenable to any law. But Professor Amos has pointed out that in proportion as we examine history, and compare the actions present and past of different nations and states, the more uniform does human nature appear; the more calculable the actions, sentiments, and emotions of large masses of people. As we have already stated, the difficulties of the study are not likely to deter the professors of Girtham College from the pursuit of any particular branch of science.

A priori we might suppose from analogy that these polemical laws existed, as there is no department of nature which is not governed by law. It is an essential feature in nature, and also in government. What is political economy but the study of certain laws of nature? These were first discovered by Adam Smith, and have since been traced and estimated by such men as Ricardo, the two Mills, Professor Cairnes, Jevons, and many others. Moreover, our physical constitutions are governed by laws, which physicians have determined, and which it is perilous to resist. Our moral constitution is also governed by laws, which evidently exist, although it is difficult to find them out. But the nation is only an assemblage of individuals; and since individuals are so governed, it is only natural to suppose that the nation, composed of individuals, is so constituted and controlled. And not only is that true, but we shall see that polemical laws are as permanent and universal, as invariable and irreversible, as the laws of nature which regulate the courses of the heavenly bodies, and raise the tides, or depress the sandstone hills.

We may notice first the preponderant impulse observable in a nation's life in favour of supporting existing facts and institutions; and every reformer has discovered the difficulty and danger of changing or opposing the customs and habits of the people. As a wheel will travel most smoothly along a well-worn groove, whereby friction is diminished, so there is a natural national tendency always to run along those paths with which the habits and customs of the people have made them familiar. This law is nothing else than Newton's first law of motion, which is quite as applicable to human masses as to lifeless matter. The tendency of matter to remain at rest, if unmoved by any external agency, and of persisting to move after it has once been set in motion, is a conservative tendency; and is as true in political science as in any other.

The special branch of our science, which we may call the Biology of Politics, shows how absolute is the domain of law in polemical matters. The law of human life is that men are born, grow, become strong and vigorous, and then decay and die. This is the law of life, to which we must all yield an enforced obedience. This same law is observed to be at work in the heavenly bodies; and astronomy shows us that planets are born, flourish, and at length die, just as our human bodies do. The moon is, as you may have observed, a dead planet, such as our earth may be some day. The same growth and decay are also manifest in national life. First, there is the birth of the nation, which sometimes lies a long time in a dormant state, and then wakes up to life and energy. China and Russia are examples of dormant States, just waking from a long sleep of childishness and ignorance. The next stage is the strong an healthy period of its existence, which England is at present enjoying; and then, after various stages of gradual decline, we come to the senile period of national life, when every energy and faculty, every national feeling and power of invention, are completely exhausted. As an example of this depressing condition, we may mention Turkey and several of the effete States of South America. Sometimes, when life is nearly extinct in the human body, physicians have made use of the power of galvanism, in order to revive the dying energies. This process of galvanizing a State into life was tried by Lord Palmerston and others on the worn-out frame of Turkey. But such attempts can only meet with partial and transitory success; and where the loss of national power and faculty betokens the senile period of the nation's existence, it is vain to attempt to restore its former life and energy. The study of the biology of politics presents many interesting and important details in this special branch of knowledge; and I commend this part of our subject to the special attention of the professor of physiology. The law of development is observable in nations as in nature. Recent scientific discoveries have tended to take away all ideas of chance in the workings of nature, and have substituted law instead of it. It would be unscientific and incorrect to speak of the world being formed by the 'fortuitous concourse of atoms.' So we cannot speak of a State being generated in this manner. Laws—economical, geographical, natural—preside over the formation of States and nations, and produce their further development.

The laws of political motion occupy the same prominent place in our new science as Newton's laws do in ordinary dynamics. These are very important in calculating the positions which various States will occupy in the future. First, we have the doctrine of nationality, which prevented the progress of Austria into Italy, and of the Bourbons in Naples, and produced the amalgamation of the small German States in the great empire of Germany. The second law of political motion is the doctrine of the independence of all true States, and the equality of all States to each other. This had its growth in feudalism; and all the chief wars of modern times have been the result of the efforts of nature to establish this law of independence. The doctrine of intervention is a modification of the preceding law, and is applicable when the law of necessity demands its use, such as the restoration of order after protracted anarchy, the abolition of slave trade, etc. The third law is the law of morality. Just as for each man there exists a right and a wrong; just as duty and conscience are certain elements in his daily motion, which dictate his course of action, although he may chose to neglect them; so a nation is bound by the same moral laws which govern the individual; and a nation errs if it transgresses them. Christianity is the agent which has produced so powerful an influence in making men obey the dictates of conscience and walk in the path of duty; and I read with thankfulness the conclusion of Mr. Amos, that Christianity has triumphed quite as much in moralizing secular politics as it has in the sphere of individual life.

* * * * *

These are some of the principal laws of motion which I have observed at work in various States and nations. Inasmuch as political science embraces, in addition to the physical sciences, all those branches which are contained in ethics, economics, jurisprudence, sociology and others, the laws of each are generally applicable to the whole grand subject of which my lectures treat. Other general laws may be deduced, and have been enumerated in my previous lectures, from the social properties of curves and conics; and when our researches are complete we may hope to produce a code of laws for the guidance of our statesmen which maybe of immense use in determining the policies of the future. Already there is strong evidence that the affairs of this country are being conducted on sound scientific principles, rather than by any species of guess-work or haphazard contrivances. The use of history is recognised as extremely important in determining a future line of conduct; and statesmen are in the habit of endeavouring to find from their study of the past what is the logical sequence of events. Just as mathematicians endeavour to determine the law of a series of figures, and having found the law, can write down the next, and the next, ad infinitum; so scientific politicians may be able soon to establish the various laws of a series of events, and calculate their course of actions. That there is considerable progress in this direction is manifest by the value which they place upon statistics, and their continued use of this important information.

There are a few great evils in our present system which are strongly opposed to any scientific methods in politics; and in the interests of the country as well as those of science they ought to be removed. One great evil is the want of political and scientific knowledge on the part of the electors, who are in the habit of choosing their representatives on personal grounds, or party considerations, rather than on sound principles of political science. All this is opposed to any idea of law. Owing to the ignorance of the electors they fall an easy prey to adventurers and unprincipled politicians, who make all kinds of specious promises, tempt them with all manner of baits, and make self-interest instead of the welfare of the State the principle of voting. Selfishness is the ruin of social life and intercourse, the destroyer of all happiness, peace, and mutual trust in family life or in society. It is the root of most of the faults, vices, and crimes in the individual; and who can tell the endless disasters which will befall the State, where selfishness is the chief motive-power of the electors and the elected? A selfish statesman, one who goes into Parliament to gain his own ends and forward his own personal interests, is a disgrace to society—

'Feeling himself, his own low self, the whole, When he by sacred sympathy might make The whole one self. Self, that no alien knows! Self, far diffused as fancy's wing can travel! Self, spreading still, oblivious of its own, Yet all of all possessing!'

I have said that the ignorance of the electorate makes them an easy prey to such men; and until they have learnt to detect the false from the true, until they become acquainted with the elements of political science, and have been taught that their own selfish interests are not the highest aims of social government, it is vain to hope for a reasonable method of regulating the affairs of the nation, based upon logical laws and scientific principles.

And how is this work of educating the electors to be accomplished? Not, I maintain, by furious speeches and rhetorical displays; not by bribery, baits and banter; but by patient, never-ceasing labour, by lectures on history and science, by individual instruction, is the great work to be accomplished upon which the security and stability of the country depend.

Then we may hope that the 'Reign of Law' in polemical science may be ushered in with the joyful acclamations of an enlightened and united people, and its benign influence extend from the throne of the monarch and the council-chamber of his ministers to the hearth of the cottager. Politicians will rule by law; policies be calculated by laws; people vote by law; and then methinks I see in my mind (to use the words of the blind old poet) a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; methinks I see her as an eagle, renewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam; purging and unsealing her long-abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds flutter about amazed at what she means. Such is the glorious vision of the 'Reign of Law.' Let it be the business of every Englishman and Englishwoman to arrange the framework of our social and political system, that law may have an uninterrupted sway; then shall we be a united, prosperous, and contented people, and the reign of lawless agitators, bribery-mongers, and counterfeit statesmen will have passed away into the oblivion and obscurity of a more suitable but less favoured region.



PAPER VIII.

ON THE PRINCIPLE OF POLEMICAL COHESION.

In my previous lectures I have had occasion to mention the principle of cohesion; but it plays so vital a part in the constitution of States and their relations to each other that I consider it advisable to devote this lecture entirely to it.

This is a large and comprehensive subject, and embraces such principles as the Centralization of States; the Co-operation of States; Monogamic Marriage; Unions; Free Trade, and many others equally important. We have already noticed that cohesion is a well-known property of matter; that its influence is not confined to the regions of physical sciences; and that it is the manifest duty of all governments to increase the force of cohesion.

Various methods have been tried to accomplish this purpose. The principle of Feudalism was one of the earliest attempts to produce the cohesion of the nation; and, in an elementary condition of society, it was partly successful. The theories of 'Divine Right' and 'Social Contract' were other methods which have been adopted; and the unity of the Christian Church has been the great means of producing the cohesion of the State in olden times; and its aid may be again required for the same beneficent object in future complications and social disruptions.

But it is always advantageous in scientific pursuits to go back to first principles; and we will adopt that method in our present investigations. The social unit is the family; the multiplication of families makes the tribe; the multiplication of tribes makes the State; and, therefore, we shall not be far wrong if we consider the family tie as the first principle of political cohesion. I am in agreement with several learned thinkers upon this subject when I say that marriage is a most important political factor; and as marriage cannot take place without women, it is evident that women play a very important part in promoting the cohesion of the State.

This prominent position was duly assigned to women by one of our greatest political philosophers, M. Auguste Comte, who strongly opposed the fatal fallacy of ancient political systems, which greatly overestimated the powers of men, and depreciated those of women. If the superiority of bodily strength be the sole cause of greatness in political and intellectual pursuits, then, most noble lords of creation, we yield to you the palm—you are our masters in this respect. But if, on the other hand, it can be shown that physical strength is not a requisite for great achievements in these occupations; if the powers of endurance, elasticity, adaptability, nervous energy, and patience are quite as needful as mere animal strength; then we women are quite as capable, and indeed more capable than men, for achieving political greatness. In the 'good old days,' when the law of might was right, and the strongest arm was the most powerful machinery in the government of the country, women were compelled naturally to occupy a less prominent position in the conduct of the affairs of the nation; and for centuries they have been degraded by a dominating tradition, and supposed incapable of performing duties for which they were mentally well suited. But those militant days are past. Animal strength and brute force are no longer needed in the councils of the nation; and the time has arrived when women should cease to be oppressed by the disparaging, illogical deductions of former generations, and when their assistance ought to be invoked in the great work of promoting the nation's welfare.

I have stated that marriage is an important political factor; and, therefore, women have always occupied a primary, though obscure, part in political affairs. The cohesion of the State has been produced by the secret influence of family life. But it may be asked, What kind of marriage is most conducive to national cohesion? This question has been carefully and conclusively answered by a learned scientific writer, who shows that polygamic marriage never exists in an advanced state, as instanced by the history of Judaism and Mohammedanism; that a strict form of monogamic marriage is essential to political greatness and true progress in civilization. The cohesion of the State is destroyed by polygamy, and by any system which relaxes the binding nature of the marriage tie. 'Domestic disorganization is a sure augury of political disruption.'

Cohesion, the essential property of all rightly constituted nations, is often in danger of being lost when the State is geographically very large, or when local interests have greater power than the attractive force of the central government. To obviate this evil, the method of centralization has been adopted with satisfactory results, as in the case of the United States of America, and Germany.

By this means the local authorities are brought into close relationship with the central head, and the centrifugal influences of independent interests and customs are counteracted by the force of central attraction. Centralization increases the importance of the whole body, and, like the pendulum of a clock, regulates the movements of the whole State. In some cases it tends to make the government despotic, when the local governments are entirely under the control of the central; and every enactment, and scheme, and plan checked and supervised by the chief officers of the State. Such was the system adopted in France by Napoleon III. But cohesion without the enforcement of a hard and rigid connection, a general supervision without severe tyrannical jurisdiction, are the best methods of securing the unity of composite States.

But the force of cohesion is evidently at work in the nation apart from centralization. Men who have a community of interests unite together for the purposes of strength and mutual assistance. They combine for the sake of securing means of support in sickness, and form benefit societies, such as the Order of Oddfellows or Foresters. This force of cohesion has produced trade unions, and similar institutions which exist for the purpose of protecting a common interest, and giving expression to the concurrent opinions of the members. These have their legitimate use in every civilized State, in spite of some of the disadvantages which follow in their train. There are, of course, opposed interests in every community: attractive forces, which produce trade unions, guilds, corporations, companies, and the like; and repulsive forces, which result from the opposed interests of employers and employed, landlords and tenants, and similar pairs of different classes in the community. As time goes on, and the State advances with it, these forces will gain in strength; the cohesion of classes will become greater; association will grow as naturally as the bubbles form on the surface of our evening beverage. It is a law of nature, and therefore cannot be resisted. But the repulsive forces will be no less strong, and to calculate the resultant of these contending interests will be the problem for practical statesmen to solve.

The force of cohesion is also evidently at work, not only in individual States, but also amongst the nations of Europe, and of the world. That is to say, there is an evident desire for co-operation on the part of those nations who have attained to the highest degree of civilization and internal cohesion. International law is based on the principle of cohesion, and every day it is gaining power and favour in the eyes of our leading statesmen. The doctrine of Free Trade, which, if universally adopted, would be of the greatest service to mankind, results from a desire for co-operation; and whatever evils may result from one-sided Free Trade in this country at the present time, there can be no doubt that ultimately the complete system will be adopted.

Sad is the fate of a nation when the force of cohesion is weakened. The first revolution in France is a proof of this assertion; there was no cohesion, no common faith, or loyalty to the throne and Government; and indeed the Government, which was rotten to the core, was hardly likely to awake any feelings of loyalty and respect; and therefore the social disruption which followed was only a natural sequence of events, and was prophesied with the accuracy with which an astronomer can foretell an eclipse. But that is not all; when the cohesion of the State is destroyed, it takes a long time to restore the action of the force; and, as in the case of France, further disruption is sure to take place.

In this lecture I have already enumerated some of the ways in which this force acts; there are doubtless others which will suggest themselves to you. But I contend that the prosperity of the State, and the peace of the world, depend upon cohesion. Let this be your work, most noble professors, to promote the action of this helpful and life-giving force. Promote, as far as in you lies, the sacred union of family life. Encourage the generous feelings of true loyalty and patriotism amongst the people of this realm of England; counsel our statesmen with regard to the primary necessity of national cohesion, and the advantages of international co-operation; and your work will be blessed; your names will rank with those heroes of the sword and of the pen who have raised our beloved country to her present pinnacle of greatness and prosperity; and your memory will live in the hearts of your grateful countrymen.

[Editorial Note.]—We regret to state that the various MSS. in the sealed desk are nearly exhausted, and are therefore compelled to present the series of lectures on polemical studies in an incomplete form. But we had the good fortune to light upon a brief diary which discloses some interesting information with regard to the Author's life and occupations. We append a few extracts:



Extracts from the Author's Diary.

June 3rd.—Arnold called again to-day—the fifth time during the last fortnight! His attention is rather overpowering, and wastes much of my valuable time. He says he hates science—the heathen!—and wants me to lecture in classics. He affirms that mathematics are dry and hard—too hard for women, and tend to make them unsympathetic and critically severe. I am afraid I was rather severe with him. But really he is very trying, and always seems to talk like a Greek chorus in the most profound platitudes. Arnold is a classical tutor at Clare College. My old pupil is getting on famously. Poor fellow! he seems quite oppressed with his work. But he is making great progress, and sticks to his books like—a student of Girtham College!

June 4th.—Lectured on the Scientific Basis of Blackstone's Commentaries; afterwards received pupils until 1 p.m. Really Blanch S—— is more tiresome than ever. It appears that she has taken up with a young undergraduate of King's, and there is no prospect of any improvement in her work unless this nonsense is terminated. How foolish some of my sex are, in spite of their improved opportunities! I blush for them! Arnold has sent me a copy of Robert Browning's 'Belaustion,' in order to make me like classics, and give up science. Misguided young man! He has written some tolerable verses on the fly-leaf; but I have no intention of playing Belaustion to his 'entranced youth.' These are his verses:

'My lady dear, if I may call you so, For you are dearer than all else beside, I know the love you bear to golden verse, To golden thoughts enshrined in classic lore, To all that's beautiful; so here I send Some echoes of the songs of ancient days, Attuned and chanted by an English bard, Who fires one's old love for the rolling lines Of youthful Hellas; may your cultured ear Receive, and gladly welcome his sweet song. And while we revel in the poet's dream, And hear his actors speak, we'll play our parts. You, sweet Belaustion on the temple-steps, Taking your captors captive by your voice; And I, the youth who, more entranced than all, Was bound by fetters that he would not loose; And so we'll play our part. What say you, dear?'

June 6th.—Have just seen our new Professor of Physics, Amelia Cordial, who is an excellent woman, and well suited for the high office which she holds. She has told me of the foolish conduct of Lady Mary, who is evidently of opinion that the professorial mantle ought to have fallen on her shoulders. Really, this jealousy in the ranks of the learned is most disgraceful; and the bickerings which arise from disappointed ambition, the envyings and silly quarrels, are the weak places in our female collegiate system.

Such good news! The wrangler list is just out, and my hard-working pupil is bracketed twelfth! This is really delightful, and abundantly repays us for all our hard toil. But really I have not found working with him distasteful; he is such an excellent pupil, so painstaking and eager, that I have quite looked forward to his coming, and found him much more interesting than some of these foolish maidens. But I almost dread seeing him. He will be so elated and overpoweringly grateful, whereas I ought to be grateful to him for all his work for me; for I am sure he would never have gone in for the Tripos if I had not persuaded him. Well, I wonder why he does not come to tell me of his triumph.

June 7th.—It has come! and I half expected it. My eager pupil writes with all the energy and love of his noble nature to ask me to be his wife! He says that is all he cares for, and only values his Honours as a step to a higher honour and dignity, that of gaining my love and being my husband. All this is very nice to read; but a terribly difficult problem is placed before me for solution. I do indeed love this dear, good fellow—no one could help doing so, I am sure; but do I not love science more? There is a stringent regulation in this University that no one shall occupy the position of professor who is bound by any domestic ties or cares. All married women are excluded. If I say 'Yes,' I must resign my high position, leave this beloved college, give no more lectures to entranced audiences. In the interests of science, ought I to refuse, and sacrifice my heart's affections for the cause of mathematics? But if I say 'No,' I must give up—him; sacrifice his happiness too, and blight his life. Was ever anyone so perplexed? Science, aid thine obedient servant! May I not determine this vital question by thine all-pervading light?...

* * * * *

[Editorial Note.]—We had just arrived at this exciting moment in the life of the learned and accomplished lady whose writings form the subject of these pages—a moment when love and science were trembling in the balance—when a footstep was heard upon the stairs leading to our study, and ere we could secrete our MS. the door was opened, and a well-known voice exclaimed:

'I do not know why you should have become so studious lately, Ernest, and why you should refuse to take me into your confidence. You spend hours and hours in this room all by yourself, writing away, and never say a word to me about the subject of your literary work. There was a time when things were different, and you were not so slow in availing yourself of my help, and asking my advice.'

We murmured something about taking up the pen which had been laid aside by a far abler hand, and our deep gratitude for past assistance in our work, which could never be forgotten.

'And do you think that I cannot help you now?' our visitor replied, in a very injured tone of voice. 'Is the old power dead, because it has not recently been used? Ernest, I think you very ungrateful not to confide in me. Come, tell me what you are writing.'

A suggestion about the proverbial curiosity of women rose to our lips, but died away without utterance. In the meantime, her eyes wandered over our study-table strewed with papers, and lighted upon the well-worn desk.

'Why, Ernest, where did you find this? My dear old desk, which has been lost ever so long! I do believe you have been ransacking its contents! Why did you not tell me that you had found it? What are you doing with my papers, sir?'

The mischief was out! We tried to explain that the world ought not to be deprived of that which would benefit mankind; that the peace and prosperity of the country might be sacrificed if it were deprived of these discoveries of science, which were calculated to secure such beneficial results.

At length we gained our point, and obtained the full sanction of the late Lady Professor of Girtham College to publish her papers. Thus her obedient pupil is enabled to repay his late instructress for all her kindness to him, and in some measure to compensate the scientific and political world for the loss of one of its most original investigators in the regions of polemical studies, which, not without a struggle, she resigned when she deigned to become his wife.

THE END.



Elliot Stock, Paternoster Row, London.

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